Thursday, June 30, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Chinese Snow Peas and Red Haven Pork Chops

Just in case you still have not consumed all your vegetables from this week's share, here are two great meal ideas from Nikki. If the idea of pork chops interests you, the farmstand will be open tomorrow (Friday) from 2-7PM and you still have time to make an order with Red Haven Farm. You can download an order form from the Inverbrook website. I will also have flowers and a few vegetables available for purchase, perfect for your 4th of July gathering. Speaking of the 4th of July, I will have normal Monday CSA pick up on the 4th. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Chinese Snow Peas
Our family just loves peas. Sugar snap, snow, shelling... divine! We can't get enough! The peas from our Inverbrook share the past few weeks are to die for. So sweet, so crisp. I don't like to mess with them too much. Truth be told, they usually don't make it home as my four kids devour them on the way.
I hope you enjoy the following recipe. Simple as can be. Just snow peas (sugar snaps will also work) tossed in an Asian inspired dressing. Perfect on a hot day.


Snow peas (or sugar snaps), trimmed
2 T tamari or shoyu
1 T honey
1 T rice vinegar
1 T toasted sesame oil
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
1 small glove garlic, smashed and minced (or 1 chopped garlic scape, both are optional)

1. Whisk together the tamari, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Taste and adjust to your liking.
2. Toss the dressing with the peas and serve.

Grilled Red Haven Farm Pork Loin Chops with Roasted Carrots and Fennel

For those of you who are meat eaters, I sincerely hope you have taken advantage of ordering from Red Haven Farm. Their grass-fed, pastured meats are every bit as delicious as they are nutritious. Last night I grilled up a batch of their bone-in pork loin chops. They turned out so juicy and flavorful. I served them with a quick roasted baby carrot and fennel salad. Delicious! Of course, the salad could certainly be enjoyed without the pork chops for the non-pork-eating folks out there. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Red Haven Farm pork loin chops (we grilled 6 of them)
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves fresh, uncured garlic (cured is fine too)
Several sprigs of thyme plus about 1 T of leaves, sprigs soaked in water for several minutes
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

2-4 baby fennel bulbs and stems (depending on size and your liking for fennel), trimmed and roughly chopped
2 bunches baby carrots (3-4 dozen, depending on size), bottoms trimmed, tops removed minus about an inch of stem
3-4 peeled and sliced shallots (optional... I wished I had had them on hand; the dish was still delicious without them)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of chopped parsley leaves

For the chops:
1. Preheat the grill to medium/high.
3. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, and thyme leaves. Allow the mixture to sit for a bit while you season the chops with sea salt and pepper, and while you're waiting for the grill to heat up.
2. Rub the olive oil/garlic/thyme mixture into one side of the chops.
3. Top each chop with a couple sprigs of the soaked thyme (these will steam and smoke during the grilling process... fantastic!).
4. Grill the chops, seasoned side up, over medium/high heat for about 3-5 minutes (depending on the size of your chops and your grill temperature variance), with the grill top down.
5. Remove the thyme sprigs and flip the chops, grilling for another 3-5 minutes.
6. Remove from the grill and allow to cool for a bit before serving.

For the roasted carrot and fennel salad:
(*Note-If you are grilling the pork chops in addition to making the salad, you should get your carrots and fennel into the oven before you put the chops on the grill.)
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Toss the fennel, carrots, shallots (if using), olive oil, sea salt, and pepper together, and spread out on a baking sheet.
3. Roast, shaking the pan once in a while, until the larger carrots are just tender (the fennel will be nice and toasty), about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your carrots. The smaller ones will be well-done. Totally okay, and quite tasty. :-)
4. Toss with the parsley and serve. (Serves 4-6 as a side dish.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Week's Share-Bitter Greens, Fresh Garlic and Baby Carrots

This week's share includes:

Snap Peas
Leaf Lettuce (starting to have a bit of a bite)
Baby Carrots
Bulb Fennel
Italian Dandelion
Frisee Endive
Fresh Garlic

Bitter greens like the Italian Dandelion and the Frisee in this week's share might be something new to you. Their "bite" can be tempered with a little heat from either braising or a warm salad dressing; and consequently are a great base to a "wilted" salad. Their strong taste pairs well with nuts, dried fruit, and flavorful cheese like blue, a sharp chevre, and parmigiano. Their cleansing bitterness is also well suited to bacon. One of my favorite salads is frisee, blue cheese and bacon.

Speaking of strong and pungent, the share this week also includes fresh garlic. This garlic has just been dug from the ground and has not yet been cured. Curing mellows the flavor of garlic, so this garlic is HOT. It also still contains a bit of water, so it lends itself to roasting, which will mellow the heat and become extra creamy because of the moisture still in the cloves. Click here for some roasted garlic recipes (I like this link for its vampire references, for all you True Blood fans out there).

This week's share is not all bite, on the sweeter (but very flavorful) side are the last of the snap peas, the baby carrots and also the last of the fennel until the fall. Enjoy the share and let me know if you have discovered any new recipes for the items mentioned above.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Beet and Fennel Salad and Green Smoothie

Two great recipe ideas from Nikki (I am late in posting the green smoothie recipe, but you can substitute other greens for the spinach):

Roasted Baby Beets and Fennel Salad
It's beet season, and I'm in heaven. The baby beets from this week's share are little bulbs of red deliciousness, and are the perfect accompaniment to the baby fennel we received as well. I hope you enjoy the recipe below. Another salad, I know. I promise my next recipe will be a bit more hearty. ;-)


4 thinly sliced baby fennel bulbs, plus a handful or so chopped fronds (or two larger bulbs)

3 shallots, thinly sliced and sautéed briefly in a splash of olive oil

8-10 baby beets, tops removed, bottoms trimmed, roasted in a 400 degree oven until tender

1/4 C good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1-2 T honey
1 T fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Once the beets have cooled, slide the skins off and quarter them.
2. Put the olive oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and emulsified. (You can also do this by hand with a wire whisk.) Taste and adjust to your liking.
3. Toss the beets, fennel, fronds, shallots, and as much dressing as you like together.
4. Lay this mixture on a bed of lightly dressed salad greens (optional, but very tasty :-)), garnish with a piece of frond, and serve.

Serves 4

Banana Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

What?! Spinach?! Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of disguising greens in things like smoothies and shakes. In fact, this is the first time I've ever even attempted to throw a bag of greens into the blender along with our usual smoothie suspects... yogurt, bananas, berries, honey, ice. But tonight was one of those nights when we came home exhausted after a long day, and it was already close to 8 pm, not enough time to put together a substantial meal. Not to mention the fact that we have way more greens than we even know what to do with right now. So, we threw together this rather homely, yet fine tasting concoction. Really delicious, totally satisfying, and full of all kinds of good-for-you stuff. Perfect! Feel free to substitute other berries or fruit for the blueberries. I imagine strawberries would make a nice substitute, as well as blackberries, raspberries, or even mango. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


1 pint of fresh blueberries (frozen is fine too)

2-3 fresh bananas (depending on size, we used 3 small ones)

1 C vanilla yogurt (plain is fine too, or your flavor of choice; we used Seven Stars Farm Original Vanilla yogurt)

5 oz. fresh spinach (kale, chard, and even romaine lettuce will all work as well; I encourage you to experiment)

1-2 Tbsp. honey, agave, or pure maple syrup (We used our favorite local honey, Guinea Hen Garden, Chocolate Mint... this honey doesn't really taste like chocolate, just a touch minty. It's made with chocolate mint flowers.)

A handful of mint leaves if not using minted honey

About a dozen cubes of ice

1. Put all the ingredients except for the ice in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking.
2. Add the ice and blend again until smooth.
3. Pour into glasses and enjoy.

Serves 4

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice--the Longest Day of the Year

Happy Solstice. I am going to blame my limited blogging on the season; the long days leave few hours for sleep, let along spending much time in front of the computer. So I apologize for not updating on a regular basis with the various week's share contents. Now that the days are getting shorter, this all should change. Plus I hope CSA members are now receiving e-newsletters created by the very talented Kelly G. Her amazing photographs and recipe links are what will make up the bulk of the newsletter content.

So here we go, the first of many "This Week's Share"
-Leaf Lettuce Mix


-Snow and Snap Peas


-Baby Bulb Fennel

-Baby Beets
that are as much about the delicious greens as the small beet root

-Cooking Greens (your choice between Kale, Chard, and the spinach/chard hybrid-like perpetual spinach)

Below are some recipe and cooking links that might be useful in preparing this week's share vegetables. Enjoy the share, enjoy the summer

How to grill baby bulb fennel from a great Canadian cooking blog

A Fennel Risotto with Goat Cheese-one could replace the goat cheese with Highland Farm brebis available for purchase at Inverbrook

Mollie Katzen's great Beet and Fennel Salad

A Mint and Snap Pea recipe from Whole Living Magazine

A Greek recipe for Beet Greens (or chard) that calls for Greek yogurt, once again you could replace it with Highland Farm yogurt.

And finally Culinate's primer on the strange looking, but delicious kohlrabi

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Note's from Nikki-Radish and Kale Chips, Burger with a Lettuce Bun

I am so thankful for Nikki's amazing recipes. Last week's heat was fairly overwhelming. When I would come insdie to get a break from the hot sun, I have to say I was feeling less than inspired to do any blogging. I apologize for not even posting the share outline.

This week however, the weather is looking much better. I am so glad we are finally getting a little rain (and not in the form of violent storms). I will update the blog soon with the coming week's share. In the meantime, enjoy these great recipe ideas from Nikki. One note, if you are interested in making an order with Red Haven farm go to my website to download an order form.

Red Haven Farm Burgers with Lettuce Buns

I am so excited that we can now order Red Haven Farm's delicious grass-fed beef to pick-up at Inverbrook along with our CSA share. How convenient! We have been big fans of Red Haven Farm's meats for quite some time now. Nothing compares to grass-fed beef, in my opinion. The flavor is superb, not to mention the health benefits; and the fact that it's local makes it all the better.
Like you probably do, we have lettuce coming out of our ears right now. The head lettuce that Claire has been growing is outstanding this year. So sweet and refreshing, my kids are even eating it plain.
Last night, as I stared into the fridge and pondered what to make for dinner, I glanced at both the ground beef from Red Haven, and the gobs of lettuce from Inverbrook, and thought, "Burgers with lettuce buns, of course!" Perfect for a hot, summer night (I know, it's not officially summer yet, but it sure feels like it at 97 degrees).
I served the burgers up with kale and radish chips (see "Kale Chips" and "Radish Chips" for the recipes), and a plethora of fixings (cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc).

Ground grass-fed beef (We used 3 pounds to make 9 good-sized burgers. We like leftovers. :-))
Garlic powder to taste
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Lettuce "buns" (We used the iceberg-type lettuce from our Inverbrook farm share, which is nothing like the iceberg lettuce sold in most grocery stores. It is chock-full of flavor and color, and the crisp succulence that it yields makes for the perfect "bun".)
Burger fixings of your choice (cheese, pickles, sliced tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc)

1. Fire up your grill, or preheat a grill pan on the stove to medium/medium high heat.
2. Combine the ground beef, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper in a bowl, and form into patties (we make ours about 1/4-1/3 pound).
3. Cook the patties, flipping once, until cooked to your liking. (We like our burgers cooked "medium", so it takes about 3-5 minutes per side).
4. If you are using cheese, throw that on for the last minute or so of cooking time to melt.
5. Situate the burgers in the lettuce "buns", add whatever fixings you wish, and serve.

Kale Chips
When we picked up our farm share this past Monday, my kids were ecstatic to see that kale was part of the bounty. They all shouted, "Kale chips!" This is their favorite way to eat Kale, and the chips made the perfect accompaniment to the burgers with lettuce "buns" we made from the ground beef we ordered from Red Haven Farm (see "Red Haven Farm Burgers with Lettuce Buns" for the recipe), along with and the radish chips (see "Radish Chips" recipe). Normally, I just toss the torn kale with some olive oil and sea salt, but this time I decided to add a bit more flavor to the mix. I hope you enjoy this version as much as we did.

2 bags or bunches of kale, washed, torn, and spun dry (tough stems removed)
3 Tbsp good quality, extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt (You don't need much. I have learned this lesson the hard way. ;-) Go easy, you can always add more later.)
A couple pinches of raw sugar
A couple dashes of paprika
A couple dashes garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Toss the kale with the olive oil, sea salt, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. I like to lightly massage the oil and spices into the leaves a bit.
3. Spread the leaves onto baking sheets in roughly one layer. (You don't have to be too picky. A little overlap is okay.)
4. Roast until the kale starts to brown and crisp up, approximately 10-15 minutes. Start checking at 7 minutes and keep checking every couple of minutes until they are done. Kale chips go from perfect to burnt very quickly. I have also learned this lesson the hard way. ;-)
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve. (These are best eaten fresh out of the oven.)


Serves 6-8

Radish Chips
I am thrilled to share this recipe, mostly because I have finally discovered a way to get my family to eat radishes. I should say, my son, Emre, and I both love radishes, but we are the only ones in this household who will touch them. As you can imagine, we get mighty tired of them by the end of the season as we're the only ones eating them. Turns out, radishes can be made into "chips". Roasting them gets rid of most of their bite, and, let's be honest, everything tastes better coated in olive oil and salt. ;-) The following recipe is super easy, and delicious. There are many variations on the internet. Just google "radish chips". There seem to be many opinions about the best oven temp for roasting, as well as how thick to slice the radishes. I encourage you to experiment. I don't think you can go wrong, really. Below you'll find what worked for me. Enjoy!

Thinly sliced radishes (I sliced mine about 1/16-1/8")
Good quality, extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375.
2. Toss the sliced radishes with olive oil (I used approximately 2 Tbsp for about 3 dozen small radishes), and spread out onto a baking sheet (non-stick preferable) in one single layer.
3. Sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Keep checking on them. Once they start to brown up a bit and shrink, pull one out and test to see if it's done. They will continue to crisp up after you remove them from the oven and as they cool on the baking sheet.
5. Toss onto a serving plate, and enjoy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Garlic Scape Cilantro Hummus

Garlic Scape Cilantro Hummus
I don't know about you, but I love hummus. It's practically a staple in our house. My kids especially like it, and I can feel good about the fact that they're filling their bodies with good fat, protein, and fiber. Plus, they eat gobs of vegetables as they dip them into that delectable bowl of creamy goodness. I hope you enjoy this twist on an all-time favorite as much as we did. (Incidentally, I don't put sesame tahini in my hummus. I simply don't care for it. I prefer a creamier hummus with more olive oil. If you feel the need though, go ahead and add it in to your liking.)


2 cans garbanzo beans, drained (leave a little bean "juice" behind)
1/4 C + good quality extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
2 garlic scapes, trimmed and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon (or less, I happen to love lemon juice and never skimp ;-))
Handful of fresh chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Smoked paprika for topping (optional)
Smoked finishing salt (optional)

1. Combine the beans, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic scapes, cilantro, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add in more olive oil if needed to thin (or use water). Taste and adjust to your liking.
2. Turn the hummus out into a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and top with some smoked paprika and smoked finishing salt.
3. Throw on part of a garlic scape as a garnish if desired, and serve with cut up vegetables, pita bread, corn chips, or whatever your heart desires.


Serves 8-10

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Salad Recipe

Baby Lettuce, Shredded Carrots, Golden Raisins, Roasted Cashews, and Curried Vinaigrette

This is my favorite time of year for many reasons, one of which is SALAD GREENS. I truly love salad, and I particularly love playing around with ingredients to see what interesting combinations I can come up with. My kids, in particular, favored this one. I hope you enjoy it too!


2 bags mixed baby lettuce (10-12 ounces), washed and spun dry (I used the bagged baby lettuce from the Inverbrook farm stand last Friday)
3 small-medium sized grated carrots
Golden raisins
Roasted cashews
4 Tbsp good quality, extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbsp curry powder
Sea salt to taste
A pinch or two of fresh ground pepper, plus a bit more for topping

1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, curry powder, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and emulsified (you can also do this by hand with a wire whisk). Taste and adjust to your liking.
2. Toss the lettuce with the grated carrots and as much of the dressing as you like (the rest will save nicely in an airtight container in the fridge).
3. Plate the dressed salad, topping with the golden raisins, roasted cashews, a drizzle of honey, and a bit of fresh ground pepper.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Serves 6-8 generously (feel free to cut the recipe in half)