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Posts tagged with Vegetables

Snobby Joes and the return of the CSA

Snobby Joes and steamed asparagus.

Snobby Joes and steamed asparagus. by Sarah Henning

Two blessed food events occurred within the past few days.

One: The Lawrence Farmers’ Market opened on Saturday.

Two: My first CSA pickup of the year was Monday.

Yes, local food is upon us. All winter I look forward to this week. To me, it means the start of many things: great local produce, warmer weather, sunshine and homegrown garden greens.

For those of you who are new to my blog, know that during the CSA season, the format changes slightly.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is basically a subscription service to a farm or a collective of farms. For the price of your subscription, you will get a weekly share (bag) of farm-produced foods. My particular CSA, Rolling Prairie, provides some choice in items (for example, picking between turnips and radishes), though not every CSA does this and because of availability, even the ones that do might not have a lot to choose from weekly.

I’ve written many stories about CSAs in Lawrence, including this one, which is somewhat of a who’s who of the major CSAs in and around Lawrence. If you’re interested in signing up, please visit the websites of the CSAs on that list and they’ll let you know if they’re still open to subscribers this season. Most don’t start deliveries until May (I’m participating in the “early bag” of my CSA), but you’ll need to sign up soon to get a spot.

Each week, I’ll tell you exactly what I made with my CSA bounty and then show you what I got in my bag and plan to use for the week ahead.

I do this because I’ve heard from several readers (and from personal experience) that finishing all the produce received in a weekly CSA can be difficult. The reasons for this are all over the map. Some of the more popular ones include: unfamiliarity with certain vegetables (kohlrabi, purslane), dislike of certain foods (turnips, radishes, mushrooms, certain greens), difficulty planning meals, not able to cook every night or new to cooking, feeling like you’ve got too much in your share, etc.

I’m hoping that in this space you’ll find ideas and inspiration so that you never have to throw out or compost a single item you pick up at your CSA this year, or at the farmers market (hey, we all overbuy sometimes). If you’d like to see what kind of posts you’ll get over the next 26 to 28 weeks, check out the end-of-season round-up I did of last year’s CSA action.

So, without further ado, here’s what I got in my first bag this week. If your CSA starts later, or you aren’t signed up for one, this is pretty good example of what you’d find at the Farmers' Market right now with one exception: spinach, green onions, salad mix, dried mushrooms and tofu (Central Soy's local tofu).

Dried mushrooms, spinach, green onions, tofu and salad greens.

Dried mushrooms, spinach, green onions, tofu and salad greens. by Sarah Henning

Now, for those of you who don’t care about all this CSA stuff and just want to know what that delicious-looking stuff next to the steamed asparagus is at the top of the page, I’ve got the recipe below. It’s a very simple and healthy recipe that uses lentils, onion and bell pepper to re-create the sloppy Joes of your youth (adulthood?). You’ll find it satisfying and easy and yummy on a roll if that’s what you like. I had some Wheatfield ciabatta on the side (not pictured).

Snobby Joes (from www.theppk.com)

1 cup uncooked green lentils

4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

1 green pepper, diced small (we used red)

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounce-can tomato sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns (optional — for serving)

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can’t wait.

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Take advantage of a low-maintenance workhorse: How to grow your own potatoes

In the realm of potatoes, a little work goes a long way.

In the realm of potatoes, a little work goes a long way. by Sarah Henning

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why I garden. Basically, the takeaway is this: I do it because it's important to be connected to our food.

And though the last two growing seasons have been horrible for farmers and home gardeners alike, I still believe it's crucial to try if you can.

This weekend, I put my time and effort where my mouth is and worked in the garden with the kiddo to plant for the first time this season. We'd readied our three garden beds the week before, giving me the perfect canvas to plant my two garden workhorses: potatoes and onions.

Last year, I didn't get a chance to do potatoes or onions because of some scheduling issues with my time and Mother Nature, and we really felt it. Because of the heat, almost all of our other crops barely yielded a thing and because of timing, we didn't have either of our high producers to fall back on. Not cool at all.

This year I wanted to have a potato crop, even if I was going to be out of town on St. Patrick's Day. Though old farmers' tales say you should plant potatoes on St. Paddy's, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. But I really do believe you can be late with potatoes and be perfectly fine. I've had two great potato crops — one planted right around St. Paddy's and one planted late, and they've both been terrific.

And by "terrific," I mean not only in the sense that you get a lot for very little time and effort. You also are growing one of the most no-nonsense plants available and if you have kids, they will love digging for the final product.

Our first potato haul a few years ago was pretty great, even the toddler can see that.

Our first potato haul a few years ago was pretty great, even the toddler can see that. by Sarah Henning

If you're up for it, I'll share my method for growing them. It will take you about two hours the whole week and you'll be good until late summer.

First, I grow mine in a raised 4x8 bed, under straw. I believe this method works if you're tilling straight into the ground, but you might want to check around to make sure there's not a better method for you.

What you'll need are some seed potatoes (available at pretty much any farm or garden store, plus some grocery stores). Look for ones that have several eyes. Take them home and cut them into smaller chunks, 1 to 2 inches across. Each chunk needs to have a couple of good-looking eyes.

Next, let them "cure" by placing them on cookie cooling racks for a day or two (up to a week).

My potatoes, curing.

My potatoes, curing. by Sarah Henning

When you're ready to plant, buy a bail of hay/straw, get out your gloves and trowel and get to work. I like to keep my potatoes in a single bed because it's easiest. You will want to dig holes at least six inches deep, and about a foot apart. Place the potatoes, eyes up, in each hole.

Eyes up to the sky.

Eyes up to the sky. by Sarah Henning

If you think you have more potato chunks than holes, just get picky about which ones you put in first. Ones with eyes that are already sprouting are the best, so they should get top priority.

Next, cover the potatoes with dirt, and then cover with as much hay as you can mound on. You're going to want to go for eight to 12 inches, on top.

The finished product, for now.

The finished product, for now. by Sarah Henning

Then, water them a bit (not too much!) and let them be. The only thing I do is add a bit more straw once it starts to get matted down, because you want to make sure your potatoes are completely hidden from the sun at all times.

Other than the straw, your only job is to watch the vines poke up. They'll grow, get tall and flowery and then they'll start to wilt and die. When the vines are dead, you can start digging for treasure right around the base of each dead vine. You should have a bunch of potatoes of varying sizes with each vine.

It really is that easy.

I'm not a garden expert by any means, but this is what works for me. You might Google around and find people who do something similar, or people who don't do it this way at all.

No matter how you do it, it's worth a shot. High yield for low investment. Plus you grew it.

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The case for gardening, even if Mother Nature doesn’t always agree

Our cherry tomatoes did great even with the bad weather the past two years. Good thing, too, because they are the only tomatoes the kid will eat.

Our cherry tomatoes did great even with the bad weather the past two years. Good thing, too, because they are the only tomatoes the kid will eat. by Sarah Henning

I might not get to celebrate spring break, you know, being old and all, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about it.

Not only does it mean the unofficial start of warm weather (hear that, snow!?) and March Madness but also means that spring is here. Or almost here. Or close enough that we can all start thinking about gardening.

For months, I’ve been talking with a part-time farmer friend who is growing several types of kale this year. With each little update on this process (picking seeds, ordering seeds, starting seeds indoors), I’ve gotten more excited about the coming growing season. I’ve had a garden for three years — three raised beds plus a pretty good-sized container garden on my deck — and it’s been fun, though not necessarily highly productive.

If I’m being honest, the last two summers have been a kick in the teeth as a gardener. Plants bolted. The bugs hit. Blossom end rot did in many tomatoes. Poor planning left some plants gasping for nutrients. My blueberries and raspberries were crushed by the heat, as were many of my container herbs — I’ve been able to kill three “unkillable” mint plants every single year (yes, the body count is at nine). Melons have never, ever thrived for me. Oh, and it turns out I hate weeding.

That entire paragraph probably makes you wonder if I have a black thumb or why I’d ever want a garden in the first place, especially since I apparently suck at it.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think I suck at it (the weather had a lot to do with my kill rate) and I actually do find it fun.

There’s something downright enjoyable about being able to go out and harvest what you put into the ground/raised bed/pot. And 100-degree temps, a hatred of weeding and bad luck aren’t going to change that.

Because, here’s the thing: I think it’s incredibly important to get reconnected with where our food comes from.

On the hunt for tiny strawberries.

On the hunt for tiny strawberries. by Sarah Henning

Growing up, we had a garden, but I only really remember harvesting tomatoes. And at the time, I don’t think I totally “got” how good a fresh tomato was. It was just a tomato that appeared in our backyard after way too frickin’ long.

In fact, not only do I think I didn’t get it but I also think I didn’t really appreciate that homegrown food at all. It was a novelty, and the big, smooth vegetables sans imperfections from the grocery store seemed more like “actual” food to me.

It’s silly to think about now, but I don’t know how I could’ve been so disconnected. And I don’t want my son to ever feel that out of touch with what he puts in his mouth.

It’s not that my parents didn’t try to interest me in our family garden, it’s more that the food culture was very different back then. We were in the middle of a shift from agricultural awareness to total blindness and back again — at least in my opinion and experience as a child of the ’80s.

Today, we have the advantage of a resurgence in restoring some awareness of our food chain, not only where we buy it from, but where food comes from in general.

And I want to keep that earth-to-table connection as plain as possible in my own kitchen, for my benefit and my family’s.

My son knows more about how foods grow and come to be than I ever did at his age, and I’d like to make sure that knowledge stays with him. Because he helps in the garden, he tends to try new things just because he helped pick them. He doesn’t like everything, but there’s a better chance he’ll try something if he gets to harvest it himself than if he helps me pick it out at the store.

He's got his picking tub and he's not going to let go.

He's got his picking tub and he's not going to let go. by Sarah Henning

So, I’m planning my three-season garden for a fourth straight year. I’ve learned I grow some foods rather well (potatoes, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes) and some plants rather poorly (see my litany of murdered plants above), but I grow them, and that’s what matters.

My planned plants for spring, summer and fall are as follows. As for which will survive, your guess is as good as mine.

Potatoes (several types)

Onion sets (white, yellow, red)

Garlic

Shelling peas

Bush and pole beans

Strawberries (on their third year)

Blackberries (to replace my murdered berries)

Kale (black and curly)

Swiss chard

Spinach

Beets

Tomatoes (black krim, Cherokee purple, sungold and sun sugar)

Peppers (Italian and various bell)

Herbs: basil (various), mint (various), sage (various), rosemary (various), thyme, parsley, marjoram, dill, garlic chives, cilantro (which I hate, but comes in handy)

And anything else that ends up looking intriguing (which always happens)

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A couple of green things to try along with your green beer on St. Paddy’s Day

Another green beverage for you to try on St. Patrick's Day.

Another green beverage for you to try on St. Patrick's Day. by Sarah Henning

OK, I might be health nut, but I'm not crazy. I know some of you are going to roll your eyes at my upcoming suggestion to try to include as many green foods in your diet as possible on St. Patrick’s Day.

Yeah, I know it’s all about green beer, and that’s that. But you can’t just have green beer all day. Well, maybe you can, but you’ll feel a bit green if you do.

Here’s my suggestion: Try to fit in a few extra green things on Sunday.

Even if you do OD on green beer, you can at least feel like you didn’t lose a whole day’s worth of healthy eating. It’s all about balance, people. Balance your green beer (or pancakes, cupcakes, cookies, and whatever the heck else green dye ends up in) with some things that are naturally the right hue, and you might not feel half bad coming Monday.

Your head still might pound if you went overboard on the green beverages, but at least you’ll know you made an effort.

If green beer isn’t your thing and/or you have kids, maybe make a game out of eating as many green things as you can on Sunday. That’ll probably work with kids and adults, and maybe start a habit or two.

The following are just a few suggestions of pretty green things to try out Sunday (or anytime). They’re mean, they’re green and they’re super good for you.

Brussels’ sprouts: It’s pretty obvious from both this column and my space in Delicious/Nutritious that I’ve been crushing pretty hard on these little guys. They’re just so wonderful roasted with a hint of salt, pepper and garlic and a little crisp on them (which is saying a lot because I hate my food blackened). If you haven’t tried these little guys, give them a go. If you don’t like them, just do a green beer chaser and you’ll be just fine.

Spinach: I buy a giant tub of baby spinach every week. It’s so perfect for adding “something” green to nearly any meal because it’s so mild and forgiving. Throw it in your morning smoothie (only the color will change, it’ll taste the same — promise), use it as a bed for roasted veggies, beans, meat or other more “dense” foods, add it to the top of a homemade pizza (seriously), and you can even juice it, should be so inclined.

Avocado: This green, unsweet fruit is full of fabulous monounsaturated fats, plus vitamin C and 9 grams of fiber (for a whole avocado). Use a quarter or half of an avocado to jazz up a smoothie, salad, sandwich or pretty much whatever. I probably don’t have to tell you what an awesome fruit it is.

Kale: Everyone knows kale is my food BFF. It’s nutritional profile is excellent, and though it’s an acquired taste, once you’ve acquired it, you’re golden. The tough leaves need a little aid, so saute them, make kale chips, or “massage” ripped up leaves with avocado, salt, pepper and lemon juice to use as the base of a salad. If you’ve already discovered the joy of kale and are used to the taste, try it in your next smoothie or juice. It’s not nearly as mild as spinach, but it’s a good nutritional kick in the pants.

Green kombucha: This is kind of a cheat. There’s only one or two kinds of kombucha that are green, so it’s OK if you try one that isn’t green. What you’ll find in kombucha of any color are strains of bacteria similar to those in yogurt (aka the good bacteria that makes your gut happy), plus copious amounts of B vitamins and folate. So, what’s in the green version? Super food water-loving plants blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella. Sounds fishy, tastes good.

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A drink of this per day can help keep the flu away

It's mean, it's green, it's the flu's smelly, savory nightmare.

It's mean, it's green, it's the flu's smelly, savory nightmare. by Sarah Henning

I’m probably jinxing myself by writing this column, but: So far, I’ve avoided the flu that has claimed so many of my friends and family this year.

Of course, the second after this appears in front of other eyeballs, I’ll probably come down with the dreaded illness, but until that happens, I’ll share my secret. Of course, I’m careful to wash my hands and not touch my face, and I’ve probably just gotten lucky, too, but I really do think I have a kitchen remedy that’s helped me stay in the clear.

Any night I’ve come home not feeling 100 percent, or just whenever I’ve had the time, I’ve made this green juice and chugged it down. It contains several illness-fighting ingredients: kale for vitamin A and overall leafy green awesomeness, cucumber and celery for extra special hydration, garlic (aka the inflammation killer also known as Italian penicillin), lemon for a bit of vitamin C, and the added benefit of a probiotic to keep the gut flora healthy.

Now, it’s not the tastiest juice ever (you might have guessed that already), but it’s actually kind of addictive. The garlic, lemon and sour probiotic help cut the “green” flavor and leave you with a savory drink that hits the right notes. You may want to add extra lemon or probiotic at first, or juice in some carrots or an apple or two to help with the flavor, but if you can go with the original, do. I actually like to savor it over 10 minutes or so, but there’s nothing wrong with splitting this serving in two, giving the other half to your significant other and seeing who can down it the fastest.

Don’t have a juicer? You can try chopping up and adding the same ingredients (though maybe not the full amount) to your blender with enough water to get it going and make an unsweetened green smoothie. You’ll get the added benefit of fiber, even if you can’t get in a full head of kale or celery in a single serving.

If I do end up with the flu just for having the audacity to say this juice helped me through the season, I’ll take the punishment fate deals out, just so that you all my have another secret weapon in your arsenals. Clearly, I'll do anything for you people. Now, bottoms up!

Flu Shot Green Juice

1 head celery, base removed

1 head kale

1 cucumber

2 cloves garlic

1 lemon, rind removed

1 tablespoon (or more) liquid probiotic (I use coconut kefir)

Run all ingredients except the probiotic through a juicer. Stir in the probiotic. Chug it down (serves 1 to 2)

Alternatives: use 1-inch piece of fresh, peeled ginger instead of garlic. Add an apple or a couple of carrots for sweetness.

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Highlights from CSA season 2012

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM!

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM! by Sarah Henning

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:

-Napa cabbage salad with sweet and spicy vinaigrette

-Pad Thai salad

-A new (tropical) way to do sweet potatoes

-Bok choy and chard with red onion and sesame seeds

-The perfect sweet potato burger

Roasting highlights:

Roasted winter vegetables with salad greens and curried chickpeas.

Roasted winter vegetables with salad greens and curried chickpeas. by Sarah Henning

-Butternut squash and sweet potatoes http://www.lawrence.com/weblogs/hennings-blog/2012/oct/9/bye-bye-bounty-week-24-the-end-is-nigh-b/

-Turnips

-Veggies with pasta and edamame http://www.lawrence.com/weblogs/hennings-blog/2012/sep/4/bye-bye-bounty-week-19-oven-roasted-vegg/

Pretty (and pink) drinks:

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself.

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself. by Sarah Henning

-Watermelon and mint cooler

-Electric pink smoothie

Recipes to save for next summer (or brave out of season):

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa).

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa). by Sarah Henning

-Cherry tomato salad with lime-garlic dressing

-Midsummer night(s) chopped salad

-Sweet and spicy corn and tomato salad

What was your favorite dish you made with your CSA goods this year?

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 19: Oven-roasted veggies with pasta and edamame

Oven-roasted veggies with pasta and edamame.

Oven-roasted veggies with pasta and edamame. by Sarah Henning

I can’t believe it’s September. I mean, seriously, this is just nuts. I feel like the summer went by in one sweaty blur. And it kind of did.

For you first-time CSAers, we’re getting to a great transition time. This means you’ll still get some summer favorites like tomato and basil, but they’ll be offered with things you can get in the fall like fresh greens, winter squash, potatoes and fruits. It’s a really great time for local food, no matter where your preferences lie.

Last week we got a nice group of fruits and veggies that are perfect to eat alone or to use as a topper on something else: Edamame, bell peppers, frying peppers, grapes, apples, pears and cherry tomatoes.

Honestly, we were eating the leftovers from next week’s Delicious/Nutritious for the first portion of the week because what I made for our photo shoot apparently can feed a family of three for five days. Look for it in next Monday’s GO!

So, we didn’t really cook with our CSA goodies from Rolling Prairie until Wednesday night.

But what we did cook was something new and different (take that rut-loving brain!). The hubby and head chef thought it would be fun to roast some new potatoes we had with the peppers we got from Rolling Prairie and eggplant we picked up at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. We mixed them with spinach pasta noodles and topped the whole thing off with Rolling Prairie edamame we’d boiled.

It was DELICIOUS.

I’m sorry the recipe isn’t more exact, we were just totally playing around with it.

The veggies, before roasting. Note: We cooked the potatoes together with everything else. I've amended the recipe to accomodate better for the potatoes.

The veggies, before roasting. Note: We cooked the potatoes together with everything else. I've amended the recipe to accomodate better for the potatoes. by Sarah Henning

Oven-Roasted Veggies with Pasta and Edamame

2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and halved

Bell and frying peppers, chopped

Slim Japanese eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

Edamame

Pasta of choice

Garlic, minced

Olive oil

Sea salt

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of a glass lasagna pan with a bit of olive oil and add the potatoes. Put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, get the water boiling in two separate pots, one for the edamame, one for the pasta. Add the edamame and pasta to their separate pots when the water is boiling. Cook according to directions. (If using CSA edamame without directions, boil for 3-4 minutes in the pods.)

When the 10 minutes are up, add the eggplant and peppers and a bit more oil if needed. Stir in salt and garlic (be conservative, you can always add more when it’s done). Put it back in to roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, drain the cooked pasta and edamame.

The veggies are finished when the potatoes are cooked.

When all the pieces are finished, layer pasta, veggies and edamame in a bowl. Top with balsamic vinegar and more salt and garlic if desired.

What’d we get this week?

This week's goodies: pears, cucumber, peppers, arugula, spring mix, cherry tomatoes and eggplant.

This week's goodies: pears, cucumber, peppers, arugula, spring mix, cherry tomatoes and eggplant. by Sarah Henning

Pears, cucumber, peppers, arugula, spring mix, cherry tomatoes, eggplant.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 12: Colorful and tasty tomato salad

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa).

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa). by Sarah Henning

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.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 11: Pad Thai Salad and the joys of sweet corn

CORN!

CORN! by Sarah Henning

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.

So, the hubby made his favorite recipe from Nancy O’Connor’s “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook” these excellent Green Onion and Potato Pancakes.

The hubby's favorite potato pancakes, covered in cheese.

The hubby's favorite potato pancakes, covered in cheese. by Sarah Henning

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.

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM!

Pad Thai Salad ... YUM! by Sarah Henning

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

Salad

1 bunch dinosaur kale

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 green onion

Basil (Thai or otherwise … I used purple and genovese basil), for garnish

Lime juice

1 bag (uncooked) kelp noodles or 1 bag/box rice or soba noodles, cooked and cooled

Sauce

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.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 10: Electric pink smoothie

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself.

The prettiest smoothie ever, if I do say so myself. by Sarah Henning

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:

Shhhh, don't tell him it has beets in it!

Shhhh, don't tell him it has beets in it! by Sarah Henning

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.

Local and healthy beets and greens in a glass.

Local and healthy beets and greens in a glass. by Sarah Henning

Liquid Beets and Greens

2-3 small beets, or one large one

2-3 collard leaves (kale works too)

2 tart apples

2 lemons

2 heads celery

1/2 bunch parsley

Run all through a juicer. Enjoy! Serves 1 to 2.

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