A week for leeks

Are you ready for some good-looking leeks this week? Leeks are in the same family as onions and garlic – alliums, but they are the sweeter cousins. The lower light green portion of the leaf and white bulb are the part that is eaten. Store them in the refrigerator unwashed and untrimmed in a loose plastic bag so they do not dry out. More leeks will be coming; it is best to eat them the same week you get them.

Leeks have a strong nutritional profile: protecting our health – naturally! That is not the only reason to include them at table….enjoy them sauteed with thyme or parsley, finely chopped in a fresh salad or in a fun-sounding soup: cock-a-leekie – yummers!

It is recorded that a battle in Wales was won when the soldiers all wore leeks in their caps. Hmmm – without drawing a sword, both armies sat down to cock-a-leekie soup and reasoned through their differences and agreed to go home to their families and….farm! That actual war in 1620 against the Saxons had a bloodier ending but I like my version.

We have been enjoying massaged kale salad – what a hoot!

Along with kale and leeks will follow: carrots, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, Swiss chard, summer squash, wax beans, herbs and maybe some corn. Potatoes will be for sale.

Committed to sharing

Steve and I returned from a 2-day visit with my family in Lancaster, PA. My carry-on was stuffed with kale, pac choi, salad greens and mizuna. I had wanted to take out a lot of jams but read they are on the “List” of potential explosives so I opted not to cause a rucus. The night we arrived, I purchased a large cheese squash to sample. For those two days I cooked up a storm in order to eat everything I brought!

I attended the first sessions of the medical conference with Steve in Philadelphia or Philly, as it is commonly called. Friends from Mountain Lake have a restaurant, the Erawan, located a couple blocks from the conference center just inside Chinatown. They serve marvelous Thai food! We didn’t let anyone know we were coming since the last time they served us up a buffet on the house!

My sister and I have a goal each time we are home, to help our father “share” his stuff or downsize. It has been a long time coming but a car can now drive into the garage and the occupants can exit their own doors accordingly – whew! To celebrate the accomplishment we invited more family and I butchered the cheese squash and made a curried squash soup, whole-wheat squash yeast bread, and a grated squash cake. We also had the crustless kale quiche and a fresh salad to round out the meal. The parting of earthly belongings was lost in the wonderful flavors shared around the table and the hilarity of the moment. Such memories!

Each trip I return with more family momentos – pictures of relations 3-5 generations ago. Their faces surround me from the walls of my kitchen; their stories give me the courage and faith to walk the less traveled way.

What is to be your share this week? It is amazing but there are new things to be added to the list. Leeks weathered the drought well so there will be some this week and maybe two more times. Fall broccoli is far more chipper than the summer crop – hip hip! There should be a head for each member. Are you ready for more kale? I hope so – there are so many good recipes! Tomatoes have ripened lying around on their newspaper pads and are reasonably tasty. Radishes are coming in by the droves! Herbs, potatoes, winter squash, onions, Asian greens, head lettuce and a small bunch of salad mix should fill up your boxes.

On Wednesday, we hope to move the high tunnel off of the raspberries and onto the leeks and carrots to protect them. Most of the harvesting will be done today!

Adventures with kale

There is a short list of vegetables of which recipes have not been found that I would sample again. Kale had been on this list along with turnips and rutabagas. Now I’m a believer, and can eat it, calzone or fried. Sounds better if you sing that phrase to the Monkees tune – haha!

I’ve had kale everyday since Wednesday’s market due to the mountain of kale remaining which I didn’t want to freeze or throw out. From some of the comments, it sounded like I wasn’t the only one struggling to figure out how to use it. Here are two of the recipes I can vouch for:

Crustless Kale Quiche

3 C finely chopped kale (I had a lot to use so it was more like 6 cups;)
1/2 C chopped onion
1/3 C Parmesan cheese, grated
Place the above ingredients in a casserole dish

1 1/2 C milk
1 C flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
salt
pinch of cream of tartar
2/3 C shortening (I used less oil)
2 eggs

Beat the above ingredients until smooth. Pour over the kale. Bake at 400°F until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

I was surprised that the kale did not need to be sauteed beforehand. The source of the recipe is from “Simply In Season A World Community Cookbook” with slight modification.

The next recipe comes with oohs and ahs and might be recognized as bierrocks in another land. This recipe comes from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” with modifications.

Calzone Stuffed with Kale

4 C blanched kale
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 Tb olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme
sliced mozzarella cheese

I was baking bread at the time and used whole wheat bread dough rolled out to about 1/4″ thick. To make a bread roll, like a cinnamon roll, the sauteed kale and fixings are spread out on the dough. Starting at one end, roll the dough over the kale. Dough should be left clear of sauce at the edges, about an inch. Just before the end, place a layer of mozzarella cheese. Roll up, seal edges and place on greased cookie sheet, the overlapping edge underneath. Let it rise for half an hour or so in a warm spot. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.

Individual pockets can be made by placing a large soup spoon of kale on dough and adding a slice of cheese. Fold dough over and cut the round edge by rolling a glass around the filling being careful not to get too close! We like to eat these with specialty mustards that our youngest son makes whenever he is home. Sorry, no recipes!

Harvest pick up is on TUESDAY this week! Please do not forget since we leave early the following morning. Harvest should include a salad mix, radishes, acorn squash, onions, potatoes, garlic and a few other surprises!

I made aronia berry jam this week! The good news is that these berries, also known as chokeberries, pack a whallop in antioxidants meaning they are also healthy for us. After many hours of research I decided to experiment and make jam without using any pectin. With some patience and a lot of hubbling and bubbling it is worth a try. The flavor is unique. There will be samples for everyone.