Week #1 Food Prep Guide + RECIPE: Spruce Tip Shortbread
We're so excited to be back at it for the season! As soon as Mother's Day (and all of the flower chaos that comes with it) ended, we turned our focus back to the regular weekly crops. As you can tell by all the green goodness, it's salad and stir fry season; our family is really enjoying all of the fresh flavors of late spring. Here's what you can expect for the first box of the year:
We recommend that you set aside 15-30 minutes to unload your produce and do some quick preparations to help your food last as long as possible. Please consider the following preparation tips to make the most of your purchase.
*Wash all produce before use and either scrub or remove the peels.*
*Pickle or freeze anything you don’t plan to cook in 3-5 days.*
Purple bok choy and green tatsoi. Briefly submerge the greens in cold water to remove any residual soil and to refresh the leaves. Gently lift the greens into a salad spinner to remove as much excess water as possible. If you don’t have a salad spinner (though we really do find a big difference in storage time when a salad spinner is used instead) you can also place the greens on a paper towel-lined cooling rack, then pat dry with more paper towels. Either store in a lidded container lined with a layer of dry paper towel in the fridge, or blanch (boil in salted water for 30 seconds, then shock in a bowl of ice water) and store in an airtight container in the freezer. The leaves can be used in stir fry or anywhere that you like to use spinach. We've also included flowering heads; these are sweet and tender, plus they add some extra fiber and calories that many spring greens are lacking. Use these in a stir fry or however you enjoy eating broccoli or rapini.
Summer crisp lettuce. Cut the root end away to make loose leaves. Briefly submerge the greens in cold water to remove any residual soil and to refresh the leaves. Gently lift the greens into a salad spinner to remove as much excess water as possible. If you don’t have a salad spinner (though we really do find a big difference in storage time when a salad spinner is used instead) you can also place the greens on a paper towel-lined cooling rack, then pat dry with more paper towels. Store in a lidded container lined with a layer of dry paper towel.
Lemon balm & chives. Place each bunch of herbs in its own mason jar or cup and add a few inches of clean water, just enough to cover the bottom couple of inches of the stems of the herbs. Drape a plastic bag loosely over the top of the leaves, allowing some air to circulate. If your kitchen is warm, put them in the back of your fridge. If you won't use them within a few days, freeze chopped chives into ice cube trays topped with olive oil. Lemon balm can be infused into simple syrup and stored in the fridge, made into pesto or chimichurri and frozen, or tied and hung upside down to dry in a dark place.
Green garlic. Green garlic is simply immature garlic that hasn't had a chance to develop paper-covered cloves. It has a sweet, mild garlic flavor and can be used as an aromatic in just about any recipe where you'd use onions, leeks, or garlic. We typically store whole green garlic propped up in a cup on the counter sitting in an inch or two of water, but you can also pre-chop them to save time later in the week. Prepare green garlic exactly like leeks. Trim away the roots and the coarse green part of the tops. Both of these are excellent for making flavorful homemade vegetable or chicken stock, so if you'd like to try that we recommend that you wash away any soil and then place them in an airtight bag or container in the freezer where you can stockpile scraps until you're ready to make a batch. Cut the remaining white/light green section in half lengthwise, then wash under cold running water by fanning the layers to rinse away any sand or soil. Slice as required for your recipe.
Spruce tip sugar. Spruce tips are an outstanding source of vitamin C, and with tasting notes of lemon peel and rosemary they lend themselves well to both sweet and savory applications. These were sustainably foraged from our second farm site, which is also spray-free and uncertified organic. We preserved the spruce tips in sugar and then ground them into a coarse texture. In this form they are lovely for sweetening your favorite tea, used in baking recipes, or combined with an equal amount of water to make simple syrup (perhaps the citrus notes would make for a very special whisky sour!). Spruce tip sugar is shelf stable, but we hope that you'll get right into the kitchen and bake a batch of our slice-and-bake spruce tip shortbread recipe, found below. They're perfect for brunch with tea or coffee.
Slice-and-Bake Spruce Tip Shortbread
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softed to room temperature 1/2 c (100g) spruce tip sugar 1 3/4 c (210g) all-purpose flour 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Add the flour and salt to the stand mixer, then mix on low speed until the dough begins to come together. If it is too crumbly, add 1 tbsp ice water to help it stick to itself.
Dump the dough onto a floured cutting board and shape into a log about 2" in diameter. Roll the log in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until it is well-chilled. Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet with either a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Slice the dough into 1/2" rounds, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with any remaining spruce tip sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges begin to turn brown. Cool to room temperature before serving.