Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stuffed Turkish Eggplant

Okay, raise your hand if you're one of the folks who received "these mysterious orange things" in your Crop Share box last week?  Don't feel bad if you were stumped, as I had no idea what on earth they were when they first arrived.  But they are, in fact, Turkish Eggplant (also known as scarlet eggplant, Ethiopian eggplant, orange eggplant, and even pumpkins-on-a-stick).  Slightly more bitter than traditional purple eggplant (think similar in flavor to a green bell pepper), they are used a lot in Asian cuisine and are great sliced and baked or grilled.  But I don't know about you, when I see the word Turkish in anything, I want to throw lamb all over it.  So that's just what I did.  The filling will work perfect for any stuffed eggplant, and this recipe makes A LOT, maybe too much filling (who am I kidding, there's never too much!), so it will be great for larger eggplants...or perhaps an entire case of them.

Stuffed Turkish Eggplant

1 cup wild rice (cooked to package directions)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 lb ground lamb
6 Turkish eggplants (tops sliced off and reserved, and innards scooped out and chopped)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup dried currants
Fresh mint, chopped for garnish (if desired)

Cook wild rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in onion and garlic and saute for 2-4 minutes, until translucent.  Add in ground lamb and cook for 5-7 minutes, until meat is cooked through and browned.  Add in chopped eggplant innards, and then all your spices.  Simmer for an additional 1 minute then add in diced tomatoes.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes and add in currants.  Allow currants to heat through and then stir in your cooked wild rice, combining all the flavors evenly, and remove from heat. You may also stir in some crumbles of feta or ricotta cheese.

Take each eggplant and fill over the brim with the stuffing.  Cap with it's top and place into a baking dish.  Repeat until all eggplants are stuffed.  If you have reserved stuffing (which you likely will), save to eat as is, or stuff additional eggplant varieties.  Drizzle tops with olive oil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with fresh chopped mint, if desired

You can see I had to round up more eggplant to stuff.  And that one I topped with some crumbled dairy-free ricotta! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken & "Ricotta" Stuffed Banana Peppers - Surprise It's Dairy-Free!

I was equally inspired by Pam Pell's Stuffed Sweet Banana Peppers and by the fact that our local Giant is FINALLY carrying Tofutti's Better Than Ricotta Cheese.  Wait, Tofutti?  Does that mean it's faux tofu cheese?  Yes, yes it is.  But when you're in a household that's dairy-free for allergy reasons, then you leap for joy over a whole tub of faux cheese awesomeness.  So pretty much this whole week I'll just be looking for excuses to put this faux ricotta in everything (if I can find gluten-free lasagna noodles, I may pass out...and then bake a lasagna safe for the Mister & I).  While this recipe uses the faux cheese, by all means use real ricotta in your own.

Chicken & Better Than Ricotta Stuffed Banana Peppers

6 sweet banana peppers, tops removed and peppers seeded
1 1/2 shredded, cooked chicken breasts (poached or use leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 cup Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese (or regular ricotta)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic, diced
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine chicken, ricotta, olive oil, garlic and spices in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Stuff each banana pepper down to the ends with the filling and cap each pepper with the reserved top.  Secure with a toothpick if need be.  Repeat until all peppers are stuffed.

Place into a baking dish and drizzle a bit of olive oil over tops of stuffed peppers.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Prepare your tastebuds for awesome!

Herbed Curry Chicken Kebabs

So we've gone a bit overboard loading you up with veggies in the past two weeks of Crop Share.  What can I say, we just can't help ourselves.  But if you're like me, that means you've likely got a fridge full of peppers and squash from this week and last and you're wondering how on earth you're going to use it all up.  Well, when you've got a bounty of veggies and no grand ideas, then it's time to harpoon those suckers.  Okay, not with a real harpoon -- with kebab skewers!  So yesterday I whipped up this tasty dish and in the end still had way more veggies than chicken, so this will easily leave you with enough to make at least 4-5 vegetable-only kebabs.  Get ready to fire up the grill, or in my case, the grill pan!

Herbed Curry Chicken Kebabs

1 onion, sliced
4 squash, cubed (yellow, zucchini or pattypan)
1 green bell pepper
3 sweet banana peppers, sliced
4 plum tomatoes, halved and quartered
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

For marinade:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp pineapple sage
2 tsp Dizzy Pig Bombay Curry-Ish (now in store!)

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Assemble kebabs on wooden skewers alternating between vegetables and chicken.  You'll have lots of leftover vegetables, so go ahead and make some vegetarian kebabs out of them.  They'll make great ready-made side dishes for the rest of the week.  Layer skewers in a baking dish and pour marinade over top.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, more is always better.

Pre-heat your stove top grill pan over medium high heat.  Lay out kebabs and grill for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked, turning the kebabs regularly to sear all sides.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Blackberry Infused Gin Cocktail - Member Recipe from Bethany Duffy

Apparently, I'm not the only one who's been enjoying drinking my Crop Share fruit lately.  And no, I don't mean in smoothies or juicing...I mean mixed with booze.  Because I'm classy that way, and so is Crop Share member Bethany Duffy.  Based on her amazing Instagram feed, I'm not sure she ever emerges from her kitchen, other than to pick up her weekly Crop Share.  I know if it's a Duffy recipe, it has to be amazing.  So check out how she utilized her blackberries to make an infused gin as the base to this sparkling summer cocktail.  Bottoms up!


1 cup blackberries
4 oz gin
1 (750 mL) bottle rose wine
2 lemons, juiced
1 L club soda

Muddle berries in gin, allow to steep for 24-48 hours.  Add blackberry-gin, rose and lemon juice to a pitcher.  Pour in soda and stir right before serving.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stuffed Sweet Banana Peppers

Great things happen when Nalls Produce foodies get together for dinner.  Tonight the Mister & I dined with Miss Sue (one of our plant experts and our Education Outreach Coordinator) and her Mister, and it was a welcome chance to be on the receiving end of kitchen delights, rather than my usual post as head chef in our home.  Miss Sue whipped up an amazing fresh tomato salad with local red and yellow tomatoes topped with herbs, a fresh summer salad loaded with lots of local goodies like red bell peppers and cucumbers, herb grilled chicken, fingerling potatoes roasted with olive oil and rosemary, and fantastic local sweet corn on the cob.  It doesn't matter how long you work at Nalls or how long you've been a Crop Share member (my stats are 3 months and 10 months), you still find yourself surprised and enraptured by the local produce we get in our store.  So unlike our typical Thursday night of me cooking and blogging and the Mister conquering the world via computer games, we gathered around the table with friends who are quickly becoming more like family.  And isn't that what all of this food business is about at the end of the day?  Whether it's holiday dinners, joining a CSA, or just making pancakes on a Saturday morning, food isn't just about eating, it's about gathering together with others.  Sharing a meal can be like sharing your soul with another.  So tonight rather than spending my evening being largely in my own head, I decided to share a meal and my soul with others.  Thus this week's posts will be rather few, which just means the fewer posts you wind up reading, the more time you can spend around the table with your loved ones.

Now onto the food!

Earlier this week a customer posted on our Facebook page a great recipe she concocted using jalapenos.  While you're not receiving jalapenos this week, you are receiving sweet banana peppers (lots of them!) and they will work just as perfect for this recipe!  So enjoy this stuffed yumminess from Pam Pell's kitchen to yours...

Stuffed Sweet Banana Peppers


7 sweet banana peppers (or 12 jalapenos), sliced in half lengthwise and seeded
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
14-24 slices of thick cut bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place small pieces of chicken into each cut half of peppers.  Then wrap each with thick cut bacon and secure the bacon in place with a toothpick.

Bake on a baking sheet at 400 for 40 minutes.

As Pam said, "words cannot describe the yumminess."

Blackberry Cobbler via The Pioneer Woman

This blackberry cobbler from The Pioneer Woman is a HUGE hit around here.  So if you can somehow resist the urge to eat all of the blackberries in this weeks share before you even get out of the parking lot, then we highly suggest giving this recipe a try.  To really knock it out of the park, consider adding in sliced peaches to turn this into a blackberry & peach cobbler.  With the local peaches we have in store right now, we really can't think of a better way to celebrate Eat Local First Week in DC than with this cobbler chock full of local goodness!

Blackberry Cobbler via The Pioneer Woman


1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups blackberries (or 1 cup blackberries & 1 cup sliced peaches)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tips For Freezing Summer Corn

A few of you have asked about how to preserve all this amazing corn your getting in your Crop Shares, so here's 5 easy steps to freezing corn so that you can enjoy a taste of the summer year-round!

Step 1:  Shuck it!

Step 2:  Blanch it!

Step 3:  Cool it!

Step 4:  Cut it!

Step 5:  Freeze it!

Click through to check out the details from Organic Gardening:  Easy Guide to Freezing Corn

Friday, July 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Green Beans With Garlic & Tea

This recipe comes to you back from our Early Spring Crop Share round, but it's one that's great for any time of year.  A healthy and fragrant twist on most traditional green bean side dishes that get slathered in creamy canned goods and topped with suspicious fried onions from a can.  Put down that can of onions and pick up...your tea kettle!

Green Beans With Garlic & Tea

Click through to view original recipe...

Baked Chicken & Spinach Flautas

If  the idea of more corn on the cob leaves you feeling lackluster, then here's a way to put this week's corn to good use in a healthy twist on a fried Mexican favorite.  No, not fried ice cream, sillies!

Baked Chicken & Spinach Flautas

1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
16 oz beer or chicken broth (I used Omission gluten free beer)
2 cups water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 jalapeno, minced
3 ears corn, boiled and kernels removed from cob
3 cups spinach, chopped
6 tortillas, corn or flour
6 oz shredded cheese
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook corn in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Allow to cool and remove corn from cobs.  Set aside.

Poach chicken in boiling beer and water for about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.  Remove from liquid and shred with forks.  Reserve about 1/4 cup of liquid.  Toss shredded chicken in spices and set aside.

Bring 1/4 cup of poaching liquid to a simmer and add jalapeno and cabbage.  Simmer for 2 -3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Remove from liquid and toss with corn and chicken.

Lay out tortillas on a baking sheet and evenly spoon out chicken and vegetable mixture.  Top with shredded cheese.  Roll up each tortilla tightly and place seam side down to secure.  Brush tops with olive oil, and place in oven to bake for 10 minutes or until tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream.

(Recipe adapted from:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eggplant & Pepper Curry (Plus Tips on Freezing Basil)

Who doesn't love a good curry?  Okay well I'm sure there are folks who don't enjoy curry, but I question whether or not they despise all that is good and wonderful in the world.  Be it a traditional Indian or Thai curry, German currywurst, or a thick, pub style curry in the UK, if it has curry in it, I want to eat it.  So the other night having a fridge full of basil, eggplant and bell peppers I decided it was curry time.  You'll be getting a whole bundle of basil this week, so this quick and easy curry will be a great way to use up a good portion of it, and then freeze the rest to preserve it.  Just snip the leaves from the stem, rinse and allow leaves to dry on the counter for about 30 minutes.  Then loosely layer leaves in a freezer bag and place in freezer for future use.  When you want to use them, just remove the bag and allow to gradually thaw.

But enough of onto the curry!

Eggplant & Pepper Curry

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 baby neon eggplants, cubed
3 bell peppers (1 green, 1 white and 1 purple), seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp Dizzy Pig Bombay Curry-ish seasoning (now in store!)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or Tofutti Sour Supreme for dairy-free/vegan)
2 cups water
3 Tbsp basil, chopped
Jasmine rice for serving

In a saute pan, heat olive oil and cook onions over medium high heat until they begin to caramelize.  Add in eggplant and bell peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes or until eggplant begins to brown.  Stir in Curry-ish seasoning and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Mix in Greek yogurt and then add in water.  You may not need the full two cups or you may wish to add more, whatever your sauce thickness preference is.  Simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes, and stir in chopped basil.  Serve over jasmine rice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sip Away Wednesday: The Peachy Keen!

So you know that spinach we promised you last week?  Well, as with anything in life, Crop Share ingredients are always subject to change.  When the spinach arrived on site, it just wasn't up to our standards, so we substituted in some peaches to help make up for the lack of spinach.  So what do you do when Crop Share takes away your spinach and hands you peaches?  You make drinks!  Ha!  This refreshing, slushie style drink is the perfect way to cool down this week as the temps keep climbing.  Plus, you can hold out the gin and add a few more ounces of the sparkling cider or substitute in 4 oz  of club soda, to make this a drink for the whole family.  If you've yet to try the Sparkling Alternative ciders in our drink cooler, you are missing out.  The Apple and the Apple-Peach are incredible, but the Apple Cinnamon tastes just like apple pie in a bottle!  Made with apples sourced from the Shenandoah Valley, the Sparkling Alternatives are 100 % juice, Kosher and gluten-free.  And did I mention that part about apple pie in a bottle??

So enjoy this Sip Away Wednesday and make it...Peachy Keen!

Peachy Keen


2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
12 oz Sparkling Alternatives Apple Cider (in store in our drink cooler, use the Sparkling Alternatives Apple-Peach Cider for powerful punch of peach!)
4 oz gin
2 cocktail shakers full of ice (about 20 cubes)

Add peach slices to your blender and blend until smooth.  Add in sparkling cider and gin, and blend for a few seconds to incorporate.  Add in ice and blend until slushie consistency.  Serve immediately to beat this crazy DC area heat!

Makes 2 generous drinks.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cause I Eats Me Spinach! Beating the Gritty Spinach Blues.

We all know how much Popeye loves his spinach and some how that canned substance gave him super muscles to take on any foe.

But perhaps you're not feeling the love so much, especially when it comes to fresh spinach.  Do you have...the gritty spinach blues?  *gasp*

We've all been there, you order a lovely, fresh spinach salad and your first bite is like a day at the beach.  No, not because it's that transportive that you feel as if you've landed in the tropics.  Nope, you've now got a mouth full of sand and you feel like you're eating that beach.  Earthy flavors are great, just not when you feel like you're actually munching on parts of terra firma.  So how to you beat the gritty spinach blues?  You send that spinach to the pool!

Okay, you won't actually toss your fresh spinach into the pool, the other swimmers would likely mind and I don't think chlorine is the right pairing for this leafy green.  You'll turn your sink into a mini spinach pool.  Put down your salad spinner and back away from the colander, trust me.  The grit that sits on spinach is super grit, it won't fall off just by running water over it or spinning it to death, it will cling on like it's life depended on it.  But, super grit apparently likes deep sea diving.  So, stop up your sink, fill it with water, and toss in your loose spinach.  Give the spinach a swish around every few minutes, and let it just hang out in the water for about 5 minutes.  During that time, all of the grit will magically plummet itself to the bottom of your sink.  So you can skim the spinach off the top (it's just like cleaning the pool!), and then unplug the drain to let that grit wash far far away.  And voilà...clean, grit-free spinach!  So toss up a salad with some warm bacon dressing or saute it up with some garlic and a touch of olive oil for a simple side dish.  Kiss that grit goodbye!

Spicy Chicken & Broccoli via Tash's Noshes

Not only are our Crop Share members generally awesome, many of them also have their own food blogs.  Yes, so much talent in one group and so many budding chefs using Crop Share as a way to hone their skills and stretch themselves.  It's enough to make me a little farklempt.  Excuse me.  Talk among yourselves.  I'll give you a topic...the Thigh Master is neither a thigh nor a master...discuss.  Okay, I'm better now.  (For those of you not cool enough *cough cough* old enough to get the Saturday Nigh Live reference, my apologies)

One such bloggy member, Natasha, recently started up Tash's Noshes, giving her healthy spin on dishes.  We all love Chinese take-away, but it doesn't always love us back, at least not in the best ways.  Hello MSG!  But Natasha's take on a spicy version of chicken & broccoli will leave you and your body feeling very happy.  Plus, for those of us having to avoid gluten, this is one stir-fry we can enjoy without having to make ANY alterations!  Hooray!  So enjoy a little home cooked take-away style nosh from Tash...

Spicy Chicken & Broccoli

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp sriracha sauce (more or less, according to your own spiciness preferences)  (um, more please!!)
1 medium head broccoli, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sesame seeds

Grilled Vegetable Skewers via Proud Italian Cook

Pardon my lack of original content this week, I'm out of town for a wedding and my lonely share is waiting for me back at Nalls.  :(  So for all you Crop Share newbies, don't worry, cooking does actually happen in Nalls' Kitchen!

In the meantime we can all drool together with some gems I discovered thanks to Pinterest, like this Grilled Vegetable Skewers from Proud Italian Cook.  A great way to use up the corn, bell peppers, broccoli and even slice up the tomatoes into wedges to skewer.  I hear grilled cantaloupe is fantastic!  Though probably hold off on grilling the spinach, something tells me that's a bad idea.

So follow the link below to view this recipe that has me ready to fire up the grill at 9am!

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Feeling Loupy!

'Tis the season for melon, and by far my favorite has to be cantaloupe.  So Tasting Table had to have had received some Crop Share vibes about the cantaloupe in this week's boxes, because they've posted not one but TWO amazing, and creative cantaloupe recipes this week.  Normally I can't get past just slicing it up and devouring it, but I think I might just have to exercise some self control and try my hand at these two.  Especially the popsicles with coconut milk and almond milk substituted in for a refreshing dairy-free alternative!  So follow the links below to view the recipes on Tasting Table and get louped!

Creamy Roasted Cantaloupe Pops

Chilled Roasted Cantaloupe Soup with Ginger, Yogurt and Pomegranate Swirl 

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Sausage & Hot Peppers

Since we recently started stocking McCauley's Roasted Pepper Relish in the store, I've basically been looking for reasons to put it on everything.  Oh look a random chip...pepper relish.  That last piece of goat cheddar...pepper relish.  Tofutti cream cheese...pepper relish.  Pancakes...okay, well maybe not.  So after one late night at work I decided to just concoct some random pasta dish and of course...toss in the hot pepper relish.  What started out as throwing stuff into a pan to try and use up some Crop Share broccoli turned into one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes.  Good thing I actually measured things out, so I could share the goodness with you all!

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Sausage & Hot Peppers

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
5 turkey sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1/4 dry white wine
3 Tbsp McCauley's Roasted Pepper Relish (in store!)
12 oz spaghetti, cooked to package directions

Cook pasta per package directions and meanwhile...

In a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add in turkey sausage, casing removed and crumble as much as possible.  You'll need to break the bits up with your saute spoon as it cooks.  Cook until meat is browned and cooked through.  Stir in chopped broccoli.  Deglaze pan with white wine and stir to scrape any browned bit off of the bottom of the pan.  Stir in pepper relish (can use less to reduce the heat), and cook to heat through, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, add in pasta and toss to evenly coat.  Serve with the rest of that bottle of white wine!