Farm Notes March 22nd: Walking to Spring CSA is Here!

Hello from Tant Hill Farm! We are so excited about the Spring season and all the surprises it has in store for us The weather has been a little strange but we just go with its flow! Our new baby Chicks are growing so quickly, by July we will have more Organic free range, soy and wheat free eggs to offer! Our Walking to Spring CSA session starts today, pick up at Main Street Farmers Market and Nutrition World Farmers Market.

We are at Nutrition World Farmers Market every Saturday from 11:30am-1pm.

See you at Main Street Farmers Market!

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March 22nd Produce

Here are the items you can expect at Market {M} and in the CSA {CSA}:

  • Toscano Kale {CSA} Red Russian and Siberian Kale {M}: check out this recipe from the Kitchen of Blackwell Smith. Don’t throw your stems away!! Kale Salad with Apples and Peanuts
  • Rainbow {M/CSA} and Giant Ford Hook Swiss Chard {M}: while you can use just about any green in our latest recipe – Chard Onion Cheese Frittata – I like how quick Swiss chard cooks down. Thinly slicing the stems and cooking them with the onions is an added bonus!
  • Dragon Tongue and Spicy Asian Mustard Greens {CSA}: did you know mustard greens are linked to cancer prevention? They are also touted as cholesterol lowering machines, along with kale and collards, so be sure to get your daily dose of these greens! The Spicy Asian Mustard has a Horseradish bite that is tamed when cooked. Mustard Greens are amazing with your scrambled eggs in the morning!
  • Tender Collards {CSA}: Collard Green and Pecan Pesto is a great recipe as the weather is starting to warm. Basil is not the only green you can use for pesto. You can also use your favorite nut if pecans are not your fancy!
  • Red Kitten Spinach {M/CSA}: this is the most beautiful spinach I have ever grown! The dense texture, the arrowhead shape and the stunning burgundy coloring is so vibrant! Check out Blackwell Smiths recipe for Warm Red Kitten Spinach Salad.
  • Organic, Range Free, Soy and Wheat Free Eggs {M}: here is a muffin-type meal that would be great with any number of our greens – Quinoa Kale Bites. A few eggs bind together quinoa, kale (or other greens) and cheese to make a healthy on-the-run meal.
  • Green Onions {CSA}: Add these beauties to any salad or meal.
  • Herbs: Parsley {M/CSA}, Rosemary, Garlic Chives, English Thyme and Sweet Mint {M} Here is a great site on how to store and prepare your herbs. Herbs. The herbs will store well in the bag they come in!
  • Edible Asian and Arugula Flowers {M}. Flowers make a great addition to your Kale salad. If you love presentation, this will take it to another level!
  • Medicinal and Nutrient Dense Chickweed for Smoothies, Teas or Tincture. See Chickweed is a Star for some great info on this amazing Herb!

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison


Apple Goat Cheese Collard Wraps from the Kitchen of Blackwell Smith

So I got these delicious and tender collards the other day. I tasted one. Crisp, fresh and delicious. Perfect for some lettuce style wraps only greener. This is really simple with no cooking time.

4 collard leaves
1 oz goat cheese
4 dates pitted
1/2 apple cut in 8th inch thick slices
Shallot cut into rings 8 to 12 pieces
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black peppercorns
Step one
Place collard on plate
Step two
Tear up each date placing one on each leaf
Step three
Place 5 apple slices over dates
Step four
Crumble goat cheese over apples
Step five
Place 2 or 3 shallot ring along the wrap

Step six

Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on wraps
Step seven
Sprinkle sea salt and pepper on wraps
This is a quick and delicious treat. Perfect for lunch, brunch or snack.
If you have other similar ingredients try those. Enjoy!

Kale and Potato Soup with Parmesan and Olive Oil. From the Kitchen of Blackwell Smith

This truly savory soup is great for those cold winter days and nights. This dish does contain bacon and anchovies. If these ingredients don’t fit your diet, don’t fret. Just substitute mushrooms, a little more salt and some more garlic. Not all bacon is the same. Some is very smokey. Some is very salty. So taste as you season and always have ingredients prepped before you start cooking.

1 bunch of kale cut into 1/4 inch ribbons leaves and stems (any variety will do)
1 medium russet potato cut into 4 wedges then slice each wedge into 1/4 inch sliced
1 medium sweet potato, prepare same as russet potato
1 tablespoon anchovies chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large shallot julienne sliced
3oz favorite bacon sliced into 1/4 inch bits
6 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese and olive oil for garnish
Instructions:
Preheat 6 quart stock pot over medium high heat
Render bacon (cook over low to medium heat) or substitute mushroom and olive oil
Add garlic, shallot and anchovies, stir into pan and brown (this step will create one of my favorite smells in the world)
Add sweet and russet potatoes, saute for a minute
Add veggie stock and bring to boil then reduce to simmer until potatoes are tender
Add kale and simmer until tender, about ten minutes
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Remember all bacon and anchovies have different salt content so taste before you season.
Garnish with Parmesan and olive oil.
Serve with a grilled cheese or toasted bread. You could add grains, red pepper flakes or fresh sage if you like. I sometimes add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Enjoy!!

Chard Onion Cheese Frittata from the kitchen of Blackwell Smith

  • 6 leaves of Ford Hook Swiss chard cut into 1/3 inch ribbons stems and all (you can use any greens for this recipe)
  • 1/4 medium red onion cut julienne
  • 3 tablespoons butter(split)
  • 15 pieces 1/2 squares slices of sharp cheese (Cheddar, Gruetli, Gruyere, Comte)
  • 4 farm fresh eggs beat and seasoned
  • Salt and pepper

Have all ingredients prepped.
Turn broiler on in oven.
Place 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium/ medium-high heat.

Add half of butter into skillet.
If it isn’t sizzling turn it up, if it’s burning turn it down, if it’s sizzling and browning slightly your ready to go.
Add onions. Saute until tender and sweet, season with salt and pepper.
Place chard in pan, turn it gently to wilt, don’t fully cook we want texture, season with salt and pepper.
Cover pan evenly with the vegetables.
Add rest of butter in little pinches around the pan.
Once butter is melted, pour in eggs over the vegetables and cover bottom of pan.
Don’t fiddle with it! Let eggs cook for about one and a half minutes.
Add cheese and place under broiler until cheese is melted and eggs are set.

You can serve hot or cold. Cut into squares or pie slices. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!


Millet Pie with Greens & Feta

Hello,

Here is a quick way to make a festive, vegetarian friendly meal with little more than greens and pantry staples. The recipe is based on one from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way, which is a great resource for those who wish to incorporate more grains in your diet.

Millet is a small, typically golden colored grain that you can usually find in the bulk section of the grocery store. It is known widely in the US as bird food but the cooking properties and health benefits make it great for us, too. Check out this site to learn more about the heart-protective benefits and more that make this a great grain to integrate into your meals.

You can switch this recipe up in any number of ways: use various types of greens, use a different type of cheese, add more spices or different herbs, or use roasted red peppers instead of sun-dried tomatoes. Play around and have fun!

Millet Pie with Greens & Feta
serves 4-6

Recipe notes: 1) you can use a different sized container depending on how thick you would like it to be; the end result is about an inch or so thick in a 9×13 baking dish. 2) use any type of green you have on hand but I would recommend pre-cooking sturdier greens as they may not cook down enough to be done when the millet is finished.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into a small dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup hulled millet, rinsed
  • 6 ounces Swiss chard (about 12 medium leaves), de-stemmed and chopped (see recipe note)
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta (about 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and dried if packed in oil, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped freshly parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 3-1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the millet, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until most of the remaining water evaporates, 5-8 minutes.
  • Continue cooking over low heat until the millet becomes very soft and the mixture is thick and porridgy, about 5 minutes more. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are wilted and soft, another couple of minutes. If the mixture becomes dry before the millet is tender, add 1/4 cup boiling water at a time.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the feta, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth surface. Set aside to cool until set, about 1 hour.
  • To serve, cut into squares and serve at room temperature. For a bit more flavor and texture, pan fry the squares in a little oil until browned and slightly crispy on each side. Enjoy.

Lavender Leaves :: Ideas and Recipes

Hello!

You will be receiving lavender leaves from Begin Again Farms in your CSA share this week. You may be familiar with lavender flowers but the leaves have a ton of flavor too! I find the flavor of the leaves to be a bit more mild than the flowers but I am sure it depends on the variety.

Lavender works well with many different flavors – cream/ice cream, honey, lemon, orange, rosemary, sugar, vinegar and walnuts to name a few. It can be used fresh or dried in ways similar to rosemary. If you cook with rosemary often, you already know that less is more and the same holds true for lavender. Add a little at a time!

I am focusing on culinary ideas for using lavender but the leaves can also be used for home and aromatherapy purposes. Experiment and have fun!

  • Vinegar
    • Steep in vinegar and use in vinaigrettes or as a cleaning product. Scroll about half way down this page for a handful of different recipes and lots of uses!
  • Simple Syrup
    • Simmer a couple stems in a simple syrup and add to lemonade, iced tea or cocktails. Recipe below!
  • Tea
    • Use fresh or dried leaves to make tea – substitute leaves for the flowers in this Lavender Mint Tea.
  • Mixed with Fresh Cheese
    • Great mixed with ricotta, goat cheese or feta. A broiled feta recipe is included below!
  • Scented Sugar
    • Add about 1 tablespoon of leaves to 1 cup of sugar and store in an air-tight container for 2 weeks. Remove leaves and add to anything where you want a sweet, floral scent.
  • Cookies
    • Add to cookies for a light floral flavor. A shortbread recipe is included below!
  • Cake
    • I think lavender leaves would be a delicious substitute for rosemary in this Rosemary Olive Oil Cake. Please, someone make this and give me a bite 🙂
  • Dried Herb Mixture
    • Include dried leaves in a homemade Herbs de Provence mixture. It’s great on just about anything grilled or roasted! Recipe below!

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Simple Syrup
makes about 1-1/2 cups

Recipe notes: while I haven’t tried it, I think this syrup would be great in lemonade, iced tea or in any number of cocktails. I used this in a fizzy drink – I added a couple of tablespoons of syrup along with about 8 ounces of sparkling water, a good squeeze of lemon juice and lots of ice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-2″ pieces of fresh lavender stems
  • 1-2″ piece of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3″ pieces of lemon zest

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, remove the rosemary with a slotted spoon and leave the lavender and lemon zest to steep for 30 minutes. Remove the lavender and lemon zest and transfer to an air-tight container. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

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Broiled Feta with Lavender-Balsamic Drizzle
serves 4-6

Recipe notes: 1) the broiled feta part of the recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated; 2) you can also mix the vinegar with extra virgin olive oil and use as a salad dressing; 3) serve the feta with crackers or warmed pita bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-2″ pieces fresh lavender stems
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces feta, sliced 1/2″ thick

Directions:

  • Place the vinegar, lavender and shallots in a small saucepan and heat over medium until simmering. Continue to cook until reduced by half and the vinegar is syrupy, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.
  • Adjust an oven rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Pat the feta dry with paper towels and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (or in a broiler-safe gratin dish). Broil until the edges of the cheese are golden, 3 to 8 minutes. Drizzle with the lavender-balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

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Lavender-Lemon Shortbread Cookies
makes about 10-12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh lavender leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

Directions:

  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until fully incorporated and airy, about 1 minute. Add the lavender, lemon zest, vanilla and salt to the sugar and butter and mix until incorporated. With the mixer running, slowly add the flour over low speed until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • At this point, the dough will look really crumbly but should hold together when squeezed. If the dough seems overly dry, add another tablespoon of butter. Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a rough 1-1/2″ log. Cover with plastic and transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove dough from plastic wrap and carefully slice into 1/3″ rounds and evenly space on the baking sheet. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until very lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

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Skillet-Roasted Potatoes with Herbs de Provence
serves 4-6

Recipe notes: the cooking technique for the potatoes is from Cook’s Illustrated (and it’s my favorite way to cook red potatoes!); 2) there are a million ways to make Herbs de Provence – the recipe below is based off of what I had on hand. Many recipes include savory, marjoram and/or sage as well, so feel free to add those too if readily available.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter), unpeeled, halved
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Arrange potatoes in single layer, cut side down, in 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add water, butter, garlic, Herbs de Provence, and salt and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove lid and use slotted spoon to transfer garlic to cutting board. Increase heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until water evaporates and butter starts to sizzle, 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, mince garlic to paste. Transfer paste to bowl and stir in mustard and pepper.
  • Continue to cook potatoes, swirling pan frequently, until butter browns and cut sides of potatoes turn spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Off heat, add garlic/mustard mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve immediately.

Herbs de Provence

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried and minced lavender leaves
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Directions:
    • Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.

Collard Green and Pecan Pesto

Pesto needs no introduction. I bet almost everyone reading this has made one type or another. There are so many variations, based on anything from herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, sage), greens (kale, arugula), mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, and roasted red peppers. This is my Southern take on the classic by using collard greens and pecans.

There are a couple tips for making a great pesto: first, roast the nuts and second, toast most of the garlic. Roasting the nuts brings out the flavor while toasting the garlic mellows the flavor so it doesn’t take over the dish (I do add a little raw garlic at the end, however).

Enjoy!

Collard Greens & Pecan Pesto
makes enough for 1 pound pasta

Recipe note: 1) you can use the traditional Parmesan here but I liked mixing it up a bit by using cheddar; 2) use a traditional skillet (cast iron or aluminum) as opposed to a non-stick skillet to toast garlic as non-stick skillets can release harmful chemicals when heated without fat in the pan; 3) reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water to thin out the pesto if you plan on tossing it with pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (just under 4 ounces) pecan pieces
  • 5 large garlic cloves, unpeeled plus 1 small clove, minced
  • 4-1/2 ounces collard greens, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-1/2 ounces extra aged cheddar, shredded on large holes of box grater (about 3/4 cup) (see recipe note)
  • Salt to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used 5 to 10 grinds)
  • Apple cider vinegar to taste (I used 1-1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound dry pasta of choice (fusilli, bowtie, shells)

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • Heat unpeeled garlic cloves in a small skillet (see recipe note) over medium heat, turning every few minutes, until soft and skin is starting to darken and pull away. Set aside. Once cool enough to handle, remove skins and mince.
  • Add nuts, garlic, greens and oil to a large food processor and pulse until nuts and greens are broken down but still have a little texture. Transfer to a bowl and mix in cheese and raw garlic. Taste and add salt, pepper and vinegar as needed. Toss with pasta of choice and reserved cooking water (see recipe note), adding a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.