Friday, May 31, 2013

Moroccan Harira

Thanks to having a food-allergy friendly menu, Busboys & Poets is a favorite DC area haunt of the Mister and I.  Which as an aside, if you have to avoid gluten, you need to run not walk to the closest Busboys and get their GF hazelnut chocolate cake, it's like Nutella in cake form.  Just sayin'.  Any way, back to the topic at hand.  Busboys serves an amazing vegan version of a traditional Moroccan stew called harira.  It's essentially a spiced chickpea and lentil stew, and unlike many stews, this one is actually quite healthy.  So after the Mister went bonkers for the harira at Busboys, I made it my personal mission to recreate it.  This is another all-purpose Crop Share veggie recipe, but it will make a great vehicle for the bundle of parsley you'll all be receiving.  And while this stew has it's fair share of heat to it, you can easily cut back on the cayenne and then serving each bowl with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt will help cut any additional heat.  They say you need to fight fire with fire, so perhaps this is just what this weekend's hot forecast calls for.

Moroccan Harira

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp turmeric
2 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups stewed tomatoes (not Italian style), drained
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
2 cups chickpeas, drained
1 cup brown lentils
1/2 lemon, juiced
Bundle of parsley, chopped
Sour cream (dairy-free or regular) or plain Greek yogurt to garnish

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Reduce heat slightly and add all of your spices, being careful not to allow any of them to burn on the bottom of the pot.  Add tomato paste and stir until well blended.  Add stewed tomatoes and stock, taking care to get any bits off the bottom that have started to stick.  Stir until blended and creamy.  Add bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Stir in chickpeas, cover pot, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir in lentils, cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Check part way through lentil cook time, and add more stock if needed.

Add lemon juice and chopped parsley, and adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve each bowl with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and garnish with an additional pinch of fresh, chopped parsley.

Adapted from v:gourmet (

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Veggie & Chicken Sausage Stuffed Potatoes

During my time in Ireland I became obsessed with stuffed potatoes.  No, not just the broccoli & cheese or "loaded" baked potatoes we have here, these were stuffed potatoes on a whole other level.  The Irish call them jacket potatoes, and think huge puffy winter jacket kind of jacket, because they are stuffed to the gills and then some with all sorts of yumminess.  Basically what we'd normally reserve for an elaborate salad bar, they will shove into a fresh baked potato.  So when I stumbled upon this recipe in the fall, it was love at first sight.  A stuffed potato that would make the biggest jacket potato blush!  Being chock full of veggies, this will be a great recipe to come back to through all seasons, and the perfect way to use the zucchini we're giving you this week.  I've even made it with baked sweet potatoes, so if you still have some leftover from last week, stuff them up!

Veggie & Chicken Sausage Stuffed Potatoes


4 baking potatoes or sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp, divided use
4 links of apple chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4 rounds
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 cup crimini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 yellow squash, sliced thin
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, some juice drained off but not all
1/2 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub potatoes with olive oil, stab a few times with a fork to allow for ventilation when baking, and place in middle rack of oven to bake for 50-60 minutes.  While potatoes bake, prepare all the sausage and veggies.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken sausage and onions, gently tossing and cook until the sausage begins to brown.  Then add the mushrooms and garlic, and allow for mushrooms to begin to brown.  Add in red pepper, zucchini and yellow squash, and cook for about 2 minutes.  Then add in the tomatoes with a little bit of the juice from the can, the dill and your seasoning.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes and then remove from heat while you wait for the potatoes to finish baking.

Once potatoes are done, carefully remove them from the oven (wooo hot potato!!) and allow them to cool slightly.  Then slice lengthwise down the potato and fluff the the inside with a fork to loosen everything from the skin.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with a dash of salt & pepper.  Then generously top with the sausage and veggies.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you so desire.

Recipe adapted from The Cozy Apron (

Sauteed Swiss Chard

My first encounter with Swiss chard was during the Fall Crop Share round, and it has quickly become one of my favorite leafy greens.  Much like kale or spinach, Swiss chard is fantastic sauteed up with some olive oil and garlic, and this recipe below from Epicurious is my all-time favorite for sauteed Swiss chard.  I like to add a dash or two of red pepper flakes, and of course some grated Parmesan!  While this works great as a side dish, you can easily make it a meal by tossing it with some grilled chicken.

Sauteed Swiss Chard


1 large bundle of Swiss chard
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Until now I'd never actually cooked with rhubarb before, and the only time I've ever eaten it was on my very first visit to meet the Mister's grandparents in Indiana.  Grandma Jackson definitely won me over to the strange looking vegetable, er what the heck is this thing, a tree?  While we know rhubarb is tasty, we all wonder, what exactly is this thing that looks more like a means of self defense than something to be used in dessert?  Well let's just say the jury is still out, or more accurately the jury ruled and confused things further.  While rhubarb is indeed a vegetable, a U.S. Customs Court ruled in 1947 that it was a fruit and thus, here in the States, it's been considered a fruit ever since.  Either way, it is delicious and I was excited for its maiden voyage in my kitchen.  Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa recipe I shared the other evening, I decided to use what I had on hand to whip up a gluten-free and dairy-free version, plus reduce some of the sugar content.  The only downside was burning the roof off my mouth because I couldn't wait to dig in!

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

2 cups fresh rhubarb, ends trimmed and diced
2 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed and quartered (or triple berry it with 1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
¼ cup local honey
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract (Note: most imitation extract contain gluten, so check labels or make your own)
½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix**
½ cup ground almond meal
¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp Earth Balance Margarine (for dairy-free, or use any butter of your choosing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, honey and brown sugar.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and then add to fruit mixture.  Add vanilla extract, plus another dash for good measure.  Mix to fully combine all ingredients and then pour into baking dish.

For crumble topping, in a separate bowl, combine Bob's Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix, almond meal and sugar.  Then by hand, rub margarine into the mixture until it's crumbly.  Use more or less butter if needed.  Sprinkle over top of fruit and dot the top with small pieces of butter.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Allow to cool for a few minutes (seriously, the roof of your mouth will thank you) and serve with vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.  We recommend So Delicious Vanilla Bean, made with coconut milk!

**Easily enjoy this gluten-full (ha!) with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt!**

Chorizo Stuffed Poblanos

So yeah, today I finally got around to using up the poblano peppers from last week's share.  But oh they were so worth the wait.  I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do with them -- stuff them full of chorizo  -- so I figured if I loosely based it on my Mama's stuffed pepper recipe, it should turn out pretty good.  In the end, my hunch was oh so deliciously correct and the Mister declared these as, "the best stuffed peppers I've ever had!"  So from my kitchen to yours, a spiced-up take on a comforting classic...

Chorizo Stuffed Poblanos


2 lbs chorizo, removed from casing
½ cup Tropical Salsa (produced for Nalls Produce by Troyer Cheese, currently in store)
½ sweet onion, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ cup rice, cooked
2 ears corn, cooked and removed from cob
3 poblano peppers, seeded, stems removed and lids reserved
1 lg can enchilada sauce, mild
1 cup rice, cooked

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine chorizo, salsa, sweet onion, garlic, rice and corn until mixed well.  Stuff each poblano with chorizo mixture, and re-top with the poblano lid.  Repeat with each pepper and place all into a large baking dish.  You'll have plenty of chorizo mixture leftover, so hand-roll up some albondigas (meatballs) and place those in the baking dish, as well.  Top everything with enchilada sauce and place into the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Cook up remaining 1 cup of rice to serve with the stuffed poblanos & albondigas.  Serve each with a spoonful or two of the pan sauce.

Guest Posts from Crop Share Members: Janet Dwire & Natasha Scott

We LOVE knowing what's cookin' in your kitchens, so I'm super excited to bring you two guest posts today from Crop Share members Janet Dwire and Natasha Scott.  I know several of you have started your own food blogs, and many more of you are coming up with delicious recipes of your own each week, so send those guest posts our way as we'd love for this blog to be a shared collective from our Crop Share family.  E-mail me any recipes or helpful tips you'd love to share at

Corn in Husk in Microwave

1. Check silks end of ear for worms.

2. Use a heavy knife to cut off stalk end, about 3/4 of an inch up the cob.

3. Leave husks on and lay 2 ears in microwave.  Two ears take 5 minutes -- on a rotating tray -- with no turning.

4. Grasp husks at silk end using and oven mitt.  Gently sake the corn from side to side, or in a circle until the cob starts to slip out of the husks.

5.  Grasp the corn cob carefully (it's hot!) and pull hands apart to separate the cob from the silks and husks.

6.  Compost the husks and enjoy this summer's corn!

Janet Dwire

Strawberry Rhubarb Overnight Oatmeal

Pop on over to Tash's Noshes to view Natasha Scott's healthy take on strawberry-rhubarb deliciousness!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keep That Corn Husky!

All my life I thought the only way to prepare corn-on-the-cob was to shuck it first.  I have fond memories of sitting on the back porch with my Mama and Grammy, trash cans or buckets between our feet, as we shucked away for summer cookouts.  And then last month the Mister and I went to Captain White's and beheld corn boiled and steamed IN the husk.  It was pure magic, and despite what I thought would be a mess of silk to pick through, it all effortlessly peeled off.  Since then, we keep keep that corn husky!

So whether you're planning to boil up the bi-color corn this weekend or throw it on the grill, here's our two favorite ways to prepare corn-on-the-cob in the husk.

Boiled Corn In The Husk

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add in your corn with husks on, and boil for about 6 minutes.  Remove from water and allow to drain on a plate.  The silk will pull back with the husk when you peel into the corn.

Perfectly Grilled Corn On The Cob

4 ears of corn
Kosher salt
Herb butter, recipe follows

Herb Butter (combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth):
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 cup fresh herbs (basil, chives or tarragon)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

To view the rest of the recipe, please visit: Perfectly Grilled Corn On The Cob

Stuffed Poblano Peppers via Tash's Noshes

Wow, our Crop Share is just inspiring a whole new crop of food bloggers (pardon the pun)!  It seems like every time I turn around another of our members is starting up their own food blog.  You're all going to force me to actually do something about my idea for a local blogger after-hours at Nalls that I've been musing over for about a month now.  In the meantime, any of you who are getting bloggy with your crop share cooking, we would LOVE you to guest post whenever your little foodie hearts desire.  The more ideas and unique voices, the merrier!

So to add a new voice to the mix, I give you the maiden post from Tash's Noshes, the just christened food blog from Crop Share member, Natasha Scott...

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Hop on over to see how she turned last week's poblanos into the deliciousness we see before us at: Tash's Noshes

Barefoot Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Break out the "good olive oil" and don your custom made shirt because I'm bringing you a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.  While I often feel like Ina is silently judging me with her commentary, I have a friend who's obsession with the Barefoot has often bordered on the unhealthy.  Take for instance the time she was frantically calling, texting, e-mailing and Facebooking me during the work day about how we just had to run up to NYC for a Barefoot book signing.  Did I mention this was like a week or two before her wedding and she was up to her bridal ears in final preparations?  Like I said, it can sometimes border on the unhealthy.  But I can't argue with her assertion that there really is no better way to slip into a coma of relaxation than putting on Barefoot Contessa and allowing Ina's voice to lull you into a foodie stupor.  Plus, Ina's ability to make the most daunting recipes seem simple and accessible is right up my alley.  She really is a next-generation Julia Child (just not as cool, because no one, no one, is as cool as Julia).  So when I stumbled upon her recipe for a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, I knew this was just the ticket to put the strawberries and rhubarb in this week's share to perfect Memorial Day picnic use!  As Ina would say..."How easy is that?"

Barefoot Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced to 1 inch
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cubed
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

I halved the original recipe to work with the amount of strawberries & rhubarb we're all receiving, so be sure to snag 2 more stalks of rhubarb and another quart of strawberries if you want to make the full 6 serving recipe.

Chipotle & Herb Roasted (or Grilled) Sweet Potato Chips

If there is sweet potato anything on a menu, you can bet I'll be ordering it.  So every time we wind up with sweet potatoes in the Crop Share, I do a little happy dance.  Normally, I like to bake them up whole and then stuff them with all sorts of goodness, but with this being a holiday weekend, it's time for some cook-out ready ideas.  So here's one of my favorite preparations with an added adaptation for the grill...

Chipotle & Herb Roasted Sweet Potato Chips

2 sweet potatoes, sliced into about 1/4 to 1/8 inch rounds
Chipotle powder
2 tsp thyme
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay sweet potato slices onto a baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spaced with no overlapping.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with chipotle powder, 1 tsp of thyme and Kosher salt (add a dash or more of chipotle depending on your heat preference).  Flip rounds over, drizzle with olive oil and repeat seasoning.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, flipping once half-way through, until edges have begun to crisp.  Season with additional Kosher salt if needed/desired.

Adaptation for the grill:

Season and oil as above.  Place onto direct heat on a pre-heated grill and grill for 3 minutes on each side or until well-marked.  Then transfer to a top rack or on indirect heat for an additional 20-30 minutes, turning half-way through.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

See What's New At Nalls!

As you're gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, so are we, with lots of new items in our Produce & Garden Centers to help make your weekend a success.  Whether you'll be relaxing at a picnic or using the long weekend to get all of your planting finished, we'll be here all weekend for whatever you may need.

New in our Produce Center this week is our huge collection of jams, jellies, salsas and pie fillings made especially for Nalls Produce by Troyer Cheese.  We've been waiting with eager anticipation for this shipment for the past two weeks, and when it finally arrived yesterday it was like Christmas at Nalls.  Naturally, some quality control had to be done, I mean we had to make sure these delicious items were indeed delicious.  The first jar we popped open was the Tropical Salsa, and oh my mangos, it is goooooood!!!

Made with mango, papaya, pineapple, tomato and jalepeno, this is a sweeter salsa, almost like a chutney, and you barely get any heat from the jalepeno, just the wonderful flavor.  We may just be putting this on everything, but it would be perfect with grilled fish or chicken.

Another big hit was the ironically named...Traffic Jam!  Hey if you've got to get stuck in a DC area traffic jam, might as well make it a good one.

Peaches, red raspberries, strawberries, cherries and cranberries are all crammed in like rush hour on the Beltway...delicious, delicious rush hour.  Use this in your homemade jelly rolls or tarts, or heat it up to make it melty and drizzle that awesomeness on some pancakes!  Or you know, just eat spoonfulls of it right out of the jar.  What?  No.  Of course, I'd never do something like that.  No, that's not jam on my chin, it's um a rejuvenating face cream.

If you'll excuse me, I should get back to my "beauty regimen."  Now where'd I put my spoon?

Monday, May 20, 2013

But wait, there's more!

Apparently, I'm in a food bloggy mood this week, but I just continue to find more and more inspiration from this Spring's Crop Share. So while an entire, sliced eggplant continues to marinate in my fridge for later slapping onto a griddle pan, here's two delightful recipes that ended up in my e-mail inbox today for further inspiration to use those poblano peppers and then to bring you back to thoughts of that beautiful, local asparagus from two weeks ago (p.s. it's still in store!)...

Open-Face Four Cheese Quesadillas

Click through to view recipe on Food & Wine...

Asparagus with Grapefruit "Snow"

Click through to view recipe on Tasting Table...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Sauteed Scallions

Growing up in Youngstown, OH, which is in itself it's own Little Italy, I've become pretty picky when it comes to Italian cuisine.  When you're used to eating recipes that can be traced back to a someone's great-great-great-great grandmother in Sicily, you get pretty spoiled.  And that's not just in the restaurants, that's simply when you go over to your friends house after you've already eaten dinner, and their mom decides you're too skinny so she'll just whip up some sausage & peppers and maybe a few pizzas for you.  It really is quite amazing that I didn't keel over from heart failure by the time I hit 20, especially when I also had my other friends' Lebanese, Irish, Greek and Slovak moms stuffing me to the gills too.

Compounding my pickiness is my gluten-intolerance, so nearly all of my pasta consumption happens in my own home, made by my own hands.  But as much as I love to, I simply don't have the time to simmer sauce/gravy for hours before it's just right.  While some jarred sauces doctored up will do the trick, I still needed a quick and easy sauce from scratch.  And then I stumbled upon this delightful recipe for the freshest and simplest tomato sauce recipe I've ever had.  The Mister and I are so addicted that we're eating this at least once a week, and it's a great base for adding in other Crop Share veggies such as broccoli, eggplant, or zucchini.  Homemade sauce isn't just for Sundays any more!

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Sauteed Scallions

3 large tomatoes (I've been using the Ugly Ripe Heirlooms in our Produce Center)
1 bundle of scallions (can also use garlic scapes, the greens from the tops of growing garlic)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp for pan
Pasta of your choosing
Salt & Pepper to taste

Begin boiling pasta water, and cook pasta according to package directions.

Dice all 3 tomatoes (no need to seed), and place 2 of them into a blender, reserving the 3rd for the skillet.  Dice scallions and place half into the blender with the tomatoes.  Add in 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend until fairly smooth.  Set aside for the moment.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in the rest of the scallions and saute until they begin to slightly brown.  Add in your 3rd diced tomato, and cook for another additional 1-2 minutes.  Pour blended sauce into skillet and mix well with sauteed scallions and tomatoes.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Pour over cooked pasta, mix to combine and let rest for about 3 minutes to allow sauce to set up.  Season again with salt & pepper if necessary.

This is a perfect base sauce, so get creative with it by adding in various vegetables and using different tomatoes.  I tried a mixture of yellow and heirloom tomatoes that was fantastic.

And of course...Mangia!  Mangia!

The Great Pickle Experiment: Part 2

Well after four days of fermenting in a sunny spot on my window sill, it was time to unveil the homemade pickles yesterday at cookout with some friends.  Now these weren't just any friends, these were two pickle connoisseurs.  In fact, one of them often receives the pet name of "pickle."  So the pressure was on to see if my pickles would pack a proper punch.  Off came the lid with a loud pop, in went some forks and...drumroll please..."Ooo, yum!"  The verdict was unanimous, these were some pretty yummy pickles!

Now I tend to like mine a tad more vinegary, so next time I make a batch, I'll include an extra slosh or two of vinegar.  But as far as the garlic and salt content, they were spot on.  And the best spot for them...sliced up on some hot dogs with spicy brown mustard!

So this summer, bring your own homemade pickles to the party and dazzle the guests with your kitchen pizzazz!

For the Part 1 and the recipe click here!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guacamole-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

There are stuffed peppers and then there are STUFFED peppers.  If you're intimidated by the poblano peppers in this week's share, fear not.  While they look sinisterly hot, they are, in fact, quite mild, and when you stuff them with something gooey, creamy and delectable, the peppers provide just the right amount of zip.  We've all seen chile rellenos on menus in just about every Mexican restaurant, and while they are nothing short of yumtacular, they aren't exactly going to make it onto any healthy eats list.  Apparently, "experts" say that things stuffed with cheese and battered in egg are not good for you, despite them also telling me that my bones need calcium and eggs are great sources of protein.  Oh well, I guess we'll all just have to settle for...Guacamole-Stuffed Poblanos!  This recipe from Eating Well calls for using hearts of romaine lettuce, but you can just as easily use your red leaf lettuce in its place.

Guacamole-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

5 small to medium poblano peppers
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup thinly sliced red leaf lettuce

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

This week we're getting a taste of some first-of-the-season strawberries from South Carolina.  If you can somehow restrain yourself from eating them all within the first 5 minutes of arriving home with your Crop Share, then why not kick-start a weekend morning with a refreshing and healthy strawberry banana smoothie!  The banana makes it creamy without having to rely on ice cream or frozen yogurt, and by using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, you can skip the spoonful of sugar.  Plus, it's a great way to ingest your daily dose of local honey to help keep allergies at bay.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1 large ripe banana (for thicker and creamier, add another half a banana)
1 heaping cup of fresh strawberries
1 cup milk of your choice (I used lite vanilla soy)
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (use the local honey we have in store for an added allergy fighting boost)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender, press the magic button, do the smoothie dance (admit it, you know you shake it in the kitchen), pour blended goodness into glasses and serve immediately.

Baked Kale Chips

In cooler months, I tend to make an inordinate amount of Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup, and for whatever reason I have always been incapable of buying just the amount of kale that I need.  So there I usually was, trying to pawn off the excess kale onto friends' guinea pigs or bearded dragons.  And then one day, something magical happened...Pinterest.  And it brought with it a recipe for baked kale chips.  I figured I might as well experiment and see what all the fuss was about.  Let's just say I ended up buying more kale just to bake and I'm pretty sure there was an entire week in 2012 that I lived on kale chips.  Man may not live on bread alone, but I'm pretty sure I could survive just on these crunchy lovelies!

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Remove kale from stalks and cut into medium-sized pieces.  Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, toss with olive oil and salt, making sure to evenly coat all pieces.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they crisp up.  Proceed to burn your hands, tongue and the roof of your mouth as you feverishly eat them off the baking sheet while still in the oven.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You Say Tomato, I Say...Omnomnomnom!

Perhaps one of the best things about working at Nalls Produce (you know, aside from feeding strawberries to an adorable pig, getting to cuddle baby chicks, being surrounded by beauty all day, and never needing a gym membership because hauling 50 lb boxes of cabbage is giving me Michelle Obama arms) may just be the oodles of fresh tomatoes that start rolling in this time of year!

I mean just look at all that beauty!  So while there are numerous ways you can prepare tomatoes, perhaps my most favorite is simply a fresh tomato sandwich.  Grab yourself a slice of bread or two (in my case it's some Rudi's gluten-free multigrain bread).  Pick out a nice firm tomato, and slice up that tomato into not to thick but not to thin rounds.  Now slather some mayo on that bread and don't be shy (and in this house it's veganaise -- seriously, it tastes just like Miracle Whip -- which to my mind makes it a health food, so the more vegan mayo the better).  Pile on slices of tomato over that mayo and either enjoy it as an open face sandwich or slap that other slice of bread on top and prepare to be transported to tomato nirvana.

Who's ready for lunch?

The Great Pickle Experiment: Part 1

I love a good Kosher dill pickle, so after last week's post on how to turn your pickling cucumbers into homemade pickles, I decided to try my hand at this culinary adventure!

I riffed off of the recipe for Old-Fashioned Kosher Garlic and Dill Pickle Cucumbers, but not having fresh dill on hand, I did the classy thing and just guesstimated on how much dried dill (it probably ended up being one Tbsp full total).  Also, I used 7 cloves of garlic (sliced in half), and my jar could only hold 3 cups of water, so only 1 Tbsp of Kosher salt went in and 2 Tbsp plus another splash of white vinegar.  Plus, since I'm hoping to bring these to a cookout this weekend, I sliced them up to be used as pickle chips for burgers.

These lovelies are currently fermenting in a sunny window sill for the next 4 days, so I will update on Saturday with the final verdict.  Will it be a winner, winner pickle dinner?  Stay tuned to find out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Get Pickled!

If you're up for a kitchen adventure, then this week's pickling cucumbers are just the ticket.  While you can still enjoy them as you would regular cucumbers, by slicing them for salads or to make some afternoon tea cucumber sandwiches, making your own pickles can make for a great weekend family project.  So here's some easy pickling recipes to help you turn these cucumbers into the stuff midnight cravings are made of.  Click the links below to view the recipes...

Quick Fresh Pack Dill Pickles

(Recipe on page 2, but great tips on all 3 pages)

Korean Cucumber Pickle

Old-Fashioned Kosher Garlic and Dill Pickled Cucumbers

Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad

Guess what?  Local asparagus has FINALLY arrived!  It toyed with our hearts in the Early Spring round, but it is officially here and ready to be packed away into your Crop Share boxes tomorrow morning.  And if you're like us, then your excitement over the first taste of this season's Virginia-grown asparagus has now reached ecstatic elephant seal level...

Yes, we are that excited.  Happy dances did actually occur when it all arrived this morning.

So with a devout love for asparagus, I've never met a preparation I didn't love.  Whether it was the Baked Asparagus Fries from a few weeks ago, grilling them up in the summer, or roasting them up with some olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, there's really no wrong way in my mind.  So it's a bit surprising that last year I came across an asparagus recipe I would have never imagined, was even skeptical about, and ended up falling head over heels for it.  Last spring I helped test out some recipes for a cookbook that Ogunquit, Maine's Chamber of Commerce was putting out.  The Mister and I honeymooned in Ogunquit the year prior, so it seemed like a perfect way to celebrate our one year anniversary, with a little taste of Ogunquit.  And one of the recipes I was sent to try was a Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad.  Like I said, I was pretty skeptical but oh my word, it was fantastic.  This works fantastic as a side dish for summer picnics, but it would even be wonderful with some chicken added to it to make for a fresh and filling dinner.

Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad

1 bunch of asparagus
1 large, ripe avocado
Olive oil
1 fennel bulb
2 Tbsp granulated garlic

For Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cups cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Cup olive or flax oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prep asparagus, wash, cut off ends, cut into about 1" pieces, drizzle with oil and place them on a baking sheet.

To prep fennel, cut off base and remove outer leaves.  Wash and thinly slice.  Toss with olive oil and place on baking sheet with asparagus.  Sprinkle both with garlic and roast for about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.  Once cooled, place veggies into a bowl.

Cut open avocado, remove the out and scoop out the flesh.  Cut into small, diced pieces and add to bowl with the cooled asparagus and fennel.

Whisk together your ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over the veggies, tossing to evenly coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

From The Cabbage Patch

Cabbage is one of those work horses of the vegetable world.  Whether it's serving as the base for a fresh summer coleslaw, or being pickled to use for your New Years Eve sauerkraut, it truly does take us through all the seasons.  So we wanted to bring back two of our favorite cabbage preparations for you to enjoy.  The first is a traditional Irish dish, Colcannon, that is essentially mashed potatoes with cabbage and enough butter to make even Paula Deen blush.  The second, and healthier, is a simple roasted cabbage that in our house never makes it far from the baking sheet before we can devour it.  Follow the links below to view each recipe.  Enjoy!


Simple Roasted Cabbage

Spring Garden Chicken

Don't let spinach fool you, it's not just for salads.  Sure there's also spinach & artichoke dip, but sauteing spinach may just be the best way to showcase these greens.  And this Spring Garden Chicken makes for a fast and healthy weeknight meal.  Now for those of you who shy away from spinach because every time you've had it, you feel like you get a mouth full of grit, let me let you in on a little kitchen secret.  The best way to rinse and wash spinach is by filling your sink with water,  tossing your spinach in loose and then just let it sit for a few minutes, swishing it around a bit to help loosen any remaining dirt and sand.  If you just run it under water, it won't allow for all the dirt to come off, but if you soak it for several minutes, all of the sediment will sink to the bottom and you'll be left with grit-free spinach.

Spring Garden Chicken

1-2 lbs cooked chicken
3 scallions, chopped
1 lb fresh spinach
2 tsp olive oil or wok oil
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp hot pepper oil
4 Tbsp sugar
1 cup chicken stock
4 tsp cornstarch
Rice for serving

Cube cooked chicken and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine ketchup, hot pepper oil, sugar and cornstarch until well blended.

Heat oil in a skillet or wok.  Add the scallions and stir fry quickly.  Pour in sauce and heat to boiling.  Add chicken and spinach, stir frying for approximately 1 minutes more or until spinach leaves are wilted.

Serve over rice.