From the Land 2/29

food for thought
full share: grapefruit, romaine lettuce, garlic, red kale, golden beets, collard greens, carrots, and spaghetti squash
partial: grapefruit, romaine lettuce, garlic, and red kale

announcements

It’s not too late to sign up for a Beef Share! Just shoot me an email and we can add it to your contract. As in the past, it’s $100 for about 16 pounds of beef, mixed cuts. It will come all at once frozen on March 28. Sign up now – there are limited shares available!

upcoming

“GMOs and Pesticides in Food and Farming”
Sunday, March 4 2-4pm
Prescott College Crossroads Center
movie screening and discussion with Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD, MPH
sponsored by newly-forming GMO FREE PRESCOTT

Slow Food meeting
Tuesday, March 20 5pm
Prescott College Crossroads Center
Ariel Ruben will present a slideshow of her 2010 trip to Terra Madre, the annual Slow Food conference in Italy. Hosted dinner (donations requested) with dessert potluck.

Artichoke Festival at Crooked Sky
last weekend in March – more details to come
chef demo, lunch, harvesting, and more
CSA members only $20! Order special-priced tickets through PCCSA
see http://crookedskyfarms.com/csf/?page_id=1173 for more info

Prescott Farmers Market
opens May 12!
Yavapai College

veg of the week

red kale: Brassica oleracea

Kale, a descendant of the wild cabbage and a relative of broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussel sprouts, has been cultivated for over 2000 years, but this version of Russian kale didn’t enter the US until the 19th century by Russian traders through Canada. Kale gained popularity in the 1940’s during the Victory Garden era, as it proved easy to grow and tolerant of cold, making it harvest-able in the winter when little else is growing. Red kale is distinguished: reddish-tinged curly leaves with a lovely purple vein down the middle. It is also sweeter and more tender than other kales.

Uses: Here are some great ideas for your kale: *Red kale is delicious raw as a salad, and can also be steamed, stir-fried (as in Asian dishes), or mashed with potatoes (common in Ireland). *Try this African favorite: boil the kale in coconut milk, top with peanuts, and serve with rice or polenta (cornmeal). *It makes an excellent marinated salad when allowed to sit overnight in vinaigrette. *Boil it briefly (1 minute), then saute with onions and garlic; add this to an omelet, or casserole, or serve with other vegetables on pasta. *Or make kale chips: toss with olive oil, salt and finely grated Parmesan cheese, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 450 for 15 minutes (or until crispy).

Nutrition: From Wikipedia: Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.

To store: Rinse kale in cool water right away. Allowing water droplets to stay on leaves, wrap in paper towel and seal in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to a week.

food sovereignty

Last week I wrote about the cycles of poverty and hunger that continue to plague us on a global level, and how these are in large part due to global policies that primarily benefit large landholders and wealthy consumers.

In response to these heavy global market forces, a “food sovereignty” movement of poor farmers, peasants, women and indigenous people aims to reclaim the right to make their own food and agriculture decisions. The term was coined in the mid-1990’s by Via Campesina, the leaderless peasants’ movement, and specifically refers to the right of the farmer to produce food on their own territory. The seven principles of food sovereignty are:

  1. food is a basic human right, and therefore all people should have access to fresh, nutritious food, regardless of income. Many countries have officially and constitutionally declared food as a human right.
  2. land must belong to those that farm it, regardless of race, gender, social class or ideology. This specifically helps landless peasants, who are caught in a perpetual cycle of farming others’ land.
  3. sustainable agriculture is necessary to conserve natural resources, produce healthy food, and keep agricultural workers safe from chemical exposure.
  4. trade and agricultural policies must be reorganized to protect local farmers and community food security. Food imports and exports must not “displace local production nor depress prices”.
  5. we can work toward ending hunger through regulation and policy directed at multinational corporations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, whose policies actually increase rather than decrease hunger
  6. everyone has the right to be free from violence, including freedom from displacement, forced urbanization, oppression and racism against smallholder farmers.
  7. all farmers should have equal decision-making power over policies that affect them.

Though it is overly simplistic to view the peasant farmers of the Global South as a single entity, thousands of farmers in over 80 countries have already participated in this growing food sovereignty movement: farmers teaching each other traditional and advantageous farming techniques instead of relying on high-input agricultural technology from developed nations, activists raising awareness of issues of food sovereignty and industrial agriculture, and individual community leaders adopting policies that protect their local agriculture.

for more info:
Wikipedia: food sovereignty
Wikipedia: Via Campesina

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spaghetti squash with spicy braised greens, raisins, and nuts
adapted from sparkpeople.com

  • 1 spaghetti squash, seeds removed
  • water
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 or more cloves garlic
  • 2 hot chiles in oil, any kind
  • 2 bunches of greens (any kind), chopped into 1/2″ strips
  • 2 C vegetable stock
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1/3 C raisins
  • 1/4 pine nuts or sliced almonds
  • 2 T olive oil

Serves about 8.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, de-seed, and place cut side down in baking dish with 1/2 inch water, bake for about 1 hour, until squash is easily pierced with a fork.

Heat coconut oil in stockpot over medium. Add garlic and chiles and cook for 1 min.
Add the greens, stirring until they’re all in the pot. Add 1 cup or more of the stock, 1 tsp of the salt, and the raisins. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook until greens are tender, about 10-15 min. (15-20 for collard greens). Add more stock a bit at a time if necessary. Stir in the nuts.

When squash is done, use fork to separate the strands into a large bowl. Add olive oil and salt and toss gently. Put squash onto platter, top with greens mixture. If desired, garnish with more nuts and Parmesan cheese.

beet and kale salad
adapted from bastyrcenter.org

Salad:

  • 4 large beets
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 medium carrot

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced garlic

Wash beets and bring to a boil in a large pot. After boiling bring to a simmer, continue to simmer for one hour, until tender. Alternately, wrap in foil and roast at 350 until soft. Let cool, then peel beets and cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

In the meantime, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet and cooking over medium heat. Constantly stir the seeds to ensure even cooking. When they begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma, they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Wash kale and place in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Place in strainer and cool with cold water, cut into bite size pieces. Finely dice the green onions and slice the carrot into 1/8-inch rounds.

Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl place chopped beets, chopped kale, diced green onions, sliced carrots and pumpkin seeds. Add dressing and toss gently. Serve chilled. Makes approximately six servings.

collard greens with guanciale and chiles
adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 1 cup (7 oz.) guanciale* or thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-in. dice
  • 2 pounds collard greens, stems and ribs removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small dried chile such as arbol
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Calabrian chiles* packed in oil and vinegar or pickled piquillo peppers, thinly sliced

*Find guanciale and Calabrian chiles on amazon.com or from an Italian deli or grocer

Bring guanciale and 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, then cook at a rapid simmer 10 minutes (5 minutes if using bacon) to render some fat. Drain, reserving 2 cups water. Blot guanciale dry.

Boil collard greens gently in a large pot filled three-quarters full of water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water, and drain again. Coarsely chop.

Cook garlic in oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat until sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Add guanciale; cook 2 minutes, then transfer garlic to paper towels. Continue cooking guanciale, stirring often with a long-handled spoon (it may spatter), until crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels.

Break arbol chile in half, add to oil in pan, and toast until puffed, 1 minute. Add greens, reserved garlic, and salt and pepper and stir until coated. Add reserved cooking liquid and cook over medium-high heat until most of liquid evaporates but greens are still juicy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in guanciale. Spoon greens into a dish and scatter Calabrian chiles on top.

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From the Land 2/22

food for thought
full share: salad mix, carrots, cabbage, herb mix, I’itoi onions, spinach, red potatoes, and black spanish radishes
partial: carrots, cabbage, I’itoi onions, and spinach

announcements

It’s not too late to sign up for a Beef Share! Just shoot me an email and we can add it to your contract. As in the past, it’s $100 for about 16 pounds of beef, mixed cuts. It will come all at once frozen on March 28. Sign up now – there are limited shares available!

upcoming

Slow Food meeting: Tuesday, March 20
Ariel Ruben will present a slideshow of her 2010 trip to Terra Madre, the annual Slow Food conference in Italy. Hosted dinner (donations requested) with dessert potluck.

Prescott Farmers Market: opens May 12!

veg of the week
Spanish Black radish: Raphanus sativus

Yes, it is a radish, but this spicy and bitter, large, black, thick-skinned Brassica is quite different from its small mild French sister. This CSA season we’ve seen quite the variety of radishes, each with subtle appearance and taste differences: the sweet French breakfast and  Valentine varieties, the spicy and pungent Japanese daikon, and now the Spanish Black (sometimes referred to as the SBR). This variety is known as a “winter” radish variety, in part because it takes so long to mature that those planted in November or December are just now ripening, and also because they store incredibly well when kept dry and cold. SBRs are relatively uncommon in the US and much more popular in European agriculture and cuisine.

Uses: Thanks to Harvest to Table for the following tip: shred the root and marinate it in salted water for two hours to take the edge off its pungency. Drain and press the shredded root dry. Serve as a salad with vinegar and oil. Sprinkle fresh minced herbs over the top. Or you can also grate them into a green salad or a soup – try them in lentil or split pea!

Nutrition: With their high fiber and water content, Spanish Blacks are excellent for digestion and elimination. They are nutrient-rich, especially high in vitamin C (one SBR provides almost 1/4 of the recommended daily allowance of C!), which protects cells against damage from free radicals, boosts the immune system, and forms connective tissue within the body. Cruciferous vegetables, radishes among them, contain large quantities of the phytochemicals “glucosinolates”, which when metabolized create compounds known as isothiocyanates and nitriles which protect the liver against cancer. They also increase gall bladder health because of chemicals that increase the flow of bile. Yum – eat up!

To store: Store unwashed and dry in a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, and they’ll last weeks, if not months!

feeding the world

video: Michael Pollan on feeding the world

As Michael Pollan states in the video linked above, the world easily produces enough food to feed an even larger population than we already have, but the percentage of hungry and undernourished people throughout the world is still much too high. The reasons for this are many, and are quite complicated and vary in each country, but I’ll focus on three main reasons:

grain fed to animals:
Worldwide, over 35% (and over 50% in the US) of the grain grown is fed to livestock. In the US, this grain is enough to feed almost a billion people! Grain-fed meat production is extremely inefficient, using six kg of grain to produce only one kg of animal protein, and 28 kilocalories of energy to produce 1 kcal of protein. In addition, David Pimental (the Cornell ecologist) posits that Americans could still receive more than the recommended daily allowance of meat and dairy protein through existing grass-fed animals. Grass-fed animals can subsist on land that is not ideal for agriculture, therefore allowing farmers to utilize arable land for food for humans.

grain used for ethanol:
For the first time, in 2012 in the US more corn will be used for ethanol production than for cattle feed, and most of this will be exported…yes, for profit. This further decreases the available grain for human use; in fact, for every 10 ears harvested only 2 are eaten by humans. While the corn for ethanol production is no longer directly subsidized, this system still increases world hunger by using agricultural land for fuel rather than for food.

problems of food distribution.
As just one example, the Green Revolution (the mechanization of food production through widespread proliferation of herbicide-resistant seeds and increased fossil fuel dependent agriculture) increased production in an effort to “feed the world”. Unfortunately, the effect was not the desired parallel decrease in global hunger, because the additional food just went to those that, in short, already had enough because they could afford it. Likewise, the profits from this higher production went directly into the hands of those who could afford to adopt the new seeds and high-fertilizer use. Simply put, the hungry are still hungry because they still can’t afford food, and the landless and peasant farmers are still landless and poor because they couldn’t afford to adopt the new measures in the first place.

One thing the Green Revolution did succeed in was creating an extremely cheap food system in the US. High calorie, high fat, and overly processed foods containing cheap ingredients are prevalent. Unfortunately, the environmental, social and personal health ramifications of this system make it not as efficient as it might seem. Soil erosion, groundwater pollution, fossil fuel dependence, foreign labor dependence, obesity, undernourishment, inhumane animal treatment, slave labor, and farmer debt are just a few of the myriad of ways that this system shows its overall inefficiency.

In its stated purpose of “feeding the world”, our current food system has failed. But in the last decade, movements across the globe are rising up in response to this food inequity. The Via Campesina (peasant) movement, food sovereignty, local food, agroecology, permaculture and other sustainable agricultural practices are popping up worldwide to create alternatives to the dysfunctional yet still powerful dominant food system. Stay tuned for next week when we focus on food sovereignty.

For more info:
World Resources Institute “grain fed to livestock”
Cornell University “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat”
Daily Tech: Ethanol Production

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black radish, carrot and fennel salad with pecorino cheese
adapted from mariquita.com

  • 4 loosely-packed cups of arugula, spinach, salad mix, or other greens
  • 1 1/2 cup Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 2 black radishes, sliced paper-thin
  • 3 carrots in thin 2″ diagonal slices, blanched
  • 1-2 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • long thin curls pecorino or Parmesan cheese

CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 1/4 cups mild olive oil
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To make Citrus Vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together.

Toss the greens with enough of the vinaigrette to coat and place on salad plates. Arrange the radish slices on top, then the carrot and fennel. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and top with the curls of cheese. Makes enough for 4 to 6 salads.

roasted winter vegetables

  • 6-8 cups root vegetables, chopped into 1″ pieces (winter squash, turnips, radishes, carrots, sweet potato, red potato, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • fresh or dried herbs, your choice

Chop veggies and toss with oil and herbs. Bake at 425 for 30-45 minutes. You can even use the leftovers to make soup: just heat with stock, add some curry powder, fresh herbs, or cream, and blend.

potato-cabbage chowder with spinach and catfish
adapted from askinyourface.com

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups milk
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 6 small unpeeled red potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 T. dried sage
  • Cooked mild fish such as catfish or trout

Put a pat of butter or ghee into a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, and cabbage and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is starting to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in broth, water, milk, and sea salt and increase heat to high.

When the soup comes to a boil, add potatoes, spinach, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes have reached desired tenderness. Serve immediately, topping individual servings with fish before serving.

From the Land 2/15

food for thought
full share: swiss chard, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, lettuce heads, Belgian endive, chioggia beets, fennel, cauliflower
partial: swiss chard, sweet potatoes, lettuce heads, cauliflower

announcements

It’s not too late to sign up for a Beef Share! Just shoot me an email and we can add it to your contract. As in the past, it’s $100 for about 16 pounds of beef, mixed cuts. It will come all at once frozen on March 28. Sign up now – there are limited shares available!

upcoming

Slow Food meeting: Tuesday, March 20
Ariel Ruben will present a slideshow of her 2010 trip to Terra Madre, the annual Slow Food conference in Italy. Hosted dinner (donations requested) with dessert potluck.

Prescott Farmers Market: opens May 12!

veg of the week
Belgian endive: Cichorium intybus

The pale leaves of the chicory root, Belgian endive is known as “white gold” as it becomes increasingly common in popular cuisine. It is grown underground or indoors to avoid photosynthesis (sunlight turning the leaves green). This technique was accidentally discovered in Belgium in the 1830’s, when a farmer saved his chicory roots in his cellar (intending to dry and roast them for a hot drink), only to find that they had sprouted pale, crunchy moist leaves.

Uses: Belgian endive can be steamed, boiled, roasted (brush with olive oil and roast for 20-30 min, flipping once), eaten raw, stuffed with tuna or chicken salad, or dipped in hummus or other dip.

Nutrition: They are very low in calories, contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and are a good source of folate.

To store: Put in a damp paper towel then into a plastic bag. Store in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer and eat within a week.

sodium

It’s not uncommon to be told to eat less sodium – in fact, about 90% of Americans have a diet that contains too much sodium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US dietary guidelines recommend 2300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) of sodium each day, but the average American consumes 3300 mg, costing us billions of dollars a year in healthcare costs.

Of course, sodium is necessary for body function. It helps maintain water and mineral balances, and blood volume. But too much sodium leads to high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. As with everything – moderation! Salt and sodium are not the same thing (salt contains sodium and chloride), but salt is the source of the majority of our sodium intake, so they are often used indiscriminately.

The CDC has identified the top ten food categories that contribute most (over 40%) to our sodium intake:

  • snacks: popcorn, chips, pretzels
  • mixed meat dishes, such as meatloaf
  • pasta dishes, especially when topped with cheese and sauce
  • cheese, a major source of sodium
  • sandwiches, especially those with processed meat and cheese toppings
  • soup, though sodium levels vary considerably between different brands
  • fresh and processed poultry
  • pizza – again, it’s the cheese and processed meat
  • cold cuts and cured meats
  • breads and rolls – #1 according to the CDC, accounting for twice as much sodium as snacks! This doesn’t mean that bread contains higher sodium than other foods (like snack foods), but they’re ranked #1 because Americans tend to each so much of them.

Sodium content depends on ingredients and preparation technique, such as salt content and curing. Sodium occurs naturally in meats, nuts, grains and dairy. Processed and restaurant foods have a tendency to contain high amounts of salt because they lack other flavorful (more expensive) ingredients, such as herbs and spices, and because salt helps increase shelf life.

So what can you do? Most people don’t need to worry about not getting enough sodium because it occurs naturally in so many foods – in their natural state. But most of us could benefit from reducing our intake of foods with added salt.

  • Cooking. Introduce new flavors: use herbs, garlic and other spices to flavor meals without the extra sodium. Reduce the salt in recipes, adding it by taste rather than what it calls for. Learn to listen to your tastebuds (though they may need some training!)
  • Shopping. Read nutrition labels, looking for salt and sodium. Most prepared foods are high in sodium. Choose low-sodium options – or better yet, make your own so you add only as much as you want! “Low-fat” or “fat-free” foods are often higher in sodium because it’s a flavor enhancer (making up for the missing lingering tastes that fat causes). Most canned meats and vegetables contain salt as a preservative. Eat fresh meats and vegetables, or rinse them before eating. Olives, pickles, and processed and canned meats are soaked in salt by their very nature. Watch your intake.
  • Fast food. Avoid it (for more than just the high sodium!) Many fast food meals contain more than the recommended daily allowance for sodium! But if you must, pay attention to sodium levels and to portion sizes.

for more information:
Washington Post: Which Foods Contribute Most to our Sodium Intake?
Washington Post: Bread Ranks Number 1
Spark People: Nutrition Resources – Easy Ways to Cut Sodium Intake

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sweet potato and bacon in endive cups
adapted from yumsugar.com

  • 3 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 4 small heads Belgian endive
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until it has rendered some of its fat, about 3 minutes.

Add the sweet potato and 1/4 t. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the sweet potato is tender and the bacon starts to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 T. of the chives and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
Slice the bottom 1/2 inch off the endives so some of the outer leaves break free. Cut another 1/2 inch off and break some more leaves free. Keep going until all the larger leaves are free. Save the inner smaller leaves for a salad.

Set the endive leaves on a large platter. Spoon the sweet potato mixture near the base of the leaves. Top each with a dollop of the creme fraiche and then sprinkle with the remaining chives. Serve immediately or let sit for up to 20 minutes before serving.

cauliflower, fennel, and white bean salad
adapted from epicurious.com

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 long sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • Handful fresh chives
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan. Cut or pull thyme leaves from stem, and cook thyme leaves in the hot olive oil just for a few moments, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Zest the lemon and set aside the zest. Juice the lemon and whisk the juice and vinegar together.

Chop or shred the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Drain and rinse the beans. Thinly chop the fennel bulb using a mandoline or a chef’s knife. Mince the chives and parsley. Combine cauliflower, beans, fennel, chives, parsley, and thyme oil in a large bowl and toss. Mix in cheese. Add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and black pepper.

cream of belgian endive soup
adapted from frenchfood.about.com

  • 5 small Belgian endive, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped white onion (1 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • 5-6 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the Belgian endive, onions, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and then cover and reduce the heat to the low-medium setting. Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Process the soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Add the cream, salt, and pepper to the soup, stir, and heat through.

From the Land 2/8

food for thought
full share: honey, red potatoes, sprouts, salad mix, butternut squash, onions, choice of dried dill or garlic, and grapefruit
partial: honey, red potatoes, sprouts, salad mix

veg of the week
clover sprouts: Trifolium pratense

Clover sprouts are derived from clover seeds and can be grown in any climate, as they are usually grown indoors in small plastic containers in water.

Uses: Sprouts of any variety are most commonly eaten as salad or sandwich toppings. They can also be juiced; the mild tasting juice is extremely nutritious and mixes well with other types of juice.

Nutrition: Clover sprouts are rich in calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins A, B complex (even B12!), C, E, and K. They are the top source among vegetables for anti-oxidants, which helps prevent heart disease, menstrual symptoms, osteoporosis, and cancer, and an anti-inflammatory compound reduces arthritis symptoms. They are a great blood toner and source of chlorophyll, and have been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, prevent leukemia, lower LDL cholesterol, and heal ulcers.

To store: keep in sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Rinse before eating or juicing.

And even better – you can sprout your own clover! The process is roughly the same as for other seeds, nuts, and beans. First, you can find the seeds through various online sources or at natural health food stores. Soak the seeds overnight, pour out the water (you can save it with your soup stock), and then just rinse the seeds (at least) every 24 hours to keep damp but not wet, completely draining them each time! I use a mason jar with cheesecloth over the top, secured with the ring. After rinsing and draining, suspend jar upside-down over a bowl so remaining water can continue to drain out. After about 3 days your sprouts are ready to eat! Make sure they’re completely drained before storing. More details here (they want you to use a “sprouter”, but a mason jar with cheesecloth works just as well):
http://sproutpeople.org/seeds/clover.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSt0DmAPDm4&feature=related

keeping herbs

Today one of the full-share items is dried dill. While you may not want to follow my example and dry 70 bags-worth of dill in your dehydrator, knowing how to keep herbs in a valuable skill for a CSA member, as we often receive too large of a quantity to use within a week. Each herb differs in its storage preferences, but most can be either frozen or dried for longer-lasting flavor and nutrition. Here are couple tips for extended storage (and minimized waste):

refrigerator storage: keep parsley, cilantro, basil, and other herbs for up to two weeks with the “plastic bag method”. According to Elise at Simply Recipes, snip off the bottom of the stems and put the herb in a cup partially filled with water. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator (except basil, which doesn’t like temperatures below 50 – keep it at room temp). Change the water if it starts to discolor.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_store_parsley_cilantro_and_other_fresh_herbs/

freezer storage: Ice cube method: remove the leaves from the stems, wash and dry. Process in a blender or food processor with one tablespoon of olive oil, butter, water, or stock (depending on how you want to use it later). Spoon into ice cube trays, and use throughout the year to flavor soups, sauces, or anything else that calls for fresh herbs. Herb oil or butter can be defrosted and spread on toast or used to fry eggs or veggies. Freeze mint in water and use in drinks. Freeze in stock to flavor soups or to cook rice. Flash freezing method: spread whole sprig or just leaves on tray and freeze overnight. Then store in resealable freezer bag. Use as needed for up to a year!
http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2011/09/freezing-fresh-basil-and-other-herbs.html
http://www.cheapvegetablegardener.com/2009/07/how-to-freeze-herbs.html

dehydrating herbs: whether you have a food dehydrator or not, you can dry herbs and keep them for up to a year. Keep in mind that they can be dried on the stem, but it will take much longer. Dehydrator: This is best for tender herbs: basil, oregano, mint, etc. Pre-heat to 95-115, spread the herbs in a single layer, and dry for 1-4 hours (longer if you had too much on the tray). Air-drying: this is best for hardier herbs: rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, etc. Tie the herb together in a bunch and hang in a dry warm area. With either preparation technique, herbs are dry when they crumble. Store in a sealed container. And remember: dried herbs are about 3-4 times more potent than fresh (so think in teaspoons rather than tablespoons!)
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/herbs.html

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sweet potato and butternut squash tagine
adapted from veggieventure.blogspot.com

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), washed well, peeled and cubed (How to Cut a Butternut Squash & Keep All Ten Fingers)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, heated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Prep the sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

In a tagine or skillet, heat the oil on MEDIUM until shimmery. Add the onion and let cook, stirring often, until beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and spices, cook for another minutes or two until fragrant. (If you don’t have a tagine, transfer this mixture to a shallow oven-safe baking dish such as Corningware or Pyrex.) Stir in the hot broth, slowly at first, it will sizzle. Stir in the sweet potato and butternut squash cubes, top with raisins, drizzle with honey. Cover and bake for an hour or until the vegetables are soft and aromatic but not mushy. Remove the cinnamon stick, sprinkle with cilantro leaves, serve and savor.

Serve with rice, couscous, or bread to sop up the delicious liquid.

quick baked tilapia with grapefruit dill butter
adapted from yummly.com

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3 tbsps grapefruit juice
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 grapefruits, sliced

Butter — mix the grapefruit juice, butter, dill, honey, salt and pepper.

Fish — Spray a parchment lined or foil lined pan with oil. Then add your fish fillets and brush well with the grapefruit butter. Cook on the middle rack 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Baste with the butter 2 times during the baking process. Halfway through, add the slices of grapefruit on top of this fish. Serve with a dollop of butter on each fillet.

honey orange butternut squash
adapted from epicurious.com

  • a 1-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

In a steamer set over boiling water steam the squash, covered, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it is just tender but not soft, and remove it from the steamer. In a skillet melt the butter with the honey, the zest, and the orange juice, stirring, add the squash and salt and pepper to taste, and cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring gently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the squash is coated well with the orange mixture. Serve.

butternut squash pie
find it at: http://farmersdaughterct.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/butternut-squash-pie/

From the Land 2/1

food for thought
full share: broccoli, escarole, valentine radishes, tuscano kale, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, oranges, and purple turnips!
partial: oranges, radishes, broccoli, kohlrabi

veg of the week
broccoli: Brassica oleraceaBroccoli plant

Literally “the flowering top of a cabbage”, broccoli is in fact related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, collards, turnips, and even kohlrabi (we’re getting lots of brassicas this week!) – all evolved from the wild cabbage on the European continent and have been cultivated for over 2000 years! Broccoli was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, though it did not become popular until the 1920’s. Broccoli and its brassica cousins all tend to have somewhat similar tastes, but each member of the family is enjoyed differently: cabbage is made up of immature leaves eaten raw, cooked or fermented; the root and greens of the turnip are usually steamed or boiled; the bulb of the kohlrabi is best eaten raw on salad; and broccoli is best known for the not-yet-flowering buds that make up the “head”, which can be steamed or sauteed, and most cooks also utilize the stalk.

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, as well as multiple nutrients with anti-cancer properties. To maximize the cancer-fighting compounds, steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes. Boiling reduces these compounds, while extended steaming, microwaving, eating raw, and stir-frying seem to have no effect. Steaming also brings out its purported cholesterol-lowering benefits. Broccoli also has a positive strong effect on our body’s natural detoxification system, balance our vitamin D metabolism, and lessen the impact of allergens on our bodies. As we discovered a couple weeks ago with garlic, let the broccoli sit for a few minutes after cutting to maximize the nutrient content, and don’t cook it too hot.

To store: put unwashed uncut broccoli in plastic bag with as little air as possible. It will store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. It can also be blanched and frozen for up to a year.

food rule #26: drink the spinach water

As you know, we sometimes pick one of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” of write about in detail. One of my favorites is the one that advises saving the water in which the vegetables were cooked for soup stock. Maybe it’s my favorite because it touches on many of my favorite things: cooking techniques, nutrient content, food waste, and relying less on the grocery store for things I can make myself!

Whether you’ve steamed or boiled your spinach (broccoli, carrots, turnips, potatoes, etc.) some of the nutrients ends up in the water instead of the vegetable. So why waste it? Put it in a ziploc bag and into the freezer, adding to it each time you have more “spinach water”. Pull it out when you’re making soup, and you’ll have a nutrient-rich stock. Plus, you won’t have to add (as much) high-sodium bouillon.

Another technique for making your own stock is to save all your odds-and-ends from your produce instead of sending it straight to the compost. Keep in mind that the average American throws away 40% of their groceries, and that 14% of landfill waste is food! While there, the food actually produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Think potato peels, apple cores, carrot greens, onion skins, or anything from the fridge that’s on its way out but is not yet bad. Freeze the scraps in a bag until you have enough to half fill a soup pot – add enough water to cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Some chefs recommend adding a tablespoon of oil and apple cider vinegar, or roasting all the vegetables in the oven before boiling. Strain all the veggie bits out, and now you have a great base for any kind of soup!

In either case, this stock can now be used for soup stock, or pour and store into an ice tray to use smaller quantities to cook rice in (for extra flavor) or anytime your recipe calls for a small amount of liquid. It’s more nutritious, more delicious, and cheaper than buying stock – and don’t worry, you can still add the cooked scraps to your compost pile!

For more information:
Michael Pollan on “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”
Michael Pollan on the Daily Show
Five Packaged Food You Never Need to Buy Again
How to make Scrappy Vegetable Stock
How (and Why) to Boil Your Garbage

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broccoli and radish salad with gorgonzola
adapted from karlynskitchen.com

  • 6 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups radishes, trimmed and cut into fourths lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Blue Cheese salad dressing (use more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

In large bowl combine broccoli and radishes. Toss with blue cheese dressing, add Gorgonzola, and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

stuffed sweet potatoes with broccoli and feta
adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 C broccoli florets, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 t chopped garlic
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • feta cheese

Pierce potatoes with a fork, and bake until soft. Cook 3/4 cup broccoli 3 minutes in a medium skillet in boiling salted water; drain. Heat oil in skillet. Sauté broccoli, 1 teaspoon garlic, and a pinch of red pepper 1 minute. Cut a slit lengthwise through each potato; push ends inward to form a pocket. Crumble 1 tablespoon feta into each pocket. Fill each pocket with broccoli mixture and 2 teaspoons feta.

broccoli with orange sauce
adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 1 pound broccoli spears
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon bouillon granules
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced

Place broccoli and a small amount of water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 5-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and bouillon. Stir in water, orange juice and peel until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.

Drain broccoli and place in a serving bowl. Garnish with orange slices and drizzle with sauce.

turnip hash with broccoli
adapted from marthastewart.com

  • 1/2 pound plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Score an X on the bottom of each tomato with a paring knife. Add tomatoes to the pot. Boil until skins are loosened, about 30 seconds; remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon (keeping water at a boil), and immediately plunge them into the ice bath. Drain, peel, and seed tomatoes, then coarsely chop flesh.
Add turnips to pot; boil until just tender when pierced with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the turnips to a colander to drain. Repeat process with parsnips, then potatoes. Add broccoli to pot, and boil until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain in colander; set aside.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, salt, red-pepper flakes, thyme, and reserved turnips, parsnips, and potatoes; spread evenly to cover bottom of skillet. Cook, without stirring, until vegetables begin to brown on bottom, about 15 minutes.
Add reserved tomatoes and broccoli to skillet. Stir once; cook until vegetables are very tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.