Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Fond Farewell

It is with a heavy-ish heart that I am here to say we are discontinuing our Nalls Kitchen blog. I can't say that it will be gone for forever, but at least for the near future.We have loved sharing our experiences with you as we muddle through our Crop Share on a weekly basis. I have just been taking a long hard look at our commitments as an organization. Probably about a year or two AFTER I should have come to this realization, I have decided that I am spread too thin. I want to be able to do more things well, rather than too many things at a mediocre level. I want to give all of the amazing, awesome, incredible Nalls supporters out there the BEST experience that they can have. I don't think this medium was or is the most effective way to have conversations with you.

That being said, I am not taking this site down. There is still some incredible content here that will continue to be a great help to me and hopefully you too. It is searchable, so all you have to do is pop in your keyword and see what comes up!

I love all of you dearly and hope this doesn't bum you out too much. Look for more recipes in store and in your spoiler email weekly, as well as our fabulous Pinterest page.

Farewell for now!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Topsy Turvey

Ever wonder why it's called, "upside down cake?"  I recently found out.  A friend on Facebook posted this recipe for Nectarine Upside Down Cake.  It's called that because you put the toppings for the cake, usually sliced fruit, in the bottom of the cake pan -- in other words, you put the cake in the pan upside down.  I guess there's a simple answer for just about everything.

Photo via Damn Delicious
Nectarines are my favorite of the stone fruits.  Peaches are delicious, but the fuzz kinda gets to me.  With a nectarine, no such problem.  These are early ones, though, so they're not yet freestone.  What's freestone?  it means that the fruit, cut in half, pulls away from the pit cleanly.  It'll be a few more weeks yet before they're ripe enough for that.  I won't blame you if you hold on to this recipe until then.  It's less work, and the cut fruit for your topping looks nicer.

Meanwhile, eat your nectarines!
Photo via Damn Delicious

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keep Baking

You've got lots more zucchini from your box this week.  There was quite a bit of it, and it'll be a staple all summer long.  The muffins were really good, but how about some cornbread?

Most zucchini bread recipes fall under the heading of "quick breads."  They're named so because they don't use yeast as the leavening agent, and therefore don't need time to rise.  Instead, the recipe uses baking soda and/or baking powder with salt to make the bread rise in the oven.  The cornbread recipe above, as most cornbread recipes, fall into this category.  Most banana breads are quick breads, too.

The recipe below is from The Everything Cookbook by Betty Wason.  The book has long been out of print, but if you can get a hold of a copy, by all means do so.  It's my most frequently used reference in the kitchen, and it'll have pretty much every single classic recipe you'll ever think of.  This recipe is adapted from recipes in that book.
Photo via Epicurious

Zucchini Quick Bread

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose or bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • Dash grated nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and liberally grease and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg).
  3. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat, and continue to brown butter slightly.  Cool until just a little warmer than room temperature.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs.  Stir in the butter and the grated zucchini.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the zucchini egg mixture a little at a time, mixing between additions until incorporated.  Pour in the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes or slightly more.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Guest Post - Bethany's Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini is one of the most delicious and flexible items we get in the crop share. You can make them into noodles, roast them with herbs, or make muffins like crop share member Bethany Duffy. As always, if you bake up a mean batch of these muffins (or let your kids do it for you) please share your pictures with us! Hashtag them #cookingwithnalls on Instagram and tag us in the photo @nalls_produce. Don’t forget to follow us there and on Pinterest--we will have some exciting giveaways popping up later this month.  We can’t wait to see what you’re cooking!

It seems like we’re constantly being told that the best way to get kids to enjoy a variety of foods is to invite them into the kitchen. I’m sure that this is true, but it’s definitely not the easiest guideline to implement--for me, at least, cooking dinner can take more than twice as long with a 4 year old “helping,” and that’s not always time I can spare on a busy weeknight! My solution: let kids help with meals on weekends or days off, and always let kids help with baking. 

These spiced zucchini muffins are a great place to start. There’s no chopping, no hot liquids, no operating heavy machinery. Just one big bowl, a box grater, a little stirring, and a delicious treat at the end. Besides, with the good fats from olive oil, an extra bit of whole grains from white whole wheat flour, and tons of beautiful shredded summer squash, they’re almost healthy! Smear a little cream cheese (plain or lightly sweetened) on top, and you can even get away with calling it a cupcake. Who said you need to hide vegetables to get kids to eat them? 

Spiced Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins
Makes 12-14 muffins

1 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar **I have also had success making these with light agave syrup, for those who would rather not use white sugar. Use about ¾ cup agave, and reduce your baking temperature to 325 to prevent over-browning. You will probably need 3-5 extra minutes of baking time.**
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Optional: mix in ½ cup toasted walnuts or ¾ cup dried cranberries or cherries at the end

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray a silicon muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in olive oil, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini. Layer dry ingredients on top and stir until just combined. Stir in nuts or dried fruit if desired. Scoop batter into muffin cups until they’re ¾ full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick insterted into a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Keeping the Green Stuff Pretty

On occasion, we get a bunch of herbs in our box.  This week was Italian parsley.  This is good for more than garnish, believe me!

But herbs wither and get ugly pretty quickly, don't they?  They do, if not optimally stored.  I've kept lots of different herbs pretty and usable for weekS.  Yes, that's plural, as in two or more.  How?  Easy.  It's a plant, it needs water.  Wash them like salad, and spin dry.  Cut off like the bottom 1/8 inch from the stems and stand them in a tall, slender glass of water.  Put an Ziplock bag over the top of the glass, leaving the bag open around the bottom, and stand it in the fridge.  See this for details.
Photo via Serious Eats
Check back in a few days, and as long as you keep water in the glass, the herbs will stay fresh. See? No throwing away withered ones!

What to do with your now long-lived parsley?  Here's three options:
Photo via Taste of Home
My favorite is buttered parsley potatoes.  Wash and halve baby potatoes (I find reds work best for this) and boil them until soft.  Drain the water and add butter to the still-hot pot with the potatoes.  Salt & pepper generously and liberally add fine-minced parsley.  Toss until the butter melts and the herbs are evenly distributed.  Leftovers are great for breakfast, seared in a hot pan.

Valerie suggests this chickpea salad.  Like lots of these sorts of salads, it's better after a day or two in the fridge.
Photo via
Remember our discussion about pesto?  Parsley walnut pesto is a great topping for grilled beef or pork.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

CSA Mixology 101

Photo via Green Thumb White Apron
I spend a lot of time working in the kitchen.  A lot.  Don't get me wrong, I love doing so, but eventually you reach the point of, "Enough!"  So, fellow fledgling chefs, let's kick back for some cocktails!

I've made two of the cucumber salads mentioned in our last post, but I've still got one more cucumber left.  Cukes just seem to say, "Refreshing."  There are a couple of cocktail recipes I've found that leverage that.  Adding in a little basil to reinforce the summer-iness and lime for even more refreshment, you can make an awesome gimlet.  Or, for something a bit more refined, how about a cognac cocktail?

Photo via
This week, we will have more blueberries and another awesome cantaloupe.  Obviously these two can pair up to make a colorful, delicious fruit salad, but how about another cocktail or two?  Fresh berries are an incredible bar ingredient.  Something refreshing with blueberries and mint, maybe?  Or, for the more serious mixologist, something with absinthe?

As for the cantaloupe, its gorgeous color can be brought to full bloom in a Fiery Torch.  Or how about a glowing orange cantaloupe martini?

In any case, hand off your keys, get the blender or the shaker, and let's have a few!
Photo via Rachel Ray Magazine