CSA 2011 · Recipes

RECIPE: Tangy apple-fennel slaw

I made this one up while stranded indoors during Hurricane Irene. It used up a few key items from my CSA that I didn’t want to see go to waste before I left town for a week on business: scallions, cabbage and fennel. Luckily, it came out great!

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 small bulbs of fennel (or 1 large), chopped & stems/leaves discarded
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped (I used green)
  • 1/2 an onion (or 1 small onion) chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 stalks large scallions, snipped with kitchen shears (to taste)

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To prep the dressing, whisk all wet ingredients & seasoning together and set aside.

Assemble the slaw:

1) Shred cabbage with a large knife.

2) Chop fennel bulbs, tossing stems and leaves, and the apple. Add to cabbage.

3) Slice scallion stalks and finely chop onion; add both to cabbage mixture.

4) Mince garlic and add to cabbage, blending with your hands for best blending.

5) If necessary, snip slaw ingredients in the bowl with your shears if some pieces are looking to big. Stir well with a wooden spoon before adding the dressing.

6) Mix dressing into dry ingredients, stirring well. Taste taste and add salt, pepper and/or granulated sugar as needed. Cover and refrigerate at 1-4 hours or overnight.

To make VEGAN, omit honey and substitute 1 tablespoon of sugar.

To make CREAMIER, add 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream to the dressing.

Here are a couple other yummy-looking cabbage recipes I’d love to try soon:

Stay tuned to see which ones I cook up this fall with the cabbage I keep getting in my Sparrow Arc Farm CSA!

The finished slaw, after spending a night in my fridge getting ready to go with me to work!
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Basil State of Mind

Every month, Food Network Magazine focuses on one in-season ingredient and publishes a month of tips for using it. July’s pick: BASIL.

Basil is hands-down one of my favorite culinary herbs.

 Here are a few of the best ideas from the list:

  • A tasty appetizer: Spread ricotta cheese on toasted baguette slices then top with fresh basil and honey
  • Make Green Goddess Potato Salad: Blend 1 cup mayo, 1/4 cup mixed parsley, tarragon and basil, 1 scallion, 1 teaspoon sugar, lemon juice and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.
  • When basil flowers, it stops producing leaves; pinch the top leaves off your basil plant so it won’t flower.
  • Grill salmon and top it with basil butter for dinner: mash minced basil and lemon zest into softened butter.
  • Make a booze-infused fruit salad: Blend basil with tequila, lime juice and honey; top with cubed watermelon.
  • Did you know basil is a natural bug repellent? Place potted basil where you need to ward off mosquitoes and other undesirables.
  • Basil can help you determine when your knives are dull. Basil turns black quickly when chopped with a dull knife.
  • Party (dip) time! Mix 1 pint sour cream, 1/2 cup pesto (basil pureed with garlic, EVOO and parmesan) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Bottle your own seasoning: Dry basilleaves in a 200-degree oven for 1 hour, then crumble and mix with sea salt.

    My prefered way of storing fresh basil: In a couple inches of water, outside the fridge, with a bag over its head. Keeps nicely for over a week this way.

 

Recipes

Homemade Pizza With Stracciatella

Dinner: homemade pizza with tomatoes, parmesan, pecorino, arugula and fresh, hand-crafted stracciatella cheese.

Want to try something unusual and delicious? Mix up the cheese you throw on a homemade pizza and you’re in for some fresh flavor ideas.

I made this a few months ago for the first time and it came out great. I was inspired to make it when I found the killer ingredient at a winter farmer’s market near my house. That killer ingredient is hand-made stracciatella cheese, which I hadn’t ever seen in the U.S. and hadn’t eaten since I lived in Italy.

I’m lucky to have farmer’s markets year-round in Somerville, between Union Square, Davis Square, and the Armory, which is where I found this. Click here for a link to other places, including retail stores and farmer’s markets, where you can find fabulous cheeses by Fiore Di Nonno.

What is stracciatella?

Stracciatella is a stringy, sweet type of gourmet Italian cheese. Made from the very rich milk of water buffaloes, it is a soft member of Mozzarella cheese family. In Italian, “stracciatella” means “to shred,” and you’ll sometimes see this word used in the Roman egg-drop soup called Stracciatella alla Romana.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (I pick up a ball at my local pizzeria for about $1, or you can try Trader Joe’s white and wheat varieties for about the same price).
  • Fiore Di Nonno stracciatella cheese
  • Arugula
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes (not canned.) Try heirloom varieties at this time of year! They’re everywhere.
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Pecorino cheese, grated (if you don’t usually keep this handy, you really should. It costs the same as parmesan, but has a saltier, deeper flavor that enriches the compexity of how food tastes. And one block of pecorino lasts forever).
  • EVOO
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I don’t season this, but you certainly can)

Directions

1) On a floured surface such as a baking mat (I love this one from Crate and Barrel) roll out the dough into desired shape.

I cook pizza using a round non-stick pan, but you can also use a pizza stone or a plain old baking tray; just roll the dough out square. In fact, I’ve even used Pillsbury dough in the past, which rolls out square).

2) Lay dough onto baking pan, and sprinkle with olive oil and some fresh grated parmesan. Spread EVOO evenly atop dough.

3) Top with arugula and chopped tomatoes.

4) Spoon stracciatella on top of tomatoes and arugula, spacing evenly; add more arugula or tomatoes if you like.

5) Finish with grated parmesan and pecorino cheese, and pop in the oven!

Cook for 10-15 minutes at 400, or until brown at the edges. Adjust temp down depending on your oven (mine always needs to skew higher than most recipes call for).

Let cool, cut into slices and serve!

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New York Times: As Farmers’ Markets Boom, Some See a Glut

Maureen Dempsey weighing produce at a market in Florence, Mass. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh / New York Times)

Farmers in pockets of the country say the number of farmers’ markets has outstripped demand, a consequence of a clamor for markets that are closer to customers and communities that want multiple markets.

John Spineti started selling plump tomatoes and shiny squash at farmers’ markets in the early 1970s and saw his profits boom as markets became more popular. But just as farmers’ markets have become mainstream, Mr. Spineti said business has gone bust.

“It’s a small pie — it’s too hard to cut it,” said Mr. Spineti, who owns Twin Oak Farms in Agawam, Mass. Mr. Spineti said his profits were down by a third to a half over the last few years.

Some farmers say small new markets have lured away loyal customers and cut into profits. Other farmers say they must add markets to their weekly rotation to earn the same money they did a few years ago, reducing their time in the field and adding employee hours. And densely populated areas seem to be where the problem is most acute.

Nationwide, the number of farmers’ markets has jumped to 7,175; of those, 1,043 were established this year, according to the federal Agriculture Department. In 2005, there were just 4,093 markets across the country.

In some places, new or small-scale farmers who cannot get into existing markets create their own and siphon off customers. Other communities do not have enough farmers to keep up with all the new markets that are opening. According to federal agriculture officials, there are approximately 2.2 million farms nationwide; in 2006, there were 2.09 million.

 Read the full article in the New York Times.

What do you think? Have we gone past ensuring that all areas have access to fresh food and crossed over the point of saturation?

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Easy cheater recipe for roasted potatoes

OK, we had a busy weekend — I’m about to leave town for a week on business — and I fell back on a tried-and-true recipe to use up some of my farm share potatoes: Roasting them in vegetable oil and Lipton’s Onion Soup mix.

It really is so simple and difficult to mess up, and it comes out so TASTY. All you have to do is chop 2 pounds of potatoes! You don’t peel them, or boil them, or dirty anything more than a measuring cup, a baking sheet, one knife and your cutting board!

Ingredients

  • 1 packet onion soup mix (any brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or blend of both (I use Smart Balance cooking oil, which is a blend of canola, soy & olive oils with lots of Omega3s)
  • 2 pound of potatoes, quartered (I mixed Red Norland and Irish Cobbler)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Toss chopped potatoes with oil; add in onion soup mix and stir to combine. Place on a baking sheet, evenly spaced, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

!E Voila!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

RECIPE: Scallion Cream Cheese

This is pretty self-explanatory, but it came out so delicious that I wanted to share the “recipe” anyway.

I get these fabulously enourmous scallions in my CSA almost every week, and I just love finding new ways to use them. When I was a kid we used to get fresh bagels and homemade spreads from a bakery near our house (pretty hard to find that these days in Boston), and scallion cream cheese was so unusual and so satisfying that I’ve always remembered it as a favorite.

Lighter than chive and simpler than veggie, it makes a great bagel topper and I could see dozens of ways to use it beyond that (dip? creamy sauce for pasta? rolled up in place of boursin with chicken cutlets and prosciutto? The list goes on).

I made mine by purchasing a standard package of plain cream cheese at Trader Joe’s, and eyeballing the amount of scallions I snipped in with kitchen shears. But here is a recipe that gives better amounts, which I’ll use as a guideline below.

Ingredients

  • 1 package plain cream cheese (not whipped; lite is OK)
  • 1 bunch scallions (eyeball it depending on their size; about 5 pieces)
  • kosher salt (this is OPTIONAL — I did not salt mine)

Directions

1) Set cream cheese out at room temperature in a mixing bowl.

2) Snip the scallions into small pieces using kitchen shears. Add to the softened cream cheese once it has reached room temp.

3) Mix thoroughly; add more scallion if it looks like there aren’t enough (I like it very scallion-y).

4) Chill for one hour before serving. It tastes best at room temp.

***

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STUDY: Organic farming reduces antibiotic resistance

Are we really surprised by this?

I read in the Washington Post yesterday that a new study shows poultry farmers who adopt organic practices and stop giving their birds antibiotics significantly reduce the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in their flocks.

Pictured: Pastured poultry at the Rise N' Shine Organic Farm

“Public health experts have become increasingly concerned about germs becoming resistant to many commonly used antibiotics. In fact, an outbreak of salmonella currently occurring is being caused by a resistant strain of the bacteria traced back to ground turkey,” the article says.

Farm industry officials have long argued that antibiotics are extremely important to protecting the health of farm animals and keeping the food supply safe.

About the study

In the new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Amy Sapkota of the University of Maryland School of Public Health and colleagues studied 10 conventional farms and 10 farms that had recently become organic in 2008. They tested for the presence of a bacteria known as enterococci in poultry litter, feed and water and for whether the organisms were resistant to 17 commonly used drugs. All the farms tested positive for the bacteria. But the farms that had recently become organic had significantly lower levels of resistance.

“We initially hypothesized that we would see some differences in on-farm levels of antibiotic-resistant enterococci when poultry farms transitioned to organic practices,” Sapkota said. “But we were surprised to see that the differences were so significant across several different classes of antibiotics even in the very first flock that was produced after the transition to organic standards.”

Read the full article here.