Riverdog Farm Veggie Box News
½ lb Snow Peas
1 lb Shelling Peas
1 bu Dino Kale
1 bu Asparagus
1 bu Red Mustard
1 bu Green Garlic
½ lb Savoy Spinach
This week on the farm we are transplanting the second round of tomatoes. How do we decide which varieties to plant each year with so many to choose from? We base our variety selection on flavor, yield, disease resistance, and customer feedback. We plant our biggest sellers from previous years and add a few new varieties each year as trials to see how they taste and perform. This year we are increasing the numbers of: Black Pineapple, Indigo Rose, and Kellogg’s Orange. They each sold well last year and added to the mixed heirloom box we pack for stores, restaurants, and wholesale accounts. The tomatoes are off to a strong start. Hope they continue to grow vigorously and yield loads of juicy tomatoes starting around the first week of July!!
We first grew red mustard in Napa County for some restaurant accounts and for the farmers’ markets in St. Helena and Napa. One of the restaurants, Mustard’s Grill, is still there after all these years. We installed a kitchen garden for them where they grew red mustard, herbs, and lettuce to have on hand for their restaurant menu. The restaurant’s garden is still there today, after two decades! Uncooked, red mustard has a spicy taste and is delicious in fresh salads; a little bit goes a long way. A few leaves, torn into small pieces, can be added to lettuce salads. Steamed, the red mustard cooks down like spinach and becomes much milder, less spicy.
Asparagus Soup With Green Garlic and Eggs
1 pound asparagus
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 bulb spring garlic, separated into cloves if cloves have formed, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup pasta or rice, cooked, or 4 to 6 slices toasted Italian bread (optional)
Break off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks and combine them with the stock or water and the garlic in a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Using a skimmer, tongs, or a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus stems and discard. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to the broth. Simmer 8 to 12 to minutes. It should be very tender and fragrant, but still bright green and not mushy.
Just before serving, beat the eggs, cheese, and parsley together in a bowl. Have the soup at a bare simmer. Making sure that the soup isn’t boiling, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture. Stir well and whisk back into the soup. Whisk constantly over very low heat for 3 minutes, then ladle into bowls and serve, with a spoonful of pasta or rice, or a slice of toast in each bowl if desired.
Quinoa Pilaf With Sweet Peas and Green Garlic
⅔ cup quinoa
¾ cup shelled fresh peas (1 pound unshelled)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and light green part only, halved, cleaned of sand and sliced thin
1 bulb green garlic, tough stalk cut away and papery shells removed, sliced thin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or a combination of parsley and tarragon
Freshly ground pepper
Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the peas. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until tender, 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the size and freshness. Place a strainer over a bowl and drain the peas. Measure out 2 cups of the cooking water (add fresh water if necessary), return to the pot, add salt to taste, bring to a boil and add the quinoa. When the water comes back to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and, in the case of white quinoa, displays a thread. Remove from the heat, drain through a strainer and return to the pot. Cover the pot with a clean dish towel and return the lid. Let sit 15 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-low heat in a wide, heavy skillet and add the leek and sliced green garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until tender, fragrant and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and peas to the pan and toss together with the remaining olive oil for about 2 minutes, taking care not to mash the peas. Add the fresh herbs, grind in some pepper, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.
Spinach and Kale Pesto
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
2 cups spinach
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup toasted, slivered almonds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the kale and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain and dunk into ice-cold water to halt the cooking. Drain and wring out any excess water.
In a food processor, combine the kale, spinach, garlic, cheese and almonds. Pulse to combine. While the machine is running, stream in the olive oil, adding a little more until you reach your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pulse to combine again.