What do I do with that?

Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers Markets

One thing we do here at the farm is talk about food and how to cook it. A lot. We want to share this with you as much as possible to help you enjoy what you get each week, otherwise, what is the point of getting all this fresh produce? We realize that not everything in your share box may be familiar to you, but that is all part of the CSA adventure! Each week we try to make sure we have recipes available when you pick up your share, especially for some of the more challenging items, such as kohlrabi, pea tendrils, or Swiss Chard. We find these things to be quite delicious and hope that you will give them a try! Most weeks, I will have a set of recipes that you can take with you. I also will be posting these recipes weekly in our blog, in case you didn’t pick any up.

Many share members have been asking where we find our recipes. I (Kate) subscribe to several food blogs that always provide me with great ideas. Two of my favorites are Alexandra’s Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen. The photographs on both blogs are beautiful and will, at the very least, make you hungry, but will hopefully inspire you to try something new.  A couple of other great sites are  My Recipes (all skill levels, with lots of quick and easy recipes) or Epicurious, for the more experienced cook. Or, when in doubt, just Google it! If you are looking online, checking out the reviews of a recipe can really help weed out some poor choices, or give you ideas on how to tweak something. For instance, last night I was debating what to do with my Swiss Chard stems (which is new for me) and came across this recipe:

The photo is beautiful, so I had to try it. Several reviewers commented however that the brine was too sweet, so I greatly reduced the amount of sugar. I am awaiting the results, but as these are sitting in the cooler at the farm, I am sure there will be some sampling involved in the pickup tomorrow night…If my revised recipe is good, I will include it here.

A unique cookbook organized by plant part to help fresh food lovers make the most of their seasonal shares and purchases.

No one likes to waste food, and I know it can be disheartening to get your share and not know what to do with any of it. Even experienced cooks sometimes have no idea what to do with piles of produce ALL AT ONCE, or need inspiration. Do yourself a favor, and get a good cookbook or two. Check out a few out from library and give them a test run before committing to anything. Some of my favorite cookbook authors are Deborah Madison, Molly Katzen, Mark Bittman and Alice Waters. ALL of these people work miracles with vegetables, but Deborah Madison is one of the best. In fact, check out her book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets. Two other produce-centric cookbooks recommended by Local Harvest are From Asparagus to Zucchini, and Farm-Fresh and Fast. These focus on tasty ways to eat deliciously, healthfully and seasonally. Having great recipes at your fingertips takes a lot of the fear out of the unknown. Try something new this week!

Here are the recipes for the shares during the week of June 23rd:

More Lettuce?

Nancy B

Nancy Butterhead, the most delicious butter crisp lettuce you will encounter.

Lily and lettuceSometimes Mother Nature does not work on our schedule. What we planned to be a leisurely harvest of lettuce over the course of the Spring season, has turned into a full-on race to get it all harvested before it rots in the field. This condensed schedule was brought on by close to 8 inches of rain in the past two weeks, which caused two things: the lettuce to grow extremely quickly and for its shelf life to be reduced somewhat due to the rapid growth. So yes, more lettuce in your shares, yay! Not to brag or anything, BUT, it is absolutely gorgeous lettuce, and varieties you won’t find in anywhere else. For instance, our favorite variety this year is Nancy Butterhead. For one, we just love saying the name, but it also is one of the best, most delicate and flavorful varieties we have come across in a long time. You will never find this in a grocery store because it is just too delicate to ship.

lettuce 2

Delicious, crisp, lovely, lettuce!

So, besides making a salad, what can you do with lettuce? You can add it to a sandwich, for an extra bit of flavor and crunch. Or, why not try a refreshing chilled lettuce soup? Lettuce cups or wraps are showing up on menus everywhere lately, from P.F. Chang’s to Chez Panisse. Basically, take any “filling” you like, such as egg or chicken salad, or spicy Thai chicken or pork, and wrap it in a lettuce leaf—voila! no fork required—just roll it up and eat like a burrito!

Below are some of the recipes we have been handing out on share days, plus online links to few fun spots. Huffington Post has a new weekly column, highlighting the more unusual things you might find in your share box. Last week they featured kohlrabi, and this week it is garlic scapes. Two very timely, and underrated, vegetables.

Joy and Kate

Joy and Kate harvesting pea tendrils in the early morning.

 

 

Spring Recipes

not sure what to do with pea tendrils, broccoli raab or rhubarb? Here are a few recipes to start the season. Scroll to the bottom for printable versions.



Sautéed Pea Tendrils

Pea TendrilsPea tendrils have a fresh, delicate flavor—not much needs to be done to them. In fact, they are delicious raw too!

  • 1 bunch of pea tendrils—trim any tough ends
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2–4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A sprinkle of sea salt
  • Chili flakes, if you like heat (optional)

Rinse and chop the pea tendrils. Add olive oil and garlic to a cold skillet. Heat over medium heat until garlic is fragrant (but not brown!). Remove garlic clove from the pan and save for later (optional).

Add the chopped tendrils and sauté for about 30 seconds. Cover and cook just until wilted 2–5 minutes, depending on their thickness—don’t overdo it—you want them barely wilted, but still flavorful and crunchy!

Serve with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt and/or chili flakes if you want a little bit of heat. You also can chop the garlic and add it back in if you’d like.

 Pea Tendril Pesto

This intensely flavored, neon green pesto recipe is inspired by one that appeared in the New York Times. Add up to a half-cup of additional fresh herbs such as chives, mint, arugula and parsley. Like most pestos, all amounts are approximate, so adjust according to your own taste. Recipe by Edible Portland

Try this pesto on a piece of toast with a sliced hard boiled egg; added to boiled potatoes with chopped green onions; or thinned with pasta water and tossed with wide-cut fresh noodles.

  • ½ cup walnuts, raw or toasted
  • 3 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. To toast the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on baking sheet and roast until golden, about 10 minutes. Check by letting them cool and then breaking a walnut in half. The inside should be golden all the way through. (Optional. Tastes good with walnuts just out of the bag too).

2. In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts, pea shoots, Parmesan and garlic. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add salt to taste. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until well-combined and you reach your desired thickness. Scrape pesto into a bowl and use immediately, or store in a jar with a thick covering of olive oil and use within three days. You can also freeze in ice cube trays.

Makes 2 to 2 ½ cups

Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Garlicky Broccoli Rabe from Smitten Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.smittenkitchen.com

  • 1 lb pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the rabe)
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections (roughly the same size as the pasta you are using)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
  • About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl.

In a small pot (or reuse the one you just emptied), heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and eat at once.

 Spinach Salad with Strawberries & Basil

Adapted from Rachel Ray

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ cups small strawberries
  • 2 – 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Chop the shallot and put it in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar and lemon juice and set aside. Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Transfer to a serving bowl along with the spinach and basil.

Whisk the extra virgin olive oil into the vinegar mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with goat cheese if desired.

Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

rhubarb jam

www.AlexandrasKitchen.com

  • about a pound of rhubarb*, to yield about 3 1/2 to 4 cups once chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

*If you start with a pound of rhubarb, by the time you trim the ends, you will have (shockingly) less than a pound of rhubarb, which will yield closer to 3 cups of chopped rhubarb. If you start with more like a pound and a half or a pound and a quarter of rhubarb, the yield once chopped will be closer to 4 cups. I have made the jam both ways and prefer it on the less sweet side — 1lb. 6 oz of rhubarb untrimmed left me with 4 cups of chopped rhubarb. You can always add more sugar about halfway through the cooking process if you find the jam to be too tart, but I doubt you will.

1. Wash rhubarb. Trim ends. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place rhubarb in a saucepan with sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the caviar with a paring knife. Place caviar and remaining pod in pan with rhubarb and sugar. Cover pan, place over medium heat and cook until the mixture is bubbling and the rhubarb has released a significant amount of its juices, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Uncover the pan, give the mixture a stir, and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick and jam-like in consistency, another 10 or 15 minutes. Stir frequently and use a spatula or spoon to breakdown any big pieces of rhubarb. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for at least a week.

Rhubarb Bars

rhubarb-crumb-bars

From “One United Harvest.”
Because of rhubarb’s tart flavor, these taste just like lemon bars.

  • Crust:
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 8 T powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • Filling:
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups diced fresh rhubarb

For the crust, stir together flour and sugar. Cut into butter. Pat this mixture in a greased 9 x 13” pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 min, until set, but not brown. Set aside.

Beat together eggs, sugar and flour. Stir in rhubarb. Pour this mixture over the hot crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until set.