Friday, April 29, 2011

Fava Bean Puree

What a delight to find that great harbinger of spring - fresh fava beans - in our CSA box today! I could hardly contain my excitement, as it's been nearly a year since I enjoyed the wonderful recipe I'm sharing with you today.

Fresh fava beans require a little prep work, but they're well worth the effort. Your time and energy will be rewarded with a delicious and beautiful puree that you can serve as a dip, spread on crostini or crackers, or thin slightly (with stock) and use as a sauce for grilled shrimp, scallops, or tofu.

Fava Bean Puree

2 C shelled fava beans
1-2 cloves minced garlic
4-6 T olive oil
1/2 C water
1/2 - 1 t salt, or to taste
1/4 t pepper, or to taste

1. Remove the fava beans from their pods. Compost the pods. Measure out about 2 C shelled favas (removed from their pods).

2. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl half way with ice and covering the ice with cold water. Set aside.

3. Fill a stock pot with water about 2/3 full. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the shelled fava beans and cook (blanch) for about 2-3 minutes. Drain the beans, discarding the water, and immediately add the drained beans to the ice water bath, which will loosen their tough outer shell and lock in a beautiful bright green color.

4. When the beans have cooled, drain off the water, and slip the beans out of their tough outer shell. Compost the outer shells.

5. Heat 4 T of olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant and very slightly golden, about 1 minute (do not burn the garlic).

6. Add the blanched fava beans. Stir to coat with the oil. Add 1/2 t salt. Stir again.

7. Add the water and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until the water is evaporated, about 10 minutes, and the beans are just tender. If necessary, add more water so the favas do not burn (or turn down the heat). Add a little more olive oil if desired.

8. Cool to room temperature. Then puree in a food processor (or with an immersion blender) until pureed. Season with more salt, if desired and 1/4 t pepper, or to taste.

Freshly grated lemon zest or freshly grated parmesan cheese are nice flavor additions to this puree, but it's delicious just the way it is.

Here's what was in today's box:

From Underwood Family Farms: tatsoi, Japanese turnips, artichokes, iceberg lettuce, Texas sweet onions, purple carrots, and Easter radishes.

From Sage Mountain Farm: Bloomsdale heirloom spinach, Chioggia beets, Red Fire lettuce, purple scallions, baby purple carrots, Tuscan kale, broccolini, and cilantro.

Rancho Santa Cecilia provided Golden Nugget mandarins.

We had anabolic favas from the Metabolic Studio.

And Silver Lake Farms provided radish and mustard microgreens.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Simple Asparagus Recipes

I just returned from two weeks in the midwest where spring has not quite put down firm roots. When I left Los Angeles, I took with me a wave of warm weather culminating in an 80-degree day two weeks ago Sunday. Sadly, it was downhill from there - a precipitous fall - with two inches of snow this past Monday!

I went to the farmer's market in Cleveland's Shaker Square last Saturday. There were cellar-grown mushrooms, fresh eggs, potted plants, Ohio maple syrup and candy, a wide selection of baked goods, locally-farmed meats and some very delicious locally-produced goat cheese. However, the only fresh produce was ramps, which are wild leeks, and local apples which have been in cold storage since last fall. We're so lucky to have such an amazing assortment of fresh, locally-grown vegetables and fruits in Southern California. It's easy to eat seasonally here.

And speaking of eating seasonally, asparagus is a great spring vegetable that's versatile and delicious. Asparagus is best lightly sauteed or roasted until it's just tender. Asparagus loves citrus-y flavors like lemon and orange. It also tastes great with garlic or sesame and ginger.

Here are a few quick and tasty ways to prepare asparagus:

Prep the asparagus by cutting off the woody part of the stalks. Throw the woody ends in the compost. If your asparagus are thick, you may want to peel off the tough, outer skin with a vegetable peeler. You can skip this step for thinner spears.

Sauteed Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Egg

2 T butter
1 bunch asparagus
2 hard-boiled eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt 2 T butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the trimmed asparagus and toss to coat with butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook until the asparagus are just tender, about 4-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears.

2. While the asparagus cooks, peel the shells off the hard-boiled eggs (the shells can go in the compost). Mash the eggs with a fork and set the eggs aside.

3. When the asparagus is done, remove them to a warm plate. Drizzle any melted butter from the skillet over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Then sprinkle the mashed up, hard-boiled egg over the asparagus.

Sauteed Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce

Melt 2 T butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the trimmed asparagus and toss to coat with butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook until the asparagus are just tender, about 4-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Remove the asparagus to a warm plate, sprinkle with a little salt and set aside. Add 2-3 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice to the skillet. Quickly whisk in 2-4 T butter, whisking until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour over the warm asparagus and serve.

This afternoon, I was chatting with Rachel, who grows Silver Lake Farms' fantastic micro-greens. We both agreed that slow-cooked scrambled eggs are fabulous with lightly sauteed asparagus tips.

Slow Scrambled Eggs with Sauteed Asparagus Tips

1 T butter
1 C asparagus tips
6 extra-large eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter over low heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add asparagus tips. Toss to coat with butter. Cover and cook 1-2 minutes.

2. While the asparagus tips are cooking, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.

3. Add the eggs to the skillet with the asparagus and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs are just set (or to your liking). This might take as long as 10 minutes, but it will produce very creamy scrambled eggs.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You might want to add some finely chopped onion to the skillet at the beginning with the asparagus tips. Saute until the onion is translucent.

Another delicious addition is crumbled goat cheese. Stir this in toward the end, just before the eggs set.


This week's bounty included:

From Underwood Family Farms: Napa cabbage, candy-striped beets, rainbow chard, purple kale, green romaine lettuce, orange carrots, fennel, oranges, and asparagus.

From Sage Mountain Farm: heirloom spinach, golden heirloom beets, Tuscan kale, fire red leaf lettuce, purple scallions, baby heirloom leeks, Joi Choi Pak Choi (pictured above), and heirloom Italian green garlic.

Rancho Santa Cecilia supplied the Hass avocados.

And Silver Lake Farms provided radish micro-greens.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Friday 4/15 Bounty

Never a dull day at Silver Lake Farms. The pace changes with the weather and it keeps us on our toes. Saturday afternoon, all I want to be is horizontal. I watched "Towering Inferno," then Tiffany and I went to check out Culver City. I really want to sell my flowers there when they come in. Hard to tell right now when that will be. I can't believe it took Beat just a few months to establish the growing ground at the Paramour, and it's taking me a year to establish Groovy Canyon. He did it alone. I have some super dedicated, committed, amazing people helping me. I'm getting caught up so I hope to have flowers again soon.

I can't help thinking that's two springs at market missed since my neighbors began their shenanigans. Whatever, I'm slowly getting over it. That crater in my head caused by the bomb they threw is being filled with new experiences that are full of love and light. In the long run, it will all be fine. I'm impatient but I'm really thankful and enjoying this journey. I've learned a lot, accomplished a lot. With Sherry and Sebastian helping now, everything is coming together in a quality way and it's really very exciting.

Graham picked me up and got me back on my feet. Sherry lives three doors down. She is the only one on the street not involved in all that nonsense. She is our lovely conductor. Sebastian works for local beekeeping hero Kirk Anderson in the mornings, and at Groovy Canyon in the afternoons. He nags me in his Argentinian accent, "Tara, when are we going to plant?" I love it. Rachel grows the microgreens and keeps us in compost. Myesha is re-organizing the office I abandoned. I'm moving back in next week. Yay! We get the dining table back! I feel blessed.

New compost tea brewer arrived from Earthfort. Very excited about that. Up til now, Beat and I had been using a homemade contraption to make compost tea. It did the job but it took too long to clean all the nooks and crannies. Earthfort's design is so simple, I love it. And it comes with goodies!

Here's a list of the week's bounty:

From Sage Mountain Farm: Simpson heirloom lettuce with Jordan volunteering at pickup (top left pic). Thank you Jordan! purple scallions (top right pic), Italian heirloom fresh green garlic, red Russian kale, Chantennay carrots, White Icicle radishes (bottom right pic), Joi Choi Pak Choi, Tuscan kale, golden heirloom beets

From Underwood Family Farms: tangerines, red leaf lettuce, leeks, green curly kale, cabbage, broccoli, yellow carrots (bottom left pic), radishes, sugar snap peas

From Rancho Santa Cecilia: pomellos and Golden Nugget mandarins

From Silver Lake Farms: mustard, pok choi and radish microgreens. Looking good Rachel!

Enjoy! I know I will...


CSA Microgreens + Bibimbap + Tax Day = Eron's Bargain-Friendly Experiment

Check out this recipe from Eron at Curio:

Eron: Thank you!!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recipes from Shareholder Eron

Shareholder Eron is posting recipes on his Curio blog featuring CSA goodies. Love it!

"Hello!" he says, "I posted up the first recipe that I came up with using the produce I got from your CSA. A fun dinner salad with micro greens, fried bread, eggs and goat cheese. Feel free to share it :)

And here's another one from Eron: Tuscan kale, cauliflower and caramelized onion Pizza

Eron, you are an inspiration! Thank you!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Season Recipes for asparagus, celeriac, cauli and peas...

It's our second week with Sage Mountain Farm and I'm loving it. Phil, pictured here, makes the drive from Temecula. The traffic is awful but he's still smiling. Crops are coming in. Soil is warming...

Phil tells us the news - what the weather is doing and how things are going at the farm. The weather's been so crazy. Cold and frost have caused some damage. Farmers' markets make long, long days, in part because of Sage Mountain's rural location. It's all good tho. The work is rewarding. What Sage Mountain would love is a restaurant account or two Downtown/Eastside, delivering Fridays.

Elf? Local? Forage? Palate? Corina and Jane at Canele! Please check out Sage Mountain Farm!

Graham and I help Phil unload the veggies while he tells us a story about how NOT to erect a hoop house. He's funny.

It's a good week. Here's the scoop re the week's bounty:

From Sage Mountain Farm: Red Fire lettuce, golden beets, baby heirloom leeks, green scallions, tuscan kale, Chantennay carrots, broccoli leaves, Italian heirloom green garlic

From Underwood Family Farms: Romaine lettuce, celery root, asparagus, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, mizuna, purple carrots, blood oranges

From Rancho Santa Cecilia: grapefruits, Golden Nugget mandarins

From Silver Lake Farms: arugula and radish microgreens

This week's recipes comes from my dear, dear friend Sherry, who found them in a book. Sherry? What was the book?

She says: This vinaigrette is delicious with fennel, beets and carrots or on a citrus or avocado salad.

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 tsp white wine or balsamic vinegar
Salt + Pepper
3 Tablespoons light olive or sunflower oil
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Combine orange juice + zest, vinegar and 1/8 tsp salt - let stand for 15 min. Whisk in the oils and season w/ a little pepper.

This is an exceptional recipe but you do need a few spices which are available at the Spice Station.

Curried Cauliflower & Peas

1/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/4 C peeled + diced ginger
4 tsp toasted ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces w/stems
1/2 lb sugar snap peas, strings removed
2 tsp ground amchoor (green mango) powder
1 tsp garam masala

In wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin and asafetida and cook for 3o seconds, stirring constantly. Add the ginger, coriander, chile, and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds more. Add onion, lower the heat, and cook until soft, stirring occasionally about 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix everything together, then pour in 1/2 c water, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a few minutes more, until they're bright green. Add the amchoor powder and garam masala, stir together, taste for salt and serve over steamed rice.



PS. Hello Shelley!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shareholder Trevor's CSA meal

Shareholder Trevor made this fabulous salad using CSA veggies and a few complementary items. He says: The beets are slow roasted in olive oil at 375 degrees. Then I peel and puree with the juice from one orange. For the balsamic, I wish I could say that I used a 100 year old vintage, but really, I just cooked down some Trader Joe's balsamic with lemon juice and a little bit of honey.

There is bacon included in the dish, and the cheese is Roquefort. The dish also includes celery root fries arranged in a nice pattern, and pea shoots from Silver Lake Farms.

It looks delicious and beautiful! Thank you Trevor!!

Shareholders: What creative things are you doing with CSA bounty?


Friday, April 1, 2011

What to do with Green Garlic, Broccoli Leaves, Cabbage and Iceberg Lettuce

It was a beautiful afternoon at the CSA pick-up today and there were lots of wonderful vegetable choices. It was great to see green garlic again. Its delicate, fresh flavor is a real harbinger of spring. Be careful not to overcook it. It's delicious raw or sauteed lightly. Use a generous amount of olive oil or butter and toss this mixture with hot, cooked pasta. You might throw in some sauteed spinach, chard or kale and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese for a lovely meal. Omnivores might enjoy adding some cooked and crumbled Italian sausage and/or some hot red pepper flakes.

Broccoli leaves made their first appearance in our CSA box. I hope they become a regular choice. They're beautiful, delicious and simple to prepare. Just wash, chop, and saute them in olive oil for a tasty and nutritious dish. A sprinkle of salt and pepper and a little finely chopped green garlic, either raw or lightly sauteed would go nicely here, too. Some toasted pine nuts or walnuts would be a wonderful addition to this dish as well (or instead). You can substitute saute'd broccoli leaves for any of the greens mentioned in the above pasta preparation.

No worries if you missed the broccoli leaves. Make a delicious cole slaw with a light vinaigrette dressing from that beautiful head of green cabbage. Finely chop up 6 C of green cabbage, grate 1-2 C of carrots, chop 1 C of fresh Italian parsley, and finely chop 1 C of sweet onion or about 3/4 C red onion. If you find raw onion a little sharp, try rinsing the chopped onion under cold water. Drain well. Toss all of these ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix up a vinaigrette with 1/2 C olive oil, 3/4 T cider vinegar, 1 T sugar or agave syrup, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour over the vegetables and toss until everything is well coated. This cole slaw benefits from spending an hour or two in the fridge, but it's fine to eat right after you mix it up, too.

By the way, the iceberg lettuce that was among today's choices was some of the most beautiful iceberg around. Iceberg is the crispiest lettuce and makes a beautiful wedge salad. Douse it in blue cheese dressing and crumble some crisp bacon on top for a great mid-century classic.

Today's bounty included an amazing assortment of vegetables and fruit, all grown with love in Southern California:

From Sage Mountain Farm, a USDA Organic grower in Temecula, we had: baby heirloom leeks, butter lettuce, scallions, green garlic, orange Chantennay carrots, Tuscan kale, heirloom spinach, broccoli leaves, and heirloom bulls blood beets. Welcome on board Sage Mountain Farm!!

From Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark: celery, iceberg lettuce, yellow carrots, purple kale, Easter radishes, green cabbage, lemons and cilantro.

From Weiser Family Farms: savoy spinach.

From Rancho Santa Cecilia: golden nugget tangerines

From Silver Lake Farms: pea shoots and radish microgreens.