Pizza with Farm Share Spinach and Tomatoes

Tonight my husband made an amazing pizza for me while I was doing some school work (here it goes; shifting gears for exams already).  On the pizza he used spinach and grape tomatoes from our Farm Share, along with thin slices of an Italian sausage, Kalamata olives, sautéed red onion, garlic, ricotta, feta, a little cheddar, and basil.

Once you start making your own pizzas you never want to order them out again!

4/28 Farm Share Arrival

First of all, I totally jumped the gun when I raved about Spring weather in Boston a couple weeks ago.  Since then it has been cold and rainy--so dreary for late April!  Spring?  Yeah right!  This bone-chilling weather might explain why I felt somewhat comforted to see kale and potatoes in our recent Farm Share box.  My mind and body were getting confused receiving summery produce in the dead of Winter weather!  (Okay, so I might be exaggerating a tad--but I'm still not used to, nor a fan of, the looong progression from Winter to Spring experienced by New Englanders.)

This week's box was great: another box of strawberries, more radishes, green beans (yay!), blue kale, a bag of baby spinach, four large sweet potatoes, and 2 zucchini.  

I want to let you know that I will probably be dropping off the face of my little blogging world for the next couple weeks.  Just today I had my last day of classes for the semester and now I'm gearing up for finals starting next week.  I plan to exercise some restraint and stay out of the kitchen the next couple weeks so I can focus on exams.  So, while I won't be posting many recipes for the short term, I hope to make up for lost time and post lots of good, perhaps more creative recipes thereafter.  This summer will be all about taking time to enjoy the simple things that we don't always get to during the school year!

Until next time, happy (healthy) eating!


Crustless Quiche with Sausage and Braising Greens

What I thought was a bag of mesclun greens we received in our Farm Share Wednesday was actually a bag of braising greens: baby kale and other assorted dark leafy greens.  I would have cooked them in the way they are intended to be cooked--braised--if they looked a little more appetizing.  But by the time we got to them they were a little slimy.  So, I picked out the good leaves and decided to incorporate them into a dish that sounded a little more appetizing than braised quasi-slimy greens: a quiche!

Usually I love making quiches with crusts; a pie crust is one (or quite honestly, the one) pastry I can do well, but I didn't have the time or the energy to do that today.  Instead I made a crustless quiche.  I suppose in the end it is basically a frittata, but with a little more substance and cooked completely in the oven.

The bowl of braising greens I used in the quiche.

Crustless Quiche with Sausage and Braising Greens

1 large bowl chopped braising greens (or other leafy greens, such as chopped kale, chard, spinach, turnip greens, or dandelion greens)
1 small package hot sausage
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c. 1% milk
1/2 c. plain yogurt*
Approx. 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
5 eggs

* Usually quiches are made with heavy cream; this is my version of a quiche using yogurt instead.  If you prefer, you can substitute the yogurt for heavy cream.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in center.  Butter 10-inch pie pan and line with fresh bread crumbs.  In large saucepan, sauté chopped onions with sausage until sausage is cooked through and broken up into crumbles.  Add chopped greens, and sauté until greens are tender, or turn a bright green (3-5 minutes).  Spoon out sausage and greens into pie dish, carefully leaving residual liquid in saucepan (this will prevent your quiche from retaining too much liquid).  Sprinkle sausage and greens with shredded cheddar.  In separate bowl whisk together 5 eggs with yogurt and milk.  Pour egg mixture over sausage and greens, and place in oven for 35-45 minutes, or until center of quiche is cooked through.

This would be great served with a fresh tomato salad and a warm biscuit.

Grilled Eggplant Stacks with Tomato and Feta

This side dish rounded out our meal of squash and steak and it in particular was really delicious.  I am not very good at cooking eggplant any other way, but grilling is sure to give you great flavor and a non-spongy consistency.

Grilled Eggplant Stacks with Tomato and Feta
(From Gourmet)

1 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant
1 large tomato
3 oz. feta, crumbled (about 3/4 c.)
Garnish: finely shredded basil leaves

Blend basil with oil and 1/2 tsp. salt in blender until finely chopped.  Pour into a paper-towel- or coffee-filter-lined sieve over a bowl and let drain for 20 minutes.  Gather together sides of towel or filter and press gently on it to extract more oil (you will have a generous 1/3 c. oil).  Scrape chopped basil leaves into a small bowl and reserve.

Cut off bottom of eggplant, then cut 1/2-inch thick crosswise rounds, starting from cut end.  Cut 4 rounds from large tomato.

Lightly brush eggplant rounds on both sides with basil oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Grill on a lightly oiled grill rack, turning over occasionally, lightly brushing eggplant with more basil oil occasionally if it looks dry, until eggplant is very tender, 6-10 minutes.

On baking pan, arrange 2 largest eggplant rounds side by side and spread each with a generous 1/2 teaspoon of reserved chopped basil leaves, then top each with 1 of 4 largest tomato rounds.  Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and top each with about 1 tbs. feta.  Make another layer with medium-sized eggplant rounds, chopped basil leaves, medium tomato rounds, salt, pepper, and feta, then top with remaining eggplant and feta.

Set baking pan on grill and cook stacks, with grill cover closed, until heated through and cheese on top is softened, about 3 minutes.  Transfer stacks to plates.

Grilled Yellow Squash

When my husband fires up the grill, good things happen.  The next couple posts are of vegetables we grilled last night, in addition to the steaks he threw on that were divine!

For Farm Share yellow squash we had, I cut the squash length-wise and brushed lightly with olive oil, then sprinkled them lightly with some salt and pepper.  They were grilled for about 5-8 minutes, until tender.

Wheat Berry Bread

Instead of making our go-to whole wheat bread in our bread machine this week I made bread using wheat berries and the barley flour from our Farm Share.  I also added a scoop of granola I made a while ago halfway through the kneading cycle to give it some extra texture.

I just had some toasted and drizzled with honey for breakfast.  Delicious!

I feel sort of like I'm cheating by using a bread maker; I by no means employ the patience or skill required when making a homemade loaf of bread.  If you want to try making your own bread, this recipe looked like a good one to follow.

And, for future reference, when using barley flour you can use it in any recipe that calls for whole wheat flour.  Simply half the amount of whole wheat called for and replace with the barley flour, using the whole wheat flour for the other half.


"Green Salads" Label

Greens are so good for you!  And we really enjoy eating what we receive in our Farm Share; but let's be honest, we all need a little variety in our lives--and diet--which can be tricky when every week we get at least one large head of lettuce in addition to a couple other varieties of greens.  Because we eat a lot of salads, I'm now including a "Green Salads" label on applicable blog posts, which encompasses all the cold green salads we eat.  Hopefully the easy access to different salad ideas will spark some variety in your meals if you find yourself needing to eat lots of greens, too!

Another Dinner, Another Yummy Salad

Tonight I ate solo, and threw together a super quick and satisfying salad.

I used the rest of the green leaf lettuce from last week's Farm Share, topped it with: Mediterranean curry-flavored couscous (5 minute cook time), pulled chicken (leftover from the rotisserie chicken we bought at Whole Foods the other night), sliced avocado, and sliced carrots from our Farm Share.  I then took a little plain yogurt and whisked in garlic-infused golden balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Voilá!  A really quick but delicious salad with a totally different flavor (but using some of the same ingredients) as salads I've posted in the past.

To infuse vinegar, simply throw a couple basil leaves and clove(s) of garlic into a bottle of vinegar.  We used golden balsamic vinegar--it took about a day or two for the flavors to settle in, and it's been good ever since!


Mustard BBQ Chicken Salad

As I have mentioned before, we receive a lot of greens in our Farm Share and are sometimes challenged with how to be creative with the salads we know we need to be eating.  Tonight was a good variation: roasted chicken* tossed in a mustard BBQ sauce (South Carolina style), served on a bed of green leaf lettuce with red pepper, cucumber, and blue cheese.

*To save time we picked up the rotisserie roasted chicken from Whole Foods, hot and ready to serve.

Mustard BBQ Sauce
(This isn't the recipe we used--I have no idea where that one is; we've had the sauce in our refrigerator for a while--but it sounds delicious and is from a SC website that seemed to know what it was talking about when it comes to SC BBQ.)

4 c. yellow mustard
8 oz. beer (less for thicker sauce, more for thinner sauce)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
8 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 c. tomato puree
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. cayenne
1 tbs. fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Heat all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and mix well.  Cook until sauce just begins to thicken.  Serve cool or warm.  The sauce will last in the refrigerator for a long time.)

4/21 Farm Share Arrival

I have been a bit MIA posting recipes this last week, but most of that is due to the fact that our Farm Share produce has been consumed without much cooking needed.  And we were out of town last weekend, so cooking that usually takes place over the weekend didn't happen.  Anyway, I digress, because I want to now share a GREAT Farm Share arrival this week.

Today we received apples, radishes, red leaf lettuce, TWO boxes of strawberries (!), a huge bunch of carrots (which I was really excited about--our last batch was so good, I was hoping we would get more soon), potatoes, mesclun green mix, and a big eggplant.


Farm Share Lunch!

I realized at work the other day that the salad I was eating consisted completely of Farm Share items.  So of course I snuck a picture on my phone; I wanted to share how great of a salad it provided!

Leftover steamed green beans from the night before, grape tomatoes, cucumber, and spinach--a little feta and olive oil added--a great lunch.

Green Beans and Wilted Greens

To accompany a fish dish the other night, we threw together some of our Farm Share vegetables.  First, we steamed green beans, then tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, feta, and pine nuts.  Second, after the green beans were finished steaming, we threw a large serving of baby spinach greens onto the steaming tray.  Sometimes wilted greens are a nice change from a normal salad, and we served with tomatoes and olives.  In the future a long grain wild rice would compliment the steamed greens nicely, but we were in a hurry and went with the vegetables, straight-up.


4/14 Farm Share Arrival (Strawberries and Tomatoes!!)

It's time for a weekly delivery post!  Last night we opened our box to find some exciting changes: strawberries and grape tomatoes--a true sign of Summer approaching!  We also received green leaf lettuce, green beans, baby spinach, a Summer squash, bunched beets, turnip greens, apples, and a cucumber.

I am excited about our produce this week.  My only question is: what to do with those beets?  Another batch of muffins?

Happy healthy eating!

Blanched Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette

Spring time is here (sort of, it's still chilly outside) and our Farm Share is showing more signs of Summer produce (see my next post!).  However, despite the arrival of new produce we still face the challenge of cooking and consuming copious amounts of greens.  The challenge is not in consuming the greens (we love them--they are always so flavorful and of course are so healthy!) but in switching up recipes and introducing different flavors to the weekly rotation.  Doing that successfully with dark leafy greens can be a challenge.

I previously posted a Swiss chard with olives and lemon recipe that was a nice change.  Today I'm posting an easy dish using the mustard vinaigrette recipe I posted before.

I started with red Russian kale...

...and turnip greens.

After washing and cutting the stems off both varieties, I threw the leaves into a pot of boiled water until tender, about 5 minutes.

Directly after boiling I submersed all the leaves in a bowl of ice water for just a minute or so.  I then placed the greens in a colander and let the water drain from the greens for about 30 minutes.  I also patted the leaves dry with a towel (they tend to hold a lot of water, and the dryer the greens, the better the mustard vinaigrette will coat them).  Finally, I tossed the greens with the mustard vinaigrette (about 1/4-1/2 c. total dressing, to taste and proportional to the number of greens prepared) and served cold.


Black Bean Salad

Tonight we finished up our big head of green leaf lettuce from last week's Farm Share arrival.  We threw together some different ingredients and in under 20 minutes had yet another great salad.  The next couple "recipes" aren't technically recipes, I suppose--I don't use measuring spoons when I throw these dishes together--but regardless they turn out great every time!  I don't have a picture of the meal we enjoyed, but we threw black beans, a little bit of salsa, and guacamole on top of a large bed of lettuce.  We served with lightly grilled tortillas...delicious!

Black Beans

1 can black beans
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
~1/2 to 1 tbs. cumin
~1 tsp. cayenne pepper
~1 tsp. hot red pepper, chopped
1/2 lime, squeezed for juice

Stir all ingredients together over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.


2 avocados, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
~ 1 to 1 1/2 tbs. cumin
~ 1 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 red onion, diced (optional)  I tend not to use red onion because raw onions make my stomach hurt, and I personally think the taste of the avocado comes out better with no onion.

Put all ingredients in bowl, and using kitchen tool (I use a whisk) mash the avocado so there are chunks still in tact but the ingredients are all mixed.  Serve immediately.


Steak Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Mustard Vinaigrette

Sometimes eating the amount of greens we receive weekly can be a challenge, albeit a welcome one.  It's easy to fall into a rut with salads: buy the same fixings, drizzle with olive oil, throw on feta.  Dinner Saturday night was a welcome change to that normal routine.  

With the huge head of green leaf lettuce we had yet to consume, we decided to do a salad for dinner.  A few changes to our normal routine resulted such a wonderful meal!  My husband grilled a top sirloin steak.  I roasted a red pepper and made a mustard vinaigrette.  A bed of lettuce dressed with steak and red pepper slices, blue cheese, mustard vinaigrette, and tomato wedges made for a very satisfying and absolutely delicious meal.  

Roasted Red Pepper
(Roasting a red pepper can be done in a few different ways, but I usually use the oven.)

Set your oven to the broil setting (high heat setting, if you have the option).  Leave the red pepper in tact (do not remove the stem or seeds) and place the whole red pepper (or several) in the oven directly on the rack.   Turn the peppers periodically until the skin starts blistering and turning black on all sides.  Remove the pepper from the oven, and cool so you can handle the pepper.  Peel off the skin of the pepper, and slice the flesh as desired (discarding the seeds and stem).

Mustard Vinaigrette

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 tbs. dijon mustard
1 tbs. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 c. olive oil (I used 1/4 c.)
2 tbs. fresh basil leaves, chopped

Whisk all ingredients together, slowly adding the olive oil.


Swiss Chard with Olives and Lemon

Friday night meal, post 3.

Look how gorgeous this rainbow chard is!!

This next picture was snapped as my husband chopped the leaves.  So pretty!

I wanted to do something a little different than what we have done in the past with Swiss chard (e.g., something other than sautéing it in olive oil and garlic).  So I found a recipe using olives and lemon.  The flavors ended up working really well with the risotto: they were a nice, salty compliment to the creamy dish.

Swiss Chard with Olives and Lemon
(from Bon Appétit)

3 large bunches Swiss chard (about 2 1/4 lbs. total)
5 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 c. quartered pitted oil-cured black olives (2-3 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice

Cut stem from center of each chard leaf.  Slice stems crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces; place in medium bowl.  Cut leaves crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Bring large pot of water to boil; salt generously.  Add chard stems; cook until just tender, 3-4 minutes.  Add chard leaves.  Cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.  Drain in large collander, pressing out any water.  Note: this can be made 2 hours ahead.  Let stand in colander at room temperature.

Heat 4 tbs. oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add olives and garlic.  Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add chard and chard stems.  Toss until heated through and any remaining water evaporates, about 4 minutes.  Mix in lemon juice and remaining 1 tbs. oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to bowl and serve.

Here is how the Friday night meal turned out:

The chard was delicious with the risotto, and the parsnips and carrots were like dessert (sweet and buttery).  Thank you, Farm Share, for this delicious meal!

Tomato Risotto with Summer Squash

Friday night meal, Post 2.

After all the gorgeous weather we've had recently, it was cold and rainy on Friday night, so we were craving something warm and creamy for dinner.  Risottos are easy and they hit the spot when you crave comfort food like Mac & Cheese, but want a dish that's a little more healthy and varied.

I did not use a recipe for this meal, but I first sautéed garlic and shallots in olive oil in our risotto pan on medium heat.  I then added the arborio rice and sautéed for a couple minutes.  Next I added about 1/4 c. dry red wine, then a can of diced San Marzano canned tomatoes with their juice.  After the rice began absorbing the liquid, I added about 2 c. chicken stock, along with summer squash and button mushrooms.  Another 1 c. chicken stock was added as the rice absorbed the liquid further, along with basil leaves and flat Italian parsley.  Lastly, about 1/2 c. parmesan cheese was added to the dish.

For this dish the squash and flat leaf Italian parsley were from our Farm Share.  The basil was from our front porch planter garden.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Friday night meal, Post 1.

Friday night was a great meal: a Farm Share trifecta.  As I mentioned before, I took inventory on what we had in our fridge from previous weeks, and we made a meal that used a lot of our produce in one fell swoop.

First, what we did with parsnips and carrots.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary
(From Bon Appétit)

2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. carrots (about 4 large), peeled and sliced
1 lb. large parsnips, peeled and sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tbs. (1/4 stick) butter
1 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tbs. honey 

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add carrots and parsnips.  Sprinkle with coarse ckosher salt and pepper.  Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.  Note: carrots can take a bit longer to cook than parsnips, so you can sauté them for a couple minutes before adding the parsnips if you want both to be cooked about the same.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill.

Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.  Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

The parsnips and carrots were from our Farm Share.  The rosemary from our front porch planter garden!


Arugula Salad

Arugula is such a nice green because it packs so much flavor!

For lunch today I threw some sliced boar sausage, feta, cucumbers and olives on arugula, tossed with a little bit of olive oil.

The cucumber and arugula were from our Farm Share.  Delicious and easy!

Simple Sautéed Zucchini

Sometimes it's nice just to throw things together without using a recipe!  Last night we cooked up two of our zucchinis from our Farm Share.  We simply sliced the zucchini diagonal-wise and sautéed them in a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

We served this with some lightly breaded baked flounder and mango salsa.  Delicious!


4/7 Farm Share Arrival

It is already time to post about our latest Farm Share Arrival!

This week we received rainbow Swiss chard, baby arugula, green leaf lettuce, green beans, red Russian kale, carrots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, zucchini, and a cucumber (!).

I also took inventory of what we had from the previous weeks' arrival since I have been bad at cooking this last week.  We have a couple fun recipes coming up!  One involving Swiss chard (a little different from anything we have made before) and another involving parsnips and carrots.  While I look forward to ingesting these healthy veggies, I have to say, I am getting more and more excited thinking about the delicious meals we can throw together that don't include a hearty winter green or root vegetables.  As I post this and it's 77 degrees at 9:30 p.m. in Boston (after reaching almost 90 degrees today!) my body and mind is craving Summer produce!  Almost here!!

California Burger, Hold the Bun

My husband and I have not been eating meat lately, so we have enjoyed the excuse to eat delicious leftover beef after cooking out last weekend (the meat purchased at Savenor's, which is now one of my favorite spots in Cambridge).  

For lunch the other day I went to make a burger, but we had run out of buns.  I was really craving the dressings of a California burger (or at least what I envision a "California" burger: avocado, salsa, tomato)--so I just threw the meat onto a bed of Farm Share lettuce and enjoyed.  


Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch

This article is almost a year old but it only was recently discovered by me (thanks to my husband for passing it on).  Though long, I really enjoyed reading it and thought some Farm Share Eating readers might enjoy it, too.  Michael Pollan has a way of inspiring you to take control of what you eat in many different ways, and taking the time to cook food yourself (real food) is definitely the most effective way to do that!

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch - NY Times Magazine


3/31 Farm Share Arrival

This post is a few days late, I apologize!  This has been a very busy week and we have family in town this weekend, so it might be a few days until my next post.

Exciting item to report: green beans!!  Our Farm Share box this week came with the usual Winter fare: kale, green leaf lettuce, parsnips, apples, grapefruit, mixed baby greens, and potatoes.  But new items we haven't seen for a while were green peppers, yellow squash, and my beloved green beans (one of my favorite vegetables!)

Until next time, happy eating!!