CSA Double Dose #2

This is supposed to be a vegetable dancer. Hold me closer – veggie dancer.

Last week’s CSA: Yams, peppers, carrots, garlic

This week’s CSA Arugula, Kale, Spinach, Peppers, Garlic. Yummy!

Did you know?

That yams can weigh up to 120 pounds a piece? Yikes!

Potatoes, Salad Mix, Peppers, Garlic, and of course –  Beets!

Did you know?
Lots of groups like to highlight the best things to buy organically – as in the foods that are treated the most heavily with pesticides. I like to check on the “Dirty Dozen”, which I have listed below for 2012.  Click here for the full list of heavily treated crops.

These are ordered with #1 being the absolute worst. Hence, why I get peppers, lettuce and potatoes as much as possible in our CSA!

1.Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4.Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Nectarines – Imported
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11.Blueberries – domestic
12.Potatoes

Almost Too Easy Bruschetta Grilled Chicken

This took me like, maybe 10 minutes to prep. SOOOO YUMMY!

Ingredients
4 small, local, organic chicken breasts
2 large, local, organic orange tomatoes (mine probably weighed 2 lbs together for perspective)
2 moderate to hot local, organic peppers – I used Czechoslovakian Black from our garden
15-20 small, organic, local basil leaves – I used variegated pesto basil from our garden
1 TBS local, organic garlic – chopped
4 TBS as fresh as you can get Parmesan, Asiago or Romano Cheese – I used a blend
Organic 4 color pepper
Sea Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste

1.) Mix it all in a bowl. Let sit in the fridge to chill. Grill chicken. Top grilled chicken with summer bruschetta. Done and done!

How’s that for simple! 🙂 Mine is pictured with Yukon Gold mash with dill and sautéed Swiss Chard.

Kelyn’s Rainbow Tomato Sauce

Ravioli with home-made sauce and dill butter garlic beans.

Sometimes in life, we just have to say I am sorry. I am SO SORRY that this recipe is late to the blog! I promised it to a few lovely patrons of the West Reading Farmer’s Market by 9 PM last evening, but alas, wedding decorating took over our home, and then my mother-in-law to be dropped off the first official bouquet of garden grown flower lovin’ for the wedding (next August), and to be honest, by the time I settled down, I was ready for sleepy-time. 🙂

With no further delay, here is the recipe for the best tomato sauce you will ever eat. I am a fan of tasting the vegetables, not overwhelming them with unnecessary seasoning. We just kept saying all of Saturday night, “Why isn’t there more!?!?!?”, and milling around the house like lost children, opening cupboards and expecting that maybe I somehow jarred some in my sleep. I hope you enjoy this simple and healthy recipe as much as I do.

Ingredients

The mix of veggies in the pot, pre-cooking.

1 quart mixed color heirloom, organic, local tomatoes (mine were largely yellow and orange, with a few red and purple)
1 large, local, organic carrot (mine was purple!!!)
1 small, local, organic sweet onion
1 large, local, green bell pepper (or 2 small ones)
1 extremely hot, local, organic hot pepper (adjust to your desired level)
1/2 a bunch of local, organic, basil – I used spicy bush, sweet Italian, and purple
6-8 cloves of local, organic garlic
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Cut all of the tomatoes into chunks. Everything will eventually go through a food processor or blender, so large sloppy chunks are AOK. You can also “Hulk Smash” with your hands, if you prefer. Put into a large sauce pot.
2. Chop up onion, carrot, peppers, basil and garlic. Add to the sauce pot. Drizzle with a bit of oil. Simmer over medium-ish heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like the fresh taste of the veggies, so I don’t simmer more than 30 minutes.   Once your skins on your tomatoes start to get wilty and weird, you are ready.
3. Remove from heat. If you are fearless like I am, you just pour this steaming hot pile of awesome directly into the food processor -otherwise let it cool for a few minutes. I use my Cuisinart on high for maybe 30 seconds, so that there are still some pieces of veg, but the food processor/blender is the trick to thickening it up. Check every 15 seconds until you hit your desired texture. IF YOU DO THIS HOT – BE CAREFUL! The steam can cause burns.
4. Serve over your favorite pasta with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. We ate it over cheese ravioli, and then I steamed green beans and added a garlic, dill butter that I like to make and keep around. I find that this needs no salt, but I also don’t eat very much processed food, and thereby which, find a lot of things to be too salty. Feel free to add some sea salt if needed!

Clockwise from garlic – garlic, tomatoes, Hungarian wax peppers, red gold potatoes, bag o basil

 

Did you know that the inside of purple carrots (see last weeks “What’s Cooking Wednesdays”) is actually not purple? 🙂

Purple carrots

Shocking Tomatoes

Some of our tomatoes

With our garden absolutely teeming with almost there ‘maters, it is about that time to start canning sauces, salsa and other tasty treats. One of my favorite additions to a salad are shocked tomatoes, marinated in a tasty vinaigrette. This is essentially just the first steps of making concasse, with a different end result. You can use any vinaigrette that you really like, but my two favorites are champagne or pomegranate.  This is an especially effective way to use your unsightly tomatoes. Once the skin is off and they are marinated, they’re all equally beautiful and yummy.

Ingredients
1 pint local, organic cherry tomatoes
1 bottle of your favorite organic vinaigrette, or if you are feeling bold, you could try this recipe for Champagne Vinaigrette from epicurious.

1. Cut the stem out of all tomatoes, and cut a small to medium “X” in the bottom of each of them. This is necessary to make it easy to remove the skin later. If your tomatoes have odd spots that you aren’t certain about, it is ok to cut those out as well.
2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with really icy ice water, and set aside. Once the pot of water is boiling, slide your tomatoes into it – gently but quickly.
3. Cook the tomatoes for no more than 1 minute. This is called blanching. It loosens the skin and makes it easy to peel off. If you are only doing a small amount, say a pint of cherry tomatoes, then it is probably going to take 30 seconds max. Your cue is when the skin around the “X” you cut starts to peel back and separate. As soon as this happens,  you are ready to transfer to ice water.
4. Put a lid over the pot and hold it over the sink to drain the water out (you can also use a colander, just be careful), then drop the tomatoes into the ice water, “shocking” them into not cooking anymore.
5. Once the tomatoes have cooled (a few minutes max  – leaving them in gives them the bloat), pull them from the ice water. Now it will be easy to peel their skin off (and compost or feed to chickens) where you cut your “X”.
6. Once skinned, place in a small bowl. Cover your tomatoes with vinaigrette until they are completely submerged in it. Refrigerate. You can eat them within an hour, but personally, I think they are better the next day. Eat as a snack, add to a salad,  or serve with other finger foods.

I’ve been making these for 6 or 7 years now, and every time people eat them, they are tickled pink. A nice, easy, healthy treat!

“I’m tired of people saying you can’t afford organic food. You know what you really can’t afford? Cancer.” – Patron of the West Reading Farmer’s Market

Seeing Green Peanut Noodles

With all of the yummy greens in the fridge, it’s been hard to even begin where to plan meals. The other day we made sandwiches, and when we sat down to eat, Eric said “Man, what’s wrong with this lettuce? Why is it so hard?” I took the piece of lettuce from him to discover he had pulled a leaf from the cabbage bag for his turkey sandwich. Something drastic had to happen! I had to catch up with our produce before we hit attack of the killer cabbage mode.

Veggie stir-fry

 

Ingredients
1 box of pasta, cooked. I wanted Udon noodles, but made do with spaghetti.

Stir Fry
1 small head of local, organic cabbage
3 cups local, organic arugula
3 local, organic carrots thinly sliced
1 head local organic tat soi
1 bunch local, organic Swiss Chard
1 small, local, organic onion in large slivers
6 cloves local, organic garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup white wine (I used home-made Gewürztraminer)

Peanut Sauce
5 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
1 cup hot water
8-10 large basil leaves from our garden
1 tsp organic  yellow curry
2 tsp organic sugar
a healthy squeeze of siracha
3 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Topping
Sesame Seeds
1 local, organic carrot shredded
2 local, organic garlic scapes cut into thin slivers
Soy Sauce to taste (optional)

1.) Tear the cabbage, arugula, tat soi and Swiss chard into large pieces. Wash greens thoroughly in a colander.  Shake off excess water and transfer to a large wok.
2.) Add onion, carrot, garlic, oil and wine to wok. Simmer over medium low heat, covered for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3.) In a separate small sauce pan, on low heat, combine all peanut sauce ingredients. Stir occasionally.
4.) While everything is cooking, prep the topping of sesame seeds, carrot and scapes tossed in a bowl.
5.) Pour the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish. If it is sticking together, add a bit of oil to spread it about.
6.) Add peanut sauce to wok, and incorporate into vegetables. It is OK if there is a bit of residual liquid in the wok, it is full of vitamins and will mix with the sauce.
7. Pour wok contents over pasta in the casserole dish. Sprinkle dry topping on the top. Serve with soy sauce on the side.Serves 4 - 6 people

Basil Explosion Pasta Salad

So per Monday’s post, Great Grandma’s Bastardized Pigeons, here is the recipe for the pasta salad.

Ingredients
1 box or bag cooked tri-color veggie pasta
1 head of organic, local kale washed and cut into thin ribbons
1 pint organic, local cherry tomatoes – halved
3 local, organic garlic scapes thinly sliced
1 can organic red beans
1 cup organic corn
1/2 a lime’s juice
3-5 sprigs of thyme (I used golden thyme from the garden. It’s lime-y)
As many basil leaves as you have! (I used sweet Italian from the garden – next time I’ll use two different types.)
Olive oil & Salt and pepper TT

1. Cook pasta, drain, let cool.
2. Add the scapes, beans and kale to a saute pan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil.
3. Once the kale starts to wilt, pull it all from the heat. Let it cool.
4. Add together the pasta, contents of the saute pan, tomatoes, corn, and herbs – you can cut the basil, or leave it whole – it’s up to your preference. I ripped the leaves in half. Drizzle with olive oil and half of a lime’s juice. Mix altogether, salt and pepper to taste,  and let cool in the fridge. “The longer it sits, the better it gets!”

​Great Grandma’s Bastardized Pigeons

Sorry folks, bad timing for a family emergency this past week. Back to our regularly scheduled programming!

So my great grandma used to make these things that she called “pigeons” – which sounds really gross, but really it is just a “stuffed pepper (or cabbage sometimes) gone Dutch.” As an adult, I find myself reverting to a lot of recipes I grew up on, but Kelyn-izing them to be healthier/more in line with what I like. To this end, below is my pigeon recipe. My grandma used to boil her rice in chicken broth, which gives great flavor, so this is something to try if you have it around. She also used Beef, if turkey isn’t your thing. We ate ours with a big garden salad and leftover Basil Pasta Salad (post to follow for this). Delicious!

Ingredients
6 large, organic, green peppers with the center stem cut out
Olive Oil
1 pound “all natural, grass-fed, free range” ground turkey
1 organic, local carrot – diced or shredded – I shred them
1 organic, local onion – diced
2 organic, local garlic scapes diced(or you can use regular garlic)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup local, organic smashed tomatoes ( I put them in a bowl and mash with a potato masher)
1/2 cup all natural, shredded, reduced fat jack or cheddar cheese
4-5 large, local sage leaves chopped
3-5 sprigs of local Thyme (depending on how long they are)
3-5 sprigs of organic, local  parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375. Brown your turkey over medium high heat with your carrots, garlic scapes, and onions in the pan. When you drain it, just be careful to not lose the veggies!
2. Add the rice, herbs and smashed tomatoes to the meat and veggies in the pan.  Stir through. It is ok if it is a bit runny, it will firm up in the pepper, but mostly it should be pretty good.  Salt and pepper to taste
3. For the peppers, I usually drop some oil in each, and then rub it around inside and out with a silicon brush to coat it. If you like really well-cooked peppers you can put them on a foil lined pan empty, and cook for 5-8 minutes before stuffing to soften them up. If you prefer a more crunchy texture, you can just fill them up and put them in the oven. We eat them a bit crunchy.
4. Cook for 30-35 minutes (depending on the pepper thickness) until they turn a lighter green. Pull them out, and top with a sprinkle of cheese on each. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
5. Let sit for a few minutes before serving so that they cheese can set. Voila! I can feel my grandma turning over in her grave going “No beef! No lard! No way!…and you add cheese! Pshaw…”, but in this day and age, I can only hope she would understand!

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