Weekly Share August 26th – September 1st

Arugula or Nevada Lettuce
Shishito Peppers
Sweet Italian Peppers
Celebrity  & Salad Tomatoes
Crimson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Asian Long & Thai Round Eggplant
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Assorted Hot Chiles

It’s our last Spring/Summer share of 2019. We hope you all have enjoyed the bounty of vegetables through these 15 weeks. It has been a humid and hot summer; but these last few days have been a vision of what Fall will bring.  Its been absolutely beautiful and with the cooler nights we begin to see the fall crops grow in bigger jumps, as well as see the fruit loaded chile plants begin to ripen much faster and set even more fruit than one would imagine. As with every season, it has had its highs and lows. We have had really good potato, garlic, and onion crops. The tomatoes have been more consistent so far through the season and some of our cucumber successions have yielded more than we thought possible with 3 times the volume we expected.  At the same time, due to some weather effects, we had a very short cut greens season this spring.  Lots of abundance all at once; instead of stretched over a longer season; which is more manageable for us.  Our bean crops have been inundated with pests since late May, making for very sad plants and low yields. Our watermelon was looking like a failure; but we are excited to say, although a little late this year, you will be getting it again as we have had a bit more than expected. Our labor shortage this season has been a dominant aspect, as it effects every part of this farm operation. It has helped us to creatively think about our systems and see if there are ways to streamline things or invest in different equipment to facilitate having less hands on the farm. We have also had a small group of people step up and volunteer or work part-time to help us out in a pinch. These people have saved our backs and really make a difference when your in the summer thick of it. Now don’t think we are slowing down, not even a little. Over the next month as the days get shorter we have more to harvest, large weekly plantings and so much field management. That rain was lovely last week; but oh the grass and weeds coming up now is mildly frightening. The changing weather helps a lot though and being forced to work 10 hours instead of 12 due to limited daylight, helps moral as well.
This week’s share includes watermelon and cucumbers (because they do not stop producing it seems), as well as a lot of peppers. You will get the first of our ripened sweet Italian peppers and more shishitos. We will also include a small assortment of hot chilies such as the yellow Peruvian lemon drops , cayenne like Maules Red Hot, Indian Jyoti, and our proprietary Cuban hat (medium habanero like) and Khmer (thai style). If you don’t use many chiles, you can freeze these in a Ziploc bag and pull out individually later on to spice up a dish.  The Khmer chile pairs really well with garlic and the Asian style eggplants either in a stir-fry or as part of a marinade when broiling or grilling. Check out some of the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Autumn & Brian

Watermelon, Feta and Charred Pepper Salad

Braised Okra With Tomatoes, Peppers and Spices

Lemony Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers and Feta

Okra Fritters With Sweet Pepper Tomato Saute

Chili-Garlic Grilled Eggplant
Use a thai chili to replace the chili sauce and serve this dish alongside a simple cucumber vinegar salad and seared shishito peppers.

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Weekly Share August 19th – 25th

Seyrek or Cubanelle Mild Peppers
Clemson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Dancer, Rosa Bianca, or  Beatrice Eggplant
Tomatillos or Red Pear Tomatoes
German Red Garlic
Nokya Cucumber
Genovese Basil
Chioggia Beets

Cucumber-Basil Egg Salad

Beet, Cucumber, And Feta Salad With Basil

Roasted Eggplant, Green Pepper & Tomato Dip

Romano Beans with Red Onion, Oil & Vinegar –recipe from Kitchen Garden Farm
1 lb or so beans
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
This is a very simple, delicious way to prepare any type of string bean, and it makes a great summer salad or cold vegetable side dish. When Tim was working at a farm in Tuscany, this dish was on the table every single day, and everyone would add the oil and vinegar to their own liking. Simply wash and trim the beans (cut into bite sized pieces if you wish) and boil in heavily salted water for 5-10 minutes. They should be fully cooked but not disintegrating. Drain the beans and immediately plunge into cold water to arrest the cooking. Drain and toss with the red onion, salt & pepper, oil and vinegar. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Okra with Garlic and CorianderThe New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Takleya is the name of the fried garlic and coriander mix which gives a distinctive Egyptian flavor to a number of dishes. It goes in at the end. In Upper Egypt they chop up and mash the okra when it is cooked. Serve hot as a side dish with meat or chicken.
1 pound okra, small young ones
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbls vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
juice of ½-1 lemon
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
11/2-2 tsp ground coriander
With a small sharp knife, cut off the stems and trim the caps of the okra, then rinse them well. Fry the onion in 2 Tbls of the oil till golden. Add the okra and sauté gently for about 5 minutes, stirring and turning over the pods. Barely cover with water (about 1 ½ cups), add salt and pepper, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Add the lemon juice, towards the end and let the sauce reduce. (Lemon juice is usually added when the dish is to be eaten cold). For the takleya, heat the garlic and coriander in the remaining oil in a small pan, stirring, for a minute or two, until the garlic just begins to color. Stir this in with the okra and cook a few minutes more before serving hot.

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Weekly Share August 12th – 18th

Nicola Potatoes
Summer Squash
Cippolini Onions
Anaheim or Poblano Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes or Tomatillos
Sugar Baby or Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad

Squash and green chile casserole

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Fresh Tomatillo-Poblano Sauce

Caprese Sandwich With Arugula And Olive Spread

Chez Panisse’s Potatoes and Onions Roasted with Vinegar and Thyme

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Weekly Share August 5th – 11th

Shishito Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes
Asian & Marketmore Cucumbers
Thai Round or Asian Long Eggplant
Red Noodle or Oriental Wonder Long Beans
Various Hot Chiles (Thai, Lemondrop, Jalapeno, Serrano, Jyoti, Maules)
Thai Basil

This week’s share includes Shishito peppers (a mildly spicy frying pepper), which can be an excellent addition to a stir-fry or even a scramble. They also excel on their own, done in a simple tempera or pan fried/charred in olive oil and finished with a nice flaky salt. These peppers are occasionally spicy; but mostly they have a bright, green, mild flavor. A shishito side dish can accompany curry, steak,  or a spicy cucumber salad.  The share also includes Shiso, used throughout Asia both medicinally and as an herb, especially popular in Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisines. In Virginia it is known as Perilla and is a native plant that is common throughout the Piedmont. On our farm we have the green variety and it grows on the edges of wood lines and in other slightly shaded areas. The wild variety is not as pungent as some cultivated types, but it is still amazing used in herb salads, spring rolls, and even granita; pair it with thai basil and you will not be disappointed. Check out the recipe below and enjoy the share……Autumn & Brian

Andy Ricker’s Tam Taeng Kwaa (Thai Cucumber Salad) From ‘Pok Pok

Jungle Curry

Cucumber, Scallion & Shiso leaves Salad

Japanese Eggplant With Chicken & Thai Basil

Shiso GranitaJapanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
15 green shiso leaves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Place the shiso leaves in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat the sugar and 3 cups water to boiling in a medium saucepan, stirring the sugar to dissolve. Pour the boiling sugar water over the leaves and steep until cool. Set a strainer over a plastic container large enough to hold 3 cups and strain out the leaves. Cover and transfer the shiso-flavored sugar water to a freezer shelf. Let sit, undisturbed, in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove to the countertop, open the lid, and gently stir in the crystals that have formed on the perimeter.  Repeat this operation every 30 minutes, breaking up any larger crystals as you go. The finished granita should be flaky.  Serve alone in a glass bowl or goblet. This is also wonderful served alongside Fig Ice Cream and Plum Sorbet. Keeps frozen for several weeks.

Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn)
When we make these we let everyone prepare their own and it makes for a really fun meal activity. As the recipe states, you can substitute various herbs’ we particularly like thai basil and shiso together. We will add carrot, cucumber, daikon, long bean, scallion, and sometimes substitute shredded pork or shrimp for tofu. For dipping sauces we use a traditional Nuoc Cham and peanut sauce (recipes below).

Nuoc ChamHot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
1/4cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
1 Tbls sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 bird chile, minces
several shreds of carrot (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Serve in small condiment bowls. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (after that, the garlic starts to taste tired).

Vietnamese Peanut Sauce –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
2 scant Tbls tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 Tbls warm water or substitute 2 Tbls tomato paste
2 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbls fermented soybean paste (tuong in Vietnamese; dao jiao in Thai)
1 cup water
1 ½ tsp sugar
1-2 bird chiles, minced
Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice
Place the peanuts in a food processor or large mortar and process or pound to a coarse powder; set aside. If using tamarind, press it through a sieve; reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is starting to change color, about 15 seconds. Add the soybean paste and the tamarind or tomato paste and stir to blend. Stir in ½ cup water, then stir in most of the ground peanuts, reserving about 1 Tbls for the garnish. Stir in the sugar and chiles. Add up to ½  cup more water, until you have the desired texture: a thick liquid, pourable but not watery. Serve in small condiment bowls, warm or at room temperature, squeezing on the lime and sprinkling on the reserved peanuts just before serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat it in a small pan and simmer briefly before serving.

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Weekly Share July 29th – August 4th

Tomatillos or Sungold Cherry
Heirloom Sauce Tomatoes
Middle Eastern & Italian Eggplant
Cubanelle & Seyrek Peppers
German White Garlic
Summer Squash
Yaya Carrots

We are finally getting into harvesting most of the Summer crops, better late than never. Remember how we wrote about our tractor being out of commission in April and being very short on help this season, well the affect of those things are being felt right about now. It meant we planted a lot of our Summer crops 1-3 weeks after we intended too and then some of our Spring crops came and went quickly, leaving us with some limited diversity right about now. All of this coupled with that 14-day stretch of hot weather in mid-July, compounded the issue. The hot weather ripened all the fruit set on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc very quickly; but it paused flowering. Finally this past week, with some much needed rain and cooling temperatures, we are seeing a lot of plant growth and flowering meaning the plants are getting into their groove. We are also seeing really extensive bug pressure this year, really since late spring, but right now crops such as our bean successions, late cucumbers, and squash are suffering a bit. The main effects are damaged or deformed pods or fruit and pretty stressed plants, yielding very small volume. Having less labor means more weed pressure and this leads to an increase in bug pressure, as they are attracted to the weedy environment. We are also seeing intense worm pressure on our greenhouse starts for our fall crops. While they are in the greenhouse this problem can be manageable; but once out in the field it can be somewhat devastating.  Every fall we struggle with worms (army and cut worms) and aphids, so we try to be diligent and aware from the start. With last week’s cool Summer temperatures, we were able to get a head start direct seeding our first fall succession of beet, carrot, dill, and cilantro, so that feels good. Beginning this week, we will direct seed and transplant crops every week for harvesting in the late summer through next spring. Our first radicchio starts are looking great, and the fennel and cooking greens are close to ready to go into the ground. In addition we were able to get some Sorgham Sudan cover crop planted, also a little late, but a necessary aspect of our crop fields long-term soil health; which directly effects the plants.
This week’s share is meant for cooking, like cooking on the stove. The first of our tasty sauce tomatoes, paired with mild peppers, garlic, some summer squash, and lots of eggplant. So don’t avoid making a delicious fresh pasta sauce, a ratatouille, an eggplant parm, or whatever you are feeling. We included carrots, in case you needed a fresh grated salad, try the classic french carrot salad recipe below, its tasty. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian

Alice Waters’ Ratatouille

Chicken Cacciatore with Cubanelle Peppers

spiced carrots and eggplant

French Grated Carrot Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Caponata from The Kitchen Garden
Lots and lots of olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 head garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp chili flakes or fresh hot peppers, to taste
1 pound peppers, cut into large chunks
1 pound eggplant, cut into large chunks
1 or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
Few sprigs chopped basil and parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat about 4 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a lid that can go in the oven. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the pepper flakes and peppers and sauté over medium heat 5-10 minutes.  Add eggplant and sauté another several minutes. You may want to add more oil to make sure everything is generously anointed.  Add the tomatoes.  Cover the pot and put it in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.  Everything should be very, very soft.  Season with salt, pepper and the other seasonings.  Adjust sweetness, salt and acidity to taste.  Serve it warm on fresh crusty bread or at room temperature the next day.  Makes a great pasta sauce, too. (The original version contains chunks of celery, too.  If you like celery, you can add it when you add the tomatoes.)

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Weekly Share July 22nd – 28th

Tomatillos or Sungold Cherry
AC Chaleur & Red Gold Potatoes
Tendersweet Cabbage
Candy Sweet Onions
Slicing Cucumbers
Mix Tomatoes
Chioggia Beets
Genovese Basil

Quick Cabbage with Tomatoes

Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad

Tomatillo And Tomato Salad

Cabbage Beet Coleslaw

spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

Easy Sauteed Cabbage Recipe

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Weekly Share July 15th – 21st

Italian & Middle Eastern Eggplant
Red & Orange Slicing Tomatoes
Swiss Chard or Chioggia Beets
Summer Squash & Zucchini
Seyrek or Shishito Peppers
Fennel or Dill

Chopped Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

Roasted Eggplant Fennel Pizza With Whipped Garlic Feta

Sautéed Zucchini with Ginger and Dill

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Fusilli Pasta With Chard And Eggplant

Zaalouk (Spicy Eggplant Salad) The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
1 ½ lb eggplant, peeled and cubed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large tomatoes (about 1 ½ lbs)
4 Tbls argan oil or mild extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbls wine vinegar
½ tsp harissa or a mixture paprika &ground chili pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Boil the eggplants with the garlic in plenty of salted water, in a pan covered with a lid, for about 30 minutes or until they are very soft. Drain and chop the eggplants and garlic in a colander, then mash them with a fork, pressing all the water out.
Put the tomatoes in the emptied pan and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Mix with the mashed eggplants and the rest of the ingredients and add salt.
Variation: Add the juice of 1 lemon (instead of the vinegar) and 1 tsp ground caraway or coriander.

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Weekly Share July 8th – 14th

Romano Green Beans
Marketmore Cucumbers
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
German White Garlic
Napa Cabbage
Daikon Radish
Bolero Carrots
Lettuce Mix

The last few weeks have been extremely busy. We are in Summer harvest mode, even though many of the crops were planted a bit late. Our first succession of tomatoes, including the Sungold cherries, and the romano beans are in full swing and doing lovely so far. These types of crops take a lot of time to harvest and must be harvested more frequently, so our week begins to look much different with at least one crop harvested every day. Over the next few weeks we will see eggplant, peppers, and okra come into full swing as well. In the mean time we have gotten all the garlic and onions cured or dried back and are beginning to clip them (from there necks) and move them from the barn into long-term temperature controlled storage. Our potatoes are ready to be harvested and cured for long-term storage as well; this happens when the greens fully die back and the potato skin becomes more firm, the difference between a “new” potato and a mature potato. We have cleared all our cabbages from the fields and are beginning to bulk our beets, so we have some storage crops through the summer heat.
At the end of June we began our first wave of fall seedlings, things like fennel, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and an assortment of bunching greens. This week we begin the second wave with lettuce, radicchio, escarole, frisee, chard, and beets. This means we are less than four weeks away from beginning our fall plantings. Since you are still getting some of these crops in your weekly shares it may seems unremarkable; but for us this is the long game for fall and winter crop diversity. With the waning daylight hours, getting the timing right to grow healthy plants to maturity takes considerably more finesse. In addition we have to watch the heat, be mindful of pest issues before they explode and irrigate non-stop. This is the beginning of our busy period and a lot of it does not pay off until November, December or even into the New Year.  But right now you probably care only for tomatoes; which makes sense because it is tomato time and boy do they taste good right now. Check out the recipes and enjoy the share……Autumn and Brian

Grilled Calamari + Green Beans with Sun Golden Tomatoes + Tons of Herbs

Green Bean & Napa Cabbage Salad

Vegetable Poriyal

Sesame Carrot and Cucumber Slaw

Sweet-Vinegared Daikon and CarrotsJapanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1/3 cup organic  rice vinegar
1 Tbls organic granulated sugar
1  cup julienned daikon (1 ¾” thin matchsticks)
1/3 cup julienned carrots (1 ¾” thin matchsticks)
½ tsp sea salt
Zest from 1 yuzu or ½ Meyer lemon cut into fine slivers
Heat the vinegar and sugar together in a small saucepan over low heat to melt the sugar. Cool to room temperature before using.
Keep the daikon and carrots in two separate bowls. Sprinkle the daikon with 2/3 of the salt and the carrots with the remaining salt. Massage the salt in gently and let sit for 10 minutes before squeezing out the excess water and dropping into a clean medium-sized mixing bowl. Toss the daikon and carrots with the slivered yuzu or meyer lemon zest and cooled sweet vinegat. Chill for 1 day before serving.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
half a napa cabbage
½ Tbls fine sea salt
2 Tbls mild citrus juice (yuzu, Seville orange, Meyer lemon)
2 Tbls rapeseed oil
1 Tbls unhulled sesame seeds
Slice the cabbage crosswise into fine strands and toss lightly in a large bowl with the salt. Measure the citrus juice into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Pour over the cabbage, mix gently to distribute the dressing. Toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop. Toss into the salad and serve immediately.

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Weekly Share July 1st – 7th

Zucchini & Summer Squash
Russian Kale or Swiss Chard
AC Chaleur & Mountain Rose Potatoes
Butterhead & Summer Crisp Lettuce
Red & Orange Slicing Tomatoes
Candy or Tropea Onions
Fennel or Broccoli
Genovese Basil

Sautéed Chard With Pesto

Tomato, Summer Squash, and Caramelized Onion Gratin

Fennel Salad with Red Onion, Tomato, Orange and Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Anchovy, Little Gem, and Tomato Salad

Tiella di patate, cipolle e pomodori (Potato, Onion and Tomato Casserole)

Pasta with Pesto, Broccoli, and Potatoes

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Weekly Share June 24th – 30th

Tendersweet Cabbage
Red Ace & Chioggia Beets
Sungold Tomatoes, Red Radish, & Broccoli (2 of 3)
Suyo Long & Slicer Cucumbers

So many new things this week; our tendersweet cabbage, sungold tomatoes, and purslane, it is a sign that Summer has begun and it has, happy Summer solstice to you all. In case you are unfamiliar with purslane, it grows wild in many areas on our farm and amongst our crops.  This green is widely used throughout the Middle East. The leaves and tender stems (not main stem parts) can be eaten simply dressed with salt, lemon, and olive oil or used in a multitude of ways. Check out this article with many recipes 45 Things To Do With Purslane or check out the recipes we have highlighted below.  Enjoy the share……Brian and Autumn

Purslane and beet salad

Cucumber, Onion And Purslane Salad

Salade Khorfeh – Shirazi Style Purslane Salad

Cowtown Coleslaw – adapted from A Cowboy in the Kitchen by Grady Spears & Robb Walsh
serves 4 – This peppery slaw is colorful and has a zing to it.
4 cups julienned Green Cabbage (can mix in about ¼ red cabbage too)
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and julienned
3 jalapenos peppers, stemmed, seeded, and julienned
1 Tbls fresh chopped dill
3/4 cups mayonnaise (preferably Dukes)
1/3 cup malt vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbls freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and lime juice. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator until serving time. Its best made and served on the same day.

Salata Arabieh (Arab Salad)The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Serves 4 – In this most common of Arab salads, all the ingredients are cut very small. Do not prepare it too long before serving, and dress it just before serving.
1 small head romaine lettuce
1 small red Italian or mild white onion or 5 scallions
1 small-med cucumber
2 tomatoes
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 Tbls chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh dill or chervil
1 Tbls chopped fresh mint
3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/3 lemon
salt and pepper
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Shred the lettuce, chop the onions finely, and cut the vegetables into tiny dice, using a sharp knife. Put them in a bowl with the radishes and herbs. Make a dressing with oil and lemon juice, slat and pepper, and garlic if you like. Pour over the salad and mix well.

New Cabbage with ScallionsThe Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
The first time we would cook and serve our newly grown garden cabbage was on a wheat-threshing day. We would cut up many heads and cook them in a large iron pot with liquid from the pork shoulder and a small amount of fat for seasoning. Cabbage cooked that way was a hearty fare, good sustenance for hardworking men. We children usually had the food that was left over from the midday meal that night for supper and thought it was just great. No other food in the world seemed to have quite the good flavor of what was left over from a wheat-threshing dinner.
1 2-pound head new cabbage
1/3 cup tender green scallion tops, cut into ¼” slices
2 cups boiling water, or preferably stock from boiled pork shoulder
3 Tbls freshly rendered fat from bacon or ham
salt and freshly ground pepper
To prepare the cabbage, trim away the outside leaves and cut the head into quarters. Cut away the core, leaving just enough to hold the leaves intact. Place the pieces of cabbage in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes or so to wash out any dust or bugs, particularly if it has come straight out of the garden. Remove, drain in a colander, then place in a 3-quart saucepan and add the scallion tops to give added flavor and color. Pour the boiling water or stock over and toss the cabbage with two spoons to make sure that each piece is scalded. Add the fat so that it coats the cabbage, then turn the burner low so that the cabbage boils briskly but not too rapidly for 25-30 minutes –any longer and the cabbage will become too soft and its taste will change. Drain. Toss the salt to taste and a good grating of freshly ground pepper to heighten the flavor. Serve hot.

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