*In the box

First share of the 2012 season!

Hi everyone! Welcome to week 1 of the 2012 CSA Season! Barring last-minute changes, here’s what will be in the box:

Strawberries – 1 quart
Rhubarb – 1 bunch
Arugula – 1 bag
Baby Bok Choi – 1 bunch
Red Kale – 1 bunch
Japanese Salad Turnips – 1 bunch

Notes on the share (recipes available at www.goldenearthworm/newsletters):

Strawberries: need no comment– just enjoy right away, or refrigerate immediately. They won’t last more than a day in the fridge anyway, so we recommend you eat them tonight for dessert! (If they make it until then!) Rhubarb is one of those things that you either love, or you don’t know what the heck to do with… When in doubt, just use the recipe on our website for the rhubarb cake. It’s simple, delicious, and with a nice scoop of ice cream it might just turn you into a rhubarb lover too! The arugula is extremely tender – unlike anything you’d find in a grocery store. Please wash very gently so you don’t damage the leaves, and dress with a drizzle of olive oil, wine vinegar and salt and pepper. It really doesn’t need more than that! I have a bok choi recipe which is quite simple and brings out the best qualities of this Asian green — its leaf texture and gentle flavor. The red kale is my favorite variety of kale– its leaves are tender enough to eat raw in a salad, but can also be gently steamed. Try my kale salad recipes! And finally, the Japanese salad turnips are a fun variety that you won’t find in stores and are best eaten raw. No need to peel them- just slice and sprinkle with a little sea salt as an appetizer, or slice in salads, or just eat them like an apple (as Galen does). The tops should be eaten too! I call this a good example of a “two-for-one veg”. You can eat the bottoms AND the tops! The greens can be washed and cooked like spinach, but the flavor is so much more complex and delicious. Saute with olive oil and garlic for a delicious side dish. Bon appetit!

Sweet ‘N Sour Rhubarb & Spinach Salad

recipe via The Rhubarb Compendium

Sunnyside CSA member, Heather E. raves about this recipe.

Lightly cooked slices of rhubarb are spooned atop spinach leaves and veiled with a warm sweet-and-sour dressing.

4 stalks rhubarb, cut diagonally into thin slices
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
16-20 spinach leaves
6 tbsp. vegetable oil

1. Place the rhubarb in a wide saucepan. Sprinkle on the sugar and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and pour through a large sieve into a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper, and place over high heat.

3. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

4. Meanwhile, divide the spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange the rhubarb over the spinach.

5. When the liquid is reduced, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the oil.

6. Pour over the salads and serve at once.


Rhubarb Chutney

I am always on the hunt for non-dessert rhubarb recipes. They’re few and far between, especially¬†if you filter further by looking for recipes without sugar.
I’ve included sugar in the below recipe, but I omit it when I make mine. It’s a bit tart, but every bit as good. This makes a wonderful accompaniment to everything from burgers to chicken. It works well on shellfish, but is a little overpowering for fish.

1/2 cup sugar (or light brown sugar)
1/4 cup balsamic (or sherry) vinegar
1 small red onion, diced
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 pound)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1 tablespoon (or 4!) minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan and boil over med-high heat

2. Add rhubarb and the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.

3. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill at least 2 hours. Discard cinnamon stick before serving.

Yields 2 cups, approx 4 servings

What the veg?


Rhubarb is a very old plant, dating back to 2700 BC in China where it was cultivated for medicinal uses. It is available in the spring.

While rhubarb is used as a fruit it is actually a vegetable. Field grown rhubarb (aka cherry rhubarb) has deeply colored red stalks and tends to be more juicy, with a bolder acidity than a hot house produced rhubarb (aka stawberry rhubarb). The leaves of rhubarb are INEDIBLE and toxic when eaten in large quantities. The stalk has a sweet tart, lip puckering taste that is good for baking and in compotes.

1 cup of rhubarb is just 26 calories. It is a good source of Vitamins C and K. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Calcium.

pie plant

Cooking tips
Use in pies, compotes, muffins and cakes.

Rhubarb will keep up to a week when stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.