USDA Food Atlas

I'm stealing this from a link the Enterprise Farm Food Shed posted this morning on Facebook (become a fan of theirs if you're in or around MA.  It's our Farm Share farm's produce store in Western MA!)  It provides rather interesting and insightful information into regional health trends and food availability.



Loads of Grapefruit

Make grapefruit sorbet!

* Update since posting: we tried this last night and it was AMAZING!!

Gingered Grapefruit Sorbet
(From Gourmet)

3 c. strained fresh grapefruit juice (8 grapefruit squeezed out a little over 3 c. juice)
3/4 c. sugar (I only used 1/2 c.)
1 tbs. grated fresh ginger
2 or 3 drops Angostura bitters, or to taste

In a small saucepan combine 1 c. of the grapefruit juice, the sugar, and the ginger and boil the mixture, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool completely.  Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl or large glass measure, stir in the remaining 2 c. grapefruit juice and the bitters, and chill the mixture, covered, until it is cold.  Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer's instructions.  (User reviews noted that if you don't have an ice-cream freezer, which we don't, you can freeze the sorbet as-is after mixing all ingredients.  Then, when ready to serve, run through a food processor.)

Sweet Beet Muffins

This is not story of a wolf in sheep's clothing.  You may know from one of my previous posts that I have tried several different recipes for beets in an attempt to convince myself I could like them, however I continuously found that I simply did not.  My dilemma this week was looking at the three beets from previous Farm Share boxes staring at me in the refrigerator and wanting to cook them, but dreading the  process of doing so.  

One morning, on my walk to the T, I was reminded of my favorite coffee shop in Nashville (Fido in Hillsboro Village, love!) and the creative, delicious muffins they had.  It was then I was struck with an "ah-ha!" moment--beet muffins!  Fido had a beet muffin at one time that their baker was experimenting with--I tried it and liked it, a big moment for me.  Hence how I became inspired to turn these beets that were staring me down into a delicious baked good.

These turned out really well, and I used all the beets we had left!  In addition to the beets from our Farm Share, I used some of the barley flour we received in our Farm Share this week.


Sweet Beet Muffins
(Recipe adapted from a post on this blog)

1 c. beets
1 c. whole wheat flour (I used 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and 1/2 c. barley flour)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. + 2 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. soy milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger

Preheat oven to 350.  Roast beets in oven (wrap washed beets in foil and place on middle rack, 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until soft).  Once beets are cooled, peel and shred (you can use a food processor to chop or cheese grater to grate beets).  Mix all dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine, folding beet mixture into the dry ingredients.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from center of muffin.

After beets were roasted and peeled, I used my mini food processor to chop the beets.

The beets before adding the wet ingredients.  They really are gorgeous vegetables.

Vibrant purple batter!

The finished product.


Sweet Potato Pancakes

This morning my husband was craving pancakes, and I wanted to use the rest of those sweet potatoes I had baked for the sweet potato gnocchi-turned-sweet potato pie.  So, we pulled out our Bob's Red Mill buckwheat pancake mix, I threw in the sweet potatoes (1 1/4 c., cooked and mashed) and we went to town.

The batter before adding water.  It was much thicker than pancake mix normally is so we added water, between 1/4-1/2 c.

Adding butter to the pan (even though our pan is non-stick) made initial flipping much easier.  (And it's even more tasty!)

Voilà!  SO delicious!!

Risotto with Kale

Risotto is such a delicious, satisfying, and diverse dish--I don't make it nearly often enough.  Last night we got home late, were starving, and wanted to use some of our dark leafy greens but do something other than braise or sauté them.  So, we threw them in a risotto.

We didn't follow a recipe, but you can find something similar to what we did here.

What's nice about risotto is you can simply follow the directions on the Arborio rice box but add different ingredients according to what you're feeling: seafood (my favorite!), mushrooms, butternut squash, asparagus, sausage...the list goes on.  For our dish, we sautéed some onions and garlic in olive oil.  I then added some vegetarian italian sausage that we had.  After that cooked for a while, we added the risotto, let that sauté briefly with the onion and sausage, then started adding vegetable broth.  As the Arborio rice soaked up the vegetable broth, we added more, finally throwing in the kale and tomatoes.  I threw in some oregano, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes, and the dish was done in about 30-40 minutes.

Sautéing in our risotto pan.

The finished product!


Farm Share Eating To-Go

I usually don't post about the lunches my husband and I enjoy, but my salad today was so easy to prepare and delicious--I was inspired.  We use a relatively large amount of our Farm Share produce for lunches we eat away from home.

This salad used romaine lettuce, potatoes, and carrots from our Farm Share. 


Vegetarian and Vegan Labels

Now Farm Share Eating will label recipes as "vegetarian" or "vegan" if they fall under one of those categories.  As you can probably tell, I am not personally a vegetarian or vegan.  However, we tend to eat a lot vegetarian meals, and since most of my posts are about what we do with our Farm Share produce, there will be a lot of recipes that fall under these two categories.

As a disclaimer, I want to clarify that these two labels are defined as follows:
  • Vegetarian recipes are those that contain no meat products, including fish.  They may contain egg and dairy, however.
  • Vegan recipes are those that contain no animal products or byproducts.
If for any reason I mistakenly mislabel a recipe as vegan or vegetarian and it's not, please let me know!  I don't want to make mistakes when it comes to this. 

Also, when there are vegan substitutes that I know of in cooking and baking, I may reference them along with the non-vegan recipe, so just be aware of that as you read through the postings.


3/24 Farm Share Arrival

Another Wednesday, another Farm Share arrival!

The Winter season is winding down, which for now means a little bit more of the same.  I'm not complaining because I'm still having fun finding new recipes for the produce we receive.  Quite honestly, the real challenge is having enough time during the week to try out recipes!  Despite the fun I have exploring how to cook kale, chard, parsnips, potatoes, etc., I'll admit that I was really excited to read in our Farm Share newsletter this week that we will soon be in berry season!!  When the season does finally change, different produce will be welcome...especially berries!

This week we received: red potatoes, apples, Swiss chard, baby spinach, green leaf lettuce, parsnips, grapefruit, a carrot, zucchini, a beet, and barley flour.

It was a heavy box!  And as my husband unpacked, we figured out why:

Look how large the zucchini, apples, carrot and parsnips are!  I know it's sort of dorky for me to throw down a quarter for size comparison, but they are HUGE!  This picture doesn't do it justice.

We also received a bag of barley flour, which I'm excited to use!  As I mentioned before, we use our bread maker weekly so we look forward to trying this in a loaf.  I'm also going to investigate using barley flour in muffins, because I have an idea for using a certain produce item in muffins that might rock your world; I can't wait to post about it!

More recipes to come this week, so check back!


Sweet Potato Pie

I feel sort of guilty: I keep talking up how I am going to make sweet potato gnocchi with our sweet potatoes but I just haven't been feeling it.  I really want to try the recipe I suggested, so maybe another post will be dedicated to it in the future.  Until then, I will not mention it again.  I need to move on from the potato pasta...

My sweet tooth has been dominating my palate lately.  So, with a tupperware full of cooked sweet potatoes (which I had baked with the intention of making the gnocchi) I turned to one of my favorite Southern pies: sweet potato pie!

This recipe is AMAZING!!  It is the best sweet potato pie I have ever had, and my husband said it was the best he's ever had (and he has had a lot, growing up in TN).  Thank you, Farm Share, unexpectedly, for the produce that made this dessert!  As my husband said, this dessert was "decadent!"  It was surprisingly light and fluffy; smooth with a more complex flavor than the sweet potato pies we're used to.

Sweet Potato Pie
(from Epicurious.com)

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. whole milk (we used soy milk as substitute)
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
I added 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. dark rum
1 tbs. all-purpose flower
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell*

* For the pie crust, I made my own (see previous posting for recipe) and added 1/4 c. finely chopped pecans.  I used a food processor to chop the pecans as finely as possible.  You have to have pecans somewhere with sweet potato pie!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours.  Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F, and place a shallow baking pan on the bottom rack.

Scoop the flesh from potatoes into a bowl and discard the skins.  Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork until smooth.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar.  Add the melted butter mixture to the sweet potatoes with the milk and the eggs and beat with a whisk until smooth (I used a standing mixer which worked wonders!).  Whisk in the remaining ingredients (the filling will be quite liquid).  Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Carefully transfer the pie to the heated shallow baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 40 minutes.  Transfer the pie to a rack to cool.

Root Vegetable Curry

What to do with a slew of random vegetables that must be eaten before our next Farm Share arrives 2 days from now?  This was the challenge we were presented with tonight.  We wanted something different from our usual fare that would use up a lot of vegetables and make good leftovers for the week to come (leftovers are key for to-go lunches during the week!).

Here is what we were working with: green Swiss chard, a huge turnip, celery root (or celeriac), carrots, and parsnips.  We did not follow a recipe for this: we just chopped up all the veggies, threw them in our dutch oven with vegetable broth and curry, and made vegetable-laden curry dish.  I don't think you can really go wrong with curry!  I have to thank one of my readers for their suggestion of using turnips in a curry--that was the inspiration for throwing all these vegetables together and making this dish.

ALL the veggies chopped and ready to go.

We used a dutch oven simply to fit all the vegetables we had to cook!

We first heated some olive oil in our dutch oven and added onion and garlic.  Once the onion was translucent, we added the harder vegetables (carrots and parsnips), along with minced garlic and minced hot pepper.  Then we added curry powder and vegetable broth.  Once these had time to get a little cooked through, we added the turnip, followed by more broth and curry powder.  We let this cook for about 5 minutes.  Then we added the celery root and chard, along with more broth and curry.  We cooked until the vegetables were tender and they had taken on the flavor of the curry, all-in-all about 15-20 minutes total.  I would estimate that I used about 6 tsp. curry all together, perhaps a little more.  I also shook in some cayenne pepper, to bump up the heat a little.

Served on a bed of Basmati rice, this was a nice change from how we often use our produce, and a dish that used FIVE different types of vegetables from our Farm Share!


(Oh Baby!) Bok Choy

The recipe I posted previously for Ginger-Garlic Bok Choy is one of our absolute favorites.  Its a delicious, healthy dish that is light yet incredibly flavorful and satisfying.  While we love it, that is the recipe we have used every time we cook bok choy, so we wanted to do something different this time around.  With the gorgeous Boston weather (reaching 70 degrees yesterday!) it feels like Springtime and we celebrated by firing up the grill.  The recipe below was SO good and different from what we normally make.  The peanut sauce was easy to prepare and wonderfully flavorful.

The bok choy was from our Farm Share and the shrimp from Maine.

The spread before going on the grill (the bok choy is tied with kitchen string because we accidentally cut off the bottoms).  The delicious peanut sauce to the left.

On the grill.

The finished product, delicious!!

Grilled Shrimp Satay with Peaches and Bok Choy
(From Bon Appétit)

6 tbs. smooth natural peanut butter, stirred to comine
1/3 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
3 tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbs. soy sauce
2-3 tsp. hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
9 tbs. peach nectar, divided
3 peaches or nectarines, each cut into 6 wedges
16 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
6 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).  Whisk first 5 ingredients and 5 tbs. nectar until smooth; season sauce with pepper.  (A tip from me: if you have a hand immersion blender, it worked wonders to blend the sauce.  The peanut butter we make tends to be dryer than most store-bought peanut butters, so blending it helped to get out all the clumps, resulting in a smooth and consistently-flavored sauce.)

Arrange peaches, shrimp, and bok choy on grill.  Brush with 4 tbs. nectar; brush lightly with 1/4 c. sauce.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill until peaches are slightly charred, shrimp are just opaque in center, and bok choy halves are just tender, about 2 min. per side for peaches and 3 min. per side for shrimp and bok choy.

Mound shrimp, bok choy, and peaches on platter.  Drizzle with some sauce.  Serve with remaining sauce.


Tuna Nicoise

How could I have forgotten another wonderful way to use potatoes and other Farm Share produce?  My husband suggested this salad for lunch today, and tuna nicoise is one of my favorites!  Recipes vary from person to person, but below is my favorite combination of the classic and healthy salad.  This salad used potatoes and green leaf lettuce from our Farm Share.

Tuna Nicoise
(portions below for 2 people)

Tuna salad
1 can albacore tuna
2-3 tbs. olive oil
~ 2 tbs. capers
Pepper, to taste

Base salad
Leafy greens
Steamed green beans
Feta cheese
Boiled red potatoes (but any potato will do)

Mix the drained tuna with olive oil, capers, and pepper.  Boil potatoes until tender.  I often cut in quarters and toss with a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and pepper to give them a little extra flavor.  I also usually drizzle the steamed green beans with olive oil and toss them with the feta.  Arrange all ingredients on a bed of green lettuce.


Pasta with Zucchini, Squash, Arugula, Basil, and Lemon

Tonight we prepared a light and easy meal using zucchini, squash, baby spinach and baby arugula from our Farm Share.  We made slight modifications to the recipe (chopped vegetables instead of julienning, pesto instead of basil) and it turned out wonderfully!  This is a nice summery pasta that requires little cooking.

Pasta with Zucchini, Squash, Arugula, Basil and Lemon
(Adapted from Epicurious.com)

3/4 tsp salt
3/4 lb pasta (e.g. whole-wheat fettuccine)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 medium yellow squash, julienned
4 or 5 sprigs basil, leaves shredded
1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)
3/4 c. halved cherry tomatoes
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Bring 4 qts water to a full boil.  Add 1/4 tsp salt and stir in pasta.  Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until noodles are al dente (tender but firm).  While pasta cooks, warm oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add garlic, swirl for a moment and reduce heat to low.  Do not let garlic get brown.  Add zucchini and yellow squash and sauté gently until zucchini softens slightly, about 5 minutes.  Season mixture with 1/4 tsp salt and remove pan from heat.  When pasta is finished cooking, drain noodles.  Combine noodles thoroughly with zucchini mixture over low heat.  Add basil, arugula, and tomatoes and season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle with lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.  Serve immediately

3/17 Farm Share Arrival

Welcome Home!

After being out of town for several days I was welcomed home by another week's Farm Share.  Look for updates this week on how we plan to catch up on 2 weeks at produce (!!), which so far includes sweet potato gnocchi and a grilled shrimp satay with bok choy.

This week we received: carrots, yellow apples, grapefruit, a huge turnip, yellow squash, potatoes, kale, green leaf lettuce, and baby arugula.


3/10 Farm Share Arrival

We welcomed another Farm Share box last night and are excited about a few arrivals we haven't seen for a while: Lacitano (or blue) kale, bok choy, celery root, and zucchini.  We also received red leaf lettuce, grapefruit, baby spinach, flat leaf parsley, sweet potatoes, a large beet, and apples.

I will be out of town until next Wednesday, at which point I'll have another weekly delivery update and lots of eating and cooking to catch up on.  Until then, here are a few recipes to leave you with for this week while I'm away:

Spaghetti with Braised Kale (from Bon Appétit)

Celery Root and Apple Soup (you can add parsnips, too)

Potato and Celery Root Gratin with Fontina Cheese (we made this before with our root vegetables, very good!)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
    Potato, Sausage and Kale Frittata

    And last (but certainly not least):

    Ginger-Garlic Bok Choy

    1 bok choy cabbage.  Separate leafy tops from stems and chop into 1-inch pieces
    1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into pieces
    handful of snow peas (optional)
    handful of shiitake mushrooms, chopped (optional)
    1 tbs. minced fresh ginger
    1/4 c. oil (vegetable or olive)
    1/8 c. soy sauce
    4-6 drops toasted Sesame Oil
    Red pepper flakes, to taste

    Heat oil in pan (Wok or frying pan) until it is at a very high heat.  Add chopped stalks of bok choy, stir until they become tender.  Add remaining vegetables (red pepper, snow peas and mushrooms).  Stir.  Add ginger, garlic and soy sauce.  Stir and allow to become tender.  Then add leafy tops of bok choy.  Add drops of sesame oil, and then red pepper flakes to taste.

    This all cooks quickly!  It takes approximately 8-10 minutes to cook everything, so you are constantly stirring and adding ingredients.

    Adding the leafy tops of bok choy later keeps them from getting overcooked.  We serve this on top of a bed of steamed brown rice.  Delicious and healthy!

    Until next week, happy eating!


    Parsley Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Green Swiss Chard and Shrimp

    We receive parsley somewhat frequently in our Farm Share, and I have to be honest that I haven't done much with it.  I did some recipe searching, which lead me to parsley pesto.  We had shrimp we needed to cook and the parsley pesto seemed like a good fit, so we went with it.  To use more Farm Share ingredients we also added our green Swiss chard.  I wasn't sure how the pesto and chard would work in the pasta, but it turned out really well!  I think the lemony fresh parsley flavor and ricotta added a nice balance to both the shrimp and dark leafy green.  I imagine it would work great with chicken, too.

    Parsley Pesto
    (recipe from Epicurious.com)

    2 c. (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves (from 2 bunches)
    1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tbs. pine nuts, toasted
    2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
    2 tbs. water
    1 small garlic clove, peeled.

    Blend all ingredients together in food processor until almost smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  (I would like to note that I used 1 bunch of parsley and added about 1 c. ricotta.  I thought the parsley flavor was strong enough with the 1 c. parsley and ricotta, so you may want to start with 1 c. and add more if you prefer a stronger parsley flavor.  We only used about 2/3 of the total pesto volume in our pasta.)

    Chard in pasta?  Not knowing how this dark leafy green would blend with the rest of the flavors, we threw it in simply to use it and it turned out better than expected!

    For preparation, you can follow directions I previously posted (the Non-Recipe Recipe for Cooking Kale), or look here on Epicurious for more specific but similar directions.  We did the same thing here where we separated the leaves from the stalks, chopped up the stalks and sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic.  Once the stalks are softened, we threw them and the onions in a pan with the chopped chard leaves and sautéed for another 3-5 minutes.

    The pasta was boiled and strained with about six chopped sundried tomatoes.  Once the greens were cooked through a little bit, the pasta and sundried tomatoes were added, along with the shrimp and mushrooms.  This was cooked until the shrimp started to turn pink, then pesto was added, and then all ingredients were further cooked until the shrimp were done, about another 5 minutes.  

    And the finished product!  Our shrimp were from Maine--not quite sure if that qualifies as  local--but in New England everything seems so close, we'll call them local fare.  Parsley, onion, and green Swiss chard were from our Farm Share.  Thanks for another delicious dinner (and lunch for the next day)!


    Gorgeous Greens!

    Green Chard

    Green Leaf Lettuce

    I can't help but love how pretty our produce is every week.  These are both from our 3/3 Farm Share.

    Baking Success!! Vegan Carrot Spice Muffins with Wheat Berries

    If you have read through some earlier posts from this blog you might know that I am NOT a baker.  I really try, but more often than not my attempts are failures.

    So, this is why I am so excited to share this recipe!!  First, if I can do it, anyone can bake these muffins and they will turn out splendidly.  Second, they used both wheat berries and carrots from our Farm Share.  Third, It is a vegan recipe and if a vegan baked good turns out well you know it's a keeper!  This is my adapted version, enjoy!!

    Vegan Carrot Spice Muffins with Wheat Berries

    2 c. whole wheat flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. powder ginger
    1/4 c. vegetable oil
    1/2 c. Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
    1/2 banana, puréed
    1 c. boiled wheat berries (you don't have to add this, but it works if you want to!)
    1 c. soy milk
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 c. shredded carrot
    1/4 c. golden raisins
    Sugar in the Raw sprinkled on top before baking

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix the flour, wheat berries, salt, baking powder and spices.  In a medium bowl mix the soy milk, vegetable oil, banana, sugar, vanilla, carrot and raisins.  Add to the dry mixture and stir until just mixed.  Don't over-mix.  Pour evenly into muffin tins (greased or lined with baking cups) and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Check to make sure they are done with a toothpick.  Cool and serve.

    "Homemade" Bread

    (FYI: This post, like the one before, is not about our Farm Share; again I diverge, but only to share the love we feel for fresh-baked bread.)

    My husband and I thoroughly enjoy the convection oven bread maker we received as a wedding gift.  I can't say this bread is homemade because we are in no way kneading the dough or giving the bread the love I feel most bakers do when making a beautiful loaf of bread.  However, we do make a loaf about once a week with all-natural ingredients and no additives.

    I wasn't sure how much we would use it, but since we got it we have yet to buy a loaf of bread at the grocery store.  We use it consistently to make whole wheat bread (for sandwiches and such), but you can do so much more with it.  Suffice it to say, there is more bread making of all different kinds in our future.

    After the initial investment of buying the bread maker, it is so cheap and easy to make bread.  We buy bags of flour at a time and with a few extra ingredients we get fresh bread that contains no preservatives every week at a minimal cost (buying loaves like this from a bakery or specialty grocery store would run at least $4/loaf.  Making it yourself is pennies!)

    You can find a bread maker at Bed Bath & Beyond or any specialty cooking store.  The one we have is from Cuisinart.

    Here is an example of what you would need to make one loaf of honey whole wheat bread.  Keep in mid that once you buy these ingredients, the supplies make A LOT of loaves of bread:

    ~ 1 c. warm water
    3 tbs. honey
    1/3 tsp salt
    1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
    1 1/2 c. bread flour
    2 tbs. butter
    1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

    Haymarket Farmers' Market

    (FYI: This post is not about our Farm Share, but it is about one of Boston's Farmers' Markets!)

    Today was the first beautiful soon-to-be-Spring Boston day!  We don't want to get ahead of ourselves here, because we know there is more than likely some cold weather (and maybe snow) to come, but when the weather is nice this city explodes.  The excitement of getting out of the house and enjoying the beautiful day is contagious.

    I took a trip to the Haymarket Farmers' Market after a fun day out in the city with friends.  Not all produce at this market is local, but it was fun to walk through and take in the atmosphere.  There was a buzz of excitement and activity as people took advantage of both the nice weather and good prices on produce and other goods (including fish, herbs, spices, and flowers).


    3/3 Farm Share

    My post is a couple days late, but here is this week's share:

    Lovely!  Baby spinach, green chard, green leaf lettuce, lots of carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, apples, grapefruit, and beets.  Excited!  In planning this week's meals, I'm going to candy those beets in the balsamic/orange reduction I mentioned before for salad (look for the recipe post), and I've already used an apple in oatmeal.  I'm thinking of using some potatoes for gnocchi, and we'll see where the rest of the week takes us.  Stay tuned!

    Farm Shares Benefitting the Community

    If you are thinking about becoming a member of a Farm Share, another thing to take into consideration is the amount of outreach the farm does within the community to provide healthy produce to those who may not be able to afford it.

    I wanted to share this excerpt from our February 22, 2010 Enterprise Farm Newsletter:

    Each increase in Farmshare membership enables Enterprise Farm to achieve larger goals related to sustainable practices and food distribution efficiency. ... We're also committed to providing healthy, fresh food to all people, regardless of socio-economic background.  We're very proud of our relationships with Food For Free (Cambridge, MA), the Survival Center (Northampton, MA), and the Brookline Community Foundation. ... Given the amount of food waste that occurs in the modern marketing system, this is incredibly satisfying.


    Higher Costs?

    I was recently talking to one of my best friends about our Farm Share.  She lives in the South and had mentioned that she looked into one (yay!), but was taken aback by the price.  There is sticker shock when you first start researching Community Supported Agriculture co-ops.  Some farms provide produce and you pay up-front for the entire year.  Other farms provide produce by season, so you pay maybe twice a year for a Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring share.  Regardless, depending on where you live and accessibility to farmers that participate in Community Supported Agriculture, you can expect costs of about $1,000/year (give or take). 

    The sticker shock is absorbed, however, when you think about how much that is per week.  It comes out to about $20/week (and remember, deduct the cost of the Farm Share from what you would otherwise buy). 

    With our Farm Share, we very rarely buy produce at the grocery store, and instead of shopping at the grocery store weekly, we might go once every two to three weeks.  Bills at the grocery store (and we're talking Shaw's, not Whole Foods) have fallen from $60-100 every time we shopped to $30-$60.  While we might just be breaking even by being Farm Share members, we certainly aren't spending more money. 

    Just food for thought (no pun intended)!  Again, all this depends on where you live and how expensive your local Farm Shares are, but the costs are surprisingly reasonable--especially when you consider the local, mostly organic produce you receive.

    Lunchtime Enthusiasm

    I love it!  While at work today I received an email from my husband with a picture of the lunch he enjoyed: a sweet potato topped with wheat berries, pecans, a little butter and brown sugar.  Looks great, and in his words, it was "DELICIOUS."

    Thanks again, Farm Share, for the sweet potato and wheat berries.


    Sweet Kale

    When we first started receiving hearty Winter greens we didn't know what to do with them.  We both had always eaten spinach and other lettuces, but we had never really purchased or consumed many dark leafy greens (with the exception of Collard Greens; we are from the South).

    Once you have an understanding of how to cook Kale or Swiss Chard or Dandelion Greens, I feel like you can do a lot of fun experimenting and add favorite flavors or spices to make a dish all your own.

    Here, I simply added Golden Raisins to the Kale sautéed in garlic and red onion.

    Non-Recipe Recipe for Cooking Kale

    Cut out stems from Kale leaves and set aside.  Cut stems in 1-inch pieces.  Roll leaves together and chop in 1-inch pieces.  In a saucepan, sautée onion and garlic in oil until onion becomes soft.  Add stems to pan and let cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add chopped Kale to pan, and begin sautéing.  Also add some water, enabling the Kale to cook through and become soft.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until Kale is bright green and softened.

    From here, add whatever other ingredients sound good: pine nuts, raisins, peppers, chile powder, etc.  Adding a fatty meat to the onion and garlic before adding the Kale is a way to guarantee additional flavor, but you don't have to add fat to make a Kale dish delicious.

    Beets and Turnips and Carrots (Oh my!)

    I KNOW, cheesy title.  But we tried a couple recipes with beets and turnips this week--a challenge for me.

    (Despite my lack of love for the beet, I can appreciate it's beauty.  Isn't a golden beet pretty?)

    I'll be honest, I just really don't enjoy beets (red or golden, though golden are much milder and therefore, in my opinion, better).  And now I know I don't enjoy raw turnips.  I cooked a gratin using turnips (which I talked about in an earlier post), and they were great in that.  I have candied red beets in an orange/balsamic reduction to throw in a salad (which I found tolerable, thank you goat cheese).  But this week, before cooking the beets and turnips, we tried them raw in a salad.

    So, since I promise to paint an accurate picture of our adventures with the Farm Share, here you go: it can sometimes be a challenge.

    The other night we had a meal that consisted of a salad (raw carrots, turnips, and golden beets on a bed of baby arugula with balsamic dressing) and wheat berry pilaf (pilaf recipe in previous post).  The arugula, carrots, beets, turnips, and wheat berries were all from our Farm Share.

    The salad was actually really good and I ate the whole thing, I just found myself eating the turnips and beets with as much arugula I could fit on the fork.

    The carrots were, of course, delicious!  And the wheat berry pilaf was really good.

    Despite my distaste for raw beets and turnips, all was not lost on the remainder of our beet and turnip supply.  Tonight we boiled the beets and turnips along with some potatoes.  Once soft, I puréed the turnips and beets in a food processor and added them to mashed potatoes.  The finished product was delicious!  And we used all the beets and turnips (and potatoes) we had from our Farm Share.

    So, while turnips and beets are adverse to my personal tastes, we made it work--and enjoyed the challenge along the way (and the rewards at the end).

    (My pictures all have a yellow tint...sorry about that!)