Eat the Beet: Borscht by Emily

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I’ll admit it – I wasn’t sure what to do with my first bunch of Land’s Sake CSA share beets. Beyond my fond memories of Nana’s cold borscht soup, and well, of course, gefilte fish with (lots and lots of) beet horseradish, I hadn’t gone out of my way for the stuff. Thankfully, with credit to my fellow Land’s Sakers, that’s changed.

Since that first season I’ve prepared and enjoyed grilled beets, roasted beets, beet chips, stir fried beet leaves, and have experimentally explored the borscht. I was sad in my second season to see that Chioggas don’t hold their candy-cane bull’s-eye allure, and indeed most of their color, after boiling, but the outcome was a milder and still tasty cold summer soup. For the beet-wary, our farmers have produced some magnificent golden beets, which are milder in taste than the reds.

You might notice that the Land’s Sake Farm Stand advertises our leafless beet offerings as ‘beet root,’ but that simply means that we have liberated the root from the leaves. (I really enjoy giving beets these “haircuts!”) Though the leaves are still pretty tasty this time of year, some stand and CSA guests prefer to live without them, while others (including our field foes) enjoy them heartily. Depending on the day, we have been generally offering both loose and leafy red and golden beets.

This functional food looks gorgeous, and I don’t mind a betraying post-beet-cooking magenta stain, but if pink isn’t your color considering wearing gloves when preparing beets. Red beets’ color (and subsequent stain) is caused by betanin, an ingredient often used in prepared foods and juices as a natural coloring. Beets are also chock full of nitrates that may help with a healthy blood pressure.

Runners take note – a small study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012 suggested a connection between eating 7 ounces of beets about an hour before running a 5k and a modestly improved pace, a change attributed to the natural nitrates. The study is too small to take the beet-pace connection as gospel, and I’m not sure that beets figure in to my traditional pre-race peanut butter and jelly meal, but the findings are just another reason not to shy away from beets.

Today my hands bear the mark of the red beet. Instead of scouring Pinterest for another interesting borscht recipe, I dug out a battered copy of Love and Knishes: How to Cook Like a Jewish Mother, a cheekily-narrated cookbook filled with traditional Jewish comfort foods. I was looking for one borscht recipe, but I found five! Since I didn’t have four weeks to ferment beet russel, don’t eat brisket (a shame I’ll admit), and can’t eat sour cream, I adapted a recipe that seemed fairly similar to Nana Spunt’s, identified in the book as Israeli Borsch. Nanas everywhere will deny having recipes at all, but I welcome your suggestions on making authentic Eastern European Jewish-style borscht.

 

beets

[One of Many Variations on] Red Beet Borsch(t)

Ingredients

2 bunches (about 10 small) red beets, grated

2 carrots, grated

1 onion, grated

2 quarts water

2 tsp salt

juice of 1 lemon

Optional Ingredients:

1 tsp sugar

shredded cabbage

sour cream garnish

Directions

Peel and grate beets, onions, and carrots. Shred cabbage. Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Simmer grated mixture and cabbage until tender, about 25 minutes. Add lemon juice (and sugar if desired, though Land’s Sake carrots are very sweet). Simmer for 10 minutes longer. For traditional cold borscht, remove from flame and chill thoroughly. For a cool autumn night, serve hot alongside a hearty meal.  Some swear by sour cream, but I think the soup sings on its own.

 

Sources:

Kasdan, Sara.  Love and Knishes: How to Cook Like a Jewish Mother. New York: Vanguard Press, 1956. Print

Murphy M, Eliot K, Heuertz R, Weiss E. Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Apr;112(4):548-552.

Pumpkin Tales: True Stories That Won’t Wane at Midnight

STANDPUMPKINS2

Halloween month may not yet be upon us, but the Weston maples are catching fire and Autumn’s reign is spreading.

The Land’s Sake Farmers will tell you, correctly, that the hearty Delicata and Acorn squashes they’ve grown and harvested for us are different varieties of Winter Squash, but I’m just not ready for the W-word. So, until December, I’ll take a farm stander’s liberty and refer to these autumnal heralds as Fall Squash. (Incidentally, have you tried our Gene Simmons [Carmen] sweet peppers or Hot Rod [Striped Roman] paste tomatoes?)

Like many New Englanders, my favorite fall squash – pumpkins – rush onto my radar with the first turned leaf. I’m so excited that the farm stand is now boasting gorgeous Sugar Pie Pumpkins grown by Faith and Brian Donahue, Land’s Sake founder and pioneer. This has happily fueled my stereotypical New Englander obsession with just about all things pumpkin – roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ale, carving jack-o-lantern pumpkins – I could go on. But in its pure form, when not co-mingled with loads of butter, sugar, white flour, heavy cream, or ale, pumpkins and other fall squash are nutritional powerhouses.

Pumpkins boast a nutrition profile similar to its squash peers such as acorn, delicata, butternut, kabocha, and spaghetti squash.  Like many other red, orange, and deep-yellow hued vegetables such as carrots, red peppers, and sweet potatoes, fall squash are high in carotenoids. This group of nutrients, in the forms of beta-carotene and lycopene, may be protective against some types of cancer, and lutein may protect eye health.

In addition to carotenoids, fall squash are also a great source of potassium (see collards blog below for more information), magnesium, thiamin, and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is the nutrient that famously is associated with improved night vision as well as fighting infections, maintaining healthy skin and bones, and regulating cell growth and division. Fall squash are also a great source of gut-healthy fiber – about 5 grams per ½ cup cooked squash!

The nutrient-color association we see with orange, yellow, and red-hued produce is not unique; many vegetable and fruit colors are associated with similar groups of nutrients, so as I may have expressed in our farm stand conversations, ‘eating the rainbow’ of veg and fruit will help ensure you get everything you need – without remembering the technical terms, and without buying expensive supplements.

Though I may rattle of nutrition tidbits and [what I consider to be] “fun food facts” around the stand, my passion for the nitty-gritty of human nutrition and cellular processes, like my pending Master’s degree, is bound with eating good food. With that, it behooves me to share the following Creamy Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup.

I admittedly found the recipe I developed to be fairly time-consuming, so making a large batch with plenty of leftovers to share is a great activity for a cozy home-bound Autumn afternoon. And as always, I sort of ‘winged it’ in the kitchen, and I encourage you to similarly experiment and adjust ingredient amounts as desired to fit your needs and taste – I can almost guarantee it will come out tasty when you start with great ingredients like Brian and Faith’s Sugar Pie Pumpkins ($2.50/lb at the stand, with the smallest weighing as little as one pound).

pumpkinsoupfinished

pumpkinsoupfinished

Creamy Vegan Sugar Pumpkin Soup

 Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized Brian & Faith’s Sugar Pie Pumpkins
  • A few tablespoons of olive or other vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 each medium Land’s Sake Pontiac and Red Bull onions
  • 2 Carlson Orchards apples (pick your favorite varieties from the stand, we currently have Macs, Macouns, Cortlands, Gala, and Honeycrisp!)
  • 1-2 Carmen Peppers
  • Land’s Sake parsley
  • Any other vegetables you would enjoy to make a pseudo-vegetable stock
  • Shan’s Vegetable Curry Spice Mix, or any other blend of spices you would enjoy in this soup
  • ~1/2 can coconut cream or coconut milk (keep in mind that lighter coconut milk will result in a thinner soup, which is just fine!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment:

  • Blender (I use a Ninja, but any blender or processor should work)
  • Pan (by now you know I love my American Made cast iron!)
  • Cookie sheet or baking dish (to roast pumpkins in)
  • Oven (pre-heated to 325)
  • Optional: Microwave (one of my culinary best friends)

Suggested Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Halve pumpkins; to soften them up a bit for easier cutting, I put each pumpkin in the microwave for 1-2 minutes – take care not to microwave it to the point of really cooking! Next, I snap or cut off the stem to make it easier to halve. Finally, I cut the pumpkin down the middle and scoop out the seeds. If desired, roast the seeds; though nutritionally helpful and not wasteful, I find it maddening every time! Please comment below with easy pumpkin seed tricks.

3. Lightly oil cookie sheet or baking pan as well as the inside of the pumpkins; turn pumpkins halves upside-down.

4. Depending on the size and number of pumpkins, roast for 45+ minutes as necessary until the pumpkin flesh is quite soft.

5. Scoop pumpkin flesh out of the skin and into a bowl to cool (it may be very hot) while preparing the other ingredients.

6. Heat oil in a pan, using a lower temperature if using olive oil.

7. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent (some chefs have the patience and culinary wisdom to cook just before the point of caramelizing, but I do not).

8.  Add apples, peppers, parsley, and any other vegetables and simmer until apples are mushy.

9. Add spice mix and just enough water create a very thick stock.

9. Combine vegetable/spice mixture with pumpkin flesh in your blender or processor; you may need to do so in batches. Add coconut milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency and coconut flavor.

10. Blend until very smooth – there should be no chunks left in the mixture (unless you desire it – it’s your soup!).

11. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and if it has cooled significantly, reheat in a pan.

12. Serve in a bowl or if you’re feeling very fancy, a hollowed out roasted acorn squash! Enjoy and be prepared to impress yourself and others.

Enjoy, Be Well, and Hope To See You Soon,

Emily Elizabeth, RDN

Last Call for Tomatoes!

IMG_2445Summer seems to be leaving Land’s Sake just as it came this year – abruptly. Though dusk now falls before closing time, the farm stand is offering what is perhaps the most eclectic produce array of the season. For perhaps this one last week, our farmers are still harvesting summer staples like tomatoes, even as they gather cool-weather classics like delicata and acorn squash.

This week is ‘last call’ for Land’s Sake tomatoes, including heirlooms like Pineapple, German Striped, and Green Zebra. There are ways, however, to happily preserve this summer’s tomato bounty.

Many of our farm stand guests have noted canning conquests, a trick I might try someday, as well as appealing, elaborate sauce recipes. Still, the rigors of graduate school leave me looking for cooking shortcuts and batch cook-and-freeze methods. Whatever it is that leaves you wearied at the end of the day, a home-cooked, nutrient-rich meal will help mentally and physically prepare you for the next.

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This weekend, I decided to try my hand at a homemade tomato sauce, using our own paste tomatoes. It’s amazing how much a five-pound bag of paste tomatoes cooks down – I’d recommend taking home two! The sauce came out thicker than I planned – a product of my laissez faire cooking style – but, paired with a Nashoba Brook Bakery baguette (just $2.75 at the stand!) it turned out to be a perfect hors d’oeuvre.

 

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Tomato Croquettes

1. Half and core 5-10 pounds of Land’s Sake paste tomatoes

2. Dice at least ¼ Land’s Sake onion (Ailsa Craig, Pontiac, or Red Bull)

3. Chop at least 2 cloves garlic

4. In a small bowl, combine onions and garlic with ¼ cup olive oil

5. Add spices as desired; I happened to have some thyme left over from a family event, as well as Italian Parsley from the farm stand, so I added a little of each as well as a bit of salt and pepper

6. Lay tomatoes out in lightly vegetable oil-greased baking pan and sprinkle with olive oil mixture

7. Roast everything at about 300 degrees for an hour and a half or until the tomatoes are starting to brown

8. Let cool

9. Blend in food processor or blender

10. Place hearty dollops on crostini (sliced and toasted of Nashoba Brook Bakery bread

(Optional: add fresh mozzarella)

 

Enjoy!

Hope to see you soon,

Emily Elizabeth, RD

Collards: The Bright Star of Dark Leafy Greens

gleaming collards

Delicious, beautiful collard greens gleaming in the moonlight.

Collards may now be the bright star of the dark leafy greens, but this cousin of cabbage is no gastronomic newcomer. Greeks and Romans have grown collard greens for over 2,000 years, and the species was likely introduced to America in the 16th or 17th century. While collard greens have been popular in the southeastern United States for some time, the rest of the country is now catching on to their culinary and nutritional benefits.

Early to late autumn is the perfect time to give collards a shot. The plants are happiest in cooler weather, which means Land’s Sake will be offering them well into the autumn season. Lower fall temperatures also allow the collard plants to produce slightly sweeter leaves.

One serving of collard greens, about 1/3 cup raw or 1 cup cooked, contains just 36 calories but packs in nearly a full-day’s worth of beta-carotene and lutein, both vital to eye health. The same amount also provides about one-third of your daily Vitamin C as well as an impressive folic acid and calcium load.

Collard greens are also very high in Vitamin K – almost 5 times your daily needs.  Vitamin K serves the vital role of helping to clot our blood. Despite the high Vitamin K levels, most don’t need to worry about consuming too many collards. However, it’s critical for those taking blood thinners like Coumadin® (warfarin) to talk with their Registered Dietitian or physician before diving into dark leafy greens likes collards or kale, because the high Vitamin K levels can affect the medicine’s action. Not to fret though – those on blood thinners like Coumadin® can enjoy dark leafy greens like collards as long as very consistent amounts are consumed daily.

From salads to soups to snacks and side dishes, collards are a hearty and healthy choice. Pick up a bunch next time you visit the Land’s Sake farm stand, and feel free to pick my brain!

 

Hope to see you soon,

Emily Elizabeth, RDN

emily

 

collardsinpan

Quick ‘n Easy Reciple: Garlicky Collard Greens

1. Heat canola or other high-heat oil in a cast-iron pan

2. Dice and add to pan part of a Land’s Sake onion (beautiful Red Bulls now available!)

3. Add garlic (not yet available at the farm stand, so I use frozen garlic in the meantime)

4. Using gloves, chop a bit of Land’s Sake hot pepper such as Serrano; add to pan

4. Chiffonade, chop, or tear the kale into small pieces and add to the pan

5. Add whatever herbs you like; I added some fennel fronds for a fun anise twist!

It’s your dish – do as you like, and have fun! I plan to add two eggs and a slice of whole wheat Nashoba Brook Bakery bread to my leftovers in the morning for a protein-packed twist on Green Eggs sans ham.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/vegetabletravelers/kale.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collard_greens

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442476270

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002407.htm

Eggplant: A Fairy Tale on your Fork

Eggplant types

Our Land’s Sake farmers this week culled dramatic hues of Amethyst, Garnet, and Onyx. Sometimes called Aubergines abroad, we know these beauties as the far less romantic ‘Eggplant.’

Unlike other Nightshade species, eggplant are quite edible, and nutritious too. While no one nutrient dominates its profile, eggplant provide a variety of health-protecting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Furthermore, eggplant are high in gut-healthy fiber – about three grams per one cup.

Land’s Sake offers a number of varieties of eggplant including Dancer, Nubia, Barbarella, Black Nadia, Machiaw, and my aesthetic favorites, the petite Fairytale Eggplants. Originating in India, eggplant were subsequently cultivated in China and the Mediterranean, eventually making their way around the world, where new and diverse varieties have been cultivated. Each has its own delicious character; for example, the miniature Fairytale eggplants lack bitterness and offer visual appeal, while tender Barbarellas offer vibrant flavor. The light-purple and white striped Rosa Bianca [not pictured] boast a creamy texture, while the long, skinny Machiaw and Oriental Express [not pictured] varieties are thinner-skinned.

After admiring their beauty, farm stand guests sometimes puzzle over how to prepare eggplant. Together we’ve brainstormed traditional eggplant parmesan, grilled eggplant, and stir-fry recipes, but international inspiration can provide more. With their Indian heritage in mind, I visited Waltham India Market on Moody Street, a spacious haven for exotic produce, hard-to-find Indian, Chinese, and Latin American ingredients, and enticing prepared meals and sweets. I had previously marveled at the market’s wall of spice mixes, and the spicy aromas wafting up from their in-house restaurant compelled me to try my hand at a an eggplant curry.

spice mix

Though my dish would be vegetarian, I selected a Shan Spice Mix for Meat & Vegetable Curry because of its appealing blend of Paprika, Red Chili, Cumin, Carom, Turmeric, Ginger, Coriander, Clove, Cinnamon, and Brown Cardamom. Purchasing the spice mix saved me a great deal of money, measuring, and hoping for the best.

Curry

I loosely followed the directions on the back of the box, but I let my Land’s Sake CSA share take the lead:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 4 Tablespoons (or so, to taste) of Shan Spice Mix for Meat & Vegetable Curry
  • Land’s Sake Produce (be creative!)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 paste tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch collard greens, cut into smallish pieces
  • 2 bell or sweet peppers (I chose Carmen, Cubanelle, and Purple Islander), diced
  • Part (or all) of a Serrano pepper (try any of our hot varieties!), finely chopped
  • 1 of each eggplant variety Land’s Sake offers!
  • Canned coconut milk, 1-2 splashes

Steps:

1. Heat the canola oil in a cast-iron pan (low-cost and American made!)

2. Sautee onion until translucent

3. Simmer paste tomatoes

4. Add eggplant and other vegetables

5. Cook until eggplant are tender

6. Add 1-2 splashes of coconut milk

7. Amaze yourself and others with your new-found curry skills!

Enjoy, and hope to see you soon,

Emily Elizabeth, RDN

emily

Healthy Family Table: Rockin’ Chiles Rellenos

chiles rellenow

Mexican cuisine sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to nutrition. Taco-themed fast food joints, frozen burritos, and taco kits have eclipsed vibrant, delicious culinary traditions. Using fresh ingredients and a little helper or two, you can make ‘Mexican Night’ into a group activity the whole family will love.

Traditional Chiles Rellenos are dipped in an egg batter and fried. In this delicious, reduced-fat version, we keep the coating crispy by baking the stuffed, breaded chiles. The homemade chile-adobo sauce is worth every minute; your taste buds will thank you for skipping the jarred stuff.

Have fun, eat well, and have a salubrious day!

Emily Elizabeth, RDN

@SaperiaNutrition

About Emily Elizabeth, RDN: Emily discovered a hunger for great food and nutrition while achieving her own health goals. Departing from the music industry to pursue a career in food and nutrition, she brings a spirited and fun rock ‘n roll attitude to empowering others to achieve their own health goals. Find her this fall at the Land’s Sake Farm Stand!

 

Rockin’ Chiles Rellenos                                                

Serves 6. Total time: about one hour.

FDenotes Land’s Sake offers this ingredient!

 

Ingredients

Stuffed Chiles

F6 large poblano chiles

Ÿ2 tsp. vegetable oil

Ÿ½ medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

F1 medium zucchini or eggplant, chopped (1 cup)

F½ cup fresh corn kernels

Ÿ1 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Ÿ1 large egg

Ÿ1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Ÿ ¼ tsp. salt

Ÿblack pepper to taste

Sauce

Ÿ2 tsp. chili powder

Ÿ1 tsp. ground cumin

Ÿ1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, no-salt-added

Ÿ1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained

Ÿ ¼ tsp. salt

Toppings

F¼ cup chopped cilantro

Ÿ1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Ÿ¼ cup fat-free plain greek yogurt

 

Instructions:

To Roast and Peel Chiles:

  1. Use a sharp knife to cut around the top, or stem end, of the chile.

2. Pull out and discard the chile core, seeds, and white membrane.

  1. Cut cored chile in half
  2. Lay the peppers skin-side-up on a foiled-lined baking sheet.
  3. Grill or broil the chiles until they’re blackened all over, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Enclose chiles In Foil and let cool while preparing filling
  5. When cooled, remove chiles from foil and removes skin.

 

To Make Chile Stuffing:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add zucchini or eggplant and corn, and cook 5 minutes more. Season with salt, if desired. Transfer to bowl, and stir in cheese.
  2. Stuff each chile with 1/2 cup zucchini/eggplant mixture. Secure closed with toothpicks.
  3. Whisk egg with 1/2 cup water in bowl. Spread breadcrumbs on plate.
  4. Dip chiles in egg wash. Coat with breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet, and bake 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

 

To Make Sauce:

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, chili powder, and cumin, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is

soft and spices are fragrant.

  1. Add tomatoes, and simmer 10 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with spatula or wooden spoon.
  2. Transfer to blender
  3. Add chipotle chile
  4. Blend on low speed until sauce is smooth

 

Serve Chiles Rellenos with sauce, cilantro, lime wedges and greek yogurt.

 

Nutrition Facts:

310 Calories; 14 g Protein; 10 g Total Fat; 28 g Carbohydrates; 41 mg Cholesterol; 248 mg Sodium; 4 g Fiber

 

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times, October 2010 p.74. “Baked Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Tomato Sauce.” Available at http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/baked-chiles-rellenos-with-smoky-tomato-sauce/. Accessed March 3, 2014. 

Fresh Sweet Corn Maple Cornbread

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Land’s Sake gets our corn from Brigham Farms every morning right after it has been picked. It’s a real treat to be able to get corn that’s picked so fresh, because as soon as corn comes off the stalk, the sugars start turning into starches. This is the reason most corn you’d buy in a grocery store has been bred over the years to be super sweet corn with less nutritional value: it still has to be sweet a week or two after picking. We don’t have that problem. We just have good corn picked hours before you buy it. With all of the beautiful sweet corn we’re getting at the Farm Stand, there’s no reason not to stretch it as much as we can.

One of those ways is to turn four ears into some of the best corn bread ever. Using real corn gives the bread an airy, moist sweetness that just can’t be found in cornmeal-only bread. Let’s get this straight, though: this isn’t southern-style corn bread. This is for us northerners who are proud of both our real sweet corn and our real maple syrup.

This cornbread takes a smidgen more time and effort than just tossing together some cornmeal and flour, but it is so worth it.  In a blind taste test, everyone preferred the bread made with real corn. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Tips for buying fresh corn:

  • Don’t husk the corn until right before you use it! Seriously. We see this all the time, and then people ask why their corn was starchy or tough or wrinkly by the time it got cooked. The husk is the protective jacket that locks in the freshness. As soon as the husk comes off, it’s like being outside without a jacket in Alaska in February: the clock is ticking to get it into some heat before it just dies of exposure.
  • The same goes for peeking! Peeling back the husk will, in this example, still give the corn some tragic “frost bite.” Feel the kernels through the husk with your fingers. In this case, we encourage you to touch, don’t look.
  • Use the corn as soon as you can. Don’t buy it on Saturday and wait until Thursday to use it. The corn won’t be nearly as sweet and delicious.
  • Don’t discard the cob! Especially if you’re shaving the kernels off for a side dish or salad. You can use the cobs to make a corn stalk that is absolutely wonderful.

Now, onto the cornbread. Obviously, Land’s Sake Maple Syrup is the best way to go here. There are two options for cooking the cornbread: with a 9 inch cast iron skillet or a 9 inch cake pan.

 

Fresh Sweet Corn Maple Cornbread

adapted from King Arthur’s recipe.

4 ears of fresh sweet corn

1 cup of milk (whole is preferred, but not required)

1/4 cup Land’s Sake maple syrup

4 tbsp butter + more for preparing the pan

2 large eggs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of yellow cornmeal

1 tbsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of salt

 

Husk the corn, cut each ear in half, and shave the kernels off the cob. Don’t discard the cob! Place the kernels, milk, and halved cobs into a sauce pot over medium heat. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, cover the corn and turn the heat off. Let sit for 20 minutes.

While the corn is soaking in the hot milk, preheat the oven to 425°. If using a 9 inch cast iron skillet, put the skillet into the oven as it’s preheating. You want to get the skillet nice and hot to create a good crust along the bottom and sides.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Melt the butter and set aside to cool a little. If using a cake pan, butter the sides.

After the corn and milk have sat for 20 minutes, remove the cobs and transfer the corn to a blender or food processor. Process for about a minute or until the corn is pureed. If you have a food mill, use that to separate the skins of the kernels from the milk-corn mixture. If you don’t have a food mill, use a fine-mesh sieve. Add the milk to the dry ingredients along with the butter, maple syrup, and eggs. Stir until just combined (overworking the batter will result in a tougher cornbread. Lumps will mostly work themselves out while it’s in the oven).

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and put on the middle rack in the oven. If you are using a cake pan, cook at 425° for 20 – 25 minutes. If you are using the cast iron skillet, reduce the heat to 375° and cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Test doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread–if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

Let the cornbread cool for at least 10 – 15 minutes before removing from the pan. If it looks like the bread cooked in the skillet isn’t completely set by the time it comes out of the oven, that’s ok; as long as the toothpick comes out clean, it will continue to set as it sits in the pan outside the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Singing the Praises of Good Food: Stuffed and Roasted Onions

20140724_131129It may be a small thing to look forward to amid the excitement over tomatoes and sweet corn, but there’s something promising and reinvigorating about the first harvest of fresh onions. Onions are the reliable pantry staple, the steadfast aromatic, and the foundation of a good meal. Land’s Sake is about more than providing amazing “hot crops,” though we’re certainly smiling wide when we bring in a big harvest of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and peppers and eggplants. Being able to buy pantry staples from your local farm is a reminder that buying local and sustainable food isn’t just a fashionable trend, it’s a way of living. It’s the ultimate, humble purchase at a farm stand that says you really eat as local and as fresh as you can. It brings the focus back to the necessities: you have to eat, and everything you eat (even an onion!) has to be grown by someone. When you buy food from a grocery store, you don’t know what the conditions on the farm are, what chemicals they use on their crops, how they treat their employees, or how they treat their soil. It’s not necessarily practical to get everything you consume and cook for your family straight from the source, but when you can buy your food from Land’s Sake, you can see what you’re investing in. You can walk around our fields and see how happy the vegetables are. You can catch a farmer hanging around the Farm Stand and ask the questions you have about your food and how it’s grown. You can actually pick a green bean or a tomato straight from the vine and eat it right there in the field without worrying about what chemicals you’re giving your kids.

Being able to buy an onion that came straight from the ground that morning is a reminder that you’re eating real food that’s grown well. You can’t get a fresh onion in a supermarket because they don’t have a two-week shelf life and can’t be trucked across the country and sold on a shelf. We harvest them in the morning for you to cook with over the next couple of nights. Fresh onions are crisp and juicy and — best yet — the acids that would normally make you cry haven’t fully developed, so you’re not going to weep over dinner while you chop them. They don’t have papery skins that flake off all over your car and kitchen. They’re delicious, and the season is as short-lived as their shelf life. Use these onions the same week you buy them and keep them fresh in the fridge, not on your counter. Though you can and should use these onions in anything you’re making, while you’re thinking about what you’re cooking for the week, try this recipe for Stuffed Onions. It’s seriously good, and subtly showcases how sweet a roasted fresh onion straight from the ground can really be.

 

 

Stuffed and Roasted Fresh Onions with Summer Vegetable Quinoa  

stuffed onionsOne, be not afraid: it’s actually really easy to hollow out a fresh onion!

Two, this recipe scales well! Make one per person as a side dish or a few per person as a main. If you only make four stuffed onions, you’ll have plenty of leftover quinoa to eat on the side or for lunch the next day.

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Produce Spotlight: Fennel

Fennel grows wild and rampant in the Mediterranean. Eating it is almost like an Italian vacation itself; it’s a little sweet, tastes a bit like anise, and is very refreshing. It’s the pretty girl in a sundress of the apiaceae family, shining past carrots, dill, cilantro, cumin, and parsnips in the hot summer months. Prometheus used a fennel stalk to steal fire from the gods, is a primary ingredient in flavoring absinthe, and can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic. Even if you don’t enjoy licorice, give fennel a try.

 

Here are some recipe ideas:

Lemon Fennel Beans

Grilled Fennel Bulbs

Buttermilk Fennel Vichyssoise

Fennel Slaw with Mint Vinegarette

 

Summer Squash are here!

Squash_6.27.14

At the Stand Today: 

Summer Squash!

Kohlrabi

Cucumbers

Lettuce

Kale

Collards

Chard

New bags of fresh-roasted, whole bean Karma coffee

and more!

 

Our summer squash is beautiful and firm and sweet and nutty right now. Don’t limit yourself to sauteing and grilling! Shaved thinly, this vegetable is delicious eaten raw. This salad from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is the perfect side dish for a hot summer day.

 

Recipe for Squash Ribbon Salad with Almond Pesto

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

2 lbs summer squash

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

 

Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave the squash into long ribbons 1/16-inch thick.

Grind almonds, Parmesan, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil and pulse a few times until incorporated. Do not over-process or you’ll have almond butter. Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl and let it roll up and around the sides.

Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler or mandolin and place zucchini ribbons in the dressing-coated bowl. Toss the ribbons gently (your hands work best) attempting to coat the zucchini as evenly as possible. Serve at room temperature.