THE BEET : VOLUME 13, ISSUE 5
In this week’s BEET:
- This week's share
- Letter from Ted
- Storage Tips
- Around Town
CSA Pickup Today 5-7:30pm
PS 56 at Gates and Downing (enter on Downing)
GOT EXTRA BAGS? BRING THEM TO SHARE WITH OTHERS!
This Week's Share
- Hakurei Turnips or green kohlrabi
- Swiss Chard
- Kale (Red Russian or Dinosaur)
- Dill or cilantro
- Quarts of strawberries (Fruit Share)
- Sunflower & Snapdragon (Flower Share)
I hope it hasn’t been too many strawberries! With cherries a bust, it's difficult to conjure an alternative. The season will be over soon, and blueberries will be coming along in their place. We have frozen some of our strawberries. We simply cut off the stems, slip them into a zip lock bag and place them in the freezer. They can then be run thru a blender and combined with a favorite beverage (or yogurt or ice cream) for a treat when strawberry season is a distant memory.
BROCCOLI PEANUT AND LEMONGRASS RICE SALAD (by Terry Hope Romero, "Salad Samauri")
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup uncooked black or red rice
- pinch salt
- 1 pound broccoli
- 4 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
- 1 cup lightly packed, chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (coarsely ground)
Lemongrass Shallot Dressing
- 2 large shallots
- 1 TBS peanut oil
- 1 TBS jarred lemongrass
- 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 TBS tamari (or braggs)
- 2 TBS coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 TBS Sriracha
1. In a large sauce pan, bring the water to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice and salt and bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. (About 40 min). Turn off heat, remove the lid, and gently stir with a fork. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Slice the broccoli florets from the stems, then slice the florets into bite size pieces. Trim about 2" away from the bottom of the stems, and use a veggie peeler to strip away the touch outer skin of the stems, then dice into 1/2" cubes. Steam florets and cubes for 2-3 min, until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp. Rinse with cool water, shake away excess moisture, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked rice, scallions, cilantro and peanuts.
3. Prepare the dressing: in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the shallots with the peanut oil for 5 min, or until the shallots are slightly caramelized. Add the lemongrass and ginger and saute another 2 min. then remove from heat. Whisk in lemon juice, tamari, sriracha, and sugar. Pour the warm dressing over the broccoli and the rice, use tongs to coat everything, and serve immediately. If desired, garnish with extra peanuts.
Hakurei Turnips with Miso (from Epicurious)
This recipe is a repeat from last season, but it was so good, I had to include it again this year. If you didn't try it last year- I would highly recommend it!
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 3 pounds small (1 1/2-to 2-inch) Japanese turnips with greens
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
Stir together miso and 2 tablespoon butter.
Discard turnip stems and coarsely chop leaves. Halve turnips (leave whole if tiny) and put in a 12-inch heavy skillet along with water, mirin, remaining tablespoon butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then boil, covered, 10 minutes.
Add greens by handfuls, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more as volume in skillet reduces. Cover and cook 1 minute. Uncover and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Stir in miso butter and cook 1 minute.
Consume fresh broccoli as soon as you can as it will not keep long. To store, mist the heads, wrap loosely in damp paper towels, and refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days. Do not store broccoli in a sealed plastic bag. Raw broccoli requires air circulation. A perforated bag is fine (ideally not plastic).
Cooked broccoli should be covered and refrigerated. Use within 3 days.
To freeze, cut washed broccoli into florets and stalks into pieces. Steam or blanch about five minutes. Plunge into icewater to stop cooking, drain thoroughly, and place in sealed bags or containers. Freeze up to 12 months.
Leave out on a cool counter, unwashed. It will be fine for a few days. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate to keep a little longer.
FOR ADDITIONAL STORAGE TIPS FOR PRODUCE- check out my plastic free life
14 Foods You Should Never Store in the Fridge
Onions Store unpeeled onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. The National Onion Association in the U.S. says unpeeled onions require air exposure to ensure optimum shelf life, so discard their plastic bags. Exception: Peeled onions should be kept in the fridge in a covered container.
Pumpkin This requires a well-ventilated location that’s also dry, dark and cool such as the basement, according to the CPMA.
Whole melons The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that watermelons lost some of their antioxidant (lycopene and beta-carotene) content when refrigerated. “Antioxidants in foods, including melons, are prone to degradation if they are not stored properly,” says Desiree Nielsen, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian. She suggests leaving whole melons on the counter at room temperature to maintain these antioxidants. Sliced melon should be covered and put in the fridge.
Garlic Never store garlic bulbs in the fridge; the CPMA says they can begin to sprout. Instead, store them in a dry, dark place.
Potatoes Spuds should be given a dark, cool and dry space, according to the Potato Growers of Alberta. Remove potatoes from their plastic or paper bags, and keep them unwashed in a well-ventilated cardboard box. If you wash potatoes before storing them, the moisture can spark decay.
Honey The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association says that honey should be kept in a tightly closed container at room temperature in a dry place. Honey’s acidic pH and sugar content keeps any spoiling microorganisms at bay. Refrigerating it can cause crystallization, making it hard to spread. Honey will store in your cupboard for an indefinite period of time.
Whole tomatoes The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers say cold air can turn their flesh into mush.
Apricots, Bananas, Kiwi, Peaches, Plums and Mangoes These can be kept on the counter until they ripen; they will retain nutrients better, says the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.
Coffee Ground coffee and beans need airtight containers and a cool, dry and dark spot to retain their flavour and freshness. Freeze large amounts that won’t be used immediately. Wrap it in airtight bags, and store it for up to a month in the freezer.
Market Tours: Dual Specialty Store, an Indian Spice Haven on Curry Row
91 1st Ave (btwn 5th and 6th Street) Manhattan
"All the herbs and spices and perfumes in the world—they're here. What you're smelling, it's all the things that smell good in the world, mixed together." Salmal unfolded a clear plastic bag of fresh curry leaves and held it up. "Smell this, ah! So good!"
We're standing in Dual Specialty Store, an Indian market found a few steps down from the street, on 1st Avenue, in the chili-pepper-lit neighborhood known to most as Curry Row. Salmal—the boss's kid—gestured with pride towards the aisles overflowing with every imaginable herb, spice, tea and grain. "My father opened the shop in 1987. I was just an idea back then."
Dual Specialty Store was more than an idea in 1987, but it was a different idea from the store I was standing in, twenty-six years later. Its first iteration was not an Indian superstore but rather a humble fish market, with just a handful of only the most popular Indian spices sold on the side. "We had a good set-up—fish and spices—for about a decade, half the store was fish. Our primary objective was to cater to the Indian and Bengali community, so once we got a little following going, we started adding more products from our home country, Bangladesh, and from India."
All that changed in the mid 1990s. "First, the Bengali community couldn't afford the rent anymore, and they left. Then when the gulf war began, a lot of our restaurant customers closed down." I looked at him quizzically, to which he answered with a laugh: "I was maybe three then, I'm just telling you the story!" The fish went away—people simply stopped buying it—but Dual Specialty did not find itself lacking for customers. Newcomers to the neighborhood came with an increasing interest in Indian cultures, and the store morphed into a proper "Indian bodega," with many of the products you find there today.
Then, in 2005, Dual Specialty Store burned to the ground. "That was probably the worst year of my life...The fire destroyed everything." Salmal shook his head. "But it really was an opportunity in disguise. We got a chance to think of a new vision for the store."
The Dual Specialty Store of today—its third iteration—is a marvelous place. Descending into the entrance one has the impression of discovering something hidden, with it colors and scents and soft music. The space is small, but expertly laid out, and from the vantage point of the entrance steps you can gaze upon its colorful wares with satisfaction.
Though the store has changed, the mission hasn't: "The real mission of the Specialty Store is to make the community more aware of Indian culture and cooking," Salmal explained. It's a mission that has been lovingly and thoughtfully pursued. The selection is thorough and no-frills, with bulk-sized packages aimed at eager enthusiasts rather than curious beginners.
In those aisles you'll find spices, herbs, salts, rices, beans, legumes, oils and flours in all colors of the rainbow. Whatever you might imagine needing—from avocado and mustard oil to sorghum flour and red Sri Lankan rice—you'll find at Dual Specialty.Spices are the real star: "We have more than 400 herbs and spices from South America to Europe to India, even Native American herbs, like Goldenseal." I noticed some interesting ones among the lot: powdered dandelion, burdock and Kava Kava root, smoked black salts, fiery red Aleppo, as well as red Moroccan clay and dusty green henna and tiny packages of Naga Jolokia Sea Salt (the "hottest salt in the world"). The few fresh ingredients are another star: fresh curry leaves and makrud lime leaves, Chinese bitter gourd, Indian squash, and Samal's favorite, nobby orange bits of fresh turmeric. Salmal picked up a root, "this is mukhi, hmn, what is that in English." He called over a fellow employee, to discuss. (Mukhi is Bangladeshi for taro.)
Dual puts its own spin on popular staples, like chili-spiced crystallized ginger and masala cashews, and they have their own line of beauty products, as well, which they source from Morocco ("The women there, muah!" Samal kissed his fingers. "They are seventy but look thirty.") All the spices are still packed and labeled by the small staff. "We make many of our own blends here, in house. This garam masala we make, it's the best. And see, we tell people how to use things, on the labels. People kept asking how to cook things, so we thought we'd help by printing it out.
"Another persisting feature: the beer selection, 400+ labels strong. "We always had the beer. We had to have the beer. It's the East Village. People love drinking."