This week I will primarily focus upon the cooking aspect of the Newsblog, as there is not much to report on in the field, and there are several unique items in the CSA this week, so y'all may need some inspiration in the kitchen. These oddities being cipollini onions (think mini-flying saucers), pac choi and turnip greens... yes, we are pulling out all the stops!
oh, it's cooking time...
well, although we haven't officially entered Fall (yet), the temperatures are cooling, and we all start to feel that little urge inside for some warm and comforting soups. I have many soups that I love to make, but one ranks up there top notch for me personally as warming soul food. And that is French Onion Soup, made with a nice sweet onion. Many recipes call specifically for Vidalia Onions, and while we didn't grow out Vidalias, we did grow Cipollini Onions, also reknown for their sweetness. (Unfortunately, also reknown for being a touch difficult to peel, but I have faith in your abilities!)
So I found a slow cooker recipe for French Onion Soup from How Sweet It Is, and while I haven't tried it as of yet, it is sure to get a go this weekend. I love working with the slow cooker (aka Crockpot) because it is so nice to be able to move around, get things done, while amazing smells waft through the house. We are supplying exactly 3 lbs of onions per share, which is exactly what this recipe calls for. However, if you don't feel like making this recipe right away (or.. <<gasp>>.. French Onion Soup just ain't your thing), worry not, cipollinis are excellent storage onions in my experience. They can hang out for months typically.. so use them however you want, at your leisure.
For those of you who are of the vegetarian/vegan persuasion, and typically steer clear of French Onion Soup due to the oft included beef stock, I would encourage you to try either a store bought mushroom stock, or better yet, buy some dried porcini mushrooms and soak them overnight, then use that water as your broth. You may want to add some soy sauce to add some saltiness, or even a bit of red wine to round out the body, but the porcini mushrooms add a great earthiness to the broth.... experiment!
and on another note...
... what in the world does one do with Pac Choi... (which is the white-stemmed leafy vegetable) Pac Choi or Bok Choy is a very popular green in China and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is part of the Broccoli family (one of those distant relatives who the average American doesn't know much about). Though mostly made of water, it is a very rich source of Vitamin A, C & K (averaging 30-50% of daily recommended amounts), while also supplying lesser amounts of folate, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Overall, a very nutritious vegetable to include in your diet!
Some people sautee' pac choi, others steam it, but I most love to stir fry with it. I have used it in several stir fries over the years, and personally love the rich, spicy sauces, (total spice addict here). So I hunted a good recipe down that I think might appeal to more of you. The recipe can be found at AllRecipes, and it calls for spice, definitely feel free to reduce or eliminate the spice. It looks downright delicious so I will most certainly give my hand at cooking this one up too..
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. (If you want to add a protein, you would cook that first for a couple of minutes, then...) Add the bok choy stems first; stir fry for a few minutes or until the pieces start to turn a pale green. When stems are almost cooked, add the leaves; cook and stir until leaves are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the bok choy to a serving dish. Pour the sauce into the skillet or wok, and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour over the bok choy and toss lightly to coat.
turnip the music... !
... oh yeah, I just went there. Well, though our Full Shares did receive turnip greens a few weeks back, our Half Share members have not yet had the chance to experience these lovely, slightly spicy greens. I will direct you all back to the turnip greens recipe I shared last time around for some direction on what to do with this odd little leaf.. ;-)
here is the link to the Newsblog to that week, which if you scroll down, you will find a recipe for Gina's Turnip Greens.