From the Land 3.13

announcements

The CSA is still operating during normal hours during spring break. Students: only some of you have signed up for this week. If you are unsure please email or call us.

Also, please remember your reusable and/or plastic bags this week. We’re completely out of plastic bags, and would love some donations from your collection!

job posting: The Prescott Farmers Market is currently seeking a Managing Director. If you’re interested, you can see the job posting here: http://prescottfarmersmarket.org/20130223141/hiring.html. Resumes are due this Friday.

food for thought

full share: DeCiccio broccoli, hakurei turnips, red potatoes, salad mix, Quelites, radishes, Toscano kale, and dill – all from Crooked Sky Farm.

partial share: DeCiccio broccoli, hakurei turnips, red potatoes, and salad mix!

veg of the week

Quelites: Chenopodium album

Quelites is a general term that refers to any wild native Mexican green, but despite their popularity are not commonly found in grocery stores. The Quelites we are receiving today are also known as lambs-quarters. They resemble spinach and can be cooked in the same way. They differ from spinach in that they aren’t quite as fuzzy, are very nutritious, and don’t break down as fast or completely as spinach. They are very popular in Mexican and South American cuisine, and rural New Mexican children are commonly sent out to gather them from the sides of roads and ditches.

Uses: You can use Quelites in any dish you would use spinach. Put them fresh in a salad or add them to eggs – in a quiche, omelette or scrambled eggs.

To store: Store in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper bin. The greens will lose crispness after the first week, but are still edible for a few weeks after that.

………………………………………………………………………….……………………………..

Crooked Sky Farm
By Alexander Deck

crookdsky2

Frank Martin has always enjoyed farming. In 1999 when he started the farm business, he was driving around and turned onto a road called Crooked Sky Road. When he asked how the road got its name, he was told that the natives in that land called that area “crooked sky” because of how the mountains made the sky look against the horizon.

Today, Crooked Sky Farms is broken up between property in Duncan, Virden, and four different urban locations in Phoenix ranging between 10 to 40 acres. One of the reasons Frank farms in the city is that there is not a lot of farmland available around Phoenix, but the biggest reason is to preserve existing farmland.

Crooked Sky sells at the many different farmers markets in Phoenix, has several of their own CSAs around the valley and in Flagstaff and Tucson, as well as contributing to our PCCSA. You can find out more about the CSA and farm here.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

sauteed quelites
adapted from The Food Network
serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bag quelites, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the onions and jalapeno. Cook for 3 minutes until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the greens. Cook for 5 minutes until greens are wilted and tender. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

lamb’s quarters with beans: quelites con frijoles
adapted from mexconnect
serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon corn oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chile seeds (from ancho, guajillo or any mild dried red chile)
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1 ½ pounds quelites
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic and chile seeds and cook until the onion is just beginning to wilt.

Add the pinto beans and quelites and continue cooking until the greens have wilted. Add salt to taste.

For a vegetarian meal, serve with white rice. Leftover diced pork is a good addition for meat eaters.

peanut mole enchiladas with braised quelites and potatoes
adapted from food and wine

SMOKY PEANUT MOLE

  • 2 medium (about 1 ounce) dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, plus a few tablespoons chopped for garnish
  • 2 slices firm bread (or 1/2 dry Mexican bolillo roll), torn into pieces
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
  • About 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fruity red wine
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons, depending on the saltiness of the broth
  • Sugar, about 1 tablespoon

Tear the ancho chiles into flat pieces, then toast a few at a time in a dry skillet over medium heat: flatten with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until they crackle and change color slightly, then flip and press again. (If they give off more than the slightest wisp of smoke, they are burning and will add a bitter element to the sauce.) In a small bowl, soak the chiles in hot water for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and discard the water.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, medium (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic cloves, and cook, stirring regularly, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a blender jar. Set the pan aside.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4-inches from the heat source until blackened, about 5 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. Let cool, then peel, collecting all the juices from the tomato. Add the tomato to the blender, along with 1 cup of the peanuts, the bread, chipotles, drained anchos, allspice and cinnamon. Add 1 1/2 cups of the broth and blend until smooth, stirring and scraping down the sides of the blender jar; add more liquid if needed. Press the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer set over a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the pot over medium high, until shimmering. Add the puree all at once. Stir as the nutty-smelling mixture thickens and darkens for about 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, the wine, vinegar and bay leaves. Partially cover and let gently simmer over medium-low heat for roughly 45 minutes, stirring regularly for the flavors to harmonize. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little more broth to keep it the consistency of a cream soup. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons, and the sugar. Cover and keep warm if using immediately. Mole can be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks.

FILLING

  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 cups loosely packed, sliced quelites
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice and blanch in salted water until tender
  • Salt

ENCHILADAS

  • 8 corn tortillas (plus a few extra in case some break)
  • 2 1/2 cups Smoky Peanut Mole
  • A few tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • A few sprigs of parsley, for garnish

In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced greens and potatoes, cover and cook about 3 minutes (just to wilt the quelites). Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender and the mixture dry, about 5 minutes longer. Taste and season with salt. Remove from the heat. (If not completing the enchiladas immediately, spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cool completely; return to pan before continuing.)

Set up a steamer (a vegetable steamer in a large saucepan filled with 1-inch of water works well); heat to a boil. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel and lay them in the steamer; cover tightly. Boil 1 minute, turn off the heat and let stand without opening the steamer for about 15 minutes.

While the tortillas are standing, bring the mole to a simmer in a medium-size saucepan (if not already warm). Taste and season with additional salt if necessary; thin with additional water or broth to the consistency of a medium cream soup. Warm the filling over medium-low heat.

When ready to serve, make enchiladas a portion at a time: Lay 2 tortillas on a warm dinner plate, roll a portion of the filling into each one, lay the enchiladas seam-side down on the plate and ladle a portion of the mole over the top—cover the tortilla completely; be generous with the sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

Advertisements

From the Land 3/6

announcements

As many of you know, I will be leaving Prescott College in June. I have spent almost every day for the past 7 1/2 years at the college for both school and work, and – though I am excited for my move to the east coast – I will be sad to leave this amazing community. The CSA is something I have worked very hard on, and be assured that it will continue once I’m gone!

The CSA is not yet accepting applications, but the Prescott Farmers Market is currently seeking a Managing Director. If you’re interested, you can see the job posting here: http://prescottfarmersmarket.org/20130223141/hiring.html.

food for thought

full share: spinach from Whipstone, grapefruit from the Hawkins’ trees in Phoenix, navel oranges, “siamese dragon” microgreens, red potatoes, fennel, swiss chard, and curly mustard greens!

partial share: spinach, navel oranges, “siamese dragon” microgreens, and red potatoes!

veg of the week

fennel: Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel is an extremely versatile vegetable – it can be eaten raw or cooked, and the fronds, bulb, seeds and flowers are edible and vary in taste. It is highly aromatic with a slight licorice taste which lessens when cooked. It also – as you will read below – has great medicinal qualities.

Uses: Slice the bulb and add to salad or stews. Roast it. Braise it (recipe below). Blanch, marinate, or cook with risotto. Chop the fronds and add to salads or soups, and dry the extra for future use.

To store: Fennel loses its flavor as it is stores, so eat soon. Store in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

Lactofermentation update

Make sure you try our fermented radishes this week! They’ve now been fermenting for 2 weeks, and are a great example of how easy adding fermented vegetables to your diet can be!

You can also sample some fermented sauerkraut and beets today. They are from Homesteader’s Supply and have been fermenting for 8 days; though they’re not quite done, they are a great example of developing tastes and the different needs of different vegetables.

We also have the Pickle Pro (airlock) for sale in the CSA. They are the easiest way to ferment any vegetable without having to worry about mold. Pick one up for $9.95 or 3 for $29.95. Have fun experimenting!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

Health Benefits of Aniseed, Cumin and Fennel
By Alexander Deck

In Ayurvedic medicine, common home spices are used to combat illness and keep the body healthy. Everyone is naturally drawn towards eating flavorfully spiced food. Imagine grating aspirin on your curry. That won’t make it taste any better, but cumin will! In addition, adding cumin will act as a preventative medicine by acting as a digestive aid and reducing flatulence.

Here are some common household spices and their medicinal benefits*

  • Aniseed helps as a digestive aid and to relieve menstrual cramps
  • Cumin also helps as a digestive aid, reducing flatulence and as an appetite stimulant.
  • Fennel seeds work just as well as a digestive aid. In most restaurants in India it is offered with sugar after a meal.

These three spices can be taken after meal all together. Roast the aniseed, cumin and fennel, then take a half teaspoon of each altogether. Chew well then swallow with a glass of warm water. This will greatly reduce gas issues and flatulence.

Suggested cooking uses for a less intense flavor:

  • A fun use of aniseed is as a substitute for chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies. Grind seeds before adding.
  • To make Indian dal, cook one cup lentils with a teaspoon salt. In a separate pan simmer 3 TBSP oil or coconut oil with 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp fennel seeds, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for 3 minutes, then add to lentils.

*Information from http://www.indianexpress.com/news/three-spices-that-aid-digestion/242736

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

braised fennel
adapted from orangette
serves 4

  • 3-4 fennel bulbs, trimmed of stems and fronds
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • About ½ C dry white wine
  • About ½ C chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt, preferably a good, flaky variety

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the fennel into 1- to 1 ½-inch wedges. Warm about 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Lay fennel wedges in one crowded layer in the pan, and cook them until they are golden on the bottom, about 5-10 minutes, and then flip them to gild the other side. Salt them lightly. As the fennel finishes browning, remove the wedges to a flameproof baking dish. You may need to brown the fennel in batches, adding oil as needed, until all of it is browned.

Arrange the fennel in a single, crowded layer in the baking dish. Add the wine and chicken broth in equal parts to reach a depth of ½ inch. Place the dish over medium heat, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Transfer the dish to the oven, and bake until the fennel is tender, about 20-30 minutes. Serve, with additional salt for sprinkling.

arugula, fennel and orange salad
adapted from william sonoma
serves 8-10

For the citrus vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

FOR THE salad

  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 3 large navel oranges
  • 4 cups arugula, mizuna, or other small-leafed salad green

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, olive oil, canola oil, mustard, tarragon and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts. Cut the bulb halves crosswise into slices 3/8 inch thick and then cut the slices into 1-inch lengths.

Working with 1 orange at a time, and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of the orange to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright on a cutting board and thickly slice off the peel and pith in strips, following the contour of the fruit. Cut the orange in half crosswise, place each half cut side down, and thinly slice vertically to create half-moons. Repeat with the remaining oranges.

Place the fennel and arugula in a large serving bowl, add half of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat thoroughly. Arrange the orange slices in a pinwheel or other design on top. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.

spinach, chard, potato and herb stew
adapted from diane kochilas
serves 4-6 as a main course, 8-12 as a side or “meze”

  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-10 small potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped, reserving their juices
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 fresh (or 1 dried) bay leaves
  • 1 bag spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped separately
  • 1/2 C snipped fresh dill
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C snipped fennel fronds
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • feta cheese for garnish

Heat 1/4 C of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion, chard stems, and fennel bulb until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the oil. Pour in the grated tomatoes and add the salt and pepper to taste and the bay leave(s). Cover and simmer over low heat until the tomato mixture is thick, about 20 minutes.

Add the spinach to the tomato sauce, in batches, and cook, covered, until the spinach and chard have lost most of their volume and is wilted. Add the dill and fennel fronds. Toss gently to combine, being careful not to break up the potatoes. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper and sprinkle in a little nutmeg. Cook, covered, until most of the liquid from the spinach has cooked off, the contents of the pot are thick, and the potatoes tender.

Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Pour in the remaining 1/4 C of olive oil and serve.

To serve: Plate the stewed greens in a shallow soup dish and sprinkle, if desired, with crumbled feta, and  with the lemon wedges.

From the Land 2.27

food for thought

full share: packman broccoli, navel oranges, french breakfast radishes, sunflower shoots, hakurei turnips, vates kale, escarole, and cilantro!

partial share: pac man broccoli, navel oranges, french breakfast radishes, and sprouts!

veg of the week

sunflower shoots: Helianthus annuus

Native to North America, sunflowers have been used by Native people for over 2000 years, but only became popular when reintroduced by Russian immigrants in the late 19th century. The seeds are commonly eaten hulled, ground into a meal, or processed for oil, but when sprouted produce a green that contains every known vitamin, including the B-complex and D!

Uses: Sunflower shoots make an excellent addition to salads, soups or stir-fries; or juice with carrots, celery and fennel.  

Nutrition: According to Kitchen Garden, “unsprouted sunflower seeds are high in fat and protein. However, sprouting activates the seed, with many changes as it sprouts: dramatic increase in enzyme levels, seed fats are converted to essential fatty acids and carbohydrates, proteins are converted to essential amino acids and/or sugars, and vitamin levels (on a dry basis) increase substantially. Due to their activate enzymes, sprouts are much easier to digest than dry seeds…The greens [shoots] are a tender baby vegetable, high in chlorophyll, and a substitute for lettuce. Sunflower greens have a slightly salty taste that some compare to watercress. They are rich in chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, proteins, and the most important “nutrient”, the life force. Some writers report the greens are a rich source of lecithin and Vitamin D. Additionally, unlike most expensive freeze-dried supplements such as spirulina and algae, sunflower greens that you grow are alive up to the time you eat them (most freeze-dried items are dead).”

To store: Keep shoots in a loosely sealed plastic bag, where they will last at least a week. But you’ll eat them before then!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

Lactofermentation update

fermented radishes

Our fermented radishes are looking beautiful! We’ll be sampling them today – feel free to taste and compare the three different fermentation methods!

As you may remember, we started these three jars last Wednesday: one with only saltwater brine, one with the addition of a vegetable fermentation culture, and one with the addition of whey, for the purpose of adding more lactobacillus to the mix. Lactobacillus is the bacteria that supports fermentation, and the funny lid toppers are airlocks that keep the oxygen away from the vegetable. This type of airlock is called a Pickle Pro – made locally in Chino Valley by Homesteader Supply, and we have some available for sale at CSA.

What’s your hypothesis? Do you think one of the jars has fermented faster than the others? Do you think they will taste different?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

Genetic Roulette
Genetically Modified Food Coming under the Spotlight
By Micheal Holmes

Film author and anti-GMO advocate Jeffrey M. Smith came to Prescott College’s Mariposa building last Saturday, where he met a crowd of community members eager to hear about genetically modified (GM) organisms in food. The event was expected to host only 200 people but well over 350 people showed up to educate themselves about this growing movement and eat non-GM food donated by New Frontiers Market. Jeffrey Smith is well known for his new film Genetic Roulette, which exposes a flood of recent studies that strongly link numerous severe animal and human health problems to GM foods. Genetically Modified Organisms can be a plant or an animal that is engineered in a lab for more desirable traits like pest resistance and better shelf life. This is done by forcing a gene, or part of a gene, from one species into the DNA of another organism. One can find an example of this in GM tomatoes, where spider genes are impregnated into the tomato in order to improve its shelf life. The FDA approved GMO crops in 1996 without any long term studies conducted on them and since then GMO’s have become extremely common. Today 94% of soy in the U.S. is genetically modified, 88% of corn, as well as most sugar (from sugar beets), cotton (cottonseed oil) and papaya. GM alfalfa and summer squash can also be found. Jeffrey Smith sites research showing correlation between the following health problems and GM foods: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, premature aging, infertility, birth defects, gastrointestinal problems, downs syndrome, allergies, auto immune disease and cancer. All of these health problems have skyrocketed since the advent of GM foods, and the number of Americans with these chronic conditions has doubled since that time. Other factors are also involved of course, but research is now strongly suggesting GM foods as the major culprit.

What Can We Do?

While it is apparent that the Food and Drug Administration is not protecting us against the dangers of GM foods, there is a lot we can do to protect ourselves and also to move towards getting GM foods banned altogether. The GM foods ban in Europe showed that it is possible to ban GM foods. Better news than that is that we are actually most of the way there. Research indicates that if only 5% of Americans purposely avoided GM food, it would no longer be profitable for farmers to grow it! Also, through public outcry, we have already defeated the approval of GM tomatoes, rice, wheat, and other crops. Finally, we can all join local movements to require labeling of GM foods (GMO Free Prescott), boycott GM foods, and educate our friends and families.

Avoiding GM foods

-Avoid all non organic corn and soy products, unless it is has the Non GMO Project verified logo on it.

-Avoid anything that lists sugar if not organic, as it is most likely sugar made from GM sugar beets. (note: cane sugar is not GMO)

-Avoid canola and cottonseed oil, if not listed as organic.

-Avoid non-organic papaya, unless verified

-Avoid aspartame

There is an enormous list of “hidden” GM ingredients in processed foods on the website  nonGMOshoppingguide.com, as well as more helpful shopping tips.

Also, for a small fee you can stream Jeffrey Smith’s documentary Genetic Roulette.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

sunflower shoot stir-fry
adapted from sprout people

  • sunflower greens
  • garlic to taste – minced
  • ginger to taste – minced or sliced
  • soy sauce or Braggs

Heat a wok or pan up nice and hot.

Toss in a bunch of garlic and ginger (optional) and then a whole mess of sunflower shoots.

Stir fry vigorously for a minute. Add some soy sauce in the last 20-30 seconds. Keep stirring.

Serve over rice – or by itself!

golden beet and sunflower salad
adapted from epicurious
serves 6

  • 2 1/2 lb medium golden beets (with greens if available)
  • 1/2 C  raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 T finely chopped shallot
  • 2 1/2 T cider vinegar
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t sugar
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz sunflower sprouts or baby mesclun (6 cups)

Put oven racks in lower third and middle of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

Trim beet greens, leaving 1 inch of stems attached (optional – if you’ve already discarded the greens don’t worry about it). Tightly wrap beets together in double layers of foil to make packages (2 or 3 per package) and roast in middle of oven until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Unwrap beets and cool slightly.

While beets roast, toast sunflower seeds in a pie plate or a small baking pan in lower third of oven, shaking occasionally, until seeds are golden, about 10 minutes.

Whisk together shallot, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins. Cut beets lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and gently toss with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette in a bowl.

Toss sunflower sprouts and half of sunflower seeds with remaining vinaigrette in another bowl. Arrange beets on 6 salad plates and top with dressed sprouts. Sprinkle salads with remaining sunflower seeds.

angelhair pasta with lemon, fingerling potatoes and sunflower shoots
adapted from food network
serves 4 as side dish

  • 4 to 6 smallish fingerling potatoes (about 4 to 6 ounces total), thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T kosher salt, for the pasta water, plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 qts water
  • 1/2 lb dried angel hair pasta
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C sour cream
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small bunch chives, trimmed and minced
  • 1/2 C sunflower greens

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the potatoes: Put the potatoes on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the tray in the center of the oven and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and bring the water back up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Stir the pasta with a slotted spoon to make sure it does not clump or stick to the bottom as it cooks.
In a large colander, drain the pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid, in case it becomes necessary to use it later on.In a large skillet, combine the heavy cream and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce the cream over medium heat whisking until it thickens and all of the sour cream melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and a “splash” of Worcestershire sauce. Taste for seasoning. At this point, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the pasta. If too thin, reduce over low heat for 2 additional minutes. If it becomes too thick, simply thin it out with some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.
Stir in the chives.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat with the cream. Shut the heat off and allow the pasta to “rest” for 2 minutes, tossing to coat, from time to time. Meanwhile, put the potatoes on a flat surface and use a sharp knife to slice them into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick rounds. Stir the potato slices into the pasta sauce.
Serve the pasta: Warm the serving bowls. If the cream is overly thick, add a little more of the pasta cooking liquid and swirl it around over the heat for a minute. Stir in the sunflower greens and spoon the pasta into the bowls. Serve immediately.

From the Land 2.20

food for thought

full share: grapefruit, salad mix, carrots, wildflower honey, potatoes, butternut squash, onions, and garlic!

partial share: grapefruit, salad mix, carrots, and honey!

veg of the week

Ozette fingerling potatoes: Solanum tuberosum subsp. Andigena

Fingerlings are the general name for any heritage variety of potatoes that are harvested as small, stubby tubers. The variety we are receiving this week is called Ozette: it is commonly regarded as the oldest North American variety and has been grown by the Makah Nation people for generations, but only came available to small farmers in the US in the 1980’s. They are on Slow Food’s Arc of Taste for delicious foods in danger of extinction. Ozettes have an earthy, nutty flavor that gives them a reputation as the “best tasting fingerling”. They are most commonly found in home gardens for personal use, at farmers markets and through CSAs, as the commercial potato industry has decreed them as having a “very poor grade out”, meaning that an Ozette plant will produce tubers of very different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the commercial market does not appreciate vegetables’ naturally occurring diversity!

These potatoes are easy to save for your own garden. Save a few in a cool dry place (where they won’t freeze). In the spring, cut the wrinkled potatoes into 1 inch pieces, each with an “eye” or sprout. Plant them in full sun in compost-enriched soil and each piece will grow into a potato plant that will produce many pounds of potatoes!

Uses: Ozettes are most commonly served boiled, fried or roasted, and they develop a smooth buttery flavor. Toss with olive oil and roast with other root vegetables and winter squash; boil for a potato salad, or cut lengthwise, roast and dip in your favorite creamy sauce – or just sprinkle with salt and pepper because these delicious potatoes can hold their own! PS: not that you would anyway, but the skin is thin enough that you don’t need to peel these potatoes.

Nutrition: Potatoes are actually fairly nutritious before we laden them with fatty sauces. Fingerlings are fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free, and are an excellent source of vitamin C.

To store: Keep these tender potatoes in the refrigerator or root cellar and they’ll last at least a month.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

Lactofermentation update

This week you’ll notice the “lactofermentation experiment” out for display on top of the cooler. While I wish my son would have thought of this for his science fair experiment, instead we get to reap the benefits of comparing three different methods of lactofermentation: saltwater brine, whey, and fermentation culture. Vegetables naturally contain lactobacillus, and our main priority when fermenting is to promote the growth of that good bacteria while limiting the growth of the “bad” bacteria. We do this by adding salt (a preservative), more lactobacillus (optional, but this is what the culture and whey are for), and capping with an airlock to keep out the oxygen that feeds the bad bacteria that would result in mold.

washing veggies

Because we had plenty of Valentine radishes leftover from last week, these became our vegetable of choice. I began by washing and then chopping them. I could have also sliced them, but was missing part of my food processor. I didn’t peel them, just cut off the stem and root ends and then chopped them into rough 1-1 1/2″ pieces.

chopping veggies

I stuffed the radish pieces into half gallon jars, with layers of chopped green onion and garlic. You can see the beautiful green, white and pink colors of the radishes.

filling jars

I topped them with saltwater liquid, roughly 1 tablespoon of salt for each cup of tepid water, let dissolve and poured over the veggies, leaving an inch of head-space. To one of the jars’ liquid was added the packet of fermentation culture; to another was added four tablespoons of whey.finished product

You can see that the jar with whey is a little milky, which is how my whey turned out. My internet research this morning verified that it’s completely usable, but could be run through a dishtowel (I used cheesecloth) to reduce the presence of milk solids, which will therefore help the whey last longer in the fridge. I’ll do this final step later, as whey is useful for soaking grains, beans, and making fermented sauces and dressings.

Finally, I topped the jars with Pickle Pros, a brand of airlock produced in Chino Valley by Homesteader Supply. These kind folks also supplied the fermentation culture. You should buy stuff from them.

Now we wait until next week, when we’ll be able to sample and compare our batches of lactofermented radishes!

For more info on the difference between these methods of lactofermentation, check out

 Cultures for Health.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

India Adventures
by Alex Deck

Hello PCCSAers!

I just got back from an amazing block coarse I did for school in India. Below is a section of a blog post I did for the course. If you’re still interested after reading please follow the link to read the entire post.

About three years ago I heard about a festival in India called the Kumbha Mela. This festival happens once every three years, each year at one of four different cities along the Ganga River. The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela happens every twelve years near the city of Allahabad. Here the three great holy rivers of India come to a meeting place: the Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati. Indian legend goes that one of the Devas (demigods) was flying through the air on the way back to heaven with a pot of the nectar of immortality, Amrita. He was attacked mid flight by demons and ended up spilling a few drops of amrita. A few of these drops fell in the water at the confluence of these three rivers, called the Sangam. Some believe that by bathing in the water at the Sangam they will attain freedom from the necessity of reincarnation.

Others view this meeting point as a representation of the spiritual eye and the three rivers as a representation of the three spiritual pathways in the spine. These pathways are called the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Ida and Pingala on either side of the Sushumna represent the Ganga and Yamuna. These two pathways are less subtle and easier to concentrate on. The meditator focuses on these currents in order to find the more subtle Sushumna, represented by Saraswati. The Saraswati river makes it’s appearance at the Sangam by bubbling up from the ground. Legend has it that Saraswati was cursed to flow underground because she was making too much noise. When one jumps in the Sangam he could say that he is swimming in the Spiritual Eye of the World.

http://lokispcadventure.blogspot.com/

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

fingerling potatoes with aioli
adapted from the food network
serves 6

  • 2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
  • kosher salt

For the Aioli:

  • 1 slice bread, crust removed
  • 2 T Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 t grated lemon zest
  • 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 t saffron threads
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 C good olive oil
  • chives, chopped

Rinse the potatoes and put them in a large saucepan. Cover them with cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and place a kitchen towel on top, allowing them to steam for 5 to 10 minutes.

For the aioli, tear the slice of bread into pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the vinegar over the bread, and set aside for 5 minutes.

Place the garlic cloves, egg yolks, zest, juice, saffron, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the bread, and puree into a paste. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until it is the consistency of thick sour cream. Place in a serving bowl.

Slice the potatoes in half and place them on a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and decorate with the chopped chives. Serve with the aioli.

bacon and fingerling potato phylo pizza
adapted from ross sveback
makes 6 pizzas

    • 1 – 16 oz package phyllo dough thawed in refrigerator
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 lb thick-cut bacon
    • 1 lb fingerling potatoes – cooked and sliced
    • 1/4 C minced onion
    • 1 T fresh thyme
    • 5 oz shredded Asiago, Parmesan & Romano cheeses
    • fresh ground sea salt & pepper to taste

Dice bacon and fry until crisp, removing bacon and placing onto paper towels to drain.  In a medium bowl, combine red onion, thyme, cheese and bacon, then set aside.

Melt butter in a liquid measuring cup.  Unroll phyllo dough and using a salad plate place on the phyllo dough and cut around it with a knife – discard extra.  Pull one round sheet of phyllo dough off and place onto a slice of parchment paper, brush with butter using a basting brush. Place another phyllo round on top and brush again with butter repeating until you have seven layers brushing top layer with butter.  You will get six pizzas out of one package.
Place fingerling potato slices on top of pizza rounds, divided evenly between the six. Divide topping between six pizzas sprinkling even over the tops and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.  Cut into six with a knive and serve.  Crust will harden up if allowed to rest for five minutes.

warm winter salad with roasted butternut squash and fingerling potatoes
adapted from gluten free goddess
serves 4

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs fingerlings, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • half a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • another drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.In a roasting pan combine potatoes, olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes to distribute the olive oil and seasonings. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender but not quite done.

Stir the winter squash and potatoes together and coat the squash with the olive oil and seasonings. Place the roasting pan back into the hot oven and roast until the potatoes and squash are fork tender and the squash is caramelized – about 15 to 20 minutes.
When the potatoes and squash are done, remove the pan from the oven and cool it on a rack while you prepare the salad greens.
Plate a mix of baby spinach and mizuna, arugula or other salad mix.
Spoon the warm roasted squash and potatoes onto the greens. Dress lightly with a dab of
extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh ground pepper.
Add a sprinkle of fresh organic goat cheese or a shaving of Parmesan.

From the Land 2.6

food for thought

full share: bean sprouts, baby spinach, romanesco, Valentine radishes, mizuna, spaghetti squash, hakurei turnips, and navel oranges!

partial share: bean sprouts, baby spinach, romanesco, and Valentine radishes!

veg of the week

romanesco: Brassica oleracea

Is it cauliflower, cabbage or broccoli? People in Germany, France, and England, respectively, all have different names for this beautiful “broccoli Romanesco” (or “Roman cauliflower”) that is a variant form of cauliflower and a gorgeous representation of natural fractals. It was first documented in Italy in the 16th century, but only reached the international market in the early 1990s. Don’t be put off by this alien creature! It is surprisingly sweet, tender like cauliflower, but with a denser texture that holds up well to different cooking methods. The nutty taste lends itself well to both cooking or eating raw.

Uses: Romanesco is very versatile: try it steamed or boiled, and served with a splash of lemon and olive oil; or blanched and sauteed and mixed with pasta, olive oil, garlic, and a little tomato sauce for a simple treat; or roast with olive oil and garlic and serve as a side dish. Don’t forget to top with Parmesan cheese!

Nutrition: Similar to cauliflower but firmer in texture, romanesco is very digestible (more so than cauliflower) and is rich in zinc, which promotes full range of taste in the mouth, and vitamin C, which deteriorates quickly after harvest, so eat as soon as possible. It is also rich in dietary fiber and potassium.

To store: Put whole head into tightly sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

whey

I wrote last week that we would soon begin and document our fermentation experiment. I intended to compare fermenting three batches of the same vegetable with saltwater brine, whey, and vegetable fermenting culture. The saltwater brine is easy to make, Homesteaders Supply sent over some fermenting culture, and so we were just lacking the whey. What to do? – make some!

I began with some leftover raw cow milk from our milk share last week. According to Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, whey is easy to make by simply leaving raw milk at room temperature for between 1 and 4 days. The milk will separate into white curds and yellowish whey. So far (after 1 day) ours just looks like a nice layer of cream on top of skim milk, but we will begin to see the cream curdle over the next couple of days. It must remain at least 72 degrees, so this project is happening in my warm office!

Inline image 1

Once curdled, we’ll run the curds and whey through cheesecloth, catching the whey in a bowl below. Cover and let sit for several hours. Then tie up the ends of the cheesecloth and hang it until it stops draining. Voila: curds and whey!

As you can see, we will end up with way more whey than we need for our fermenting experiment, which is only a couple of tablespoons! Fortunately, whey is useful for many things besides vegetable fermentations (like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi), such as soaked pancakes or lacto-fermented sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, and to soak flour, grains, rice or beans in! We already know that lactofermented vegetables aid digestion and release valuable nutrients. Using whey to soak grains or beans in does something similar: it gets rid of the antinutrients and releases the full nutritional potential of the grain! Fallon recommends always soaking flour grains in water or water-whey combo before using, unless you’re sprouted grains.

You can make whey in larger batches like we’re doing, and it will keep in your refrigerator for up to 6 months. And the byproduct, the curds, are also useful and delicious! Fallon calls it “cream cheese” and recommends mashing until creamy and using as cream cheese or sour cream (depending on the consistency).

For more info on whey, check out Nourishing Traditions, or The Nourishing Cook website, dedicated to all 773 recipes from Nourishing Tradition.

Next week we’ll chop up the veggies (any recommendations?) and start our fermentation experiment!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

miso almond romanesco
adapted from habeas, brulee
serves 4-6 as side dish

  • 1 large head romanesco
  • 1/8 C white miso
  • 1 tsp Korean anchovy sauce
  • 1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Vietnamese caramel sauce
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

Cut the romanesco into individual florets, cutting the larger florets in half. Discard the stem and leaves.

Stir together the miso, anchovy sauce, red pepper flakes, Vietnamese caramel, and 1/8 C water until smooth.

In a wok, heat 2 tbsp butter on high until it melts and sizzles. Add the romanesco and saute until browned all over. Let it sear a bit; that will only make it taste better. Stir in the water and garlic and simmer until the water is nearly gone. Stir in the almonds and cook a minute more. Stir in the sauce and serve.

With a typical home wok, it is best to do this in two batches so your romanesco actually sears instead of merely steaming when you cook it.

wheatberries with romanesco, butternut squash, and preserved lemon
adapted from cayuga st. kitchen
serves 8

    • 1 3/4 cup wheat berries
    • 5 cups water
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 romanesco, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
    • 1 butternut squash, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
    • 6 scallions, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
    • 1/4 ground cinnamon
    • 1 preserved lemon
    • 1 teaspoon preserved lemon juice
    • 1 cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 475.

In a colander, rinse the wheat berries (after soaking, of course!). Add them to a medium pot with the water and cinnamon sticks. bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook the wheat berries for about 60-75 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed.

On a baking sheet, toss the romanesco, butternut squash and scallions with the olive oil and sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.
Meanwhile, put the almonds in a small dry pan and toast them over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the almonds and ground cinnamon to the serving dish and toss.

Rinse the preserved lemon under water to remove some of the salt. Remove the flesh from the lemon and set aside. Mince the rind and add to the serving dish. Over the serving dish, squeeze the liquid out of the flesh with a lemon squeezer or through a colander. Add the extra preserved lemon juice and toss again.

When the wheat berries are done, remove the cinnamon sticks and drain the wheat berries in a colander. Toss in with the romanesco and butternut squash.
Add the parsley leaves last for one final toss to this bright dish!
warm romanesco salad
adapted from in a village called segur le chateau
serves 2 as main dish or 4 as side

  • one head romanesco
  • 10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 T soft goats cheese
  • 3 T olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 t wholegrain mustard
  • ground black pepper

Chop the romanesco and steam until al dente.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and black pepper in a jar and shake until blended.

In a large bowl, mix the romanesco, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese and dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From the Land 2.6

food for thought

full share: grapefruit, salad mix, grilling onions, swiss chard, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, and sweet potatoes!

partial share: grapefruit, salad mix, grilling onions, and swiss chard!

veg of the week

grapefruit: Citrus paradisi

Grapefruit is a subtripical fruit, meaning that it grows in regions just above and below the tropics. Fortunately for us, Phoenix has a subtropical climate! Grapefruits are the hybrid of the pomelo and sweet orange, first bred in Barbados in the 18th century and referred to as “the forbidden fruit”. They have a characteristic sour and  bitter flavor that can be decreased by cooking the fruit or by adding sugar.

Uses: Depending on your tolerance for the bitter flavor, grapefruits can be eaten plain, just like an orange, or topped with sugar and eaten with a spoon, or cut onto a salad to combine with other flavors. In Costa Rica, grapefruit is commonly heated (reducing the bitterness), stuffed with dulce de leche and eaten as a dessert called toronja rellena (stuffed grapefruit).

Nutrition: Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C (immune system booster) and lycopene (promotes prostate health). Studies have shown it can help lower cholesterol, and the fruit’s low glycemic index helps the body’s metabolism burn fat. The seeds are shown to have antioxidant properties, and grapefruit seed extract to have antimicrobial properties against fungi.

To store: Like other citrus, grapefruit can be stored at room temperature (up to a week), but shelf life will be extended up to 2-3 weeks with refrigeration (bring to room temp before eating to increase juiciness and sweetness). In you have excess, it can also be frozen: peel, divide into sections and discard membranes and seeds, mix together and heat 2 3/4 C sugar and 4 C water, cool the syrup and pour over grapefruit, store in freezer bags or airtight containers where the fruit will stay good for 10-12 months.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

fermentation

Needless to say, I am a huge fan of fermented and cultured foods! And while I love experimenting with different strains of cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir, curds and whey…yum!), it’s the lacto-fermentation process on vegetables that really excites me. Humans have been preserving foods with this method for thousands of years. Lactobacilli are present on the surfaces of all plants, especially vegetables that grow close to the ground, and produce Lactic acid, a natural preservative. When promoted properly, the lactic acid not only preserves the food but also promotes healthy flora in the intestine, making lacto-fermented foods even more healthy than in their natural raw state! Lacto-fermented vegetables are full of enzymes that aid digestion, increase nutritional content, and have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Cabbage (sauerkraut), beets, turnips, cucumbers, green tomatoes, lettuces and herbs, corn, watermelon rind, and even fruit (chutney) can all be lacto-fermented – or mix them all together with garlic and chile paste to make kimchi! A simple recipe is here.

Why bother making your own? Lacto-fermentation is best done in relatively small quantities, and the advent of industrial food processing introduced a different process for pickling and fermenting: vinegar. This preservation technique does not produce the same health benefits, and only accomplishes long-term preservation.

There are many different approaches to even the most simple vegetable fermentation: different people prefer a saltwater brine, or whey, or even vegetable fermentation culture. Some people like to make a large crock of sauerkraut to last all winter; others prefer a quart at a time in an ongoing process. All emphasize the importance of keeping the fermenting vegetables away from oxygen, but accomplish this in various ways: through tightly sealed lids, or using fingers to push the vegetable under the liquid, or keeping it under liquid with a weighted plate or a bag of saltwater brine, or just removing the top layer of the sauerkraut (when mold grows) before eating it. A new fermenters tool called a Pickle Pro (made by hand in Chino Valley) is put onto the lid, and allows the oxygen to be pushed out with the gas produced by the fermenting vegetables.

Next week we’ll begin an experiment on different fermentation techniques using the Pickle Pro. Keep an eye out for the jars at CSA, and we’ll keep you posted on the progress of jars using just saltwater brine, whey, or culture. And when they’re done you’ll be able to sample them! Stay tuned…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

rainbow swiss chard with grapefruit vinaigrette
adapted from chef-k
serves 8

for vinaigrette:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 ½ t grapefruit zest (from same grapefruit)
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 small sections shallots, finely diced
  • 2 T olive oil

Zest the grapefruit, using micro plane or fine grater. Cut grapefruit in half and squeeze juice into a bowl. Add grapefruit zest to juice, then add vinegar to juice mixture. Heat olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add diced shallots and sauté 3 minutes. Add sautéed shallots to grapefruit juice.

Set aside until ready to use.

for chard:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 batch Grapefruit vinaigrette

Wash and drain Swiss chard. Cut leaves into ribbons, and place in a pot with a lid and ¼ cup of water. Bring water to boil and steam for 3-4 minutes.

Drain and place chard in a serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette over and serve immediately.
beet, citrus, fennel and pickled ginger onion salad
adapted from eat relate love blog
serves
  • 1/2 C honey balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 beet
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • drizzle of olive oil

Combine honey balsamic vinegar and sugar in an airtight jar and add onions. Refrigerate overnight.

Toss fennel, olive oil, brown sugar and salt and spread in even layer on cookie sheet. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Boil beet until tender, peel and slice thinly.
Plate. Layer in order: beets, oranges/grapefruits, fennel and pickled onion.
sweet potatoes and winter greens
adapted from garden of eating
serves 4
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 bunches of chard or collard greens
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of one half lemon
  • 1 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch or red pepper flakes
  • 2 T olive, peanut or grapeseed oil

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks (make them as uniform in size as you can.)

Heat one T of oil in the pan over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just brown on all sides and soft (about 12-15 minutes). If the potatoes are still hard at the end of this time, you can add a few T of water or broth, put a cover on the pan and steam for 2-3 minutes and they should soften right up.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash the greens (but do not dry them.) Remove the ribs and cut the leaves into ribbons. Mince or press the garlic and set aside. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, add the cinnamon, gloves, salt and pepper and then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and saute the garlic and the chili flakes for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the greens to the pan (in batches if needed) and stir often until they’ve cooked down significantly and are tender. Season the greens with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the potatoes, honey or maple syrup, and lemon juice with the greens, stir and serve.

From the Land 1.30

food for thought

full share: Red Russian kale, dried black beans, red potatoes, onions, braising mix, arugula, navel oranges, and collard greens!

partial share: Red Russian kale, dried black beans, red potatoes, and onions

veg of the week

braising mix

There is no scientific name for braising mix because it is a mix of many different greens, usually brassicas. Our braising mix contains kale, lettuce, beet and turnip greens, collards, chard, bok choy, and probably a couple other varieties! Greens such as these can be grown and harvested young (for salad mixes) or mature (for cooking greens), but braising mixes are right in between. The greens are harvested at mid-maturity, so they are much milder in taste than the same varieties when full grown, but have more flavor than when harvested as baby greens and eaten raw. They are an unusual taste explosion of peppery, sweet, earthy, bitter and nutty. And as you know, when they are purchased through a CSA or farmers market, the greens are incredibly fresh, crisp, and have superior nutritional quality!

Uses: Braising mixes are usually cooked. Named after the cooking technique of searing in hot oil and then simmering in liquid, braising greens can in fact be steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, or mixed into soups or stews. Braising greens are the perfect addition to salads, stir-fries, pizza, pasta, eggs, or casseroles. From Tufts University:

  • Toss a couple handfuls of braising mix (baby chard, kale, spinach, mustard, arugula, or other greens) into a stir fry.
  • Be sure to balance the slight bitterness of baby chard, dandelion or mustard leaves with contrasting or sweet flavors such as persimmon, apple, pear, baby beets, citrus, vinaigrette spiked with honey or a syrupy balsamic vinegar.
  • You can also toss some chopped greens into soup or a frittata, or serve them sauteed with pancetta, pine nuts, and golden raisins and heaped atop crusty toasted or grilled bread rubbed with garlic.

Nutrition: Because braising mix contains many different varieties of greens, each harvest may be nutritionally different. But because it contains many types of brassicas, braising greens are always rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, folacin and beta carotene, while low in calories.

To store: You guessed it – keep the bag closed and in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Enjoy for at least a week!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

quinoa and braising mix pie
adapted from well commons
serves 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb greens
  • 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 2 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 1 pie crust, uncooked

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion until translucent. Stir in rinsed braising mix and cook until mix is reduced to at least half its original size, but leaves still maintain their shape. Stir in cooked quinoa and heat through. Stir in nutmeg and pepper. Spread mix into prepared pie crust. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Pour egg mixture over greens and quinoa. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes, until eggs are set and crust is golden brown. Serve warm as a main dish or a side dish.

sweet potatoes, apples and braising greens
adapted from epicurious
serves 10
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
  • 5 T unsalted butter, plus 3 T melted
  • 1 T fine sea salt
  • 2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium baking apples, such as Sierra Beauty or Granny Smith, cored and cut into quarters
  • 6 C loosely packed braising greens, stems removed and torn into 2-inch strips
  • 1/4 C loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a baking sheet, toss potato slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.

In heavy medium skillet over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add apples and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep warm.

In heavy large pot over moderate heat, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons water. Add greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to moderately low and add sweet potatoes and apples. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Serve hot.

hot wilted greens
serves 4
  • slice thick smoky bacon
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet red onion
  • 3 T chicken stock
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bag braising mix
  • 1/4 C toasted pecans

In a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add olive oil to bacon drippings in skillet, heat and add garlic and onions.

Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions and garlic are softened. Add greens and mix. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until leaves are coated.

Stir in stock and vinegar. Cover and cook several minutes more, until leaves are wilted and cooked tender-crisp.

Top with bacon and chopped pecans. Serve hot.