Sisters Hill Farm 2018 CSA: Week 8

Today was the first pickup we’ve had in the thunderstorm. Thank goodness for a storage shed nearby that we could use as a pickup location!

Here’s what we received this week:

  • Fennel – The licorice taste of fennel is great in a salad. I like to thinly shave it and toss with some lettuce, parsley, bell pepper, radishes, lemon juice, and olive oil. You can also braise it with stock and white wine, but I prefer it fresh.
  • CabbageHomemade sauerkraut.
  • Basil and tomatoesCaprese sounds pretty good in this hot weather.
  • Cucumbers – I already ate one with some salt tonight. I’m going to eat at least another one of these that way, too. One of my favorite snacks. The other two I’ll probably make into dill pickles.
  • Eggplant, pepper, onion, zucchini, and cilantro – I want to make a maqluba, a middle eastern chicken and rice dish. Dinner in an Instant has an Instant Pot version I’ve been wanting to try.
  • Lettuce, greens, and tomatoes – As always, salads! I’ll spice it up this week with the fennel above.

What I’m Doing With My CSA Shares: Week 22

This is the final week! We’re going to miss our fresh veggies over the winter. We signed up for a Winter CSA through Farm Bridge, so we won’t be totally out in the cold. They purchase fresh vegetables throughout the summer to package and freeze, then they deliver them to local pick-up spots once a month. We’ll pick up the first share in December.

What we got in our final Peace and Carrots 2017 share:

  • Potatoes – I combined these with some of the parsley from last week and made German Potato Salad.
  • Garlic – Added it to the pantry. I’m using the oldest ones first. I might take a few of these and plant them over the weekend. (They are the Rocambole variety).
  • Kale – This will likely go in some sort of kale and lentil soup.
  • Rutabaga – I used half of this, one celeriac, some turnips, some potatoes, and a fennel bulb in a root vegetable gratin.
  • Brussels Sprouts – I pulled these off the stalk and am going to roast them.
  • Celeriac – I used this, half of a rutabaga, some turnips, some potatoes, and a fennel bulb in a root vegetable gratin.
  • Fennel – I use one of the fennel bulbs in the aforementioned root vegetable gratin.

What I’m Doing With My CSA Shares: Week 21

This is the second to last week of the CSA!

Here is what we got and what I’m doing with it:

  • Celeriac – I’ll combine this with the rutabaga, fennel, some turnips, and potatoes to make a root vegetable gratin.
  • Rutabaga – I’ll combine this with the celeriac, fennel, some turnips, and potatoes to make a root vegetable gratin.
  • Rainbow 🌈 Chard – Amanda combined this with two different types of kale we had in the fridge, washed it, cut it up, froze half of it, and put it in the fridge so we can quickly use it during the week. We used some this morning for a frittata.
  • Fennel – Amanda cut the tops off of this to freeze and add to a vegetable broth. I’ll thinly slice the bulb and add it to the aforementioned vegetable gratin.
  • Carrots đŸ„•- These will probably end up in soups of some sort. Pasta e fagioli or lentil and sausage soups are standouts.
  • Red peppers đŸŒ¶ – I’ll probably freeze these to make roasted red pepper and tomato soup.
  • Garlic – Added to the pantry collection.
  • Brussels Sprouts – I’ll roast these one night this week with olive oil for 20 minutes at 400F.
  • Parsley – I’ll probably add this to pasta e fagioli or a lentil and sausage soup.
  • Butternut Squash – I’ll probably save this for Thanksgiving. I love to peel it, chunk it up, and roast it with pearl onions, cranberries, and nutmeg.

What I Did With My CSA Shares: Weeks 15-20

I’ve been a slacker and let six weeks of CSA posts stack up. For most of that time I was traveling either during the week, on the weekend, or both, so I just snapped photos and resolved to post about it later. After driving up to the Peace and Carrots Farm (our CSA provider) today for their Harvest Fest, I decided that I shouldn’t wait any longer.

Week 15

We used all of this except the potatoes in a giant salad that we took with us on road trip up to Maine. We tossed in some grilled chicken and were on our way! When we came home a week later, we used the potatoes in a breakfast skillet.

Week 16

We missed week 16 because we were up in Maine on vacation. I’m sure the veggies were gorgeous as always!

Week 17

The day we got this share we had to drive to Ohio for a birthday party, so we took one of the Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, the shishitos, and the jalapeños to my parents.

The rest:

  • Celeriac – I peeled it, chopped it, and put it in a veggie soup a few weeks later.
  • Garlic – We put it in the pantry with our large garlic store for winter!
  • Bell peppers đŸŒ¶- We put these in a veggie soup and cut up some for a breakfast skillet a few weeks later.
  • Broccoli đŸ„Š – We tossed the florets with olive oil and roasted them at 400F for 15 minutes, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and pecorino cheese afterward.
  • Radishes – We sliced these up and put them on chorizo potato tacos 🌼.
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin – We intended to roast this and save it for pies, scones, and bread, but it started to rot before we could get to it 😔

Week 18

The day we got this share we drove to Virginia for a wedding, so this stuff was promptly put in the fridge for use the following week.

  • Tatsoi – I chopped this up and added it to a veggie soup the following week.
  • Delicata Squash – Roasted and topped with brown butter and fried sage.
  • Brussels Sprouts – I roasted them at 400F for 20 minutes with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Peas – I chopped these up and added them to a big pot of veggie soup.
  • Spinach – We froze this to use later this year with creamed spinach or chickpea, spinach, and ginger stew.
  • Carrots – Chopped up and put in the veggie soup.
  • Garlic – We put it in the pantry with the rest to use this winter

Week 19

  • Cabbage – Chopped up and put in a large veggie soup.
  • Fennel – Chopped in half and simmered in the veggie soup broth before all the veggies were added. It is also pretty good braised in chicken broth and eaten as a side, or shaved and put in a salad.
  • Garlic – Saved in the pantry.
  • Hot Peppers đŸŒ¶ – Chopped up in tacos and breakfast skillets.
  • Spinach – We froze this to use later this year with creamed spinach or chickpea, spinach, and ginger stew.
  • Celeriac – We saved this and it will most likely get chopped up for a soup.
  • Yellow sweet peppers – We added three of these in a breakfast skillet and will probably freeze the other one with some other leftover peppers.
  • Brussels Sprouts – We are going to roast these in a little olive oil for 20 minutes at 400F and season with salt and pepper.
  • Kale – We have a bunch of greens, so we’ll probably make a big batch of greens sautĂ©ed with garlic and bacon.

Week 20

  • Delicata Squash – Roasted and topped with brown butter and fried sage. Or roasted and purĂ©ed into a vegetable mash.
  • Jerusalem Artichokes – These are tricky. I’ve only had them once before and I didn’t like how I prepared them (as part of a veggie mash). I talked to the farmer today and she prefers to roast them whole, so that is what I’ll probably try this time.
  • Turnips – I like them roasted and I like them diced up in veggie soup. I’ll probably do half and half.
  • Radishes – We are making flank steak tomorrow, so I might slice these and add them to a guacamole or I might make some radish slaw.
  • Turnip Greens – See below.
  • Lacinato Kale – I’ll probably take a bunch of greens I have in the fridge and saute them with garlic and bacon. Maybe some peppers, too. Though I could take this kale and make a quick breakfast with it.
  • Jalapeños – I’ll probably add this to some guacamole and add them to other dishes to give some heat.
  • Spinach – I’ll probably make creamed spinach later this week.
  • Sweet Peppers – We’ll use some of these in a breakfast skillet, but then we’ll chop up the rest and freeze them for this winter.
  • Celeriac – We already have one of these in the fridge right now, so I’ll probably peel this one, dice it up, and freeze it for soup.

What I’m Doing With My CSA Shares: Weeks 12 and 13

Week 12

  • Heirloom tomatoes: We sliced these up for caprese salad with mozzarella and basil.
  • Regular tomatoes: We combined some of these with tomatoes from previous weeks and canned them for winter.
  • Green peppers: We ate these in breakfast skillets.
  • Jalapeños: We cut these up to put in cauliflower fried rice.
  • Green tiger tomatoes: We put these in the corn, tomato, basil and Old Bay salad.
  • Cherry tomatoes and lettuce: Salad!
  • Garlic: We saved this for later in the year.

Week 13

  • Bok Choy: I’ll saute this with some garlic as a side dish or include it in my next stir fry.
  • Shishito peppers: I’ll roast these and eat them with salt!
  • Parsley: I’ll probably roast some potatoes and toss them with parsley and butter.
  • Green Peppers: I put most of these in a tomatillo albondigas soup. Post coming soon. We’ll cut up and freeze the rest.
  • Jalapenos: I put most of these in a tomatillo albondigas soup. Post coming soon.
  • Green tiger tomatoes: I put these into a soup with lentils and eggplant.
  • Regular tomatoes: I put these into a soup with lentils and eggplant.
  • Watermelon: We’ll cut it up and savor the end of summer.

What I’m Doing with My CSA Shares: Week 1

As I wrote about earlier this year, I love being a part of a CSA. Figuring out what to do with the shares each week is a fun little puzzle. This year I’m going to write about what I plan to do with the weekly shares.

Here is what we got this first week and what I plan on doing with it:

  • Radishes
    • We love radishes. We’ll put some in a salad with the romaine, slice them on tacos, or quick pickle them.
  • Romaine Lettuce
    • We’ll use some of this for a salad and the larger leaves for wraps for tacos or some Asian lettuce wraps.
  • Kale
  • Oregano
    • Fresh oregano is wonderful. I’ll add it to a chimichurri with some fresh parsley from our garden, season some chicken for tacos, combine it with the oregano to marinate chicken, or add it to a cherry tomato pasta sauce.
  • Broccoli Rabe
    • I usually saute broccoli rabe with garlic and crushed red pepper for a side dish.
  • Green Garlic
    • I’ll saute this with the broccoli rabe, add some to a chimichurri, or make a marinade for chicken with the oregano.

The shares will be small these first few weeks because we’ve had an unusually cold spring. They’ll pick up and be larger as the season goes on. I’m looking forward to going to the grocery store less now!

Whole 30 Cauliflower Mash with Garlic and Rosemary

One thing you need to learn to do when you embark on a Whole 30 is make all kinds of new sides so that you get enough vegetables in your diet. We’ve found that cauliflower is super versatile and takes on the flavor of things you add to it. This makes it a great candidate to turn into a mash.

This doesn’t mean you are trying to mimic mashed potatoes. These don’t taste like mashed potatoes, but this a great side dish that stands on its own.

Whole 30 Cauliflower Mash with Garlic and Rosemary

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary (both dried and fresh work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon of each for a large head of cauliflower)
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  1. Get your vegetable steamer going in a large stock pot with water that comes just up to the bottom of the steamer. Turn the burner on high.
  2. While the water is heating up, quickly wash the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Chop up the stem, too.
  3. Peel the cloves of garlic.
  4. Put the cauliflower and garlic in the pot with the vegetable steamer. Steam for 10-15 minutes. They are done when tender enough to put a fork through with minimal effort.
  5. When fully steamed, move the cauliflower florets and garlic cloves into the food processor. Take 1/4 cup of the steaming liquid and put it in the food processor, too. Add in the rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.
  6. Process until it reaches the consistency you like. I leave it in until it is pureed (usually 2-3 minutes).
  7. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, steps 5 and 6 can be done with a potato masher and a bowl or a hand blender.

If you aren’t on the Whole 30, you can add butter and sour cream to make these even creamier. For folks on the Whole 30, stick to the recipe above. Amanda and I eat it even when we aren’t on the Whole 30 because it is delicious.

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Pesto Revisited

I posted last year about making pesto in the food processor. I’m writing now to say that I’ve changed my ways.

I use a large mortar and pestle instead and make it by hand. I really enjoy slowing down for a few minutes and methodically grinding the ingredients together while I take in their fragrance. I feel like I appreciate the final product more.

My preference for ritual aside, pesto made by hand covers pasta much better and has a better blending of flavors. See Dan Gritzer’s post on Serious Eats for a side-by-side comparison. His was the first article I found when looking for a mortar and pestle pesto recipe after I bought a huge granite one to make guacamole in. Dan’s recipe is a great place to start experimenting from.

The exact recipe changes every time, but the method stays the same:

  1. Work the garlic and salt into a paste.
  2. Crush the nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, or whatever you want to experiment with) and work them into the paste.
  3. Grind the basil against the edge of the mortar a handful at a time.
  4. Add the cheese and olive oil.

Here are some ideas for experimentation:

  • Try different varieties of garlic. I like Rocambole and Spanish Roja.
  • Try garlic scapes in late spring
  • Things you can substitute for the pine nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds
  • Try other herbs with (or in place of) basil: Parsley, cilantro, arugula
  • Test out different hard cheeses in place of the Pecorino and Parmesan
  • Use different olive oils and note the flavors they add: Peppery, buttery, green

If you are in the market for a usable mortar and pestle (not one of those tchotchkes you see at Target), this is the 12lb behemoth I use.

Salsa Verde Revisited

I looked back at my salsa verde post from last year and decided I could improve it. I tend to only make it once a year because that is when I get a big bunch of tomatillos in my CSA share. That doesn’t leave much room for rapid feedback loops, but let’s see what we can do.

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Last year’s version was all done on the stovetop. That is a fine method and gets the job done, but it relies heavily on the taste of the raw ingredients and doesn’t develop them very much. Surely we can do better.

If you don’t care about how something looks at the end, one of the best ways to develop a greater depth of flavor in veggies is to roast them. Salsa verde ends up getting pureed anyway, so the appearance of the tomatillos and peppers doesn’t matter.

I roasted this batch for an hour at 350F. Some of the juice from the tomatillos carmelized on the pan (which I scraped up, of course!) and both the tomatillos, onions, and peppers took on a sweeter, richer flavor. The garlic had the best transformation, though. Instead of the sharp, pungent flavor of raw garlic, roasted garlic has a gentle nutty caramel characteristic to it. There is nothing like it.

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I scraped all of this off the pan and then pureed it in the food processor with some fresh oregano out of one of the window pots.

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Last year’s recipe used fresh cilantro, but I didn’t have any on-hand and I didn’t want to go to the store on Labor Day. Oregano definitely doesn’t have the same flavor as cilantro, but it is delicious of its own accord. Cilantro isn’t essential to salsa verde and I think organo works well with onions, peppers, and lime juice, so I used it instead. I think it turned out wonderfully.

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Simple Pesto

September 30, 2016 Note: I’ve revisited my pesto-making style. I no longer make it this way. Check out how I make it now.

There are so many variations of pesto these days that it is almost a catch-all title for green sauces. I’m not against that, but it is hard to know what to expect when someone says pesto. I prefer the simplicity of the classic version, both in taste and ease of preparation.

Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, pinenuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil all ground together with a mortar and pestle.

I don’t have a mortar and pestle large enough to do this, so I use my awesome food processor to make it. You could also use a blender.

Simple Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup raw pinenuts
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Put the fresh basil leaves, garlic, cheese, and pinenuts in the food processor, put on the top, and turn it on. Slowly pour the olive oil in through the drip hole while the food processor is running. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if needed. After the pesto looks like a paste, turn it off and add in the salt and pepper. Pulse it a few times to combine. If the pesto is too thick, add some more olive oil.

Pesto is best made fresh and consumed right away. If you do need to save it for a few days, put it in a jar and put a 1/4 inch of olive oil on top of it to protect it.

fresh basilBasil for pesto


How to use it

  • Toss with pasta and cherry tomatoes
  • Toss with zucchini noodles and grilled chicken (what Amanda and I did with the pictured pesto)
  • Spoon over fresh, crispy french fries
  • Spoon over soft scrambled eggs
  • Use in place of red sauce on pizza

How I used it:

pesto and zucchini noodlespesto-4