Thanksgiving. Part 2.

After Thanksgiving...

After Thanksgiving…

Does your fridge look like this? (Ignore the Eggnog; it’s my husbands and it’s inexplicable). If it doesn’t, that means you either had a really relaxing or really disappointing Thanksgiving. Mine was neither…it was a lot of prep, a lot of cooking, and a lot of clean up. It was also A LOT of really great food. My Thanksgiving share set me up for a stellar meal. And for a Tetris game of leftovers in my fridge. So today I offer you some helpful, delicious, and creative ways to use your Thanksgiving leftovers, because another plate of Thursday fare gets old by Friday night.

Breakfast

I honestly eat just as many if not more vegetables at breakfast than I do at the other meals of the day. Hashes, omelets, frittatas, etc., are regular fare over here. So Thanksgiving leftovers are a gift for the breakfast hungry people like me.

  • make a “nest” of mashed potatoes (mine featured caramelized onions and roasted garlic) on a cookie sheet, place a happy hen egg in the hole, and bake until you egg is your desired firmness. Sprinkle some great salt or fresh herbs.
  • sauté your leftover green salad (mine was kale, beets, carrots, and edamame) until hot and tender and then top with a sunny side up happy hen egg (with some sausage on the side if you’re feeling crazy like I was).
  • add your Brussels sprouts or green beans or other veggie side to your omelet.
  • add grated apples to your sweet potatoes and fry as “pancakes.”

breakfast

Lunch

  • add turkey and veggies to spinach or kale for a salad
  • paninis with turkey, cranberry sauce (or Vollmecke’s pumpkin butter!), cheese, and greens

Dinner

  • Turkey pot pie with carrots, bok choy in place of celery, and of course turkey.
  • Shepherd’s pie with leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes on top.

These are obviously throw together, dump what you have in your fridge type of meals, but this is the joy of so many leftovers. All the cooking we did on Wednesday and Thursday is deducted from the cooking we have to do this week!

I am so thankful for Karen and my Vollmecke CSA for all they did to make my Thanksgiving, my year, and my life so full of good food and good feelings. I hope your weekend was great and we’ll be back here soon talking about Vollmecke and winter: an unexpectedly perfect pair!

Why is farm produce special?

You can tell by my vegetable drawer in the fridge, which is which. The farm produce is always in a random grocery sack from under my fridge. It has a little soil still left on it; it’s not uniform is shape. If I was smart, I bought some seconds and so they have some bumps and bruises. They are not perfect shiny objects. They are vegetables from the ground.

I feel so different when I cook with produce from the farm than I do with produce from the grocery store. I think the word that best describes how I feel when I cook with farm produce is “proud.” I’m proud to know where it’s from, who grew it, and that I’m doing something good for myself, for the earth, and for my community. I’m proud that I’m feeding my family something healthy and organic. I’m proud that I’m taking extra time to wash fresh soil from these veggies because I think it’s worth the extra effort.

And when I get to use multiple items from the farm in one dish, my pride grows exponentially. For every extra item I can incorporate, my smile and heart expand. And so this Autumn Kale Salad brings me lots of warmth. Apples, squash, and kale all from the farm: into the bowl and into my family’s bodies. Good job me! kale salad

 

 

A Brand New Blog and Blogger!

Hi! I’m Joy, a seven-year veteran of Vollmecke’s CSA, and if you all don’t mind, I’m going to start blogging about my love, life, and relationship with the farm and all that it gives me. Vegetables, eggs, comfort, connection, and happiness all included. My very short bio is that I’m a wife of one husband, mom of two littles (Yunni: 4 and Max: 20 months), a mental health therapist to a few, and a cooker of many many vegetables.

Through my seven years enjoying the Vollmecke’s harvests, I have learned a lot, changed a lot, and cooked, frozen, and canned a lot. And as we close out this season and look ahead to winter, I am grieving the loss of tomatoes and beans and peppers and looking forward to gorging on squashes and greens and potatoes for as long as I can. Thank heavens for winter orders!

So if you don’t mind, I’ll show up on here every once in a while with some recipes, thoughts, and perspectives on CSA membership and all that it offers and requires. Until I see you here again, put some pumpkin butter with a little almond butter and honey on your toast in the morning. You’ll feel like a new a part of your soul has opened up by the end of the slice.

toast

My Week of Eating from the Farm

Guest Post from longtime work share member Meghan

The CSA shares at the farm have certainly been a bounty of delicious veggies over the last few weeks. Four years ago, when I started as a work share member at Vollmecke Orchards & CSA, it was a learning curve to get used to using everything each week. I have gotten much better at planning and experimenting with all of the wonderful produce, so decided it was time for a greater challenge.

shareHow hard would it be to spend a week eating only food from the farm? This would include using the local products that Vollmecke sells such as beef, fish, yogurt, cheese, bread and eggs, in addition to the produce in my share. My exceptions to my little experiment were seasonings, condiments and beverages. As a relatively non-adventurous chef, I was a little nervous about trying this for a week, but after telling my farm friends of my idea, I was committed!

I picked up my share one Friday afternoon and also purchased eggs, a salmon filet, beef grillers, bread and cheese. I wrote down everything I had on hand and planned out the dinners for the week. So how did the week look? Breakfasts were fruit (raspberries and melon) and bread most days. I had Vollmecke Orchards’ apple butter on hand already, which is fantastic on Wonderful Good Market’s multi-grain bread. One weekend morning was classic eggs, potatoes and fruit. Lunches included egg salad sandwiches, green salads with tomatoes & Blazing Horizon cheese (also from Wonderful Good Market), and dinner leftovers.

Dinners were where the fun occurred:

Did I cheat? Yep. Over the course of the week I had two spoonfuls of peanut butter, and I added avocado to my fish tacos.

Was it hard? Not really! It took a little bit more planning ahead than I usually do, but it was fun to try some new things. Not having pasta, rice and beans was weird since they are staples in our pantry. The best part of the week was realizing that I snack on processed food too much. It’s so easy to grab a handful of goldfish crackers or make a quick stop at Wawa. This was a revelation for me, and one thing I will really take away from this experience.

Will I keep going? As much as I can. I am going to make a greater effort to eat more locally, especially at this time of year when it is so easy to do! Stock up on things you love that can be frozen or canned–you will love pulling them out in January!

A new season is upon us

Here we are, getting ready to start our third full week of the CSA season…and I am just now writing our “welcome” blog. Gives you an idea of how nuts it has been this year! The weather has been full of extremes: a cooler and way drier than normal spring…moving into summer with days of extreme heat and drenching rains.vibrant rhubarb

Because of the cool dry spring, many early season crops were a little late getting in the ground…BUT, this also allowed us to get many of our summer crops planted much earlier. There is always a flip side in farming…

One of my goals with this blog is to present ideas on how to use your share. It does neither of us any good if you pick up a crate of vegetables each week, just to have them slowly rot away in your fridge. We take the utmost care to make sure we harvest early in the day, and get the produce into the cooler as quickly as possible, to make sure that it stays as fresh and tasty as possible. Once you get your share home, here are a few tips to help you store your veggies correctly. Now that you have everything stored correctly, what do you do with it???

Eating seasonally can take some getting used to. When people picture joining a CSA, they often have visions of cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and peppers dancing in their heads. not necessarily kohlrabi and turnips. BUT, all of the above make their appearance later in the summer–July at least, so, we grow what does well in season until we get to “the good stuff.” Another goal of mine is to get our members to see all of the produce as good stuff! Just because you have never heard of it doesn’t mean it isn’t good!

If you find yourself stumped for ideas, check out the word cloud on the right hand side of the page. Click on whatever vegetable interests you and you will see all the blog posts written on that topic.  Other social media sites are full of ideas: Facebook and Pinterest are great places to see what is happening with food.green onions

One of my favorite food blogs, and where I often go for inspiration is Alexandra’s Kitchen. She is a devoted CSA fan and has many wonderful, delicious ideas to get you going. As the mom of two young kids, her recipes are pretty easy to follow and don’t tend to involve any overly complicated kitchen sorcery.

Some of the recipes I have shared lately are Rhubarb Glazed Shrimp and Roasted Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta Salad.

Without a doubt, one category of produce that continues to mystify and overwhelm people is GREENS. Particularly Asian greens: bok choy, Chinese cabbage, Yukina Savoy, Asian Salad Greens. These are pretty abundant in the spring and fall. They are so good for you, and so tasty once you figure out what to do with them!

Most of the time, a simple saute or braise can be used on many of our greens. They cook way down, so what seemed like a lot, becomes much more manageable. Fritters and slaws are a great way to handle many veggies as well. Fresh bok choy and apple slaw makes a great cool side dish–perfect for a hot day.

 

Revisiting the Flavors of Summer

A frequent theme we hear during the summer is, “I love all this produce, but I don’t have time to cook it all!”

We feel your pain. This is one of the great ironies of being a farmer–you are surrounded by all this gorgeous, fresh, organic produce…and we have no time to cook it. I used to try to can my leftovers, but frankly, it was too much work. I still made some pickled carrots, okra and turnips this year, but that was about it. FREEZING produce is much more my style.

Many types of produce can be frozen with little or no prep. Some may need to be par-boiled or peeled first, but most things can just be slipped into a ziploc bag and be stored until you need it. Like now.

eggplant burthaI have been using my frozen green peppers (remember when we got TONS of those this summer?) in chili and gumbo. Over the weekend I found a bag of grilled eggplant I had tucked away. I had made baba ganoush with the last batch I found, so wanted to do something different. I found a recipe that we gave out to members this summer: Eggplant Burtha, from my friend Sujata. It is absolutely delicious!

Eggplant Burtha
Two large Italian eggplants
2 Tsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
One green chili, finely chopped
One clove of garlic minced
Two vine ripened tomatoes, chopped (I cheated and used 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes)
One tsp. ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili pepper
1 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. salt
Finely chopped cilantro (plus a little extra for garnish)

Roast whole eggplants in the oven or on an outdoor grill. Let cool, then remove the skin. Mash with a potato masher.

Heat the oil in a medium size frying pan. Add cumin seeds. Once they are brown, add green chili and onions. Fry onions to golden brown (keep stirring so they don’t burn). Add garlic and tomato and fry for few more minutes to reduce the juices.

Add all other dry spices and fry for 2–3 minutes. Once the juices from the tomato have reduced, add mashed eggplant, salt and cilantro. Add minced ginger and cook everything for about five minutes on low heat or until all liquid has reduced. Garnish with extra cilantro.  Serve with steamed rice, roti, or naan.

What else is in that freezer?

Yesterday I unearthed a bag of frozen peaches. You may remember that our peaches were a little funny looking this summer–some were on the small side, some were freckled and weird looking. These were some of the sweetest most delicious peaches I have ever had though, and I didn’t want any to go to waste! My daughter has been enjoying them in smoothies all winter, but I wanted to try something else. So yesterday morning we had peach scones. What a treat on this brutally cold winter day!

chopped peaches

Work share member Meghan must have been thinking of warmer days as well. I saw a post from her on Facebook that she found a bag of frozen garlic scape pesto leftover from June. She and her family enjoyed garlic scape pesto pizza using pre-made naan from Wegman’s. How easy is that? garlic scape naan

I guess the lesson I am trying to impart today is, even if you don’t have the time or the interest to deal with your produce during its peak, try to set aside 10-15 minutes and save it. Not for a rainy day, but a miserably cold one like today–you will be very happy you did!