Aley Chubeza #97 – January 9th-11th 2012

 Danny and Galit’s latest effort to renew and improve their homemade cookies and granola has resulted in an upgraded chocolate chip cookie, now baked solely with delicious whole spelt flour. What’s more, these cookies are based on ground hazelnuts, with no added fat. A great delicacy for only 25 NIS per 230 gram package!

 If you haven’t yet taken a look lately at our order form, please do so right away!! There are so many yummy, very special products that will warm your heart and your winter days. All these additional products are made by our diligent associates in a range of cottage industries, selling directly to you. Don’t miss the fine virgin olive oil that is our latest addition to the long, diverse and very exclusive list of the best organic products ever. It’s worth a glance and a taste!


 This season’s boxes are topped by a bountiful representation of the entire Brassicaceae family, including the stems (kohlrabi), flower buds (broccoli and cauliflower), heads (green and purple cabbage) and leaves (kale). We wrote a few words about the latter last week, but it’s high time we pay the rest of the group their due:

 Tips * Tips * Tips * Tips * Tips* for Storing Vegetables

 Part Two: Roots and Brassicaceae

 Two of winter’s very distinguished vegetables families are today’s guests of honor in the tip department: the Brassicaceaes, gracing winter with their weighty glamour, massive above the ground, and the chubby root vegetables, growing in the dark of earth. Both families are crucial for our winter nutrition, and they are here with us now to protect and strengthen us during this cold season. This Newsletter is dedicated to them, making our modest tribute to their efforts by explaining to you how to best store them, and how to use them with the highest of respect.

  The Brassicaceae Family:   Broccoli refrigerates well. Keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge to retain its nutritional values, especially vitamin C.   Another option, though less popular, is to immerse the stems of broccoli stalks in ice water (similar to flowers), cover the inflorescence with a loose plastic bag, and change the water each day.   Do not wash the broccoli prior to refrigeration. The moisture will ruin it.   To cook/steam/fry broccoli: Start with the stems, which are harder and require a lengthier cooking session. Then proceed with the rest of the vegetable. (Even broccoli leaves are yummy and definitely worth a munch!)   It is preferable to cook broccoli lightly, so it remains solid with a more pronounced flavor. I always prefer steaming to cooking broccoli.   It’s best to cook broccoli only in stainless steel cookware, or enamel-covered dishes. Using aluminum or copper will create an unpleasant odor, changes in taste, and the loss of vitamins B and C, due to their level of sulfur compounds.   Store cauliflower in the fridge, wrapped in a non-sealed plastic bag (you need to let the sulfur leak out—otherwise the cauliflower gets stained and goes bad), with the stem downward and the inflorescence upward to prevent the accumulation of moisture.   Like broccoli, cook cauliflower for only a short while to preserve its crispness, prevent unpleasant odors and the escape of nutritional elements.   To keep cauliflower white, add some lemon juice to the cooking water.   Cabbage keeps well in the fridge, wrapped in a plastic bag or nylon food wrap, preferably in the vegetable drawer. But best eaten fresh!   If you still want to cook it, cook lightly (up to 10 minutes), as a longer duration will reduce nutritional value.   Red cabbage loses its color in cooking and turns bluish. To prevent this, cook it slightly in a small amount of water or steam it, and add lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water.   Adding a celery stalk to the cooking water can reduce the strong odor of a cooking cabbage.   Use the heart of the cabbage. Many heartless people toss it in the bin on account of its hardness. But this hard heart is only skin deep, and is bursting with nutritional value.   Cabbage can be squeezed in a regular juicer, like those used for carrots, and you’ll get cabbage juice. True, some will testify to its not-so-tasty flavor, but it certainly is healthy…   Kohlrabi can be eaten any possible way. Its most popular form is au naturale, but I suggest some less well-known options: this is one of the tastiest grilled vegetables ever. It is also great cooked and steamed, in soups, tossed in butter or baked in the oven with salt, white ground pepper and sage. It’s even good pickled!   Kohlrabi can be used as a substitute when your recipes call for radishes or turnips, as well as water chestnuts in Chinese cuisine.   Its leaves taste similar to kale leaves and can be used the same way by adding them to soups, pasta sauces and stir-fried vegetable dishes. The stems are hard and are not edible.   And finally, in defense against the most severe accusation against the Brassicaceae family: gas…   The Brassicaceaes aren’t supposed to cause indigestion. But as they are descendents of the Cruciferae family, they are sensitive to nitrates. Why is this important?   Because the modern world, or more specifically, industrial agriculture, tends to use fertilizers rich in nitrates, and consequently cabbages arrive into this world already hard to digest, plus creating some unpleasant side effects.   What’s the solution?   To grow and eat organic cabbage, of course! (My daughters and I are living proof. We’ve always eaten organic cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi to our hearts’ content–even during their gassy periods—without causing any inconveniences to ourselves or our surroundings…)   A second laudable family in the boxes for some time now is that of the winter roots, those choosing to hide under the blanket of earth in our field and gain weight for us. This week they are joined by the parsley root, arriving in great profusion, soon to be joined by the legendary celeriac. Prepare those soup pots!   How to Store Root Vegetables:   Beets, radishes, turnips, carrots and other roots (such as the celeriac and parsley root)  look great in the boxes, but can start growing soft in the fridge after a short time. To keep them fresh, I suggest the following:   Remove their leaves (the leaves draw the liquid out of the root and dry it up); leave a centimeter or two of stem, and do not cut the root itself.   Keep roots in the cooler part of the fridge in a sealed plastic dish. It’s not enough to store them in the vegetable drawer— they’re still exposed there to everything that goes on in the fridge.   Do not place root vegetables in close proximity to apples or other fruits (banana, avocado, melon, peach, pear and tomato) which emit ethylene, expediting the ripening of fruits and vegetables. This goes for the brassicaceaes as well (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi) that are sensitive to ethylene. However, if you have a hard avocado or kiwi whose ripening you wish to speed up, place them in a paper bag with an apple. Voila! They will speedily ripen.   Radishes, beets and withered carrots can be revived in a bowl of ice water.   Cooking Vegetable Roots:   To prevent beets from “bleeding,” don’t slice or peel them before preparation. Upon cooking, steaming or baking, they will peel easily.   Adding a drop of vinegar to the water while cooking beets will reduce the odor and help beets retain their color.   Beets are naturally high in sodium, so best not to add salt in cooking.   Baking beets: to prevent the beet from staining, it can be wrapped in foil. Add a spice of your choice to the foil, like garlic, lemon slices, cumin seeds or coriander. The flavor will penetrate the beet and enrich it while baking.   Beets can even be cooked, Heaven forbid, in the microwave: Perforate an unpeeled beet with a fork (to allow the steam to escape), place in a microwavable dish, add a little bit of water and cook uncovered for 4 minutes per beet, till it softens.    To remove beet stains from your hands, rub them in wet salt and lemon juice, then wash with soap and water.   But getting beet-dirty is not always so terrible (my Neta and Shachar, red as beets)       Best not to peel carrots. You can scrape off some of the skin, or don’t! The peeling contains flavor and nutritional essences.   Like the tomato, a cooked carrot is more nutritious and healthier than a raw carrot. The level of vitamin A rises in cooking, as the process of cooking breaks down the sides of the cells.   Cook in a small amount of water, so the vitamins do not leak into the water and go to waste.   Cooking with a small addition of fat will expand the antioxidant absorption.   Carrots can be combined with products containing vitamin E, such as peanuts, pumpkin, leafy vegetables and whole grains.   And now, time for our “Don’t Throw it Out!” section (dedicated with love to my father, the hoarder). Remember the tip of the carrot you cut off before you use it? Don’t throw it out! You can easily enable it to sprout, giving you delicious carrot sprouts for salads. Check out last week’s recipes for details. (Thanks, Atara!)   The hollow stem of the celeriac may be chopped and used as a straw for tomato drinks, such as a Bloody Mary. Drinking tomato juice via this fancy stem adds a pleasant hint of celery.   The celeriac keeps well for 3-4 months if stored in temperature as low as 0-5 degrees, in a moist place. The moisture is important, as the celeriac tends to dry up easily. It does not keep well in the freezer.   To make peeling easier, the celeriac can be first cooked in its peel.   A peeled, fresh celeriac must be stored in lemon juice or other acidic solution to prevent oxidation and blackening.   It’s supposed to be a rainy week, which we so look forward to! (Hope that will wash away the nighttime coughing spells we’re having…) May it purify and cleanse the air. We eagerly await you, Mister Rain! Come in abundance, and bring along health and happiness!   Wishing you all a rainy but heartwarming week, filled with lots and lots of soups and root stews, and good health always!   Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team   ____________________________   NEW “FACES” IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES! KEF!!!!   Monday: Potatoes, spinach or kale, broccoli, green or red cabbage, tomatoes, Dutch cucumbers, dill, lettuce, leeks, carrots, kohlrabi or fennel (small boxes only)   In the large box, in addition: beets, celery, cauliflower or fava beans, parsley root Wednesday: Romaine lettuce, spinach or kale, leeks, cilantro or parsley, green cabbage or cauliflower, red beets, Dutch cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, new potatoes In the large box, in addition: parsley root, celery, kohlrabi or fennel And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers and organic olive oil too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon. ___________________________________________ COOKING UP CABBAGE AND ROOT VEGETABLES From Rebecca of Jerusalem: Curried yogurt cauliflower: I thought I would share this special recipe, which we had at an Indian friend’s home and have begun making ourselves. It’s delicious and its presentation is striking, great for surprising guests or intriguing kids! First, remove the leaves and wash the whole head of cauliflower, leaving it intact. steam the whole thing to desired doneness, but best if it’s still somewhat crisp, not falling apart. To 1 cup of plain yogurt, add your favorite curry-style spices: ground ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, grated garlic, red pepper, cinnamon, etc . and salt. Slather all over the head of cauliflower, getting some in between the cracks, then bake in a hot oven about 30 minutes or until the yogurt mix bakes into a crispy colored crust. Serve whole, hot or cold. Enjoy! Broccoli Stir-Fried with Mushrooms & Walnuts (Compliments of my Household Chef) Ingredients: 1 head of broccoli, separated into small florets 3 handfuls of crushed walnuts 2 packages fresh mushrooms (any variation), sliced into quarters Olive oil 3 T. rice vinegar Juice of 2 lemons 2 T. brown sugar 2 T. mustard Preparation: -Blanch broccoli for several minutes until it begins to soften. -Oil a wok, add walnuts and stir-fry till brown. Add mushrooms, stir-fry till they soften lightly; add broccoli. -If vegetables begin to stick in the wok, add a small amount of water. -Sprinkle a bit of vinegar over mixture and continue to stir-fry. Add lemon juice and stir-fry once again. -Add mustard and stir-fry; add brown sugar and stir-fry to mix. (Optional: Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar and add the prepared dressing at once.) Raw beets salad – from “My bissim” blog Carrots boiled with orange, garlic and herbs – Jamie Oliver