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Thank you “Better Homes & Gardens” for this really tasty recipe!  We all enjoyed it for supper tonight, and recommend it heartily to you!

Beet, Blue Cheese and Almond Salad

  • 7 medium beets
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • salt
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces creamy blue cheese (we didn’t put in this much, and we thought it was perfect with less)
  • 2-4 ounces of toasted almonds sliced or slivers, you choose
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, arugula, or cilantro

Trim and peel beets. Cut six beets in bite sized pieces. Place in a steamer rack over  a pot of boiling water. Cover the pot and steam for 20-25 minutes until tender.

Coarsely grate the remaining beet, place in a large bowl. For dressing, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste, add to grated beet along with the oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. When the beets are cooked, toss them with the dressing. Cool to room temperature.

Crumble blue cheese over the salad and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Makes 6 servings

This recipe is from the book Farmstead Chef.  My mom made it for her neighbors.  She thought it was good, and would make it again, but she said it would be even better with bacon crumbled into it too to give it a stronger flavor.  Our CSA member Lynn is one of the aforementioned neighbors, and she liked it so much she asked that I post it here.

I admit, before retyping it from the book, I googled it and found it already typed up here.  (I borrowed their picture too.)

Warm Zucchini Dip from the Farmstead Chef cookbook

Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh zucchini (or any summer squash), shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or any hard granular cheese)
  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, finely chopped (I used a mixture of orange, red and yellow)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil or non-stick spray for preparing the pan
  • Pita chips and sliced raw vegetables for dipping (such as carrots, cauliflower, peppers, rutabaga, kohlrabi, cucumbers, Hakurei turnips, or even blanched green beans).
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Toss the zucchini and the salt in a large bowl. Let sit for an hour to extract the water from the zucchini. (There will be a lot of water.)
  3. Drain the zucchini and press out any excess water.
  4. Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, cheese, peppers, green onions, garlic and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
  5. Prepare an 8-inch baking dish by lightly oiling it with canola oil or coating with non-stick spray.
  6. Spread the dip evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees, or until bubbly.
    Serve hot with pita chips and a variety of fresh, raw vegetables for dipping.
YIELD: 8 appetizer servings.
Here’s a recipe that some kid gardeners made me — it was delicious and offered a different taste family than the usual Minnesota quick marinated cucumbers.  The recipe is originally from Martha Stewart.
The longer the cucumbers have to soak up the flavors of the marinade the more delicious they will be.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart’s website.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 Israeli or Kirby cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

Directions

  1. In a shallow dish whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and cayenne. Add the cucumber, scallion, and garlic. Stir to combine. Press down and spread out cucumbers in dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour but up to 2 days.

Technically I think this would be called a Frittata, not a Quiche, since there is no crust.

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 2-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound greens, such as kale or spinach. Fresh or frozen.
  • (optional) 1 pound spiced meat, such as hot italian sausage, chorizo, italian or breakfast ground pork, venison or beef. If starting with unseasoned ground meat, add in some dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, hot pepper flakes or cayenne powder, fennel seed, black pepper, etc.
  • (optional) approx. 1 cup sweet peppers, chopped. Fresh or frozen.
  • (optional) dried tomatoes, broken into quarter-sized pieces
  • (optional) 1/2 – 2 cups grated or cubed cheese, such as parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella.
  • (optional) fresh herbs you need to use up, like basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, etc.
  • salt and pepper

As of this writing, I have made this four times and had consistently great results with this method:

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 9×9 pan with butter or coconut oil.
  3. Using butter or coconut oil, saute onions, garlic, (optional) sweet peppers and (optional) sausage or ground meat until onions are soft and meat is browned.
  4. (optional) add in chopped dehyrated/sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Add about 1 pound of coarsely chopped greens like kale or spinach.  If using frozen, either thaw and squeeze off extra water, or in a pinch just cook off the extra moisture in the pan.  Only cook until bright green (or until enough moisture is gone) since they will be getting more cooking in the oven too.
  6. Crack 12 eggs into a bowl, EXCEPT! for 3-6 eggs first separate the whites into a different bowl.
  7. Add salt, pepper, and 1/2 can of coconut milk to the yolks & eggs, and beat with a fork or whisk until well scrambled.
  8. With the separated egg whites, beat or whisk until frothy and foamy. [This helps the quiche to be light and fluffy.]
  9. Pour the frothy egg whites into the yolky egg mixture, and gently stir together a bit.
  10. Pour the eggs into the 9×9 pan.
  11. Add the onions/meat/greens/etc.
  12. (optional) Add grated or cubed cheese like parmesan, cheddar, or mozzarella.
  13. (optional) Add any fresh herbs you are trying to use up.
  14. Gently stir or poke the added ingredients under the eggs, so they don’t burn while baking.
  15. Bake at 350 until knife inserted in center comes out clean. This takes 30-60 minutes??  Usually the quiche will be beautifully puffed up in the oven, but will collapse as it cools.  This is normal, don’t worry.  Also, if it is not quite done in the middle but the top is getting so browned you have to take it out, that’s OK. It will firm up a bit more as it sits in the pan on the counter to cool.  Or, in a pinch, when you get to that piece in the middle that still has runny egg, just microwave to re-heat and finish off the cooking at the same time!
  16. Eat hot right away, or cold throughout the week as a quick grab-and-go healthy meal!  This is a super satisfying meal in that it is nutritious, does not spike your blood sugar, and keeps you full for a long time. It is what I refer to as “long-burning fuel.”

My Grandma Vangie made this recipe for us at lunch today, and it was totally DELICIOUS!  Best of all, the four garden ingredients are in your box this week — just waiting for you to make Creamy Cucumbers!

 

Creamy Cucumbers
from the St. Pat’s church cookbook

2 cukes or 1 long seedless cuke
1 med onion
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Thinly slice cucumbers and onion.  Mix into vinegar, salt and sugar.  Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain off the liquid.  Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, dill and parsley.  Pour onto cucumbers and mix.  Makes about 2 ½ cups.

What to do with all the bok choy we’ve been blessed with lately, from CSA member Lynn:

 Unwrapped Spring Roll Salad 

1 pack thin rice noodles – cook and save some of the water.
2 small bunches of Bok Choy thinly sliced including the greens.
1 bunch green onions thinly sliced including some of the green.
1 cup diced cucumber.
1 grated carrot.
handful of chopped mint
handful of chopped cilantro

Toss together. 

Make a dressing using:

½ cup of the reserved water
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup Hoisin sauce (or less depending on your taste)
And for a little kick a dash of garlic chili sauce

If serving later, wait to add the dressing.   I had some shrimp left over from the night before so I tossed these in with the salad.  You could add just about any vegetable.

You can thank your farmer (and my mom) Carol for finding this recipe!

Fennel Salsa

Ingredients
1 English (seedless) cucumber, diced
1 large fennel bulb, diced
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pickled banana peppers, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine the cucumber, fennel, avocado, red onion, banana peppers,
cilantro, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow mixture
to sit 20 minutes before serving.

In your box this week:

  1. LAST OF:  Tomatoes
  2. LAST OF:  Potatoes
  3. LAST OF:  Cilantro
  4. LAST OF:  Basil
  5. Mint
  6. Thyme
  7. Fennel
  8. NEW!  Sage
  9. NEW!  Onion Chives
  10. NEW!  Parsley
  11. Kale
  12. Beans
  13. Cucumbers (LAST OF??)
  14. Zucchini / Summer Squash (LAST OF??)
  15. Carrots
  16. Arugula
  17. Peppers:  All of them this week are sweet EXCEPT the long skinny green Cayenne Hot Pepper

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HERB CONFUSION??  We can help!

From Left to Right:

  1. Basil: Fresh, dried, frozen (chop in food processor first).  Use in pesto, Italian dishes, sauces, soups.
  2. Onion Chives: Best used fresh.  Chop up fresh as garnish for salad, potatoes, or tacos, etc.  Can also be used cooked.
  3. Mint: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Mint calms an upset stomach.  Dry it and then crumble it into a jar for later use.  Last winter I had food poisoning and mint tea helped A LOT.  I went through almost a quart of dried mint leaves in a week, and was SO GLAD I had them on hand in the cupboard.
  4. Thyme: Fresh or dried.  Usually used cooked, such as in Italian dishes, hotdishes, and soups.
  5. Cilantro: Best fresh, could probably be dried?  Use it fresh in salsa, spring rolls, quesadillas, with fruit, in cornbread, or as a last second addition to sautes or soups.  Cilantro also makes a great pesto!
  6. Parsley: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Another good pesto candidate!  Also used in Italian dishes, soups, sprinkled in salads (try it!), or just generally added to pretty much anything.
  7. Sage: Fresh, dried, frozen.  Use it in fall cooking, like with squash soup, potato dishes, and meat things.

FRESH:  Keep fresh by putting it in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Basil is picky–wet leaves turn black in the fridge.  Sometimes it works well to put basil in a vase on your counter.  Or put a towel around it in the bag to catch condensation.

DRIED:  Just hang the bunch upside down in a place that gets some air movement but that is out of direct sunlight.  Stagnant air could facilitate molding, and the sun zaps nutrition and flavor.  If you are like me, you always think, “Of course I will remember what herb this is!” but then when it is all dried up it is hard to tell if it was Oregano or Mint or Parsley or what.  So just LABEL IT now and thank yourself later.

FROZEN:  I have found it easiest to chop up the dry herb with a food processor, and then put in a bag in the freezer.  No water or oil mixed in means the herbs stay crumbly and I can just scoop out however much I want.  The super deluxe way of preventing them from clumping up would be to pour the ground-up herbs onto a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze them flat, and then pour them into a plastic bag after they are frozen.  Some people like to freeze them as pesto, or in oil or water, perhaps in an ice cube tray, and then transfer the frozen herb cubes into a plastic bag.

Share your tasty discoveries and inspire your fellow CSA members!  To get the ball rolling, here are FOUR recipe ideas from CSA member Melanie:

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I’m absolutely loving my first ever harvest from my first ever CSA!! I’m so glad I joined. I’m pretty much obsessed with food and cooking so I thought I’d give you all a couple new recipes that I came up with this week. On Monday I could not wait to eat my baby bok choi so I made a Asian dish with it (one of my favorite cuisines).

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VEGGIE LO MEIN
4 oz. soba noodles, cooked, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tsp light olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, any kind, sliced
1/2 cup onions, any kind, chopped ( I used some of this weeks green parts)
4 radishes, chopped (I used the icicle radishes)
1 baby bok choy, sliced thickly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce (or molasses could work too)
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
1/2 tsp sugar
squirt of Sirracha or other hot sauce
cilantro, optional garnish
chopped peanuts, optional garnish

Heat oil in a skillet or wok over med high until almost smoking (use lower heat if you pan is non-stick, which I don’t recommend). Add mushrooms and leave them alone, without stirring for a couple minutes until browned nicely on the bottom. Toss around the pan and after another couple minutes add the onions and radishes. Cook a few minutes, then add the bok choy and garlic. Mix together the oyster sauce, sesame oil, liquid aminos, sugar and hot sauce. Pour the sauce over the veggies and toss. Add the noodles and toss until coated and heated through. Garnish and eat. Serves 2.

Tonight I was trying to use up some leftover cheese and remembered a recipe I saw on Alton Brown’s show Good Eats called FROMMAGE FORT.

It is a cheese dip that uses up 1 lb of assorted leftover cheese, any kind!! And along with some white wine and garlic I added some lemon thyme instead of the parsley. YUM!!

I’m thinking that if I don’t eat it all tonight it would be an excellent idea for

FANCY MAC AND CHEESE:
Make some pasta but save a little of the cooking water. Stir in some of the cheese dip into the drained noodles with some lamb’s quarters, some of the pasta cooking water and a dash of lemon.

I’ll also be eating RADISH SANDWICHES tomorrow in honor of my grandma:
Mix softened butter with some minced radishes and spread over your favorite bread, OR just put some thinly sliced radishes over buttered bread, sprinkle with salt and eat!

Happy gardening and even happier eating!

Melanie Foster

Mom, Dad, and I went down to LaCrosse last weekend for the annual Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference.  It is always a good time full of excellent food, informative workshops, and meeting up with other farmers.  I personally find it inspiring to see the diversity of people involved with organic farming:  young and old, rural and urban, red and blue, dreadlocked and beer-bellied, talkative and stoic, community organizers and self-sufficient livers.  Sustainable farming is good for the land, providing us with healthy food and a more robust local economy.  By keeping your food dollar circulating within the local community, you are directly helping to create a healthier food system and higher quality of life for all of us — you the eater and us the growers, but also the non-local food eaters who still benefit by having cleaner water, more wildlife habitat, and more resilient rural and urban economies.  I think part of the reason that sustainable farmers are a diverse crew is that a vibrant local economy is something that people from all walks of life can agree is a good thing.

This year we had a few things in mind to focus on, so we went to sessions about pastured poultry, hoophouse season extension, and permaculture orchard design.  There was also a really nice panel discussion of and for CSA farmers.  Partly because of that discussion, there have been some new collaboration and support initiatives for CSA farmers that deliver to the Twin Cities, such as peer-mentoring options and potlucks for farmers.  A few of us are also hoping that we could hold a CSA-specific conference in LaCrosse the day before the usual annual conference begins.

I love being a farmer in Minnesota, and having the winter to rest, dream, study, plan, organize, and collaborate.  I honestly don’t know how they do it year-round in warmer places.  The annual organic conference is one of the signs that spring is right around the corner.  We are tapping maple trees right now, and getting ready to start the onion seeds next weekend.  Another growing season is upon us, and as the days get longer and longer we too are feeling more energized and excited.  Here we go again for another trip around the sun!

Looking forward to sharing the growing season with you,
Chris.

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