What really happened…

I followed the plan in a way, but wanted to let the arugula/mizuna mix shine. I didn’t want to confuse the flavors. So I didn’t. I’d gotten a heating suggestion for the smoked chicken I had added to the box from Van at Wood Duck Farm. I reheated the chicken as suggested, wrapped in foil until the internal temperature reached 165 (well that was the plan, my thermometer didn’t go off so it was up to 180 when I went back to check). I was worried that I had dried it out, but it was moist and perfect. I served it simply, just warm chicken in a bed of the lettuce mix with just a little salt and pepper. The baby lettuce mix was the ideal complement. This morning I put the chicken carcass on the stove with some fresh herbs, celery, and onions to make a smoky stock. The smell from the kitchen is amazing. The stock will add some richness to tomorrow’s Ciambotta.

Featured Vegetable: Arugula/Mizuna Baby Lettuce Mix

Since this is the one with the shortest shelf life I had better feature it first (and eat it tonight). I admit I was delighted to find this in my box, the flavor of arugula makes me very happy and the mizuna is just as delicious. I was able to find some information on the web concerning mizuna since I have not previously purchased it. This information comes from Speciality Produce.

Mizuna

Seasons/Availability
Mizuna is available year round with a peak season in the fall.

Current Facts
Mizuna, scientific name, Brassica rapa nipponosica, is a cool season Japanese mustard green that has a similar appearance as wild arugula. It belongs to the Brassica rapa family, which is constituted of field mustards and oil producing crops such as rapeseed.

Description/Taste
Mizuna is has long, broad, serrated and deeply cut satin finished leaves with thin trailing stems that meet at its root base. Mizuna’s flavors can be characterized as piquant and bright with a subtle earthiness.

Nutritional Value
The dark green leaves of Mizuna offer most of the plant’s nutrition which provide beta carotene, vitamins and minerals.

Applications
Toss peppery mizuna leaves in stir-fries the last minute of cooking. Mature mizuna makes a perfect substitute for chard or kale. Use this green tossed with a daikon soy vinaigrette as an edible garnish for meats and side dishes. For optimum flavor and texture, use within three to five days of purchase.

Geography/History
Mizuna is native to China, though it has been primarily cultivated in Japan. There are at least sixteen known varieties of mizuna, differing in textures, colors and flavor profiles. In America, mizuna is considered a specialty green and thus, has limited commercial exposure outside of Asian markets and farmer’s markets.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find as concise a description for Arugula, it is very similar, originating in Italy instead of China. Since both of these are baby greens, a salad seems to be the way to go with them, at least this first time. There are cucumbers and tomatoes (future ‘Features’), definitely sounds like a salad.

And after!

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What a beautiful haul! There are zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, micro greens, a mix of arugula and mizuna, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, and jalapeños. And my smoked chicken. All of it looks lovely.

The eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and peppers will be perfect for an Italian stew my mother used to make called Ciambotta (or Giambotta). She alway put in white potatoes but those don’t work for me anymore, so I’m going to skip them. She used to skip the eggplant (she wasn’t a fan), but I love it (this will be the first time I’ve actually had it with the eggplant in it, will be interesting). I think I have some homemade Italian sausage in the freezer that will go well with it. An excellent Sunday dinner.

We are having leftovers tonight, so more as we start working though the box.

Definitely a happy first CSA day!

Tomorrow is the big day!

Tomorrow is my first delivery from Wood Duck Farm’s CSA Program. I opted to add one of their smoked chickens this week to check it out. I will post a photo tomorrow of the bounty!

I plan to share how I use each item. We eat a mostly primal/paleo diet so my recipes will reflect that. I opted to get a full share every other week for two adults rather than a partial share weekly. I think that will work better for us.

See you tomorrow!