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Digital Flyer, July 8th-Bay Area

Your box contains the following items, give or take any subs as the week goes on.. 

  • 1 large head green romaine
  • 1/2lb. mesclun and arugula
  • 1lb. broccoli di cicco, spigariello
  • 2lb. fresh cranberry beans
  • 1 bunch walla walla and red torpedo spring onions
  • 1 bunch mixed carrots
  • 1/2lb. small padron peppers, with 2 medium hot padrons
  • 1lb. mixed citrus
  • 2 pieces yellow peaches/ white or yellow nectarines 

We initially told you there’d be a head of celery in the box, but that was before we found so many padron peppers on the new plants, that we decided to put 1/2lb. in the box instead. They are from Galicia, Spain, and are ubiquitously known there as pimientos de padron. These are small ones, before they grow up to be really hot peppers. You also should have about two peppers that are 3 inches long or a little more. These are the hot ones. Treat them as you would a jalapeno, or serrano pepper.  The small ones are best fried at high heat with a small amount of olive oil in your frying pan. They cook really quickly, 3-4 minutes at most. Let them get a little brown or black on one side, then toss in the pan a few times. Remove, sprinkle with your best salt, and eat while hot. They are a wonderful starter item. They are also great to put into other dishes after frying. I like to toss them into my scrambled eggs in the morning. If you like to cut corn off the cob, and sauté in butter, then toss a few of the cooked peppers into your corn. Remember to cut off the tough but small stem before.  Please beware that occasionally a small one will be hotter than the rest, maybe one out of ten or fifteen. We will be putting these in the box regularly until the fall. This link will show you how they should be cooked and how they should look when done. 

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/spanish-style-padron-peppers-how-to-cook.html

The other signature item in your box this week, fresh cranberry beans, are from Louie Iacopi. Whether it’s been his English peas, favas, or more recently his bluelake beans, we all benefited from his Half Moon Bay farming successes. But I consider his fresh shelling beans to be a wonderful luxury, and I hope you will appreciate them as well. They need to be shelled from the pod, just like English peas. Put them in a pot of water, about twice as much water as beans, with a few garlic cloves cut up coarsely, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and a generous amount of salt, as though you were cooking pasta. Feel free to add your favorite dried herb as well. Oregano, marjoram, thyme all work well. Fresh herbs also work well. Bring to a boil then turn down to a medium simmer, and cook until soft but not too mushy. About 20-30 minutes, depending on heat, amount of water, etc. When done you can add parsley, diced onions, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes. More olive oil and a little vinegar to make a bean salad. 

Here’s David Lebovitz explaining with photos much of what I’ve said here.

https://www.davidlebovitz.com/fresh-shelling/

Enjoy,
Martin

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Digital Flyer, June 17th-Bay Area

Your box contains the following items, give or take any subs. 

  • 2lb. green romaine/red butter lettuce/red little gems
  • 1/2lb. mesclun
  • 1/2lb. spigariello
  • 1lb. spring onions
  • 2lb. English peas
  • 1 medium leek
  • handful mint 
  • 1 bunch orange carrots
  • 2lb. mixed citrus
  • 1lb. white peach and donut peach

This week’s box is a reprise of the box from a month ago, as we wait for the summer produce to kick into gear. It gives you a chance to make one of my all time favorite pastas, which can easily be vegetarian.

I also suggest you slice your stone fruit, chop a few almonds, mince some spring onion, toss with the mesclun salad greens, and add some fresh goat cheese, and enjoy many of the ingredients we offer, all in one salad bowl.

The signature items of the week are english peas and a leek, with a handful of mint leaves, giving you the opportunity to make a favorite pasta dish, spaghetti with peas and ricotta. I ate this dish at Romans in Brooklyn a few years ago, and I had to know how to make it at home, cooking various versions for myself over a few pea seasons. I asked Dave Gould, the former chef of Romans, to write out the recipe for our benefit. 

I guess this is a Romans classic creation, though we rarely did the same exact thing twice, so now it’s a Martin’s country kitchen creation.

Start by shelling all of your peas. The pods can get smashed, almost bruising as you go, into a stockpot. If you’re vegetarian, fill the pot with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the peas, so they are not fully submerged. Pea pod broth can be really delicious, but it must be concentrated, i.e. not watered down. Put in a clove or 2 (the spice), a tiny shard of cinnamon stick, leek tops trimmed of any discoloration, and a small handful of either dry porcini or dry morel mushrooms. And if you’re not vegetarian, substitute the water with good chicken broth.  

Bring to a rigorous boil over a high flame, skimming any foam that rises as you go. You should find at this point that the pea pods have wilted and are now barely submerged. Simmer over a very low flame for 5 minutes, drop in a few sprigs of mint, then leave to cool for 10 minutes, at which point it is ready to strain. You will need 1 cup of broth per person and the rest can be held for various future purposes.  

To build the sauce, slice the white leek bottoms (about 1T per person) thinly and sweat gently in a mixture of butter and olive oil, with a few cracks of black pepper and a few leaves of sage or basil. When very soft, but not colored, add the necessary amount of broth per person. Bring to a boil and season fully with salt. Boil spaghetti in unseasoned water until it is about 6 minutes away from being finished, and add it to the sauce along with all of the peas that you desire. Everything should simmer gently in the liquid, practically submerged until the last minute or two, so you will need to periodically add pasta water and taste consistently for seasoning.  

Ideally you can eyeball that when the noodles are cooked there will be about 1/2 cup of broth left in the pot per person. Turn the flame off and add a heaping tablespoon of ricotta per person, the light green leek middles, sliced thinly, a few torn mint leaves and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Stir aggressively, but quickly, so as to not agitate the ricotta too much. The idea is that it remains clumpy and turns your broth milky and rich.  

Divide evenly amongst soup bowls and shower with freshly grated pecorino cheese, black pepper and good green olive oil.  

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, June 10th-Bay Area

Your box contains the following items, give our take any subs that happen as the week goes on. 

  • 2lb. green romaine/red butter lettuce/red little gems
  • 1/2lb. mesclun
  • 1/2lb. erbette chard
  • 1/2lb. bull’s blood beet tops
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 heads fennel
  • 1 bunch baby white turnips
  • 1 bunch rainbow carrots
  • 1 large tarocco blood orange 
  • 1lb. mixed citrus
  • 1lb. white/yellow peaches/yellow nectarines

This week we have a greens heavy box. We have large heads of green romaine, and lots of red butter lettuce, with the last of a large planting of red little gems. For more delicate salad needs, there’s the half pound of mesclun mix, which is made up of mizuna, arugula, frilly red mustard, upland cress, chervil, chrysanthemum leaves, and lettuces. For salad ideas, remember to zest your citrus, lemon or orange, into olive oil, to give you a bright citrus flavored vinaigrette. If you like fruit in your salad, try slicing some of your peach or nectarine into your salad after it’s all made. 

 Cooking greens are erbette chard, a flat leafed, thin-stemmed chard from Italy, as well as a half pound of bull’s blood beet tops, both from the Soledad farm. The bull’s blood beet tops will turn whatever you mix with them a beautiful red color. At least I like that color. That’s a good reason to cook them separately from the erbette chard. While it’s green, it is different from the other green chard you’ve been getting. It is thin stemmed, with a more delicate leaf, similar to spinach. It also has a more mild flavor. I like to cut it crosswise into one inch strips, and sauté it with garlic and olive oil. Maybe a splash of white wine or water to wilt it down at the end. Then serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

The featured items of the week are two heads of fennel, and one tarocco blood orange, from Rising C Ranch in Reedley, CA. It’s unusual for a blood orange to be so good at this time of year, but when I tried one of these last week, it tasted as good or better than any blood orange I’ve tried this season. Included in the box are two heads of fennel, so you can make a shaved fennel and tarocco blood orange salad. If you have a mandolin, that’s best to shave the fennel. I like it as thin as you can get it. To prepare the blood orange, use a serrated knife if you’re not a serious knife person, as you need a super sharp chef’s knife to successfully cut all the skin off. Cut off about half an inch of the top and bottom of the orange. After placing the one cut end down on your cutting board, carefully cut the skin off the flesh from top to bottom, trying to get as little of the flesh as possible. Then cut slices crosswise. You can quarter those slices to mix with your fennel. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I like to add some fresh onion, so thinly slicing some scallions is an option. 

I know I’ve been giving you a lot of carrots lately. Here’s a pickling recipe from Tartine Bakery in SF that will help you mix it up a little.  https://www.7×7.com/secret-recipe-tartines-spicy-pickled-carrots-1787333732.html

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, June 3rd-Bay Area

Your box this week contains the following items, give or take any subs as the week goes on. 

  • red butter lettuce and red little gems
  • mesclun mix
  • green chard
  • broccoli rabe leaves
  • spring onions
  • flowering coriander
  • French breakfast radishes
  • chantenay carrots
  • mixed citrus 
  • white/yellow peaches

We are back with a heat wave. Please take care to refrigerate all the salad and cooking greens as soon as possible. The radishes, spring onions, and bouquet of flowering coriander also would like to stay cold. I recommend putting the peaches on your kitchen counter to fully ripen over the next day or three. When it’s fully ripe and soft is when you will most enjoy it.

We put an extra dose of salad and cooking greens in the box this week because we have a lot in the field, but also because I find them soothing and refreshing in times like these. 

The broccoli rabe leaves are a favorite of mine, as it means orecchiette pasta with rabe and sweet Italian sausage. This dish is from Southern Italy, and your Tuscan friends will sneer at the idea of this being a respectable pasta. That’s partly because of its history. It was originally a pasta dish for poor people, with scraps of pasta dough, wild mustard greens foraged from the fields, and throw away scraps of pork as the main ingredients, made by and for the servants. You can make a refined version that tastes hardy and I think delicious. When  you first boil your pasta water, blanch all the rabe leaves quickly, 20-30 seconds, then set aside. Take 1-2 sweet Italian sausages, and squeeze out the meat from the casing into your sauté pan, so that it’s in ¾ inch chunks. Cook with medium high heat, so you get a nice browning. Put your dried orecchiette pasta shells in the salted, boiling water. At the last minute, add to the sausage 3-4 cloves chopped garlic, extra fennel seed if you have some handy (I personally think there’s never enough in the sausage, so l like to add some more), chili flakes, and the rabe leaves. Add more olive oil, and white wine if you have some handy. You can squeeze a half of a lemon for acidity, and add some pasta water to make it slightly soupy. When the pasta is done add it to the sauce, and let it simmer for another minute or two. Serve with some grated romano/pecorino cheese. 

Chantenay carrots are a French variety that I like a lot. They are a more dense or meaty carrot, and not just because they are fat and short. Roasted, sauteed, steamed, they will need a little more time to cook but they have a lovely mouth feel and flavor. I hope you enjoy them. 

I said this before, but the best thing to do with the flowering coriander is to put some chopped up in the pot of rice before you cook it. I like to also add a couple of cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of butter, in addition to the green coriander. Also use as a marinade for chicken or pork. 

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, May 26th-Bay Area

Your box contains the following items, give or take any subs that may happen as the week goes on. 

  • 2lb. red little gems and red butter lettuce
  • 1/2lb. spigariello
  • 3lb. fava beans and a couple of sprigs of rosemary
  • 2lb. gold and Chioggia beets
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bag mixed carrots
  • 3lb. of a combo of mixed citrus & white nectarines/yellow peaches

This week (especially those of you getting a box Wednesday and Friday) we are experiencing a brutal heat wave that makes everything much more difficult. From harvesting at the farms, to packing and getting the produce to the pick up sites or your home, we are taking various precautions to ensure everything remains in good condition. Please be as aware once you receive your produce to do the same, so you can enjoy it as much as you do when the temperature is more normal. The salad and cooking greens should be checked to see if they are warm, or if they need a sprinkle of water before you put them in your refrigerator. Favas, beets, scallions, and carrots should also go in the refrigerator. The fruit does not, especially if you plan to eat it sooner than later, but will ripen much faster at room temperature. I  recommend putting the peach and nectarine on your kitchen counter to fully ripen over the next day or three. When it’s fully ripe and soft is when you will most enjoy it. 

The cooking green of the week is spigariello, an heirloom Italian kale or broccoli leaf. It’s really a close cousin of both. It wilts quickly, but doesn’t collapse to nothing the way spinach can. It’s great wilted on it’s own, delicate enough this time as a salad green, and also perfect for a minestrone soup. 

The favas now are approaching a slight starchy stage, which makes them perfect for fava bean puree. I first had this at a fundraiser where many of us were passing out snacks to the crowd. I had little plates of arugula salad. Chez Panisse had a table with what looked like guacamole on toasts. I was dumbstruck that they would be serving such a thing, but I couldn’t imagine what else it could be. When I tasted it I was awestruck by how wonderful it tasted. Shuck the beans out of their pods and blanch in boiling water for 10-20 seconds. Peel the skin off and put them in  your sauté pan. Chop a few cloves of garlic, and throw in a sprig or two of rosemary. Add olive oil and some water. Bring to a simmer, and stir as they cook. You will add more olive oil to this than you thought possible. Also add some water. It will take some time, but eventually the beans will start to break down. You can use a potato masher to speed up the process. Add salt and pepper to taste. To see photos you can go to this link to see how the cooks at Chez Panisse make this, with a more specific recipe. Then you will be ready to serve Tuscan guacamole to your family or friends. 

http://leitesculinaria.com/45630/recipes-fava-bean-puree.html

I like to take the carrots, put them on a sheet pan, pyrex pan, or whatever you like to bake with, toss with whole cumin seed and/or fennel seed, olive oil and salt to taste, and roast at high heat until fully cooked. Be careful not to burn them, but to fully cook them so they are like yams. I like to serve with crème fraiche, yoghurt, or sour cream. 

The beets are best roasted in a similar pan, but with a taller side, so you can cover them with aluminum foil. Put about 1/3 cup of water in the pan, no seasoning, cover and cook for about 45-60 minutes at 375 degrees. Check them with a knife or fork to see if they are to your desired softness. Let cool, and peel and cut as  you like.  I like to make a roasted beet salad with olive oil, a good sherry vinegar, orange zest, minced scallions, walnuts, and blue cheese. There are photos of this process on Instagram to understand better how to make a beet dish that will turn the most stubborn beet haters into beet lovers. And with these gold and chioggia beets, there’s no anxiety the next morning in the bathroom. You can find us @martinsfarmtotable for more pictures, and feel free to tag us if you post photos of your creations. We love to see what you’re making!

Enjoy!

Martin

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Box Flyer

Digital Flyer, May 19th-Bay Area

The box this week contains the following items, give or take any subs that may happen as the week goes on.

  • 1.5lb. red little gems
  • 1/2lb. broccoli di cicco
  • 1/2lb. green chard
  • 2lb. English peas
  • 1 medium leek
  • handful mint leaves
  • 1 bunch baby orange carrots
  • 1 bunch baby white & red turnips
  • 2lb. mixed citrus, & some combination of stone fruit

Your salad greens are a few heads of red little gems, mainly because we have a lot in the field. I like to tear the leaves away from the center, and wash them. You probably have your own favorite ways of making a salad. Mine is to make a blue cheese vinaigrette with lemon zest in the bowl with the olive oil, add some lemon juice and red wine vinegar, crumble the blue cheese, then whisk it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

We continue with broccoli di cicco and green chard leaves as the cooking greens of the week. We put a bonus item of baby white and red turnips in the box, as they were in the field and needed to get harvested before next week’s heat wave. They would be great with the bunch of baby orange carrots.

The signature items of the week are english peas and a leek, with a handful of mint leaves, giving you the opportunity to make one of my all time favorite pasta dishes, spaghetti with peas and ricotta. I ate this dish at Romans in Brooklyn a few years ago, and I had to know how to make it at home, cooking various versions for myself over a few pea seasons. I asked Dave Gould, the former chef of Romans, to write out the recipe for our benefit. 

I guess this is a Romans classic creation, though we rarely did the same exact thing twice, so now it’s a Martin’s country kitchen creation.

Start by shelling all of your peas. The pods can get smashed, almost bruising as you go, into a stockpot. If you’re vegetarian, fill the pot with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the peas, so they are not fully submerged. Pea pod broth can be really delicious, but it must be concentrated, i.e. not watered down. Put in a clove or 2 (the spice), a tiny shard of cinnamon stick, leek tops trimmed of any discoloration, and a small handful of either dry porcini or dry morel mushrooms. And if you’re not vegetarian, substitute the water with good chicken broth.  

Bring to a rigorous boil over a high flame, skimming any foam that rises as you go. You should find at this point that the pea pods have wilted and are now barely submerged. Simmer over a very low flame for 5 minutes, drop in a few sprigs of mint, then leave to cool for 10 minutes, at which point it is ready to strain. You will need 1 cup of broth per person and the rest can be held for various future purposes.  

To build the sauce, slice the white leek bottoms (about 1T per person) thinly and sweat gently in a mixture of butter and olive oil, with a few cracks of black pepper and a few leaves of sage or basil. When very soft, but not colored, add the necessary amount of broth per person. Bring to a boil and season fully with salt. Boil spaghetti in unseasoned water until it is about 6 minutes away from being finished, and add it to the sauce along with all of the peas that you desire. Everything should simmer gently in the liquid, practically submerged until the last minute or two, so you will need to periodically add pasta water and taste consistently for seasoning.  

Ideally you can eyeball that when the noodles are cooked there will be about 1/2 cup of broth left in the pot per person. Turn the flame off and add a heaping tablespoon of ricotta per person, the light green leek middles, sliced thinly, a few torn mint leaves and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Stir aggressively, but quickly, so as to not agitate the ricotta too much. The idea is that it remains clumpy and turns your broth milky and rich.  

Divide evenly amongst soup bowls and shower with freshly grated pecorino cheese, black pepper and good green olive oil.  

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, May 12th-Bay Area

Here’s my description of the contents of your box, and some suggestions on how to prepare them.

This week:

Mesclun/salad mix: This week we are cutting back on the amount of mesclun (1/4lb.) to allow for more little gems. The green little gems are peaking in the field, and it’s a perfect time for you to get more of them. As I mentioned earlier, think of wedge salads, Caesar salads, and blue cheese salads,  with these  thick and crunchy leaves. I like to cut the little gems in half to grill them, then coat the flat, cut side with Caesar dressing. My favorite recipe is equal parts lemon juice and red wine vinegar, maybe a tablespoon or two of each, about one teaspoon of powdered mustard, 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, one egg yolk, a few anchovy fillets, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Wisk all these ingredients in a bowl, until smooth.  Then drizzle olive oil while whisking, to create an emulsion. Add grated parmesan cheese. 

Another favorite recipe that is super simple is blue cheese vinaigrette. First, put 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Take a lemon and zest it with your micro planer into the oil. Ideally, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the zest flavor to soak into the oil. Then add equal parts lemon juice and red wine vinegar.   Then crumble blue cheese into the bowl, and whisk to desired texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. You will discover a wonderful marriage of the lemon and blue cheese. Best with croutons but not necessary. 

The bag of cooking greens is half filled with broccoli di cicco, and the other half is green chard, which is a new crop, and thus the leaves are on the tender side. The stem should not be too tough, so feel free to cook as is.

White Cauliflower is the signature item this week. Grown by our friend Louie Iacopi, these vary in size. Some of you will be greeted by rather large specimens, others will get two smaller ones. They are often roasted, whole or cut up, usually with garlic, olive oil, and chili flakes. Cream of cauliflower soup is a very different approach. Steaming or boiling cut up pieces,  then offering them as a cold salad item is wonderful.

The mixed citrus is some combination of red grapefruit, oro blanco grapefruit, navel and valencia oranges, lemons, gold nugget mandarin, all grown by Bernard Ranch in Riverside. You are getting 2lb. instead of the usual 3lb. to make room for the very first stone fruit of the year.  There will be one or two white nectarines in the box from Balakian Farms. Certified organic, their stone fruit will be a rotating fruit for the next few months, and it might be a yellow or white nectarine, or a yellow or white peach, depending on which one I think is particularly good that week. 

As always, please note that substitutions happen and you may not receive every item listed. When we are short something, we’ll either replace it with another farm item or increase the quantity of existing ones. If you’re shorted with no sub, please do let us know so we can issue a small refund for the missing item.

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, May 5th-Bay Area

Here’s my description of the contents of your box, and some suggestions on how to prepare them.

This week:

Mesclun/salad mix: This week we have radicchio leaves from a variety that is half red, round radicchio and half treviso radicchio, with the usual frilly red mustard, arugula, and baby lettuces. Please remember to wash and spin the green dry. The other half of your salad bag is filled with green and red little gems

The bag of cooking greens is half filled with broccoli di cicco, and the other half is red chard. If you have some green garlic left from last week’s box, using it with the red chard leaves when you sauté them, then squeezing lemon juice on top as you serve it, will make you think you should have liked red chard all these years.

English peas are the signature item this week. With two pounds in the box, you will have enough to make a full dish, as opposed to merely decorating the plate with them. As I mentioned in the newsletter, these are grown by Louie Iacopi in cool, foggy Half Moon Bay, which is the best place I know to grow perfect english peas. The long but cool days of spring allow the peas to form in the pod slowly, so they can be fully formed without getting starchy. The easy, simple way to prepare them is to shuck them and cook them with a little butter, maybe a splash of white wine, with some of the spring onion in your box. At the very end, throw in some torn mint leaves, and serve. Nothing like poached salmon, or halibut, or your favorite fish with a side of peas. We will have them as a pantry item, so you can buy them in subsequent weeks in a 5lb. bag. This will allow you to make pea soup. Take the empty pods, after shucking them all and make a pea pod veggie stock. Then sauté some spring onions, throw in the peas, and cook gently for a few minutes, being careful not to overcook them. You can add some butter to mellow the flavor, puree with your immersion blender, and add torn mint leaves at the very end. Maybe a squeeze of lemon juice, to add some acidity. 

Your main herb in the box this week is flowering cilantro, or coriander. I love this for making rice, where you cut it up coarsely, and add it to the water before cooking. You can save some of the white flower clusters to garnish your dish at the end. These are flowers with flavor, not just cuteness. It’s also great to marinade pork, fish, or chicken. Hopefully you will notice that it has its own flavor profile, somewhere between dried coriander and fresh cilantro.

The mixed citrus is some combination of red grapefruit, oro blanco grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos, blood oranges, lemons, gold nugget mandarin, all grown by Bernard Ranch in Riverside. You are getting 2lb. instead of the usual 3lb. to make room for the very first stone fruit of the year.  There will be one yellow nectarine in the box from Balakian Farms. Certified organic, their stone fruit will be a rotating fruit for the next few months, and it might be a yellow or white nectarine, or a yellow or white peach, depending on which one I think is particularly good that week. 

Please note that substitutions to the box do happen and you may not receive every item listed. When we run out of an item, we replace it with another or increase the quantity of existing ones.

Enjoy!

Martin

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Digital Flyer, May 2nd-New York

Here is a description of the contents of your box, and some suggestions on how prepare them.

Mesclun/salad mix: Just so you know, mesclun is French for mixed salad. Sounds fancy, but it’s just salad mix. It needs to be washed and spun. It has arugula, frilly red mustard, tango and green romaine lettuces.  The other half of your salad bag is green and red little gems. 

The bag of mixed wilting greens is half filled with red chard. The other half is fava leaves. This will be your last time getting them, as the plants are maturing, and warm to hot days we are experiencing will quickly change their flavor in a not so nice way. Best to pull the leaves off their tough stem, wash and use in pasta. I recommend making a pasta dish with the fava leaves, some spring onions and green garlic. Consider tearing some of the mint leaves into the pasta right before you serve it, so it’s essentially raw, wilting with the heat of the pasta. There’s something special about mint as an accent to favas and peas. Also consider zesting a lemon into the pasta. 

Fava beans are one of two signature items this week. With two pounds in the box, you will have enough to make a small dish, as opposed to merely decorating the plate with them. The classic Italian dish of shucked and peeled favas with shaved pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and fresh cracked black pepper is what I recommend. First take all the beans out of their pods. You can blanch them in boiling water for 5-10 seconds at the most, then immediately put them in cold water. This makes the skin super easy to peel. But it also slightly cooks the inside part of bean, which is less than ideal for the perfect fava salad. If you have the patience, peel the skin off with your fingernails, splitting the bean into the two halves as you go. Watch as your little bowl slowly fills with the shucked and peeled favas. Good music and a glass of Chianti will make the task more pleasant. I found a good link online to demonstrate this process.

https://www.npr.org/2007/03/28/9163283/fava-beans-a-little-spring-on-your-plate

The other signature item is the wild fennel that I harvested from a hillside in San Francisco. It’s the key ingredient in a classic Italian pasta with sardines. Dave Gould, the former chef of Romans in Brooklyn, gave me the following recipe for his version of pasta con le sarde:

Start by bringing your pasta cooking pot to a boil with a few pinches of salt. Boil the wild fennel in this water for about 5 minutes, pull out the fennel to drain and reserve liquid for the noodles later.

Start a wide pot on a medium flame with a few glugs of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed, skin on. Cook until garlic is light golden and remove from the pan and discard or eat. Add a few tablespoons of rinsed capers, some pine nuts, a pinch of oregano and a few cracks of black pepper and cook gently until pine nuts lightly toast. Lower the flame and add a few anchovies, swirling until they melt a bit. Now add some crushed tomatoes, raisins, a pinch of saffron and the wild fennel, which you have squeezed dry and chopped fine. Cook until the water evaporates and the sauce is beginning to sizzle in the oil a little. Now you’re ready to cook your noodles. Pull them from the pot (bucatini or spaghetti) when they are about 4 minutes from being cooked and add them to your sauce. Begin cooking and seasoning with salt as you go, adding additions of pasta water if the pan becomes dry. Fold in some good canned sardines at about 2 minutes out. They should begin to crumble into the sauce, but ideally not turn into a paste.  

When finished turn the flame off. Fold in some Fresh olive oil and briefly stir to incorporate and plate. A traditional garnish would be bread crumbs toasted on the darker side of the color spectrum w a little olive oil and salt. It’s just as good without the bread crumbs. 

You have a generous bunch of wild zaatar in your box. It’s almost like oregano, or marjoram, but with it’s own distinct flavor. While you should use some in it’s fresh state, I highly recommend you take most of it, give it a rinse to shake off any sand or dirt, and let it fully dry on your window sill or kitchen counter. As a dried herb, it’s more balanced in flavor, and will last you a long time. Maybe you are familiar with Italian packages of dried marjoram on the stem. This will be your homemade version of that. When it’s fully dried, you  can keep it handy to pinch off a few leaves for a myriad of uses in your kitchen.

Enjoy,

Martin

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Box Flyer

Digital Flyer, April 29th-Bay Area

Here’s my description of the contents of your box, and some suggestions on how to prepare them.

Please note that substitutions are common and when we run out of an item, we replace it with another item we offer or increase the volume of the other items in the box.

This week:

Mesclun/salad mix: Just so you know, mesclun is French for mixed salad. Sounds fancy, but it’s just salad mix. It needs to be washed and spun. It has arugula, frilly red mustard, mizuna,  and mixed lettuces. The other half of your salad bag is filled with green and red little gems

The bag of cooking greens is half filled with broccoli di cicco, and the other half is fava leaves. This will be your last time getting them, as the plants are maturing, and warm to hot days we are experiencing will quickly change their flavor in a not so nice way. Best to pull the leaves off  their tough stems, wash and use in pasta. I recommend making a pasta dish with the fava leaves, some spring onions and green garlic. Consider tearing some of the mint leaves into the pasta right before you serve it, so it’s essentially raw, wilting with the heat of the pasta. There’s something special about mint as an accent to favas and peas. Also consider zesting a lemon into the pasta. 

Fava beans are the signature item this week. With two pounds in the box, you will have enough to make a full dish, as opposed to merely decorating the plate with them. The classic Italian dish of shucked and peeled favas with shaved pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and fresh cracked black pepper is what I recommend. First take all the beans out of their pods. You can blanch them in boiling water for 5-10 seconds at the most, then immediately put them in cold water. This makes the skin super easy to peel. But it also slightly cooks the inside part of the bean, which is less than ideal for the perfect fava salad. If you have the patience, peel the skin off with your fingernails, splitting the bean into the two halves as you go. Watch as your little bowl slowly fills with the shucked and peeled favas. Good music and a glass of Chianti will make the task more pleasant. I found a good link online to demonstrate this process.

https://www.npr.org/2007/03/28/9163283/fava-beans-a-little-spring-on-your-plate

With your bunch of mint is a handful of flowering parsley and flowering red celery. These are like a pungent herb, which you can put into a pasta, or even make a pesto. The leaves and buds have their own unique flavor. Feel free to add some mint to your pesto, and use walnuts or almonds as the nut addition.

The mixed citrus will be a selection from the following: red grapefruit, oro blanco grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos, blood oranges, lemons, gold nugget mandarins, avocado, all grown by Bernard Ranch in Riverside. He does not wax or otherwise polish his citrus, and since it’s also not coated with a fungicide, like almost all citrus you might otherwise buy, it is quicker to spoil, despite the fact that it’s picked each week, and is thus fresher than what you’d otherwise find in markets. So, please use the fruit sooner than later.

Enjoy!

Martin