Ch-ch-ch-changes (RIP Thin White Duke) happening on the farm with the onset of this chilling weather (finally!). If you find that some of veggies you've enjoyed over the last couple of months suddenly taste a bit different, you aren't imagining things! Chilling weather actually causes chemical reactions in plants, especially of the brassicaceae family. Sucrose and glucose, for example, are water soluble sugars in plants. By mobilizing their stored sugars during bouts of colder weather, a plant can actually lower the temperature at which it will itself freeze, thus ensuring its continued survival throughout our winter. (Cool, huh?) Consequentially, these sugars make our beloved kales and chards and collards sweet to taste! So just keep your fingers crossed that our Houston winter sticks around for a minute or two so that we may delight in its sweet splendor!
Each farm share is receiving bunches of each kale varietal: Red Winter, Lacinato (Dino), and the Dwarf Blue Curled. They've all succumbed to the deliciousness of cold tolerance survival tactics, but my favorite of the three this week is the Lacinato, otherwise know as Dino Kale, because in its newfound sweetness it has also seemed to acquired a distinct nuttiness about it... somewhere between an almond and a walnut. So while the Red Winter and Dwarf Blue Curled kales are prime for cooking up, I would hold off on the Lacinato and actually enjoy it raw in a salad. Sure the leaves aren't super tender, but you can easily remedy this by "massaging" (squishing and squashing in your hand) the leaves before adding your dressing.
And speaking of salad dressings, I've recently taken my imagination a little too far and concocted a sorrel-grapefruit vinaigrette with which I'm actually quite pleased! It goes as follows...
1/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, the pulpier the better in my humble opinion
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey (or to taste)
Pinch or two of salt and fresh ground pepper
2-3 sorrel leaves (depending on size and your tastes)
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a mason jar, seal it tightly, and shake it up baby! Once the vinaigrette is mixed, muddle in the sorrel leaves. Spoon across your salad as desired! (pulp and leaves and all, yes!)