Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheese--the perfect gift for the locavore in your life


As the cold weather continues and winter greens and storage crops start to dwindle, the perfect local food to focus on is CHEESE. I love cheese and am so thankful for the amazing community of cheese makers, sellers, and proponents who have sprung up in the last couple of years to revive a once thriving cheese culture here in Southeast PA.

One of the best resources for cheese in the county is the newly formed Chester County Cheese Artisans group. Upcoming events include a holiday open house at Yellow Springs Farm and a winter Farms Market at Birchrun Hills Farm.

Speaking of winter farmers market--the next installment of the Kennett Square Winter Market will take place Friday, December 17th with a great cheese assortment from Amazing Acres and God's Country Creamery--two of the cheeses featured in GRID's Holiday Cheese plate. The first cheese PA Noble is available through the Lancaster Farm Fresh 4 Season Buy Club that makes drop offs at Inverbrook (I actually ordered some this week) and then the Noble Road--one of my personal favorites is available at Talula's Table.

If you are willing to travel a little farther afield -- Philadelphia cheese blogger Madame Fromage will be leading a guided cheese tasting at the Reading Terminal tomorrow--click here for the link. Madame Fromage will be teaming up with GRID magazine in the future to produce a monthly feature on local cheese-- in the mean tine check out the newly created Cheese TV.

Other links featuring local cheese:

Talula's Table Blog

CC Dwell interview with 8 Local Cheese Makers

Great posting from the Apples and Cheese, please blog about eating local this time of year

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Community of Giving--Sustaining the Presence of Farming and Music



“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
- J R R Tolkien


Happy December 1st--an occasion that marks the transition from the holiday of gratitude to the season of giving. It is in this spirit that I want to encourage your generosity and support to include two very worthwhile entities that truly embody the sentiment in the Tolkien quote above. They are the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and the Philly based musical group Hoots and Hellmouth.

I could write volumes (and have already dedicated several postings to both PASA and HnHM) about the interconnectedness between these organizations and our farming operation, our community and each other. Instead I encourage you to explore the websites of each--it becomes very clear that both are all about the creative promotion and success of "food and cheer and song."

Vibrant local food systems are the key to successful farms, healthy food, and respect for the natural environment. PASA, one of the leading advocates for these concepts, works together with farmers and consumers to ensure a thriving, sustainable Pennsylvania food system for us all.

I invite you to join PASA as a member and connect with a larger network of people who appreciate good food and the farmers who grow it.
-PASA is a network of people who care - we all have a role in assuring the health and longevity of our regional farms and food supply.
-PASA is the catalyst that brings together those dedicated to advancing sustainable food and farming systems.
-PASA is a dynamic new model for partnerships between traditional agricultural and our ever-changing society and has worked to forge positive and needed changes in the way food is grown, harvested, distributed, and marketed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Our family farms face enormous threats and whether we can save farming in time is up to all of us--of course your support of Inverbrook is greatly appreciated however without the educational opportunities and advocacy work of PASA we would be lost (take the recent and successful senate passing of a Food Safe Bill that includes several amendments friendly to small farmers).

If you are interested in taking the next step here are two things you can do:

Click here to send a donation to support good, honest food for everyone.

Click here to sign-up for PASA's e-news and stay up-to-date on PASA policy updates and news.

On a somewhat related note--the musical locavores that make up Hoots and Hellmouth are looking for financial support from their fans to complete a recording of new songs. You can be a part of this grass roots campaign by making a donation on Kickstarter--an online fundraising site. For as little as $10 you can help support the band in their next creative endeavor.

To get a sense of Hoots and Hellmouth's dedication to sustainable agriculture check out this NPR story on their fall farm tour

In case you are not yet familiar with the band, here are some videos of Hoots and Hellmouth in action. The first is high energy Hoots at the Philadelphia Folk Festival a couple of years ago singing "What Good Are Plow Shares". The second video is of "Roll Brandywine Roll" a beautiful song inspired by our beloved river.





Hope you will join me in supporting these two worthy groups. Thank you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving--the true Pleasure of Eating

Happy Thanksgiving! I thought I would put forth one of my favorite Wendell Berry excerpts--all about the true pleasure of eating. Thank you all for your support--from turkeys to salad greens, from farmers markets to CSAs--you should feel proud of your connection to the land and community that is embodied in this very special meal.

An excerpt from Bringing it to the Table (2009, Counterpoint Press):

" The pleasure of eating should be an extensive pleasure, not that of the mere gourmet. People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy will remember the beauty of the growing plants, perhaps in the dewy first light of morning when gardens are at their best. Such a memory involves itself with the food and is one of the pleasures of eating. The knowledge of the good health if the garden relieves and frees and comforts the eater. The same goes for eating meat. The thought of the good pasture and of the calf contentedly grazing flavors the steak. Some, I know, will think it bloodthirsty or worse to eat a fellow creature you have known all its life. On the contrary, I think it means that you eat with understanding and with gratitude. A significant part of the pleasure of eating is one's accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes. The pleasure of eating, then, may be the best available standard of our health. And this pleasure, I think, is pretty fully available to the urban consumer who will make the necessary effort.

I mentioned earlier the politics, esthetics, and ethics of food. But to speak of the pleasure of eating is to go beyond those categories. Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend. ..."


(Wendell Berry from the 1989 essay "The Pleasures of Eating" as republished in Bringing it to the Table, 2009.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Unusual Roots--Salad Turnips and Winter Radish Recipes


I have to give a final plug to these three unusual but delicious roots. First the sweet and mild salad turnip--one reporter finds them almost better than chocolate. These tender turnips are the perfect addition to crudite platters and winter salads (see recipe at the end of this posting)--they have all the sweetness and texture of a radish with almost none of the heat.

Next is the Watermelon Radish, their main virtue is their amazing inner coloring--I found this great recipe for watermelon radish chips on bucks county CSA Blooming Glen Farm's website. I tried it out immediately--the chips are delicious, however it made the house smell like a Chinese restaurant. I also discovered some recipes where you make baked radish chips. I look forward to seeing if this cooking method is a little less ordor intense, either way it certainly lessens the oil intake which makes these delicious snakes all the more healthful.

Finally I want to highlight the Asian cooking staple the Daikon Radish. I like to use Daikons in stir fries, soups, and stews instead of turnips--they cook a little faster and have basically the same taste. Here is a chicken soup recipe from the new New York Time's recipe blog Food52. A more traditional way to enjoy Daikon Radishes is after they have been pickled--check out Food In Jars Pickled Daikon recipe.

Enjoy your roots!

Baby White Turnip Salad With Toasted Pecans And Bacon
Time 5 minutes Serves 4
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Ingredients
4 small white turnips with their greens attached
1/4 c. pecan halves or pieces
3 oz. bacon
1 green garlic stalk or green onion, sliced on the bias
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 350.
Remove the greens from the turnips. Tear the leaves with your hands into medium to large pieces and set aside.
Slice turnips as thin as possible (use a mandoline if you have one). Put into a bowl of iced water.
Toast the pecans in the oven just until they start to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a non-stick pan, saute the bacon until crunchy on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside, reserving the fat.
Prepare a simple vinaigrette: combine vinegar with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in about 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the bacon fat in the same pan. Once hot, add the green garlic/onion and saute until tender. Add greens to the pan, season with salt and just a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook until they are wilted.
Remove the sliced turnips from the iced water bath, dry them with a kitchen towel and toss with the vinaigrette.
Arrange the turnip slices and their greens in a mound and sprinkle bacon and pecans on top.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Asian Greens--Bok Choy and Tokyo Bekana


This final week of the 2010 CSA Season was once again full of asian greens. I meant to post these recipes last week, but time just seem to melt away. Hopefully you still have plenty of the asian green offerings still stored in your fridge, otherwise I believe both the bok choy and the tokyo bekana will be part of next week's extended CSA share (pick up on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY 1pm until dark) as long as we do not get a freeze this weekend.

When I first graduated from college I worked at the Stroud Water Research Center with a Chinese scientist who was always telling me about this delicious mild asian green--something like a cross between cabbage and romaine lettuce. I was so happy when the Johnny Seed Catalog finally started offering the green he was talking about, known as Tokyo Bekana. Tokyo Bekana is basically the lose leaf version of Napa/Chinese cabbage. It has a wonderful sweet and mild taste and crisp texture. I made a delicious chicken salad last weekend with chiffonade cut tokyo bekana, a curry-lime dressing, finely chopped apple, and dried cranberries (from trader joes)--it was delicious.

Bok Choy is an asian green you might be more familiar with, but still in need of recipe ideas. I have included three recipes all from Barbara Kafka's fantastic recipe book Vegetable Love:

Radiant Bok Choy
This is one of my proudest recipes, with a minimum of ingredients and a maximum of flavor and beauty. The white part of the bok choy turns the brilliant color of Asian mendicants' robes and the green stays intensely emerald.

The vegetable does very well on its own with rice. As a vegetarian dish, it can have soaked dried shittake, stemmed and cut into strips, added during the final six minutes of cooking. It can a succulent sauce and side dish for chicken or fish--or shreds of either can be added for the final six minutes of cooking time.

1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 tablespoons of turmeric
2 pounds of bok choy (about 4 pieces), halved lengthwise
1 can of coconut milk, plus enough water to make 3 cups liquid
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or 4 lime wedges

In an 8- or 9-inch saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Stir in the turmeric and salt and cook for about 1 minute. Add the pieces of bok choy, laying them on their sides cramming them in so as to make them compact as possible.

Pour in the coconut-water mixture, cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes. The bok choy should sink into the sauce and cook evenly. If some of bok choy is not covered with liquid, turn the pieces. Re-cover and cook for 6 more minutes.

Stir in the lime juice, if using. Or serve hot, accompanied with lime wedges, if desired. This is also good tepid. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Ginger and Garlic Baby Bok Choy
This is a perfect side dish with fish, or serve on a mixed vegetable platter that has no other vegetables using vinegar. It is good hot or cold.

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound baby bok choy (about 35; 5 cups)
2 quarter-size slices peeled fresh ginger, cut into matchstick pieces (about 2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

In a 10-inch frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until very hot. Add the bok choy, ginger and garlic. Cook, tossing regularly with two wooden spoons, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the leaves are completely wilted but the whites are still slightly crunchy. Keep the heat between medium and medium-high so that the pan is sizzling but the oil is not sputtering.

Add the vinager and salt. Cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and serve. Makes 2 cups.


In this recipe, also from Vegetable Love you can replace the napa cabbage with the tokyo bekana. Also the soy-sesame dressing can be replaced with any good Asian dressing--something with ginger would be delicious.

Shredded Napa Salad
Make this in the winter when the selection of other greens is limited. It has a lightly Asian flavor and is very pretty. It's as good as a side dish as it is a first course. It goes very well with fish dishes.

1 ounce dried shittake mushrooms (about 5 medium mushrooms)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette
1 ounce red or daikon radish, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch slices (about 1/4 cup)


Combine the mushrooms, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, 1/2 cup of water and black pepper in a 2 1/2-quart souffle dish or casserole with a tightly fitted lid. Cover tight with microwave plastic wrap or the lid. Cook at 100% for 5 minutes. If using plastic wrap, prick to release the steam.

Remove from the oven and uncover. Allow to stand until cool enough to handle. Using scissors, remove the mushroom stems and discard. Cut the mushrooms into 1/2-inch strips.

In a large serving bowl, combine the mushrooms with the cabbage, scallions and the dressing. Toss to coat, and scatter the radish slices over. Serves 8.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunchoke-Jerusalem Artichoke Links

As I mentioned in the previous post, I want to provide some recipe links for the more unusual vegetables that are showing up in this week's share. Jerusalem Artichokes also known as a sunchokes, are a great flavor for this time of year--earthy, nutty, and sweet--delicious. These little tubers are not only delicious they are good for you, the only draw back is that they can cause gas. Read more by clicking the links below:

-A posting I put up last season about Sunchokes (go phillies!!!).

-Two great intros to Sunchokes from Culinate All Choked Up and Deborah Madison's musings on Sunchokes

-My favorite good food advocate and celebrity chef Jami Oliver's Sauteed Jerusalem Artchoke recipe

-A chicken and sunchoke recipe that looks amazing--to be honest I have never tried pairing chicken with sunchokes--sounds delicious

Sunchokes are also great eaten raw, enjoy.

This Week's Share--Beets, Bok Choy, and Sunchokes

This week's share includes many vegetables that you might not be so familiar with cooking or preparing. I am going to do my best to post a serious of entries on these various fall staples including the Tokyo Bekana Asian Green, Sunchokes also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, and Bok Choy (Pac choi). In the meantime click on the link below for some guidance in dealing with the baby beets in this week's share. These beets are from a more recent planting, and should have less of an earthy taste, since they were grown with a more steady supply of rain and cooler weather. The beet greens are as delicious as the tiny roots.

Links (all from Culinate, a great online resource for recipes and such)
-Beet Intro
-Beet and Beet Greens on Pasta
-Beet Greens and Yogurt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cider Brined Chicken

Cider brining is a great way to add flavor to our already flavorful chickens and turkeys. With cooler weather on the way and the availability of fresh chickens this week, I thought you might be interested in some cider brined chicken recipes:

From my recipes.com
and here is another great recipe for apple cider brined chicken breasts on arugula salad with sweet potato and apple chutney (see photo above). What a great use for this week's share.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This week's share-cabbage and chicken

This week's share includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, salad/asian turnips, daikon radish, arugula, tokyo bekana asian green, cabbage and broccoli (from lancaster farm fresh coop), green beans, peppers, and sunkchokes. This week is also the last opportunity to purchase fresh chicken. Chickens will be available starting this afternoon (Tuesday, October 12th through Thursday, October 14th). I will be posting more recipes using chicken and the other share vegetables over the next couple of the days. In the meantime Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbook Fame (and friend of Nikki) recently posted this Green Bean Slaw Recipe that is just perfect for this week's share:

Green Bean Slaw Recipe
I used a moscato from Trani, Italy here, but feel free to experiment with other sweet white wines. The one I used was about 14% alcohol - just the right amount of boozy for a salad like this. As far as advanced prep goes - you can make the dressing a day or two ahead of time if you like. And you can slice the green beans, and make the croutons a day ahead of time as well. I used a wood-fired oven spelt walnut bread for the croutons here, but use whatever good bread you have on hand.

2 small handfuls (about 1/2 cup) golden raisins
1 cup / 240 ml Moscato / sweet white wine
Dressing:
yolk of one hard-boiled egg
3 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream
1/3 cup / 80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
-------------------------
1/2 a small cabbage, cored and shredded very finely
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 big handfuls green beans or haricot verts, very thinly sliced and cooked in a pot of boiling salted water for 20 seconds, drained (well) immediately, and cooled under cold running water.
A big handful of arugula, roughly chopped
2 handfuls (about 3/4 cup) toasted walnut halves
2 handfuls of torn rustic bread, pan-toasted until golden in a big splash of olive oil
A bit of shaved pecorino cheese

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the wine. Let soak overnight, or for at least a few hours.

To make the dressing, mash the yolk of the egg in a small bowl. Gradually mash and stir in the creme fraiche. Very slowly add the olive oil beating constantly. It should be smooth and glossy. Whisk in the vinegar and lastly the salt. Taste and adjust if needed.

When you're close to being ready to serve the salad, toss the cabbage and the vinegar together in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
Just before serving, drain the raisins and add to the cabbage. Add the green beans, arugula, and most of the walnuts. Toss a few times. Add about 2/3 of the dressing and toss gently, but well. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Add most of the croutons and most of the pecorino cheese, before tossing again. Serve topped with the remaining walnuts and pecorino.
Serves 6-8

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Week's Share--Roots and Rain

This week's share will feature a whole lot of roots (and tubers) including sweet potatoes, potatoes, salad/asian turnips, daikon radish, and beets. The share will also include greens--arugula and asian, green beans, and peppers. Unfortunately all the recent rain has put an end to the tomatoes. I will however be giving out the green tomatoes for those who like to fry them up or click here for a recent Food in Jars pickled green tomato recipe.

The large long white daikon radish might be new to you click here for a link to an overview on the daikon radish and a related daikon salad recipe. Considering the chilly weather I thought this NY Times Daikon and Mushroom soup recipe might be of interest.

Enjoy this week's share and make sure you scroll down to check out four amazing recipes that Nikki has sent along.

Notes from Nikki--4 great recipes

A big thank you to Nikki, who despite her busy fall schedule has still managed to put together some amazing recipes made from recent share vegetables.
Potato Leek Soup

Admittedly, I do miss those summer nights of yore, but I also love cooking up a pot of soup on a chilly fall evening. The following recipe is for a very simple potato leek soup. I used bacon in the mix, but feel free to nix that. A glug of olive oil will also do. Also, I used the red-skinned potatoes from last week's share, un-peeled, but any variety of potatoes will work just fine, even a mixture. You can't really mess this soup up. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 lb of bacon, diced
3-5 leeks (depending on their size and your taste for them. I say, don't be shy. ;-)), white and light green parts only, sliced (make sure to wash out the grit after you slice them)
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
About 12 small-medium potatoes, quartered
1-2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4-6 C chicken or veggie stock
1-2 C whole milk
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

Cook bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until fat is rendered.
Add in the leeks, sauteing until softened and fragrant.
Toss in the garlic and saute briefly.
Add the potatoes and thyme, stirring to combine and coat the potatoes.
Pour in the stock and turn up the heat to bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Smash the potatoes using a potato masher (or the back of your spoon).
Add in the milk, sea salt, and pepper.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup just a bit to incorporate everything. (This step is optional. Feel free to leave the soup alone of you want it more chunky and rustic).
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top with shredded cheese and a bit of parsley, and serve.




Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quesadillas

I brought these to a potluck yesterday and they were gone before I could even get a slice. Luckily I got to taste and sample them during the cooking process. ;-)
The following recipe makes 4 large quesadillas, which I then sliced into eighths like a pizza. Perfect for a party. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for a smaller crowd or a family dinner (or, if your family eats as much as mine does, keep the recipe as is ;-)).

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, roasted in a 400 degree oven until soft, skinned, and mashed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
A couple of generous pinches of mexican oregano
2-3 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp ancho or chipotle chili powder (just the ground peppers, not a "chili powder" mix)
Sea salt
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 lbs (or so) cooked, shredded chicken breast tenders (I simply cooked these over medium heat in some olive oil. Another option would be to use leftover roasted chicken or omit the chicken altogether)
8 large, flour tortillas
3 C shredded cheddar or jack cheese (or a combination of both)
1 bunch cilantro (minus the stems below the leaves), chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400.
Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
Add in the cumin, smoked paprika, ground chili, and sea salt.
Toss in the black beans, stirring to incorporate.
Saute a bit longer, allowing the flavors to meld.
Kill the heat.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Set aside.
Spread about 1/4 of the sweet potato mash onto one of the tortillas.
Top this with about 1/4 of the bean mixture and 1/4 of the shredded chicken.
Sprinkle cilantro over the chicken (don't be shy) and then top the cilantro with about 3/4 C of shredded cheese.
Place another tortilla over top of the cheese and bake in the oven until the tortilla starts to brown in spots and the cheese is all melty and yummy.
Repeat the above steps until you have assembled and baked 4 large quesadillas.
Slice the quesadillas with a pizza slicer and serve.

Enjoy!



Green Beans and Zesty Tomatoes

This is a very simple recipe that will showcase those lovely little green and yellow haricot verts especially, but any of the green beans from your Inverbrook share will do, really. Also, any and all of the tomatoes from your share will work. This a sure fire recipe, really hard to mess up. I happened to serve this with meatloaf and mashed potatoes as you will see in the photo. It's so versatile, it will make a lovely side dish for any number of main dishes, or a beautiful lunch all on it's own. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1-2 lbs or so green beans, stem end snapped off
1-2 large cloves of garlic
Glug of olive oil
1-2 tsp lemon zest
About 1 C or so fresh tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Shaved parmesan for topping

Instructions

Saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant.
Toss in the lemon zest and beans, stirring to combine.
Cover and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the beans are just barely tender (this will happen within 5-10 minutes, tops, so check very frequently).
Uncover and toss in the tomatoes, sea salt, and pepper.
Saute very briefly, just until heated through.
Turn off the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve topped with a few shavings of parmesan.

Arugula, Edamame Pesto

This stuff is so yummy, I simply can't stop eating it. I have put it on chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. Seriously, I have an addiction, and I really don't even care that much for arugula. :-) Anyway, the following recipe makes a vat of this stuff, but it stores really well, so have at it (or, feel free to cut the recipe in half). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Ingredients

1 lb frozen, shelled edamame beans thawed (1 lb of fresh cooked edamame or fava beans would also work)
1/4-1/3 C olive oil
2-3 large handfuls arugula, washed and torn
1/3-1/2 C shredded parmesan
1-2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 large lemon (add in some zest too, if you like the flavor)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Add in some water to thin, if necessary.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Spread on any number of things (or just eat it plain, by the spoonful) and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Perfect Fall Sandwich

The autumn season is upon us, even if the weather has been rather balmy as of late. This it the perfect time of year to take advantage of the local apple harvest, which has been amazing this season. I think it was at a lunch visit to Sovano Bistro a number of years back where I first had the amazing combination of cheddar, bacon, apple and arugula in a grilled sandwich--the flavors paired so well together--the fall version a BLT. I found this link to an open faced brie melt with much the same idea. One more idea for all that arugula you have been getting in your share.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This Week's Share-Asian Turnips and Sweet Potatoes

This week's share will feature asian turnips and sweet potatoes along with greens beans, spicy salad greens, potatoes, the last of the tomatoes, and radishes.
With all the rainy weather I wanted to provide a link to one of my favorite soup recipes-a black bean and sweet potato soup from Fine Cooking-the perfect complement to an arugula salad with tomatoes and radishes.

The asian or hakurei turnips might also be new to many of you. Sweet and tender these salad turnips are delicious raw. Click here for a link and recipe from New York Magazine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Week's Share-more arugula and winter squash

This week's share once again features winter squash (the last week for a while) and arugula. Nikki has provided a great simple recipe for the winter squash and if all those bags of arugula are piling up in your refrigerator--I have a solution--Pesto! Click here for a simple arugula pesto recipe that pairs perfectly with salmon. What could be more delicious of a meal of baked salmon with arugula pesto, roasted potatoes, and green beans.

Now for Nikki's simple but delicious squash recipe:

Roasted Maple Rosemary Squash

The squash has been fantastic this year! I don't like to mess with it too much. Just a few ingredients to enhance its tremendous flavor. I am also a huge fan of roasting squash. I roast it before I do anything to it, whether I puree it, chop it up to add to a dish, or blend it into a soup. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for roasted squash as much as we did. I served this along side roasted chicken and green beans with shallots and applewood smoked bacon. Delicious!

Ingredients

2 medium-large, orange-fleshed winter squash (acorn, ambercup, carnival, or gold nugget will all work, as well as other varieties), halved and seeded
4 pats of butter (about 1/2 Tbsp or so)
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.
Roast squash until just tender and pierce-able.
Pierce the squash in several places with a fork.
Top each half with a pat of butter, a Tbsp of maple syrup, a sprinkling of rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
Return to the oven and roast until golden and caramelized.
Allow to cool slightly, halve or quarter (depending on the size of your squash or the appetite of the folks who will be eating it ;-)), and serve (make sure to pour some of the sauce that spilled onto the pan back on top of each serving).

Enjoy!

P.S. The squash we used from Inverbrook (the orange-fleshed, orange-skinned variety from last week's share) had a skin that was completely edible after roasting. Some folks in my family still decided to scrape the flesh from the skin and leave the skin behind. I ate every last bit of skin and flesh. So good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Notes from Nikki-Roasted Red Potatoes and Heirloom Tomato Salad


Roasted Red Potatoes, Vidalia Onions, and Green Peppers
This dish is a cousin of the more common "Home Fries". It is super easy to make... roasted in the oven, rather than fried in a pan. A crowd pleaser, for certain. We ate this with fried eggs as a breakfast-for-dinner treat.

Ingredients

3 pints new red potatoes, quartered
1 large vidalia onion, sliced
1-2 large, or 3-4 small green bell peppers, sliced
1-2 large cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of chopped, fresh parsley

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400.
Combine the potatoes, onion, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large casserole dish.
Roast, tossing occasionally until the potatoes are firm tender.
Toss in the peppers and roast just a bit longer until the peppers are firm tender and roasted just enough.
Remove from oven, top with parsley, and serve.

Enjoy!

Serves 6
Sliced Heirloom Tomoatoes with Rosemary Maple Balsamic Drizzle and Smoked Sea Salt

Ingredients

Sliced heirloom tomatoes

3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed
1 long sprig rosemary, leaves only
Pinch of fresh ground pepper

Smoked finishing sea salt

Instructions

Process the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, rosemary leaves, and pepper in a food processor until emulsified.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
Drizzle this magical mixture over the sliced tomatoes and top with smoked finishing salt.
Serve.
(Try not to fight over the drippings leftover on the plate. ;-))

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Week's Share-Arugula and Acorn Squash

This week's share will include both acorn squash and arugula as well as tomatoes, potatoes, asian greens, and garlic. Both the acorn squash and the arugula have nice nutty overtones, perfect for the tastes of the fall season. One of my personal favorites in an arugula salad with either apples or asian pears--here is a link to Food and Wine's version.

And for a simple way to prepare acorn squash click here for Fine Cooking's braised acorn squash with rosemary and brown sugar--yum!

Finally here is the latest Note from Nikki--I am sure the acorn squash will be a fine substitute for the carnival squash.

Below is a lovely recipe for this fall weather we are experiencing.

Enjoy,
Nikki

Carnival Squash Soup

Ingredients

6-8 C stock (chicken or veggie)
4 carnival squash, halved and seeded (acorn or any other orange-fleshed winter squash would also work)
Glug of olive oil
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp peeled, minced ginger
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used honey crisps because it was what I had on hand. Go for any tart or sweet/tart apple)
Generous pinch of allspice
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-3 Tbsp honey, depending on the sweetness of your apples and squash
Generous splash of milk, half and half, or cream
Dollop of sour cream to top each bowl, or, alternatively, fresh grated gruyere cheese

Instructions
Roast squash in a 400 degree oven until soft.
Scoop out the flesh, discard the skin, and set aside.
Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in the olive oil until softened.
Add in the apples and squash, stirring to combine.
Toss in the allspice, sea salt, and pepper, and saute briefly to combine.
Add in the stock and turn up the heat to bring the liquid to a simmer.
Simmer until the squash and apples start to break down and become very soft (10-15 minutes).
Stir in the milk, half and half, or cream.
Turn off the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth and consistent.
Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each one with either a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of cheese (not both ;-)).

Serve with a loaf of warm, farm fresh, whole-grain bread and plenty of butter.

Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Notes From Nikki--Roasted Fingerlings and Haricot Vert and Mushroom and Perpetual Spinach Risotto


Two More Great Recipes from Nikki:

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Haricot Verts with Tarragon Cream Sauce

Ingredients

2-3 pints whole fingerling potatoes
1-2 quarts haricot verts, stem sides snapped off
2 glugs olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Glug olive oil
Small, sweet, yellow onion (or half of a medium onion) minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Generous splash of white wine
Handful of fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped + a sprig for garnish
1/4-1/3 C half and half or cream
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Toss the potatoes in a glug of olive oil and a bit of sea salt and pepper, and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender. This should take about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.
Toss the haricot verts in a glug of olive oil and a bit of sea salt and pepper, and roast in the oven along with the potatoes, keeping in mind that the potatoes will take longer to cook. Put the beans in for approximately the last 5-10 minutes of potato roasting time. The beans should still have a snap when you take them out of the oven. They roast very quickly.

While the potatoes and beans are roasting, saute the onion and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until softened.
Add in the wine and simmer, reducing by at least half.
Season with sea salt and pepper and throw in the tarragon, stirring to combine.
Add in the half and half, stirring and simmering just a bit longer.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes and beans are finished roasting, nestle the potatoes on a bed of the beans.
Drizzle with the tarragon cream sauce and garnish with a sprig of tarragon.

Serve and Enjoy!


Mushroom and Perpetual Spinach Risotto

Ingredients

2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small-medium yellow onion chopped (I suggest going for a milder, sweeter version)
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. stemmed and chopped mushrooms (I used a combination of crimini, oyster, and shitake)
2 bunches Inverbrook perpetual spinach, stemmed and chopped (any variety of spinach or chard would also work)
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh oregano
2-3 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/3 C white wine
About 3 C Arborio rice (I used a 17.6 oz package from Trader Joe's)
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
4-6 oz. grated or shredded parmesan + more for passing at the table
Generous splash of half and half or cream
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

Using a decent sized soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are softened a bit.
Add in the oregano and thyme and stir to combine.
Toss in the mushrooms and saute briefly until the mushrooms just start to release their juices.
Add in the perpetual spinach and saute until just wilted.
Add the wine to the pot, and simmer until reduced by about a third.
Add the rice and stir until well-coated.
Add in a cup of the stock and stir. Continue to stir occasionally until the stock is significantly absorbed/evaporated.
Repeat this step until you have used up all the stock and/or the rice is firm tender (al dente).
Add in the half and half and the parmesan, stirring until well incorporated.
Add in sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with a sprig of parsley.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This week's share-Fresh Shelling Beans and Winter Squash

Hi Folks. I have not posted in a while and I blame it on wonderful Nikki and her wonderful recipes. Every week she has sent along these great recipes and photos that I have consequently gotten a little lazy about my own recipe postings. This week however I thought you might need some ideas for the fresh shelling beans and the winter squash.

First here is a link to a basic instructions for cooking the fresh shelling beans from eHOW

Two great recipe links:
Fresh Shell Bean Gratin that will probably use two weeks worth of beans.

Fresh Shelling Bean Soup and with Pistou

If you want to do your own recipe search, look up horticultural beans and for those who picked up the little flagrano beans they are also known as flageolet. Happy searching.

Now for the winter squash--you had a choice of carnival or an acorn squash. I found this informative link with basic squash info and recipe links, I hope this is helpful. In the next couple of weeks I will also have the kabocha and the ambercup as possible choices. Happy cooking, despite the heat.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Notes From Nikki-Watermelon Skewers and more


Watermelon Skewers
With a little of Claire's mint and this summer's bounty of watermelon (including Inverbrook's ;-)), you'll be able to whip this up in no time. I give full credit to a friend of mine, Kirsten, for introducing me to this dish years ago. It is always well received. Perfect for a potluck or picnic.

Ingredients

One watermelon, cut into bite-sized chunks and threaded onto skewers
A generous handful or two of mint (depending on the size of your melon), minced
1-2 Tbsp (or more) honey (depending on the sweetness of your melon)
Juice of 1 small lime
Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

Toss together the mint, honey, lime, and sea salt (or throw everything in a food processor and give it a whirl).
Spoon this mixture over the skewers and serve.

Enjoy!

Squash Puree
I don't know how many of you picked up the delightful white, winter squash that Claire's neighbor offered up last week when you picked up your Inverbrook share, but if you did, and you are still wondering what in the world to do with it, I came up with the following dish that I absolutely loved. It was creamy and sweet, and served as breakfast, believe it or not, for many a morning this past week. Give it a try. Any winter squash will work, really. A hot meal on a summer morning isn't exactly in season, I realize, but somehow it fits. Trust me.

Ingredients

2-3 white winter squash (or other winter squash), roasted in a 400 degree oven until very tender, then cooled, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 C chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
Glug olive oil (or a pad of butter), plus a drizzle for topping
1-2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus an extra sprig for garnish
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Chopped toasted almonds (optional)
Crumbled feta (optional)


Salad with Crispy Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Avocado Dressing

What a treat it was to get salad greens again in August! Check out this recipe that uses the greens, zucchini, and tomatoes from your Inverbrook share.

Ingredients

One large summer squash, quartered and sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 medium large tomatoes, chopped

1 bag lettuce mix

1 ripe avocado, pit and skin removed
2 Tbsp lime juice
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2-3 Tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sour cream
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Crisp the zucchini in the olive oil, in a frying pan over medium heat, in one layer (working in batches, if necessary), turning once, until nicely browned on both sides. Set aside.
Process the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chives, olive oil, sour cream, sea salt, and pepper until smooth (add a bit of water if it is too thick). Taste and adjust accordingly.
Toss the salad greens with as much of the dressing as is desired.
Top with the tomatoes and zucchini and serve.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Notes from Nikki--three great recipes

Below are three recipes, all super well-recieved in this house. :-)

Cheers~
Nikki


Haricot Verts, Chinese Style

French beans meet asian flavor in this lively dish. Incredibly simple to make, my family devoured it, literally licking the sauce off their plates. I served this dish aside grilled pork chops. It would work nicely alongside grilled tofu or tempeh as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients

2 quarts haricot verts, stems snipped off
Glug extra virgin olive oil
Glug toasted sesame oil
Generous splash mirin (Sweet, Japanese cooking wine... optional, although the flavor is spectacular. Mirin is sold at Giant in the ethnic food aisle.)
1-2 Tbsp honey or agave (I was generous here, although I know not everyone shares my love of sweetness.)
Pinch crushed red pepper (more if you want more heat)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2-3 Tbsp tamari or shoyu
8 oz. oyster and/or shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (any mix of exotic mushrooms will work here, heck, even crimini mushrooms will work)

Instructions

Using a large skillet or wok, saute the garlic and ginger in the oils over medium heat until fragrant.
Add in the crushed red pepper, sauteing briefly.
Add the mirin, reducing ever so slightly, followed immediately by the honey and tamari or shoyu.
Swirl until well combined.
Add in the mushrooms, sauteing briefly until they just start to release their juices.
Toss in the beans, cover, and steam until the beans are crisp tender.
Give the pan a shake periodically and remove the lid once in a while to give everything a good tossing.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Enjoy!
Serves 6-8 as a side dish


Zucchini, Corn, and Tomato Gratin

A bright, summery dish. Perfect fare for an outdoor, picnic dinner.

Ingredients

4-6 medium tomatoes, chopped and drained slightly (just enough to avoid the gratin becoming more like a soup. ;-) I used a medley of orange and red tomato varieties... gorgeous!)
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced
Fresh corn kernels cut from 6-8 ears very lightly roasted corn (thawed, frozen corn would work too, about 3 C or so)
Glug extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Large handful fresh basil leaves
1/2-3/4 C shredded parmesan (or more if you like it on the cheesier side)
1/2-3/4 C fresh bread crumbs (1-2 slices of dry, toasted bread run through the food processor, along with the parmesan, will do the trick)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400.
Combine the corn, zucchini, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
Spread the mixture into a large, deep baking dish.
Lay the basil leaves in a single layer over top of the corn and zucchini mixture.
Spread the tomatoes over top of the basil.
Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over the tomatoes.
Bake in the oven until just heated through and you see the first signs of bubbling. The cheese on top should be melted and browned a bit.
Allow to cool a bit and serve.
This dish is also delicious served at room temperature.

Enjoy~
Serves 6-8 generously as a side dish


Kale Chips

The ever popular kale chip... we make these almost every week. My kids love these! Really and truly LOVE them! We have even experimented using perpetual spinach and chard in lieu of kale, with decent results. The perpetual spinach and chard don't crisp up quite as nicely, but still work well enough. We have also experimented with a medley of spices (curry powder, cumin/paprika/chili powder/garlic powder, etc.), but like the simple salt/pepper/garlic powder described below the most. Whatever you decide to use, use very little of it. Go easy. I have ruined more than my fair share of these chips using too much salt and spice.
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste (again, go easy here... it's amazing how little salt is really needed, and too much is NOT a good thing ;-})
Dash garlic powder
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, leaves torn into chip-sized pieces, and spun dry (it is of utmost importance that the leaves be pretty dry, otherwise they won't crisp up well in the oven)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350.
Toss the kale in the oil, sea salt, and garlic powder.
Spread the kale in a single layer (no leaves should be on top of other leaves) on a baking sheet (you may need two, depending on the size of your bunch of kale and your baking sheet).
Bake until toasted (the edges of the chips will be darker and crisper). There is a fine line between perfectly toasted, crispy chips, and burnt, terrible tasting chips. I have burnt these one too many times, which is why I suggest checking them every 2-3 minutes. They usually take a good 10-15 minutes to crisp up nicely. Taste one to be sure, before you pull them out.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Notes from Nikki--what to do with all those greens


Wondering what to do with all those cooking greens? :-) Here are a few ideas that we have enjoyed this season. I hope you do too!

Perpetual Spinach Pie


Ingredients

1 bunch perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped (kale or chard would also work)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C whole milk
1 Tbsp dijon mustard (Optional... as it turned out, I didn't have this on hand. I include it here, because, in my mind, it would have been really good with a bit o' mustardy goodness)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Approximately 1/2-3/4 C grated baby swiss (or more if you want it cheesier)
Couple shakes red pepper flakes (optional)


9" round pie crust, pre-made and ready to use


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine the spinach, garlic, eggs, milk, mustard (if using), sea salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
Top the pie with the cheese and a shake of red pepper flakes (if using).
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the center is set and the top has browned a bit (if the center is set and you still don't have a brown top, you can always turn on the broiler for a minute or two to finish it off).
Allow the pie to cool a bit once you remove it from the oven, then dig in!


Enjoy!


Chard and Perpetual Spinach Casserole


Once again, Heidi provides the backdrop for this recipe. I use her basic casserole recipe, swapping ingredients for what I have on hand, regularly. You can find her original recipe here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mushroom-casserole-recipe.html . I almost always double (or triple) her list of ingredients to feed my hungry tribe, and have used an incredible variety veggies, meats, and herbs, in addition to the brown rice/cheese base. It's a great all-around recipe for that sort of thing. Below you'll find my latest go around with it. Feel free to double it if you have a lot of mouths to feed (I doubled it and just used a deeper baking dish). Azia snapped a super close-up shot of the finished casserole.

Ingredients

1 bunch chard, tough stems removed, finely chopped (feel free to use a food processor)
1 bunch perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped
3 eggs, whisked
8 oz. cottage cheese (I always use the full fat variety for best flavor. Feel free to experiment with a lower fat version.)
8 oz. sour cream (Again, use the full fat variety for best flavor, or experiment with a lower fat version.)
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives (I use kitchen shears to snip them into little bits)
3 C cooked brown rice (I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, zapped in the microwave)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375.
Combine the eggs, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Add in the rice, 1/3 of the cheese, garlic, chives, chard, perpetual spinach, sea salt and pepper.
Spread a little olive oil into a large baking dish.
Pour the mixture into the dish, top with the remainder of the cheese, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot, slightly puffed, and golden (if the top starts to get too brown, you can tent it with foil, removing for last 5-10 minutes).

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Rotelli with Perpetual Spinach Cream Sauce


Ingredients

1 lb whole wheat Rotelle (or other spiral pasta)
1-1.5 C half and half
1.5-2 lbs. chicken tenders (you could also substitute the chicken with chunks of cubed tofu or tempeh, or just leave it out altogether)
2 bunches perpetual spinach, tough stems removed, finely chopped (chard would work well here too, or a mixture of the two)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3-1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling at the table
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper


Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil the pasta in. (Once your pasta water is boiling, add in the pasta and some sea salt and cook until al dente. The timing can be tricky, however when I made this meal and started the water boiling first, the pasta finished just slightly before the sauce and it worked out perfectly.)
Cook the chicken tenders (if using) over medium heat in the olive oil in a large skillet, seasoning with sea salt and pepper and working in batches, until cooked through. As the chicken finishes, set aside on a plate.
Using the same skillet, add the garlic and saute over medium heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
Add in the perpetual spinach (and/or chard) and saute until bright green and softened.
Add in the lemon zest, stirring to combine.
Add in the half and half and simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.
Add in the parmesan, stirring until it melts into the sauce.
Break the chicken into bite sized pieces with your fingers and add into the sauce, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
Add in sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta, toss to coat, and serve.

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notes from Nikki--more squash and greens recipes

Whew!!! What a hot and humid weekend. I am looking forward to a break in the heat more than you can imagine. Lucky for all of us Nikki is still cooking away in her kitchen. See her great recipes below:

Chard, Golden Raisin, and Toasted Pine Nut Rotelle

I am amazed at how long chard will keep in the fridge. Admittedly, the bunch of chard that I used in this recipe had been forgotten in the back of our fridge for almost two weeks. Whoops! Surprisingly, when I pulled it out of the plastic bag I had stored it in, it was marvelously fresh. Another reason I love belonging to a CSA! You can't beat freshly harvested food! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe for chard (perpetual spinach would work just fine too).

Ingredients
1 lb whole wheat Rotelle, or other pasta of your choosing
1 bunch rainbow chard, tough stems removed, chopped
1 small-medium red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
1-1 1/2 lbs spicy, Italian chicken sausage, pre-cooked and sliced (Optional-- other sausages would also work here, or, for a vegetarian version of this dish, just leave it out. If you decide not to use spicy sausage, add in red pepper flakes for heat if you'd like.)
2 handfuls toasted pine nuts
2 handfuls golden raisins
3/4 C shredded parmesan plus more for passing at the table
Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions
Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
Throw in the chard and saute until wilted and bright green.
Add in the sausage, sauteing until heated through.
Toss in the raisins and pine nuts.
Combine this mixture with the pasta, tossing gently until well combined.
Add in the parmesan and another glug of olive oil if the mixture is too dry.
Season with sea salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve topped with a sprinkling of parmesan plus more for passing at the table.

Enjoy!


Summer Squash and Perpetual Spinach Soup
Seems like an odd time of year for soup, I know, but somehow the produce from this week's share just seemed to want to come together that way. You don't have to serve this piping hot, just warm enough. The soup is bright and lively like a summer soup should be, while still satisfying enough to be served as a semi-hearty dinner with the addition of potatoes and sour cream, and bread for dipping, of course. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients
1 medium-large sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
1 very large or two medium-large summer squash (about 1.5-2 lbs), sliced
About 3/4-1 lb new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-1/2 inch, or quartered if small
3-4 C chicken or vegetable stock (Incidentally, I always use the scraps from the Inverbrook chickens we roast to make stock. I simply simmer the scraps in water to cover for a good 1/2 hour, turn off the heat, let cool, and then strain. I freeze the stock in 4 C size portions for use in recipes like this.)
I bunch perpetual spinach, stems removed, chopped (chard would work too)
1/2-3/4 C sour cream (half and half, cream, milk, plain whole milk yogurt, or buttermilk would also work)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of finely chopped lemon basil (other types of basil would also be fine, throw in a bit of lemon zest to brighten things up)
Shredded parmesan cheese for topping

Instructions
Using a large pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and softened a bit.
Throw in the squash and potatoes and saute briefly.
Cover the mixture with the stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender (10-15 minutes).
Add in the perpetual spinach, simmering briefly, and then turn off the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency.
Stir in the sour cream and season generously with sea salt and pepper.
Add in the lemon basil.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve topped with a bit of shredded parmesan.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Notes from Nikki-Chard Summer Squash Fritatta and Cabbage Pizza


Swiss Chard and Summer Squash Frittata

Oh the joy of summer! This bright and lively dish makes an eggscellent (I couldn't resist) breakfast-for-dinner kind of meal.
I'm so glad the rain has come so we can have greens again!

Ingredients

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, finely chopped
1 small, sweet onion, finely chopped
1 small summer squash, sliced
A glug of extra virgin olive oil
1 dozen eggs, whisked together
1/2 C (or more, if you wish) shredded parmesan cheese
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
About a dozen or so sungold tomatoes (cherry or grape would also work), halved
Small handful lemon basil, chopped (regular basil will work just fine too, add in a bit o' lemon zest to brighten it up)

Instructions

Preheat the broiler in your oven.
Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick or extremely well-seasoned cast iron skillet* (see note below) until fragrant and softened. Add in the chard and squash, sauteing until the squash begins to soften and brown a bit here and there (see to it that the squash actually touches the bottom of the pan by scooching the chard out of the way).
Arrange the chard and squash so that they cover the bottom of the pan somewhat evenly. Season the veggies with sea salt and pepper.
Pour the eggs over this mixture and give the pan a gentle shake or two so that everything sets evenly (or close to it). Season the eggs with sea salt and pepper and continue cooking until the eggs have set on the bottom and the sides of the pan. The very top of the mixture will still be wet.
Add the cheese to the wet top, distributing evenly.
Place the pan under the broiler (not too close, about 6 inches or so) and cook until the top is set... puffy and golden.
Slide the finished frittata onto a serving platter.
Toss the tomatoes and the basil together and sprinkle the mixture over the frittata.
Slice the frittata like a pizza (I even use my pizza cutter) and serve.
Enjoy!

* A note about skillets: In my experience, the key to a great frittata lies in the pan. Choose a skillet that is either cast iron and super well-seasoned (and that has a reputation for allowing things to slide right out of it), or go for a non-stick pan that has low enough sides so that you can just tilt it to let the finished frittata slide on out. Of all my skillets, I only have one that meets this criteria. I will never give it up! :-)


Roasted Garlic Potatoes

I threw these in the oven to roast while I prepared the frittata. Once these were finished, I pulled them out, turned on the broiler, and popped the frittata in the oven. The potatoes stayed warm enough sitting on the stove top while the frittata finished under the broiler. Worked out perfectly.

Ingredients

About 2 lbs or so new potatoes (I used the red golds from this weeks share, my fave), quartered (or halved if they're on the smaller side)
A couple glugs of olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400.
Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and the garlic. Season with sea salt and pepper--- be generous.
Spread the mixture onto a roasting pan and roast in the oven, tossing once in a while with a spatula, until golden and cooked through (about 25 minutes or so, depending on the size of your potatoes).
Serve and enjoy!





CABBAGE PIZZA


The inspiration for this recipe came from Heidi Swanson, 101cookbooks.com. The original recipe is here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/japanese-pizza-recipe.html
A fabulous way to use up cabbage (ours had been sitting in the fridge all week from last week's share. :-}).
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients
2 cute, little Inverbrook cabbages, shredded (about 2-3 C)
1 cute, little sweet onion, very thinly sliced
2/3 C white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour would also work)
3 eggs, beaten

Glug of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1/4 C toasted, sliced or slivered almonds
1 Tbsp chopped chives

*Ketchup
*Sour cream
(see note below)

Instructions
Toss the cabbage, onion, flour, and eggs together.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet (or a very well-seasoned cast iron skillet that is known for allowing things to slide right out of it).
Spread the cabbage mixture into the pan so it covers the whole surface, pressing down with a spatula to flatten and level it.
Season with sea salt and pepper.
Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is golden.
Put a plate, top down, on top of the mixture and flip the pan over so the pizza is on the plate, golden side up.
Slide the pizza right back into the pan (add more oil first, if necessary) so that the uncooked side is down.
Cook another 4-5 minutes, flip out onto a serving platter, top with the almonds and chives, slice, and serve.

Enjoy!

*Note: Much to my chagrin, my family decided to douse their slices with ketchup. Ironically, as I was eating the scraps off the 4-year-old's plate, I decided that this wasn't such a bad idea. ;-) I can also envision a dollop of sour cream (in lieu of ketchup) atop my next slice. Yum!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Notes from Nikki--Potatoes and Coleslaw


Even in this intense heat Nikki is cooking up delicious fare for her family. Check out the latest Notes from Nikki:

Grilled Potato Salad

I did it again. I stood next to a hot, hot grill in the 100 degree heat last night, this time roasting potatoes, lemons, and sweet onions over the fire. For some reason, it just feels better to do that, even in this wretched heat, than to stand in the kitchen over a hot stove. Anyway, the inspiration for this recipe came from my dear friend, Heidi Swanson (101cookbooks.com). Here is the original: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/grilled-potato-salad-recipe.html
Makes another wonderful summer meal. Stay cool!

Ingredients

Approximately 2 lbs Red Gold potatoes (or other new potatoes), thick sliced or halved if they're really little
1 sweet onion, thick sliced
1 red onion, thick sliced
1 lemon, thick sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 glugs extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Handful fresh basil, chopped or sliced into ribbons
Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Toss the potatoes with 1 glug of olive oil and the minced garlic. Using your fingers, rub a bit of this oil/garlic mixture on the sliced onions and lemons as well.
Using a grill basket so you don't loose any of the potatoes, roast the potatoes, onion, and lemon over a medium-hot grill turning as necessary to avoid severe charring, until softened and marked to perfection. The onions and lemons will finish faster than the potatoes. Just pull stuff off as it finishes, setting it aside on a nearby pan.
Once everything is grilled, toss the whole lot of it, plus another glug of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, the basil, the sea salt, and the pepper, until well combined. Fish out the lemon skins, and taste and adjust to your liking.
Serve and enjoy!













Good Old-Fashioned Coleslaw

Man, is it toasty outside! Whew! I was going to stir-fry the cabbage from this week's share, but decided I didn't want to stand over a hot skillet. The heat has given the cabbage a bit of a bite too, so I thought, why not sweeten it up. My grandmother used to make a simple version of coleslaw that I loved. She dressed the shredded cabbage with a mixture of vinegar, sugar, heavy cream, and salt. She also added shredded carrots and raisins to the shredded cabbage. I decided to leave out the raisins, and ADORN the big bowl of cabbage with those lovely little baby carrots from this week's share, instead of shredding them. I changed up the dressing just a bit too, using sour cream instead of heavy cream. It turned out beautifully and paired nicely with the barbecued chicken we grilled up to go along with it (so instead of standing over a hot stove, I stood next to a hot grill ;-)). A perfect summer meal! I hope you enjoy it.


Ingredients

2 small heads of cabbage, cored and shredded
1 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonaise (optional, this serves to thicken things up a bit and can certainly be left out, you could also try using whole milk, greek yogurt)
3-4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (white wine vinegar would also work or you could try unseasoned rice vinegar for a more mild vinegar flavor)
3-4 tsp sugar (agave would work too, although the sugar gives rise to that good, old-fashioned flavor)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Baby carrots for garnishing (they could also be shredded and mixed in, my grandmother would be thrilled)
Handful of raisins (if you want to please my grandmother ;-))

Instructions

Mix together the sour cream, mayo (or yogurt, if using either), vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust according to your liking.
Pour the mixture over the cabbage and toss to coat. (Mix in the carrots and raisons if you decide to go that route.)
Garnish with the carrots and serve.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Week's Share--Cabbage and Carrots

This Week's share includes cabbage, a little on the spicy side because of the heat and lack of rain, baby carrots with a very intense flavor, garlic, and new potatoes--all colors--pink, white, blue, and yellow--perfect for a potato salad.

Below is the latest from Nikki Graham--a great dip recipe for those little carrots.


Note from Nikki:

Like many of the vegetables that Claire grows, the baby carrots in this week's share shouldn't be messed with too much, if at all. These unsuspecting little orange goodies are so sweet, so crunchy, so delectable all on their own, they don't need anything to bring out their flavor. Nonetheless, who could resist a creamy, tangy blue cheese dipping sauce to plunge them into? Below you'll find the recipe for my new obsession. Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp mayonaise
3-4 Tbsp sour cream
1-2 Tbsp chopped chives
1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4-1/3 C crumbled blue cheese (I used an artisan, raw milk blue cheese that I picked up at the Kennett Square Farmer's Market, God's Country Creamery)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Toss all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined.
Taste and adjust to your liking.
Serve alongside Inverbrook baby carrots or any other veggies you can think of. (This also makes a nice salad dressing, especially drizzled over a wedge of lettuce and some chopped or sliced tomatoes.)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Notes from Nikki--Kale and Potatoes

The Latest from Nikki:

Smashed Potatoes with Kale and Sunflower Pesto

We have been reveling in market season! We visit the Kennett Square Farmer's Market every Friday without fail. I love the community camaraderie that is so evident in town that day. Thank you, Abby Morgan, for organizing such a fabulous weekly affair! Of course, the food is amazing too. ;-) Below is a recipe for Kale and Sunflower Pesto that I adapted from a recipe I picked up at the market (KSQ Farmer's Market Recipes by Jess, www.ksqfarmersmarket.wordpress.com). The original recipe calls for walnuts instead of sunflower seeds, which I didn't have on hand (not to mention the fact that the folks around here aren't particularly fond of walnuts). I made one or two other minor changes from there, and then used the pesto in smashed potatoes. The results were quite well received, coupled with grilled chicken and honey roasted, rosemary and balsamic tomatoes (it's a bit early for tomatoes, I know, but these beauties keep calling out to me at the market every Friday, begging me to take them home and roast them up).

Ingredients

2-3 bunches of Inverbrook Kale, tough stems removed, blanched in boiling water for for 3-5 minutes until bright green and tender (I think chard or perpetual spinach would work here too, although I haven't tried either of them)
2 handfuls (1/4-1/3 C) sunflower seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium heat
Zest of 1small lemon (add a little of the juice too if you like)
1-2 garlic scapes, chopped (1 or 2 garlic cloves would also work, adjust to taste)
1/4-1/2 C fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4-1/3 C olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Boiled potatoes, drained and smashed, still pippin' hot (I used a local yellow variety (wish I could remember the name) that I picked up at the market)
Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients, except for the potatoes, in a food processor and give it a good whirl until you have a pesto-y consistency.
Toss in as much of the pesto as you like (I used almost all of it, but also had quite a load of potatoes), along with more sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir it up and serve.

Here is a photo Azia snapped of her plate before she dug in. The potatoes turned out a brilliant green. Gorgeous.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Week's Share--Happy Summer Solstice

Well summer is certainly starting off with a bang! Its hot and its really really dry. I am hoping for rain this week, the garden is looking very crispy and its having an adverse effect on the crops. The lettuce has quite a bite and without the neccessary rain, the beets and carrots just are not getting large enough to harvest. Luckily the snap peas are still going strong, they are very sweet, a perfect summer treat. It just so happens that the good folks at CCDwell recently posted this recipe for a spicy lemon dip to pair with snap peas. A nice light and refreshing treat.

Speaking of refreshing I have included lots of mint in this week's share--so you can make mint tea, the perfect drink for this hot weather. Click link for a Basic Sun Tea recipe, add a little orange juice for Mint Tea Punch. Combine the snap peas, mint and the garlic in this quick and delicious recipe. Speaking of garlic, the garlic in this week's share is green or fresh garlic. The cloves still have not fully formed and contain a lot of moisture. The fresh garlic has a lot of heat to it, which is mellowed by cooking and is also almost creamy in taste because of the water still contained in the bulb.

This week's share also contains basil plants. A last minute addition for your garden. You will be able to choose from two types of red basil, a lemon basil which smells just wonderful, and a little bush basil called pistou, that is perfect for container planting. The lemon basil also makes a great addition to flower arrangements, although you can certainly cook with it. The "pots" the basil plants have been planted in are fully biodegradable, so you can just stick the whole thing in the soil.

Finally I am giving out compost bags with your share. This way you can bring your vegetable scraps back to the farm and we will compost it here to provide future compost for the garden, complete the cycle. You are more than welcome to add vegetable scraps, eggs shells, coffee grounds, tea,the occassional cheese and bread products to the bag--however please avoid meat scraps and citrus (citrus rind takes a really long time to break down and the meat attracts rodents and our dogs :) Once again, happy summer, enjoy this week's share.

This Week's Share:
Basil Plants
Lettuce Mix
Cooking Greens
Green/Fresh Garlic
Snow and Snap Peas
Compost Bags

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes From Nikki-some great ideas for all those greens

I thought I would start off this week's "Notes From Nikki" (which she actually sent to me last week) with a photo of Nikki (middle), her youngest daughter (Nikki has four beautiful children), and her foodie friend Heidi Swanson author of Super Natural Cooking (the picture is from Heidi's blog). I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have Nikki's amazing recipes, the resource of her friend Heidi's blog, and the fantastic photos taking by her oldest daughter Azia. Enjoy Nikki's cooking ideas.

p.s. if you are all out of spinach, I am sure you could substitute the perpetual spinach or chard

Spinach Curry

This must be a great year for spinach! There seems to be loads of it everywhere I go. Yum!
Below is a recipe for a spinach curry that my family really enjoyed. I hope you do too. Unfortunately, Azia accidentally deleted the photo she took of her plate. :-( I'm sure you can envision it though. Think deep, dark, earthy green. Gorgeous~

Ingredients
A glug of olive oil
3 garlic scapes, minced (garlic cloves are fine too)
1 large leek (white part only), thinly sliced (a chopped onion would be fine here too, I just needed to use up a leek I had in the fridge)
1 Tbl fresh ginger, peeled and minced
I 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes (with juice)
1/2 -1 Tbl garam masala (I happen to LOVE this spice blend, so I went for closer to 1 Tbl (perhaps more). I would suggest starting with 1/2 Tbl and adjusting from there. You could also substitute your favorite curry powder for the garam masala and leave out the turmeric, or use less garam masala (1/2-1 tsp) and add in a tsp or two of cumin and coriander to lessen the clove, cinnamon, and cardamon flavor.)
1 tsp turmeric
1 15 oz. can coconut milk (NOT the light version)
2 1/2 - 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken cut into bite-sized chunks (swap out chicken for chickpeas or paneer (Indian cheese) for a vegan or vegetarian version of this dish)
2 bags Inverbrook Spinach (about 1- 1 1/2 lbs), finely chopped (I used the food processor to save myself the trouble)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

About 6 C cooked brown rice (I love Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, in a pinch. I just empty all three bags that are in the one box into a glass bowl with a lid and nuke it in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes, stirring in between.)

I dollop of sour cream, plain whole milk yogurt, or creme fraiche to top each serving (optional, although, this is one of my favorite aspects of the dish)
Cilantro sprigs as garnish

Instructions
Saute the garlic scapes, leek, and ginger in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and softened a bit.
Add in the tomatoes, garam masala, and turmeric (or whatever combination of spices you come up with), stirring to combine everything.
Allow this mixture to simmer for a few minutes so the flavors can meld.
Add in the coconut milk and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
Add in the chicken and spinach and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the spinach is deep, dark, and earthy green, about 20 minutes.
Add in sea salt and pepper to taste (garam masala generally has black pepper in it, so you may want to go easy at first and then adjust accordingly).

Serve over brown rice, topped with a dollop of sour cream, plain yogurt, or creme fraiche, and a sprig or two of cilantro.

Serves 6-8


Orange Sesame Salad

Greens, Greens, Greens! My body is loving all this roughage!
Below is another salad recipe that my kids, in particular, really enjoyed.
I hope you'll give it a try too.

Ingredients

3 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
2-3 Tbl rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1-2 Tbl honey (agave works nicely too)
1 tsp fresh peeled, minced ginger
1-2 Tbl tamari or shoyu

1 bag Inverbrook lettuce mix or spicy greens mix (or a combination of both), washed, spun dry, and torn into manageable pieces
Orange segments from 2-3 oranges, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
Avocado chunks (optional)
Chives or scallions, snipped into little pieces with kitchen shears, to taste (optional... I recommend adding these only if you're NOT using the spicy greens)
A handful of chopped cilantro leaves (again, I recommend using this WITHOUT the spicy greens)

Give the olive oil, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, and tamari a whirl in the food processor, or whisk together by hand, until well combined. Taste and adjust.

Toss the greens with the oranges, sesame seeds, avocado (if using), chives (if using), and cilantro (if using).

Drizzle with as much of the dressing as you like, toss gently one more time, and serve.

Enjoy!

Incidentally, the dressing for this salad goes beautifully with Claire's Asian turnips and radishes too. Also, the 2nd photo is simply a plate of spicy salad greens drizzled with the aforementioned dressing, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and topped with a fried egg. Lunch!