From the Land 3/6

announcements

As many of you know, I will be leaving Prescott College in June. I have spent almost every day for the past 7 1/2 years at the college for both school and work, and – though I am excited for my move to the east coast – I will be sad to leave this amazing community. The CSA is something I have worked very hard on, and be assured that it will continue once I’m gone!

The CSA is not yet accepting applications, but the Prescott Farmers Market is currently seeking a Managing Director. If you’re interested, you can see the job posting here: http://prescottfarmersmarket.org/20130223141/hiring.html.

food for thought

full share: spinach from Whipstone, grapefruit from the Hawkins’ trees in Phoenix, navel oranges, “siamese dragon” microgreens, red potatoes, fennel, swiss chard, and curly mustard greens!

partial share: spinach, navel oranges, “siamese dragon” microgreens, and red potatoes!

veg of the week

fennel: Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel is an extremely versatile vegetable – it can be eaten raw or cooked, and the fronds, bulb, seeds and flowers are edible and vary in taste. It is highly aromatic with a slight licorice taste which lessens when cooked. It also – as you will read below – has great medicinal qualities.

Uses: Slice the bulb and add to salad or stews. Roast it. Braise it (recipe below). Blanch, marinate, or cook with risotto. Chop the fronds and add to salads or soups, and dry the extra for future use.

To store: Fennel loses its flavor as it is stores, so eat soon. Store in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

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Lactofermentation update

Make sure you try our fermented radishes this week! They’ve now been fermenting for 2 weeks, and are a great example of how easy adding fermented vegetables to your diet can be!

You can also sample some fermented sauerkraut and beets today. They are from Homesteader’s Supply and have been fermenting for 8 days; though they’re not quite done, they are a great example of developing tastes and the different needs of different vegetables.

We also have the Pickle Pro (airlock) for sale in the CSA. They are the easiest way to ferment any vegetable without having to worry about mold. Pick one up for $9.95 or 3 for $29.95. Have fun experimenting!

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Health Benefits of Aniseed, Cumin and Fennel
By Alexander Deck

In Ayurvedic medicine, common home spices are used to combat illness and keep the body healthy. Everyone is naturally drawn towards eating flavorfully spiced food. Imagine grating aspirin on your curry. That won’t make it taste any better, but cumin will! In addition, adding cumin will act as a preventative medicine by acting as a digestive aid and reducing flatulence.

Here are some common household spices and their medicinal benefits*

  • Aniseed helps as a digestive aid and to relieve menstrual cramps
  • Cumin also helps as a digestive aid, reducing flatulence and as an appetite stimulant.
  • Fennel seeds work just as well as a digestive aid. In most restaurants in India it is offered with sugar after a meal.

These three spices can be taken after meal all together. Roast the aniseed, cumin and fennel, then take a half teaspoon of each altogether. Chew well then swallow with a glass of warm water. This will greatly reduce gas issues and flatulence.

Suggested cooking uses for a less intense flavor:

  • A fun use of aniseed is as a substitute for chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies. Grind seeds before adding.
  • To make Indian dal, cook one cup lentils with a teaspoon salt. In a separate pan simmer 3 TBSP oil or coconut oil with 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp fennel seeds, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for 3 minutes, then add to lentils.

*Information from http://www.indianexpress.com/news/three-spices-that-aid-digestion/242736

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braised fennel
adapted from orangette
serves 4

  • 3-4 fennel bulbs, trimmed of stems and fronds
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • About ½ C dry white wine
  • About ½ C chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt, preferably a good, flaky variety

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the fennel into 1- to 1 ½-inch wedges. Warm about 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Lay fennel wedges in one crowded layer in the pan, and cook them until they are golden on the bottom, about 5-10 minutes, and then flip them to gild the other side. Salt them lightly. As the fennel finishes browning, remove the wedges to a flameproof baking dish. You may need to brown the fennel in batches, adding oil as needed, until all of it is browned.

Arrange the fennel in a single, crowded layer in the baking dish. Add the wine and chicken broth in equal parts to reach a depth of ½ inch. Place the dish over medium heat, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Transfer the dish to the oven, and bake until the fennel is tender, about 20-30 minutes. Serve, with additional salt for sprinkling.

arugula, fennel and orange salad
adapted from william sonoma
serves 8-10

For the citrus vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

FOR THE salad

  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 3 large navel oranges
  • 4 cups arugula, mizuna, or other small-leafed salad green

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, olive oil, canola oil, mustard, tarragon and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts. Cut the bulb halves crosswise into slices 3/8 inch thick and then cut the slices into 1-inch lengths.

Working with 1 orange at a time, and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and thickly slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Cut the orange in half crosswise, place each half cut side down, and thinly slice vertically to create half-moons. Repeat with the remaining oranges.

Place the fennel and arugula in a large serving bowl, add half of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat thoroughly. Arrange the orange slices in a pinwheel or other design on top. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.

spinach, chard, potato and herb stew
adapted from diane kochilas
serves 4-6 as a main course, 8-12 as a side or “meze”

  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-10 small potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped, reserving their juices
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 fresh (or 1 dried) bay leaves
  • 1 bag spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped separately
  • 1/2 C snipped fresh dill
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C snipped fennel fronds
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • feta cheese for garnish

Heat 1/4 C of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion, chard stems, and fennel bulb until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the oil. Pour in the grated tomatoes and add the salt and pepper to taste and the bay leave(s). Cover and simmer over low heat until the tomato mixture is thick, about 20 minutes.

Add the spinach to the tomato sauce, in batches, and cook, covered, until the spinach and chard have lost most of their volume and is wilted. Add the dill and fennel fronds. Toss gently to combine, being careful not to break up the potatoes. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper and sprinkle in a little nutmeg. Cook, covered, until most of the liquid from the spinach has cooked off, the contents of the pot are thick, and the potatoes tender.

Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Pour in the remaining 1/4 C of olive oil and serve.

To serve: Plate the stewed greens in a shallow soup dish and sprinkle, if desired, with crumbled feta, and  with the lemon wedges.

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2 thoughts on “From the Land 3/6

  1. Thanks for the terrific recipes, Erin! Where are you moving to back East? What lies in store? We will miss you!
    Zoe and Joseph

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