Friday, June 29, 2012

Notes From Nikki-Summer Squash Spaghetti

Summer Squash "Spaghetti" with Fresh Pesto (Not to be confused with spaghetti squash!)
Hello fellow Inverbrook CSA members! Summer's not kidding this year, is it? Holy heat wave! Below you'll find a perfect summer dish. Little to cook, could even be served totally raw. I parboiled the zucchini strands because my tummy doesn't like raw summer squash, but that's just me. This dish came together in a flash, and was well received by my family. We enjoyed a side of local summer sausage, but the dish is totally satisfying on its own. Enjoy!


4 large zucchini (or other summer squash), cut into spaghetti thin strips (I used a mandolin, but a vegetable peeler would also work... cut the strips into whatever width suits your fancy)

2 scallions, chopped (I briefly sauteed mine in a splash of olive oil because my body also doesn't like raw onions. I know, I'm rather sensitive. ;-))

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 garlic scape, chopped, or 1 small clove garlic, smashed

1-2 handfuls shredded parmesan (1/4-1/2 C), plus more for garnishing

1-2 handfuls fresh basil leaves (I tend to go heavy on the basil so used 2 handfuls)

1/4-1/3 C extra virgin, good quality olive oil

Juice of 1/2-1 lemon (I used the juice of 1 whole lemon, but I like things lemony ;-))

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Crushed red pepper

Toasted pine nuts for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add the summer squash "spaghetti."
2. Boil the squash strands for 2-3 minutes, just enough time to soften them ever so slightly.
3. Allow the squash to drain in a colander while you prepare the pesto.
4. Put the garlic, parmesan, olive oil, basil, sea salt, lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Depending on the amount of olive oil, lemon juice, basil, and cheese you started with, you may need to add more olive oil to thin things out. Taste and adjust before you add more of anything. You can always add more, but you can't take it back out. ;-)(You can also add a handful of the toasted pine nuts to the mix and process along with the rest of the ingredients if you'd like. I like to sprinkle them on top at the end, personally. Your choice, of course.)
5. Toss the pesto with the zucchini, tomatoes, scallions, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste and adjust.
6. Serve the "pasta" topped with shredded parmesan, toasted pine nuts, and a dash of crushed red pepper.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plenty-The perfect cookbook for eating in season

Those committed to eating seasonally through loyal farmer's market shopping or CSA membership are often faced with the challenge of finding recipes for what ever is "plentiful."  In my own CSA, for example, this is the 4th week in a row members have recieved beets and carrots.  The same will be true of summer squash.  I can imagine that recipe ideas might be running a little scarce.   I have the perfect cookbook remedy for those who want to eat seasonally and frugally without scarificing health or taste.

One of my prized birthday presents this year is the beautiful and useful cookbook Plenty by Diane Henry.  The photographs and diversity of recipes enticed me from the start.  Once I grasped the concept of the cookbook, however,  I knew this was a gift I would have to share with other locavores. The author, a food column writer for the The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, was challenged to come up with a cookbook for the current economic downturn. Instead of "cheapening" the ingredients, she instead encourages the use of leftovers, seasonal and plentiful food.  The result is the perfect cookbook for eating in season. Not only does the cookbook include a nice variety of vegetable recipes it also includes a section on lesser (and cheaper) cuts of meat, sustainable seafood, wild foods and more.  I have included three delicious recipes below from Plenty featuring produce currently included in my CSA share--beets, carrots and zucchini.


Serves 8
¼ cup butter
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ¾ lb beets, trimmed and sliced
1 small tart or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
6 cups chickens stock
Salt and pepper

Sour cream
Dill sprigs
4 oz mild goat cheese

1 Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.  Add a splash of water, cover, and sweat for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft.  Add the beets (I don’t bother to peel them) and apple, cover, and sweat for 15 minutes.  Pour on the stock and season.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until the beets are completely tender.  Leave to cool, then puree.
2 Serve hot or cold with a dollop of sour cream on top and dill sprigs, then crumble the goat cheese and add some to each serving.


Serve 4 as a side dish

1lb of Zucchini
Olive oil
1 small red onion, in crescent moon-shaped slices
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes and drained
1 ½ tbsp pine nuts or chopped blanched almonds, toasted
Juice of ½ lemon
Torn leaves from 8 mint sprigs

1 Slice the zucchini to about the thickness of a quarter.  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the zucchini in batches until golden on both sides and soft.  Season as you go and add more oil as you need it (zucchini soak up quite a lot but that makes them more delicious).  Put each batch into a shallow bowl as they finish cooking.

2 Now add another  1 tbsp oil and cook the onion until completely soft and golden (even slightly singed at the tips).  Toss the onion and garlic with the zucchini, raisins, nuts, lemon juice, and mint.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  You may find you want more lemon; there should be a balance of sweetness from the raisins and sourness from the lemon.


Serves 4-6 as a side dish, 3 as a main course

¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, in thin crescent moon shapes
4 garlic cloves, thinly chopped
1 ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
¼ - ½ tsp dried red pepper flakes
½ cup green or Puy lentils
6 large carrots, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, parsley, or dill
Good squeeze of lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

1 Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and pale gold.  Add the garlic and spice and cook for 2 minutes.  Now add everything else except the herbs, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil
2 Bring to a boil and cook until tender and the liquid has been absorbed.  It should take 30 minutes.
3 Taste, add the herbs and lemon juice, then adjust the seasoning.  Add a generous slug of extra-virgin olive oil.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Monday, June 25, 2012

This Week's Share-Lots of Summer Squash

This week's share includes lots of summer squash.  Its time to pull out the zucchini bread recipes or follow the links listed below.

This Week's Share Includes:
Lettuce Mix
Zephyr (yellow squash) Squash
Patti Pan Squash

Zephyr, Scallop Sunburst Patti Pan, Costata Romanesco Zucchini, Zucchini

Friday, June 22, 2012

Notes From Nikki-Roasted Fingerling and Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing

Photo by Kiah Graham
Roasted Fingerling and Tomato Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Hello summer! Hello heat! Thank goodness Claire is supplying us with ample amounts of salad greens to eat; light dinners for oppressively hot evenings (or lunches for afternoons). This recipe does call for a quick roasting of the baby fingerlings from your Inverbrook share in a hot oven. It doesn't take long though, and having roasted potatoes in a salad helps to add staying power. Feel free to use whatever type of tomatoes you have on hand. I just happened to find some local grape tomatoes that were divine. Enjoy, and stay cool!

1 bag of Inverbrook salad greens, washed, spun dry, and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb or so baby fingerling potatoes, washed (and scrubbed in spots if needed)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 T chopped chives
Handful of fresh tarragon leaves (or more, I love tarragon so I tend to go heavy)
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil, plus another tablespoon or so for roasting the potatoes
Dollop or two of mayo
Dollop or two of sour cream, plain whole milk yogurt, or even cottage cheese
2-3 tsp dijon mustard (depending on your taste for it)
1 tsp local honey (support local beekeepers :-))
Generous splash or two of white wine vinegar (or a big squeeze or two of lemon juice)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Drizzle 1-2 T olive oil over a baking sheet and spread the potatoes over. Season with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
3. Roast in the oven for until fork tender (about 15 minutes). Remove and set aside.
4. While the potatoes are cooling, put the chives, tarragon, 3 T olive oil (you can add more later if you need it), a dollop of mayo and a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt or cottage cheese... again you can add more later if need be), 2 tsp dijon (or more if you really like dijon), 1 tsp local honey, a generous splash of white wine vinegar or a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
5. Taste and adjust (very important!). At this point you can add in more mayo, sour cream (or yogurt or cottage cheese), vinegar or lemon juice, dijon, sea salt, chives, tarragon, etc. It took me a few tries to get this perfect, and my taste buds are different than yours so what worked for me won't necessarily work for you. Play with it. Have fun!
6. Toss the potatoes with the tomatoes and a bit of the dressing.
7. Toss the salad greens with a bit of the dressing.
8. Toss the dressed salad greens with the dressed potato/tomato mixture.
9. Drizzle with a bit more dressing if desired, and toss lightly again.
10. Serve topped with a bit of ground pepper, and a tarragon sprig for garnish.

Serves 4-6

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Week's Share--Happy Summer Solstice

Wow, summer has certainly arrived with a bang.  It is hot outside.  Not exactly the type of weather that inspires cooking.  Luckily this week's share contains plenty of vegetables that lend themselves to cold salads.  You could roast up the beets, summer squash, baby potatoes and carrots.  Then serve them over a bed of lettuce with your favorite dressing, finally add shrimp or grilled chicken and you have a complete meal.  Enjoy.

This Week's Share Includes:
Mixed Lettuce
Summer Squash

Just in case your beets are starting to pile up click here for a link for pickled beets (so you can save them for later).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Notes From Nikki--Father's Day Pancakes with a Green Twist

Photo by Kiah Graham

Banana, Coconut, and Cinnamon Pancakes with a Green Twist
If you're like me, you've got greens piling up in your fridge and are trying to stuff (or sneak ;-)) them into anything and everything this time of year. Why not pancakes? The idea came to me this morning as I started pulling out ingredients to whip up a batch of golden griddle cakes for Father's Day.
The recipe could easily be cut in half. This one makes about 18 medium-sized pancakes.
It would be fun to substitute the cinnamon with curry or garam masala, or use a teaspoon or two in conjunction with it. Let us know if you decide to try it.


3 C white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
Generous pinch of sea salt
1-2 tsp cinnamon (depending again on your taste for it)
3 C + milk (buttermilk, kefir, and coconut milk would also work, or a combination)
3 large eggs
1-2 tsp of vanilla extract (depending on your taste for it)
2 ripe bananas
1-2 healthy, generous handfuls of beet greens, stemmed and torn (you can also use kale, chard, or spinach)
1/4 C (heaping) shredded coconut (unsweetened)
Butter and/or coconut oil for the griddle
Maple syrup and more butter for serving

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl using a wire whisk for even distribution.
2. Add the shredded coconut to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
3. Using a food processor or a blender, puree the bananas, greens, and 1 C of the milk.
4. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl by hand with a wire whisk, and add in the vanilla, whisking to combine.
5. Add the pureed banana/greens mixture to the eggs and vanilla, plus 2 more C of milk. Stir to combine.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Add more milk if you like a thinner pancake batter.
7. Add butter and/or coconut oil to a griddle pan and turn the heat to medium.
8. Once the griddle is hot, start making and flipping your pancakes. (I like to keep the finished ones in a 250 degree oven until they're all done.)
9. Serve piping hot, topped with a pat of butter and a splash of real maple syrup. Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on as a pretty garnish.

Makes 18 medium-sized pancakes

Monday, June 11, 2012

This Week's Share-More Beets and Carrots

I wanted to thank everyone for a very successful first week of the CSA and I apologize for not getting these recipe ideas posted sooner.  This week's share will look very similiar to last week's with a few additions including scallions, baby squash, and a spicy salad mix. 

This Week's Share:
Head Lettuce
Mixed Lettuce
Spicy Salad Greens
Very Spicy Arugula
Baby Squash

Below is a great meal idea from CSA member Nikki Graham.  Enjoy the recipe and enjoy your share.

From the Root to the Shoot: Roasted Beets and Baby Carrots with Sauteed Beet Greens and Garlic Scapes
I don't know about you, but I love it when I get to use the whole of a plant, in this case the beets (the root), and the gorgeous beet greens (the shoots). It's especially arousing when I can turn this whole into a delicious dish! I ended up serving this alongside grilled chicken and more garlic scapes (they are delicious grilled, by the way). Totally unnecessary, although the two paired beautifully. The beet dish is hearty in its own right, especially with a little goat cheese (and perhaps a sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds or slivered almonds to add protein). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


8-10 beets with tops (greens)
2 bunches of Inverbrook baby carrots (about 15-20), tops removed, ends trimmed (slice any thick ones in half or quarters vertically so they roast somewhat uniformly)
2 garlic scapes, finely chopped
Small handful of chopped chives
3 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T local honey (support local beekeepers! :-))
Goat cheese
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Remove the tops from the beets.
3. Remove the stems from the tops and chop them. Set aside.
4. Trim the long, skinny ends off the beets (I just break them off).
5. Place the beets in a roasting pan or glass pyrex dish, cover, and roast until tender (easily pierced with a fork).
6. While the beets are roasting, toss the baby carrots in a bit of olive oil on a baking sheet and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
7. Once the beets have been in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or so (almost done), add the carrots to the oven and roast until tender and starting to brown in spots (they should roast much quicker than the beets).
8. While the beets and carrots are finishing roasting, add a glug of olive oil to a skillet, along with the garlic scapes, and turn the heat to medium. Once the pan is hot and the scapes become fragrant, add in the chopped beet greens and saute until wilted. Throw in a pinch or two of sea salt and cracked pepper.
9. Once the beets are tender, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool a bit while the carrots finish roasting.
10. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and cut them into quarters or sixths, depending on size.
11. Once the carrots are finished roasting, toss them together with the beats.
12. Whisk together another glug of olive oil, the honey, and the white wine vinegar. Add a pinch of sea salt, a dash of pepper, and the chives. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
13. Toss this dressing with the beets and carrots. Taste and adjust.
14. Serve the the dressed carrots and beets atop a bed of sauteed beet greens, along with bits of goat cheese.
15. Garnish with a bit more cracked pepper and serve.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Photo by Kiah Graham