Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Flannel Hash

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Silver Lake pick-up this week:

Baby beets
Baby bok choi
Tat soi
Curly mustard
Green garlic
Green onion
Stinging nettles
Chicoria (Italian dandelion)

I must confess, I adore beets. They're beautiful and versatile, savory and sweet. There's even a cake I bake with beets! One of my favorite beet recipes is Red Flannel Hash. Making it from scratch can be a bit of a production, but it's well worth the effort.

If you plan ahead, however, you can make Red Flannel Hash from leftovers, since the main ingredients - beets and potatoes - are cooked before assembling the hash. In fact, hash is traditionally made from leftovers. So, the next time you cook up some beets or potatoes, think about Red Flannel Hash and make a little extra so that you can enjoy this delicious treat.

Red Flannel Hash

3 medium beets
3 large red skin potatoes
1 lb deli corned beef, in a chunk, not sliced (optional)
1 large onion
4 T vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs

1. Cut off the beet greens and save them for another use. Wash and dry the beets. Wrap them in foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven until just tender, about 45 minutes. When the beets are done, set them aside to cool. When you can handle them, remove the foil and slip off their skins. Dice the beets and set them aside.

2. While the beets are in the oven, scrub the potatoes. Put them in a sauce pan with water to cover and boil them, peels and all, until just tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the potatoes, set them aside to cool. When you can handle them, dice the potatoes and set them aside.

3. While the beets and potatoes are cooking, chop the onion and dice the corned beef. If you're a vegetarian, you can omit the corned beef, just add another beet or 2 and another potato in order to have enough hash for 4 people.

4. To assemble the hash: in a large skillet over medium-high heat cook the chopped onion in 2 T vegetable oil until translucent. Add the additional 2 T oil and the diced beets, diced potatoes, and diced corned beef. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

5. Cook the hash, stirring occasionally. Let the hash form a bit of a crust on the bottom before stirring it up, but be careful not to burn the hash. Use additional oil as necessary and turn down the heat if desired. Since the ingredients are already cooked, cook the hash to your desired doneness. I like my hash with a lot of browned crustiness.

6. When the hash is nearly done, cook the eggs. You can poach them in simmering water or fry them in a separate skillet either sunnyside up or over to your desired doneness.

7. To serve, scoop some hash onto a plate and top with 2 poached or fried eggs. Serve hot.

Serves 4



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taking the sting out of nettles...

This morning I opened my front door to find a crate full of stinging nettles. Sweet Spencer had dropped them off. I guess they were left over from Tuesday's pick-up. Rejected? Excess harvest?

OK. Mustn't waste them! Thanks to shareholder Michael, I'm going to make a gallon or two of his nettle soup recipe (while simultaneously preparing a planning commission hearing regarding the Food & Flowers Freedom Act and filing taxes).

Michael says of his nettle soup "it was a total experiment but it came out fantastically" - Thanks for trying the CSA challenge Michael!!


Bunch of nettles (about the size of your head), thick stems trimmed -

In a big saucepan, sautee finely 3-4 tablespoons chopped green garlic/shallot/onion or combination in
butter/olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft - avoid browning

Turn up the heat and dump in the nettles (USE TONGS OR GLOVES TO HANDLE NETTLES (they will lose sting after five minutes in the heat) along with about 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar or wine

Stir around just until the nettles get limp and then add enough water to cover (between a pint and a quart but not too much or the soup will be runny)

Bring to a boil then low simmer for 10 minutes

Add a cup of nonfat greek yogurt or creme fraiche, salt and pepper to taste

Puree with immersion blender or in a blender - serve with more yogurt or creme fraiche on the side.

Michael, you rock. Thank you for this!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Beachwood pick-up this week:

Green onion
Fresh garlic
Baby broccoli
Curly mustard
Baby bok choy
Tat soi

Beets are really two vegetables in one. The wavy, red-ribbed greens can be sauteed and eaten like chard, while the deep magenta root has myriad uses in soups, stews, salads, entrees, even dips. Roasting beets deepens their flavor and concentrates their sugar. Roasted beets are a perfect complement to the spicy, nutty flavor of arugula. Here's a simple little salad with a few options for dressing it up.

Roasted Beet Salad

3 medium beets
1 bunch arugula
1 T thinly sliced red onion
1-2 t extra virgin olive oil
1-2 t balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the greens off the beets and save for another use. Scrub the beets, but do not peel them. Dry the beets and wrap them in foil.

2. Roast the beets in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick can be easily inserted into the center of the beet, about 45-60 minutes. Do not overcook.

3. Remove beets from oven and allow them to cool until they can be handled. Unwrap the foil and you'll be able to slide the skins right off.

4. Dice or chop the beets and set aside.

5. Wash, dry, and trim the arugula. Tear into bite-sized pieces.

6. In a medium bowl, combine the diced beets, arugula, and red onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss until coated.

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

You can dress up this salad by adding one or more of the following ingredients:

1/2 C mandarin or blood orange segments
1/3 C crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
2 T chopped toasted walnuts or whole toasted pine nuts



Friday, February 19, 2010

Waldorf Salad

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Silver Lake pick-up this week:

Baby bok choy
Young red onion
Green garlic
Tat soi
Red leaf lettuce
Curly mustard
Chicoria (dandelion greens)

It's hard for me to imagine a world without celery. Celery's distinctive flavor plays an important supporting role in so many dishes from pot roast to chicken soup, from vegetable stock to egg salad. In addition to the ubiquitous stalks, celery root and celery seeds are delicious ingredients in their own right.

This week's recipe for Waldorf Salad is an easy dish where celery is part of an ensemble of more or less equal players. Waldorf Salad is a great winter salad. Even though apple season is over, apples keep well in cold storage for months and are a good seasonal winter fruit. Choose a crisp red apple, such as honey crisp or gala. The red color contrasts nicely with the pale green celery

Waldorf Salad

4 ribs celery
3 medium crisp red apples
1/3 C toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 C mayonnaise
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
1-2 T apple juice, optional
freshly grated nutmeg

1. Wash and trim celery ribs, removing the leafy tops and peeling any tough, stringy parts, if desired. Put the trimmings in the compost.

2. Thinly chop the celery crosswise (about 1/8 inch).

3. Quarter apples lengthwise. Core and seed apples, but do not peel. Compost the cores and seeds.

4. Cut quarters in half again lengthwise and then chop each piece into 1/2 inch chunks.**

5. Mix the dressing by combining 1/4 C mayonnaise with 1 T fresh lemon juice (or a little more, if desired). For a sweeter dressing, add 1-2 T apple juice or a teaspoon of sugar.

6. Combine the celery, apples, and chopped toasted walnuts. Pour dressing over and toss well to coat.

7. Grate fresh nutmeg to taste over salad and toss again.

8. Serve immediately or refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Serves 4-6

**To prevent chopped apples from turning brown while you work, it helps to put them in a bowl of cold water with a little added lemon juice once they're chopped. Drain and dry before mixing them into the salad.

Fresh mint is a nice additional flavor for a Waldorf Salad. If you have some fresh mint in your garden, consider adding it to this salad.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beachwood Canyon pick-up 2/16

Yay for Romaine!

Finally! A sunny CSA day! No complaints, but for a minute there it felt like every CSA day was a rainy day. Sure kept things interesting!!

I'm getting back to work in the garden now that our loamy soil has dried out a bit. Harvesting biodynamic compost today and applying it and vermicompost tea as a soil drench to the beds. Soil biology is my new favorite thing. Fascinating stuff. Helps heal the pain. For the first time in 7 years, no flowers in the garden - just soil. It's taking a long time for the City to write a simple clarification....

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week at the Beachwood Canyon pick-up. Thanks as always to Laura, John and Spencer for volunteering their time to distribute veggies to shareholders. Melissa! John will drop your veggies off at Locali.

green garlic
baby bok choy
curly mustard greens
romaine lettuce
tat soi
dandelion greens (chiccoria)

Here's a recipe from shareholder and nutritional professional, Lauren O'Connor. Read her comments on the nutritional value of Romaine lettuce. Wow! Thanks Lauren!

A Salute to Romaine
by Lauren O’Connor, MS, RD

Research suggests that up to 35 percent of cancers are related to poor diet. By modifying what you eat and being active, you can reduce your risk of cancer and other health issues. Eat more fruits and vegetables! That’s the motto. Fruits and vegetables not only help you lower your risk for cancer, but for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illness.

A heart-healthy soup chockfull of vegetables is one way to get the important vitamins and minerals you need. Adding Romaine (lettuce) to your meal helps not only enhance your vegetable intake but also provides antioxidants for both cancer prevention and eye health. And it's a source of dietary fiber that can keep your digestive system running smoothly to prevent bowel blockage (a benefit to your colon).

Romaine has far more nutrients than many other salad greens. For example: compared to iceberg lettuce, Romaine has 3x more Folate, 5x more Vitamin C and 8x more Beta carotene. (1).

Folate has been touted for reducing risk of neural tube defects, and studies have indicated that higher levels of dietary folate convey some protection against the development of colorectal cancer in humans. Intake has also been associated with reducing risk of other epithelial cancers such as that of the uterine cervix. (2)

Vitamin C and Beta carotene works, along with a network of antioxidant nutrients, to help deter free radical damage. Additionally, Romaine contains the carotenoidslutein and zeaxanthin for good eye heath. (3)

Here's Lauren's recipe:
Romaine & Arugula Salad with Toasted Sesame

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon coriander; salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 16 cups)

4 cups baby arugula leaves 

Place lemon juice and peel in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Season dressing with salt & pepper and coriander. Set aside. Combine romaine & arugula in large bowl. Add dressing and half of seeds; toss to coat. Sprinkle remaining seeds and serve. 
(Makes 8 servings.)

More from Lauren at


1. Natural Health. (n.d.). Greens. Retrieved on October 28, 2005 from
2. Mason J. et al. Folate: effects oncarcinogenesis and the potential for cancer chemoprevention.
3. George Mateljan Foundation: The World’s Healthiest Foods. (n.d.) Lutein & Zeaxanthin. Retrieved December 2, 2005,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Easy Sauteed Tat Soi

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Silver Lake pick-up this week:

Heart-Shaped Cabbage
Baby Bok Choy
Green Shallot
Tat Soi
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce

I'm delighted that tat soi makes a regular appearance in the CSA box. It's a lovely green that can be used many ways. Tat soi is also known as Asian spinach because it tastes a lot like spinach and can be used in many of the same ways as spinach. I like to saute tat soi in a small amount of olive oil with garlic and pine nuts. Here's a super quick recipe for tat soi:

Easy Sauteed Tat Soi

1 bunch tat soi
1-2 T olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced or chopped
1 T toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash tat soi well in cold water. Shake off excess water, but do not dry.

2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.

3. Add garlic and saute until golden.

4. Add tat soi. Stir to coat lightly with oil. Reduce heat and cover until tat soi is wilted, stirring occasionally.

5. If there's excess water in the skillet, uncover and cook off water.

6. Add toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Beachwood pick-up this week:

Carrots (beautiful slender carrots with their tops)
Red spicy mustard greens
Tat soi
Baby bok choy
Red leaf lettuce

We had more rain today; and hail, too! It felt like a good day for something hearty to eat. Pasta, especially whole wheat pasta, is a great start to a healthy and hearty meal. I love pasta because the combinations are endless. You can be creative by tossing your favorite seasonal ingredients with your favorite pasta. Here's a quick and easy recipe for a tasty winter dish.

Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

2-3 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
1/3 C olive oil
3 C chopped broccoli (chopped as described below)
1/2 C water
scant 1/4 t hot red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 C chopped tightly packed sun-dried tomatoes*
1/3 C grated Parmiggiano cheese + more for serving
1 lb dried whole wheat fusilli (or other pasta if you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a large pot with 4 qts water. Cover and bring to a boil.

2. Chop the garlic or slice it thinly, whatever you prefer.

3. Chop the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. Include the stems, but if they're thick, peel them first. Slice the stems 1/4" thick and chop into halves or quarters if the stem is thick.

4. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and cook the garlic over medium-high heat until golden, about 1 minute.

5. Add the chopped broccoli, water, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2-3 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking until broccoli is tender and nearly all of the water has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes. [If the water evaporates too quickly, you can add a little pasta water.]

6. While the broccoli is cooking, cook the pasta as directed on the package.

7. When the broccoli is tender and most of the water has evaporated, lower the heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes and the grated cheese. Stir to incorporate the cheese.

8. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 C cooking water. If the broccoli mixture is too thick, add a little of the pasta water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Add the drained pasta to the mixture and toss until combined. Remove from heat and serve with additional grated cheese.

Serves 4-5 as a generous main course, 8 or more as a side dish.

*Sun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful way to sneak a taste of summer into a winter dish. They're easy to make when tomatoes are plentiful. Pack them in oil and they'll keep all year. If you don't have any sun-dried tomatoes from your own garden, the Beachwood Market sells Christopher Ranch sun-dried tomatoes in oil from Gilroy, CA as well as Sonoma brand. And if you don't know how to make sun-dried tomatoes, we'll be offering a class this summer.

Omnivores may want to add cooked and crumbled Italian sausage to their Fusilli with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Saute 1/2 lb bulk sausage (sweet or hot, your taste), drain, crumble, and add at Step 7 with the sun-dried tomatoes and cheese.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's Raining - Cooking Classes - Thank You!

It's raining hard. Not good to work wet soil, especially if it's high in clay, so, today's gardening classes have been rescheduled. Email me if you need more info at

I'm excited about the cooking classes starting this Friday the 12th at 6pm - 8:30pm in Silverlake. What's on the menu? Winter Garden Supper with wild greens (arugula, mizuna, etc.) and seasonal fruit (blood orange and grapefruit), winter squash soup, sorrel pesto on pasta and salmon. $48. Bring your favorite apron! contact me at 323-644-3700 if you'd like to take part.

We're in the news this week. Read about my flowers breaking the law on NPR's website in an article entitled "Urban Farmers Fight Nationwide To Sow Green Biz". The Associated Press wrote the story published 2/5. Visit to help change the law.

You'll see the flowers that helped perpetrate my crime in this month's issue of Sunset Magazine. Coral von Zumwalt did a beautiful job of capturing them, so much so it makes me want to cry.

What hasn't come through yet in all of the media surrounding what happened to my flowers, and probably never will, is the interesting microcosm of hypocrisy and double standards on my street. It makes my stomach turn but I realize, it's irrelevant. It's just an interesting insight into human nature, that's all. A reality check. People are people. Fortunately for me, the ones I know are good and kind and caring. Also fortunate is that I can continue farming. (Our biodynamic compost is nearly ready for rows 1 thru 14. Then we start planting vegetables, and I'm thrilled about that!)

Thank you shareholders and volunteers for bringing rays of sunshine to a rainy pick-up in Silverlake yesterday. (see previous post for list of veggies and Shelley's recipe).

Sunita brought hot chocolate, Allison brought compost and cookies, Morgan brought Kombucha drinks, Celia and Paul brought lemons to share, and Tamar brought jeans to revive my dying wardrobe. Thank you!

Molly, Jenny and Elizabeth helped distribute veggies. Thank you ladies! You were like an episode of Josie and the Pussycats - with turnip tops and mustard greens!

Love, Tara

Friday, February 5, 2010

Roasted Roots

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Silver Lake pick-up this week:

Red onion
Tat soi
Fresh shallots

When it's cold and wet outside, it's especially nice to have something hot from the oven. Roasted root vegetables are a perfect dish for a winter night. They're easy to make and delicious to eat. This simple recipe combines the mild-flavored turnip with the sweet carrot. You can add other roots like rutabaga or parsnip if you'd like.

Here's Shelley's recipe for Roasted Roots

4 large carrots
3 small turnips
2 T olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Pre-heat over to 375 degrees. Remove the green tops from the turnips. Wash and peel the carrots and turnips. Compost the peels and save the turnips greens for another use (see below).

2. Chop the carrots and turnips into bite-sized pieces. Uniformly diced pieces (1/2 inch dice) look nice if you want to take the time to dice them.

3. Toss the chopped carrots and turnips with the olive oil and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Serves 4.

Turnip greens are edible, too. They're delicious chopped and cooked by themselves or along with collard greens and kale. Use a small amount of fat (oil or bacon drippings) and cook in a covered pot until tender. Omnivores might like to add some crumbled bacon or chopped smoked ham.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beachwood Canyon Pick-up 2/2

Here's what Farmer John had for us this week at the Beachwood Canyon pick-up:

Italian Parsley
red romaine lettuce
green romaine lettuce
fresh green garlic
mizuna (yummy mustard for a salad) - see photo
Italian dandelion (lovely cooked in olive oil and garlic, sprinkle with warm blue cheese and drizzle honey on top)
curly kale
baby bok choy

Thank you Spencer, John and Laura for distributing veggies this week.
Spencer! Go ace those mid-terms!!