Ladybugs Everywhere

Everywhere you look there are ladybugs. It is amazing. We are all surprised and excited by how many there are. When you are picking flowers, be on the lookout!

 Five or more ladybugs on a sunflower plant!

Five or more ladybugs on a sunflower plant!

Last week's sorting went smoothly and the bulls are now in with the cows. They will stay with them for about 3 months and then we will separate them again. By then everyone should be bred.

In the vegetable fields, it feels like we are finding our rhythm and routines. We are hopefully staying more on top of the weeds and solving problems that we have seen. We are in continuous cycle of seeding, transplanting and weeding. 

This week's pick list:

  • Lettuce
  • Escarole and Treviso
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Chard
  • Radish
  • Fennel
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Basil
  • Strawberries
  • Flowers and Herbs
 Roman and his cows in fresh grass.

Roman and his cows in fresh grass.

Recipes:

Stracciatella with Broccoli Raab (Adapted from Sunset Magazine, July 2010)

  • 2 qts. reduced-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt (optional)
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons fine semolina
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese, finely grated (2/3 cup)
  • 12 ounces broccoli raab (rapini), flowers and greens only
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth and garlic to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Discard garlic. Set aside 1/2 cup broth. Taste broth in pan and add salt if you like.
  2. Beat eggs in a bowl and stir in reserved 1/2 cup broth, the semolina, and parmesan. Set aside.
  3. Add broccoli rabe to broth. Simmer until tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly pour in egg mixture. Turn off heat and stir back and forth very slowly until little "rags" form. Add pepper to taste.

Brown Butter Tortellini with Broccoli Raab (Adapted from 101cookbooks.com)

  • 1 dozen fresh tortelli pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • fine grain sea salt
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 bunch broccoli raab, chopped with large stems removed
  • plenty of grated fresh pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli raab for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Return water to a boil. Cook tortellini per package instructions, or until the pasta floats, in well-salted water. Then drain, reserving a small cup of the pasta water.

In the meantime, place the butter in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter has browned and is very fragrant and nutty smelling. Remove from heat, and let it cool off for a minute or so. Whisk in the vinegar, a couple pinches of salt, and most of the lemon zest.

Add the cooked pasta to the brown butter pan and toss gently. Add a tiny, tiny splash of the reserved pasta water and toss again. Add the broccoli raab, toss one more time, then turn out immediately into individual bowls or a serving platter topped with a bit of cheese and the remaining lemon zest.

Escarole Salad with Pickled Fennel and Radish (Adapted from Smittenkitchen.com)

For the Pickled Fennel and Radish: 

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 fennel bulbs sliced thin
  • 8 Radishes, sliced thin

For the Escarole Salad:

  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 head escarole, washed, spun dry, cut into bite size pieces
  • High-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Make the pickled red onions: In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water. Stir in salt and the maple sugar. Add the sliced fennel and radish and let sit for at least one hour. [Do ahead: We made these the night before to save time; they were even better pickled overnight.]

Make the escarole salad: Combine the romano, hazelnuts or almonds and parsley in the food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Toss together the escarole, hazelnut mixture and some of the pickled red onions and dress with some of the pickling liquid and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

 The first and second plantings of corn in the front with potatoes and a few other crops in the background.

The first and second plantings of corn in the front with potatoes and a few other crops in the background.