food for thought
full share: kabocha squash, carrots, onions, romaine, pinto beans, fingerling potatoes, swiss chard, and dill!
partial share: kabocha squash, carrots, garlic, and romaine
veg of the week
romaine lettuce: Lactuca sativa
Romaine lettuce – the slightly bitter and hearty salad green with the thick milky stalk down the middle of each leaf – originated in Greece and reached the West through Rome, where it is called lattuga romana. Unlike most other salad greens, romaine is heat tolerant, making it the perfect salad to be grown at our Phoenix farm, Crooked Sky.
Uses: Romaine is the lettuce most commonly used in Caesar salads. It is also common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Nutrition: According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, like other darker greens, the antioxidants in romaine lettuce are believed to help prevent cancer. The chlorophyll pigment in dark greens may reduce levels of colon and liver cancer carcinogens. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, manganese, and chromium. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber, maintaining digestive system health.
To store: Wash and dry thoroughly before wrapping in plastic and storing in the crisper drawer. You can also wrap the leaves in damp paper towels in the crisper, keeping the lettuce humid but not wet.
- 1-2 heads romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 inch lengths
- 2 C Butternut Squash Croutons (see recipe below)
- ½ C “pepitas” (hulled roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1 C Cilantro Cinnamon Vinaigrette (see recipe below), or as needed
- 1-2 T roasted pumpkin seed oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle with just enough oil to moisten evenly. Toss well.
Distribute lettuces on 4 chilled plates.
Sprinkle “croutons” evenly over the lettuces.
Scatter pepitas over salads, and hit salads with a few small droplets of pumpkin seed oil.
Sprinkle a few grains of salt on the salads and lightly pepper.
butternut squash croutons:
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
- grapeseed or light flavored olive oil, as needed
- ½ t fresh thyme, chopped
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 1/8 t garlic powder, or as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T cake flour (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a boil that is twice the volume of the squash, and salt it liberally. Once boiling, add the squash cubes and blanch just long enough to take away the raw quality of the squash, 1-2 minutes. Immediately drain the squash, dunk in cold water to slow the cooking, and immediately drain well. Place on a kitchen towel and blot dry.
Place the squash into a non-reactive bowl (stainless steel, plastic, glass or ceramic) and drizzle with enough oil to coat the squash well. Toss to evenly coat. Season with enough garlic powder to get some on all the cubes and season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme and toss to evenly distribute the seasonings.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 2-3 T oil. When the oil is hot, add the sage leaves and fry them to flavor the oil. Turn them when they color on the bottom side and then when they are done, put them on a paper towel to dry.
While the sage fries, dust the squash lightly with the cake flour and toss to evenly coat. Toss into a strainer to remove the excess.
When the sage leaves are removed from pan, add the “croutons”. Spread them out. They should have plenty of room, and not be piled up at all or crowding each other. If they do, they will steam and become mushy. If needed, sauté the squash in batches.
Toss and gently stir the cubes over medium heat until they lightly brown and get a little crispy on all sides. If they seem to be getting soft faster than they are browning, turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook until the cubes are tender and golden with crispy edges and sides.
Remove from the pan when done and dry on paper towels.
cilantro cinnamon vinaigrette:
- 1/3 C rice vinegar
- 1/8 t cinnamon
- 1/3 C cilantro stems, chopped
- 1/4 t coriander seeds, powdered
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 t honey, or as needed
- 1 C mild tasting olive oil or grapeseed oil
Place the vinegar and cinnamon into a blender. Start on low, and work up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil, and blend on high until cilantro in liquefied, 1-2 minutes.
Through the center of the cap, slowly drizzle in the oil in a steady stream with the motor running. Proceed until the oil is used up or the “whirlpool” in the center fills in.
Taste for balance and adjust as needed. If there are a lot of chunks of stem or coriander seed, run the dressing through a strainer so it is smooth.
Yield: 1 cup
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 to 2 t chili powder
- 1 t ground cumin
- 4 C pinto and/or black beans, cooked
- 1 1/2 C quick-cooking oats
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 2 T soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
- 1 T ketchup
- 1/4 t pepper
- 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves
- 8 T salsa
In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onion in oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the carrot, chili powder and cumin; cook 2 minutes longer or until carrot is tender. Remove from the heat; set aside.
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 C water
- 1/2 C rice
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, both leaves and stems washed and coarsely chopped (keep separately)
- 4 leaves romaine lettuce (use the large, tougher outer leaves)
- a handful of arugula or spinach leaves
- 1 T chopped fresh tarragon
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- fresh tarragon or croutons for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes, and add the water, rice, carrot, celery, the chopped chard stems and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes until the carrots and celery are tender. Add the Swiss chard, romaine lettuce and spinach or arugula, and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the Swiss chard stems are tender and rice is cooked.
Puree with the tarragon in 1 1/2-cup batches. Don’t cover the blender tightly with the lid, which will cause the hot liquid to spill out. Instead, remove the center stopper from the lid, and cover the top of the blender with a towel to prevent hot splashes. Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you wish, garnish with croutons or with fresh tarragon.