Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's in the box, 5/28/14 edition

What's really notable this week is what is not in the box.  There are no root vegetables that were grown last season.  Not a single carrot, turnip, or parsnip.  Look at all that green!
In this week's box: a big bag of mesclun (with a different mix of greens than last week), green garlic, bok choy (which the newsletter calls pak choi -- and some web searches have left me confused as to whether they are different varieties or just different English spellings), Easter egg radishes, broccoli greens,  Napa cabbage, mint, and a head of Boston lettuce. Many salads ahead this week, as well as a stir fry or two.

The newsletter from the farm this week says that the broccoli leaves can be treated like kale.  It also says that the bok choy/pak choi can be eaten raw, which I've not tried before.

With this many greens, tomatoes can't be far behind, can they?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nectarine, blueberry and feta salad

This week, we got a large bag of mesclun in the box.  It included baby arugula and pepper cress.  To compliment the peppery flavor, I decided to make a salad with nectarines, blueberries, and feta.
I seasoned the salad with pepper, olive oil, and a splash of peach flavored white balsamic vinegar.

I also made this salad with peaches and feta, which was also good.  I think it's the peach balsamic that really makes the salad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's in the box, 5/21/14 edition

In today's box... turnips!  (Okay, there were no turnips last week either.  Let me enjoy the second turnip-free box in a row.)

Instead of turnips, there are carrots, parsnips, breakfast radishes, mesclun, lettuce, fava bean greens, and green garlic.  Fava bean greens are new to me.  Will have to do some searching about those.

Kohlrabi greens

I have not been a huge fan of kohlrabi, so I will admit that I was not excited to see bunches of young kohlrabi leaves in the past two boxes.  However, I was making grits for dinner, and thought that the greens would go well with them.  I took out the two bunches, washed and spun them.
Then removed the stems....
...and cut them into thin strips.  Roll the leaves together into a long strip to make this step easier.
I decided to sauté them with some olive oil and salt. 
Midway through the cooking process, with mushrooms and onions cooking on the left.
And done, in just a few minutes.
I served the kohlrabi greens with the grits (cooked using Emeril's recipe) and mushrooms cooked with vidalia onions.  Husband also had some brisket with his.
After enjoying them cooked this way, I would be happy to see kohlrabi greens make an appearance in a future box.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rhubarb and strawberry compote

One of the recent boxes had a bunch of rhubarb in it.  
When I was young, we'd eat it raw, dipping the end into a bowl of sugar.  I think we were mostly eating the sugar.  Now that I'm older, I prefer to eat it cooked, with a bit less sugar.

Wash and chop the rhubarb.  I had about 4 cups.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water.  Cook over medium to low heat, stirring frequently, until they start to soften.
I then added one pound of chopped fresh strawberries and cooked for another five minutes or so.
Here's what it looked like after cooking.  You should taste it at this point, as you might want to add a bit more sugar.  It was on the tart side, but I decided not to add sugar, as the ice cream would be a sweet addition.
Let cool (it can still be warm, but not piping hot) and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, May 19, 2014


(No farm ingredients were harmed in the making of this post, although shredded carrots often make appearances in Jell-O molds.)

Recently, my mom gave me her Tupperware Jell-O molds, so I went all out for a party this past weekend.
In the front of the photo, there is a pineapple lime Jell-O "salad", made with a package of lime Jell-O (a.k.a., "green jello"), an 8 oz package of cream cheese, 1 cup of mini-marshmallows, a drained can of crushed pineapple, and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. A time warp from my childhood to present day, in one wreath-shaped mold.

In the back of the photo, a layered Jell-O "salad" (seriously, who thought to call these salads?). On the top, which was the first flavor to go into the mold, is cherry ("red") Jell-O. After that set, I put in lemon (or "yellow") with a can of mandarin oranges added. (I wasn't kidding about the lack of fresh farm veggies in these....)  Finally, I added a layer of grape ("purple"). While it looked pretty, I think the grape flavor was a bit overwhelming, plus the purple was a bit dark. I think ending with an orange layer would have looked much nicer, like a sunset.

People seemed to enjoy them, but many waited to have them with dessert, rather than eating them with the meal. I suppose you had to grow up in earlier decades to appreciate Jell-O as an accompaniment to dinner.

I've been collecting Jell-O cookbooks for a while now. (I've also read a book about the history of Tupperware.) I learned from one from the 1960s that there used to be vegetable flavored Jell-O, but my mom doesn't remember that. Maybe they were only available in certain areas of the country?  I just found this ad for vegetable flavored Jell-o on the web. I wonder how long those flavors were available. (Yes, I could probably learn with a bit more web searching, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.)

Scrambled eggs with garlic chives

Recently, we got a bunch of garlic chives in the box. I've never cooked with them before. Searching for "garlic chives" on the web returns many examples of cooking them with scrambled eggs, so I decided to try that.

I washed and chopped the garlic chives.
Then scrambled six eggs with salt and pepper. The eggs I used were from Lilac Hedge Farm.
I started by cooking the garlic chives in a bit of olive oil for about a minute to wilt them.
 Then I added the eggs...
...and cooked them until they were done.
The garlic chives were a bit stronger than regular chives, but still worked well with the scrambled eggs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More quiche: asparagus, ramp, and feta

On Mother's Day, we hosted a brunch at our house.  I made two quiches.  One was filled with oven dried cherry tomatoes (made last summer, stored in the freezer) and swiss cheese.  The other was filled with ramps, asparagus, and feta.  I followed the same basic recipe that I've posted for quiche before, just with different fillings.

I washed and prepped the ramps and asparagus.  For the ramps, I separated the bulbs from the leaves, then chopped both.  I also cut the asparagus into thin rounds.
Then I sauteed the ramp bulbs for a minute or then, then added the asparagus.  After a few minutes more, I added the ramp leaves and cooked for a minute until they were wilted.  Then I took the pan off the heat.
Once your pie shells are pre-baked (go back to see the original recipe, if you haven't already), add your fillings.  The back on in the photo below has dried cherry tomatoes and swiss cheese.  The front has the ramp and asparagus filling with feta.
Add the egg and milk mixture and bake, according to the original recipe.
Enjoy.  Try your own fillings as well.  If you come up with good combinations, please leave them in the comments below.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What's in the box, 5/14/14 edition

Greetings.  I'm a bit behind in posting some of the recent recipes.  I'll catch up soon.  For now, here's what was in yesterday's box:
Asparagus, carrots, parsnips, red popcorn on the cob, a bunch of thyme, kohlrabi greens, a small bag of sorrel, and a bag of stinging nettles (which came with a warning label on the bag and a piece of duct tape across the top to reinforce the message - I've never had them before, but apparently they are bad to handle raw and must be cooked before eating - the fugu of the vegetable world?).

Friday, May 9, 2014

Best. Husband. Ever.

I have the best husband in the world.  After I have made many expressions of annoyance with my crappy blender, he bought me a new Vitamix blender.

After unboxing, I tried it out by making watermelon slush.
I put chunks of watermelon and some ice cubes in the blender.  I also added a very small amount of sugar, as the early season watermelon isn't all that sweet.  Then I turned on the blender.
So fast!  So well blended!
I have the best husband (and not just because he buys me cool appliances).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Links: pasta e ceci, spring pastas, and new things in the box

A few thoughts with links:

This post from Food 52 with 10 spring pastas makes me want to cook more pasta.  While the ramp pasta includes pancetta, I note that the recipe calls for cutting the ramps into long thin strips, which I may try with the ramps we got in yesterday's box.  Or perhaps I'll make some ramp pesto, although I generally prefer to see the ramps, rather than blending them in a way that makes them seem like many other vegetables.

I had horchata in Costa Rica last year.  I keep wanting to try to make some, but never have.  This recipe for strawberry horchata seems like a good one.  

For the past few years, I've been making pasta e ceci from this recipe recommended by my Italian friend.  While the photos in that post make it look soup-like, mine is always a bit thicker, with the blended chickpeas more like a loose pasta sauce than soup, which I prefer.

Apparently garlic chives are also known as Chinese chives.  Here's a recipe for cooking them with eggs, as well as some info about them.  Given the comparison of them to ramps, I'm wondering if it would make sense to combine them with ramps or, perhaps more interestingly, make two sauces for pasta to compare ramps to the garlic chives.

I also searched for kohlrabi greens, as we got some in the box and they are new to me, finding a recipe for stir frying them with some toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.  It appears that one should cook kohlrabi greens, as I can't find recipes for using them raw.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What's in the box, 5/7/14 edition

Today's box (and blurry photo) contains...
...parsnips, carrots, Gilfeather rutabagas, eggs, rhubarb, ramps (hooray!), garlic chives, and kohlrabi greens.  I don't think I've had garlic chives or kohlrabi greens before.

While I had made a dent in the fridge stock a few weeks back, I have fallen quite behind with the parsnips and carrots.  Will have to share with our guests this weekend, both cooked for meals and raw to take home.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spicy peanut noodles

Food and Wine magazine published a recipe for Joanne Chang's spicy peanut noodles in its November 2009 issue.  The link will be the best way for you to read the recipe, but I wanted to include a photo of my recipe binder here.
I modify Joanne Chang's recipe a bit, skipping the sugar in the peanut sauce and adding whatever veggies I have to the top of the noodles.  This time, I used julienned daikon radish, slices of yellow and orange carrot, and some chopped chives.  If I have cilantro in the fridge, I'll use it, but I don't put the rice vinegar on it.

Here's what I use to make the peanut sauce:
3/4 c peanut butter (smooth)
6 T seasoned rice vinegar
6 T soy sauce
1/4 c water (I use warm water)
1 T toasted sesame oil
2 t red pepper flakes (cut down if you'd like it to be less spicy)
1 garlic clove, minced
You can also add a piece of ginger if you have it.  I like the sauce without ginger as well.

Mix everything in a blender while your pasta is boiling (or before - the sauce can sit for a while, even for a couple of days in the fridge, according to Joanne Chang's recipe).  I tend to use whole grain spaghetti, which comes in packages smaller than a pound, meaning that I have more sauce on my noodles than if one used a full pound of spaghetti as the original recipe calls for.  

Once the pasta is finished, drain it and put it into your serving bowl.  Blend the peanut sauce again quickly, then pour it over the noodles and mix well.  Top with chopped fresh vegetables.
Husband usually cooks a chicken breast to put on top of the noodles; I eat mine vegetarian. Leftovers eaten cold make a great lunch.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Greek yogurt with chives

Adding chopped chives and a bit of freshly ground pepper to non-fat greek yogurt makes a great topping for potatoes, some soups (e.g., carrot soup), and salmon.  I'm sure it could be used for other things as well, maybe even on a bagel, although I've not tried it.
The key is to let the chives sit for an hour (or more) before using the yogurt.  Before then, the flavor won't have had a chance to permeate the yogurt.  It's even better after sitting overnight.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Signs of spring: asparagus

We inherited a small asparagus patch on our land.  For the past few weeks, I've been watching for spears to start poking up.  Today, one was finally tall enough to cut (the one on the right in the photo below).
When we get just a few spears (or one), I eat it raw by slicing it thinly and adding it to a salad.  The raw asparagus tastes a bit like raw peas.
Tonight, I made a salad of just tomatoes and the asparagus spear, with a bit of olive oil and salt.

Red peppers, pecorino romano and scrambled eggs

Many years ago, I read a recipe for scarmbled eggs with roasted red peppers and pecorino romano, made by a mom for her family with many teenage boys, saying that the eggs are good both warm and cold (for the late risers).  I thought it was in the Boston Globe, but I can't find a link to it after multiple searches.

Over the years, I've adapted the recipe a bit (and don't have the original recipe anywhere).  Instead of roasting the peppers, I saute them in olive oil at a low heat until they are soft.  This morning, I used two red peppers.
Once the peppers are soft, add eggs beaten with salt and pepper.  I used 6 eggs for 2 red peppers, but you can adjust to make the number of servings that you need.
Once the eggs are cooked, add some pecorino romano cheese.
Two of us had this for breakfast, served with toast, then the leftovers were eaten cold for lunch the next day, meaning we had three good sized helpings from two red peppers and six eggs.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spinach with almonds and raisins

This week, there was a bag of spinach in the box.  I cleaned it, taking off the stems, then sauteed it with a bit of olive oil, golden raisins, and some slivered almonds (the ones from Trader Joe's, which conveniently come with no skin on the almonds).
Some of the leaves stuck to the bottom of the pan a bit during cooking, as I had used just a little oil and the spinach had dried before I started cooking it.  A little water would have prevented that from happening, except.... The spinach was better this way.  It didn't have the waterlogged quality that cooked spinach can have. So I think it is better to take a chance on a leaf or two sticking to the bottom - I scraped them off with the tongs while stirring.
At dinner, husband asked me to "pass the salad," meaning the spinach.  I hesitated, then told him it was spinach, as he does not like spinach at all (and can even detect when it's been mixed into other dishes surreptitiously).  He said he'd try it... and he liked it!  Raisins and almonds for the win!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Turnip cakes

I have finally discovered a way to cook purple top turnips so that both of us enjoy them!  At the suggestion of my sister-in-law, I tried the daikon cake recipe, substituting grated turnip for the grated daikon radish.
I let the salted, grated turnip sit in the fridge for a few hours, instead of the minimum half hour suggested in the recipe, as I've found turnips to have a high water content.  I also squeezed out as much water as I could before mixing the grated turnip with the other ingredients.

The result:
They were delicious.  Husband commented that the turnip tasted more radish-like than the daikon radish had.

I'm happy to find a way to cook purple top turnips that we both enjoy, although I'm continuing the search, as we don't want to eat fried foods all that often and we have accumulated many purple top turnips over the past few weeks.