Week Four: Roasted Carrots, Summer Smoothie, Bento Bowl and More!

I am really enjoying the beautiful, delicious produce we’re receiving this year, as I’m sure you are! It’s always fun as the variety continues to grow! I hope you enjoy this week’s recipes. If there is a specific ingredient you’d like a recipe for, or you’ve really enjoyed one of the recipes, please feel free to share in the comments! I want to make this space as useful as possible for you all.

Roasted Carrots with Cumin-Coriander Tahini Sauce
recipe credit: Oh She Glows Cookbook

2 bunches carrots
1 TBSP grapeseed oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:
2 TBSP tahini
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Trim the stems off the carrots, leaving a couple of inches of the stem intact. Wash the carrots and gently pat dry. Peel, or leave as is, based on your preference. Place carrots on baking sheet.

Drizzle carrots with oil and roll them on sheet until oil is evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with salt, cumin seed, coriander seed and pepper. Space out 1/2 inch or so on the tray.

Roast carrots for 15 – 20 min, or until they are just fork-tender but still a bit firm. Be sure not to overcook. Make the tahini sauce while they are cooking by whisking all ingredients together.

Plate carrots and drizzle sauce on top. Any leftover sauce can be served on the side for dipping.

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Kale-Berry Smoothie
recipe credit: The Kitchen Beet

1 c. kale, washed & dried with stem removed
1 c. mixed frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1 frozen banana (it’s okay if it’s not frozen)
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
2 TBSP chia seeds
1 TBSP honey
1 c. ice cold water

Layer kale, yogurt, chia seeds, honey, banana and frozen berries in blender with water. Blend on high until well-mixed. Enjoy!

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Kohlrabi-Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce and Green Onions 
recipe credit: A Couple Cooks 

2 kohlrabi
1 carrot
1 egg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in a large skillet)

The Sauce:
½ avocado
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ lemon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Green onions (for garnish)

Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb. Peel 1 carrot. Shred the vegetables in a food processor, or by hand using a grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a medium bowl with 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Mix to combine.

Place ½ cup oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

In a small bowl, mix ½ avocado, ¼ cup plain yogurt, juice from ½ lemon, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to make the avocado cream (or blend the ingredients together in a food processor).

Serve fritters with avocado cream and sliced green onions.

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Easy Southwest Salad with Cilantro Dressing
recipe credit: Food Network

4 cups chopped lettuce (whatever kind you have this week!)
2 avocados, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
About 3/4 cup (3-ounces) grated pepper jack cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 or 3 dashes hot sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together the cilantro, oil, lime juice and hot sauce.

In a large serving bowl, add the lettuce, avocado, corn, beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Add the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

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Peanut Sauce Bento Bowl
recipe credit: Sprouted Kitchen 

12 oz. Extra Firm Tofu
1/2 lb. Soba or Rice Noodles
1 Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
4 Baby Bok Choy
2 Carrots, Shaved with a Vegetable Peeler
Half a Cucumber, Sliced on a Bias
4 green onions, Halved Length Wise
Sesame Oil
Cilantro for Garnish
1/3 Cup Pickled Ginger

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Light Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Water
1 tbsp. Tamari/Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp. Lime Juice
2 tbsp. Agave
1 Shallot, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. Canola/Peanut Oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Drain and press the tofu. Cut it into cubes and saute on medium heat with 1 tsp. sesame oil until lightly browned. Be gentle so the tofu stays in cube form.

Start the sauce. Saute the the garlic and shallot in the oil to soften, whisk in the peanut butter, coconut milk, water, agave and soy sauce and mix to combine. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes. When all ingredients are warmed through, add the lime juice. Add spices as you wish here.

In a steamer basket, or pan filled 1” with water. Steam the bok choy, scallions and bell peppers for 6 minutes with the lid on (time may vary). Remove.

Cook the noodles according to instructions. Drain and drizzle a little sesame oil to prevent them from sticking. Mix the tofu with desired amount of sauce so it looks like a creamy mess. Lay the tofu on top of the noodles and arrange the bok choy, peppers, cucumber, pickled ginger and shaved carrots along side. Sprinkle everything with sesame seeds and fresh chopped cilantro.

Week Three: Salads and Pestos!

Welcome to beautiful Week Three, featuring two salads, a slaw, a kale-garlic scape pesto and a balsamic mushroom tart with a parsley-walnut pesto. Let’s head to the kitchen!

Our first two salads intentionally don’t have measurements, so you can make them for one, or make them for a large group, and vary the amount of each ingredient to your liking!

Groundswell - Apple-Blue Cheese-Walnut Salad

Apple-Blue Cheese-Walnut Salad
Mixed lettuces, based on what you picked up, torn
Diced crisp apple
Blue cheese
Chopped walnuts

Spicy Strawberry Salad
Spicy mixed greens + spinach, torn
Sliced strawberries
Chèvre, crumbled
Slivered almonds
Sunflower sprouts (or other sprouts)

Dressing for above salads
2 parts extra-virgin olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar
1/2 part honey
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

(So for example, you might do 2 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar and 1/2 TBSP honey with salt and pepper for a salad for one. For a larger group, you might do 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and 1/8 c. honey with salt and pepper to taste.)

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The Kitchen Beet - Balsamic Mushroom Tart

Balsamic Mushroom Tart with Parsley-Walnut Pesto
recipe credit: my food blog, The Kitchen Beet 

This one is a little more labor-intensive than most of the recipes I’ll be posting, but truly worth the effort! I was delighted at the gorgeous gathering of parsley we all received this week!

The Onions:
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced into thin half moons

The Mushrooms:
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
16 oz. whole baby bella mushrooms, stems cut even with top of mushroom and sliced

The Pesto:
1 large garlic clove
2/3 c. walnuts
1 c. loosely packed fresh parsley, de-stemmed
1/2 c. of your sautéed mushrooms
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 TBSP water
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble:
6 – 7 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
olive oil, for brushing dough
1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan
2 – 3 oz. chèvre cheese
handful of fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

In a large skillet/sauce pan, heat 1 TBSP of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add the 2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and stir. Saute for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated. Set aside.

While your mushrooms are cooking, heat the other 1 TBSP of live oil in another large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often. The onions should be soft and lightly caramelized.

To make the parsley-walnut pesto, add garlic, walnuts, parsley, 1/2 cup of your sautéed mushrooms, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a food processor. You could also do this in a blender. It will take a little longer, and you’ll need to scape down the sides more often, but it works! Pulse to mix everything together. Add 1 – 2 TBSP of water, depending on how much liquid your pesto needs to move around a little easier. Add your salt and pepper and mix everything together well.

To assemble the tart, place one sheet of phyllo dough on the parchment paper on your baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush with olive oil. Place another sheet on top and brush with olive oil again. Repeat until you’ve used 6 – 7 sheets of dough. Keep in mind that phyllo dough can be finicky – if you have two sheets stick together, that’s fine! You just want 6 – 7 total, and at least 3 – 4 layers of brushed olive oil. Do not brush your last layer. Fold the edges of the tart in 1/2 – 1 inch, and brush this crust to help it stick in place.

Add all of your parsley-walnut pesto to the top layer of phyllo dough. Sprinkle your freshly grated parmesan evenly over the pesto. Then add your onions and remaining balsamic mushrooms on top. Finally, add chèvre on top in multiple places. You can use as much or as little as you’d like; I like about 2 – 3 oz. worth.

Bake your tart at 350 F for 27 – 30 minutes. Let it cool for 5 – 8 minutes before adding fresh parsley on top, and cutting with a pizza cutter.

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Kohlrabi-Carrot Slaw
recipe credit: The Kitchn 

1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated
1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 c. golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP sugar or sucanat
1 tsp. salt

Combine kohlrabi, purple cabbage, carrots, onion, cilantro and raisins in large bowl. In a small bowl with pourable spout, whisk mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar/sucanat and salt. Pour dressing over slaw and mix fully. Chill for several hours before serving.

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Kale-Garlic Scape Pesto

1  1/2 c. kale, roughly chopped
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1/3 c. chopped garlic scapes
1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor (better) or blender, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Pulse a couple of times to start moving everything towards a chunky puree. With your processor or blender running on low, add olive oil in a stream, increasing the speed as you are able. You may have to stop several times and scrape down the sides, especially if you are using a blender. Process until just combined.

Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze several batches to you can enjoy this goodness in the middle of next January! See you next week!

Waitin’ For A “Soup-er”man

Hello members, welcome to week 15!  This week’s title comes from a Flaming Lips song called “Waitin’ For A Superman.” I suggest you check it out on Youtube. The arrival of celery in the share last week inspired us to find a vegetable stock recipe, and two simple soups that you can then use the stock with.  We also found an Autumn themed salad that calls for Michigan pears, and some mini omelettes that are great for using up leftover veggies.

 

Vegetable Stock

This recipe comes from a cooking class I took on soups and stocks.  Chef Jim LaPerriere was the teacher, and his recipe credits the CIA Professional Chef Book.  There are many variations you can make on vegetable stock, and because veggies yield their flavor sooner than meat bones, you can make vegetable stock in about an hour. That means you can try several stocks in an afternoon and freeze them for winter soup later.

Yield: 1 quart veggie stock, consider double or triple the recipe if making stock to freeze.

  • 2 fl. oz. vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. sliced onions
  • 4 oz. chopped leeks
  • 2 oz. celery
  • 2 oz. green cabbage
  • 2 oz chopped carrots
  • 2 oz. chopped tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 qt. cold water
  • Herb sachet: place 2-3 parsley stems, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp fennel seeds in a section of cheesecloth, wrap into a pouch and tie with baker’s twine
  1. Heat oil in a soup pot, and add vegetables.
  2. Cover and sweat the vegetables 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the water and sachet; simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Strain the stock.  It is ready for soup-making now, or you may cool it and freeze for later use.
  5. Try variations: use parsnips in place of carrots, try more or less celery, add fennel fronds or ginger to herbs.  Also try roasting veggies first before simmering with water for a roasted flavor.

Autumn Chopped Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 6-8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (or whatever is on hand from the share)
  • 2 medium pears chopped (look for Michigan pears at the farmer’s market soon)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cupped chopped pecans
  • 8 slices of bacon, crisped and crumbled
  • 4-6 oz feta cheese
  • For the dressing: try a combination of 2/3 cup poppyseed and 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette.
  1. In  a large bowl, combine lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and feta.
  2. Drizzle generously with dressing.
  3. Serve in fancy salad bowls if you’re feeling fancy, or regular bowls work fine too.

Muffin Tin Omelettes

miniomelettestray miniomeletteplate

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped (or greens you have on hand)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • add other veggies of your choice: diced tomatoes, potatoes, summer squash/zucchini, broccoli
  • shredded or crumbled cheese, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Chop all vegetables, saute in a skillet with the olive oil, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Pour vegetables into egg mixture (and cheese if using).
  5. Pour mixture into muffin tin cells.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until liquid is cooked off the eggs.
  7.  Enjoy warm or put into freezer bag for convenient meals later.  If freezing, microwave omelettes for 2 minutes to reheat.

Classic Creamy Carrot Soup

This recipe calls for 2 lbs. of carrots, which is about 2 bunches from CSA pickup.  If you are short, consider halving the recipe. Or head on down to Holland or Fulton St Market and get some more Groundswell carrots.  Each rainbow bunch is lovingly crafted by a hardworking Groundswell employee.

  • 2 lbs. of carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 32 oz. chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 2 strips precooked bacon (optional)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  1. Place oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.
  3. Cook for 15 minutes until carrots are fork tender.
  4. Remove herb sprigs, transfer vegetables to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree.
  5. Add broth, continue to puree.
  6. Transfer to large saucepan over medium heat, add bacon strips.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.  Simmer until ready to serve. Serves 6.

Creamy Thai Carrot Soup

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped, about 4 cups
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups veggie stock plus 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • For toppings: fresh basil, cilantro, or mint, coconut milk, brown sugar or agave. And Sriracha hot sauce for an extra kick.
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Dice onion and garlic, add to pot with 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, add veggie stock and water, stir.
  4. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
  5. Transfer to blender or use an immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Add peanut butter and chili garlic sauce, blend.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. You may add brown sugar or agave for sweetness.
  8. Serve with fresh basil or herbs of your choice. Drizzle with coconut milk, or add Sriracha sauce for extra heat.

Easy, Caprese

CSA Week 10

Here are four easy recipes to make, and a Caprese salad recipe to get excited about tomatoes that are starting to come in. Beans, zucchini, tomatoes, the share just keeps getting better!

4 (or more!) Color Salad

4colorsalad

This salad would also work with other fruits, canned (pineapple) or fresh (whatever is coming into season at the farmers market)

Serves 4 (or more if you add more ingredients of your choosing)

  • 1 head of green lettuce
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of raspberries
  • half of a 15 oz can of mandarin oranges (or one small can)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of walnuts
  • optional: chopped red onion
  • optional: thinly sliced cooked chicken breast, goat cheese, chickpeas, etc for protein
  1. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add blueberries, raspberries, and mandarin oranges to your liking.  Start with a 1/4 cup of each and add more if desired.
  3. Break walnuts into small pieces, sprinkle on top.
  4. Serve with your favorite dressing or try this light poppyseed dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp pineapple juice (or mandarin orange juice from the can)
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

 

“Egg Rolls”

eggroll1 eggroll2

 

On the left, a freshly poured egg roll.  On the right, a flipped egg roll finishing frying.

This dish comes to us by way of a friend who spent some time in Uganda.  He told us the street food vendors had a dish they called “Egg Rolexes” (or “Egg Rolls” for short), made up of eggs, chopped cabbage, and onion fried in a sort of pancake/crepe shape.  He would make an approximate American version, and we started making our own, and now when we need a quick and filling dinner entree we say “how about some egg rolls?”

Makes 2 egg rolls

  • 1 cup of cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, or 2 scapes, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  1. Heat oil in a skillet on Medium-High heat
  2. Put half the cabbage, onion, and garlic in a mixing bowl, add 2 eggs and mix.
  3. When the skillet is hot, pour the mixture in, it should make a somewhat lumpy pancake shape.
  4. Cook for 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes.  While the first one is cooking, mix the remaining cabbage, onion, and garlic with eggs.
  5. Transfer the first one to a plate with a cover, fry the second one using the above directions, then take both to the dinner table for an easy comfort meal.

Avocado and Chicken Caprese Salad

A more filling take on the classic Caprese salad

  • Romaine lettuce (or lettuce from the share)
  • Cherry tomatos, halved (or tomatoes from the share)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • sauteed chicken breast, sliced or chopped
  • freshly torn basil
  • equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  1. Arrange lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella, chicken, and basil on plates (however many are coming to dinner).
  2. drizzle with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Enjoy!

Skinny Green Bean Casserole

Serves 4

  • 3 cups of green beans, thinly chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of milk at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 5 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add green beans and onion and cook for 3 minutes.  Transfer the beans and onions to a bowl of water and ice for 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add olive oil and milk.
  4. Add salt and pepper, then corn meal and 2 Tbsp of the cheese and mix.
  5. Fold in the beans and onions, mixing well.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased baking pan, and bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Take pan out, and remaining 3 Tbsp of cheese, then bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese top is melted and golden.

Parmesan, Zucchini, and Corn

If you go to Fulton Street Farmer’s Market, be sure to check out Ham Family Farm for sweet corn.  They grow two popular varieties, “Dutch Love” and “Irish Love” and you can usually find a line of people at 9 am waiting for a delivery fresh picked from Allendale.

Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or scapes)
  • 4 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 cup of corn kernels, cooked
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil (or a few fresh leaves)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano (or fresh if it comes in the share)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and stir frequently for about 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, stir in lime juice and cilantro.  Sprinkle with parmesan.

 

Here’s to you, Benedict Cucumber-batch

In case you’re wondering where the inspiration for this week’s title came from, Benedict Cumberbatch is the star of the BBC show Sherlock.  It’s a fun show to watch, and these are some fun recipes to make: Hoorah for cucumbers! Here’s a great fresh salad that features them. Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic,  finely minced (or those lovely scapes)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cucumbers, very finely sliced (use a mandolin or a very sharp knife)
  • 4 Tbsp minced cilantro
  1. Add the jalapeno and garlic to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the lime juice, red pepper, salt and pepper. Use a whisk to mix in the olive oil.
  3. Add the cucumbers and stir.
  4. Add the cilantro and mix it up nicely. You can serve it immediately, or chill it in the fridge. Note: if you chill it, let it sit out for a few minutes as the oil will tend to solidify when chilled.

Carrot and Zucchini Bars 

Satisfy that sweet tooth with a fresh dessert that’s packed with some nutrition. Please go to http://www.mykitchenescapades.com/?s=carrot+and+zucchini+bars for the recipe, or click on the title above the picture.

Rigatoni with Ricotta and Roasted Beets

My pasta turned a little bit beety-pink when I made this, which I actually thought made it kind of fun.

  • 4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • 5 cups baby spinach (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • grated peel from 1 lemon, plus 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil, toss the (peeled and cut) beets with 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in the foil and roast for 15 minutes. Unwrap and arrange in a single layer. Add the red onion to the baking sheet, after tossing with oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Roast another 8-10 minute until tender, and tossing  halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to the pot and toss with spinach.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the ricotta, pasta water, lemon peel, lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add to the pasta along with the beets and onion. Season to taste and toss.

Peach and Blueberry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Yum! We got our first batch of local blueberries from the farmer’s market yesterday and fresh peaches should be here soon too! This is the kind of salad the feels like you’re eating desert. Serves 5.

  • 3 cups of lettuce, chopped (or any combination or spinach or salad greens)
  • 3 small cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 2 small peaches, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced (optional)
  • 3/4 cup blueberries

for the dressing: (combine in a jar and give it a good shake)

  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Toss the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and enjoy!

Here’s a salad with a similar flavor palette: Peach and Cucumber Salsa

  • 4 peaches, washed, pitted and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • 2 mini cucumbers (or 1/3 of a normal sized one), finely chopped
  • 1/3 small red onion, finely diced 1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed and chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of a great quality balsamic vinegar
  1. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. This is great with tortilla chips, or on grilled chicken or pork.

Picnic Foods For the Fourth of July

CSA Week 5

This week is the start of July and we picked recipes that feature garlic scapes, basil, and broccoli, which are new-er items to the share. Hope they inspire you for a great 4th of July weekend picnic!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp of water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1/2-1 cup arugula
  1. Cut the strawberries in halves or quarters.  In a small pot add the strawberries, sugar, salt, and water and cook at medium heat.
  2.  When the strawberries have softened, transfer them to a bowl and mash manually ( or use an immersion blender, or food processor) into a paste. Strain the strawberry mixture through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth and let cool.
  3. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, poppy seeds. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Tear the letttuce, spinach, and arugula into bite size pieces in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and toss the whole bowl.  Serve with dinner.  If you notice dressing at the bottom of the salad bowl, add more greens then place leftovers in a container for breakfast or lunch.

Broccoli Salad

Serves 6, an easy vegetarian side or main dish, can easily be made vegan

  • 2 small heads of broccoli, or 1 large
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise, or mayonnaise, or plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp agave, honey, sugar (sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp cider or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (or scallions, or 1/8 cup garlic scapes)
  • 1/4 raisins
  • 2 Tbsp roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the broccoli into small florets.  Trim the thick skin from the big stalks (similar to trimming the outer skin of a kohlrabi) and cut into small pieces.  You can leave the broccoli uncooked for an extra crunchy salad or steam it in a steamer basket for 2-3 minutes for a softer broccoli texture.
  2. Whisk the mayo (vegan or egg/oil or yogurt), sweetener, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl.
  3. Combine broccoli, scallions, raisin, sunflower seeds in a bowl and add the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.

Carrot and Radish Salad

Serves 4

  • 3 cups of shredded carrots
  • 5-7 radishes sliced into strips or shredded
  • 1/4 raisins

Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp grated lime peel
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Combine the carrots, radishes and raisins in a bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
  3. Pour dressing over veggie mixture, toss to coat.
  4. If you have less than 3 cups carrots you can reduce the amount of radishes, or add chopped salad greens to counter the radish flavor.

Lemon Basil Pasta With Chicken

Serves 8

  • 4 whole grilled chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 whole lemons, juiced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (you may substitute some of the cream or half and half with milk)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese (or Romano)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20 leaves of basil, chopped
  1. Cook pasta according to directions,  save 1 cup of pasta water when you drain it.  Set pasta aside in a colander.
  2. In the same pot, heat the butter over medium heat.  Squeeze the lemon juice in the butter and whisk (watch for seeds, we often squeeze the lemons in a small bowl first).
  3. Add the cream and half and half, whisk until hot.  Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Check consistency of the sauce, and add pasta water to loosen the sauce if it’s too thick.
  5. Combine sauce and pasta in a large bowl.  Top with grilled chicken slices and chopped basil and serve.

Garlic Scape Cheddar Biscuits

makes 12 biscuits

  • 3 cups all purpose flower
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 2/3 cup of buttermilk
  • flour for kneading
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed.  Stir in cheddar cheese and scapes.
  2. Use a pastry blender, two forks, and/or your fingers to work the butter chunks into the dry ingredients until the butter chunks are smaller than the size of a pea.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk, taking care not to overmix. The mixture will be very sticky and liquidy.
  4. Heavily flour a work surface, pour the dough out onto the flour.  Flour the top of the dough heavily, and then pat out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick.  Fold the dough in half horizontally, then pat down again until 1/2 inch thick, adding flour to cover sticky spots in dough if needed.  Fold the dough in half vertically, pat down until 1/2 inch thick.  Repeat this 5 or 6 more times, it will create layers in the final biscuit.
  5. Flour a circle biscuit cutter or drinking glass, and press the cutter straight down into the dough, then lift straight up (don’t twist the cutter, this seals the sides of the biscuit and prevents rising).  Cut as many biscuits as you can from the dough, reshape, and cut  again until dough is used.
  6. Transfer biscuits to an un-greased baking sheet, bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Hello, Kohlrabi!

This week we wanted to share with you our CSA prep routine. It took us a while to figure this out. At pick-up we bring a few large reusable grocery bags, and a bunch of small white plastic ones to sort our greens and keeps the larger bags cleaner and drier. We used to just stick the white bags in the fridge, but you can’t see what you have. In the summer we like to be outside working in our yard, or going for walks, or see friends and family. Life gets busy, and while our intentions might be to make a beautiful salad, it can be hard to be inspired and make it happen when all of our beautiful produce in hidden in white plastic bags. What works best for us to treat CSA pick-up as a date. When we get home, now we unpack everything. We work together washing all the greens, spinning, chopping them or de-stemming them, and sorting them in large glass and clear plastic containers. We have one for kale, spinach, bok choy, lettuce, and a salad mix (lettuce, spinach and salad greens.) We can see everything, and making a salad is super quick and easy. * One exception: we have a killer recipe for a grilled romaine salad. If you want to make that this week, don’t wash and chop that yet. It also makes it really convenient to throw some greens in a smoothie for extra nutrition, which brings us to our first recipe.

Green Smoothie

smoothie

There are lots of ways to make these. Here’s the one I made for us today after a long walk with our dog this morning. This serves two people. The measurements aren’t exact, I just estimate.

  1. 1 1/2 cups yogurt (We like to get the Stonyfield Organic with Whole Milk Plain -its really creamy)
  2. a large handful of frozen fruit (today we had frozen cherries)
  3. I juiced some carrots this winter and frozen then into ice cubes. I threw a few of those into the blender.
  4. about 1 cup of spinach. This didn’t affect the taste at all. You could probably do up to 2 cups. (You could also use kale. Kale has a stronger flavor, so about 1 leaf per serving at the most. Also, just use the leafy part, not the stem.)
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  6. a Tbsp honey (optional)
  7. a good sprinkle of chia seeds (added after pouring into the cup – I don’t like when they stick to the inside of the blender.)

If you’re using fresh fruit instead of frozen, you’ll want to use some ice cubes. I also added a little bit of water because it was really thick and that helped it blend much better. This makes a great breakfast, snack, or even a mildly sweet dessert.

Kale Apple Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 bunch of raw kale, deveined and chopped (We think the curly leaf variety is better for this, and the flat leaf is better for kale chips)
  • 3-4 medium sized apples (Pink ladies are recommended, we often use fuji), chopped
  • the juice from 3 medium limes
  • 1/3 cup of oil (a mix of olive oil and coconut oil is recommended)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Blend the lime juice, oil, cilantro, garlic, honey, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the kale and apples.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

Kohlrabi and Cheese – Two Ways

We’ve heard rumors that we might expect a kohlrabi in the share this week. If you’re a CSA veteran, that probably doesn’t phase you, but to a newby, they can be kind of intimidating. They are sort of alien-like green bulbs. They taste a lot like the stem of broccoli, and we think they are delicious with cheese. (Last week we posted about how to make chips from the kohlrabi leaves,  we highly recommend you give them a try.)

First Variation: Raw Kohlrabi

  1. Peel the kohlrabi (with a vegetable peeler) until the tough outer layer has been removed. Slice into 1/4″ thick slices. Enjoy with thin slices of your favorite cheese on top. We think white cheddar pairs well. What a great snack.

Second Variation: Roasted Kohlrabi

This recipes calls for 4 kohlrabi. You could make a smaller batch, or supplement with chopped potatoes. These are basically kohlrabi fries. If you cut them into smaller pieces, roasted kohlrabi would also be a delicious addition to a salad. Check out a recipe here.

  • 4 kohlrabi, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice the Kohlrabi into 1/4″ thick pieces and cut in half. Toss in a bowl with the oil, clove, salt and pepper to coat evenly. Spread evenly on a baking tray for crispy kohlrabi, or in a glass baking dish for softer results. 
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally to keep them from getting too crispy/burnt. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake about another 5 minutes.

Spinach Burgers 

Serves about 5 patties

  • 6 ounces spinach, chopped ( about .37 lbs)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • any bun or bread of your choosing (optional)
  1. Saute the onion and garlic with the oil in a pan, until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add chopped spinach to a large bowl. Add salt, pepper flakes, cheese, eggs, and sauteed onion and garlic. Mix well.
  3. Add the bread crumbs. The mixture should start to thicken up. The eggs will help to keep the form when you start cooking as well.
  4. Add a small amount of oil to a frying pan and medium heat. Divide the mixture and form into five patties and place them in the pan.
  5. Cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side, twice, until the golden and crispy on the outside.  Serve warm.

Grilled Romaine Salad 

If you are planning to make this – DO NOT WASH AND CHOP THE LETTUCE AS SUGGESTED ABOVE. You’re going to want to grill that whole head of lettuce.

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, with stem end attached
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, or a handful or bay bellas, button, etc.
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, halved and pit removed
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • fresh herbs, garlic, cheese (optional)
  1. Heat your grill over medium.
  2. Cut the romaine in half, lengthwise. Wash and dry the leaves, being careful not to break them from the stem.
  3. In a bowl, toss the the broccoli with a drizzle of oilive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread on a grill pan with chickpeas.
  4. Grill for about 5-10 minutes, stirring a few times. The broccoli should be lightly charred, tender yet crisp.
  5. While broccoli and chickpeas are cooking, lightly oil, salt and pepper the avocado, onion, and mushrooms.
  6. Grill the onion for about 3-4 minutes per side as well as the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and turn your grill down slightly around 300-325* F or just under medium.
  7. Place avocado on the grill, cut side down and grill for about 3 minutes – you will see grill marks.
  8. Brush the romaine lettuce with a light coating of oil. Grill with cut side down for about 2 minutes, flip, and grill another 1-2 minutes, until slightly wilted and grill marks appear on both sides.
  9. Serve as is, or chop the lettuce first. Add a squeeze of lemon juice over the leaves, fresh herbs, parmesan cheese, or chopped nuts. You could add a little more oil and balsamic vinegar for a dressing as well, or use a dressing of your choice.

 

Get Your Green On

CSA Week 1

Hello! This is Josh and Beth, and we are excited to be sharing lots of recipes and ideas for using your the goodies in your CSA share this season. We plan to include some simple but delicious dishes that make a good snack or appetizer if you’re on the go with fun summer events. We’ll also share recipes to create a great lunch or dinner entree. You might even find some drinks and desserts here, too. Here’s to a season of amazing, local, organic veggies!

The sunshine and warm weather has us inspired to make colorful salads and use lots of green things for light but satisfying nourishment. This week we’ll be enjoying lettuce, bok choy, spinach, salad mix, green garlic, herbs, kale and maybe some kohlrabi in the share. Here are some ideas to help you get your green on.

Kale Chips

On the left: spinach chip. Right: kohlrabi chips with some parmesan cheese.

On the left: spinach chip.
Right: kohlrabi chips with some parmesan cheese.

Okay, we know these are super simple. But for a long time, they just weren’t turning out for us. All the recipes we found looked so easy, but our chips were always turning out too soggy and limp, or too crispy and brown…until we discovered the secret. Low and Slow. Thank you chef Anne Burrell from The Food Network. You can try this with other greens too.

  • kale (or spinach, kohlrabi leaves, or other greens)
  • olive oil
  • salt (and other spices you like)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 250. Remove kale stems. (When washing your kale, we highly recommend spinning it in a salad spinner to thoroughly to dry it.)
  2. We like to lightly drizzle the leaves with olive oil and mix them to make sure the leaves are coated. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. (We like them so much we make two trays at once.) Too much oil makes them limp. Add salt and add any spices your heart may desire.
  3. Bake the kale at 250 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. We like to sprinkle them with a little bit of parmesan cheese sometimes.  (The timing really depends on your oven. When we make two trays, the lowest tray cooks faster. The bottom is usually done at 20 minutes and the top at 25 minutes.)

Honey Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

This is sweet dressing that tastes great on a garden salad.

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Pour all ingredients into a mason jar and give it a good shake (with the lid on.)

When we make salads, we start with whatever greens we have (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) Then we just start grabbing whatever veggies we have on hand. Some of our favorite salad ingredients are sugar snap peas, cucumber, carrots, chopped apples or other fresh fruit, craisins or dried cherries, walnuts or pecans, hard boiled egg, and some kind of cheese. You could also add chicken or steak to make it more filling.

Bok Choy Salad

photo from webmd.com

photo from webmd.com

This is a fun salad with some sweetness and a little bit of zing. Serves 6

  • 2 bunches of small bok choy or 1 large (about 6 cups, washed and chopped)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (we sometimes skip these if we don’t have them on hand)
  • 1 80z can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (we like to use Bragg’s Amino Acids)

Tip: for toasting almonds: You can do this on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. You will need to stir them with a wooden spoon every few minutes. They will smell warm and nutty when they are ready, and the edges will be slightly golden brown.

  1. In large bowl, combine bok choy, green onions, almonds and mandarin oranges.
  2. For the dressing we like to use a mason jar to combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce. Shake (with the lid on) and serve with the salad.

Black Bean Tacos with Goat Cheese and Avocado 

makes 12 small tacos (serves 4)

recipe adapted from here

  • 1 15oz can of black beans, or about 8 oz dry beans if you like to cook them yourself (We soak them overnight and cook them in the pressure cooker)
  • 2 avocados (you have the option to grill them, but we like them raw)
  • juice and zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 oz from a goat cheese log
  • fresh cilantro
  • tortillas of your choice
  • red onion, chopped (optional)
  1. Prep the ingredients by chopping/cutting onion, cilantro, and the avocado. Rinse the canned beans or let freshly cooked beans cool.
  2. Juice and zest the lime and add the honey in small bowl. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.
  3. We use corn tortillas, which need to be cooked or they tend to fall apart. We like to use our cast iron pan. Pour 1/4 tsp olive oil in the pan and let it heat up. 3 corn tortillas fit in the pan at a time. Let them cook 1-2 minutes, and then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. After they are cooked, wrap them in a towel to keep them warm until you are ready to assemble tacos.
  4. Assemble the tacos. We like to put goat cheese as the base layer on the torilla because it helps the other ingredients stick. Add black beans, avocado, onion, cilantro and the honey lime dressing.

Kale Guacamole

serves about 4 people

  • 5 leaves of kale
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic (you can use your green garlic from the share)
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
  • chopped tomato (optional)

Tip: leaving one of the avocado pits in the bowl help keep it from turning brown.

  1. Steam or boil kale for about 7-9 minutes. Drain well and allow to cool.
  2. If you like smooth guacamole: Once kale has cooled, process onions, kale, and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency.OR, if you like chunky style guacamole, just chop and mix in a bowl.
  3. Add lime juice and salt to your taste.

Herbed Cream Cheese with Cucumber

  • 1 cucumber, chilled
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (dill, parsley, chervil, chives, etc.)(or 1 1/2 Tbsp dried herbs)
  • 2 Tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder (or mince some onion)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or try mincing your green garlic this week)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 green onion (green part only, minced) (You could use the white part in the bok choy salad)
  1. Add the softened cream cheese, dill weed, dill pickle juice,  onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper to the bowl of a stand mixer, a large bowl with a hand mixer, or a bowl with a sturdy spoon. Mix on high (or mix aggressively by hand) until the cream cheese is soft, smooth, and all other ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. If you’re feeling fancy: scrape into a pastry bag fitted with whichever tip you prefer. You can also use a ziplock bag, or even a bowl. You just need to cover it. We love to use these lilypad lids.
  3. Slice the chilled cucumber and squeeze or spread the cream cheese on top. You can store any leftover cream cheese mixture in the refrigerator for about a week.

Confessions of a Veggie Sandwich Lover…

I have a sandwich obsession. I just LOVE any combination of veggies, cheeses and spreads packed onto a great slab of bread, grilled panini style or openface and broiled. I had a sandwich a couple weeks ago that I am still dreaming about. The combination of spicy arugula and cool cucumber with the cheese was heaven! After leaving the restaurant, I immediately wrote down the ingredients and tried to recreate it at the homefront. Here is my best rendition. You don’t need a fancy panini maker, any skillet will do.
This is an opportunity for total creativity, so have some fun and make it your own signature combination!

IMG_5243

Crispellini Panini (have your kids chant that 3 times fast!)
(adapted from a sandwich I had at the Crispelli restaurant in Berkley)

sourdough bread (or any sturdy bread you like), sliced and buttered
goat cheese, and a mozzarella or Gruyere cheese, sliced (you could get by with just one cheese but I really enjoy the complexity created with 2 cheeses)
garlic powder
salt and pepper
Roasted red peppers
cucumber, sliced thin
Arugula, or any other spicy green, rinsed and spun dry

Butter one side of each piece of bread and place them butter side down (I know it seems messy, so do it on a large cutting board). Smear on the goat cheese or crumble on the feta. If you are using goat cheese, liberally sprinkle salt and garlic powder on top. If you are using feta, skip the salt as the feta will be salty enough, but feel free to sprinkle on the garlic powder. Pile on the strips of red pepper, cucumber slices and then pack on top a bunch of arugula.

Now place the sliced mozzarella or Gruyère on top of the lettuce to keep it in place. Heat your skillet to medium heat and run a swab of butter around it to grease the pan. When the butter stops sizzling place your pieces of bread with all the fixins in the skillet, butter side down (sorry, it may seem obvious, but sometimes we all miss the obvious, right?).

If you have a lid that you can put on top it will help melt down the cheese just a bit faster. Once the cheese is looking a bit melted, place the top piece of bread on top, butter side up and flip the whole thing over. You will need a big spatula (a metal one works best for this dish) and you may need to use a finger or two to assist and keep it all together. Cook a minute or two longer on the second side, checking to make sure the bread is not burning. Remove to a platter and cut in half before serving to release a little heat and enjoy the lovely colors of your sandwich!

Another great sandwich combination and one of my favorite dishes to make on a leisure Sunday is a grilled vegetable platter. It is super easy because most of the cooking takes place outside on the grill and the rest of it is simply assembling dressings, cheeses, and condiments on a big platter and then heading to the deck. Additionally, the veggies displayed on a platter make a gorgeous presentation for entertaining. Serving is super easy because everyone makes their own sandwich from the platter, piling on their favorite spreads and enjoying their own favorite veggie combination. Oh, and did I mention how delicious veggies are when grilled? The flavors are intensified, a bit caramelized from the natural sugars, and with a hint of smokiness!!

IMG_5018

Grilled Veggies with Spreads and Artisan Breads
(The funny thing about grilled veggies is that they shrink down so you can eat twice as much! So, gauge the amount of veggies based on each person having 2 sandwiches and at least 6 pieces of veggies per sandwich.)

Ingredients (any combination of the following)
– Olive oil and butter
– Onions, sliced thin (you can caramelize them in the pan as I do below, or use scallions and grill them whole)
– Arugula, or any spicy green, or lettuce if you prefer
– Fresh Herbs: Basil, thyme, oregano
– Zucchini (sliced 1/2″ thick)
– Summer Squash (sliced 1/2″ thick)
– Eggplant, (sliced 1/2″ thick, no need to peel, unless it is super huge and the skin is very tough)
– Peppers, (sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed)
– Fennel bulbs, (sliced in half lengthwise so that the stem is still holding it together)
– Cheeses: feta, goat cheese, cheddar, Gruyère, mozzarella, parmesan, blue cheese, Manchego; any of these will do!
– Spreads: pesto of any variation, hummus, olive oil, balsamic vinegar
– Bread: any good artisan bread such as focaccia, sourdough, multigrain, thickly sliced. Don’t pick a soft bread that easily falls apart, because you are building a major sandwich!
– Garlic: heads of garlic, fully intact with the paper removed and drizzled with oil, salt and pepper, wrap in foil and place on the grill an hour in advance of the veggies Mushrooms: You can do Portobello caps, placed top side down, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, or pats of butter, and blue cheese or feta chunks placed over the gills, wrapped lightly in tin foil. They take about 20-30 minutes to cook to tender so place them on the grill well in advance of the rest of the veggies.)
– Tomatoes – I like to slice tomatoes for the platter, but only when they are in season and really ripe. I don’t grill them because I find they get too messy and taste just as good fresh.
– Toasted pine nuts
– Olives of any variety

First, bring a skillet to medium heat and pour in 2 Tbs of olive oil, 1 Tbs of butter and allow to melt. Add the onions and stir them around to coat the onions with the oil. Turn the heat down to low and allow the onions to caramelize for at least 10-15 minutes (they will be golden brown). Occasionally stir the pan; if they start to stick to the bottom, add a 1/8 cup of water and stir them around. Make sure the heat is low and they don’t burn.

While the onions are caramelizing, pull out your veggies and wash and slice them lengthwise as noted by each vegetable in the ingredient list. Using a pastry brush, brush each side with olive oil and stack them in a pyrex dish. If you have metal skewers handy, use them because skewering the peppers makes it easy to flip them. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, as you go.

Head out to the grill. It is really helpful if you have a friend or partner to man the grill while you go back and assemble the platter. If you are on your own, set up the platter first (see further down) and then grill the veggies.
Start your grill with a medium flame (gas) or if using charcoal, get the coals hot and then even them out in one layer so the heat is fully distributed in the grill. Place the veggies on the grill going lengthwise in the opposite direction of the grate so you don’t lose them thru the grate. Grill them for 2 minutes on the first side, with the lid on the grill. Check for grate lines. If none, give them another minute or so and then flip them and grill another 3 minutes on the second side, with the lid on. Check to see if they are tender by poking with a fork.
NOTE: Gas vs. charcoal grills, as well as each veggie, cook differently so err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking. Veggies always taste better when firm as opposed to mushy!

Pull out a large platter and arrange your greens/lettuce, herbs, cheeses, olives, nuts, and caramelized onions, leaving room for the grilled veggies. You may need two platters if serving more than 4 people. Make sure to include all of your spreads as well, with spoons.
When the veggies are done, pile them back in the same pyrex dish and then transfer them to the serving platter. I find this works best when entertaining so I can take my time artfully placing them on the platter, as opposed to arranging them directly off of the grill.
Serve the veggies, with bread and wine if you like, and enjoy the essence of summer!

I have included a picture of the platter, so you can see the amount of veggies used for a family of three. Sorry, no sandwich pictures available as we went into a feeding frenzy before I remembered to take photos!!

A couple final things to note; last week while reviewing my post dated July 8th, titled “Week 6- Recipe Frenzy”, I realized that I left out two key components for the “Napa Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Miso Dressing” recipe. I forgot to list the dressing ingredients oil and soy sauce! To those of you who may have muddled thru that recipe trying to figure out how in the world to make it work, please accept my apology. I have since corrected it to read properly. If you are still the owner of some napa cabbage and carrots, please do do give the recipe a try.

Also, this week I had planned on doing some preserving of our CSA veggies by way of making and freezing quiche. As life would have it….life happened….and the prep work for those homemade quiche crusts did not happen! So that project has been bumped out to one of my August posts. Stay tuned.

I hope you enjoy the sandwich suggestions. I am working on some side salads tonight for the week, to be posted tomorrow and of course everyone has a favorite Chocolate Beet Cupcake recipe and I am no exception, so check back this week!

Lisa McLean

Week 6: Recipe Frenzy!

Hello All,
With the whirl of July 4th last week (lots of cooking in my world!), my head is spinning with new recipes to try and new flavor combinations to explore. Every year about this time I start to work myself into a bit of a recipe tasting & food preservation frenzy! So many good flavor combinations to try and such limited time!! Also, as my freezer is now bare, I am itching to start the preservation process and load it up again with lots of goodies for the winter months. With this in mind, you can expect to see more than one post from me this week, with the intention of passing along recipes for the veggie loot this week, and also some preservation tips/recipes.
Let’s get started with a few basics to prep over the next couple days before pickup.

Balsamic and Herb Vinaigrette
(recipe shared by my fun friend and neighbor, Lisa Fiestritzer)
Makes plenty for 1 to 2 weeks worth of salads. You will run out of greens from the pickup, before running out of the dressing!

This is one of my favorite salad dressings for a bowl of spicy greens such as arugula, and the cucumbers that are starting to arrive. The sweetness of the balsamic balances so nicely with the zing of the greens and the coolness of the cucumbers. Also, you can use almost any herb at the pickup. If you have never made fresh croutons, give them a try. Super easy, and when served warm upon the salad, they soak up the dressing and it is a match made in heaven. If you are reducing/eliminating wheat/bread from your diet, no worries, this salad is still fantastic using just veggies! The salad on the left is a variation using strawberries from last week and almonds, and the salad on the right is a simple mixed greens with feta.

IMG_2131                              IMG_4722

Dressing:
3Tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tsp fresh oregano, dill, or basil (you can also use 1/2 tsp dried herbs if you don’t have fresh on hand)
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed (if you are using scapes, you can skip the garlic, unless you prefer a stronger garlic flavor)
2 tsp minced shallots, garlic scapes, red onion or scallions

Salad fixins’ to consider, but go with what you like!
sliced strawberries and almonds (toasted)
salad mix, arugula or lettuce, washed, spun out and torn
chopped scallions
sliced cucumbers
sliced radishes
Pine nuts (toasted)
Feta, goat or Parmesan cheese
tomatoes or peppers when in season, cut up
bread croutons, fresh, warm, just out of the pan (see recipe below)
If you have a leftover chunk of meat, either chicken or beef, warm it up, slice and add into the mix.

The best way to mix a salad dressing is to start with the balsamic, add the mustard and whisk. Mustard acts as a binder and will allow the oil to incorporate into the vinegar more readily. When adding the oil, start with a couple drops, whisking as you go and slowly pour in the rest, all the while whisking. If you really enjoy the flavor of balsamic, stick to the 1/2 cup measurement of oil. If you prefer your dressing milder, then continue adding the oil, up to 3/4 cup, and taste as you go. When whisked long enough this dressing will become thick and you will notice the oil and vinegar become fully combined. Once you have fully incorporated the oil, add the salt, pepper, fresh/dried herbs, garlic and alliums. This dressing will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and gets better as the flavors meld.

Croutons
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 loaf of any bread, cut into small cubes

Heat oil and butter in large skillet, over medium heat. Once the bubbles from the butter stopped sizzling, add the bread cubes and immediately toss them around the pan, making sure they get evenly coated with the butter/oil. Cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve warm, on top of salad and make sure to drizzle some dressing on top of them. These little babies will make any ho-hum salad perk right up. Also, the leftovers can be reheated in the oven the next day and tossed on another salad!

Napa Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Miso Dressing
(shared by Martha Boks, a good friend and fabulous cook!)
makes 8 servings

napa cabbage

This salad is super easy to make, especially if you prep the dressing and toast the sesame seeds beforehand. Because of the delicate nature of the Napa cabbage, the slaw is best assembled just an hour or two before serving. Also, DO NOT try to cut up the Napa cabbage in your food processor…cabbage juice anyone?!!

Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbs miso, white variety (can be bought at Harvest Health in the fridge where the cheese and milk are located)
3 Tbs grapeseed oil (or canola)
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp minced garlic

Slaw Ingredients:
2 Tbs sesame seeds
3/4 pound Chinese cabbage, also known as Napa, cut into thin shreds (6 cups)
2 cups grated carrots (I did mine in the food processor with grating blade)
1 large sweet red pepper, sliced into very thin strips or 1 apple, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup scallions, or chives, sliced

To toast the sesame seeds, heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring often until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove seeds from pan and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, miso, sugar, soy sauce and garlic until well blended. Set aside.

In large serving bowl, mix together the shredded cabbage, carrots red pepper or apple and scallions. Pour the dressing over top and mix till the veggies are all coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.
Notes: The sesame seeds and dressing can be made days in advance. You can also substitutes peanuts for the sesame seeds, toasted in oven on 350 for 10-15 minutes and cooled. They are super hot when they come out of the oven, so don’t let anyone pop a peanut into their mouth!

Cabbage & Noodles
(adapted from Moosewood New Classics)
Serves 4

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This is comfort food at its finest! You will be amazed at how much cabbage you can polish off when served with caramelized onions. Also, it makes a great leftover for the next day. Simply heat on low in a saucepan, adding a dash of water and keeping it on low with a lid. For a gluten-free version, brown rice could be substituted for the noodles.

2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 Tbs paprika
8 cups finely shredded green cabbage (equals a medium-size head of cabbage)
2 tsp salt
12 oz. fine or medium wide egg noodles (substitute with rice noodles if you are avoiding gluten)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
dollop of sour cream (optional, but highly recommended!!)

In a large pot (with a tightly fitting lid), first melt the butter, using medium heat. Add the onions and turn down to low, put the lid on and cook for about 15 minutes to obtain a golden color (caramelized), stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Add the paprika and sauté for a minute more. It may seem like a lot of paprika, but you will be surprised how mild it will taste. Stir in the cabbage, add the salt and pepper and continue to cook on very low heat for 40-60 minutes, with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft and light brown.

When you still have about 15 minutes left on the clock for the cabbage, cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain them and when the cabbage is done cooking, add the noodles, tossing to mix well. Serve immediately and add a dollop of sour cream on top of each serving. Delicious!!

After all of those good veggies let’s indulge a bit in dessert! Basil Cheesecake is such a unique twist on a classic dessert. This cheesecake is not overly sweet, in fact it is more on the cheesy side so it really pairs well with fresh fruit of the sweeter kind. Strawberries are a given at this time of the year (provided they are sweet), but do try it when the sweet cherries and blueberries come to market as well. Cheesecake freezes beautifully, so you can make a couple, stash them in the freezer and pull them out later in the summer when the peaches arrive!

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Real Basil Cheesecake
adapted from Madison Herb Society Cookbook
makes 10 servings….or in our case, about 5! We like our cheesecake!

Crust:
1-1/2 cup of crushed graham crackers or crushed crispy cookies (use whatever you have on hand
6 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs sugar (if using cookies, sugar is not needed)

Filling:
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup basil leaves, destemmed
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, melted butter and sugar, mixing until well moistened. Pour into a 9 inch springform pan, and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides, creating a crust. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Place the oven rack on the bottom third of the oven. This is important so the top of the cheesecake doesn’t burn or overcook, leaving the inside undercooked. In a food processor, lightly beat the eggs. Add sour cream, sugar, basil, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add cream cheese, 1/2 pound at a time, and process to incorporate. Pour into cooled crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Open oven and give the pan a slight jiggle to see if the center of the cheesecake moves. If it jiggles a bit, close the door and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Then pull out and gently run a knife around the edge. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove outer ring. Finish cooling, wrap with saran wrap and store in fridge for up to 1 week, or freeze for later use.

Notes: The recipe calls for using a food processor or mixer, but I learned that the food processor does a much better job of chopping up the basil so it texturally works in the cheesecake. The mixer left bigger pieces of basil that were just not right in a cheesecake!
Also, everyone’s oven is different, so use your best judgement on cooking time. If the top of the cheesecake starts to get brown, no worries, pull it out of the oven and insert a toothpick in the center to see if it is done. If so, the brown part can be peeled off. If it is still jiggly in the center you will need to lower the rack and continue to cook. I made the mistake of pulling it out while still jiggly, thinking that it would firm up as it cooled…no such luck. I put it back in for another 20 minutes, checking intermittently. I ended up baking it for a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes. See my photos here of underbaked (left side) and correctly baked (right side). Notice how it looks firmer in the photo on the right side?

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Have fun with your pickup this week and please remember to share any thoughts or recipe favorites you may have with the group! Also, don’t forget to check back this week for some food preservation ideas!
Best regards,
Lisa

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Groundswell Community Farm grows over 40 different crops and 200+ varieties, to provide our CSA members and Michigan restaurants with an amazing array of colorful and flavorful veggies.

Copyright © 2018 Groundswell Community Farms. All rights reserved. Site by CurlyHost.

Groundswell Community Farm grows over 40 different crops and 200+ varieties, to provide our CSA members and Michigan restaurants with an amazing array of colorful and flavorful veggies.

Copyright © 2018 Groundswell Community Farms. All rights reserved. Site by CurlyHost.