Saturday, July 28, 2012

Notes From Nikki-Summer Vegetable Frittata and more

Photo by Kiah Graham
Zucchini, Tomato, Roasted Corn, and Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Nothing says summer like this salad. Loaded with flavor and texture, and oh so refreshing. My family gobbled it right up. Works well alongside grilled meats, or all on it's on as a light lunch or dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 super large zucchini, shredded into long thin strips (something like spaghetti) with a mandolin or vegetable peeler, and parboiled for just a few minutes (3-5) to soften and silken ever so slightly

2-3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

3-4 ears of corn, roasted in a 400 degree oven until just starting to brown in spots (about 8-10 minutes, max), cooled and kernels removed

3 medium-large sweet peppers, roasted in a 400 degree oven until the skins are brown and bubbling in spots (15-20 minutes), cooled, seeded, and sliced

Generous handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T real maple syrup
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Shredded Parmigianno Reggianno cheese for topping

1. Toss together the zucchini, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and basil.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and a bit of sea salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking.
3. Toss the dressing with the salad mixture. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust again.
4. Serve topped with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Serves 6

New Potatoes and French Beans with Shallots and Irish Bacon
Photo by Kiah Graham
One of my favorite food combinations is green beans and potatoes. Throw in some shallots and bacon and you have something reminiscent of divination, in my book. I chose uncured Irish bacon (not as fatty, and the flavor is superb), but you can use whatever bacon suits your fancy. The delightful little purple haricot verts from our Inverbrook share are perfect here (although they don't keep their pretty color once they're cooked), but any green bean will do. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 1/2-2 lbs. new potatoes, boiled until tender and the skins start to loosen and fall away
1/2 lb. haricot verts, stemmed and snapped in half
3-4 med-large shallots, thinly sliced or chopped
1/2 lb. uncured Irish bacon, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Sour cream for topping (optional)
Chopped chives for garnish (parsley would work too)

1. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until the fat is rendered. Add in the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots are very soft and just starting to brown.
2. Toss in the beans and saute until firm tender.
3. Add the boiled potatoes to the mix, smashing and breaking them up with the back of a large spoon. You don't want mashed potatoes, just large chunks of potatoes mixed with the more smashed bits.
4. Season with sea salt and pepper, and taste and adjust.
5. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of chopped chives, and some more fresh ground pepper.
Serves 4-6

Potato, Tomato, Sweet Pepper, Eggplant, and Summer Squash Frittata
Photo by Kiah Graham
I don't like to brag, but I'm somewhat famous for my frittatas in these parts. ;-) It might be because they tend to be my go to dish. They're so easy to whip together, and everyone seems to like them. Just about every ingredient in this one came from Inverbrook. The eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and summer squash. This recipe can easily be doubled. I made two last night, and we saved the leftovers in the fridge. It served as a perfect lunch today. Feel free to play around with the ingredients, and use whatever you have on hand. You really can't mess this up. It's very forgiving. Enjoy!
1 dozen eggs, whisked together
1/2 lb of sweet Italian sausage, casing removed (optional, but it adds some pretty amazing flavor)
Glug of extra virgin olive oil (especially if you're not using the sausage)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2-3/4 lb boiled, new potatoes, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 long, skinny sweet red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 long, skinny eggplant, thinly sliced
1 small-medim zyphyr squash, thinly sliced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
A handful of chopped basil leaves
2 generous handfuls of shredded Parmigiana Reggianno

1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Cook the sausage over medium heat in a non-stick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron pan, breaking it up into smallish pieces with a large spoon.
3. Once the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and saute until the onion has softened (add olive oil if there isn't enough fat in the pan or if you're not using sausage).
4. Toss in the eggplant, and saute until it starts to soften.
5. Add the squash to the mix, and continue sauteing until the squash is firm tender and the eggplant is soft.
6. Add in the potato slices, mixing the lot well, and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
7. Pour the eggs over the mixture and shake the pan so that the ingredients even out well and are well-coated with egg.
8. Spread the tomatoes over the top in a single layer, and sprinkle with the basil leaves. Pat both down gently with your hand so that they sink into the eggs a bit.
9. Once the bottom is cooked, sprinkle the cheese over the top, and place in the oven under the broiler (not too close).
10. Keep a close eye on things, cooking until the top is cooked through, and the cheese is golden brown and bubbly (about 5-7 minutes).
11. Allow to cool a bit, and then slice it into eighths, like a pizza.
Serves 4-6

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Notes from Nikki-Inverbrook Summer Casserole

I was just sitting down at my computer to search recipes for baby eggplant and peppers when much to my delight Nikki had come up with the perfect recipe for this week's share.  As she mentioned the summer produce is just starting to trickle in--soon you all will be getting larger quantities of peppers and bigger eggplant--in the meantime this casserole is the just the solution to using up this week's share. Enjoy.
Photo by Kiah Graham

Inverbrook Summer Casserole
The following recipe was one of those last-minute/what-can-I-throw-together-tonight meals. I had a mish-mosh of fresh farm ingredients (2 small eggplants, 2 small sweet peppers, a few small patty pan squash, a couple of pounds of Dr Elkins Angus Burger, etc), but not enough of any one thing to showcase. Then it hit me, I've got to make a casserole, of course! :-) And since just about all of the ingredients came from Inverbrook, I had to dub it Inverbrook Summer Casserole. I made enough to serve 8-10 people, but the recipe could easily be cut in half. It also saves well, if you find leftovers appealing. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

2 lbs grass fed ground beef (Dr. Elkins is the tastiest and it's local. :-))
4-6 C + steamed rice (I used basmati because I had it on hand. Feel free to use whatever is appealing.)
Glug of olive oil
2 small, long, skinny eggplant, chopped
3-4 smallish pattypan squash, chopped
2 small green bell peppers, chopped
2 long, skinny sweet red peppers, chopped
4-6 small-medium tomatoes, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
Generous handful or two of lemon basil leaves, torn or chopped (Any type of basil will do, I just love lemon basil for it's ability to brighten a dish.)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 C shredded parmigiano reggiano, plus more for passing at the table (There can never be enough cheese, in my opinion. ;-))

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat along with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper until cooked through. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions soften.
4. Add the eggplant to the mix and saute until the eggplant just starts to soften.
5. Add the squash to the pan and continue sauteing until the squash is still firm, but starting to get tender.
6. Add the tomatoes and peppers to the mix and simmer until the tomatoes break down.
7. Season the lot with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
8. Kill the heat and stir in the basil.
8. Mix the vegetables together with the rice and the ground beef. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Use more rice for a dryer casserole, less if you don't mind it juicy. You want enough so that it will hold together at least marginally though, or it will feel more like a stew.
9. Spread the mixture into a large casserole pan and top with the parmesan cheese. Don't be shy. ;-)
10. Bake uncovered until bubbling and golden brown on top (about 20-25 minutes or so).
11. Allow to cool and set for a bit before serving.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Week's Share and Notes from Nikki

This week's share starts the transition to the summer vegetables--eggplant, peppers, and hopefully tomatoes within the next two weeks.  New this week is the inclusion of baby eggplants, okra, and a few green beans into the share.  

The green beans are definitely not at their best.  I have learned over the years that beans do not like it too hot and they also need plenty of water.  Plus their insect enemy,the aptly named the bean beetle--which looks like a copper lady bug--has been quite prolific this year,  destroying a couple of plantings already.  Hopefully this weekends glorious rain will usher in a slightly wetter weather pattern and the late season plantings of beans will be much better.  In the meantime we can enjoy a little taste of summer. 

This Week's Share:
Zephyr Squash
Patty Pan
Baby and Asian Eggplant
Bush Beans(green and purple)
Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers

Last week Nikki sent me three fantastic recipes and I am just now getting them up.  Hopefully you still have some beets laying around the kitchen so you can take advantage of her beet soup recipe.  The squash and potatoes in this week's share are prefect for the second two recipes.    Enjoy these delicious suggestions.

Roasted Beet Soup
I must admit, there is nothing prettier and tastier to me than a roasted beet. As soon as I pick up a bunch of them from the Inverbrook Distribution Shed, I head home to trim and roast them so that I have them at the ready for salads, soups, or just plain snacking on. The following recipe is super simple and easy to whip together in no time flat, especially if your beets are already roasted and hanging out in the fridge waiting to be used. Perfect summer lunch or dinner fare. You could easily half this recipe. As is, it serves 6-8.


16 small-medium beets, tops removed, trimmed, and roasted in a 400 degree oven until fork tender, skins slipped off, halved or quartered, depending on size
4-6 C chicken or vegetable stock

juice of 1 large orange

several sprigs of thyme

1 small onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

glug of olive oil or generous pat of butter

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Sour cream, creme fraiche, plain whole milk yogurt, or crumbled feta

chopped chives for garnish

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil or butter over medium heat until the onions are soft.
2. Add in the beets, along with a bit of sea salt and pepper.
3. Add in the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer.
4. Cover and simmer until the thyme sprigs become completely limp and the leaves start to fall off.
5. Turn off the heat, fish out the thyme stems, and add in the juice of the orange.
6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, or crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Summer Squash Pancakes

It wouldn't be summer without summer squash pancakes (or bread, muffins, cookies, etc). Summer squash is one of those vegetables that never has a bad year. Always prolific and abundant, despite the weather. This pancake recipe is easy to whip together. It can be halved or doubled. Feel free to throw in any number of additions. Believe it or not, my boys topped their griddle cakes with maple syrup. They loved it. I stuck with the savory theme and doused mine with plenty of lemon and sour cream. It's hard to mess this recipe up. Add more flour if the batter seems too wet, add more eggs or summer squash if it seems too dry. You get the point. ;-) Enjoy! Ingredients

2 large summer squash, grated and placed in a colander to drain, and ultimately squeezed to remove excess moisture
handful of chopped chives
4 large eggs
1 C white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose will work too)
2 tsp baking powder
lemon zest to taste
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
butter or olive oil (or both) for the griddle
sour cream, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or crumbled feta for topping
lemon wedges for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 300.
2. Set a griddle pan (or large skillet) over medium heat.
3. While the pan is warming up, mix together the summer squash, eggs, chives, flour, salt, lemon zest, and pepper until well-combined.
4. Spread butter or olive oil over the griddle and plop pancake-sized amounts of batter onto it, flattening out a bit with the back of a large spoon.
5. Cook until golden brown on one side, and then flip to brown the other side. Use your spatula to flatten the pancake a bit once you flip it.
6. As the cakes finish, place them in the oven on
a cookie sheet so they stay warm.
7. Serve topped with sour cream, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, or crumbled feta, and plenty of fresh lemon juice.

Makes 10-12 medium-sized pancakes

Boiled Potatoes

Okay, I can guess what you're thinking... boiled potatoes? Is she serious? I actually am.

When it comes to farm fresh food, I'm a firm believer in less is more. Simple is better. The potatoes that Claire grows, I'm sure you would agree, are absolute perfection all on their own. Perfectly sized, tantalizingly flavored, beautifully colored... why would we want to mess with them? Truth be told, I was also inspired by a book I recently read titled Blood, Bones & Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of the acclaimed NYC restaurant, Prune. It's a memoir that I highly recommend. Read the book and you'll understand why I would even bother to write such a ridiculously simple recipe.

Here's a quote from the book to entice you: "I want a small, warm, salted boiled potato. One with pale yellow flesh that is perfectly waxy. I want the skin to snap when I bite into this potato of my dreams. And I want to be really, truly, stomach-grumbling hungry when I eat it."


new whole potatoes, waxy and delicious, washed well


sea salt

fresh ground pepper

parsley for garnish

1. Set a large pot of water to boil.

2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until they reach your desired texture (I like mine firm tender with a bit of snap, but also starting to fall apart).

3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the pot so they stay warm.

4. Serve topped with plenty of butter, sea salt, pepper, and parsley for garnish.

Monday, July 2, 2012

This Week's Share-New Potatoes

Photo by Kelly G

Just in time for the 4th of July holiday this week's share will include tender new potatoes--perfect for potato salads.  Two varieties will be made available this week.  Dark Red Norland (pictured about)--with creamy white flesh and Red Gold-with waxy buttery flesh.  Both types are delicious. 

Because it has been so hot, I thought you might appreciate this link on how to cook potatoes on the grill from the good folks at Fine Cooking Magazine--a way to keep your kitchen cool by cooking outside.  One of my favorite types of potato salad is German Potato Salad.  I went to the wonderful Station Tap Room this weekend and had their variation which included blue cheese, bacon and some sort of fantastic smokey flavor.  Here is a link to Fine Cooking's version of German Potato Salad, the red golds would be perfect for this recipe.

There are a few other new items in this week's share included peppers and cucumbers.  The cucumber come with a huge warning.  The dark green Diva cukes can be extremely bitter near the end that was attached to the vine.  My advice would be to cut a few inches of the end and peel them.  Then taste for bitterness.  I apologize, unfortunately cucumbers can turn bitter when they are stressed.  With this heat (especially since they are from the greenhouse), they have been stressed.  The pointed end however, can be quite tasty. 

Also available this week, Dr. Elkins Angus Burger (for those who ordered it only) and Highland Farm Sheep Dairy products (yogurt, brebis and new this year for me--camembert and an herbed camembert called Brin D'Amour).   These products will be in the freezer and refrigerator respectively.

This Week's Share:
Potatoes-Red Gold and Dark Red Norland
Zephyr Squash
Patti Pan Squash
Sweet Green Peppers