Dưa Cải Chua

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. -Joni Mitchell

It’s hard to believe in the middle of winter, when you’re so hungry for fresh veg you can’t stand it, but by mid-spring sometimes you can get greens fatigue. They just keep coming!

That bounty is wonderful, but when you’re running out of ideas for how to eat them fresh, remember how hungry you were for those greens just a couple months ago. Fortunately, your greens don’t have to go the same way as Joni Mitchell’s proverbial paradise.

Cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, and radishes aren’t the only spring and summer veggies you can pickle. Give your mustard and other spicy, peppery greens the same treatment, and you can have a taste of spring even after summer has passed.

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Dưa Cải Chua is a Vietnamese dish of pickled Spicy Asian Mustard Greens. It’s simple to make and easy to customize to your preferred palate—you can adjust to find your perfect balance of salt, sweet, sour, and spice. And best of all, you can make it with what’s in your share and a few common items in your pantry.

You’ll need:
2 bunch mustard greens, about 4 pounds
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of spring onion or white onion
Large pot boiled water
2.5-3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoon sugar
Sriracha, Sambal Oelek, minced Sereno Peppers, or Szechuan Peppercorns
Fish Sauce (optional)
Clean mason jars
A Kraut Source fermentation kit (we sell them at our booth!) or ziplock bags & mason jar lids

Clean and separate your mustard greens and onions. Pick out any leaves that have gotten too yellow—though a little yellow or limpness is ok, as Dưa Cải Chuaa is a great way to use up greens that have languished in the back of your fridge a little longer than you intended (shhh, we won’t tell). A salad spinner an a little chilled tap water will do the trick.

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Dry the leaves and shred, then slice the onions. Some recommend letting the greens air dry and get limp for up to 12 hours. Others to simply pat dry with paper towels. It depends on how much time and counter space you have, and how fresh your mustard greens are. Once your leaves are dry, massage them till they are even more limp and even start to sweat a little. Mix with your onions and garlic and set aside.

Rinse your mason jars with boiling water to sterilize them. While the jars are cooling, use remaining boiled water to make a brine with the salt, sugar, and whatever spices you are adding. Taste with a clean spoon as you go to make sure you like the level of heat and balance of flavors.

Sriracha will produce a sweeter, milder Dưa Cải Chuaa. Sambal oelek will be spicier. Minced serano peppers are more traditional, but can get very spicy very quickly. Sezchuan peppercorns will be a different flavor—making the dish more Chinese than Vietnamese— and the level of heat will depend on how fresh your peppercorns are. Fish sauce will make it saltier and add an extra briny, umami flavor.

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Pack your jars with the blend of mustard greens, onions, and garlic as tightly as possible. Press them down with a rubber spatula, which you can also use to break up air pockets. Pour the brine in with a funnel, until the greens are covered by at least an inch of brine. Don’t overfill your jars though—you want the brine to sit just below the neck of the jar, at least an inch from the lid.

This is when you either screw on your Kraut Source fermentation kit lid or, if you don’t have one, gently press a plastic bag into the mouth of the jar. Fill with tap water, taking care not to spill. The water will press the baggie flush against the top of the brine, making the contents air tight. Secure lip of the baggie to the mouth of the jar with a rubber band.

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Let the Dưa Cải Chuaa sit on your counter for a week. After it’s done fermenting, take your baggies or Kraut Source lid off, and replace with regular mason jar tops. The Dưa Cải Chuaa will keep for months in the fridge unopened, much like kimchi or sauerkraut.

Traditionally, Dưa Cải Chuaa is eaten much like kimchi or kraut, used to add flavor to soups, salads, meats, rice, and more. Add it to stir fry, grain bowls, eggs, or noodle dishes.

 

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If you used Szechuan Peppercorns for more of a Chinese flare, add your pickled greens to Dan-Dan Noodles, a traditional spicy Szechuan dish made with thick, chewy noodles in a spicy soy-based sauce. For a Japanese-style meal, fry some of your Dưa Cải Chuaa (called Takana in Japan) in sesame oil before adding to rice.

Or if you want to stick close to Vietnam, you can make Canh Dưa Cải Chuaaa beef soup with pickled mustard greens. Or add to another Vietnamese dish Thịt Kho. a slow-braised pork dish with eggs. It would also be wonderful in Pho.

 


Farm Notes March 22nd: Walking to Spring CSA is Here!

Hello from Tant Hill Farm! We are so excited about the Spring season and all the surprises it has in store for us The weather has been a little strange but we just go with its flow! Our new baby Chicks are growing so quickly, by July we will have more Organic free range, soy and wheat free eggs to offer! Our Walking to Spring CSA session starts today, pick up at Main Street Farmers Market and Nutrition World Farmers Market.

We are at Nutrition World Farmers Market every Saturday from 11:30am-1pm.

See you at Main Street Farmers Market!

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March 22nd Produce

Here are the items you can expect at Market {M} and in the CSA {CSA}:

  • Toscano Kale {CSA} Red Russian and Siberian Kale {M}: check out this recipe from the Kitchen of Blackwell Smith. Don’t throw your stems away!! Kale Salad with Apples and Peanuts
  • Rainbow {M/CSA} and Giant Ford Hook Swiss Chard {M}: while you can use just about any green in our latest recipe – Chard Onion Cheese Frittata – I like how quick Swiss chard cooks down. Thinly slicing the stems and cooking them with the onions is an added bonus!
  • Dragon Tongue and Spicy Asian Mustard Greens {CSA}: did you know mustard greens are linked to cancer prevention? They are also touted as cholesterol lowering machines, along with kale and collards, so be sure to get your daily dose of these greens! The Spicy Asian Mustard has a Horseradish bite that is tamed when cooked. Mustard Greens are amazing with your scrambled eggs in the morning!
  • Tender Collards {CSA}: Collard Green and Pecan Pesto is a great recipe as the weather is starting to warm. Basil is not the only green you can use for pesto. You can also use your favorite nut if pecans are not your fancy!
  • Red Kitten Spinach {M/CSA}: this is the most beautiful spinach I have ever grown! The dense texture, the arrowhead shape and the stunning burgundy coloring is so vibrant! Check out Blackwell Smiths recipe for Warm Red Kitten Spinach Salad.
  • Organic, Range Free, Soy and Wheat Free Eggs {M}: here is a muffin-type meal that would be great with any number of our greens – Quinoa Kale Bites. A few eggs bind together quinoa, kale (or other greens) and cheese to make a healthy on-the-run meal.
  • Green Onions {CSA}: Add these beauties to any salad or meal.
  • Herbs: Parsley {M/CSA}, Rosemary, Garlic Chives, English Thyme and Sweet Mint {M} Here is a great site on how to store and prepare your herbs. Herbs. The herbs will store well in the bag they come in!
  • Edible Asian and Arugula Flowers {M}. Flowers make a great addition to your Kale salad. If you love presentation, this will take it to another level!
  • Medicinal and Nutrient Dense Chickweed for Smoothies, Teas or Tincture. See Chickweed is a Star for some great info on this amazing Herb!

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison


Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon

Hello!

Are you wondering how to use your bitter melon? Well, I think I found the perfect recipe for carnivores and vegetarians alike. I was searching for a ground beef lettuce wrap recipe and found this one. The sweetness and spices in the recipe are just want you need to balance the bitterness in the melon. I made the recipe with ground beef but I am sure it would be equally as tasty if you substituted tofu. You can also make use of your Red Leaf lettuce in this recipe. I found the large, crunchy leaves worked great as wraps. We hope you enjoy it!

Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon
makes enough for about 4 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bitter melon, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced 1/2″ thick on the bias
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound ground beef or firm tofu
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooked white rice for serving
  • Lettuce for serving

Directions:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the bitter melon, season with salt and pepper and cook until first side is browned, 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is brown and the melon is tender, another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chili power and ginger together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Using the same non-stick pan, saute the beef over medium heat until cooked through. Alternatively, add a little oil to the pan, add the tofu, break it up into little pieces (follow this technique), and brown. Add the garlic, mix with beef/tofu to combine and cook for an additional minute. Add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes, or until the mixture has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with rice and bitter melon in a large lettuce leaf.

Raw Sesame Marinated Kohlrabi

Hello!

Mark and Gina aren’t setting up at market tonight but they will be there to drop off pre-ordered items from 4:30-5pm. Be sure to stop by next week and grab some goodies!

Below is a quick recipe for kohlrabi. We hope you enjoy it!

Raw Sesame Marinated Kohlrabi

Recipe note: this marinade is great for cucumbers too!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 pound kohlrabi (without the stems), about 5 small, peeled and sliced into finger length pieces (about 2″ long x 1/2″ wide)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

  • Place kohlrabi pieces into a dish that holds them in a couple of layers (you don’t want them all stacked on top of each other or they won’t marinate evenly).
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together to combine then pour over the kohlrabi. You can either serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and serve within a few days.

Raw Spicy Pak Choi Salad

Hello!

If you haven’t used the pak choi from last weeks share yet, give this quick, flavorful recipe a try. I used two heads of pak choi because I had one left over from last week but you can easily cut the dressing ingredients in half if you just have one. I plan to serve this with a quick ramen soup but I think it would be great with salmon or tofu and served on rice. I would suggest serving it immediately after tossing the pak choi with the dressing as it will start to wilt and soften fairly quickly.

Have a great weekend!

Raw Spicy Pak Choi Salad
adapted from One Good Dish by David Tanis

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 medium heads of pak choi, about 1-3/4 pounds total, trimmed, cleaned, and ribs and leaves thinly sliced (about 1/8″ thick)
  • Handful of shelled edamame (optional)

Directions:

  • Whisk all ingredients except pak choi together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Toss with pak choi and edamame, if using, and serve.