How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

I love leeks. I always grow lots of leeks, scallions and chives because I prefer them to white or yellow onions. You will have leeks as a choice this week in your CSA share. I hope you try them.

Onions and leeks are completely interchangeable in uses. Leeks are always sweet, never hot or spicy like some onions can be, and have a distinct oniony flavor that doesn’t get lost in dishes. Texture wise, when you cook them they almost melt into the background of a dish. Many leek recipes will say; ‘cook leeks until meltingly soft’ that is one thing that makes them special.

Behold the leek. They sort of look like scallions but the leek stems are flat and scallion and onion stems are round and hollow.

They take a little more effort to wash and prepare compared to a humble onion, not much more, and with leeks you don’t have to deal with onion paper flying all over your kitchen. One thing is for sure, leeks are dirty. They are either dirty or very dirty. They catch dirt and sand in the layers in their stems.

First thing you want to do is cut off the tough dark stems and leave all of the white bulb.

You can save the stem for stock or compost it. If I have room in my freezer I throw them in the freezer and make stock when I have enough other vegetables.

Next you want to cut off the little ‘root beards’ and decide if you want to keep your leeks whole or cut them into rounds. Usually if you are braising them you will keep them whole and cut a slit down the middle, if you are using them in a soup base or sauteed you will make them round.

Fill a bowl with water and either swish your whole leeks in the bowl to wash the sand out.

Or throw your rounds in the water and swoosh them around to let the sand sink to the bottom.

Fish them out of the water and-TaDa! Your leeks are ready use!

Use these in any dish like you would onions and I think you will really like the pronounced sweet onion flavor and texture leeks have.

Mo

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2021, Onions and Leeks, Recipes, Storage and Preparation | Comments Off on How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

CSA Week 20

Hello CSA Members!

Watermelon Radish

A ton of winter squash has been harvested, the beets are thriving, and we’ve come back around to harvesting cool weather crops. Can you believe there’s only a few more weeks of the regular CSA season? Did you know we’re having a winter CSA? Check it out!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 20 of our CSA:

REGULAR SHARE
CHOICE: Garlic OR Watermelon Radish OR Daikon Radish OR Scallions OR Spicy Peppers
CHOICE: Bunched Beets OR Potatoes
CHOICE: Carrots OR Leeks
CHOICE: Cauliflower OR Cabbage
CHOICE: Sweet Peppers
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Bok Choi
Sunshine Kabocha Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
CHOOSE TWO: Garlic OR Watermelon Radish OR Daikon Radish OR Scallions OR Spicy Peppers
Carrots AND Leeks
Pie Pumpkin
One Other Item

FRUIT SHARE
None

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on CSA Week 20

Easy Fresh Corn Polenta

First things first, join me in wishing Mazel Tov to Kai and Joel! They got married this weekend! Much love and happiness to you both.

OK, back to business; Fresh polenta. This is a really easy dish to make. Unlike polenta made with dry ground corn, fresh corn polenta is unbelievably sweet, fresh and light tasting. I like to eat it with roasted mushrooms and vegetables and a runny egg, or pan seared shrimp or fish. Cheese is a great topping for this dish. Like I said the polenta is sweet and the cheese, especially hard cheeses like parmesan or feta are good, but so is a soft goat cheese, it balances the sweetness. I love to freeze this dish and trot it out for a special side dish on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It does take some time in the kitchen, mostly hands off time letting the pureed corn cook down. Here is the method.

  • 6 ears of corn
  • about 1 teaspoon  salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegan or dairy butter
  • Optional but delicious-crumbled feta or any hard sharp cheese, 1 fresh herbs

Shuck the corn and slice the kernels off the cob into a large pan. I save the cobs and make corn stock. 

Add just enough water to the pot to cover the kernels. Add the salt. Place over high heat until a gentle boil starts. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain the corn, (I save the cooking liquid and make soup or rice, taste it, it’s too good to throw out) and set the pot to the side. Add the corn to a food processor and process until smooth.

Return the corn to the pot, (I did this in the sink to minimize the mess) and lower the burner to simmer cook until you like the consistency.

I cooked mine for about 20 more minutes. The longer you let it go the creamier it gets. See how in the picture below it is holding it’s shape and mounding almost like loose mashed potatoes. When you are happy with the consistency add the butter and taste for more salt and pepper.

I’m going to freeze this batch and bring it out for a holiday meal. Oh! I just remembered, fresh polenta is great with some cheddar cheese and chopped roasted chilies mixed in. Yum. I love roasted chilies at Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll do that!

Only a few more weeks of regular CSA season left. Enjoy the Fall bounty.

Mo

Posted in 2021, Corn, Recipes | Comments Off on Easy Fresh Corn Polenta

2021/2022 Winter CSA

We are excited to announce our 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Click here to join.

Salanova lettuceDetails:

  • Pickups will be at Red Wagon Farm at 7694 N 63rd St, Niwot on Thursdays from 3-6 pm.
  • Our winter Veggie Share is $39 per week.
  • We are offering weekly and biweekly shares. (see biweekly schedule below)
  • There will be a total of 13 weeks of pickups from 10/28/21 to 1/27/22.

Here are the possible crops we will have (depending on weather):

  • Greens: kale, chard, collards, arugula, spinach, bok choi, lettuce
  • Roots: carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, winter radishes, parsnips, sunchokes
  • Cabbage
  • Winter squash
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, scallions

Pickup dates:
Biweekly    Date
A                 10/28/21
B                 11/4/21
A                 11/11/21
B                 11/18/21
A                 11/23/21 (Tuesday pickup Thanksgiving week)
B                 12/2/21
A                 12/9/21
B                 12/16/21
A                 12/23/21 – no pickup
Biweekly A members will choose to pickup on 12/16 or 12/30 instead of 12/23.
B                 12/30/21
A                 1/6/22
B                 1/13/22
A                 1/20/22
B                 1/27/22

Click here to join now!
Email csa@redwagonorganicfarm.com with questions.

 

Posted in 2021, Farm, FeaturedPosts, Newsletter | Comments Off on 2021/2022 Winter CSA

CSA Week 19

Hello CSA Members!

Fall is here! The winter radishes are starting and this may be your last chance for the remaining summer veggies. Hopefully it’ll actually cool down a bit this week…

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 19 of our CSA:

REGULAR SHARE
CHOICE: Garlic OR Watermelon Radish OR Daikon Radish OR Spicy Peppers
CHOICE: Celery OR Pesto Basil Bunch
CHOICE: Potatoes OR Corn
CHOICE: Onion OR Cucumber
CHOICE: Roasted Chiles OR Carmen Peppers OR Bell Peppers OR Jimmy Nardello Peppers
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Arugula
Acorn Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
Potatoes AND Corn
CHOOSE TWO: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Arugula
Tomatoes
Cauliflower

FRUIT SHARE
None

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on CSA Week 19

“Creamed Greens”

This is a super easy, elegant satisfying plant based dish that is better than creamed spinach you would get at an old school steak house. These greens will complement any grilled, steamed or roasted vegetable, meat or fish or you could even serve it with noodles or rice.

The base (sauce) of the sauce is tofu not heavy whipping cream and the result is so much better than original dairy base dish. I saw the recipe here. I have made this twice and changed just a few things but basically followed the recipe. You can use any greens you have. I used a bunch of kale, but chard, spinach or collards would be just as delicious. I used mushrooms but if you don’t like mushrooms-use onions or eggplant. Don’t have greens? Use the sauce with roasted peppers or winter squash. Don’t want an Asian profile? Sub nutritional yeast and any nut or oat milk for the Asian seasonings like I did in the second photo. Here is what I used the two times I have made this.

If you don’t care about being plant based you could use parmesan and regular milk. Here is what you need.

Creamed Greens.

  • 8 ounces tofu I used firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 4 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of greens I used kale
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Put the tofu, soy sauce, mirin, and vinegar in a blender and blend on high until smooth, 1-2 minutes until it is really smooth. If you want it thinner add water or milk (plant or animal) That’s it. you just made a delicious ‘cream’ sauce yum.

Honestly, you can stop right here and put this on anything.

If you are making the greens heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and then salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and most of it has evaporated. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until just wilted.

 

Stir in half the tofu mixture (save the rest for another batch or to use with other veggies) and cook until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt to taste and serve warm.

I’ll be playing with different seasonings for this dish. I hope you try making this. I think it’s a winner.

Fall is in the air. I’m ready for cooler weather. Have a great week.

Mo

 

 

Posted in Greens, Recipes | Comments Off on “Creamed Greens”

CSA Week 18

Hello CSA Members!

This week we begin the transition into fall (winter squash are on the way!), but not without one last hurrah for the summer crops. We’re very hopeful that our last succession of corn will not be eaten by an assortment of wildlife this time!SpagSquash1

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 18 of our CSA:

REGULAR SHARE
CHOICE: Garlic OR Other Herbs
CHOICE: Carrots OR Potatoes
CHOICE: Cucumber OR Zucchini OR Eggplant
CHOICE: Beets OR Corn OR Tomatoes
CHOICE: Roasted Chiles OR Other Sweet Peppers
CHOICE: Kale OR Chard OR Arugula
Spaghetti Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
Carrots AND Potatoes
CHOOSE TWO: Cucumber OR Zucchini OR Eggplant
CHOOSE TWO: Kale OR Chard OR Arugula
Celery

FRUIT SHARE
None

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on CSA Week 18

CSA Week 17

Hello CSA Members!

The mornings are getting chilly at the farm and we’re thankful for it. Our tomatoes are slowing down, the zucchini plants are turning yellow, and the cantaloupe is just about gone. Fall is in the air.

Bell Peppers

Yellow Bell Peppers

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 17 of our CSA:

REGULAR SHARE
CHOICE: Basil OR Parsley OR Spicy Peppers OR Garlic OR Other Herbs
CHOICE: Sweet Carmen Peppers OR Sweet Jimmy Nardello Peppers OR Yellow Bell Peppers
CHOICE: Eggplant OR Zucchini
CHOICE: Cucumber OR Bell Peppers
CHOICE: Potatoes OR Onion
CHOICE: Tomatoes OR Tomatillos OR Shishito Peppers OR Melon OR Green Tomatoes
Roasted Anaheim Chiles
CHOICE: Kale OR Collard Greens OR Chard

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
CHOOSE TWO: Basil OR Parsley OR Herbs OR Blossoms OR Spicy Peps OR Garlic
Potatoes AND Onion
CHOOSE TWO: Kale OR Collard Greens OR Chard
CHOICE: Carrots OR Beets

FRUIT SHARE
Peaches and Apples

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on CSA Week 17

Jimmy Nardello Italian Frying Peppers

One of the sweet peppers we grow at Red Wagon is called Jimmy Nardello aka ‘Jimmy’s’. It is classified as an Italian Frying pepper, it looks like this.

Jimmy’s are long irregularly ‘finger’ shaped, medium thick walled very sweet almost fruity flavored peppers. They are about twice the size of a shishito.

In my mind they are more versatile than a shishito. You can prepare and eat them like a shishito. Pan fry them whole in olive oil and a little salt, hold them by the stem and enjoy.

One of my favorite ways to eat Jimmy’s is to cut them in half and seed them.

Fry them cut side down with a little olive oil and salt until they are a little soft.

Then flip them over and add some mozzarella, provolone or Manchego cheese and cook until it is all melty.

Jimmy’s are much more flavorful than bell peppers, even better than red bells IMO, so they are good in egg dishes like omelets or scrambles , add them to roasted or pan fried potato dishes, pizza, sandwiches or any pasta dish.

I made a simple marinara sauce last night and added some Jimmy’s. Unless I am putting cheese in Jimmy’s I leave them basically whole. I cut the stem off and dig the seeds out with my fingers then rinse them in water to get the seed all the way out.

You can see I kind of broke the wall of the pepper to get the seeds out. That’s ok. I think it is easier than cutting them in half and seeding and I like the texture of the pepper cut into rings for the most part.

I fried those and added some sauce and eggplant I had in the refrigerator.

Bell peppers are good, but Jimmy Nardello’s are special. I hope you try them.

Have a great week, see you at pickup.

Mo

Posted in 2021, Peppers, Recipes | Comments Off on Jimmy Nardello Italian Frying Peppers

CSA Week 16

Hello CSA Members!

There are some new peppers making their way into CSA next week. Jimmy Nardello peppers are very sweet, even though they look like they’re spicy. We’ll have a fun assortment of spicy peppers to choose from as well! Do you have any favorites from the pepper mixes we’ve been offering?

Peppers

Jimmy Nardello Peppers

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 16 of our CSA:

REGULAR SHARE
CHOICE: Basil OR Parsley OR Squash Blossoms OR Garlic
Potatoes
CHOICE: Onion OR Fennel
CHOICE: Zucchini OR Eggplant
CHOICE: Bell Peppers OR Jimmy Nardello Peppers
CHOICE: Roasted Chiles OR Spicy Peppers
CHOICE: Tomatoes OR Melon OR Cucumber
CHOICE: Kale OR Collard Greens OR Chard

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
CHOOSE TWO: Basil OR Parsley OR Squash Blossoms OR Garlic
Onion AND Zucchini
CHOOSE TWO: Tomatoes OR Melon OR Cucumber
CHOOSE TWO: Kale OR Collard Greens OR Chard

FRUIT SHARE
Peaches

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on CSA Week 16