Hooray! it is the first week of pickup for Groundswell CSA members. New this year, the writing of the Groundswell cooking blog is being shared between three of us. This week I will introduce myself and in the weeks to come, you will meet the other writers. We are going to try to provide you with at least 5 recipes per week that we have tested in our kitchens and that we find to be delicious.
My husband and I moved to Holland 16 years ago. We love fresh local food and seek it out wherever we are. I enjoy cooking but at the end of the day, it can be about getting a healthy meal on the table quickly for my husband and two kids. In the meals I serve my family, I am aiming to get in as many whole grains and fruits and vegetables as I can. As a general rule, we avoid processed foods. I try to buy local when it is feasible and freeze or can some (Don’t be too impressed. We don’t put up nearly what we could but we do our best.) of our delicious Michigan produce so that we can continue to enjoy it throughout the winter. Our two children, ages 11 and 13, are usually pretty willing to try new things but it can’t be too out there. Just over a year ago, my daughter decided that she would be a vegetarian. Though that can make things more challenging, I do believe that it has actually made us all eat a healthier diet as I strive to feed her healthy well-balanced options. My goal when posting would be to provide you with healthy, fairly fast recipes that use the tasty fresh produce we are getting each week from Groundswell.
This first week, we will most likely be enjoying lettuces, cilantro, a choice of perennial herb, and maybe radishes and bok choy from Groundswell . Nothing says the start to the CSA and farmers markets like a crisp fresh salad. One of my favorite salads is a version of the French Salade Nicoise that I learned while I was studying abroad. This dressing can be used for the accompanying salad or on its own on any salad.
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar (you can play around with different vinegars)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic clove, pressed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme or parsley), optional
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Pepper to taste
In the bottom of a salad bowl, combine the above ingredients. I prefer my vinaigrette more vinegary so I use a little more vinegar than the typical 2 to 1 ratio so I use 2.5 tablespoons in the above recipe. Layer the following ingredients on top of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Pretty much any fresh vegetable that you have lying around can be incorporated into the salad. Fresh beets are delicious and peas as well. My go to version is-
4-5 small unpeeled potatoes, cut into chunks and boiled
Small head of lettuce
2 tomatoes, chopped
A handful of green beans, blanched
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Grilled salmon or tuna fish crumbled over the top, optional
Another favorite way to enjoy lettuces in our house, and a great way to get my kids to eat lettuce without hearing them complain about eating a salad, is with lettuce wraps. Our favorite is
Korean-Style Pork chili wraps (Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s There’s a Chef in My World)
1.25 pounds pork tenderloin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
4 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1.5 cups cooked brown rice
1 head Boston, bibb, romaine or butter lettuce
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, green onion, garlic and ginger. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves. On a clean cutting board, slice the pork into thin strips. Place the strips in the soy marinade, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a small mixing bowl, combine the Sriracha, the honey and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil along with the grated ginger. Stir to combine and set aside. When the pork has marinated, take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from marinade and carefully place in hot skillet. Cook, stirring constantly with tongs or a spoon, 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in sesame seeds. To serve, spoon several teaspoons of rice into center of lettuce leaf, like a taco. Top with a few pork strips and drizzle with a few drops of the chili mixture. Roll up and eat.
Those fresh herbs will be put to good use along with the fresh asparagus at the farmers market in
Herbed Asparagus (Recipe from The New Basics)
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 ounces parmesan cheese, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus. Simmer until just tender, 1-2 minutes. Combine butter, chopped herbs and pepper and blend thoroughly. Just before serving, melt the herb butter over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the asparagus and toss gently to heat through, 2 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a platter. If desired, shave parmesan over top.
An herbed butter is always a tasty addition to fresh bread or to mixed into potatoes.
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, chives, dill, thyme (any combination of the above)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix the above ingredients. Serve on bread or over vegetables or potatoes.