Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 5 Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA

Week 5 Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA

This week's CSA box of goodies contained:

1 box new red potatoes – certified organic – Green Valley Organics – 1 quart
1 bag pickling cucumbers – certified organic – Meadow Brook Organics – 2 lbs
1 bunch beets – certified organic – Farmdale Organics
1 green zucchini – certified organic – Bellivew and Autumn Blend Organics
1 bunch spring onions – certified organic – Healthy Harvest
1 bunch green kale – certified organic – Autumn Blend Organics
1 bunch dandelion greens – certified organic – Hillside Organics
1 head butter head lettuce – certified organic – Goshen View Organics
1 head radicchio – certified organic – Bellview Organics

I found a recipe for bread & butter pickles posted by Smitten Kitchen on Facebook for the pickling cucumbers last week.  This afternoon while manning the CSA pick up site, I opened my laptop to find a mouth watering recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen for a blue cheese red potato tart - perfect timing.  The Fair Food Farm Stand carries lots of local sustainable foods, including one of favorite local cheese makers Birchrun Hills Farm (they are at Headhouse Square Farmers' Market every Sunday).  So I picked up some of their blue cheese to make the tart.  I even picked up some broccoli to make more of the Blasted Broccoli I discovered last week.

One of the farms that participates in the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative is hosting a potluck picnic this weekend.  I'll be going with my best friend and a daughter of close family friends.  She'll actually be spending the night before so we can make the potluck dish together.  Any suggestions of something that can be easily packed, transported, and deal with not being refrigerated are welcomed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Cabbage & The Cupcake

This is my kind of 6 packEarly in the week I had what can only be described as cupcake-a-paloza in my apartment.  I was trying to create a sampling of different cupcakes & since you can't just make one cupcake (well maybe you can, but I can't), I now have a dozen assorted cupcakes in the fridge ready to eat and 2 dozen more in the freezer.  I think my neighbors are worried I am trying to fatten them, although it doesn't stop them from eating my cupcakes.

Stuffed CabbageIn need of something savory, I grabbed the Napa Cabbage from my latest CSA box.  Its long broad leaves just begged to be stuffed, and I was happy to obliged.  Two pounds of ground beef, some spices & rice made 12 perfect meaty packages.  I cooked them covered in a simple tomato sauce of a can of whole tomatoes blended with garlic.

I decided to give the Blasted Broccoli from Dana Treat a try.  As I said before, I hate broccoli so I didn't really care if I ruined it.  I cleaned the head of broccoli - finding a wee inch worm hiding in the stalks.  I tossed it on olive oil and popped it in a hot oven.  Then tossing it in a bit more olive oil with 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic and a schtickle of red pepper flakes.  Back into the oven it went to sizzle away.  It actually smelt good.
Here is your first Yiddish lesson - SCHTICKLE.  A schtickle and bissell are similar that they both mean "a little bit", but in cooking a schtickle - a generous pinch - is a bit more than a bissell.
I thought I had really burnt it when it finally came out, but decided to taste it anyway.  It was GREAT!  Garlicky & kind of crunchy, it was perfect.  In fact, after my dinner guest left, I ate all the left overs.
Buttermilk cupcakes with berriesSince Masha was coming over for dinner and cupcakes, I decided to also make a salad with the last of this week's CSA lettuce (thank goodness the lettuce season seems to be slowing down).  I made a quick simple vinaigrette & tossed in the raspberries left over from make buttermilk cupcakes with berries.  Masha brought red wine to go with our dinner.  The dinner and the company made the night.

After a couple of helpings of stuffed cabbage, salad, and broccoli (we both agreed that the Blasted Broccoli was simply amazing in the way it transformed this veggie), we were ready for cupcakes.  I had 3 to choose from: banana daiquiri with blueberries topped with a rum glaze, vanilla with dark chocolate chips topped with vanilla chocolate swirl cream cheese frosting, & buttermilk with berries,.  We each indulged in a couple different flavors & Masha left with an assorted 4 pack.

For the stuffed cabbage recipe, click the read more link

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 4 Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA

Week 4 Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA
Click to go to Flickr & roll over photo for details

1 head broccoli – certified organic – Farmdale Organics
1 bunch red beets – certified organic – Farmdale Organics
1 head Napa cabbage – certified organic – Bellview Organics
1 pc summer ball squash – certified organic – Hillside Organics
1 bunch spring onions – certified organic – Healthy Harvest
1 head green butter head (bib) lettuce – certified organic – Goshen View Organics
1 head red leave lettuce – certified organic – Railroad Organics
1 bag cress – certified organic – Back 40 Ranch

And a happy accident landed me a flower share this week.  It is a huge bunch of mixed flowers & greenery.  Some of it looks & smells like mint, but I am going to double check with the farm before trying it just to be safe.

I have never been a fan of broccoli.  I always thought it smells & tastes like farts (well what I imagine what a fart would taste like).  I found a recipe called Blasted Broccoli that quick roasts the broccoli at a high heat with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  I have never had broccoli roasted and always roast my other veggies like Brussels Sprouts and asparagus, so maybe this will be the thing that finally brings me around to broccoli.

Tomorrow I'm going to pick up some ground meat so I can use my Napa Cabbage to make a batch of stuffed cabbage.  It's perfect for the crock pot & freezes well so I'll have some for the future.  I am also looking forward to trying a new and exciting recipe for a flourless cupcake using the the sweetness of the beets to keep the sugar added to a minimum.

Tomorrow will be a fun day of baking & cooking in the Ess Eppis kitchen!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Garlic Scape Oil

 With a couple of bunches of garlic scapes from the CSA, some grape seed oil, & a food processor I made a small jar of bright green garlic scape oil.  It was quick and simple.  I think this will work nicely as a finishing oil, in salad dressings, and in marinades.  It will top grilled veggies & meat, hummus, and other foods to add color & flavor.

3rd Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA Share
Click to go to flickr & roll over for details
If you aren't familiar with garlic scapes, it is the top part of the garlic plant harvested before it flowers.  They kind of look like scallions, but tastes like garlic.  They are the long green tendrils in this picture.  They can be used raw, sauteed, grilled, any way you want.

To make the garlic scape oil:

2 bunches of garlic scapes
1 tsp cream of tartar (this gives the green color a little 'kick')
1 tbsp kosher salt
1-1 1/2 cup grape seed oil (I use this because it is nearly tasteless & light allowing the flavor of the scapes to shine)
s&p to taste

Cut the garlic scapes into 2-3 inch pieces.  Add the cream of tartar & salt to boiling water and then drop in the scapes.  Remove them from the boiling water in 1 minute and drop into ice water to stop cooking.  Drain the scapes and pat dry with a paper towel. Place scapes into a food processor or blender with about 1/2 cup of oil.  Turn on food processor and let it run till the scapes are broken up and nearly pulverized.  Add more oil to get the consistency & taste you are happy with.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  I am keeping it in the fridge in an air tight jar.

Week 3 Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA

3rd Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA Share
Click to go to Flickr & roll over photo for details
This weeks CSA share was a another bumper crop of greens:

1 bag snow peas – certified organic – White Swan Acres
1 bunch radishes – certified organic – Friends Road Organics
1 bunch garlic scapes – certified organic – Orchard View Organics
1 bunch green shallots – certified organic – Shady Brook Organics
1 bunch dandelion greens – certified organic – Hillside Organics
1 head endive – certified organic – Meadow Valley Organics
1 head red leaf lettuce – certified organic – Green Valley Organics
2 heads red oak leaf lettuce – certified organic – Back 40 Ranch
1/2 head of Napa Cabbage shared from the other site host's full share

The photo is of my half share AFTER giving half the dandelion greens, half the endive, 1 head of read leaf lettuce, and 1 head of red oak leaf lettuce to Catlyn when she came over for a dinner of BBQ shredded beef over lettuce.  Nearly everything I have been eating has been on a bed of lettuce.  Luckily, it's all really good lettuce!  The BBQ shredded beef from my winning of U.S. Wellness Meats was GREAT!  I loved it so much, I wish I had more.  I am tempted to order more knowing the quality of the food and way it is raised, but I do know I can find quality like this with a local farmer.  If I was closer to network of farms that this impressive cooperative or did not live in an area with access to exceptional farmers, I would not hesistate to regularly order from them.

This weekend I am making a dish for a Paleo potluck.  I do not follow a Paleo diet, but want to participate in the potluck with Catlyn & her CrossFit group.  The idea of swearing off potatoes, beans, and grains makes me shake in my boots - I think my love of those foods is imprinted on my Eastern European DNA.  I have narrowed it down to two possible dishes:

Almond Date Balls Drizzled with Dark Chocolate
Cucumber & Radish Rounds Topped with Garlic Mint Aioli

I just have to decide if I want to go sweet or savory.  Either way, I am sure there will be lots of goodies and new people to meet this weekend.  Only once I figure out what I am making, I then have to figure out what to wear!  Will the decisions never end?!  I think I should mull all this over while a make a cake.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Veggies, Veggies, & More Veggies

2nd LCFF CSA Delivery
Click to go to Flickr and roll over photo for description of the produce.
2 bunches spring onions – certified organic – Bellview and Plum Hill Organics
1 bunch garlic scapes – certified organic – Life Enhancing Acres
1 pkg white mushrooms – certified organic – Mother Earth Organics
1 bunch Lacinato kale – certified organic – Goshen View Organics
1 bag baby lettuce mix – certified organic – Farmdale Organics
1 bag wrinkle-crinkle – certified organic – Back 40 Ranch
2 heads green oak leaf lettuce – certified organic – Back 40 Ranch
& some Snow Peas that came with the full share that the other hosts of the site shared with me.

I really love being part of a CSA and have written about it in past post.  Being a site host, I get a share for free.  I opted for a half share and the fruit share that starts later in the season.  Even with a half share, I find myself not getting thru all the weekly goodies before they start to waste in my fridge.  This year I am determined not to waste any part of my weekly half share.  The first thing I did was to wash all the produce this week and package it all up so it is all ready to go in my fridge.  To wash lettuce & other leafy stuff I fill the sink with cold water and gently place in the lettuce.  I swish and swirl it around gently.  The lettuce and leafy goods will float while all the soil that may still be on it will sink to the bottom.  I gently scoop out the greens and dry them in a salad spinner, then lay them out on paper towels to get any left over moisture.  Then I package them in ziplock style bags or the reusable containers my take out Chinese comes in.

The best part if a CSA is that you end up with produce you have never tried or even heard of.  This week I got something called wrinkle-crinkle.  It's a cress that looks like slightly sickly parsley, but is very peppery.  I discovered this after tasting a leaf while cleaning all the greens.  Unsure of exactly how to use it, I decided to treat it more like an herb than a lettuce.  I chopped it up and added it to some pasta, tomato, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.

The bag of mixed baby lettuce has provided a nice addition to nearly every meal.  I made a quick and simple vinaigrette by whisking together a splash of apple cider vinegar, a squirt of Dijon mustard, and s&p to taste.  I keep whisking as I drizzle in some olive oil - about twice as much as I have acids.  Some canned tuna on top of some dressed greens with an extra drizzle over the tuna and I had a meal!  A left over cupcake from the weekend baking rounded it out to complete the meal.

While cleaning the produce I decided to also clean and blanch it so I could keep it in the fridge to snack on.  It never made it to the fridge.  After cleaning - pulling that fibrous string along the edge, I dropped them into salted boiling water for just a minute.  They turned bright green and stayed crunching after dropping them in ice water to quickly cool them.  After testing one, I ended up eating the whole container of the sweet crunchy snack.  They were so good I think I am going to go back to The Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market and pick up some more.

Tonight I plan on making Kale chips.  I am going to try experimenting with some flavored salts that I won from goodLife{eats} give-a-way.  I have lavender rosemary & cherry pistachio Secret Stash Salts, in addition to my standard Kosher salt.  Maybe I'll try some different spices too.  I think the smoked paprika might work nice to give a bbq chip taste, but healthier than potato chips.  I'll post how they come out soon.