This is the week I gave my CSA away because I was traveling. I was in Middle America missing good food and dreaming about Foxtail Farms and “the box!” Well, as it turns out, we came home a couple of days early, and my darling friend Kate, knowing we would be home, split her share, so I could have some of the week’s bounty! Not only did she split the share for me, but she washed and bagged everything and hand delivered it! I’m not sure I am worthy of such a friend!
This week brought napa cabbage, cucumbers, yellow squash, scallions, beets, baby field greens, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas. As usual, everything was perky and bright! Max helped me unload the bag and when his eyes fell on the giant cuke, he turned to me and said excitedly, “Refrigerator pickles, Mom?” After a week of eating lots of junk food, I dreaded the idea of adding more salt and sugar to our diet, but if you had seen those eyes, you would have conceded as well! Actually, all I had to do was chop the cucumber and Max mixed up the brine. We put the cuke into a glass pyrex container, topped the vegetable with about 1/2 cup white vinegar, 4 Tbs. of sugar and 1 Tbs. kosher salt. The lid got put on and the whole thing shaken until the salt and sugar dissolved. Then we put it in the fridge and ate them with our lunch of black bean burritos.
Max spent most of the day shooting marshmallows out of a tube that ran through a ladder he set up in the backyard. He used a ten foot length of PVC and placed it through a hole in in a bucket and one of the tool holes in the ladder to brace it. He then attached his dad’s air compressor hose to the bottom of the tube. He climbed the ladder, filled the tube with marshmallows and then went below for the launch. Needless to say, after this very creative day he worked up a substantial appetite and decided to make noodles for dinner. I decided to make a napa cabbage salad to serve along side.
Max’s Spicy Soba Noodles
This napa salad recipe comes from one of my co-workers. It’s a salad that is normally served with crushed ramen noodles and dried cranberries, but having neither in the pantry, I decided to experiment. Having lived in Latin America makes it very difficult for me to eat local. I love tropical foods and flavors, and especially in the summer. This salad included the CSA napa, snap peas, summer squash and scallions, but also sported a nice topping of toasted coconut! I’ll post both recipes for you to try. They need to marinade a little before serving as napa can sometimes be a little bitter if it is really fresh.
Napa Cabage Salad – Original Recipe
- 1 small head napa cabbage chopped
- 1/2 head red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 cup whole almonds or walnuts toasted
- 6 Tbs. sesame seeds toasted
- 1 package ramen noodles crushed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup canola oil (olive is a little heavy, but fine to use)
- 4 Tbs. sugar
- 6 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- freshly ground black pepper (I like a lot)
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- splash of water
The Experimental Recipe
- 1 small head napa cabbage
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut toasted
- 1 cup chopped walnuts toasted
- 1 cup snap peas
- 1 small summer squash
To be honest, this salad is a little bit of a pain to make. After cutting the napa, scallions and mint, I prepped the snap peas by removing the strings and diced the squash. I tossed the peas and squash in a hot pan with just a titch of oil for a few minutes just to soften a little. I set those on a plate in the freezer to cool. Then I set to toasting. I toasted the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat stirring and tossing constantly. As soon as I see them begin to brown, I remove to a plate to cool. I did the same with the coconut. Toast it in a pan until it turns from white to golden brown and then immediately turn out onto a cool plate. Once the salad ingredients are made, it’s a good idea to toss everything except the nuts in the vinaigrette and refrigerate for about an hour. This salad improves with a little rest time! Sprinkle the top with the toasted walnuts or almonds just before serving. Jeff didn’t like the summer squash, and I thought almonds would have been better than walnuts. Overall, it was quite tasty and a great accompaniment to Max’s Spicy Soba Noodles. The Soba Noodles were tossed in the same vinaigrette as the salad only we added 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper and topped the dish with basil.