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).


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


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~

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

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.


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.


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!

This Week's Share-Lots of Peas

The relatively hot dry weather has not been the best growing conditions for the greens (the lettuce is still bitter I am afraid, its a nice addition to a milder salad mix) and it has made all the peas come on at once. This will be the last week for the shelling peas, which have gotten a little less sweet and more starchy. They are perfect for making soups. The great website Culinate has this recipe link for a Coconut Milk, Pea and Spinach Soup. If you do not have any spinach left you can substitute the slightly heartier perpetual spinach in this week's share. Perpetual spinach is actually a tender chard that tastes quite a bit like spinach. The stem is very narrow, so you do not have to remove it from the inside of the leaves.

This week's share has stir fry written all over it, with baby bok choy and snow peas what could be better than the addition of beef or shrimp and a nice ginger sauce, click here for an asian noodle recipe using pac choy and snow peas.

This Week's Share
Lettuce Mix
Shelling Peas
Snow Peas
Snap Peas
Perpetual Spinach
Baby Bok Choy
Asian Turnips
Cilantro, Dill, and Mint

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Week's Share-Lots of (spicy) Greens

This week's share is full of greens, and spicy ones at that. June is the season for greens, and this year's relatively hot and dry start to the month is giving all the greens a little kick (including the lettuce, sorry about its mild bitterness, I am hoping yesterday's rain will temper the bite a bit). Because both the mustard mix and the arugula have an almost horseradish or wasabi type heat to them, both would be good in roast beef sandwiches, on a burger, pureed for a sauce to put on salmon,...the possibilities are endless. Here is Bon Appetit's recipe for Mustard Green Pesto on Pasta with Shiitake Mushrooms.

For the sweeter greens I found this great recipe for a Marmalade of Greens (see picture above) from one of my new favorite food websites Culinate.

Speaking of sweet, the shelling peas have arrived! Although a bit of a chore to deal with, peas are the perfect healthy snack for your kids. Literally like green candy, kids love to crack open the pods and eat the raw peas right away. Next week I will have greater quantities of the snow and snap peas, in the meantime, take advantage of this delicious garden treat. One note, like sweet corn, shelling peas slowly convert the sugars into starch after being picked. Of all your share vegetables, I would eat the peas first to maximize their flavor and sweetness.

Next week share, still lots of greens, although the mustards will be replaced with baby pac choy--the perfect makings for a stir fry.

This Week's Share:
Lettuce Mix (with a bite)
Baby Spinach
Garlic Scapes
Asian Salad Turnips
Herbs--mint, cilantro, and dill

Monday, June 7, 2010

Notes from Nikki--Arugula and Garlic Scape Recipes

From CSA Memeber Nikki Graham:

Black Bean Arugula Salad

Another use for arugula. Yay! The inspiration for this yummy salad came, once again, from Heidi Swanson (101cookbooks.com). I changed things up quite a bit. Her original recipe can be found here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/giant-black-bean-salad-recipe.html
I served this with grilled pork chops, although, on it's own, it certainly could serve as a hearty, summertime meal.
I used canned black beans. Dried, cooked beans would have been better (the giant variety, as Heidi calls for, would have been amazing). I was in a crunch for time, as I often am. Nonetheless, my family loved it, even the three-year-old.
I hope you enjoy it too.


Juice of 3 small limes (or to taste)
3-4 TBLs good quality, extra virgin olive oil (or to taste)
2-3 TBL agave (or to taste)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed (throw in a few seeds if you want more heat)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste (optional... I like the flavor, even with the jalapeno, not everyone feels the need)

3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 handfuls toasted pepitas (I always toast mine in a fry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan once in while, until they start to pop and brown a bit)
Small bag of Inverbrook arugula (or a generous handful per serving), washed and spun dry, tough stems removed
Grated Manchego cheese (Altogether I used about 1/2 of a cup. Use as much as you desire. Crumbled queso fresco or feta would also work)
1/2 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Puree the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor until well combined.
Toss a bit of the dressing with the arugula.
Toss the rest of the dressing with the black beans.
Place a generous handful of arugula on each plate and top with a heaping serving-size spoonful of beans.
Top the beans with some of the cheese, pepitas, and tomatoes.


Serves 6

Radish Salad with Creamy, Tarragon, Garlic Scape Dressing

As it turns out, no one, except me, likes radishes in my family. As a result, by the end of radish season, I am radished out! Below is a recipe for a radish salad with a creamy, tarragon and garlic scape dressing to help you put your radishes to good use. Beautiful little gems, those radishes. The dressing keeps nicely in the fridge for at least a few days. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


1 Inverbrook garlic scape
12-15 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
1/4-1/3 C Highland Farms, plain yogurt (or other plain, whole milk yogurt of your choosing, although I highly recommend Martha's amazing yogurt :-))
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Sliced radishes
Inverbrook lettuce mix, washed and spun dry, large pieces torn into bite sized pieces
Toasted sunflower seeds

Process the garlic scape, tarragon, yogurt, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble each plate with a generous handful of lettuce. Top the lettuce with the radishes and toasted sunflower seeds and drizzle with the dressing.

Serve and enjoy!