Sunday, 28 August 2011

Week 11 Harvest

Heyo! We're really in the thick of the season, cukes and zukes have been loving the warm weather we've been having and demonstrating their notorious fecundity. This week's box is pretty similar to last's, following some basic arithmetic procedures:
The Additions:

Carrot: Scarlet Nantes (Dauscus carota) Heirloom
This variety has been grown and adapted to North American
conditions for at least 50 years. It has strong tops and delicious flavour.

Potato: Chieftan Organic (Solanum tuberosum)
Oval to oblong tubers with smooth, bright red skin and white flesh.
Widely adapted variety that stores well. Great to use for boiling,
baking, and making french fries.

Kohlrabi: Kolibri (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)
Kohlrabi can be used around the kitchen just as you would a carrot.
They are a great source of vitamin C, calcium, and iron. When eaten
raw they taste like a radish, and when cooked they taste like a cabbage.

Swiss Chard: Bright Lights (Beta vulgaris var. cicla)
This beet relative is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and
calcium. Thick red, yellow, gold, rose and white stems add colour and
flavour to any meal.

The Substitutions:

Onion: Candy (Allium cepa)
These large, white, classic looking round onions have a mild yet sweet flavour.

Kale: Lacinato (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)
Also called Black Tuscan, this kale produces long, dark green-blue
leaves that are full of flavour and very tender. Great to serve as kale chips!

Garlic: Russian Red
(Allium ophioscorodon)
The Doukhobors, a communal pacifistic religious sect of
Russian origin, introduced this garlic cultivar to British Columbia
in the late 1800s. A Rocambole hardneck variety with a strong garlic
flavor and a warm sweet aftertaste.

The Remainders:
Bush Bean: Dragon Tongue (Phaseolus vulgaris)
An old Dutch heritage variety that can be eaten fresh, or dried for use
in winter soups
and stews.

Leeks: Varna (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum)
The ultimate fast growing summer leek. Produces thin white stalks that can
reach a
length of 35 cms.

Summer Squash: Amatista Grey (Cucurbita pepo)
These grayish green summer squashes are some of the first squashes to
mature. Their
zucchini like taste and texture make them versatile around the kitchen.

Summer Squash: Sunburst (Cucurbita pepo)
This vivid yellow summer squash has dazzling colour and a sweet
flavour. Steam them whole
for a tasty treat!

Summer Squash: Starship (Cucurbita pepo)
This dark green paddy pan is our fastest growing variety. A shiny summer
squash that keeps its distinctive shape and grows vigorously.

Fennel: Selma Fino (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)
The mild licorice flavour of this fennel make it tasty treat! Perfect as a snack
on it’s
own or served in salads and stews.

Cucumber: Picolino (Cucumis sativus)
Another self pollinating cucumber that produces bountiful yields that
are perfect for
slicing and pickling.

Cucumber: Little Potato (Cucumis sativus) Heirloom
Little potato has a texture of aged alabaster, the colour of
pomme de terre, and a zesty
lemon burpless flesh. We think this is
the gourmet cucumber par excellence.

Cucumber: Lemon Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
This obscure looking heritage cucumber is small, round and
lemon coloured. The flesh is
sweet tasting and never bitter!
Cucumber: Richmond Green Apple (Cucumis sativus) Heirloom
An Australian variety that is starting to impress gardeners worldwide.
Rounded “apples” with crisp, white flesh that is incredibly juicy with a refreshing tang.
The Divisions:

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
A previous posting described cilantro as causing a fervent love/hate dichotomy amongst most eaters. Some of our readers felt the writings skewed strongly towards the hate, where as a few noted that the NY Times article actually favoured the love by stating that the offending flavour is merely a sign of a picky eater.

As is often the case with an ill-structured problem, over which reasonable people reasonably disagree, this debate will never have a clear victor. However, in the vegetable world, reputation is everything, and retribution arrives on one's plate in the most unexpected circumstances.

I was recently in Hong Kong enjoying an amazing meal with a very gracious host. After a few libations, I attempted to impress my fellow diners with my Cantonese by remarking that the name of the vegetable that we were eating was "Pak Chee". Here's what followed:

Host: "Pac Chee?"
Me: "Yes, Pac Chee, cilantro in English. I was told that cilantro was called Pac Chee in Cantonese."
Murmuring broke out amongst the other diners, at which point, in my hubris, I thought I was going to be congratulated on my excellent linguistic capabilities.
Host: "Pac Chee means foolish in Cantonese, not cilantro. Foolish."
Me: "Oh"

In line with the circular laws of the universe, cilantro evened the score with a direct hit, leaving me with a lingering, soapy taste in my mouth.

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