Saturday, May 16, 2020

CSA weekly update

I am thinking about using the blog for the weekly update. I will still send an email each week mostly as a reminder to pickup your veggies with a general list of what is in your bag. A more detailed description will be posted here. This will allow me to write the updates ahead of time instead of trying to do it Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Maybe maybe not.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Turnips #2

Turnip Salad with Mustard Dressing
1/3 cup mayonnaise or plain yogurt
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp chopped chives
1 pound turnips peeled and shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves for serving if desired

In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise/yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and chives. Blend well.
Add the turnips and toss. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Spoon onto lettuce leaves and serve.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Greens #2

Experience the vitality of fresh garden greens.
The more common cooking greens, arugula, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, spinach, and radish tops - may be used interchangeably. Experiment with the different greens available to you and get to know their unique and mild to pungent flavors.
Their vibrancy and freshness are a gift of flavor and health. Greens are packed with nutrition. Properly prepared, greens offer generous amount of Vitamins A and C, some B vitamins, and folic acid, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron. Greens are very high in dietary fiber and low in calories. In the health world, dark leafy greens also receive attention for their roles in disease prevention.
So don't forget to eat your greens.
From Asparagus to Zucchini,  Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

Asian-Style Saute
2 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound mixed greens, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
fresh ground pepper
Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes, remove and set aside. Saute greens until just wilted. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, tamari, pepper and garlic. Serve as a side dish or with rice.

Will's Collard Greens    Will Allen, Growing Power
this recipe works for all kinds of cooking greens
1 bunch collard greens  separate stems and cut into small bites
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar/honey
1 tsp minced garlic

Wash and stack the leaves, roll them and slice thinly. Heat oil in medium pan add salt, pepper, garlic, stem pieces and sugar. Add greens and cook until tender. Stir often to avoid burning the greens.

Fresh Greens Pasta Pie  Crystal Lake Gardens

6 ounces vermicelli
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 eggs
2 tsp cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh greens
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
several shakes hot pepper sauce if desired

Cook vermicelli, drain. Stir butter and parmesan cheese into hot pasta. Beat 2 of the eggs and stir well into pasta. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased plate and use a spoon to shape the pasta into a pie shell, cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a skillet, add onion, cook until tender. Beat remaining 3 eggs and conbine with spinach, mozzarella, milk, seasonings and onions. Spoon mixture into pasta shell. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers whether eaten as a snack or incorporated into a main dish, crunchy, sweet shishito peppers are delicious and occasionally pack a punch—one in ten are superspicy!
 Saute peppers in olive oil, over high heat, until they just begin to blister- serve hot, sprinkled with sea salt. Excellent for tempura, yakitori, and sauteed.

Sautéed shishitos are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks, and they're insanely easy to prepare. Deborah Madison
    1. Here's what you do. Heat a little olive oil in a wide sauté pan until it is good and hot but not smoking. Add the peppers and cook them over medium, tossing and turning them frequently until they blister. They shouldn't char except in places. Don't rush. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers. When they're done, toss them with sea salt and add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Slide the peppers into a bowl and serve them hot. You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, minus the stem, that is.
    You can probably do fancier, cheffy things with them, but they're terrific like this. For variety, I sometimes use a little toasted sesame oil instead of olive oil and finish them with togarashi. If you have leftovers, an unlikely event in my experience, chop off the stems and put the peppers in an omelet or some scrambled eggs.  

5-Minute Blistered Shishito Peppers Recipe
 Chief Foodiecrush-er
 Many recipes call for adding oil to the pan before adding the peppers but when I’ve done this in the past, the smoke from the oil is pretty heavy. And I hate a smoky kitchen. Searing in a dry pan did the job just fine, minus the smoke.
 I used three different flavored salts for flavoring the peppers: Natural Crystal Flakes with Wild Garlic, Smoked Applewood Salt and Truffle Salt. It was fun to experiment and see how the different salts flavored the same basic preparation of the peppers. You could of course use plain kosher salt or any other salt you have a hankering for. I think a saffron flavored salt would be dyn-o-mite.

A hot cast iron pan creates the perfect char for this bite-size pepper appetizer tossed with flavored salts.
  • 8 ounces shisito peppers
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or flavored salts
  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until the pan is hot. Add the peppers to the hot skillet and cook the peppers, turning occasionally then add a few slices of lemon. Cook until the peppers become fragrant and begin to blister, and nudge the lemons so they don't stick, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil plus a squeeze more lemon then sprinkle with flavored salts. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Information about CSA's and tips to use your vegetables

CSA: 9 Things Your Farmer Wished You Knew
CSA stands for “community supported agriculture,” and it refers to a defined group of individuals who have pledged to support a local farm, to share the risks and benefits of food production with the growers. “CSA” can be used as an adjective to describe the economic model of a farm, a noun to refer to the share of vegetables received, and a verb, meaning, to participate in the know-your-farmer, visit-your-farm and cook seasonally movement by eating a diverse weekly assortment of always fresh and sometimes unusual vegetables.
1. Foremost, We Are Farmers
Not magicians, nutritionists, psychics, dictators, cheerleaders, or Rachael Ray. Our primary aim is to plan & plow, seed & plant, grow crops not weeds, and harvest at peak freshness and flavor. We’re not here to feed you per se, but to give you the tools (vegetables) to feed yourselves. We aim to inspire but we cannot possibly prepare you for what you are about to experience—your CSA is for you to discover. We also are not event planners, marketing managers, or customer service representatives, though we do try our best to be those things, checking emails over lunch or after dinner.
2. Our Compost is Your Compost
Pile in! Waste is the number one struggle listed by CSA-members, but it is not a burden you have to bear. If you know you won’t eat it, you can share it with a neighbor, you can put it in your freezer until winter, or you can compost it. Encountering the full-circle of your diet is part of the mindfulness that a CSA might instill in you, if you let it. Think fertility not filth. There is a learning curve to CSA, and waste is part of it.
3. Ugly Food is Good Food
And without you to eat it, we’d waste a lot—of time, energy, land, and money. No, two small and/or ghastly celeriac will not make a soup, but they can add a certain salty tang (no strings attached) to your favorite roast or stew. And don’t you think Siamese twin zucchini have a certain charm?      Note from us here at Blue Spring Farm:  Our CSA members get the first harvests of crops and they get the best.
The ugly vegetables are the ones we consume during the season or dry, freeze and can for our winter food supply. When we have more 2nds than we can deal with we take them to our local food back or offer them at discounted prices at the market.
4. Weird Vegetables are Crop Insurance
We also think they’re beautiful and undercelebrated and tasty and add biodiversity to our farms. We plant a huge array of vegetables because some things, inevitably, do not grow as planned. The sequence and severity of sun and rain create wildly different seasons with differing amounts of success across vegetable type and variety. This is not failure on the part of the farmer (generally) but inconsistency on the part of nature.
5. There Will Be Greens
We have several months of frozen ground every year, and tender green sprouts are the first to successfully emerge. It takes much more sunlight and significantly more time to grow buds, flowers, fruits, rhizomes, roots, and bulbs. Your first few CSA boxes will contain mostly greens because this is all the world can do with a seed in such short time. The rest of your CSA boxes might still contain a lot of greens. These are called “leaves.” In the plant world, everybody’s got ‘em. You have all winter to miss ‘em, so learn how to harness their extremely nutritious goodness while you can (turn your fridge down a couple degrees, get a juicer, make green smoothies, learn to veggie chip, and green-up your stirfrys, pasta, soups, quiche or risottos).
6. Farms are Not Grocery Stores
Our goal is not to give you everything you want in the amounts you think you need. That is the work of a magician. Or a grocery store. While we are working to learn how to best grow everything perfectly every season, this takes an enormous number of advanced skills and intimate knowledge of a piece of land. CSAs are also not market-stands, where we can afford to spend more time harvesting a smaller number of goods every week—things like beans and peas and cherry tomatoes that are expensive to harvest in large numbers by hand. CSAs are what we say they are and also what you make of them.
7. We are Not Capitalizing on a Trend
We aren’t really capitalizing on anything. To meet our customer’s expectations, we keep prices low. We always give you at least a little more than what you pay for, but usually significantly more. The vegetables are a labor of fourteen-hour-day love and minimum-wage love and also the fruits of exhaustion and working second jobs. Mostly, we believe in a movement that honors transparency and commitment, and that hopes for the day that physical labor and care for the land will eventually outlive chemical fertilizers and outrageous subsidies. Yes, your CSA is fun and challenging and healthy, but it is also a vote for small-scale, human-powered agriculture, which is bigger than you and really important.
8. Your CSA Might Just Change You
If you weren’t much for staying-in and cooking a meal using whole ingredients, you might be now. Accepting unknowns, working creatively within limitations, learning new ways of cooking, and adapting your diet to fit the seasons and the produce of your particular farm… these are the tenets of CSA. Picky eaters and people who don’t like vegetables, beware, a CSA could transform you, in a matter of seasons.
9. A CSA Might Not Be For You and That’s Okay
Before you buy a CSA, read the membership agreement. Shop around. Ask questions. CSAs help farmers in the off-season when they have the highest cost of pre-season materials, soil amendments, and seeds, but farmers have costs all year round, and there are other ways to directly support local farms: like the farmers market. Eating at restaurants whose sourcing you trust is another important part of the equation. You can also buy your Thanksgiving turkey direct, put away a side of grass-fed pork in your freezer, join a buying club, or try an egg or milk CSA—they tend to be more straightforward.
A mixed vegetable CSA is a commitment not everybody’s ready for, and there’s certainly a learning curve. It takes a few seasons to overcome the daikon radish and learn how to kohlrabi. It’s hard, we know! But don’t give up. There are many ways to support farmers, source ethically, and eat according to the seasons. So buy a cookbook, check online recipe sites and season your cast iron skillet. We’re all in this together.

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Getting Hooked On Cooking With CSA

by Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have
A CSA share offers a plethora of produce every week and with it varieties we may have never seen before, let alone cooked—a delight and a bit of a challenge, for sure.
Fresh, delicious vegetables chosen for me week after week is my idea of heaven. It hasn’t always been but I get more hooked every year. I’m hooked on the deliciousness, on not having to make any decisions about what vegetables to purchase, and on the creativity it inspires.
So, how does one get hooked?

Stock your Pantry, Two Ways:

Shop mostly to restock rather than for specific dishes. You’ll spend less time (and money) running to the store for last minute items and can instead spend your time cooking, eating, and creatively using what you already have.
This is a basic list but you certainly don’t need everything listed to cook many dishes. And, your pantry will reflect your particular taste. This is just a loose guide.

Purchased Goods for Pantry, Fridge and Freezer:

  • Lentils; French green, red, brown
  • Beans: black, pinto, white, chickpeas
  • Grains: brown and white rice, barley, farro, cornmeal/polenta, quinoa, pasta, couscous, bulgur
  • Seeds & nuts: sunflower, pumpkin, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, etc.
  • Spices: cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, dried chilies, turmeric, caraway, paprika, cardamom
  • Herbs: thyme, oregano
  • Vinegars: cider, rice and red wine
  • Oils: olive, sunflower, coconut, sesame
  • Hot sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Lemons and limes
  • Meat and fish in freezer: sausages, bacon, chicken, etc.

Semi-prepared Items:

When you have a little spare time you can add semi-prepared items to your fridge/ pantry that will make life much easier and tastier when you don’t have those extra few minutes to get a meal on the table.
  • Make a jar of vinaigrette and keep it in the fridge. Dress lettuces and greens as well as roasted vegetables or plain chickpeas/beans with the same vinaigrette, adding some chopped herbs and toasted seeds. Be creative!
  • Cook a good quantity of beans. Put beans out to soak before you go to work in the morning. Cook them that evening while you’re in the kitchen cooking something else for dinner anyway and have them ready for the next day or freeze half.
  • Cook twice as much rice, barley or farro as you need for any given meal and freeze half of it to make fried rice, rice and beans or a soup the following week on a particularly busy night when you need the head start.
  • Toast a cup of sunflower or pumpkin seeds and keep in a jar. Your salads will be better for them; your soups will have added crunch; your snacks will be cheaper and more nutritious!
  • Use a whole bunch of parsley or cilantro to make a quick, savory sauce with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar. Stir in some thick yogurt for a creamy version. Having a flavorful component like this on hand means a plain bowl of rice or beans or a fried egg turns into a meal in no time.
  • Make chicken or any other meat, fish or vegetable stock and freeze.

Free Yourself from Strictly Following a Recipe & Learn to Improvise and Substitute.

The more you cook—and you will be cooking (!)—the easier and more fun it is to substitute and adapt as you go. Families of vegetables such as brassicas and alliums have certain common characteristics that in many cases let you substitute one for another. However, there is no real shortcut to learning how to do this so experiment as much as you can—you’ll have plenty of opportunity. Here are a few general guidelines to get you started.
Root vegetables love to be roasted as do brassicas like kohlrabi, cauliflower, romanesco, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Cut up, tossed with a little oil and salt and roasted in a single layer, they are delicious as is or can serve as the foundation for soups, mashes, salads, etc.
Onions, like their allium compatriots, shallots, scallions, leeks and garlic, are pungent raw and quite sweet cooked. If you don’t have an onion by all means use a leek, though leeks are sweeter and you might add a little acidity to balance it out and leeks are not so good raw. Scallions (green onions) and shallots can be substituted for onions and vice versa in many recipes, raw or cooked.
Sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery root, rutabagas and turnips and sometimes winter squash can often stand in for one another in mashes, gratins, soups and stews.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spring rabe and romanesco, all brassicas, have similar flavors and behave similarly in many dishes, though certainly not all. Mashed cauliflower is delicious but I would not mash Brussel sprouts.
Leafy greens are eminently substitutable. Chards, beet greens, kale and collards, are all good raw (very thinly sliced) when young and tender. They behave quite similarly when cooked and can be mixed and substituted for each other at will. Turnip, radish, and mustard greens are all tender and often interchangeable, though radish tops are a bit fuzzy raw. Make sure to blanch those.

Get Good at a Handful of Dishes that Showcase most any Vegetable.

It’s not so hard to keep up when you have a handful of recipes that can accommodate most any vegetable and in a variety of combinations.
A simple frittata elevates most vegetables, from leafy greens to peppers, peas, herbs, potatoes and both summer and winter squash.
Pan-fried vegetable fritters/savory pancakes/patties transform mounds of vegetables of all kinds into savory nuggets. Broccoli with parmesan, leftover mashed potatoes, leeks and plenty of parsley, rutabaga and carrot latkes, Japanese-inspired cabbage pancakes with scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. . .
Fried rice with loads of finely chopped vegetables; simple Thai-style coconut milk curries; and soups and stir-fries, of course, are all good vehicles for delicious CSA produce.
A quick, stove top version of mac ‘n cheese with whatever vegetables you have, chopped finely, never fails to be devoured.
Finally, recipes can often accommodate way more vegetables than they call for. Perhaps a recipe calls for 1 lb of pasta and 3 cups of vegetables. Invert that ratio and use ½ lb of pasta and 6 cups of vegetables or just add more vegetables and have plenty of leftovers. You’ll figure out how to make such changes and have recipes and tips work for your particular selection of produce.
Get comfortable making a few of these dishes and make them your own, with different spices, herbs, cheeses.

And then. . .

Cooking (with a CSA) can in fact simplify one’s life—a way through the general madness and a treat for the senses and body. Yes, this is work and it takes time and organization but the deliciousness of that regular infusion of produce is well worth it!