Posts tagged with Local Produce
Mostly because we did a horrible job of grilling outdoors last summer, the hubby and I are trying really, really hard to better use our little Weber this summer.
We’re never going to be everyday grillers, or even once-a-week-when-it’s-warm grillers. But doing better than the two(?) times we grilled out last summer seems to be a nice goal.
Yes, you read that right. I did mean to tack potatoes onto the end of that sentence.
I’d never considered doing potatoes on the grill, because I always just sort of see them as a “stove” food, if that makes sense. But, nope, turns out you can grill them.
And they’re delicious.
Grilled potatoes taste like roasted potatoes, but with a little something extra from being on the fire. They also are wonderful in that you don’t have to choose between storing all those wonderful new potatoes that are available locally right now and turning your kitchen into the surface of the sun while simultaneously trying to cool your house down to a reasonable summer temp in the 70s.
So, the save energy and taste delicious. What can’t they do?
Grill-Roasted New Potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds new potatoes, each 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, scrubbed and quartered
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 F).
In a medium bowl, combine the oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and stir to coat them evenly.
Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the potatoes over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until tender and browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes, scooping and turning with a wide spatula every 5 minutes or so.
Remove from the grill and transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: We used a metal grilling pan meant for vegetables rather than putting the potatoes directly on the grill. We also didn’t check the temperature, but rather put them on early in the process when the grill was coolest. They cooked faster than the suggested 15 to 20 minutes, but they still tasted great.
— Recipe from www.weber.com
I know the date on the calendar assures us that summer is here (the temps are a good reminder, too), but it finally felt like summer in CSA land when we scored not only tomatoes but also summer squash in the same box from Rolling Prairie.
I was especially excited to see the squash because just recently I’d had some really delicious summer squash served up at Merchant’s Pub. It seemed simple enough: just summer squash sauteed with tomatoes. And the second I saw our little crooked-neck squash, I knew I’d have to try to recreate it. (Note to self: Why don’t I do this more often with great stuff I eat out?)
Though I had fresh tomatoes, thanks to the box, I decided to use canned diced tomatoes from our pantry. Mostly because I knew if I used all the brand new tomatoes in a single go, we’d be pulling our hair out in a few short days wishing we hadn’t used the fresh ones.
So, slicing the summer squash as thin as I could get it without breaking out the mandolin, I went to town, recreating the side we’d enjoyed so much. Pulled out the tomatoes, salt and pepper, olive oil and garlic and hoped for the best.
And the result was delicious. It wasn’t a frilly side dish or anything, but it was hearty and paired nicely with the salad, veggie burgers and leftover green onion potato pancakes we had for the rest of the meal.
Sauteed Summer Squash with Tomatoes and Garlic
1 pound or so summer squash, sliced thin
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and let warm for a minute. Add in summer squash and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft, 5 minutes or more. Serve hot and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.
Local beet season has begun. For beet lovers, that means about six weeks of uninterrupted, local deliciousness. For those who don’t have much love for the rosy roots, it can mean almost two months of avoidance tactics.
I am a beet lover. Always have been (thanks, Mom), always will be. My husband, on the other hand, isn’t. He’s more of a beet tolerator. He’ll eat them because I like them and because he has made a lifelong claim that he’ll pretty much eat anything (which is mostly true), but he most definitely doesn’t enjoy this time of year.
So, when we finally got a bunch of beets in our Rolling Prairie CSA, I was super surprised that he suggested we eat them. In a new side dish of all things.
Obviously, I was on on board.
Thus, because, amazingly, we haven’t made every recipe in the fabulous Rolling Prairie Cookbook by Merc savant Nancy O’Connor, we made for the first time a recipe that was quick and easy, even for a packed Monday night: Quick grated beets.
They were indeed super quick (we made them while reheating leftovers) and they were totally delicious (says the girl who ate three of the four servings). But, hey, the hubby ate one serving and suggested it.
That’s a total win right there. Thus, if your house is a house divided over beets, or even if it’s not, definitely give this little recipe a try.
Quick Grated Beets
4 medium-sized beets
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (we used coconut oil)
1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
3 to 6 tablespoons water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh dill or parsley
Wash, peel and coarsely grate beets. Heat butter or oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Add beets, and stir to coat well. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and add water or stock as needed to prevent scorching. Cook until just tender. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dill or parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
— From "Rolling Prairie Cookbook" by Nancy O’Connor
I know I’m the one with the healthy eating column, but even I like to indulge from time to time. And usually if that indulgence makes it into this space, it’s obviously healthy.
That said, sometimes, an indulgence is an indulgence, even if it’s been modified a bit. And today’s recipe is just that: a slightly healthier version of an indulgence. But mostly it’s an indulgence in its own right.
But first: I’m sharing this indulgence along with an update to how our CSA eating is going this year. By now most everyone who has joined a local community supported agriculture program should have gotten a share or several to start off 2014.
For our family and our Rolling Prairie subscription (and probably yours as well) that has meant a lot of greens. For example, this week it was spinach, lettuce, mint, asparagus, peas and green onions.
It has meant a lot of side dishes.
Not that it’s a bad thing. No, it’s a very good, very tasty thing. Salads, roasted veggies and green smoothies have been on the menu for weeks now.
And because I’ve covered those well in this space, I decided it might be more prudent at this point to share what we had after one of those delicious meals featuring Rolling Prairie goodness: cake.
Honestly, I made this cake in all its pudding-like glory because my son requested it. I’d loaned the cookbook from which it’s adapted to a friend and just got it back and asked my 5-year-old to page through for a weekend dessert we could make. We had a family function planned, and I figured if I were going to make something for the masses, I should make sure my own kid would be excited about it first.
What he picked was something I’d never tried making in any capacity before (and I’ve done a lot of baking in my day). Yes, for some reason, I’d never attempted a pudding cake. I knew I liked them and their warm, gooey texture, but for some reason, I’d never tried making one. Must have been a baking blind spot, for sure.
That said, though it’s not the prettiest cake ever, this one got major brownie points for being super easy, relatively healthy (though it has more sugar in it than I typically use) and allergy friendly (no milk, eggs, wheat in it). We served it up with coconut milk ice cream, though in my opinion it didn’t really need it.
Kid-Friendly Fudgy Pudding Cake
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar, divided
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used flax milk)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil. In a small bowl, whisk the ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the oat flour, 3/4 cup of the coconut sugar, 1/3 cup of the cocoa powder, the chocolate chips, salt and baking powder.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed mixture, non-dairy milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top evenly with a spoon.
In a small bowl or mug, combine the remaining 1/3 cup coconut sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the baking dish.
Slowly pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder mixture, ensuring the liquid completely covers the mixture. The cake will now look like a complete disaster, but this is normal. Promise.
Bake for 27 to 33 minutes, uncovered, until the cake is semi-firm on top but bubbly and gooey around the edges.
Let the cake cool for 5 to 10 minutes before digging in. If desired, serve with ice cream.
— Recipe adapted from Angela Liddon’s Fudgy Mocha Pudding Cake recipe from "The Oh She Glows Cookbook")
It’s nearly May, and you know what that means, don’t you? CSA time!
For the past several years, I’ve been documenting how I use the CSA (community supported agriculture) box I get weekly through the spring, summer and fall from Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance. If you are new to the idea of CSAs, basically, you as a consumer make an agreement with a farm or group of farms to buy produce from them every week in a “share.” This means the farmers get guaranteed customers for a certain period of time and that as a buyer, you get fresh produce every week, usually at a slight discount.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved, in my opinion, but I’ve also done it for several years. If you’re newly signed up, it can actually be a bit daunting. Mostly because A: You have no or little control over which items you pick up each week; and B: Sometimes you have no idea what to do unfamiliar foods that can be part of the bounty (kohlrabi, anyone?).
Thus, in an effort to help keep all that local goodness from withering in your fridge (and mine), I’ve written for years about how I used my CSA box in hopes that it’ll help newbies and veterans alike use their produce and enjoy it.
That said, this CSA season, we’re going to try something a little different. Rather than writing about it each week, I’ll write monthly specifically about ideas for your bounty. Though I may write more frequently in the middle of the summer when we’re all drowning in tomatoes.
Fear not, there’s plenty of backlog in this blog for you to seek out if you need weekly inspiration. Just search and enjoy. Plus, this will allow me to write about gardening with kids, farmers market finds and other fun foodie things in the summer.
But, for those of you getting your first CSA box in the coming week or so, or who have overloaded at the farmers market with a bunch of pretty spring vegetables, I’ve got a great spring-y recipe for you to kick off the season.
My family signed up for my CSA’s “early bag,” which means we’ve been picking up local greens and other veggies for the past three weeks. And one of our favorite new recipes we’ve tried so far this season is from the cookbook I find the most helpful during the local growing season, Nancy O’Connor’s "Rolling Prairie Cookbook".
It’s a soup that helped us use up one of the hardest early veggies for me to finish: green onions. We enjoyed it with homemade veggie burgers, and it was the perfect addition.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups chopped green onions
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 to 7 cups water or vegetable broth (up to 1/2 cup of this can be dry white wine)
Several generous grinds black pepper
1 cup snow peas, sliced in half, on the diagonal (we used just regular peas)
1/2 to 3/4 cup cooked basmati rice (optional)
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped green onions for garnish
Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add green onions and ginger. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, water or broth and black pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add snow peas. Simmer 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve immediately. A tablespoon or two of cooked white or brown basmati rice may be added to each serving if desired. Garnish with raw, chopped green onion. Serves 6.
— Recipe from "Rolling Prairie Cookbook" by Nancy O’Connor
Well, the CSA season is over for another year, folks.
I kind of can’t believe it. Because my CSA season (and hopefully yours, too) is 26 weeks. That’s half a year. Meaning half of 2012 was filled with delicious, local veggies, picked up once a week like some sort of mineral-filled Christmas present.
In celebration of a good season (and in mourning of its end), I’ve compiled the best of the best from my CSA experience this spring, summer and fall. I hope you all got a chance to make some of the recipes, and if you haven’t, that you give them a try. There were definitely some good eats this year that will be added to my menu, despite my rut-loving tendencies.
So, without further ado, my favorites of CSA season 2012:
New favorites, still easy to do in winter:
Pretty (and pink) drinks:
Recipes to save for next summer (or brave out of season):
What was your favorite dish you made with your CSA goods this year?
Hello friends, how’s it going this week? Everything’s just dandy over here. Want to know why?
The tomatoes are HERE.
They’re in my garden, they’re at the Farmers’ Market and they’re probably in your weekly CSA.
Of course, thanks to the wonder that is our global food economy, these days you can get a tomato any time of year, but nothing — NOTHING — tastes as good as a fresh, in-season tomato. Certainly not those sad, mealy “tomatoes” available in the winter, or even the giant, expensive hydroponic guys that make their debut in the spring. They may be the first of the year, but they certainly aren’t the tastiest.
Now, I’m most fond of heirlooms, my favorite being the beautiful Purple Cherokee. I have four of those plants myself, and if I see a good one at the store or market, I snatch it up, whether I need it or not.
That said, I also have a major soft spot for the sweet little orange cherry tomato hybrids known as SunSugar or Sun Gold. They’re the sweetest tomatoes around (in my estimation) and they’re nearly fool-proof to grow. Plus, they are easy to pick and tiny, which means the boy loves them.
Luckily we’ve been able to get some in our Rolling Prairie CSA pickups (and at the market), because the four plants I have just aren’t enough. (Yes, I have four Cherokee Purple and two each of the SunSugar and Sun Gold. We also have a couple Black Krim and Green Zebra plants.) And last week, we got some cherry tomatoes in our CSA pickup, along with potatoes, beets, a turnip, cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries and mushrooms.
The potatoes were made into baked wedges, the mushrooms and squash rounded out a kale stir-fry, the beets were juiced, the cucumbers ended up in salad, the blackberries eaten out of hand and the turnip saved for a rainy day (or something). But the tomatoes, I had a plan for those, as you can see from the top picture.
I decided I’d try to make an all-tomato salad that wouldn’t taste like salsa. Kind of tough to do with the way my brain works because I really like salsa, but I’m really happy with the result: Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing.
It’s super easy, will take care of two pints of tomatoes at a time (or more) and is healthy as all get out. Perfect for a hot summer evening, or to bring to lunch after a night spent picking from your backyard garden.
Oh, and you could probably use chopped “normal” tomatoes for the salad as well, but the texture will be different, FYI.
Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing
2 pints (or more!) cherry tomatoes
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pinch each: salt, pepper, cumin
Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a serving bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the tomatoes. Stir gently and serve. Serves 4.
What’d we get this week? Carrots, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cucumber (just one), corn and yellow squash.
Don’t you just love being smack-dab in the middle of sweet corn season? It’s just a total delight, right? Right. Unfortunately, the lack of rain and horrific heat has been really hard on the corn crop, so get it while you can.
The past few weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to get corn at our Rolling Prairie CSA pickup. And, honestly, though I have recipes for corn, there’s probably nothing better than eating sweet corn straight off the cob.
But just telling you to eat corn straight off the cob probably makes for a boring blog. Instead, we’ll go in a different direction. Last week, at our CSA, we got the aforementioned corn, plus potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes, squash, beets and cucumbers.
Such a nice variety, right? Gotta love it.
They used up the potatoes, plus we had the aforementioned corn on the side. Meanwhile, the squash and beets went into juice, the onions ended up in storage, and the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes ended up in various salads. Among the salads, was this Thai-inspired one I made using dinosaur kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper and — because I had them — kelp noodles.
It looks really involved, but it wasn’t at all. All I did was make dressing, soaked the noodles in it and then mixed the sauced noodles with the chopped veggies. It was really, really good and all you really need is a blender, cutting board and knife.
Pad Thai Salad
1 bunch dinosaur kale
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 green onion
Basil (Thai or otherwise … I used purple and genovese basil), for garnish
1 bag (uncooked) kelp noodles or 1 bag/box rice or soba noodles, cooked and cooled
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup no-salt almond butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 to 2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon miso (I used white)
2 tablespoons low-salt tamari (or other soy sauce)
2 medjool dates, chopped
Pinch cayenne (or more
Place noodles in a bowl, spray generously with lime juice and let them soak while preparing the salad ingredients. Tear kale into tiny pieces, halve the cherry tomatoes and chop your cucumber and green onion. Mix together the kale, tomatoes, green onion and cucumber in a large bowl and set aside.
Make the sauce by putting all ingredients in a blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour over your noodles. Let soak for at least 10 minutes.
To serve: Portion out the kale mixture in bowls. Top with a generous helping of noodles and sauce. Garnish with basil leaves. Enjoy!
Serves 2 to 4. If you have leftovers, store the salad and noodles separately, if possible.
What'd we get this week? Potatoes, tomatoes, beets (one turnip was mixed in), cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries and mushrooms.
Yes, that's a smoothie. And yes, it has beets in it.
And, yes, I did that on purpose.
You see, I'm the only person in my house who adores beets. And we happen to be in the middle of the local beet season. I can't get enough of them, which is great because they're abundant at the Lawrence Farmers' Market and through my Rolling Prairie CSA. But, it's also sad in that I have to work my tail off to get through all of them in a week.
Hence, I decided to try something new.
And that something is pretty. Which is always nice, in my estimation, as an eater.
So, here's the story. Last week at Rolling Prairie we took home beets, blackberries, collards, summer squash, corn, new potatoes and giant shallots.
The berries and the corn went super fast (as in they barely made it through the door), while the squash, potatoes and shallots went into a twist on this favorite of ours, the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. The "twist" being that we used shallots instead of onions. Exciting, I know. But if you like cheesy, potato-y things, that torte is totally for you!
As for the beets and collards, I tried to do something a bit different with them.
Last week, I made the collards into wraps. That worked well, but I'm a bit wrapped out. So, this time around, I decided to juice the collards. It wasn't the tastiest idea I've ever had (talk about a STRONG flavor), but the result was pretty healthy. More on that later.
As for the beets ... they are definitely a "no middle ground"-type food. You either love them or hate them. Or, at least, that's been my experience. And, as I mentioned above, usually it's just me enjoying them in our house.
So, some of my beets I paired with the collards for the aforementioned juice. The juice also utilized local apples and parsley I got at the Farmers' Market, so it was a super local concoction!
The remaining beets, well, I got creative with them, and the results were electric:
That smoothie is something I've never done before. But, because I know very few of you out there probably have a juicer, I thought I'd try something with my blender.
It's much more likely that you readers have blenders, right? Right.
Even if you like beets, I realize this smoothie idea is probably a little hair-raising, but, I implore you, just try it. My top reason besides the flavor: the fact that my beet-hating kiddo is happily drinking it in the above picture. If he'll drink it, your beet haters might drink it, too.
Thus, I give you beets two ways. First, that smoothie recipe. Second, my "gulp it down before you can really taste it"-type beets-and-collards juice. Both are full of antioxidants and vitamins, though the smoothie definitely tastes worlds better!
Electric Pink Smoothie
1 medium beet, raw, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped pineapple
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
1 to 1-1/2 cups water
Blend and enjoy! Serves 1 to 2.
Liquid Beets and Greens
2-3 small beets, or one large one
2-3 collard leaves (kale works too)
2 tart apples
2 heads celery
1/2 bunch parsley
Run all through a juicer. Enjoy! Serves 1 to 2.
This week I have two recipes for you that add up to one delicious locally sourced wrap.
Yes. And totally healthy.
But first, the rundown of what we got last week: Potatoes, collards, eggs, broccoli, basil and summer squash.
Our potatoes went into storage, our eggs were scrambled for breakfast, the broccoli we ate out of hand. As for the summer squash, collards and basil? They all went into the wraps you see above. Yep, they're all in there.
The basil became a pesto that's a twist on the normal pine nut-and-cheese concoction. Instead of the norm, this pesto is made with hemp seeds to up the nutritional value. Hemp seeds have a great omega-3 essential fatty acid profile and are high protein. They have a nice, nutty flavor that is just perfect for pesto.
The summer squash, meanwhile, went into another twist on a classic: hummus. Basically, you make hummus as you normally would, but instead of the chickpeas, you use zucchini or summer squash. I used this recipe a lot last summer and it works just great to get rid of a large amount of summer squash in a hurry.
Meanwhile, the collards, of course, are being used as a wrap. Basically, you "de-vein" them by getting rid the hard stem, fill them with goodies and then roll them up. For diagram's sake, here are the "unrolled" wraps below.
These wraps would be perfect with just a plain-old tortilla or even some nori, but, hey, if you have the collards, why not use them?
As for what we got this week? Blackberries (though, they're already gone), beets, collards, summer squash, corn, new potatoes and (giant) shallots.
2 large zucchini, or 1 large zucchini and a handful of small summer squash
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or more)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cumin, paprika
Push zucchini through a food processor with a shredding disc or shred by hand using a box grater.
Once shredded, put the zucchini in a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Twist the cheesecloth shut and start squeezing as much liquid out as possible. This might take awhile. (I squeeze until I get tired, dump the liquid out of the bowl and then come back to it a few minutes later and do it again.
Once you feel you've gotten as much liquid out as you can, put the zucchini and other ingredients in a food processor, fitted with an S blade. Process until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.
Hemp Seed and Basil Pesto (adapted from "Pure Pleasures" by Natalia KW)
2 large cloves of garlic
2 cups basil leaves, well packed
1/2 teaspoon miso
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup hemp seeds (you could also use pine nuts or walnuts, but the hemp seed has a great fatty acid profile)
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
Process the garlic and basil with the basil. Scrape the sides and then add the miso, salt and pepper. Process to combine. Add the hemp seeds. While processing, slowly add the olive oil through the feeder shoot. Enjoy!