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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2014 CSA Week 12

Greetings!

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.

~Nancy




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 marthastewart.com:

Cucumber-Feta Toasts

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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 myrecipes.com from a 2007 Cooking Light issue.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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.

Enjoy!
~Nancy

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.  ...so 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
crisper)
not long, enjoy as soon
as possible for the
sweetest flavor
beets or green
beans
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



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 CSA Week 9

Greetings!

Is it summer yet?!  :-)

It's that time again when we all look forward to our wonderful produce from Sustainable Harvest Farm!

Just in time for the 4th of July weekend, find some great potluck style recipes below. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday!

In this week's share, the new items you might find are beets and green beans (my fav!).


Item How to store it How long will it last?
cabbage or broccoli washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
summer squash unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
zucchini unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
garlic Unwashed in the fridge up to 1 week
green beans or beets dry, unwashed in the fridge 3-4 days

Amanda shares some of their favorite recipes:
Broccoli Apple Salad and their favorite Cabbage Casserole.

I found this wonderful recipe for zucchini gratin on a great vegetarian site, 12tomatoes.com
This is the perfect potluck contribution that people will go nuts over!

Zucchini Gratin

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
4 large zucchini, sliced
4 medium shallots, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Green onions, sliced, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven for 400 degrees F.
Heat a large, deep pot to medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter until the shallots are translucent – about a minute or two.
Add the zucchini, heavy cream, salt, pepper, oregano, and Parmesan cheese. Let the mixture cook on the stovetop for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly. Make sure to keep mixing everything with a spoon while it is cooking.
Then, transfer this mixture to a greased casserole dish (9x13 or a similar size should be plenty big) and mix in most of the cheddar cheese – once everything is blended thoroughly, sprinkle the rest of the cheddar cheese on top.
Bake the gratin for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden-brown. Top with sliced green onions for garnish, if desired.

***********************

And, my favorite potluck item is pasta salad with veggies and herbs. Use anything in season. The dressing sounds like a great one to keep on file! Recipe found here and below.



Lemony Roasted Garlic Pasta (Salad)

Ingredients:
8 oz. pasta (mini bowties, rotini or something small and ‘pasta-salad-like’)
3-4 cups veggies
For the Dressing:
2 heads garlic
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup water (use reserved pasta water)
1 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Tofu, sliced hardboiled eggs, grilled chicken (optional)

This could also be done wrapped in foil on the grill.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°.  Chop veggies into bite-size pieces, if needed.  Spread evenly onto a roasting pan along with 2 heads of garlic.  Drizzle olive oil (approximately 2-3 Tablespoons) evenly over all.  Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes until veggies begin to caramelize.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.

When veggies/garlic are roasted, let cool until garlic is cool enough to handle.  Peel 20 roasted garlic cloves and add them to bowl of food processor.  Add the rest of the dressing ingredients except for water and blend.  Slowly add reserved water until dressing is of desired thickness.

Add cooked veggies to pasta and pour about half the dressing over (or to taste).  Reserve the rest of the dressing for another use.

Serve warm or cold, garnished with chunks of broiled tofu, hardboiled eggs or chicken, if desired.
(optional)

Yummy!


~Nancy



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 CSA Week 8

Greetings!

I'm hoping Ford and Amanda's farm got enough rain this week for "our" veggies!

I was unable to pick up my share last week, so invited a friend to enjoy the fresh veggies over the weekend since I wouldn't be in town until Monday. She had more fun marveling at the assortment, trying to figure out what everything was, and engaged in a colorful dialogue on her Facebook page. She decided to grill it all and from the photo she posted, it looked delicious!
Last week's share picked up by my friend

Here's the finished creation - everything goes on the grill!

In this week's share, the new items you might find are squash, zucchini or cucumbers. Who's ready for oven fried squash? (recipe below)


Item How to store it How long will it last?
cabbage or broccoli washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
squash or zucchini or cucumbers unwashed in fridge 1-2 weeks
tomatoes room temperature several days
kohlrabi washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
Green or purple onions Lightly rinsed, dried, and stored in plastic wrap of fridge container 1-2 weeks
Garlic (bulb) Unwashed in the fridge up to 1 week
Oregano/sage Unwashed in the fridge, in sealed bag ~1-2 weeks

I'll enjoy chopping up the broccoli and cabbage and adding it to the tomatoes, kohlrabi, onions and herbs to a beautiful salad that I will take to work for lunch!

Summer squash is wonderful so many ways. Here's a great way to utilize that corn meal that I still have tucked away in a drawer in my fridge. This recipe and photo are from tastykitchen.com.

Oven “Fried” Parmesan Zucchini Squash

Description
This “fried” squash recipe is really oven baked. You’ll never miss the crispiness of the fried though due to cornmeal, rosemary and Parmesan crisping up together in the oven! Healthy and yummy!

Ingredients
2 whole Eggs, Beaten
1 Tablespoon Milk
½ cups Parmesan Cheese
¼ cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, Chopped (add the fresh herbs from this week's share!)
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Or Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 whole Zucchini Sliced In Rounds

Direction:
In one low flat dish or bowl, beat your 2 eggs well.
In another flat low dish or bowl, stir remaining ingredients, except oil.
Slice squash into pieces. Using tongs, dip first in egg, then in breadcrumb mixture, making sure to coat both sides of squash well.
Place on foil-line baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil.
Spray the tops of your squash with baking spray or drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the tops are browned.
Note: addition to recipe – bake at 425º on the top rack of your oven, flipping once half way thru!

Can't wait!
~Nancy


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 CSA Week 7

What a fun time at the farm on Saturday! It was so nice to meet some fellow CSA members and families, spend some time with Ford and Amanda, their parents, and to finally meet Finley and the twins! Fin was the perfect host!

Below are a few photos from the evening, and the link to all of the pictures. You can see how much fun everyone had! https://flic.kr/s/aHsjYj6BBS

Finley and his his Papaw welcomed visitors
The Waterstrats: Amanda, Ford, Finley and twins Silas and Josiah (left and right, I think!)
Everyone enjoyed the walking tour
Feeding the pigs
The kids really had a blast
Plenty of photo opps!
beautiful crops
great refreshments


In this week's share, the new items are cabbage and garlic (the bulb part instead of scapes, which Amanda says is milder in flavor than dried garlic bulbs, and "soooo delicious.")

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Kale and Swiss chard washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 2-5 days
Kohlrabi washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
Green Onions Lightly rinsed, dried, and stored in plastic wrap of fridge container 1-2 weeks
Tomatoes room temperature several days
Garlic (bulb) Unwashed in the fridge up to 1 week
Oregano Unwashed in the fridge, in sealed bag ~1-2 weeks

Amanda's favorite cabbage recipe is found on an earlier blog here. She also recommends chopping it up with apples, kholrabi, and a sweet dressing along with raisins and nuts for a kind of sweet slaw.

And, thanks to CSA member Brandi Smith for sharing her kholrabi recipe below:

6 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp mustard
1/2 tsp stevia
2 kholrabi peeled and sliced like french fries
2 apples peeled and sliced the same way
salt and pepper

My contribution for a nice vinaigrette utilizing the fresh oregano:

Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette

4 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon of minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon of minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk everything together and you're done.

Now, let's enjoy!
~Nancy

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 CSA Week 6


I'm so excited to visit the Waterstrats and their farm this Saturday during the Farm Tour! I'll take lots of pictures that I will be able to share in future blogs. It's a wonderful opportunity for CSA members to see where their food is coming from and observe the loving care with which it is tended and harvested. No wonder it tastes so delicious! Hope to make some new friends!

 
In this week's share, you will find an addition of tomatoes (yay!) and garlic scapes. I actually had to look up what a garlic scape is (can you tell I'm not a gardener?), which I've added below the chart with ways to enjoy them.

Item How to store it How long will it last?
Kale and Swiss chard washed & thoroughly dried or unwashed, in fridge, sealed in container or plastic bag 2-5 days
Radishes or turnips washed or unwashed in refrigerator several weeks
Kohlrabi washed or unwashed in refrigerator 1-2 weeks
Green Onions Lightly rinsed, dried, and stored in plastic wrap of fridge container 1-2 weeks
Tomatoes room temperature several days
Garlic Scapes Unwashed, loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge up to 2 weeks

Kale and chard - With the temperatures cooling and the rain this week, a nice Kale Soup is in order. My mom used to make it Portuguese-style. She would keep a pot going on the stove for days, continually adding ingredients almost as fast as we would enjoy bowl after bowl! I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college near New Bedford, which became known as the "Portuguese capital of the world" after immigrants started arriving in the 1800s for the whaling industry. Follow this link for a little history: http://www.whalingmuseum.org/learn/research-topics/cultural-communities. Chourico sausage is key to the flavor, though you can substitute Kielbasa, which my mom would often do. Here's a recipe claiming to be close to authentic: http://easy.betterrecipes.com/portuguese-kale-soup-new-bedford-style.html

Turnips - Did you know they are full of vitamin C? They are also very low calorie!
Kohlrabi - Can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste similar to broccoli stems. Just peel and slice!
Green onions - Chopped in salads, stir fry, or throw some in the soup!
Tomatoes - Amazing! I've been waiting for these since the last one appeared in my share last season! I love them sliced, chopped for salads, and, added to the soup!
Garlic scapes - OK, here's mystery solved! These tender tendrils are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants, according to About.com. They can be chopped and added to salads, sauteed lightly and served over pasta, mixed with cooking greens, or in any dish complemented by garlic. There's even a recipe for a garlic scape pesto on this site: http://gardening.about.com/od/herbsatoz/a/What-Are-Garlic-Scapes.htm

See you Saturday!
~Nancy