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Purslane is rich with Omega-3!

In Recipes on July 12, 2011 at 7:51 AM

purslane

Verdolaga is the Spanish name for a common garden weed known as purslane or pigweed in English. It is widely eaten in the Middle East both in salads and cooked like spinach. It has a reputation for curative powers going back to the ancient Greeks. It’s extremely good for you, in fact, purslane has more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other vegetable plant.

For more info on storage, perparation and recipes, download Just Food’s Purslane Tip Sheet.

More Purslane Recipes:
Purslane and Parsley Salad
Purslane Cucumber Salad
Purslane Green Bean Marinade
Purslane Gazpacho
Purslane Pasta w/Cherry Tomatoes
Purslane Salsa
Purslane Spanish Rice
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Purslane and Tomato

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Week 4: Squash Blossoms Arrive!

In Recipes on July 5, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Squash Blossoms

squashblossomsSquash blossoms (also sometimes called “zucchini flowers”) are cheap and plentiful in Latin America, where they are called flores de calabaza, but around here they’re mostly a farmers’ market delicacy.  Nutritionally, the flowers are similar to lettuce; you’d have to eat a lot to get much out of them. Aesthetically, however, they can bring a dish to life with a splash of color and texture. Depending on who you ask, they taste like popcorn or something slightly sweet and nutty; or, more poetically, like pure summer and squash perfume.  There are many ways to cook and enjoy these beauties—fried, baked, souped-up or stuffed.

Now, when it comes to squash blossoms, there is one very important but simple question: is it a boy or a girl?

Male blossoms grow from the branches of the squash; female blossoms bear fruit. Male blossoms will be downy, even hairy to the touch; female blossoms will have a soft, fleshy ovary center behind the blossom—which develops into the fruit; the male won’t.

Why is this important?  Well, it may be a matter of taste. Some say the male blossom is preferable because the lump of squash ovary is not there. Easier to prepare and eat.  Others say the female blossom is not only plump but succulent. This fruitier blossom is delectable.  One thing is for certain, there are more male flowers than female flowers on each plant, and the male flowers keep longer. Fruitier female squash blossoms spoil quickly and should be prepared and served on the same day they are picked. Male blossoms will keep a few days.  Male blossoms appear first. The female flower will contain a 4-part pistil in the center.

Store: Squash blossoms are very perishable. Arrange them on paper towel lined tray, refrigerate and use within one day.  Male blossoms will keep for 1 week at 50ºF (10°C) and 2 to 4 days at 40ºF (4°C). Chilling injury will occur if held for several days at temperatures below 50ºF (10°C).  You can also freeze, can, pickle, or dry squash blossoms. If cooked, blossoms will store in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

Prepare: Open and inspect squash blossoms for insects before using them. Pull off and discard the green calyxes surrounding the bottom of the blossom. Clean blossoms by gently swishing them in a bowl of cold water. Shake them dry. Trim or snip out the anthers or style.

Serve: Use squash blossoms as a garnish raw on crêpes, green salads, fruit salads, soups, and quesadillas.

Recipe: Squash Blossom Quesadilla

Delicate flores de calabaza (squash blossoms) are delicious in quesadillas, soups, and tacos or simply battered and fried on their own.

  • 2  8″ flour tortillas
  • 1 cup grated queso oaxaca, a creamy Mexican string cheese
  • 5 fresh squash blossoms
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • Salsa

1. Top one flour tortilla with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Trim squash blossoms and remove and discard their stamens. Arrange squash blossoms over the cheese, overlapping them slightly. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and tortilla.

2. Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook quesadilla, flipping once, until cheese is melted and quesadilla is golden brown on both sides, 4–5 minutes in all. Transfer to a plate, cut into quarters, and serve immediately, with salsa, if you like.

Other recipes:

Member Diary #1: Astrid

In Recipes on June 28, 2011 at 10:29 PM

 Welcome Tribeca CSA members! I’ve been asked to be the “official” blogger for the week, so I’m happy to be the representative of a CSA that has brought me so much inspiration (and challenge) these past two-plus years. This week’s share (at left, clockwise from bottom) was cilantro, peas, green leaf lettuce, mint, sage, red spring onions, pak choi, and carrots. The challenge is how to use as many of these ingredients as possible. 

So what better way to use up lettuce than by way of lettuce wraps. Thus, what follows is my lettuce wrap recipe. A couple of quick notes: I’m a firm believer in using what you have in your kitchen. I had some garlic scapes from another CSA, along with some Asian spices/oils. This was a good fit for this recipe. As for the cilantro, well, you may think this is not an Asian herb, but since the overwhelming majority of items in the swap box was cilantro, I’m guessing most members of the CSA are looking for a few good cilantro recipes (and you can’t say that cilantro isn’t an Asian vegetable if you’ve never tried it in a lettuce wrap!).

Asian Lettuce Wrap
  • 1 head lettuce (this week, it was Romaine, and the large leaves – after being cleaned and dried – gave me approximately 15 leaves)
  • 1 pound grilled chicken (I used organic breast meat)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 spring onion (I used one of the large ones from this week’s share)
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 1/4 lime

Use 1T of the sesame oil to fry up the ground chicken (you can substitute beef, pork sausage or -eek- tofu). Season with soy and wasabi. Julienne dice the vegetables. Clean and dry the lettuce. When meat is cooked, transfer to a plate and add the other tablespoon of sesame oil. Unlike the picture above, sautee the carrots, then onion/garlic and finally add the cilantro (the carrots will take the longest to cook; you want them al dente; the onion whites should be translucent). Add vegetables to cleaned lettuce leaves; sprinkle meat along top; squirt with lime juice. Roll or “squinch” the lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Hot Sauce Mixer!

In How To, Recipes on October 13, 2009 at 12:37 AM

P1040515Thanks to Gina for hosting our amazingly spicy “Hot Sauce Get Together”! We’ve managed to come up with FIVE different recipes using up several pounds of Serranos and Cayannes. We HIGHLY recommend handling the peppers with disposable rubber gloves and occasionally goggles to avoid injuries. With so many taste tests, everyone felt the HEAT!!! Hope this inspires you to try it at home. Here are some highlights:

Vietnamese Hot Pepper Sauce = Extra spicy! Use in noodle soups, any recipe that calls for heat or as dipping sauce(perfect with summer rolls)!
Sliced Serrano Peppers
Minced Garlic
Distilled white vinegar
Fish Sauce
Sugar

Yemenite Zhug = Spicy! Use with Middle Eastern foods, sandwiches, on scrambled eggs and anything else that asks for a spicy green paste.
1 pound Serrano peppers
5 heads Garlic, peeled
1 bunch coriander, washed
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
Salt to taste
Olive oil to cover

Cayenne Hot Sauce = Not too spicy because we removed seeds. Great in Mexican dishes, pasta or any recipe that asks for sweet heat.

10 large fresh red cayenne chiles
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3/4 cup white vinegar Salt

Cut stems off peppers and cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds 
and ribs. Preheat broiler. Place peppers, cut side down, on rack in 
broiler pan. Broil for about 5 minutes or until the skin blisters and 
blackens. Transfer peppers to a plastic bag for about 10 minutes. When 
cool, peel off skins(we actually left them on!).

Place chile pulp and garlic in a blender or food processor. With 
machine running, slowly add the vinegar until the mixture is well 
blended. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate. Will keep in the 
refrigerator for weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

spicey

Most of the recipes we found called for vinegar and garlic beyond that there is a million ways to mix and match and get creative with hot peppers!!! Try adding apple sauce, tomatillos or corn…Have fun and send in your creations to tribeca-csa@googlegroups.com!

Tribeca CSA Newsletter — Week 14

In Recipes, Weekly Newsletter on September 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM

News

All CSA enthusiasts are invited to an open core group meeting, this Monday, Sept 21st, 8pm. Location TBD. Please RSVP to tribecacsa@gmail.com so we know how many people to expect.

Next Week’s Work Shift:

The people doing workshifts on September 15th are:

2 – 4:30pm: Anne R. & Gina M.
4 – 6:30pm: Barbara S. & Onni J.

Remember, you can check the work shift schedule anytime by looking at the Work Shift Calendar!

Vegetable Highlight: Winter Squash

This week’s share brought us a green squash which Pedro calls a “Puerto Rican Pumpkin” but which also goes by the name of Kabocha Squash. Winter squashes and pumpkins are often interchangeable in recipes so it’s doesn’t always matter which kind you’re working with! If it’s got a thick rind and a clump of seeds inside, you can probably follow your favorite butternut or acorn squash recipe. If you do want to identify which squash you have, a great website to check out is this squash reference from The Nibble. They have an A-Z list of squashes with photos of each one!

Recipe: Roasted Caramelized Squash
This recipe is perfect for this week’s squash and also wonderful with butternut squash

  • 4-5 pounds squash, peeled and cut into 1.5″ cubes
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if using regular table salt, use only 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Modification: After roasting, you can mash up the squash to make a squash puree and add a little cream if you like.

What’s your favorite way to eat winter squash? Send your recipes to the Google Group!

Tribeca CSA Newsletter – Week 11

In Recipes, Weekly Newsletter on August 28, 2009 at 7:17 PM

News

There is still time to respond to the mid-season survey! Respond by September 1st to be entered in the raffle to win a copy of the Food For Life book. The raffle will be on our next distribution, September 1st, at 4pm.

CSAers, if you know you can’t pick up your share and can’t find anyone to pick up on your behalf, please consider offering your share to another member who might want to throw a dinner party and use the extra vegetables.

News from La Baraja

After a cold spring and a rainy summer, you may have already noticed the tomatoes around NY region have been greatly affected. We learned from Pedro today that this year it takes about 20 minutes and a lot of searching to find enough tomatoes to harvest and fill one box, unlike last year when tomatoes were abundant and a box filled in 5 minutes. Pedro said Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, affected this outcome. Check out a recent article about tomato blight in the NY Times.

Pedro reports that he and his family are working hard going to farmers markets 6 days per week and doing 2 on Saturdays. They are not yet profitable enough to pay others to work their stands so their schedule during the summer/fall looks like this:
wake up early, harvest, go to market, return home, weed and harvest again, sleep a few hours and repeat. The only day they don’t do market is Monday, the day they harvest for the Tribeca CSA!

Enjoy this weeks harvest and thanks to all our members who share pics, tips and recipes! Keep them coming…

Next Week’s Work Shift:

The people doing workshifts on September 1st are:

2 – 4:30pm: Adrienne L. & Cecily K.
4 – 6:30pm: Joshua S. & Murray C.

Vegetable Highlight: Corn

Perhaps no vegetable is more representative of summer than corn on the cob. Most of us are already familiar with corn, but did you know that storing corn with the husk on will make it keep longer? Once the husk has been removed, corn can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge, but keeping the husk on will stretch that to a week. The best way to store husked corn is in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge.

The common method of preparing corn is to boil it and serve with salt and butter. But it can also be grilled (with the husk on or off), broiled (husk off), or even microwaved (husk on)!

Nutritionally, corn is a great source of fiber, vitamin B1, B6, folate, and vitamin C. It is also said to be good for cardiovascular and lung health. So eat all the corn you can stand while it’s fresh and at its peak!

Recipe: Mexican Street Corn

  • 4 ears sweet corn, husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, quartered

Special equipment: grill pan

Directions

Preheat a grill pan. Rub corn with oil and place on the grill pan, turning corn so all sides are charred, about 6 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together mayonnaise, chili powder, garlic salt, and black pepper. Remove corn from grill and brush with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve with lime quarters to squeeze over corn.

Other recipes: