What should one do with a whole big bunch of parsley, you ask? I have two ideas for you: 1) tabouleh, and 2) skhug. Skhug (also spelled schug and zhug) is a Middle Eastern hot sauce that uses hot peppers as a base and often uses either parsley or cilantro. Originating in Yemeni cuisine and brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, the condiment is now a staple of Israeli cuisine. I highly recommend it as a general flavoring for your foods if you’re a hot sauce fan. It’s commonly paired with hummus and falafel. See recipes at the bottom of the post today….
Bok choi turns up again for an encore performance, and the summer squash (zucchini) are starting to really perform. I’m excited to try the yellow zucchini called “Success PM.” So far it seems very productive so let’s hope it lives up to its name. By the way, PM refers not to time of day but to this variety’s supposed resistance to Powdery Mildew, which if true to name, will be very welcome come August/September when all the squash family plants tend to come down with a bad case of this fungal disease. The new “easter egg” radish planting started producing today, but not enough for everyone so some shares got yellow snow peas instead.
The rain this last week was a welcome break from irrigation duty, though the field planted eggplants and peppers would have liked it a bit sunnier. That being said, it really didn’t get cold during this last bit of moisture. In fact, one rainy night had a low of about 60, warmer than the sunny-day overnight lows of 50-55 we’ve been having. All the greens appreciated the overcast week as well. Now that the heat is really upon us today, it’s up to me to make sure everything stays fully hydrated and the greenhouses don’t overheat too much. During summer weather, the long sides of the greenhouses get rolled up to let out heat and allow more airflow.
Speaking of greenhouses, most of my greenhouse seeding for transplants is done for the year. All that remains on that front is continuing to seed lettuce every few weeks. All the fall and winter kale, collards, escarole, radicchio, and cabbage have been sown in flats. Now more attention turns to ongoing trellising, cultivation, irrigation, and of course the biggest time consumer of all: Harvest!
I’ll leave you with a few recipes and farm pictures… cheers and happy July! -Matt.
How to Make Tabbouleh (from the kitchn.com)
(use as a rough guide – don’t worry about exact proportions…)
Serves 4 to 6
What You Need
1/2 cup bulgur (see Recipe Notes for quinoa and cracked wheat versions)
1 to 2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley, washed and dried
1 large bunch of mint, washed and dried
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 small cucumber (optional)
A few whole leaves of mint for garnish
1 small and 1 medium sized bowl
Knife and cutting board
Measuring cups and spoons
- Soak the bulgur. Place the bulgur in a small bowl and cover with very hot (just off the boil) water by 1/2-inch. Set aside to soak until softened but still chewy, about 20 minutes.
- Prep the herbs and vegetables. While the bulgur is soaking, juice the lemon and chop the parsley and mint. You will need roughly 1 1/2 cup packed chopped parsley and 1/2 cup packed chopped mint for this amount of bulgur. Slice the scallions thinly to equal a heaping 1/4 cup. Medium chop the tomatoes; they will equal roughly 1 1/2 cups. Medium chop the cucumber, about 1/2 cup.
- Dress the bulgur. When the bulgur is done, drain off any excess water and place in the large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat the grains. As you finish prepping the herbs and vegetables, add them to the bowl with the bulgur, but reserve half of the the diced tomato to use for garnish.
- Season and toss. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and another 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the optional allspice to the bowl. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Garnish. To serve, garnish the tabbouleh with the reserved tomato and a few whole mint sprigs. Serve at room temperature with crackers, cucumber slices, fresh bread, or pita chips.
- To make Quinoa Tabbouleh, just substitute 1 cup of cooked quinoa for the bulgur.
- To make tabbouleh with cracked wheat, substitute 1 cup of cooked cracked wheat for the bulgur.
- Tabbouleh is very flexible. Feel free to add more or less of any ingredient based on your palate. The ground allspice may sound unusual but I encourage you to try it. It adds a touch of warmth and spice.
5 jalapeno peppers (see note)
1 large bunch fresh parsley*
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt, to taste
Add ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
NOTE: You can control the heat of the schug by the amount of veins and seeds that you put in the sauce. For a mild schug, remove all veins and seeds. For a spicy kick, add a little at a time until desired spice level is reached.
* Feel free to use all parsley, or all cilantro, or a mix. I don’t care much for cilantro, so I used only parsley. If you want more of a herby schug (which is more traditional), add another bunch. I prefer mine heavy on the jalapeno!
The (finally) trellised and weeded hoophouse of cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
Just mowed the other day and it was so tidy looking I had to take a panorama: