No, Not Your Warm Plaid Shirt...Fennel!
I don't think some of us realize what a treat this funky plant brings. In many parts, fennel is nothing more than a pizza seasoning....a fate that, while very tasty, marginalizes the history and awesomeness of this bulbous herby thing. Fennel has a battle named after it! How many veggies can say that?! In Greek times it was called marathron and grew in the field of a great battle. Apparently there were no heros in the battle cause they named it after a plant. I can only imagine the soldiers taking a break to bake up some ziti. It's also said that knowledge was delivered to the gods in stalks of fennel (filled with coal for some reason, but we won't go there).
Revered in previous cultures for it's medicinal and culinary properties, it's not completely common that every part of a plant is not only edible, but unique and bursting with flavor. Fennel gives us a crunchy and slightly sweet bulb, a slightly spicier set of stalks and leaves, and even spicier flowers and seeds that all transport you directly to cinque terre (well maybe not directly).
Befriend this parsley/carrot/dill cousin for it will add variety to your flavor chest. Toss it in just about any dish that could use a little Italian flare! In our household we just chop up the bulb into strips, toss with some oil, spread in a pan and bake with parmesan sprinkled atop. They turn into some kind of pizza french fry. Seriously.
They're not just flavorful, but nutritious and healing too. They've got a secret ingredient that is being studied for it's cancer-disrupting action. It's called anethole and apparently shuts down some intercellular signaling doohicky. It's also an anti-inflammatory and packed with Vitamin C and micro-nutrients and minerals.
This Week's Box Contents & Local Items
There's a rumor brewing.....local blueberries are ripening on their magical little trees as we speak....we're so excited the whole world is taking a blue-ish tint...
Here's what will be available from local farms on our website this week (the best selection of local produce in the state - guaranteed). Items with a (*) are only available in the Local Box:
In Local Boxes ($34.99) this week (Jun 7-11):
- Blue Potatoes* - Home Sweet Farm
- Mangos - G&S Groves
- Swiss Chard - TX Natural
- Carrots - Various
- Blackberries - Naegelin
- Green Tomatoes - Ringger
- Fennel - Wiley Farm
- Corn - Acadian
- Peaches - Lundgren
- Cucumber - Acadian
- Green Bell Peppers - My Father's Farm
Last Week's (May 31-Jun 4) Local Box Video:
In Farmstead Grilling Boxes this week (Jun 7-11)- Just Add Meat:
- Mighty Mick Brownies - Mary Louise
- Creamy Goat Cheese Chevre - Pure Luck
- Crusty Baguette Rolls - Sweetish Hill
- Sweet & Spicy Mango Chutney - Kala's Cuisine
Fresh, Prepared Meal Selection for this week:
Dish #1 - Penne Primavera w/ Sun-Gold Tomatoes, Zucchini, Parmesan & Herbs(1 pint - serves 1 for lunch) - Summer is just about here, but we couldn't let spring slip away without doing a proper Pasta Primavera. This dish can easily be humdrum if not cared for, but we do it justice by letting the fresh vegetables speak for themselves. Sweet corn, squash and spring onions sauteed in fruity olive oil with delicious Sun Gold tomatoes, fresh basil & lemon zest. Add some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and its goodbye spring, hello hot hot summer.
-Ingredients: semolina pasta, corn, squash, tomato, market vegetables, olive oil, parmesan, lemon, herbs, salt, pepper
Dish #2 - Potato Salad w/ Bacon, Spring Onions, Arugula, & Whole Grain Dijon(1 pint) - A fresh twist on German potato salad using beautiful red skins from Johnny Bush Farms in Stockdale, TX outside San Antonio. Crisp pieces of all-natural, Niman Ranch bacon, sweet spring onions & peppery arugula get tossed with tender spuds and tangy Dijon mustard for a potato salad that could stand all on it's own. Or let it be a quick and easy side to your dinner, paired with one of our fresh salads for a wholesome meal.
-Ingredients: potato, mustard, spring onion, arugula, garlic, vinegar, bacon, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper
Produce from Local Farms
- Arugula, Baby-Animal Farm
- Basil, Live-BellaVerdi
- Beets and Carrots Juicing-My Father's Farm
- Beets, Red-Various
- Carrots with Tops-Various
- Chard-Texas Natural
- Corn-Acadian Family Farm, J&B Farm
- Cucumbers-Acadian Family Farm
- Daikon Radish-Tecolote
- Fennel-Ringger Family Farm, Wiley Farm
- Garlic-Ringger Family Farm
- Green Beans-Various
- Green Cabbage-Naegelin
- Herbs-Pure Luck
- Kale-Texas Natural
- Kohlrabi-Ringger Family Farm
- Leeks-Montesino, My Father's Farm
Produce from Local Farms
- Mushroom, Crimini-Kitchen Pride
- Mushroom, Oyster-Kitchen Pride
- Mushroom, Port caps-Kitchen Pride
- Mushroom, Shitake-Kitchen Pride
- Mushroom, White-Kitchen Pride
- Pea Shoots-Bluebonnet
- Pepper, Green Bell-My Father's Farm
- Potates, Red-Naegelin
- Potatoes, yukon-Oak Hill
- Radish, Watermelon-Ringger Family Farm
- Red Cabbage-Ringger Family Farm
- Sprouts, All-Groovy Greens
- Summer Squash-Various
- Tomato, Cherry-Naegelin
- Tomato, Golden Cherry-Oak Hill
- Tomato, Green-Ringger Family Farm
- Berries, Blackberries-Naegelin
- Peaches-Caskey, Lundgren
Events & Local Food Happenings Around Town
Savvy Kids Conference
-$8, kids under 5 Free
-St Edwards University
Kids will be engaged from the moment they walk in the door and can look forward to a kid themed, energetic atmosphere; hands on displays and workshops; audience stage participation; and an Exhibitor Booth Activity Passport challenge.
- Discover kid-focused products and services on how to become ‘fit' environmentally, financially, physically and socio-economically.
- Choose among multiple stages of entertaining workshops and demonstrations.
- Participate in over 40 vendor-sponsored booth activities.
- Enroll in Fun Sessions: educational workshops for K-8th graders, parents, and families held during the conference. First session free with registration!
- Get energized in the Kids Playland with climbing walls, inflatables, face painting, balloons and more.
- Discover events, activities, and organizations which get kids and families involved in the Austin community.
- Collect LOTS of take home goodies.
Stop by the greenling booth to say hi and be sure to check out the gardening workshops led by the Sustainable Food Center and Urban Roots!
See more & register here
Summer Soiree, Local Food Tasting
-June 19, 6-9pm
- The Talkhouse
Mix, Mingle and Munch! Join us in downtown Austin this month for our community potluck. You're welcome to bring something, but you don't have to. All dishes should please include at least one ingredient of locally produced, organically grown food. Dishes will be in the running for inclusion is our upcoming cookbook. Plus, the dish that gets the most votes overall that night wins a FREE Local Box!! You get to be famous and get a free box of $34.99 of local, seasonal veggies. RSVP by calling or emailing Greenling.com (512-440-8449) or emailing jevans AT greenling.com.
Learn More here
Fun on the Farm - Farm Camp
-June 14-18 or 21-25, 9am-3:30pm
-$250 (siblings $225, some scholarships available)
-Green Gate Farms
Would your child like to explore a farm, get dirty, learn about nature, be a farmer? Is your child ages 7-11? The Green Gate Farms Farm Camp is for you! Kids will spend mornings working with farmers in the fields and taking care of animals. Afternoons will feature workshops taught by local farming experts. How cool is that? There will be tons of fun activities and also time to just explore the farm.
Learn more here
Outstanding in the Field
-Oct 10th(sold out) & 12th
-Boggy Creek Farm
Speaking of OITF, the tickets in the Farm To Plate auction item are to the sold-out October 10th dinner. OITF is a world-wide touring event featuring the best food in the world prepared by the best chefs in the world. Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler are long time friends of Outstanding in the Field. Back in 2004 on their first cross-country farm dinner tour, they made their last stop in Austin and found the welcoming embrace of Boggy Creek. They return this October for 2 dates only. Chef James Holmes of Olivia is their guest chef. Get your tickets for Oct 12th soon as they sell out quickly.
Learn more here
Pasta w/ Green Tomato Sauce
This quick, anytime pasta dish works well for a quick weekday supper or for late evening dining. Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese creates a creamy sauce when combined with the pasta water. Crispy bacon, sweet tomatoes and vibrant parsley accent the warm, white spaghetti strands. Always serve pasta on warmed plates.
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound green tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini
- 1/2 pound cappelini pasta
- 2/3 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, plus more for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain and reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 60 seconds.
Raise the heat to medium high. Add the tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and start to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and pepperoncini and cook until the some of the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes are a bit saucy.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Put the drained pasta back into the pot and add the cooked tomatoes, cheese, 1/2 cup parsley and cooked bacon. Toss until combined, adding reserved pasta water to moisten, if necessary. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.
Divide the pasta among warm plates, sprinkle with additional parsley and serve immediately.
For More Recipes Check Out The Eating Out of the Local Box Blog. Also make sure to become a fan of Greenling on Facebook to get weekly recipes from Woman With A Whisk & The Best of Thymes food bloggers.