Hello, friends. It's been another exciting week on the farm as we pass the Solstice and officially proceed into summer. Summer always feels to me like a parade of new flavors, textures, and sights, each more delicious and refreshing than the last. As each fruit or vegetable passes us, there's always something new and exciting coming into the spotlight, and one more just coming into view. For me, Winter is marked by consistency and the comfort of tubers, squash, cabbage, and salad. By contrast, this procession of summer treats ends up helping to mark the passage of time, and serves as a reminder to savor the moments of summer as they come.
On that note, this week, we're saying goodbye to several items passing their prime, and welcoming some of the first telltale fruits of summer. In addition to zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and basil, we're also very pleased to again have salad--both lettuce and tender brassicas--hardier "braising"/ stir-fry mix, as well as delicately tender rainbow carrots. We're trying some new practices and varieties this year to try to offer a variety of salad greens for as much of summer as possible alongside our usual summer fare. Right now, they're absolutely perfect.
What We're Eating
While many veggies are marked by their seasonality, sorrel is one that we can enjoy year-round. It's especially perfect and refreshing as we start to face off against the hot and muggy days of summer. Raw, sorrel's sour lemonade flavor something most people either love or hate. However you feel about it though, you should definitely try it cooked, which like rhubarb moderates its bite. It's used especially often in French cuisine, with sorrel soup a culinary standard, and creamy sorrel sauces pairing especially well fowl and seafood (or wild mushrooms). You can find recipes for each here and here. Our fresh shallots would be perfect in place of onions in the first. The soup is also excellent chilled, in which case you should follow that recipe the same, then chill for two to three hours before serving, stirred and garnished before serving. (As a side note, I love that linked blog, where you can find the perfect recipe for most any rare, foraged, unusual, or seasonal ingredient.)
Carrots are another seasonal staple great for beating the heat. Ours are tender and sweet no matter how you cook them, but to best enjoy those lovely colors try them raw or poached. I only learned about poaching carrots recently, but it came as a revelation. Rainbow carrots are best sliced into large rounds, split lengthwise, or left whole. Simply cover with water in a pan, bring to a simmer and poach for 8 minutes or until fork tender, then remove from the pan. Then keep simmering the liquid until reduced by 3/4, and it will become a sweet, syrupy carrot sauce. Whisk it together with olive oil, an acid, and any desired spices or herbs, pour over the carrots and serve. For an example recipe, see Michael Solomonov's recipe from the excellent Zahav cookbooks. Incidentally, this is my favorite cookbook, and the vegetable recipes in particular are creative and unique, while remaining simple without relying on expensive or uncommon ingredients.