Jun 19, 2009

Farm Direct Co-op - Week 2

Thursday was my second co-op delivery. I picked up napa cabbage, garlic scapes (3), green lettuce, and I got my choice of either mizuna or pea tendrils, and scallions or kohlrabi. Feeling a bit adventurous, I chose pea tendrils and kohlrabi. I've had tried kohlrabi before, but had never even realized you could eat pea tendrils.

That night after a bit of research I decided to cook the pea tendrils since they don't last long and are best used right away. Most sources mentioned they are common in Asian stir-fries, and some recipes used them raw. Upon sampling the shoots raw, I decided that they were a bit too tough to eat raw and decided to chop them and do a quick stir fry with sesame oil, hoping to soften them up. Although I mostly liked the flavor (Jim did not!), they were way too tough for us to eat. I kept having to spit out the unchewed fibrous clumps. Unfortunately the entire dish was a lost cause.

Wondering what I did wrong, I researched pea tendrils further. Every blog post and recipe mentioned how delicious they were and what a nice subtle pea flavor they added to each dish. Then, I hit upon one post that mentioned that the tendril and tougher stems should be removed first. I think if I had done that, or just used the leaves only, the dish may have been more of a success. Since Jim really didn't like the earthy pea flavor, I doubt I will be giving them another try soon, which is a shame. If anyone has any suggestions, or has had a similar experience, please let me know.

The good news is that I made a fantastic garlic scape pesto for my potato gnocchi. Here is the recipe:
  • 3 Garlic Scapes, chopped
  • a small handful of organic pine nuts (sorry, I didn't measure- add more or less as you go, per your taste)
  • olive oil (again- no measurement, but I would suggest to start with 3 tablespoons and add more as you go)
  • Salt to taste

I added all ingredients to my small electric chopper/blender until I had a finely chopped, bright green blend.

I look forward to experimenting with the kohlrabi this weekend. I have to find a good recipe for the napa as well, since we never seem to use up cabbage in time.

Jun 18, 2009

Farm Direct Co-op

It's one of my favorite times of the year again- my food co-op has begun! I now get fresh local produce every Thursday until some time in October. I truly love eating with the seasons and discovering new local veggies. I also like how it forces me to cook and eat good food. And I save money at the local supermarket. Not to mention the environmental and health benefits to eating local.

Last week we received red leaf lettuce (2 heads), a pound of spinach, some beautiful bok choy, and a choice of salad turnips or radishes (I chose radishes). So many greens- whats a girl to do? Well, for starters, I've been making salads all week. My father gave me some fresh, peppery arugula from his garden, so I made a mix with the spinach and lettuce, added sliced radish, grated parmesan, and olive oil for a quick healthy lunch. I added most of the spinach to an improv mac and cheese dish, which turned out great (recipe below). Last night I made a miso based, Asian-inspired soup which included much of the bok choy, as well as carrot, broccoli, baby corn, tofu and thin rice noodles. Today, I added lettuce to our sandwiches. And, I still have a head of lettuce, two radishes and a little less than half of the bok choy left. I'll have to invite some friends over for dinner soon to eat up my veggies.

Spinach Mac & Cheese
  • Prepare your choice of pasta. I used 12 ounces of a soy, rice, quinoa pasta that was quite nice. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in pan on a med-low heat, saute 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, some optional red pepper flakes, then add 1/2 lb to a lb of chopped spinach until just wilted.
  • Add pasta back to pan
  • Here is where the cheesy magic starts :) I added chopped Asiago cheese and stirred until it started getting melty. The amount is subjective. I only used 3 slices of cheese, because Asiago has such a strong flavor. You can certainly add more. Just remember to chop it up small so it melts quickly.
  • Add milk or unsweetened soy milk slowly until the mixture gets creamy instead of lumpy and stops sticking to your spoon.
  • I also added salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

Jun 3, 2009

Make Your Own Flour

I got this article in an email newletter from the Organic Consumers Association today. I wish I had a bigger yard so I could grow some grains. How fantastic would it be to make pancakes or bread grown from your backyard? Maybe I'll try a little corn next year, but oats or wheat would be great.

Homegrown Grains: The Key to Food Security -- How to Grow and Make Your Own Wheat Flour

Freshly ground wheat flour has a high vitamin content; vitamins that degrade all too quickly when exposed to the air. The whole grain flour that we buy from stores is often quite stale and may have significantly reduced vitamin content when compared to freshly ground.

(from breadinfo.com) Planting a plot approximately 10 feet by 10 feet will, when all is said and done, yield between 10 and 25 loaves of bread. To begin, find a nice backyard plot and choose the type of wheat you wish to plant. In the United States two varieties are grown, white and red. Red wheat is more common. Red wheat also produces bread with a much more intense flavor. Consider the advantages of growing winter wheat as opposed to spring variety. (continue to entire OCA article)