Weekly Farm Notes :: June 30th, 2015

Hello!

Salsa is the perfect dish to bring to a July 4th cookout. It’s fresh, easy and works for just about any dietary restriction. Luckily, we are having a sale on salsa ingredients! For only $6, you get 1 pound of tomatoes, 1 head of garlic, 1 jalapeno and 1 bag of papalo. Wondering how to integrate papalo, also called summer cilantro, into your salsa? Look no further than our most recent recipe!

We will also have July 4th flower arrangements to make this weekend festive. We hope to see you at market!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

July 1st Produce

Here are some of the items you can expect this week:

  • Red, Yellow and Heirloom Tomatoes: give these beauties a try in our salsa recipe. You won’t be sorry.
  • Cherry Tomatoes:¬†did you try the cherry tomatoes last week?! They were so incredibly sweet, I just ate they straight. How do you use your cherry tomatoes?
  • Diva Cucumbers: tomatoes and cucumbers call for gazpacho! There are a million recipes out there but this one is my favorite.
  • Japanese Eggplant: these eggplant have the cutest varietal names: Hansel, Gretel and Fairytale ūüôā Ok, names aside, you need to know that these are the long, skinny variety. They typically have firm, somewhat dry flesh that is best used for sauteing, stewing or stir-frying. See below for Miso-Sesame Glazed Eggplant recipe!
  • Red & Green Cabbage:¬†I made the Venetian Cabbage Soup tonight for dinner and it was oh so tasty. I topped mine with a little Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Simplicity at its best.
  • Tomatillos: salsa verde¬†immediately comes to mind when I hear tomatillos. This bright, tart salsa can be made with raw or roasted tomatillos. I think this recipe for a roasted version sounds wonderful!
  • Jalapenos:¬†buy lots of these now and make pickled jalapenos to enjoy for months to come!
  • Garlic:¬†we are currently testing a batch of fermented garlic cloves. The only downside is the wait – 3 to 4 weeks at room temperature and then another month or so in the refrigerator (if they last that long!). Buy 5 or more heads and test this along with us!
  • Papalo:¬†although papalo has a unique taste all its own, it is a good substitute after cilantro bolts in the heat of the summer. Try it with our salsa recipe or use it in place of cilantro in guacamole.
  • Mint: I made a citrus-mint-ginger syrup recently to drink with iced green tea. Be on the lookout for that recipe coming soon!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe :: Miso-Sesame Glazed Eggplant

This recipe is from My New Roots: Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season. This serves 2 but it can easily be doubled. I made a couple substitution suggestions below in parentheses.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Japanese eggplants
  • Knob of coconut oil or ghee melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives (try some mint or papalo in place of the chives)
  • Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh on the diagonal and rub with a tiny bit of melted oil. Put the eggplant, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and roast until slightly golden and soft, 20-25 minutes.
  • Whisk the miso, vinegar, maple syrup and tahini together in a small bowl.
  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until fragrant and popping, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Remove eggplant from the oven and turn on the broiler. Using a knife or spatula, spread the miso glaze evenly over the cut side of the eggplants. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Cook under the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes, until just beginning to brown.
  • Put 1 eggplant (both halves) on each plate, sprinkle with chives and serve with a side of steamed rice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other :: Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s latest article? She discusses my favorite way to cook – finding ways to use what you have on hand.


Preserving the Harvest :: Freezing

Hello!

Of all the ways to preserve food, freezing is probably my favorite. It’s a great way to preserve the nutrients of fresh food for an extended period of time, leaving one with lots of meal ideas. It is relatively quick and you don’t need any fancy equipment, just some extra storage containers. The downside, however, is space. Unless you have a deep freezer, you will be limited on the amount of food you can safely store in the freezer (your freezer won’t work efficiently and keep food as cold as it should be if it is stuffed to the brim).

If you aren’t familiar with freezing food, check out¬†this, this and this website for information on how freezing food works and how to do it safely. Here are the tips I think are most important:

  • Click here for a list of foods that don’t freeze well.
  • Click here for a run down of storage containers.
    • To this, I would add that I prefer freezing items, especially sauces, in ice cube trays. Once frozen through, I transfer the cubes to a ziperlock bag. Others have recommended freezing soups and stews in a similar fashion but in muffin tins.
  • Here is a general guideline on how long foods can be frozen. Note: this depends on if food is stored in the appropriate package and at the correct temperature.
  • No one likes freezer burn – here are some great tips on how to avoid it.

Below are some of my favorite ways to make the most out of my seasonal produce and freezer space.

  • Soups & Stews:
    • Most soups and stews are great for the freezer but here are a few that ARE NOT:
      • Cream or dairy based soup/stews might separate when thawed (although it is possible to whisk to recombine)
      • Soups/stews that include delicate seafood won’t have a great texture when reheated
      • Those thickened with eggs or cornstarch may turn out watery
      • Potatoes change texture and breakdown when thawed, which might be ok depending on the dish, but just something to keep in mind
    • Here are some ideas for soups and stews that work really well in the freezer:
      • Pureed soup: winter squash, tomato, potato, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots all make an excellent base for pureed soup. I haven’t tried this yet, but I doesn’t this pureed Kale and Apple Soup sound like a great way to make a freezer ready meal with your greens?
      • Lentil/bean soup/stew: red lentils are a staple at my house (typically curried red lentils with greens) and they make a fantastic make ahead meal that is perfect for the freezer. This is a pretty straight-forward recipe that can be doctored up anyway you like. But don’t limit yourself to lentils – chickpeas, black beans, white beans and pinto beans are all great.
      • Grain based soup/stew: almost all grains will freeze well except for white rice. It usually turns mushy. Stick with brown or wild rice (like this recipe) and you shouldn’t have any problems.
      • Meaty soup/stew/stew: chilis and other meat based soups and stews freeze really well.
  • Sauces:
    • Most sauces, unless cream based, will freeze really well. Here is just a brief list of options:
      • Tomato based sauces, such as marinara
      • Oil based sauce, such as chimichurri
      • Pureed sauces, such as pesto
      • Peanut sauce
      • Fruit based sauces, such as cranberry sauce
      • BBQ sauce
  • Blanched Veggies:
    • Raw vegetables need to be blanched before freezing in order to stop the enzymatic activity that will degrade the nutrients, flavor and color. This is a great overview on the blanching process and how long to blanch different types of vegetables.
  • Veggie Cubes:
    • This is great for the weeks when you can’t get through all of your greens. Simply add the leaves and any tender stems to a blender with a couple cups of water. Process on high until fully broken down. Add more greens, process again, and continue this process until you have a thick but still flowable puree. Pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze until frozen through, usually about 12 hours. Remove cubes from the tray and place in a zipper lock bag. Use in smoothies, soups or stews.
  • Fruit:
    • Fruit is one of the easiest things to freeze: wash fruit and dry thoroughly. Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag or vacuum sealed bag.
  • Compound Butter:
    • Compound butter is a so easy to put together and can turn a boring meal into something special. It is also a great way to integrate any herbs you haven’t found another use for. I make a batch, freeze it, and then slice off chunks and add it to anything that needs a little flavor boost. You don’t really need a recipe: just add some of your favorite flavors to softened butter until well combined. Then form the butter into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze (here is a step-by-step tutorial). I recently made a compound butter with parsley, green garlic, smoked paprika and sweet paprika and it is a big hit!
  • Herbs:
    • It never occurred to me that you can freeze hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme right on the branches. This blog post reports almost fresh tasting herbs after a year in the freezer!
    • Place chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro or basil, in ice cube trays and cover with olive oil or water. Freeze until frozen then transfer to a plastic bag.
  • Baked Goods:
    • Baked goods, such as quick breads, muffins and snack cakes are great for the freezer. We will all get sick of zucchini by the end of the summer, at which point it’s time for zucchini bread! But don’t limit yourself to zucchini – try sweet potatoes, beets, and squash in your quick breads.

Let us know your tips, tricks and favorite freezer recipes!


Fresh Tomato Salsa with Papalo

Hello!

I love fresh, easy to prepare meals, especially in the scorching heat of summer. It doesn’t get fresher than this quick, flavorful salsa. Pair with tortilla chips and a protein source (I would go for a black bean salad) and you have dinner! Margaritas wouldn’t hurt either ūüôā

This salsa is unique with the addition of papalo, an intense herb somewhat similar to cilantro, but with an aroma and flavor all its own. It is also called papaloquelite, poreleaf, mampuito, summer cilantro, and Bolivian coriander. It is often used as an alternative to cilantro, which makes sense as it thrives in the summer heat when cilantro will bolt. For more information, including recipes, check out this site.

Fresh Tomato Salsa with Papalo

Recipe notes: 1) if you are inclined, you can drain the diced tomatoes for 30 minutes in a colander to make the salsa less watery (which might be desirable depending on how to plan to use the salsa); 2) the spiciness of jalapenos vary greatly, so I always recommend adding some of the minced flesh to start, taste, then add more flesh and/or seeds/ribs until the desired heat level is reached; 3) papalo has an intense flavor, so start with just a small amount and add more as desired. You can substitute cilantro but I would use 2-3 times the amount called for.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound firm, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice (see recipe note)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, cut in half, seeds/ribs removed, minced and reserved, flesh minced (see recipe note)
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon minced papalo (see recipe note)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Few grinds of fresh black pepper

Directions:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Best eaten fresh.

 


Weekly Farm Notes :: June 16th, 2015

Hello,

Just a quick note with items to expect at market tomorrow. Along with the produce listed below, we will also have cut flowers available – zinnia, coneflowers and gladiolus. We hope to see there!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 17th Produce

Here are some of the items you can expect this week:

  • Tomatoes: You simply can’t go wrong with caprese – that delicious combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Check out the recent recipe posted by Main Street Farmers Market.
  • Blackberries: I found a really interesting recipe for Cold Brined Pickled Blackberries in Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons. See below for the details. I love trying new techniques and look forward to trying this one soon.
  • Snap Green Beans: you gotta watch this video on how to quickly snap green beans. Good stuff!
  • Cabbage:¬†we will have lots of cabbage options for you this week! Flathead, Cone, Savoy and Napa cabbage. Interested in fermenting some of that cabbage? Check out our recipe for Curtido, also know as Salvadorian Sauerkraut!
  • Red Russian, Toscano & Biera Kale: mix kale, delicious cheese from Sequatchie Cove and top it with an egg and you have dinner! Check out this recipe from our friends at Signal Mountain Farm.
  • Mint: looking for ways to use your mint? Check out this delicious recipe list from The Kitchn.
  • Papalo: I have never even heard of this herb! Can’t wait to experiment with it this week. Let us know how you use it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe :: Cold Brined Pickled Blackberries

As mentioned above, this is a recipe from Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons. I really recommend you check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 6 juniper berries or a shot of London dry-style gin
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1/2 ” piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot, quartered

Directions:

  • Fill a 1-quart jar with blackberries and place in the refrigerator. Lightly crush juniper, peppercorns, bay leaf, ginger and allspice. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and 2 cups water and stir to dissolve sugar. Add crushed spices, thyme and shallot. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temp then chill for 1 hour. Pour brine over berries and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.


Raw Sesame Marinated Kohlrabi

Hello!

Mark and Gina aren’t setting up at market¬†tonight but they will be there to drop off pre-ordered items from 4:30-5pm. Be sure to stop by next week and grab some goodies!

Below is a quick recipe for kohlrabi. We hope you enjoy it!

Raw Sesame Marinated Kohlrabi

Recipe note: this marinade is great for cucumbers too!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 pound kohlrabi (without the stems), about 5 small, peeled and sliced into finger length pieces (about 2″ long x 1/2″ wide)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

  • Place kohlrabi pieces into a dish that holds them in a couple of layers (you don’t want them all stacked on top of each other or they won’t marinate evenly).
  • In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together to combine then pour over the kohlrabi. You can either serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and serve within a few days.

Weekly Farm Notes :: June 2nd, 2015

Hello,

The Spring CSA ended last week but we will still have lots of goodies available tomorrow. See below for details on the produce you can expect. Also, I have included a recipe for Saffron Cauliflower and details on Yardlong Beans. Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

June 3rd Produce

Here are some of the items you can expect this week:

  • Tomatoes!: since the tomato season is just kicking off, I am going to suggest simply slicing your tomatoes, dousing them in your favorite extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkling with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. There are many weeks ahead of tomato dishes, why not just enjoy them raw?
  • Kohlrabi: here is an easy, flavorful way to enjoy kohlrabi: mix together 3 tablespoons sesame oil,¬†4 teaspoons white vinegar,¬†4 teaspoons soy sauce,¬†2-3 tablespoons sugar,¬†4 teaspoons sesame seeds (I like the black seeds because they stand out more). Then peel and slice kohlrabi thinly and marinate in the mixture.
  • Flat Head Cabbage:¬†I guess it’s about time for grilling recipes!¬†Check out this recipe for grilled cabbage with yogurt and mint. It’s a great way to use mint from the market too!
  • Cheddar Cauliflower:¬†this version of cauliflower was first discovered in Canada in 1970, although it took years of crossbreeding before it was widely available. The color comes from a genetic mutation that allows the plant to hold more beta carotene. It also contains about 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower (information from The Kitchn). Check out the recipe below if you need some inspiration!
  • Rainbow Chard: summer weather calls for raw salads. This Creamy Maple Mustard Raw Chard Salad sounds great!
  • Tender Collards:¬†don’t forget, you can dehydrate your greens! Check out more here.
  • Toscano & Red Russian Kale: kale is a great in these Greens & Cheese Frittata Muffins!
  • Lemon Balm: have you ever tried a shrub? It’s a sweetened vinegary drink and it tastes amazing steeped with lemon balm! Check out our recipe here.
  • Mint: use your mint in the grilled cabbage recipe above!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe :: Saffron Cauliflower

This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. It serves 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons saffron
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, divided into medium florets
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and cut lengthwise in half
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the saffron strands in a small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave to infuse for a minute, then pour the saffron and water into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, and mix well.
  • Transfer mixture to a medium ovenproof dish, cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but still a bit firm, not soft. Halfway through the cooking time remove the dish from the oven and stir well, then cover again and return to bake.
  • Once the cauliflower is cooked, take it out of the oven, remove the foil and allow to cool down slightly before stirring in the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve warm or at room temperature.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summer Produce :: Yardlong Beans

Yardlong beans go by many names: bora, bodi, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. Because it grows well is sub-tropical and tropical climates, it is typically found throughout Southeast Asian countries. Here are some interesting tidbits I discovered in my research:

  • Yardlong beans become waterlogged when cooked steamed or boiled so are best cooked with oil
  • Although the beans can grow to be 3 feet long, optimal picking is between 12-18″
  • They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese
  • I have found references to canning and fermenting these beans so I plan on trying both this summer!