The Jew And The Carrot

CSA: Lettuce Be Lovers...

By Anna Hanau

  • Print
  • Share Share
Flickr

Like many other CSA members, I have a love/hate relationship with lettuce. Oh it starts off innocent enough — the first tender bunches of arugula in early June herald a summer of fresh green things to come, blissful after a winter of squash and canned tomatoes and covert glances at California produce. Arugula and salad mix give way to the glory of the lettuce family, full heads of bib, romaine, oak leaf. Fractal symmetry amazes, salad possibilities tantalize.

But the magic fades quickly. Lettuce, again? Where are the tomatoes? The bushy purple-green heads languish at the back of the refrigerator, emerging a week later with frostbitten edges, only to be composted in order to make room for this week’s share…of more lettuce.

My CSA farmer is a wonderful farmer, and this is our second year as members. So while last summer his particular lettuce-growing habit caught me off guard, this year I was prepared for lettuce not only in June, not only in July, but full on into August and as far into the fall as high tunnels and row cover can allow (which is pretty far, if I remember correctly). To approach lettuce with love all season long, I was going to need some help. Here are the tools that have helped me and my lettuce to maintain a healthy relationship, all season long:

1) Make salad dressing with an immersion blender. No more shaking salad dressing in a little jar, only to have it separate moments later. My forays into salad dressing using an immersion blender have been extremely satisfying. And trust the vegans to know a thing or two about salad: recipes such as “Orange Shallot Vinaigrette” and “Mo Kelly’s Salad Dressing” in “How it All Vegan” are really delicious. My adapted version of their “Caesar’s Wife’s Dressing” is below.

2) Add crunch. Sally Fallon, spokesperson for the Weston A. Price foundation and advocate of fermenting nuts and grains, recommends soaking walnuts and pumpkin seeds (and pretty much everything else) in a salt water solution over night, then baking in a low oven for 8-12 hours until the nuts are completely dry. What emerges is a cheesy, nutrient dense, flavorful crunch morsel – that makes salad so much more fun.

3) Add fruit. Strawberries in balsamic sauce? Pour it over lettuce. Extra peaches? Slice them on. You’ve heard that humans have a hard time stopping when they’re eating something sweet – so why use that in your salad’s favor. I’m not suggesting salad dressings full of sugar or honey. But once I added a handful of strawberries to a salad that had sat uneaten for 2 days in the fridge – the whole thing was devoured in minutes.

4) Roll it up. I have two extremely fond memories of lettuce-as-plate from my childhood. One is portable Caesar Salads we used to make in Girl Guides (Girl Scouts in Canada): On a long firm leaf of romaine, squirt a bead of salad dressing down the spine. Put a breadstick on top, and cover with grated parmesan. Roll up the leaf and eat like a hotdog. The second is lettuce wraps popular at Chinese food restaurants. For this, bib or Boston lettuce is best, and it can be meat or veggie: sauté ground protein with soy sauce, ginger and garlic and bring it out to the table with a heaping plate of beautiful washed lettuce ‘bowls’. Your guests can spoon in the filling, along with some rice or crispy rice noodles, dip in hoisin sauce, roll up and try not to make a mess while eating (they’ll make a mess). But hey – they’ll also be eating lettuce.

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing (adapted from “Caesar’s Wife’s Dressing” in Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer)

2-3 tablespoons miso
1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¾ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Braggs or soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything with an immersion blender. Makes about 1.5 cups. Store in a jar in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Anna Hanau is the Associate Director of Food Programs at Hazon, and co-authored “Food for Thought, Hazon’s Sourcebook on Jews, Food and Contemporary Life.” She and her husband Naf Hanau founded a kosher pastured meat business called Grow and Behold Foods in summer 2010, and she keeps a flock of chickens in her backyard in Brooklyn.

In accordance with Hazon’s conflict of interest policy, Anna does not work on Hazon’s meat or meat-related projects*.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ceasar salad, Lettuce, CSA

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.