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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 CSA Week 16


This is the last week of the csa and I'm a very sad girl! I am very appreciative, however, of all the love and hard work the Waterstrat family has put into making this the best experience for us eating plenty of nutritious food throughout the season!

I'm sure we will continue to hear from Ford and Amanda throughout the fall. Let them know if you are interested in the naturally raised beef and pork.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
sweet corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge enjoy as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
squash and zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
garlic unwashed in fridge up to 1 week
bell peppers unwashed in fridge 2-3 weeks

For my last blog of the season, and since I've written about all of these items in previous blogs, I thought I would take a peak at memory lane and some of Amanda's thoughts and recipes she posted throughout the years. She has such a warm and inviting way of writing which makes you feel like you are sitting at her kitchen table chatting over a cup of coffee like long-time friends.

Excerpts from 2012

In keeping with the theme of quick, simple preparations, I’ll encourage you to try yet another roasted vegetable recipe – garlic roasted tomatoes.
This one is taken from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food and can also be found online.
Garlic-Roasted Tomatoes
from September 2007 Everyday Food
4 large tomatoes cored and halved crosswise.
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 8 thin slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400oF.
Place tomato halves, cut side up, on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
Dividing evenly, top with butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
Bake until tomatoes are tender, 40-45 minutes.

Green Peppers
If your home is like ours this time of year, you might be scrambling around after dinner assembling lunches for work or school on the following day. I find that I am much less likely to snack on convenience foods if I pack plenty of healthy snacks. If you’re short on time but want a tasty, crunchy side dish with your lunch, slice some raw peppers into long strips and use them to dip into hummus, soft goat cheese, or your favorite spread. They’re such a nice treat on a busy afternoon!

The days of summer, and summer herbs like basil, are numbered. This realization always hits me hardest when school resumes, which happened to me this week. It seems like the excitement of the first days of school give way to fall parties, Halloween, and then, in the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving and Christmas have arrived. My thoughts are beginning to turn toward that season. It’s time to stock up on dried/preserved basil. If you haven’t already dried some of those aromatic leaves, be sure to save at least a few stems to hang upside down in your kitchen to dry. It will smell so nice as it dries and you’ll be left with crunchy leaves you can sprinkle into small pieces just right for seasoning winter dishes.

Excerpts from 2013

This week our dear friend and CSA member Tifany, shared a wonderful recipe that uses both tomatoes and corn. It’s quick, simple and received a lot of great reviews online! You can find the recipe at this link: Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes & Corn. Thanks Tifany!

Familiar Favorites

 Tomato Corn Pie that combines several of my favorite summer harvest vegetables and herbs.
You’ll find more familiar favorites in your share this week. I’d like to encourage you to try this recipe from the link above.

I made a few changes to accommodate my tastes and it turned out great! For starters, I like making a piecrust with 1/3 cornmeal for added texture and flavor. I just took my favorite biscuit recipe, reduced the quantity and replaced 1/3 of the flour with cornmeal. I pressed the dough nice and flat so it wouldn’t be “fluffy” like a biscuit but it was still heartier than a typical piecrust. Yum! I also omitted the top layer of crust in favor of a deep dish pizza feel with the thick cornmeal biscuit crust. I didn't peel or blanch the tomatoes but I did squeeze out some of the extra juice. By the way, if you’re like me, perhaps you think the mayo in this recipe sounds disgusting (I’m not a mayo fan) but I have to say that the combination of lemon mayo and cheese forms a gooey crust makes this dish AMAZING. I’ve grown to enjoy this recipe so much that I actually made THREE pies the last time I whipped this up! …and not ONE bite was wasted.

Roasted Tomato Bean Dip
Yet another hummus!

2 medium-large tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, and salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)
10-12 large leaves fresh basil
salt, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices and place them in a large, oiled (or silicon) baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle each slice with garlic, using only half of the garlic. Add a sprinkling of black pepper, oregano, and salt to the top of each slice. (You can also add olive oil, but I resisted the temptation.)

Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are totally cooked but are not burning. Remove from oven to cool (or use warm and then chill the dip after preparing).

Place the remaining garlic into the food processor along with the chickpeas, vinegar, and roasted tomatoes. Blend well. Add the basil leaves and salt, if you like, and blend again. Serve chilled with vegetables or crackers for dipping. Also makes a good sandwich spread or salad dressing.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s) Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving): 125 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 273.1mg sodium, 334.5mg potassium, 24.4g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, 1.8g sugar, 5.2g protein, 3.6 points.


As a final note, I'd like to say that this has been a great experience for me, attempting to fill in with this weekly blog, giving Amanda the time with her family which practically doubled in size with the birth of their twin boys in December. Lets hope Silas and Josiah enjoy working on the farm as much as Finley!
Happy healthy eating!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 CSA Week 15

Greetings friends!

What a wonderful season we are having, with plenty of rain and sunshine to nourish the crops! It's good for the soul, too, especially with the abundance we have to look forward to in our shares!

This week from Sustainable Harvest Farm...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
sage and oregano unwashed, in sealed container or plastic bag, kept in fridge; or, see drying instructions below. 1-2 weeks
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
sweet corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
garlic unwashed in fridge up to 1 week
melons fridge or room temp enjoy as soon as possible

For the sage and oregano in our share and any other herbs, Ford requested I provide some information on how to store and dry herbs. Here's a great article I found on the Harvest to Table website with easy ways to dry herbs, including air drying, dehydrator drying, microwave drying, and oven drying. Rather than repeat it all here, I'll let you take a look and find the method that works best for you. They certainly look pretty hanging in a window, or dry room!


At this point, we are all trying to get creative with what to do with all the zucchini and squash! Here's a fun recipe my friend uses and her kids love it! It's from a Gooseberry Patch Cookbook, "Farmers Market Favorites." You can find this cookbook and others they publish, all which are wonderful, on Amazon here.

Crispy Zucchini Fritters

So tasty served with ranch dressing for dipping.

4 zucchini, thickly shredded
1 t. salt, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
olive oil for frying

Toss zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a colander and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, pressing out as much liquid as possible. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining salt and pepper until light and frothy. Whisk in zucchini; stir in flour. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls, flattening with the back of spoon. Fry, about 2 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Serves 4.


With everyone back to school, and the hint of fall in the air, it's casserole time! One can last two or three days worth of meals, and you can freeze them for later.

I don't know who doesn't love lasagna! Since I'm always trying to limit my intake of starches and carbs, I generally won't order it from a restaurant, or make it at home. Luckily, several years ago, a friend shared a recipe with me that I enjoy making and eating guilt free. Instead of lasagna noodles, it calls for zucchini and squash sliced into long, thin, wide planks. If you can't slice them thin enough, I suggest laying the squash planks on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stick under the broiler for a few minutes, keeping an eye on them, to precook slightly before adding to the dish.

WW's exclusive Low-Carb "Lasagna"

4 (2 lbs.) medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, cut lengthwise into thin slices/planks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cont. (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, cooked, drained (substitute any meat, or go meatless)
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) low-carb marinara sauce, such as Bella Vita Low-Carb Pasta Sauce
Fresh chopped herbs - basil, parsley, oregano, garlic

Heat oven to 350 ° F. Coat 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray. Season squash with salt and pepper. Combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped herbs, and sausage. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce into bottom of prepared pan. Spread 1/3 squash slices over sauce. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the squash. Top with 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat with remaining zucchini, sauce, ricotta mixture ending with a top layer of zucchini topped with sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes until heated through. Makes 10 servings. Per serving: 358 cals.; 11 g. total carbs


Continue to enjoy the fresh tomatoes and corn! If you end up with more tomatoes than you can eat or prepare into sauces or meals, you can put the whole tomatoes in the freezer sealed in ziploc bags to be used in a soup or stew later. I remember hearing this tip years ago, and it works!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 CSA Week 14

Well, kids are heading back to school and I've seen Halloween candy in the Dollar General store. BUT, it's still early August and there is plenty of time to enjoy the sun and summer activities, and the harvest is plentiful!

Beautiful bounty from Sustainable Harvest Farm

 In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
fennel unwashed in fridge 1 week
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
cabbage unwashed in fridge 2-3 months
tomatoes room temperature several days
corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
melons fridge or room temp enjoy as soon as possible

Here's a wonderful light dish using fennel and cabbage that we will be receiving in our shares. I found this on the blog:

Fennel and Cabbage Slaw

A light, refreshing slaw made with fresh fennel.

1/2 medium red cabbage, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Toss the cabbage, carrots, fennel, and green onions in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing for the slaw. Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well.
Serve on your favorite veggie burger, sandwich, or taco, or alongside your favorite main dish.


I've enjoyed my usual method of preparing the variety of beautiful veggies we receive from the wonderful Waterstrat family farm, by throwing everything in the wok sauteed with coconut oil, garlic and fresh herbs from my patio container garden. It's easy, yummy, and you just have one pan to clean!
I'm sharing photos from this week's meals I prepared for myself with enough for leftovers:

Meal #1: YUM! Nothing else required to complete this meal!
For my pasta dish below, a tip for easy, quick and minimal cleanup (my M.O.) is to throw the chopped veggies (beans and squash this time) in the boiling water with the pasta and it will all cook together! Then, drain and place everything back in the pot. I then added the corn that I cut off the cob since it would have fallen through the holes of the colander, with some olive oil, a couple tablespoons of pesto I keep in the fridge, keep on low to heat back up, adding a small amount of water if necessary. Scoop it into a dish with the shaved parmesan on top! Voila! It's always hard for me to eat just one bowl!
Meal #2: with pasta, pesto and shaved parmesan

 Enjoy the rest of summer!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 CSA Week 13


Can you believe it's the end of July already?! Where has this summer gone! There are just a few weeks left of our fabulous CSA from Sustainable Harvest Farm and I've been so grateful for all the hard work Ford, Amanda and Finley have been putting into providing us with their beautiful abundance of fresh, healthy food.

In shares this week... 

Item How to store it How long will it last?
fennel unwashed in fridge 1 week
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
carrots unwashed in fridge 2-3 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
melons fridge or room temp enjoy as soon as possible
beets unwashed in fridge 2-3 months

If you're not as sure as I was on what exactly is fennel, you will delight with this recipe from Dishing Up The Dirt that utilizes both beets and fennel.

Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad With Citrus Vinaigrette

Roasting fennel and beets together really brings out a nice sweetness. Enjoy.
Serves 2

PREP TIME  10 mins.
COOK TIME  30 mins.

2 medium-sized fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces (save the trimmings for another use)
2-3 large beets, cut into 1 inch cubes, save the beet greens and chop them up as well.
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Citrus Vinaigrette
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dijon style mustard
2 TBS lemon juice
2TBS lime juice
1 1/2 TBS fresh orange juice
fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Taste test and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the chopped fennel and beets together. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper. Place on a prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven until beets are fork tender and fennel is browned on both sides. About 20 minutes. Toss veggies once halfway through cooking time.
Cook quinoa according to your specific brands instructions. Once quinoa has about 2 minutes left of cooking place chopped beet greens in with the quinoa so they steam up a bit.
Combine roasted veggies with quinoa and beet greens. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy. This tastes great warm, at room temperature, or even chilled.
Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust ingredients and measurements as needed. Always taste test as you go!


Another recipe using corn, squash, tomatoes and basil from The Maker Makes site that sounds delicious and looks beautiful! The basil oil adds a definite tasty twist!

Skillet Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Basil Oil


For the Basil Oil
1/2 Cup Basil
2 Tb Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt

For The Skillet Corn
3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
1/2 Small Red Onion (diced)
4-5 Ears of Corn (shaved)
1/4 Small Head of Red Cabbage (thinly sliced)
2 Carrots (chopped)
3 Small Zucchini (diced)
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Boil a pot of water. Add basil, blanching for 10 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove basil from boiling water and place into a bowl of ice water, pat excess water from basil. In a food processor or blender, blend basil, oil, and salt until smooth. Set Aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, about 30 seconds. Add corn, zucchini, carrots, and cabbage. Cook, about 8-10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and vinegar, cook about 6-8 minutes.
Remove vegetables from heat, stir in basil oil, and serve.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2014 CSA Week 12


I hope everyone is finding creative ways of staying cool during these dog days of summer! I love it! I can't get enough of this season, and enjoying wonderful fresh produce!

Ford, Amanda and family are still dealing with recovering from their house fire, so please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

In shares this week...

Item How to store it How long will it last?
kale and chard washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
peppers unwashed in fridge 2-3 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
corn shucked or with husks in the coolest part of the fridge best enjoyed as soon as possible
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
basil store in an unclosed container in fridge, or snip off bottom of stalks and immerse in water 1-2 weeks
blackberries store in coolest part of fridge 3-5 days

I'm glad to continue to see the large greens of kale and chard. I always feel so healthy eating these, and continue to recommend throwing them in the pan you are using to lightly sautee chopped vegetables in olive or coconut oil, garlic and onion. Or, add to any soups, but I'm not thinking about soups in this heat!

Caprese Salad

I know Amanda has shared this recipe before for caprese salad, one of my favs! Use the fresh tomatoes and basil with thick slices of mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Try reducing the vinaigrette as in this Caprese Salad recipe from Pioneer Woman, and it will be so awesome! And, so pretty!

Roasted corn in husks on grill

Next, I will share an amazing way to enjoy fresh corn I learned from a friend from Mexico. It is unbelievably delicious! The best way to cook the corn for the flavor is to roast in the shuck on the grill (no presoaking required). Keep turning until the husk is nice and crispy, indicating wonderful roasted corn inside. Be careful taking off the husks! Use towels or pot holders. If you don't have time (or patience), then cook the corn your normal (faster) method. Boil shucked cobs in water for 4 minutes is about just right. Now, put away that butter! Instead, spread mayonnaise on the cob (or if this sounds too decadent use yoghurt, but it won't be nearly as good!), and roll in parmesan cheese. Some add spices like chili powder and lime juice, but I prefer it without.  You'll thank me after trying this!

Corn cobs with mayo and rolled in parmesan

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 CSA Week 11

Greetings fellow CSA members!

I'm back from an enjoyable vacation in the Canadian Rockies. It's a magical place, but I'm so happy to be back to my beautiful Kentucky! I can't help sharing a photo from my trip, TAKEN WITH AN IPHONE! I didn't feel like carting around my heavy camera. It's amazing what these phones can do nowadays!

Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, 7-7-14, 9 p.m.

Before continuing with the blog, I want to send out an earnest request for thoughts and prayers for Ford and Amanda after experiencing a house fire this past weekend. Thank goodness no one was injured, but apparently there was quite a bit of damage. Let's join together in our love for them in prayers for a renovation beyond expectation after this unfortunate set-back. We know, with good grace and fortitude, they will be fine. The support of great family and friends always helps!

Amazingly, In the midst of all this chaos, there is still magnificent produce for our benefit in shares this week.

Here is what will be awaiting us.
I've missed my share of Sustainable Harvest Farm!

Item How to store it How long will it last?
cabbage or broccoli washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
yellow squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
cucumbers Unwashed in the fridge 1-2 weeks
green beans dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days
blackberries store in coolest part of fridge 3-5 days

OK, I've already admitted my tried and true method of cooking (at least when I'm the only guinea pig) is chopping everything up and throwing in a wok with olive or coconut oil (and lots of garlic). Before I owned a dishwasher, I took pride in my "one pan meals" especially when doing the clean-up. Now that I have a dishwasher, I still hate to use too many dishes or pots. So, this remains my main style of cooking, and is very yummy.

Blackberries!!! Can't wait to add them to my yoghurt, ice cream, and to make my first blackberry cobbler of the season! Check out this recipe from the Pioneer Woman website

But, what do we do with cucumbers???? Even with my imagination, they just don't go with a stir fry (though, I have to admit I never tried it).

After some research and experience, here are some ideas:

Cucumber Water

Have you tried adding slices to a pitcher of iced water? Cucumbers add such a refreshing taste to plain drinking water. Try them in place of lemon slices, or combine the two with some mint! You can add them to your water bottle. There are even detox diets based on drinking cucumber water which, besides the great taste, has great health benefits. It's a staple in all the spas these days.

If you enjoy gin and tonics in the summer, add cuke slices for a more refreshing drink.

Here's a different (and easy!) recipe for an appetizer found on

Cucumber-Feta Toasts

Toasted bread spread with feta and topped with sliced cucumber makes a cool and refreshing appetizer.


1/2 baguette
2 teaspoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces feta
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450 degrees. Split baguette lengthwise and lightly brush cut sides with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake until golden around edges, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash together feta, 4 teaspoons oil, and lemon juice with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Spread feta mixture evenly over toasted baguette and top with cucumber. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a drizzle of oil. Cut into pieces to serve.


And, when in doubt, there are always pickles! Lots of recipes are found on the web. Here's an easy recipe that doesn't require kettle steamers, special jars, or vacuum lids. This is found on from a 2007 Cooking Light issue.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles


6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds) $
2 cups thinly sliced onion $
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 CSA Week 10

The share for this week is packed with excellent summer produce!  Along with summer favorites like the first sweet corn of the year, tomatoes and zucchini, you will also find fresh lettuce.  We consider this quite a prize because it is more difficult to grow in the summer heat.  This week you have everything you'll need for an outstanding summer salad and more.

I'd like to tell you that I've been "cooking up a storm" in the kitchen and post lots of great photos of our meals, but I'll be honest with you: I'm spending a lot of time making baby food and feeding babies!  (For example, I need to cook about 5 lbs of pears tonight before I go to bed!) Our family meals are very quick and simple this summer and they occur in lots of small steps throughout the course of a day or two - and they almost never involve me remembering to take pictures. rather than posting an exciting new dish, I'll provide some links to some great recipes I've found online as well as a couple of our old favorites from older posts.  Scroll down for more.

The complete produce list is below along with storage information.  Recipe links with photos are below the table.

ItemHow to store itHow long will it last?
lettucewashed or unwashed in fridge1-2 weeks
squashunwashed in fridge1-2 weeks
zucchiniunwashed in fridge1-2 weeks
cucumbersunwashed in fridge1-2 weeks
tomatoesroom temperatureseveral days
cornshucked (my preference) or husks in tact
in the coldest  area of your fridge (bottom
not long, enjoy as soon
as possible for the
sweetest flavor
beets or green
dry, unwashed in frIdge3-4 days for beans,
2-3 MONTHS for beets

Totally AWESOME slideshow of summer recipes from Bon Appetit (be sure to check out the recipe for grilled beets on this one, it's slide 3)
The Pioneer woman's Summer Stir-Fry

Charred tomato corn salsa from Real Simple
Charred Corn and Tomato Salsa