Kale Chips

Kale is one thing I never grow tired of!  Gone are the days when I viewed it as a silly little garnish on the side of my plate – now, kale is the focus of some of my most favorite meals!

KaleChips2-copyAnd, it’s also excellent for snacking!  I’m sure most of you have been introduced to the beloved Kale Chip recipe that has circulated our local farm loving community.  Here it is again, with a few variations to spice things up a bit!

Kale Chips:

1 bunch of Kale (any kind)

1-2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. of Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 300.  Thoroughly wash and dry your kale.  Remove the stems and rough inner ribs (but reserve for dipping in veggie dip – cause those stems are still tasty and packed with nutrients!)  Massage the leaves and tear into 3-4 inch pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and toss to combine.   Spread on baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until desired crispiness has been achieved.

Enjoy with your favorite holiday movie!

And here are a few variations from BluePoppy.com:

Flavor Variations:

  • Sea salt & Vinegar – Whisk 1‐2 T of malt vinegar into the olive oil, then drizzle over the kale
  • Teriyaki – Whisk 1 T soy sauce, 2 t rice vinegar, 2 t mirin, ½ t finely grated ginger, and 2 T garlic infused oil together, then toss with the kale. Sprinkle with togarashi or gomasio, if desired (Remove the olive oil and the sea salt from the base recipe)
  • “Cheese” for the dairy‐free – Sprinkle the base recipe with nutritional yeast to taste.
  • Parmesan & Garlic – Replace the olive oil with garlic‐infused oil, remove the salt, and sprinkle with finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Sun‐dried Tomato & Herb – Puree 1 clove finely minced garlic, 2 T finely minced sun‐dried tomatoes (preferably oil packed), and 2 t finely minced fresh basil, then whisk into the olive oil
  • Lemon & Olive – Add the juice of one lemon and 2 T olive puree to the base recipe. Remove the sea salt
  • Balsamic Vinegar & Herb – Whisk 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t minced thyme, 2 t minced chives, and 1 t freshly ground black pepper into the olive oil
  • Sour Cream & Onion – Remove the olive oil. Puree 1 c cashews (soaked for 2‐3 hrs first) with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 large shallot, and ¼ c water. Drizzle over the kale, then sprinkle with minced chives.

And, what’s your favorite way to eat Kale Chips?

 


For the Love of Honey

Greens are wonderful.  Turnips are tasty.  Garlic is essential.  But, when I see a jar of honey in my CSA basket, it takes my joy to a whole other level.

Kevin and his bees at BeginAgin Farm in Lafayette

Kevin and his bees at BeginAgin Farm in Lafayette

And not just honey…

Creamed honey.

From local bees, at Kevin and Lorri’s local farm.  It just doesn’t get any better than that now, does it?

Tonight I went on a mission to find out just how many uses there are for my prized creamed honey – cause I certainly don’t want a drop of it to go to waste!

Here’s the list I’ve come up with, thus far.  Feel free to add your favorite uses for creamed honey in the comment section (located directly under the title of the blog post)

  1. Toast (of course!) – There is no better use for tasty creamed honey then slathering it on a piece of warm Niedlov’s bread or just about anything from Bluff View Bakery (I especially love their Multigrain bread).
  2. Honey Mustard – Add a scoop of honey to a sprinkling of dry mustard and stir for a spreadable honey mustard for your turkey sandwich.  Or make a larger quantity for a compliment to a grilled chicken, or as a dipping sauce for veggies.
  3. Use in place of maple syrup when making granola.  (My most favorite granola recipe is this one from Earthbound Farms)
  4. Add a small scoop of it to your holiday cheese plate, next to some roasted almonds and any one of Mary Beth Sander’s preserves from Fox Peace Farms, sold at the Main Street Market.  (I recommend the Pear Ginger!)
  5. Hot Tea – I’m an avid hot tea drinker and a few drops of creamed honey makes my mornings sweeter!
  6. Make your own Almond Milk – for a recipe, see here.
  7. Lip Balm!  Add it to almond oil and beeswax to create your own natural lip balm – perfect for these parched winter months!
  8. Pair it with your CSA kale, and some other ingredients to create a healthy green smoothie – here are several excellent recipes!
  9. Breakfast topper – Add it to just about any of your holiday breakfast dishes:  pancakes, french toast, pastries, etc.
  10. Honey Pecan Pie
  11. Use a dollop of honey as a seasoning on BBQ spare ribs, pork chops, or chicken wings.
  12. Combine it with olive oil and vinegar for an extra tasty salad dressing – great with Mark and Gina’s Asian Salad Mix!
  13. Combine 1 Tbsp of honey with 3 cups of yogurt and 1 cup of chopped almonds for a fantastic fruit dip
  14. Homemade Peanut Butter – yum!!
  15. Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars – yum, again!
  16. Baked Brie – drizzle honey over brie, add pistachios and bake at 350, until the cheese starts to turn melt.  Serve with crackers or baguettes.
  17. And, I would be remiss if I did not implore you to please, please drizzle some of that amazing honey on your next bowl of ice cream.  And, with that, I’m off to do just that!

What will you be using your Creamed Honey for?


Sauerkraut for the Holidays!

If you are like me, you received a beautiful head of cabbage in your CSA box this week.

I’m often a bit confused by cabbage.  I like it, but I don’t often make Cole Slaw, which is usually why I would buy cabbage.  I’ve started adding cabbage to the top of fish tacos – but that only takes a small amount, so…

Sauerkraut to the rescue!!!!

Living in the South, I’m sure we’ve all been subjected to the dreaded “Kraut and Wennies” on occasion, yes?  Well, I decided that’d I’d like to make a big girl version of this classic dish to serve during the holidays.  I plan to serve my homemade sauerkraut alongside some local Link 41 Sausage, for a hearty and heart-warming holiday meal.

However, the key to Sauerkraut, I learned, is TIME!  Which is why it is a good idea to start now.  As in, right now!

Here is a standard Sauerkraut recipe that I started on last night from www.wildfermentation.com.

As the recipe explains, it takes weeks (sometimes months) to ferment the cabbage to your liking.  But the prep time is minimal, so get started now and enjoy this dish long into the month of December.

*This recipe is for 5lbs of cabbage (whoa!) – so I reduced mine to just a pound and a half or so and 2-3 teaspoons of salt.*

Enjoy!

Making Sauerkraut

Timeframe: 1-4 weeks (or more)

dsc-6314Special Equipment:

  • Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater
  • Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
  • One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
  • Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel)

Ingredients (for 1 gallon):

  • 5 pounds cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt

Process:

  1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it.
  2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I never measure the salt; I just shake some on after I chop up each cabbage. I use more salt in summer, less in winter.
  3. Add other vegetables. Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables I’ve added include onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, turnips, beets, and burdock roots. You can also add fruits (apples, whole or sliced, are classic), and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, but anything you like will work). Experiment.
  4. Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
  5. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
  6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  7. Leave the crock to ferment. I generally store the crock in an unobtrusive corner of the kitchen where I won’t forget about it, but where it won’t be in anybody’s way. You could also store it in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.
  8. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Many books refer to this mold as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. Skim what you can off of the surface; it will break up and you will probably not be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine. Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. In the cool temperatures of a cellar in winter, kraut can keep improving for months and months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid. Eventually it becomes soft and the flavor turns less pleasant.
  9. Enjoy. I generally scoop out a bowl- or jarful at a time and keep it in the fridge. I start when the kraut is young and enjoy its evolving flavor over the course of a few weeks. Try the sauerkraut juice that will be left in the bowl after the kraut is eaten. Sauerkraut juice is a rare delicacy and unparalleled digestive tonic. Each time you scoop some kraut out of the crock, you have to repack it carefully. Make sure the kraut is packed tight in the crock, the surface is level, and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below brine just add salted water as necessary. Some people preserve kraut by canning and heat-processing it. This can be done; but so much of the power of sauerkraut is its aliveness that I wonder: Why kill it?
  10. Develop a rhythm. I try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. I remove the remaining kraut from the crock, repack it with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

 

 


Bacon, Kale and Turkey Soup

Put your leftovers AND this week’s CSA basket to good use with this delicious stew from The Kitchn.

Bacon, Kale, & Turkey Stew
serves 6

3 thick slices bacon, cut into small strips
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
10 ounces kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 to 3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken meat

4 to 5 cups turkey or chicken broth, ideally homemade
Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, to serve

Place a heavy 5-quart or larger pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently. When it has released much of its fat, but before it has gotten crispy, add the diced onion, minced garlic, and the bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, for at least 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened and become golden.

Add the kale, handful by handful, stirring to coat it with bacon fat. If it won’t all fit at once, keep stirring until it wilts down. Sprinkle the kale lightly with salt and pepper and the smoked paprika. When all the kale has been added, stir in the shredded turkey or chicken meat, and cook for an additional 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to make sure that the kale is coated with the bacon fat and letting the onions and shredded turkey brown slightly.

Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and the soup is hot.

Serve with shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Criss Cross, (Cranberry) Applesauce

There are apples galore  in the fields and at the markets these days!  It’s a great time to stock up on your favorite varieties and turn them into tasty applesauce for the winter.  We threw some cranberries in our batch for color and taste.

Cranberry Applesauce

By:  Rachel McCrickard & Lucky Rouse

Ingredients:

  • Apples (combination of  Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, or other sweet variety)
  • Cranberries
  • Cinnamon

Instructions:

For the best canning advice (sans your grandmother), I always use:  http://www.pickyourown.org/applesauce.htm.  They are an excellent resource for step-by-step canning instructions.  If you are new to canning, I recommend that you go there for a complete list of utensils and guidance.

I’ll summarize here:

Wash and chop apples (leave the skin on).  Put an inch of water in a large pot and fill the pot with the apples and cranberries (the apples mostly cook in their own juice, so there is no need to add a lot of water).  Put the lid on the pot and cook apples on high, until they begin to sizzle and cook, then turn the heat down to medium high.  Cook the apples until they are soft.

At this point, Lucky and I just mashed the apples with a potato masher, rather that using a sieve to turn it in to “real” applesauce.  We like ours sorta chunky – but I recommend sieving the apples if small children will be eating the applesauce.  My 2 year old niece didn’t care too much for the chunky apples!

If you choose to keep your applesauce chunky, add cinnamon at this point, mash the apples and cranberries, stir, and begin the canning process.

If you like the smoother variety, check out the instructions on the link above to sieve the apples and then follow canning instructions to complete.

Then, enjoy the taste of Fall, all through the Winter!

 

 

 

 


Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash

Two of the main vegetables that have been on rotation in my kitchen for the past 3 weeks, have been Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash.  I can’t resist buying a squash every time I go to the market, with this wonderful fall weather – and Kohlrabi has been a consistent staple in my (and yours too, I’m sure) CSA basket for the past few weeks.

So, I found this nice little recipe that includes BOTH of these fall favorites!  I just might have to make this one for Thanksgiving – it’s definitely “guest-worthy!”

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium kohlrabi (1 1/4 lb with greens or  3/4 lb without)
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • Shallow heavy baking pan

Preparation:

Put oven rack just below middle position and put baking pan on rack, then preheat oven to 450°F. (If roasting vegetables along with turkey, preheat pan for 15 minutes while turkey roasts, then roast vegetables underneath turkey.)

Trim and peel kohlrabi, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss kohlrabi with 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl. Transfer kohlrabi to preheated pan in oven and roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel butternut squash, then quarter lengthwise, seed, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss squash with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in same bowl.

Stir kohlrabi, turning it, then push it to one side of pan.

Add squash to opposite side of pan and roast, stirring and turning squash over halfway through roasting, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes total (after squash is added).

Toss vegetables to combine and transfer to a dish.

Cooks’ note:  Kohlrabi and butternut squash can be cut 1 day ahead and chilled in separate sealed plastic bags.

Recipe found here:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Kohlrabi-and-Butternut-Squash-236414


Planting Party Success!

Thanks to all who came out for the Fall Planting Party at Tant Hill Farm this past Sunday!  It was great fun!

Gina said that, all total, we got over 600 plants in the ground!   How great is it to know that we will be enjoying those salad greens in just a few weeks?  Grow, baby, grow!

After planting, we enjoyed some fantastic Pie Slingers Pizza, farm fresh greens, homemade tea, and s’mores galore, all while being entertained by the very talented Amy and Bruce!

We finished out the night with a large (incredibly large, actually) bonfire.

Roasting marshmallows became a full-contact sport… this little guy spent most of the night on his stomach…

A HUGE thanks to Mark and Gina for hosting such a wonderful night for us co-growers and lovers of all things local!

I don’t know about you, but I sure do love knowing my farmers!