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What to do with all the bok choy we’ve been blessed with lately, from CSA member Lynn:

 Unwrapped Spring Roll Salad 

1 pack thin rice noodles – cook and save some of the water.
2 small bunches of Bok Choy thinly sliced including the greens.
1 bunch green onions thinly sliced including some of the green.
1 cup diced cucumber.
1 grated carrot.
handful of chopped mint
handful of chopped cilantro

Toss together. 

Make a dressing using:

½ cup of the reserved water
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup Hoisin sauce (or less depending on your taste)
And for a little kick a dash of garlic chili sauce

If serving later, wait to add the dressing.   I had some shrimp left over from the night before so I tossed these in with the salad.  You could add just about any vegetable.

In your box this week:

  1. LAST OF:  Tomatoes
  2. LAST OF:  Potatoes
  3. LAST OF:  Cilantro
  4. LAST OF:  Basil
  5. Mint
  6. Thyme
  7. Fennel
  8. NEW!  Sage
  9. NEW!  Onion Chives
  10. NEW!  Parsley
  11. Kale
  12. Beans
  13. Cucumbers (LAST OF??)
  14. Zucchini / Summer Squash (LAST OF??)
  15. Carrots
  16. Arugula
  17. Peppers:  All of them this week are sweet EXCEPT the long skinny green Cayenne Hot Pepper

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HERB CONFUSION??  We can help!

From Left to Right:

  1. Basil: Fresh, dried, frozen (chop in food processor first).  Use in pesto, Italian dishes, sauces, soups.
  2. Onion Chives: Best used fresh.  Chop up fresh as garnish for salad, potatoes, or tacos, etc.  Can also be used cooked.
  3. Mint: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Mint calms an upset stomach.  Dry it and then crumble it into a jar for later use.  Last winter I had food poisoning and mint tea helped A LOT.  I went through almost a quart of dried mint leaves in a week, and was SO GLAD I had them on hand in the cupboard.
  4. Thyme: Fresh or dried.  Usually used cooked, such as in Italian dishes, hotdishes, and soups.
  5. Cilantro: Best fresh, could probably be dried?  Use it fresh in salsa, spring rolls, quesadillas, with fruit, in cornbread, or as a last second addition to sautes or soups.  Cilantro also makes a great pesto!
  6. Parsley: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Another good pesto candidate!  Also used in Italian dishes, soups, sprinkled in salads (try it!), or just generally added to pretty much anything.
  7. Sage: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Use it in fall cooking, like with squash soup, potato dishes, and meat things.

FRESH:  Keep fresh by putting it in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Basil is picky–wet leaves turn black in the fridge.  Sometimes it works well to put basil in a vase on your counter.  Or put a towel around it in the bag to catch condensation.

DRIED:  Just hang the bunch upside down in a place that gets some air movement but that is out of direct sunlight.  Stagnant air could facilitate molding, and the sun zaps nutrition and flavor.  If you are like me, you always think, “Of course I will remember what herb this is!” but then when it is all dried up it is hard to tell if it was Oregano or Mint or Parsley or what.  So just LABEL IT now and thank yourself later.

FROZEN:  I have found it easiest to chop up the dry herb with a food processor, and then put in a bag in the freezer.  No water or oil mixed in means the herbs stay crumbly and I can just scoop out however much I want.  The super deluxe way of preventing them from clumping up would be to pour the ground-up herbs onto a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze them flat, and then pour them into a plastic bag after they are frozen.  Some people like to freeze them as pesto, or in oil or water, perhaps in an ice cube tray, and then transfer the frozen herb cubes into a plastic bag.

Serves 6, from the Lunds and Byerly’s fall 2008 edition of “Real Food” (their free magazine)

“How considerate of the beet to provide two vegetables in one: edible leaves and a bulbous root. Balsamic vinegar gets reduced by half to become a ruby syrup to glaze the beets. Vibrant bits of mint tie all the flavors together. This dish can be made in advance and gently reheated or served at room temperature.”

4 large beets, about 2 pounds, with beet tops attached
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium clove garlic
1 small bunch mint

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the stems and leafy greens from the beets and set them aside. Peel beets* and wrap in a very large piece of foil. Crimp edges tightly together to form a package. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 1.5 hours. When tender, a knife will penetrate beets easily. Open the package carefully and cut beets in half lengthwise and then across into 1/4-inch wide slices. Put in a large bowl and keep warm.

Meanwhile, put vinegar in a small saucepan. Add 1 clove garlic, pushed through a press. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes until reduced to 3 tablespoons.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut stems and leaves into 1-inch pieces and add to boiling water. Cook 5 minutes until tender. Drain well, squeezing extra water from beets. Add hot greens to warm beets and toss with olive oil. Add reduced vinegar and 1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*from Chris: I haven’t made this recipe, but I wonder why one couldn’t boil the beets instead and skip the peeling & the 1.5 hours of baking in the homemade foil container? To boil the beets, cut stems off about an inch above the root, wash off the dirt, and throw it whole (with skin) into the boiling water. Boil until tender (fork goes in easy). Then, drain water and once the beets are cool enough to touch, you can easily rub the skins off. I cut them in a bowl to contain the staining juice: first cut in half, then spear with a fork and use the tines of the fork as a cutting guide to cut into slices. Then continue recipe as above…

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