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).

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

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.


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.

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

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.


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!


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)


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.

* 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.


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


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!


The inspiration for this recipe came from Heidi Swanson, The original recipe is here:
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!

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

*Sour cream
(see note below)

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.


*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 ( Here is the original:
Makes another wonderful summer meal. Stay cool!


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


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.


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 ;-))


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.


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


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


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.)