From the Field
This week you'll find some familiar favorites and new additions to your CSA box. You're getting either Christophene- that prickly looking pear-shaped squash - or green papaya this week, which are great in asian slaws, curries, and creamy baked dishes. Christophene, a type of cucurbit, is the common name for this vegetable in the Caribbean, but it goes by many other names including chayote, mirliton and chu- chu. You're also receiving a bunch of fresh moringa leaves - you may have only heard about this 'miracle-food' recently - but it's been growing on the farm here for years now, and is known to have been used for its health and nutritional benefits for thousands of years. Check out the recipes and information below for more on how to prepare these tasty veggies. Don't forget, we're always curious to know how you've been using your CSA box - send us your favorite recipes!
Love and vegetables,
Claudia and the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
@ top: the pumpkin patch at Ridge to Reef Farm
What's that Food? Moringa
Native to the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India, Moringa oleifera is often referred to as the "Miracle Tree" for its vast nutritional and health properties, and its potential to boost food security and improve nutrition in developing countries. Many parts of the plant are edible, including the leaves, flowers, pods and seeds.
The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant - they are a significant source of Vitamins A, C, and B6, Calcium, Potassium, and Protein. To remove the leaves, hold the stem in one hand and slide the fingers of your other hand along it, against the direction of growth. Leaves can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked briefly just like spinach. Try one of the recipes below!
Guacamole Dip with Moringa LeavesOne of the tastiest dips in the world is guacamole. Made up of the highly nutritious avocado fruit, it makes a nice compliment to the highly nutritious Moringa. Combining the two makes for a healthy zesty dip.
1 Ripe Avocado (meat scooped and mashed)
1/4 cup Moringa (blanched and minced)
1 medium size red onion (chopped)
1 chili pepper (stem and seeds removed, minced)
1 medium size tomato (seeds and pulp removed, diced)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Cilantro (minced)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Clean and cut Avocado in half, remove seed and scoop out the flesh.
• Mash Avocado and set aside.
• Blanch Moringa leaves on boiling water, minced to almost pasty then, mix it together with avocado.
• Cut tomatoes and scoop out the pulp and seeds, dice and mix with avocado.
• Peel and chop onions and cilantro and mix it to mashed avocado.
• Add in salt and pepper and lemon juice.
• Fold all ingredients together and make sure to evenly distribute everything in the mixture.
• Leave it in the fridge to chill.
• Serve with nachos for snack or as party cocktail dip.
Recipe courtesy Moringa Source
Moringa Leaves Gulay
1 cup coconut milk, diluted with 1 cup water
1 cup tofu
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/8 tsp. sea salt
6 cups moringa leaves, washed and sorted
4 pieces chili peppers, crushed (optional)
• Boil coconut milk, tofu, garlic and onion for 10 minutes. • Season with salt, stirring the mixture continuously. • Add moringa leaves and crushed chili peppers. • Cook 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.
Recipe courtesy Victoria White of Moringa Tress of Life
Moringa - Meal Suggestions
Salads: Use Moringa as the 1st ingredient in your salad because of its high nutritional value. Then add in red lettuce, bib, sprouts, raw veggies, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and anything else. Make sure you eat one huge, healthy salad a day at least. Two would be even better.
Quiche and Egg Dishes: Substitute Moringa leaves for spinach leaves in Quiche or put both in. Add to eggs or omelets just before serving. It really is a wonderful addition to these foods.
Green Drinks and Smoothies: Combine juice, Moringa fresh or dried powder, Spirulina, fresh fruit, and blend. You can do a smoothie with yogurt instead. Moringa will boost the nutrition of every food you add it to.
Sandwiches: Use Moringa leaves instead of lettuce for higher nutrition.
Cottage Cheese: Add fresh Moringa leaves and pineapple chucks to your cottage cheese dish.
Yogurt: Add fresh or dried Moringa to your helping of home made yogurt.
Italian Cooking: Add fresh Moringa leaves just before serving the food to preserve heat sensitive nutrients.
Pizza: Add fresh leaves as a topping once the pizza is ready to serve.
Steamed Vegetables Dishes: Add Moringa leaves to other steamed vegetables when they are almost finished cooking. Heat destroys the Vitamin C and enzymes present in the fresh leaves.
Tea: Use fresh leaves, fresh flowers, or dried powder to make a wonderful tea. I combine Moringa with different additional herbs such as ginko, ginseng, and green tea. It is great by itself to increase energy and reduce stress. If I drink it before bed, I sleep sounder and wake up much fresher.
Excerpt courtesy Kate Freer in "How to Use Moringa Leaves and Flowers in American Dishes"
Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad (Goi Du Du)
1 large green papaya, with skin peeled away with a vegetable peeler
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a grater
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 scallion, finely minced
1/4 cup of high-quality fish sauce
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of lime juice (or the juice from 2 to 3 limes)
1/4 tsp of lime zest
2 Thai bird chilies, sliced cross-wise (optional)
roasted cashews or peanuts, to garnish
thai basil or cilantro, to garnish
• First, peel the hard green papaya with a vegetable peeler (if you haven't done so already). Then, cut the papaya in half, lengthwise, and use a spoon to scrape away all of the seeds from the inside. Now, you can either use a fancy mandolin or a knife to finely julienne the papaya into thin matchstick-sized strips. You want the strips to be as narrow as possible, so that they can absorb the bright salad dressing. However, I would advise against using a shredder here, because shredded papaya makes the salad look a tad sloppy and unrefined.
• However, you can shred the carrots with a regular grater because the green papaya is the star of this slaw, while the carrots are almost an afterthought.
• Meanwhile, combine the lime juice, lime zest, fish sauce, garlic, scallions, Thai bird chilies, and sugar with a whisk, making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Drizzle the finished dressing over the shredded carrots and julienned papaya strips, and stir well to combine. You can serve this immediately, or marinate it in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to meld. This slaw keeps in the fridge for up to a week. When you serve it, just strain away the excess dressing.
• Finally, serve the slaw with cilantro or basil, and roasted cashews or peanuts as garnish, and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of the blog Passionate Eater
ORIENTAL MIXED VEGETABLE SALAD
1 christophene, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 carrot peeled and cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup green beans, cut into one inch pieces
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs chopped parsley
1 tbs chopped chadon beni or cilantro
1 tbs chopped chives
• Steam vegetables until tender crisp, about four minutes for each type, remove and cool.
• Heat oil in a small sauce pan, add butter and stir, add garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil.
• Cook for a few minutes, just until incorporated.
• Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Pour dressing onto vegetables and toss.
Recipe courtesy Wendy Mahamut
3 lbs christophene
1 lb tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
• Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices.
• Peel christophenes, slice in half lengthways then slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.
• Steam christophenes with a little salt for five minutes.
• Drain christophene.
• Combine crumb with parsley, oregano, pepper, salt, parmesan cheese, and garlic.
• Add one tablespoon oil and combine.
• Lightly grease a casserole dish, place one row of christophene, then a row of tomatoes, continue until all the vegetables are used up and are in an overlapping fashion.
• Sprinkle with parmesan mixture.
• Drizzle on olive oil.
• Bake for 30 minutes until crust is browned.
Serves 6 to 8
Recipe courtesy Wendy Mahamut
This Week's Harvest
Salad Mix - gourmet lettuce blend
Eggplant - Asian or Italian
Basil - Genovese
Parsley - Italian flat leaf
Christophene or Green Papaya
Moringa - leaves
Tomatoes - heirloom
Cherry Tomatoes - sungold & black cherry
Free Farm Stay for CSA Members! (A $125 value!)
Do you ever wonder what life at the farm is like? Well, we would love for you to experience it with us! Please take this opportunity to volunteer in the gardens, join us for a community dinner, and retreat to your private cabana after dark...
Call us at 340.220.0466 to make your reservations. See you soon!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Gifft Hill School
St. John 4-6 pm Thursday
Havensight, St. Thomas 11 am -1 pm Thursday
Christiansted, St. Croix 3-5 pm Saturday
Frederiksted, St. Croix 2-4 pm Saturday
FARM WISH LIST
Got some things laying around that we can re-use in the CSA?
Last season we received egg cartons, more reusable bags, a blender, some garden hoses, a trash bin, and other great things that we use and were saved from going to the landfill or rotting in a shed. THANK YOU!
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).