Sunday, June 26, 2011

CSA Report - Pickups 2/1

I had my second pick up from Newton Community Farm and my first of this season from Stillman's over the past couple weeks....the season is coming along nicely....along w.our own garden, we are packed to the gills w.goodies!

At Newton, I got to hit the fields to pick the snap peas I took home; the sun was shining and it was hot and it felt awesome. Plus the snap peas were so incredibly sweet, that most of them were eaten straight up! I also took home Red leaf lettuce, kale, garlic scapes, basil, dill, arugula and Haruki turnips. At Sillman's I took home Tuscan kale, Yellow chard, Green leaf lettuce, golden beets, strawberries and zucchini. Lots of produce to keep me busy!!

Snap peas:
I wanted to quickly share a tip on how to clean up a snap pea. When it's fresh, the top of the pea, where it meets the plant, should snap right back, and you should be able to pull it down towards you, taking the strings on either side right down with it:
Pull the top down towards you:
and continue to pull it:
Top view:
You're left w.a nice clean snap pea :)

Here is what a garlic scape looks like:
The scape is actually the top or the shoot of the garlic and it's completely edible and delicious. It's garlicy in flavor but more mild....think less can use scapes where you would garlic as well as where you might not since they are more mild (think raw dips, sauces etc)....

Here's some gorgeous Red leaf lettuce...check out the tender leaves and how beautifully colored they are:
Here's a bowl of basil and dill, being washed prior to use:
and check out this cool zucchini, the Romanesco's got ribs and forms a cool shape when cut crosswise:
So what have I been making w.the goods??? Here's a run down....

1. The red leaf lettuce was cut up into a salad.
2. I used the Haruki turnips to make into sesame turnip chips in my can read about that here on my raw foods blog: Turnip chips and here's a pic of them as well:

3. I used the kale from NCF as well as the beet greens from Stillman's to also make chips in the dehydrator....check out this beautiful kale chip:

4. The garlic scapes, dill and basil were made into pesto which was used a couple of different ways. First off, I made a Pesto grilled chicken where I used a beautiful chicken also from Stillman's (the meat portion of the CSA) and slathered it w.pesto as well as S+P and some garlic powder, and grilled was great.
Here's can see, he's missing a wing.....
During the grilling process:
After resting and carving:

The chicken was eaten as is, but was also used during the week w.the remaining pesto and some semolina bucatini pasta for a quick meal....I used the pesto w.quinoa pasta and spinach.....

5a. I used the yellow chard to make "burritos" using the stem of the chard in the filling as well as some other ingredients - I am going to go "Sandra Lee" on you w.the "Semi-homemade" concept here. I am addicted to the Golden Sesame Tofu @Whole I used that as well as brown rice from WF as the filling w.the chard stem and some diced jalapeno. Off the hook!!!

5b. The chard was also used along with the remaining snap peas in a quick stir fry w.some ginger seitan, black barley and wheat berries that I also got @Whole Foods....

6. Tuscan kale became a gorgeous raw kale salad with green onions, sunflower, pea and broccoli sprouts, fresh parsley, red pepper, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds dressed with a miso-almond butter dressing:

7. The zucchini was used in a couple different ways.....first to make zucchini chips in the dehydrator....second in a nice brown rice salad along with cashews and golden Hunza raisins with a red wine vinaigrette. It was served with lamb shanks from Stillman's farm, that were oven braised in red wine with rosemary, mushrooms and aromatic veggies...again, when you start with outstanding ingredients, you're going to have an outstanding meal....

As of today, I haven't used the Green leaf lettuce, arugula or golden beets yet.....I anticipate a raw golden beet salad in my future :)

I'll leave you w.these 2 shots of the most amazing strawberry, which I haven't been able to bring myself to eat yet (the other strawberries were not that lucky.....)!!!!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CSAs 2011

I've gone and joined 2 CSAs this year. I've kept my allegiance to my favorite farm, Stillman's Farm and joined for a half share for the first time at the Newton Community Farm; I live in Newton, so it was important for me, I felt, to support this amazing farm, that is literally <1 mile from my house. The NCF was a lottery membership and I was picked! Since I got a half share w.the Newton farm, I'll be picking up every other week instead of weekly as I will with Stillman's.
The CSA started a couple weeks back for me, with my first pickup from NCF; Stillman's starts next week. I've decided to keep a tally of what I make with my shares, kind of to keep it real and so I can keep it interesting....
Here's a general pic of the share from my first pick up at the Newton farm; I took home 2 heads of lettuce, a great big bunch of arugula, a bunch of white turnips, green garlic, rainbow chard, cilantro and chives...not bad for a first week!!!
So I'm going to post what I've done with my awesome produce....this time around I don't have pics to share of my final dishes, but I plan to snap pics from this point forward to report back on the blog...
Here's the eats from Newton Farm, Week 1:
1. Stir Fry with the white turnips, rainbow chard, green garlic, jalapenos, chives and cilantro (yum, this was SO delish)
2. The lettuce was used in salads and sandwiches (see below)
3. Lettuce, chives and cilantro were used in hummus roll-ups on lavash with spinach and jalapenos
4. Chives were used with some spinach and the arugula with sesame tofu over brown rice
5. Remaining chives and arugula were used in a stirfry with shallots, spinach and collards with Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips (delish as well)!!!!

That's it for my first week....picking up tomorrow as well as next Tuesday, so you'll find another post soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bars

I'm doing another guest blog for the Katsiroubas Bros blog...this time, I'll be using a product they sell called Ravifruit. It's a line of sweetened fruit purees that comes in frozen form. There are a number of different flavors and for this recipe, a Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bar, I'm using the Rhubarb Rose puree. It's lightly sweet and a bit tangy.
I will also be using the rhubarb puree in conjunction with strawberry puree in a couple other recipes (think cocktails!! as well as a chutney) and I will be posting them on Kat's Blog as well....but first, the bar.....

The recipe called for using cut up rhubarb, sprinkled over a rolled oat and brown sugar crust, and topped with a cream cheese filling. I figured that adding the rhubarb puree to the cream cheese filling would be a welcome addition. The filling was made from cream cheese, sugar, sour cream (I used Greek yogurt instead), egg, vanilla and grated fresh ginger. I cut the amount of yogurt down by a couple tablespoons to make up for the addition of the rhubarb puree.
Here's the beautiful rhubarb, prior to cutting and ~1/2 cup of the Ravifruit rhubarb puree.
The crust was made from brown sugar, butter, flour, rolled oats and a pinch of salt; it also served as the crumb topping, so I pulled ~1/2 cup out to the side prior to pressing the rest into the pan.

Action shot of creaming the brown sugar and butter:

The zing of the ginger, and the tang of the rhubarb made for a super combo.
I used the microplane to grate the ginger up:
After the crust was prepared, I pressed it into the baking pan. I added the chopped rhubarb in and then poured the cream cheese filling over rhubarb.
The baking pan went into the oven as is, to bake for about half of the total baking time and then I added the crumble topping over the top and continued baking the bars. They were done when the crumble topping was brown and a knife came out clean after testing the center. I cooled the bars then let them set up in the fridge for a few hours before cutting them. They had a nice consistency and flavor, both similar to cheese cake. The rhubarb and ginger tasted great in conjunction with the creaminess of the cheese filling. The fruit puree added a stronger rhubarb flavor.

Rhubarb Ginger Cream Cheese Bars
6 TBS unsalted butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Ravifruit Rhubarb Rose fruit puree*
1/4 cup + 1 TBS sour cream (I actually used 2% plain Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
*To make this recipe without the fruit puree, simply omit and add back another TBS of sour cream or yogurt.

1. Heat oven to 350. Line a 9 inch baking pan w.foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. To make crust/crumb topping, beat butter at medium speed until creamy then beat in brown sugar until well blended. At low speed, beat in flour, oats and salt until crumbly.
3. Remove 1/2 cup of crust to use as topping and press the rest into the baking pan.
4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in sugar until creamy. At low speed, beat in yogurt and Ravifruit rhubarb puree until combined.
5. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in ginger and vanilla.
6. Sprinkle chopped rhubarb over the crust and cover with cream cheese batter.
7. Bake uncovered, 20 minutes, then sprinkle reserved topping over the top and bake for approximately 20-25 more minutes until puffed and lightly browned; a tester should come out clean from a center test.
8. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature then refrigerate for a few hours before cutting into bars.