Mariquita Box

My Ladybug Letter arrived July 3, including this announcement:
Thursday Padron and Pesto Night at Zuppa July 5th

Hello: I’m going to be a Zuppa on Thursday, July 5th from 5:00pm to 7pm (at least). You can make orders by Tuesday afternoon and I’ll bring them on Thursday. Minimum order = $25. I did this once last month at Nopa and it was a success!

I’ll be ‘hanging out’ and dining at Zuppa and Joseph and Mary (the owners) will make sure I have a large table so anyone who wants to stay and have some food and or a drink of any persuasion is welcome.

Zuppa is at 564 Fourth Street (between Brannan & Bryant)

When you make your order I’ll confirm it by email, (you can make your order by phone or email), and I’ll give you my cell phone number in case you don’t want to hassle with parking and looking for me in the restaurant. You can call me and I’ll meet you outside and load your car for you!

The website is here. Some of the vegetables you can buy include: padron peppers, friarelli peppers, flats of strawberries (from High Ground, they’re really good!), BASIL for pesto of course, carrots, nepitella, Erbette Chard, beets three colors, onions, and more. See the website.

And another fun option: Let Andy pack a mystery box for you! for $25 you’re guaranteed to get even more value, and a mix of the above items, depending on what Andy feels like harvesting and putting in the box. This was popular when I did Thursday Basil Night (should I call it Thursday Padron Night??)

How could I resist? I have missed the Mariquita stand — not to mention Andy and Julia — at the Farmers Market on Saturdays. They have stuff others don’t have. So I quick sent off an order by email:

Julia —
Here’s my order for a box:
$5 4 bun Genovese Basil
$5 3 bun Chantenay Carrots
$5 party pack Beets
$8 5# mixed summer squash
$5 3 bun spring onions
$4 3 bun erbette chard

$32 total


We arrived at Zuppa late in the two hour pick-up slot and found Julia at a big table with about 6 other folks, talking “market.” We joined them for a glass of wine and some antipasti. This is a new “market” experience. It also introduced us to Zuppa, a restaurant we had heard of, but not experienced. Now its at the top of our list of places to eat. We can park there, have a bite to eat, and walk to ATT Park — about three blocks — for a ball game. We’ve got tickets to the Braves in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, the vegetable box was huge! Holy moly; and I thought I might get it onto my scooter! It just fit in the car trunk.

What to do with all this stuff??

The first order of business was a mess of chard for dinner to serve with smoked pork chops. Good move. The chard takes up a gang of refrigerator space.


Friday, I took care of the beet greens — yes they come with the beets, and I can’t bear to compost those lovely things — by combining them with some cooked Marrow beans I had on hand. That made a wonderful lunch with the promise of lunches to come.

Sunday, we were invited to dinner at Leslie’s and I volunteered to take a summer squash sauté, taking care of 40% of the squash and about 30% of the onions. I made chicken stock on Sunday, as well, using two more onions and three carrots — and I ate a carrot while cooking. We’re making a dent.

Monday I made beet borscht for dinner from a Deborah Madison recipe that Eric sent me. That used five of the beets, and I roasted the remaining four for later use. And man, that borscht was good!

Meanwhile, Carol gave a bunch of basil to Leslie and made Julia’s Perfect Pesto with the rest.


Tuesday, I had invited Sarah to come over for the All Star Game on the big TV. I made seared duck breasts and accompanied that with fried zucchini and braised carrots — and ate all the carrot trimmings while cooking. Those carrots are good!

We can almost see into our refrigerator now! We’re down to two bunches of chard — one is earmarked for dinner tonight — the roasted beets — penciled in for a beet salad, no hurry, they’ll keep fine. We still have a few carrots and I’ll have no trouble snacking on those. We still have about a pound of squash and I have my eye on squash soup.

So it’s Wednesday after the Thursday pick-up and that great looming pile of vegetables is either consumed, prepared or bespoke.

And now, Julia has announced: “The Next Thursday Night will be at Piccino August 2nd.” Only three weeks to recover.

And here are some recipes:

Quick Greens (less than 10 minutes from start to finish) from Julia at Mariquita

Wash any type of greens that can be cooked (kale, radish greens, mustards, chard, spinach, etc.).
Saute with olive oil and garlic until wilted. Transfer to serving platter and add cracked black pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Easy yet delicious!

Beans n Beet Greens

I make a pot of beans at least once a week now. They’re just good to have on hand to use instead of potatoes/rice/pasta. I cook only one cup (half pound) at a time, which is just right for eats for one. I buy heirloom beans at the Rancho Gordo stall at the Farmers Market so I know they are first quality and never old. This time I had Marrow beans in the fridge.
The beet greens were prepared just like the chard, above, then folded into the beans.

Summer Squash Sauté
For five folks at Leslie with little left over 7.07

4 slices bacon, cut in 1/2 inch strips
~7 cups summer squash, sliced thick
3 spring onion, halved and sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup basil chiffonade or about 2 tablespoons pesto

Render, but don’t brown the bacon
Add onions and stir for a couple minutes
Add squash and thyme and cook, covered, until tender
Stir in tomatoes
Add basil/pesto, stir and cook for two minutes more

Beet Borscht
From The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash via Eric, and adapted.

2 thick slices of bacon

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large beet, grated
2 cloves garlic, halved
2 cups fresh tomato pulp or canned plum tomatoes
1 cup peeled and chopped potatoes
1 quart beef stock
1 quart water
3 peppercorns
6 sprigs parsley
1 tsp. Salt

2 cups julienned or coarsely grated beets [about 4 regular size]
1 cup julienned or coarsely grated carrots
4 Tbsp butter combined

3 cups shredded cabbage [half a small head]

Freshly ground pepper
Kvas (see recipe below) or fresh lemon juice
Fresh dill (optional)
Sour cream

Chop bacon, blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water, drain, and dry thoroughly. Lightly brown bacon in a dutch oven or heavy soup pot. [I used my 5Q cast iron pot] Remove bacon, leaving the fat.

Add onion and celery and sauté in the bacon fat until barely wilted and lightly colored.

Add the bacon, beet, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, stock, water, peppercorns, parsley, and salt to the soup pot. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove vegetables and put through the finest disk of a food mill, sieve, discarding pulp and seeds. Add the purée to the broth.

In a large sauté pan [I used 10″ should have used 12″], sauté julienned beets and carrots in 2 tablespoons butter for 5 minutes. Add to the soup base and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, braise cabbage in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same pan, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until wilted and slightly colored. Add to soup and simmer 15 minutes longer.

Taste for seasoning, add pepper and salt if necessary; add sufficient kvas or lemon juice to give a slightly tart, but not sour, taste. Just before serving, heat to boiling and add dill if you like. Dish up with a spoonful of sour cream on each serving. (The dill can also be passed as a garnish). Makes 2 quarts.

Julia’s Perfect Pesto

Carol made 7.07

1/4 cup toasted nuts: pinenuts, walnuts, almonds…
3 medium garlic cloves, blanched for 1 minute or used raw
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed thoroughly
2 tablespoons fresh flat Italian parsley leaves (optional)
5-7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch salt
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheeseWhirl everything in a food processor, or pound it in a mortar and pestle.

Concia Zucchini with Mint and Vinegar from Cucina Ebraica by Joyce Goldstein via Julia at Mariquita
“This is one of our favorite summer squash recipes. It’s just really, really good.” Julia
Cooked 7.07 for All Star dinner w/Sarah, served with duck. It is a process, and yes, the results are worth it.

4 to 6 small zucchini, about 1.5 pounds
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons red or white wine vinegarCut the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices, or to prepare it Veneto fashion, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and let stand in a colander for 30 minutes to drain off any bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry.
In a small bowl, combine the mint or basil, parsley, and garlic.
Warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. In batches, add the zucchini and cook, turning as needed, until golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and sprinkle with some of the mint mixture and some of the vinegar. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini, mint mixture, and vinegar. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, basting occasionally with vinegar in the dish, before serving.

Braised Carrots with Orange and Lime Butter
The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by C. Kimball via Julia at Mariquita
Cooked a highly adapted version of this 7.07 for All Star dinner with Sarah. Tip: use less liquid than you think.

8-10 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then into 2-inch lengths
1 teaspoon orange zest
juice of 1 lime (or 1 lemon)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to tastePut all ingredients into a large nonreactive skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until carrot pieces are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to medium-high, and stir constantly for a few minutes or until carrots are coated with a thin glaze.

Baby Beet Salad with Feta, Walnuts & Arugula
This recipe comes from Lynn Langford of Ross, who grows baby beets, herbs and nasturtiums in her garden. Baby beets, which are about 2 inches across, are sweeter and more tender than mature ones and take less time to cook.
Adapted from Tara Duggan, Chronicle Staff Writer 7.07 Serves 4-6

Cooked 7.07 — Dis is good. Got some kickass mint at Real Food. Made with Mariquita white and chiogga beets from da box.

24 baby beets, or about 14 ounces loose beets (without greens), scrubbed and trimmed
Salt to taste
3/4 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons minced mint
2 tablespoons minced chives
3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Nasturtium flower petals (optional)


Instructions: If using large beets, cut into halves or quarters.

Conventional cooking directions: Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook beets until fork-tender, 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 ° and place the walnuts on a pan. Toast until fragrant, 8 minutes. Let cool.

To finish the salad: Drain and let the beets cool. Peel skins with your fingers or a cloth (use gloves to avoid staining from red beets). Cut the beets in half lengthwise. Toss in the mint, chives and vinegar. Set aside until most of the moisture is absorbed, 5 minutes or as long as you like. Toss in the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

Place the arugula in a round on a large plate. Mound the beets in the center, and drizzle any extra oil and vinegar from the beets on the arugula. Season the arugula with salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. Scatter the top with the nuts, feta and nasturtium flowers.

2 thoughts on “Mariquita Box

  1. Which Borcht recipe was it? Deborah Madison (which would have come out of the Greens cookbook, our only book by her), or Marion Morash (Victory Garden Cookbook)?


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