Ailsa Craig Onions
Some Kind of Zucchini and/or Summer Squash
Notes from the Farm
Ok, I lied... I'm giving you Fennel and Radicchio more than once this year... I just had to, it was too good to pass up.
And, you know, I get it, they are not everyone's favorite base ingredient... but I'ma skip the part where I manufacture some sort of emotive agricultural statement and really walk you through it... it'll be good, I swear.
Golden Beets: These are the sweetest of all the beets, don't stain your counter tops and are great in any situation. They sometimes get black blemishes, but those don't change the taste at all. Try them grated through a cheese grater, as a stand alone salad, or a taco topping.
Broccoli: We roast most everything, for ease, for flavor, for fun. Roasted broccoli is a regular menu item for us. The thing with fresh broccoli is that it doesn't last long, eat it up in a couple of days for your best shot at something special
Romanesco: This is in no way different than any type of Cauliflower, a little nutty flavor, great fresh or roasted.
Cucumbers: At first, cucumbers are easy, just eat them... but after a few weeks, they can kind of sneak up on you. When you're sick of cucumber sandwiches, make the move to cucumber drinks... with mint tea, cucumber lemonade, cucumber lime vodka spritzers... it's endless.
Beatrice Eggplant: This is one of my favorite eggplants to grow or eat. It doesn't need to be skinned or sweat/salted. It's creamy, great on the grill, perfect for babaganoush, and even better as buffalo style eggplant wings... look it up... trust me.
Orion Fennel: Ok, here we go... I get it, fennel isn't for everyone... or is it. When cut up and caramelized in a pan with some butter or oil, it tastes like sweet onion, very sweet onion. It's perfect added to almost anything once it's cooked down, and even better when paired with onion. It's the base of all the best tomato sauces, super with chicken or pork, amazing on pizza. I make a pizza that has just caramelized onions and fennel and a little good olive oil... no cheese needed.
The stalks and fronds cut up super fine and added to tuna salad is stupid good.
Napa Cabbage: So this isn't really a cabbage, it isn't really a lettuce... but you can do both things with it. We do make a slaw out of it, we more often cut it into fine ribbons and eat it as salad, lightly dressed, mixed with nuts and dry fruit. It's great cut lengthwise and grilled, it holds up in noodle dishes, it's great on sandwiches or burgers... I think if I could only have one fresh lettuce style green, it'd be napa cabbage.
Ailsa Craig Onions: Just slow cook some onions in a pan, everyone will ask what you're making... it'll smell that good. We just went to a farm tour and brought a pot of sauteed onions with just a hint of tarragon and caraway seed... it was the dopest. Onions are a main dish.
Radicchio: Ok, I know... it's a little rough. It takes more than a few merit badges to be able to enjoy Radicchio. Sweet acid is your friend. Lime juice and maple syrup with some salt as a dressing, cut fine and let to marinate for a half hour or hour. Halved and grilled with a white wine vinegar, topped with a dry hard cheese. Roasted in quarters with a honey-thyme glaze... Sweet Acid. Trust Me.
Zucchini: Is zucchini... you're on your own... it's the greatest filler vegetable ever grown... and your way of cooking it is as good as anyones.
I know that some of these vegetables take some work... I know that... and I know that everyone is busy and eating shouldn't be a struggle... But I also know that sometimes the chore of cooking can be as good as, or greater of, an escape as any other crutch out there.
I hope that on some level, you're going to get this radicchio and say “sorry everyone, I've got to go prep the radicchio, dinner won't be for a while”... and you'll get lost, in a cookbook, on a website, in the rhythm of slicing down the bias of that beautiful, white streaked, red little cabbage looking thing...
Fennel-and-Sweet-Onion Pizza with Green Olives
1 package active dry yeast ( 1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup brown ale
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup Pernod
1 cup chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper
1 very large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pound shredded Trugole or fresh Asiago cheese
8 large pitted green Sicilian olives, coarsely chopped
Basil leaves, for garnish
make the dough
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, honey and 1/4 cup of warm water. Let stand until foaming, about 4 minutes. Add the 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and the whole-wheat flour, ale, olive oil, salt and 1/2 cup of water and mix at medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 2 minutes. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until very billowy, about 1 hour.
meanwhile make the toppings
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the fennel and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wine and Pernod. Return the pan to moderate heat and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the skillet. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, turning the fennel once, until very tender and the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the fennel to a cutting board and coarsely chop it.
Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until the onion is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent scorching.
Preheat the oven to 500°. Preheat a pizza stone as close to the oven bottom as possible for 20 minutes. Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 balls. Set the balls on an oiled baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let stand for 15 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll or stretch one dough ball to a 10-inch round. Set the round on a floured pizza peel, shaking it gently so it doesn’t stick. Brush the edge of the dough with oil. Add one-fourth of the cheese, followed by one-fourth each of the braised fennel, caramelized onion and olives. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake until bubbling on top and the crust is deeply golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, sprinkle with basil and cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Marinated Radicchio & Beet Salad with Goat Cheese IngredientsFor the Vinaigrette
¼ cup (heaping) minced shallots (from about 1 medium or large shallot)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Beets
1 pound beets, scrubbed thoroughly, tops trimmed and discarded
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2¾ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the Radicchio
1 medium head radicchio (outer leaves and cores removed and discarded, leaves torn into 3-inch pieces)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Goat Cheese Balls
2 ounces pistachios (about ½ cup)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces goat cheese
InstructionsTo make the vinaigrette
Combine the shallots, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to marinate the shallots. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine. Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk to recombine the ingredients before using.
To prepare the beets
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Put the beets in a baking dish in a single layer, drizzle with the olive oil, season with 2 teaspoons of the salt, and toss to coat the beets with the oil, salt, and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and roast the beets for about 1 hour, until they are tender when pierced with a toothpick or fork. Remove the beets from the oven and remove the foil, being careful not to burn yourself from the steam that will arise from the pan. Set the beets aside until they are cool enough to handle. Rub the beets with a clean dish towel to remove their skins and discard the skins. If using large beets, slice them ½-inch thick and cut the beets into roughly 1-inch segments. Cut medium or small beets into 1-inch pieces.
Put the beets in a medium bowl, drizzle with the lemon juice and half of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the remaining ¾ teaspoon of salt and toss to coat the beets with the vinaigrette, lemon juice, and salt. Set the beets aside while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients, or for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, to prepare the radicchio, put the radicchio leaves in a medium bowl and drizzle the remaining half of the vinaigrette and the lemon juice over the radicchio. Sprinkle the salt over the radicchio and toss to coat the radicchio with the vinaigrette, lemon, and salt. Set the radicchio aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
To prepare the cheese balls
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and fragrant, shaking the baking sheet and rotating it from front to back halfway through the cooking time so the nuts brown evenly. Remove the pistachios from the oven and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Put the pistachios in a medium bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and toss to coat the nuts evenly with the olive oil and salt. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board, finely chop them, and return the chopped nuts to the bowl they were tossed in. Finely grate the zest of half of a lemon over the nuts and toss to distribute the zest.
Roll the cheese into 24 ¼-ounce (bite-sized) balls. Working a few at a time, toss the cheese balls into the bowl with the nuts and roll to coat the cheese on all sides with the nuts. Transfer the pistachio covered cheese balls to a plate or a small baking sheet and continue coating the remaining cheese balls with the remaining nuts in the same way.
Lift one-third of the radicchio leaves out of the bowl and scatter the leaves to cover the bottom of a large platter. Scatter one-third of the marinated beets over the radicchio and nestle 8 of the cheese balls among the radicchio and beets. Repeat, building a second layer with another third of the radicchio, another third of the beets, and 8 more cheese balls. Build a final layer using the remaining radicchio and the remaining beets and nestling the remaining cheese balls among them.