Weekly Farm Notes :: Feb 24th, 2016

Hello,

This is the last week of the “Deep Winter” CSA! We hope you all have found the session nourishing. The “Walking to Spring” CSA session is full but we might open more shares later in the season – check back with us if you are interested!

The greens mix includes basil this week, which may seem odd given the season. It comes to us from a special place – Ray McWhorter, a teacher from the aquaponics “SPLASH” lab at Gilbert Elementary! It sounds like an impressive learning technique!

See you tomorrow at market!

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February 24th Produce

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

  • Rainbow Swiss Chard {CSA/M}: this rainy weather has me craving soup, like this Barley & Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard, or an Asian noodle soup like the Market Udon Bowl (to which you can add any of our greens to) or maybe Egg Drop Soup, again with greens added.
  • Red Russian {CSA/M}, Curly {CSA}, Toscano {M} & Red Ruffled {M) Kale: this Purple Kale, Cabbage and Fennel Ferment mixture sounds like a great way to preserve kale for the weeks and months to come!
  • Arugula, Spicy Asian Greens, Spigarello Broccoli Rabe Leaves and Basil Mix {CSA}: this mix of spicy and herby greens will make a great base for pesto! There are a million ways to make it, and while I don’t really think you need a recipe, you should at least read through this blog post on How to Make the Best Pesto. It all comes down to personal taste but the author does some interesting experiments that you might find valuable.
  • Tender Collards {CSA/M}: I am always looking for ways to get my toddler to happily eat greens. Sure, I can put them in smoothies or chop them finely to add to other dishes (which happens all.the.time), but something crunchy is always a hit. That is where Collard Green Chips come in. They couldn’t be easier and can be flavored in so many ways. Make them in the dehydrator or the oven and get your crunch on.
  • Lavender Leaves {CSA}: did you know that you can use lavender leaves in addition to the flowers? Check out our latest post with LOTS of great ways to use your leaves!
  • Mild Red Mustard {M}: there are references to soup above but thought I would include one more – see the recipe below for an easy Potato and Mustard Green Soup!
  • Chickweed {M}: this nutritious herb can be used in salads or as a substitute for spinach. You can also make a tea from the fresh leaves – add 2 tablespoons of chickweed to 1 cup of boiling water and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Add lemon and/or honey to taste!

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Recipe :: Easy Potato and Mustard Greens Soup

This recipe is from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, de-stemmed, cooked and chopped
  • 2-3 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan for serving

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook slowly. Meanwhile, quarter each potato lengthwise, then thinly slice. Irregular pieces are fine – the smaller ones will fall apart, giving body to the soup.
  • Add the potatoes, raise the heat, and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to color and a glaze builds up on the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and 1 cup water. Scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the solids. Add 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt, season with pepper and stir in the parsley, cooked mustard greens and red pepper flakes. For a soup with more body, pass 1 or 2 cups through a food mill.

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Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s recent article? She is taking a break from cooking to talk about starting the process of decluttering, specifically her kitchen.


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.