Weeks 14 and 15: 10 Recipes for Autumn!

The air is chilling, the first batch of applesauce is cooking and we are eagerly looking forward to winter squash. Soup is the most frequent thing on the stove and we’re soaking up every bit of the sun as it sets earlier and earlier.

In our house, the flavors and kitchen decisions start to turn a bit towards casseroles, stews and roasted veggies. It just feels appropriate, almost all of a sudden!

TKB - Potato Soup

Easy Potato Soup
Recipe Credit: The Kitchen Beet

1 – 1.5 cups diced white onion or leeks
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
6 larger new or yukon gold potatoes, diced large (This is about 4 cups once diced; please note you could use russet too!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 – 5 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup milk
1 TBSP arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 TBSP finely diced celery leaves or parsley
1/4 cup half-and-half
scallions (or chives), to garnish
freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, to garnish

Saute onions/leeks, carrots and celery for 8 – 10 minutes, until starting to soften. Add potatoes and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let it cook for about 10 – 12 minutes. The potatoes should be tender at this point. (I usually remove a potato and eat it to test, burning my mouth in the process. Very technical over here.) If the potatoes are not tender, keep simmering, checking every couple of minutes.

Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go. Add the arrowroot powder and mix it in. This will help to thicken your soup. If you have an immersion blender, now is the time to safely move your soup pot to a spot where you can use it. Please be careful, so you don’t splatter and burn yourself. If you don’t have an immersion blender, no problem. Safely blend somewhere between half and three-quarters of the soup in a regular blender, and return to the pot.

Add your celery leaves and half-and-half and give it one final stir. A note about the celery leaves – this is for those vibrant green leaves with amazing flavor that you get from the farmer’s market (or your lovely CSA, Groundswell!). If your celery doesn’t have leaves, parsley would be a great alternative! If needed, add a little more salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with scallions or chives, and a sprinkle (or in my case, giant handful) of sharp cheddar cheese. Happy soup season!

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Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup with Kale
Recipe Credit: Dula Notes

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • 2-3 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves removed from stalk and chopped
  1. In a large pot, add the coconut oil, onion, garlic, curry powder, tumeric, chile flakes and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt and heat over medium heat. Once the onions start sizzling, turn the heat to low and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until onions are soft.
  2. Add 8 cups of water, lentils and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Turn heat to medium low. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of onion or seasoning that started to stick to the bottom of the pot. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft. Taste to see if additional salt is needed.
  3. Stir in coconut milk and chopped kale. Cook until the coconut milk is heated and kale has wilted a bit. Taste again for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary.

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Crispy Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
Recipe Credit: Smitten Kitchen

1 pound fresh broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
A few pinches of pepper flakes, to taste
Finely grated zest of half a lemon, or more to taste
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste, to finish

Heat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Prep your broccoli: Wash broccoli well — seriously, there is always a stem-colored worm hidden in the florets when I buy organic or from a farmer’s market, hooray for fewer pesticides! — and pat dry. Slice straight through the broccoli stem(s) as close to the crown of florets as possible. The crown should naturally break into several large florets, and you can cut these down into more manageable chunks. I find that less mess is made and less broccoli rubble is lost when I cut not down through the florets tops to halve chunks but up through the attached stems. (See 2nd photo above.) After cutting through the stem, I use my hands to break the floret the rest of the way in two. Don’t let the stems go to waste. I peel off the tough outer skin and knots and cut the stems into 1/2-inch segments; they cook up wonderfully this way, and at the same speed as the florets.

Drizzle the first tablespoon of oil over your baking sheet or roasting pan and brush or roll it around so it’s evenly coated. In a large bowl, toss prepared florets and stems with remaining olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and lemon zest until they’re evenly coated. Spread broccoli in an even layer in prepared pan.

Roast for 20 minutes, then use a spatula to flip and move pieces around for even cooking. Roast another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5, until broccoli is toasty and as crisp as you like it. (As you can see, we like a serious char on ours.)

From the oven, taste a floret for seasoning and add more salt and pepper flakes if needed. Shower with fresh lemon juice and eat immediately.

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Winter Vegetable Chowder with Crispy Cabbage, Lemon and Mustard
Recipe Credit: The First Mess

chowder ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large cooking onion, small dice (1 3/4 cups)
1 leek, small dice (white + light green part only)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1-2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 celery root, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 heaped cups of small-chopped cauliflower florets
1 1/2 tbsp grainy mustard
salt + pepper to taste
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

crispy cabbage ingredients:
1/4 head of a green cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp olive oil
salt + pepper
optional seasonings: Old Bay, celery salt, caraway seeds, nigella seeds, za’atar etc.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the leeks and continue to sauté until the leeks are soft, about 4 minutes more. Add the minced garlic and thyme to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chopped parsnips, celery root, and cauliflower florets to the pot and stir to coat in the oil. Add the grainy mustard, salt + pepper to taste, and Old Bay. Stir to coat all the vegetables in spice. Add the lmeon juice to the pot and stir. Add the vegetable stock to the pot, stir again, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and lower heat to simmer. Let the chowder cook and bubble until the parsnips and celery root pieces are tender, about 15-18 minutes.

Ladle half of the chowder into an upright blender and carefully purée until smooth. Pour puréed portion of chowder back into the soup pot and bring it back to a boil. Check the chowder for seasoning, adjust and serve hot.

While the chowder is simmering/cooking, make the crispy cabbage. Place the sliced cabbage onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the 2 tsp of olive oil over top, season with salt and pepper and add any spices you like. Toss lightly to combine and spread cabbage out evenly on the baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the oven and roast the cabbage for 13-17 minutes, or until browned on the edges and crispy in parts. You’ll have to flip the cabbage around a few times while it’s roasting. Serve warm cabbage on top of the dreamy winter vegetable chowder.

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Roasted Tomato Soup
Recipe Credit: Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP // Serve 2 as an entree, 4 as a side

1 1/4 lb. Ripe Tomatoes (about 4 Large Tomatoes)
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley
1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp. Organic Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half, optional
Fresh Oregano + Basil for garnish
Fresh Grainy Bread

1. Preheat the oven to 350′. Cut the tomatoes and the half of an onion into wedges. Use your finger to push out some of the seedy parts of the tomatoes, but this is not a huge deal, just get out the big seedy parts, a bit intact is fine. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt, a generous amount of pepper, the chopped parsley and gently toss it with your hands. Tuck the garlic cloves somewhere in a tomato, so they don’t burn. Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to about half their size. Remove and cool slightly.
2. Warm the broth and stir in the tomato paste to dissolve. Add the all of the ingredients from the roasting pan into the broth and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the bowl, or with a food processor or blender. The soup should be smooth, with some texture. If you don’t like any texture at all, you could run it through a fine mesh sieve. Return it back to the pot, and add the cream to taste, if using. Taste for salt and pepper.
3. Serve with some toasted bread, or broil a few slices with a piece of mozzarella on top. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and oregano.

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Eggplant Spread
Recipe Credit: Seven Spoons

Canola oil or other neutral oil
1 medium eggplant (aubergine)
1 large onion, cut lengthways then into thin half moons
2 teaspoons ginger, grated (see note)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 small green chili, sliced finely
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
salt to taste

Use a few drops of canola oil to lightly grease the skin of the eggplant. Over the dying coals of a charcoal fire, place the whole eggplant on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until the eggplant has shrivelled and blackened. The flesh should yield easily to pressure, and most of its moisture will have cooked away. Do not panic if the skin splits while cooking, this is perfectly fine. Remove from the heat and set the eggplant aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 10-15 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is sweet. Add the green chili and cilantro, cooking for 5 minutes more.

Using a spoon or your fingers, peel away the skin from the eggplant. Scoop the flesh into the pan with the aromatics, breaking it up and stirring to combine. Season lightly with salt. Increase the heat to medium and cook the eggplant for 10 more minutes, or until it begins to slightly darken in colour and any residual moisture has dissipated. Check for seasoning and serve.

Makes about 1 cup.

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tempeh, brown rice + millet veggie burger
Recipe Credit: The First Mess

special equipment:
a food processor
serves: 6-8
notes: I leave a lot of room for mods here because I know everyone’s spice/ingredient needs are different. Also, I would highly recommend refrigerating the patties for at least an hour before cooking them to let them set up all proper. I haven’t tried grilling these, but I feel like that would be unsuccessful. Sauté all the way. (If you try baking or grilling or some other method, let me know how it goes)

patty ingredients:
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup nuts + seeds (I used walnuts + sunflower seeds)
1 clove of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
1/2 cup grated vegetables (I used carrots + golden beets)
3/4 cup roughly chopped tempeh
1.5 tbsp tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp GF flour blend (or wholewheat, spelt etc)
2 tsp organic, non-GMO corn starch OR arrowroot powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 tbsp ground spices (I used za’atar, ancho chili powder + Old Bay seasoning)
1/4 cup chopped herbs/greens (I used thyme + arugula)
salt + pepper
1-2 tbsp water

assembly ingredients:
grapeseed/coconut oil for sautéeing
1-2 heads of butter/bibb lettuce, washed and leaves separated
sriracha
sliced ripe mango
red onion slivers
pea shoots/other sprouts
+ anything else you like!

Combine the millet and brown rice with 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt. Bring this mix to a boil and simmer until all of the water is absorbed  about 15 minutes. The grains will still be quite chewy. Scrape the cooked grains into a large bowl and allow them to cool a bit.

In a food processor, combine the nuts/seeds, garlic, chopped onion, grated vegetables and tempeh. Pulse the mixture a few times until a moist + chunky paste forms (doesn’t that sound great?!?). Scrape this mixture into the large bowl with the cooked millet and brown rice.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl except for the water. Stir everything together until thoroughly combined and the mix resembles a thick paste. It should hold together when you pinch it with your fingers. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if necessary to bind it at this point and mix one more time.

Form the mixture into 6-8 patties with your hands. Place them on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, cover them in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for at least an hour. If you want to freeze these babies, place the covered tray in the freezer for an hour or two to firm the patties up. Then individually wrap them/place all of the patties in a large zippy bag for maximum storage capacity.

To cook: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cover the bottom with grapeseed/other neutral oil (like a 1/4-1/3 inch? you could also spray the pan with oil if you have a misto thing). Gently transfer 2-3 patties to the pan and sauté until golden on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the patties over and cook until golden on the other side, another 3 minutes. I kind of nudged the patties up against the sides of the pan to brown them all over as well. Repeat with remaining patties, while you keep the cooked ones warm.

Serve the hot veggie patties with lettuce wraps, toppings etc.

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Roasted Beet Soup with Crème Fraiche
Recipe Credit: Epicurious

  • 1/2 pound red beets (about 3 medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 fresh parsley sprig
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour. Cool. Peel beets. Cut 1/4 of 1 beet into 1/4-inch cubes; reserve for garnish. Cut remaining beets into 1/2-inch pieces.

Melt butter with oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek, onion, and celery and cook until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 13 minutes. Stir in ginger, allspice, white pepper, and 1/2-inch beet pieces. Cook until vegetables begin to stick to bottom of pot, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Add 2 cups water, bay leaf, thyme sprig, and parsley sprig. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf, thyme sprig, and parsley sprig. Cool soup slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender with cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate.)

Gently rewarm soup (do not boil). Divide between 2 bowls. Garnish each with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche. Sprinkle with reserved beet cubes.

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One-Pot Farro with Tomatoes
Recipe Credit: Smitten Kitchen

2 cups water
1 cup (updated) semi-pearled farro (see Note above for farro types)
1/2 large onion (I usually use a white one, for mildness)
2 cloves garlic
9 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
Up to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Place water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak (I find just 5 to 10 minutes sufficient) while you prepare the other ingredients. Adding each ingredient to the pot as you finish preparing it, cut onion in half again, and very thinly slice it into quarter-moons. Thinly slice garlic cloves as well. Halve or quarter tomatoes. Add salt, pepper flakes (to taste) and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Bring uncovered pan (no lid necessary) up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. When the timer rings, the farro should be perfectly cooked (tender but with a meaty chew), seasoned and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. If needed, though I’ve never found it necessary, cook it for 5 additional minutes, until farro is more tender.

Transfer to a wide serving bowl. If there’s enough leftover cooking liquid to be bothersome, simply use a slotted spoon to leave the amount you wish to behind. Drizzle farro lightly with additional olive oil, scatter with basil and parmesan. Eat immediately. Repeat tomorrow.

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Citrus Beet Salad with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing
Recipe Credit: Oh She Glows

For the salad
  • 3 medium/large red beets
  • 3 medium/large golden beets
  • 2 navel oranges (or any variety)
  • 1 grapefruit (Ruby suggested), optional
  • Greens of choice (I used a mix of baby romaine and blanched beet greens)
  • Avocado Lime Dressing
For the dressing
  • 1/2 cup avocado flesh
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of the can)
  • 5 tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp grapefruit juice (optional)
  • tiny pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Trim both ends of each beet and wash well. Place a few beets on a large piece of tin foil. Drizzle with oil and wrap up. Do the same for the other 3 beets on another sheet of foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45-75 minutes, until a fork pricks through fairly easy. Check beets after 30 mins of roasting, and every 15 minutes thereafter. Cooking time will depend on the size…mine took 60-75 minutes.
  2. With oven mitts on, carefully open the tin foil and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Now peel off the skin and discard. Slice beets into wedges.
  3. While the beets roast, prepare the citrus. De-pith and slice into segments. Set aside. Reserve the scraps of juicy flesh as you can use this to squeeze into your dressing.
  4. Blend the dressing ingredients together in a processor. I used my mini processor and it worked well. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more sweetener, juice, or salt if desired.
  5. To assemble, add greens (I used a mix of blanched beet greens and baby romaine), followed by the beets and citrus segments, top with nuts, seeds, and/or cooked grains, and finally the dressing.

Week Seven: Don’t let Zucchini and Summer Squash perish on your watch!

I hope you’re enjoying the heat and the abundance of wonderful CSA veggies from Groundswell…I sure am! This week focuses on a few wonderful uses for zucchini and summer squash. These delicate vegetables need to be used sooner than later after pick-up, and here are a few great ways! You’ll notice that, with the exception of the zucchini bread, these recipes also make great use of fresh herbs and scallions!

Zucchini-and-Pecorino Frittata
Recipe Credit: Orangette

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1-1 ½ lb zucchini, thinly sliced into half-circles
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
6 large eggs (preferably free-range, please)
S & P
½ cup good-quality Pecorino Romano, grated

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add basil and remove from heat. Drain in colander.

Crack eggs into a medium bowl and whisk with a fork. Add salt and pepper and cheese, stirring to mix. Add zucchini and onion and stir to mix evenly.

Heat remaining Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add egg mixture, using fork to distribute evenly over pan. Reduce heat to low and cook until set, 12 to 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat and slide frittata onto a large plate. Place skillet over plate, and invert frittata back into skillet. Cook a few minutes more. Invert frittata onto plate to serve. Eat at room temperature or cold. Serves 6-8 as a first course or 4 as a main dish.

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Zucchini Bread
Recipe Credit: Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins

3 large eggs
1 cup (235 ml) olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 (350 grams) cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup (115 grams) dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally. (See those pictures of the cakes inside their non-stick pans? Yup, they’re pretty much hanging out in there for the time being.) Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

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Zucchini Fritters
Recipe Credit: Smitten Kitchen

Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters

1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying

To serve (optional)
1 cup sour cream or plain, full-fat yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt
1 small minced or crushed clove of garlic

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Have a baking sheet ready.

Trim ends off zucchini and grate them either on the large holes of a box grater or, if you have one, using the shredding blade of a food processor. The

In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wring out the zucchini in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away. You’ll be shocked (I was!) by the amount of liquid you’ll lose, but this is a good thing as it will save the fritters from sogginess.

Return deflated mass of zucchini shreds to bowl. Taste and if you think it could benefit from more salt (most rinses down the drain), add a little bit more; we found 1/4 teaspoon more just right. Stir in scallions, egg and some freshly ground black pepper. In a tiny dish, stir together flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet — cast iron is dreamy here — heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet only a few at a time so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp.

For the topping, if using, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice, zest, salt and garlic and adjust the flavors to your taste. Dollop on each fritter before serving. These fritters are also delicious with a poached or fried egg on top, trust me.

Do ahead: These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.

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Zucchini Toasts
Recipe Credit: Sprouted Kitchen

1 Fresh Whole Grain Loaf
4 Zucchini (About 2 1/2 Cups when diced)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2-3 tsp. Lemon Pepper
1 tsp. Fennel Seed (optional)
Sea Salt (If your Lemon Pepper Blend DOESN’T have salt already)

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
2 Tbsp. Minced Shallot
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

Fresh Parsley + Mint (about 1/3 cup of each)

Oven to 475′

1. Cut both end off the zucchini. Cut each in half length wise, then each long half into 4 sticks, dice. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
2. Spread zucchini on a large baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil and lemon pepper, optional fennel seed, and salt IF needed. The zucchini should have a very light coating of oil, add a bit more if need be. Use your preferences on the amount of spices too. Spread to make one even layer on the baking tray for more browning. Bake on the upper third rack for 18-20 minutes, or until they’ve got some good crispy edges. Remove to cool.
3. While zucchini is roasting, mix the ricotta, mustard and shallot together in a small bowl, set aside.
4. Chop even amounts parsley and mint, about 1/3 cup in total.
5. Toast your bread slices, I thought 1/2” thick was perfect. Spread a few dollops of the ricotta mix, a sprinkle of the herb mix, pile zucchini on top, and another sprinkle of herbs.

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Summer Squash and Herb Pie
Recipe Credit: My friend Linnea who works on a CSA farm in Wisconsin

Butter-only pie crust:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, very cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6-8 tablespoon ice water

Combine flour, salt & sugar. Combine butter with pastry cutter or food processor.  Slowly add very cold water until you get a thick dough consistency.  Roll out and fit into pie pan. Chill in pie pan while you prepare your filling ingredients.

Filling:
¼ cup butter or vegetable oil
4-5 scallions, chopped
4 cups thinly sliced summer squash of any kind
¼ cup chopped parsley
5-6 basil leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons herb of your choice (dill or oregano make fine choices)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons mustard

Heat the butter or oil in the pan and add all the remaining vegetables, herbs and spices. Sauté the mixture together on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the eggs and mozzarella to the summer squash mixture. Spread the mustard onto the prepared pie crust, and pour in the remaining summer squash and egg mixture on top. Bake at 375° F for 18-20 minutes, until top is beginning to turn golden brown. Rest the pie a few minutes out of the oven before digging in.

Wishing you happiness and tasty kitchen success using your zucchini and summer squash!

Autumn You Glad We Have More Soup Recipes?

Hello Members, welcome to week 16!  We have some more soup recipes for you, including a black bean soup that doesn’t call for stock (you sort of make stock as you make the soup).  There is also a roasted root vegetable salad, so if those delicious bunches of beets and carrots are starting to pile up in your fridge, it will be a good outlet to use them up. We were also feeling a little decadent, so two of the recipes call for cream and cream cheese.  Enjoy!

Beezie’s Black Bean Soup

  • 1 lb. dry black beans
  • 1 1/2 qts. water
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup dry lentils
  • 28 oz. can of peeled and diced tomatoes (or peel and dice tomatoes you have)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  1. In a large pot over medium high heat cook the beans in water that is 3x higher than their volume. Let boil 10 minutes, then cover and remove from heat, and let stand one hour. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine soaked beans, 1 1/2 qts. water, and cook for 3 hours on high
  3. Stir in carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bell peppers, japenos, lentils, and tomatoes.  Add all the seasonings.  Cook on low for 2-3 hours.  Stir the rice into the cooker during the last 20 minutes.
  4. Puree about 1/2 the soup in a blender or food processor, add back to the pot and serve.

Winter Root Vegetable Salad

If you don’t have parsnips and turnips on hand, substitute them with more potatoes, beets, carrots, etc.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, ends cut off and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • garnish with pine nuts and/or feta cheese

For balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced (or onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup EVOO
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place all root vegetables in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss together. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide mixture between two sheet pans and spread evenly.
  4. Roast vegetables for 30-40 minutes, gently tossing with wooden spoon.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Transfer vegetables to large mixing bowl, and gently toss with balsamic vinaigrette.
  7. Top with pine nuts and feta and serve!

Creamy Mashed Carrots

creamymashedcarrots

Serves 8

  • 2 lb. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chive and onion flavored cream cheese (or regular cream cheese with some chives and onion tossed in!)
  1. Bring carrots and broth to a boil in sauce pan on high heat, cover.
  2. Simmer on medium low heat 30 minutes, or until carrots are very tender and most of the broth is absorbed.  Uncover for the last 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, mash until smooth, add cream cheese, stir until melted.
  4. Optional: top with chopped chives, parsley, herb of your choice.

Decadent Broccoli Cheese Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups Half and Half (or 1 cup H&H and 1 cup milk, or just milk.  Note, the lower the fat content, the more chance of curdling if heated too high.  Always watch your heat, there may be no crying over spilt milk, but there is crying over curdled milk)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lb. broccoli
  • 1 cup of carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • crusty bread for dipping
  1. Saute onion in the tablespoon of butter, set aside.
  2. Cook 1/4 cup melted butter and flour in a stock pot over medium high heat, stirring with a whisk, for 3-5 minutes.  Stir constantly, then add half and half.
  3. Add chicken stock, simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli, carrots, and onions.  Cook over low heat, 20-25 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper, optional: puree in a blender or use an immersion blender.
  6. Add cheese and nutmeg over low heat, remove from heat and enjoy.

White Bean and Tomatillo Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb. dry northern beans, soaked overnight or 3 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 1/2  lb. tomatillos (about 13-15), husks removed, washed and quartered or cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • 4 cups (32 oz) vegetable broth or 4 cups water with 3 repunzel vegetable cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • mineral salt to taste
  • pinch or two red pepper flakes
  • small glug of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • avocado, diced, to serve
  • lime wedges, to serve
  • corn or flour tortillas, or tortilla chips to serve
  1. Remove husks from tomatillos, chop into quarters. Remove seeds from jalapenos, dice.  Dice the onions and garlic.
  2. In a large pot heat oil over medium high heat and saute onions for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, jalapenos, tomatillos, cumin, coriander, and pinch or 2 of salt.  Saute 5 minutes.
  3. Add liquid and beans, bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat and simmer, 1 hour for soaked beans and 30 minutes for canned beans.
  4. Serve with cilantro, avocado, limes, and tortillas.

Easy Back-to-School, Labor Day Recipes

Hello members, welcome to week 14.  This week we have a pork roast with salsa verde, but also four recipes that are vegetarian/vegan friendly.  Two recipes make use of slow cookers, and one is a “all-in-one-pot” recipe for families who will be starting school this week.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Hummus

  • 1.5 lbs zucchin, grilled or roasted
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs: mint, parsley, or both (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil for garnish
  1. Grill or roast the zucchini in strips ahead of time, about 15 minutes cooking time. Wrap them in foil after done to steam them for a few more minutes.
  2. When cooled, place zucchini, along with other ingredients in a food processor. Puree until relatively smooth.  Transfer to a serving bowl, make a little well with a spoon in the middle to drizzle the olive oil into.  Serve with sliced veggies, pita chips, or more zucchini strips (so meta!).

Chili Verde Tacos

  • 2 lb pork roast
  • 6 tomatillos
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 7 oz can of salsa verde (store bought or home made)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • soft taco shells
  • toppings: cilantro and chopped onion, cheese and sour cream, your choice
  1. Spray a medium size crock pot with cooking oil.  Place the roast in crock pot, season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat 2 Tbsp oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent.
  3. Add salsa verde and oregano to pan, stir.
  4. Put tomatillos in blender with just enough water to cover them, blend until liquified.
  5. Pour the onion, salsa, oregano mixture over the pork roast. Pour the blended tomatillos over the park roast.
  6. Cook on high for one hour, then change to low for 6 hours.
  7. Shred pork with a fork and cook on low for one more hour.
  8. Serve pok in your favorite taco shells with your favorite toppings.

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce (The Tom Carey Method) For Freezing

slowcookertomatoes slowcookertomatosauce

When I used to work at Groundswell, Tom and I would discuss the finer points of life, including how to make tomato sauce.  Tom told me you can put whole tomatoes in a slow cooker overnight without the lid on.  At first I didn’t believe him, and said “No way!” and he said “Way! Now get back to work!” I think is how the exchange went.  So that night I went home, took some tomatoes, and a slow cooker, and made my first batch of tomato sauce that I would freeze.

  • 5 lbs. of tomatoes, or however many you have on hand
  • one slow cooker
  • one hand mixer, processor or blender
  1. wash the tomatoes, peel or cut any bad spots out, and  the core if you want.
  2. Place the tomatoes in the slow cooker, stacking as many as you can.
  3. Turn the slow cooker on low, with the lid off, and leave overnight.
  4. In the morning you can mash the tomatoes with a masher and leave them to cook more, or transfer the tomatoes to a stock pot on the stove.
  5. Cook the tomatoes down on either the slow cooker or stove top. Use a hand mixer to blend up the skins and seeds, or put the sauce in the blender/processor to blend up the skins/seeds.  When you have a sauce consistency you like, let it cool for a few minutes, then  pour into quart bags, close carefully, and freeze.
  6. This winter, when you need tomato sauce, grab a bag of frozen sauce, reheat, add dried herbs, and enjoy!

When I told Tom the slow cooker method worked really well, he said “Of course it did! Try it with a bunch of cherry tomatoes! Now get back to work!”

(Editor’s note: Tom Carey is a great guy and encourages employees and only uses positive reinforcement when encouraging employees to be more productive.)

Green Bean, Cherry Tomato, and Cheddar Salad

(credit: cabotcheese.coop/legacy)

  • 4 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder, or 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese, cut in small cubes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil
  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Add green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Whisk yogurt, mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the green beans, tomatoes, and cheddar to dressing bowl, toss.
  4. Serve with chopped basil.

Amazing One Pot Pasta

  • 16 oz box of linguini, or your favorite pasta
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 bunch of spinach (or salad greens)
  • grated parmesan cheese for serving
  1. In a large pot, bring all ingredients (except for basil, spinach, and parmesan) to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Continue to boil pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes for linguini. Stir often.
  3. Add basil and spinach, cook one more minute until greens begin to wilt.
  4. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Serve in bowls, garnish with parmesan and more basil.

 

 

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.

 

Fall Vegetables

Just like I enjoy the season changes, I also enjoy the produce changes. A tomato or peach in the middle of winter from the grocery store bears absolutely no resemblance to what we have been enjoying for the last month. When we received brussels sprouts last week I was quite excited to eat one of our standard fall dishes. When you read the next two recipes, you will realize that they aren’t the healthiest brussels sprouts recipes ever but the brussels sprouts are so delicious and we eat them so infrequently that I just don’t care. Both of my kids will eat brussels sprouts prepared this way versus roasted or steamed. To me the secret is cooking them slightly longer than you think you should cook them so that they are heading past golden brown but not all the way to burned. They are then carmelized perfection.

Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds brussls sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh maple syrup
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
.5 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives
Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in 2 batches and adding more oil between batches. cook brussels sprouts cut side down in a single layer in a skillet until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Season brussels sprouts with salt and pepper. Toss and cook until tender about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining brussels sprouts. Remove skillet from heat. Add syrup, butter and herbs to pan. When the butter has melted, return brussels sprouts to pan and toss to coat.

Brussels Sprouts (recipe from Salt of the Earth in Fennville)
.5 pounds bacon
2 pounds brussels sprouts
Sea Salt
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Lay slices of bacon in a cold skillet and cook over medium. When done set the bacon aside for another use. What you need is the bacon grease. In that hot bacon grease, cook the brussels sprouts cut side down for about 4 to 5 minutes or until just past golden brown. Season the brussels sprouts with seas salt. Toss and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Just before serving drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Don’t do this too early as it will gum up in the pan.

This was a find from several years ago when I received spaghetti squash in the weekly CSA distribution. I tried the just cook it and and serve it with spaghetti sauce method and that was not much of a hit in our house. So I had to find something else. My husband and I will gobble this down. If I omit the meat, my daughter will eat it, maybe not gobble but alas we have to start somewhere.
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling (adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 3.75-4 pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Cut squash in half. Remove the seeds. Put on half cut side down in a microwaveable baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of dish. Cover and microwave for about 10 minutes or until tenderon high. Repeat with other half. Cool. Meanwhile, saute sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium high heat until sausage browns and veggies are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in marinara.
Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells leaving shells intact. Mix squash into sausage mix. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shells. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes.

I’m not sure where I found this recipe years ago but I love it because it is delicious, it uses almost any veggies that you have and it gets gobbled up around here by everyone. When I have parsnips, corn or green beans, they can easily be thrown in and other vegetables can be omitted. This recipe is quite forgiving. I often freeze some of it to enjoy later for dinner or in a kid’s lunch.

Beef and Barley Soup
1/4 cup butter
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup peeled turnip, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped yams
1 cup chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
5 cups beef stock
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup pearl barley
1.5 Tablespoon thyme
1.5 Tablespoon oregano
1.5 pounds steak cut into .5″ pieces
1/4 cup parsley
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add vegetables. Saute 10 minutes. Add both stocks and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Add barley, thyme and oregano. Simmer until barley is tender stirring occasionally for about 35 minutes. This soup can be made ahead of time and chilled. Just return the soup to a simmer before you continue.
Add beef to soup. Simmer just until beef is cooked, about 10 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Around my house fajitas are always met with excitement. We always put bell peppers and onions in ours but really there you could put in squash or anything sauteed or roasted with the right seasoning and it will work. This recipe calls for chicken but you can do it with any kind of protein.

Fajitas
Juice of 4 limes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Ground pepper
Kosher Salt
1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 large onions, halved and cut into thin slivers
2 large bell peppers cut into strips
Tortillas
Whatever toppings you like. For us that is guacamole, salsa, monterey jack, refried beans, sour cream,chopped tomatoes and cilantro.
Combine the lime juice, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper in a glass bowl. Mix well and add the chicken breasts. Cover and let marinade. Prepare the grill. In a small skillet, combine the onions and pepper strips and the marinade. Simmer at low heat for about 30 minutes. Grill the chicken breasts for about 8-10 minutes turning halfway through. Slice the chicken into strips about 1/2″ wide. Wrap tortillas in a damp clean dish towel and heat tortillas in microwave for about 30 seconds until warm and more pliable. Put out platters with chicken, tortillas and vegetables and all of your toppings.

This is a handy little recipe to make and throw in the freezer and save for later, just like pesto. And just like pesto, it can take so many things from sandwiches to dips to pasta from good to sublime. Enjoy!
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover baking sheet with foil. This is crucial or you will have a heckuva a mess later. Depending on the size of the tomato you are using, this step will be a little different. If you are using something roughly the size of a Roma, cut it in half and lay it on the cookie sheet cut side up. If the tomatoes are bigger cut them into slices that are about 3/4 – 1″ thick. Lay them on the cookie sheet. Don’t overlap tomatoes but you can get a lot on the pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and let the magic begin. Nothing happens for about 45 minutes and then they will slowly start to collapse. The last time I did this last week, I cooked them for about 3 hours. You want them to start to carmelize but not burn and that is a fine line once they really start to cook. Once they are done and have cooled. I pop them in a freezer safe container and save them for the winter when they will spice up just about anything.

Late Summer Bounty

We are getting so many absolutely delicious vegetables right now. Though it is wonderful, it can definitely be quite overwhelming at times. Salad is one of the ideas that comes to mind and there are so many options to consider. Getting my kids to eat salads can be a bit of a bear at times. Here are two salads that I have been successful with and that my husband and I love as does company when they come. My son does prefer that you warm these up a little. I think part of what he doesn’t like about “salad” is the cold factor. Alas if they will eat it, I will warm it up. I have also learned to generally go a little lighter on the vinaigrettes and they tend to not notice that it is a “salad.” The following salad is different than the classic mayonnaise potato salad but a big hit with everyone.

Lemon Basil Potato Salad (Southern Living magazine)
2.5 pounds small potatoes, cut into eighths
Olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 medium purple onion, chopped
10 thick bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
10 ounces spinach, cut into strips

Arrange potatoes evenly on cookie sheet. Toss in olive oil. Bake at 475 degrees for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden.
Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, basil, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil in slow stream. Gently toss potato and onion with 1/2 cup vinaigrette. Arrange spinach in bowls, drizzle with vinaigrette. Top with potato mixture. Sprinkle with bacon.
DSCN2312

This next salad takes advantage of something in abundance right now, not through the CSA but at the Farmers Market…corn. My husband got me a book several years ago with main and side dish salads. The book has been indispensable. For the most part, the recipes call for things I normally have on hand and so far they have all been delicious. This salad is also popular with my children.

Fresh Corn Salad (from Raising the Salad Bar)
Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 firm but ripe avocado, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced or 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro

Lime dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large serving bowl, remove corn kernels. Combine with the tomato, avocado and scallions. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Combine the dressing with the salad and gently mix. Garnish with chopped cilantro
DSCN3546

Sometimes I am not out to please the family but simply to enjoy the fresh produce at hand. That would be the case for the recipe. My husband and I end up eating this for dinner probably twice a week when heirloom tomatoes are at their peak. My kids don’t understand why would would dream of eating this but I LOVE it. It is adapted from a recipe I found in Gourmet magazine years ago. When I first made it, I’d never had heirloom tomatoes and didn’t appreciate how wonderful this dish is. Now I love all of the colors and textures combining together. I believe the original recipe called for bleu cheese but I am not a fan so have changed it to what I enjoy and can find at the Holland Farmers market.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese
8 1/2inch thich slices of good crusty bread
4 large garlic cloves, halved
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup currant, grape, cherry or pear tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
10 medium heirloom tomatoes cored, thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced paper thin
3 celery stalks, sliced thin on diagonal
1.5 cups crumbled goat cheese
Prepare grill to medium high. Rub bread with garlic and brush with 3 tablespoons olive oil. I have been known to do the previous step in a hot frying pan. Maybe not the same but quick and tasty regardless. Combine remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, currant tomatoes and green onions in medium bowl. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Overlap tomato slices in circles on platter, alternating colors. Scatter onion and celery slices over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato and green onion mixture over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Grill bread or use frying pan, two minutes per side. Pile salad on bread and enjoy the yummy messiness!
DSCN3551

As always when I have ingredients that I don’t know what to do with, I end up trying epicurious.com. They did not let me down with this delicious cabbage soup recipe that is a hit with the entire family. The original recipe has a lemon creme fraiche topping but we do not do the topping. We just stick with the soup itself so if you think the soup would benefit from a lemon creme fraiche topping, just look it up on epicurious.com. At this point in August, I am not in the mood for a heavy thick soup but I freeze this and then can thaw it in January when I am most assuredly in the mood for this soup. Because of this, the soup doesn’t usually have the garnish of sauteed cabbage but we enjoy it nonetheless. Pair it with some nice crusty bread and lunch is served.

Potato, Cabbage, Leek Soup (from Bon Appetit)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 cups diced green cabbage (from about 1/2 of medium head or a whole small head)
3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green only, 3-4 large)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3 cups 1/2 inch cubed, peeled potatoes (about 1.25 pounds)
1 2×2 piece Parmesan rind (optional)
1 turkish bay leaf
6 cups (or more) chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and saute until cabbage is almost tender but not brown, 6-8 minutes. Using slotted spoon transfer 1 cup cabbage to small bowl and reserve for garnish.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot with cabbage, add leeks and garlic. Saute over medium heat until leeks soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, Parmesan rind if desired and bay leaf. Add 6 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaf. Let soup cool. If pureeing while still warm, remember to have the center piece out of the top of the blender and hold a kitchen towel over that opening so steam can escape but not the delicious soup. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved cabbage and chives.
DSCN3256

Though this is definitely a heartier meal, it fits right in with the produce we are receiving right now–zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and onions. My kids don not appreciate this wonderful recipe but everyone else I have served it to does.

Ratatouille and Sausage Pot Pit with Cornmeal Biscuits (from the New York Times)
Biscuits
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter in 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
milk

Ratatouille
1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil
3/4 pound Italian sausage
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 red/yellow/orange or purple sweet pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.5 pounds tomatoes
4 sprigs thyme
Biscuits-whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using fork, cut in butter until resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in sour cream. Knead until comes together in a ball adding drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Ratatouille-Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with 3/4 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoons pepper. Spread veggies on baking sheet. Don’t crowd them. Roast, tossing occasionally until golden, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a deep saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage and cook over medium until done, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Saute onion, pepper, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon garlic until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and thyme. Simmer until tomatoes are cooked and stew-like, about 10 minutes. Stir in sausage, roasted vegetable and parsley. Pour mixture into oven safe dish. Divide dough into 6 balls. Squash into disks (1/2 inch thick). Arrange on top of ratatouille. Brush biscuits with milk. Bake in oven 25-30 minutes.

One more idea for those peppers and eggplants. This is quick, easy and delicious.
Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant
2 sweet peppers, cut into wedges
1 eggplant, 1/2 inch slices
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for tossing with peppers and eggplant
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 cup feta/goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
Preheat grill. Toss peppers and eggplant with olive oil. Grill about 8-10 minutes. Arrange on a platter. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano. Pour over peppers and eggplant slices. Crumble goat cheese over veggies. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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!

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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!!

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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

Holy Basil, Batman!!

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Okay, so I was on a mission to make my annual pesto for the freezer and got a little over ambitious. I was up to my eyeballs in basil. Time for some preservation!

Pesto is, by definition, a sauce originating in Genoa of Northern Italy, made of crushed basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano. My definition: a handful of herbs, any allium (garlic/onion variation you like), nuts of your preference, salt, pepper and cheese (dry/strong flavor!). Any variation will do. Make use of all of those beautiful herbs from Groundswell!
Pesto freezes beautifully, so you will have a delicious spread for sandwiches (egg, grilled cheese, any meat) and sauce for pasta, all winter long. Another great way to get your summer-flavor-fix in the dead of winter!

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:
– Preservation is best done when produce is freshly picked and at its peak. You have no doubt noticed that there is a limited window of opportunity for some of your favorites (garlic scapes, strawberries, etc). Produce at the market this week will be gone the next, so don’t put off “putting it up” (lingo for canning or preserving fresh produce)!

– I make sure to buy extra garlic and herbs to make about 8-10 jars of pesto; 9 that go right into the freezer and the 10th we eat right away, slathering it on anything stiff enough to take a slathering. However, if you aren’t stockpiling, you can pretty much use the weekly herbs you choose at the pickup, and along with some nuts, cheese and oil you have the makings of a pesto for a fresh veggie/pasta dinner. See Jane’s post from week 4 for a garlic scape recipe and my recipe below for some additional variations.

– Remember, this is about preserving your CSA loot, so be as creative and adapt as needed to make what you have work. Taste as you go, you will be amazed at how impossible it is to make a bad tasting pesto!

– Lastly, one year I completely forgot to throw in my grated cheese and froze the whole batch. A week later when digging around in the fridge, I realized that I never added the cheese. Too late. But, no worries, you can just toss in handfuls of cheese when you pull it out of the fridge and use it in your recipe. See, it really is idiot proof!!

General Pesto Ratio:
1/2 cup pignolis (pine nuts, which can be purchased in large quantity at Costco, or smaller quantities at places like Russo’s)
9 cloves or garlic, or 6-10 garlic scapes (again, don’t get too caught up in the exact quantities, use what you have on hand)
5-6 cups or fresh herbs (you can do the traditional basil, or do combinations of basil, parsley, thyme and oregano, whatever you like)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cup good olive oil
1 cup of any sharp, dry cheese, grated (use the food processor if you want to speed up the job)
Additional add-ons I have tried and really enjoyed: pistachios, walnuts, lemon juice, hot peppers, and kale

Place the nuts and garlic in the food processor and process for 30 seconds. Add the herbs, salt and pepper process again till the herbs have been chopped down. Slowly pour in the oil, and process until the pesto is the consistency that you enjoy. Finally, add the cheese and pulse a few times to mix it in. Pack it in small jars so you can pull out one jar at a time for meals. Make sure to label the jars with the date and what herb combination you used. Some will go better with fish or a sandwich than others!

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A couple last tips:
– If you enjoy berries in smoothies or for cobblers or pies in the winter, you can easily freeze them for later use. Simply wash, gently spin dry in your salad spinner and lay out on cookie sheets. Put them in your freezer overnight and pack in freezer grade containers/bags and label with the year. I do this with strawberries, cherries and blueberries. The cherries need to be pitted, which can be done easily with a pitter (tool found at D&W, Meijer, etc). We really enjoy the cherries and blueberries straight from the freezer on a hot day. They are sweet little nuggets of cool fruitiness, and a whole lot healthier than popsicles!!

– I also find it very beneficial to stash eight to ten homemade quiche in the freezer as well (I will post more about that in my next week to do the blog, which will be the week of July 21st). I start making them in July and continue thru the end of September. They are a great way to use up excess veggies, cooked down. Just throw in any cheese or cooked meat on hand and you have a meal completed. When I have guests in over the holidays, I pull out the quiche from the freezer at night and the next morning I simply slip it in the oven and pull out some fruit and turn on the coffee machine. Breakfast is served!

Have fun with those veggies, folks! See you in a 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.

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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.