Category: Spinach

Recipe: Orzo with Spinach and Garlic

 Trisha and Ryan Belstra have been farm members since our very first season back in 2010, back when we offered a summer CSA, which happened to be the summer Trisha and I were both pregnant with our second child.  Six years later, the Belstra’s are still farm members and our babies are no longer babies but still dear friends. Yay for farming and friendship!

This week Trisha’s sharing an easy weeknight recipe featuring comforting pasta and cooked spinach, although you could easily switch out the spinach for tat soi, radish tops, mustard greens, kale, or arugula for a spicier flavor in this delicious orzo recipe!

Here are the instructions from Trisha’s kitchen:

Hello, fellow farm members!  I’m Trisha Belstra and this is my family: Ryan, Nolan, Norah and Leah.

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We live in DeMotte and couldn’t feel more blessed to have the Perkins family as our friends.  What a delight it’s been to be apart of their farm also.  Fall is my absolute favorite season and being able to come pick up these fresh, beautiful vegetables each week during fall share time just makes it all the better!

I’m excited to share with you a quick comforting dinner or side dish–you get to choose.  There are a few different options with this recipe, which makes it nice depending on what you’re in the mood for.  Let’s get started.

Start by making your orzo according to the package directions.  You can use brown rice noodles for a gluten free version of this dish.  While your orzo is cooking, roughly chop 8 cups of spinach, then set aside.

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Next, roughly chop one to two leeks (white and light green part only) and mince two to three cloves of garlic. If you have a garlic press, you can use that instead of mincing to help speed up this quick dish all the more.

In a wok, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté your garlic and leeks on medium heat for a minute or two.  Add your chopped spinach and sauté for a few more minutes.

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Then add your drained orzo to the mix, pour in another tablespoon or so of olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt.  Stir until warmed. 

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Serve and top with Parmesan cheese to taste.  If you like things spicy like I do, try adding some crushed red pepper flakes too.

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Earlier I mentioned there a couple other options for this dish. Sometimes I add blackened Cajun chicken–just chicken breasts rubbed with Cajun seasoning, then slightly charred on the stovetop.  Or, if you’d like a saucier version, you can prepare an Alfredo sauce on the side.  I usually leave the sauce separate because we prefer the plainer version for lunch leftovers.

Here’s how to make the sauce.  In a medium saucepan melt 6 tablespoons of butter.  Once that is melted whisk in 6 tablespoons of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Gradually pour in 4 cups of milk (whole is best but 2% works just fine too).  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring continually for two minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.  Pour over your orzo dish if desired.  And again, if you like to heat it up, add some Cajun seasoning to this sauce.  Yu-um.  Our seasoning bottle has been ending up on the dinner table lately.  

I hope you enjoy this warm dish as much as our family does as this cold weather begins! 

Happy Fall, ya’ll! 🙂

 

Spinach with Orzo and Garlic
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 16 oz orzo, brown rice pasta, egg noodles, or rice
  2. 3 T olive oil
  3. 1-2 leeks, white and light green part only, roughly chopped
  4. 2-3 cloves large garlic, minced or pressed
  5. 8 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Cajun or red pepper flakes, optional
  8. Parmesan cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain.
  2. Heat a wok over medium heat. Add 1 T olive oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, saute the garlic and leek for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and saute 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the orzo. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste with sea salt. Stir until warm.
  6. Serve immediately, topping each individual plate with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
To vary this recipe, try one of these options
  1. Add blackened Cajun chicken.
  2. Add Alfredo sauce.
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

Several years ago, my in-laws Dana and Joan encountered significant health issues.  Joan was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, while Dana continued to struggle with high cholesterol even though he was taking statins and eliminating most fats from his diet.  Instead of diving into even more medication, they decided to make a serious diet change–by going vegan.  They signed up for cooking classes at their local Whole Foods, learned how to eat a balanced vegan diet, and guess what?  Dana’s cholesterol returned to a normal level, and Joan rid herself of the pre-diabetic status.

Was it easy?  Surely not–it’s never easy to change years of eating habits that include meat and milk and cheese and buttercream frosting (okay, I don’t even know if they like buttercream frosting, but I’m just saying I think that might be a hard one for me to give up).  They found a supportive community at Whole Foods, and they learned that with excellent ingredients and several key recipes, eating as vegans was actually quite enjoyable–and delicious.

One of the recipes they passed on to me from this time is something Whole Foods called “Wellness Bowls o’Goodness”, but I’ve heard them more commonly called Buddha Bowls.  I’m so grateful they shared this with Dan and me, and today I’m going to keep on paying it forward because these bowls are not only TASTY but an excellent way to eat up all those veggies and greens you’re getting in your fall share.

According to the good folks at Whole Foods Market Culinary Education, a Buddha bowl includes your base of cooked whole grains or starch veggies, and toppings in these categories:

  • cooked beans
  • greens (lightly steamed or raw)
  • veggies (roasted, lightly steamed or raw)
  • herbs and spices
  • sauce (such as fresh salsa, hot sauce, salad dressing, tamari, etc.)

For the Buddha bowl pictured in this post, I started by cooking 1 cup of organic brown basmati rice with 1 tsp Real Salt seasoned salt.  I used 1 cup of cooked rice for my bowl and saved the rest for fried rice to be made later in the week.  (Quick note here: I found it easier to season–if necessary–each food as I went along instead of trying to season the whole bowl at the end.) I topped my rice with the following:

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 cup whole leaf fresh spinach, sauteed for about one minute, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms (grown ourselves–we should have these for sale soon!) sauteed with 2 T sliced leek
  • 1/4 cup watermelon radish, chopped (I was hoping these would be ready for your share this week, but they need a little more time.  We do, however, have daikon radish for you, and that will work just as well!)
  • 1/4 cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • Asian vinaigrette: 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove

I tell you what.  I felt so so good after eating this for lunch.  And really, there are so many possible variations for the Buddha bowl, that you could make this work for any meal of the day.

To wrap this up, I want to return to Dana and Joan’s story.  Soon after those cooking classes at Whole Foods, my in-laws moved from Maine to the Midwest to our little town of DeMotte (yay!).  They discovered that it was hard to keep up a vegan diet here, and they’ve since allowed small amounts of meat and dairy back into their diet.  But they still love their Buddha bowls, and I’m sure they–along with me!–would love to hear your ideas for a tasty bowl of goodness.

Photography: Anne Kingma

 

 

Recipe: Spinach Bites

 

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I encountered spinach bites for the first time a couple weeks ago at my foster’s son birthday party, when guest Sarah Oudman brought them as a side dish to share.  They were so good, I asked Sarah to make them again for my son Asher’s birthday party a week later.

One great thing about this recipe is that you can make these little morsels ahead of time, then bake them right before eating.  If you’re taking this dish to a get-together, Sarah suggests putting them in a pre-heated crock-pot for the trip.  Just make sure you don’t forget the corresponding condiments!  She recommends ranch or Caesar dressing, your favorite mustard, her homemade jalapeno-red pepper relish, and—one of my favorites—Thai style chili sauce, which I found in aisle 5 at Rensselaer’s Strack and Van Til.

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First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Next, break out your food processor—or, for little more fun, grab a meat tenderizer and plastic bag.  It’s cracker-crushing time!

After placing about 2/3 package of Wasa light rye crisps (purchased at Tysens in DeMotte) in a freezer-quality gallon bag, I handed over the tenderizer to my boys and let them take turns pounding the crackers.  They had a lot of fun, but—surprise, surprise—we ended up with a hole in the bag and a mess of crumbs on the table.  Another option is to use the food processor (you’ll need it out for the spinach anyway) and involve any small helpers you have around by letting them push the button on the processor.

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Put the crushed crackers in a large mixing bowl, then starting filling your food processor with fresh spinach.  You’ll need about ½ pound (one gallon bag’s worth from your share), so unless you have a ginormous food processor, you should do this part in batches.  Make sure the spinach is finely chopped, then add it to the mixing bowl with the crackers.

Next up are the onion, pepper, and garlic. I used a chef’s knife to chop these because I wanted a little more control of their shape, but you could use a food processor here as well—just don’t get carried away!  Once these veggies are finely chopped, toss them into the mixing bowl with the spinach and crackers.

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Grate about 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, set aside a few tablespoons, and toss the rest in the bowl.  Throw in some seasoned salt and Worcestershire sauce, then stir everything together until the ingredients are well-blended.  Beat three small eggs together, pour into the mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix together really, really well.

You’re almost finished!  Form into 1-inch balls, bigger or smaller, depending on your preference, and place on a baking sheet or preheated stone.  Then sprinkle the tops with the reserved cheese.

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Pop these guys in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops just begin to brown.  I recommend inviting someone over at this point, since your kitchen’s going to smell delicious.  Serve this snack warm (not hot), with sauces on the side.  Enjoy!

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Photos and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Spinach Bites
A healthy, delicious appetizer or snack.
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Ingredients
  1. 2/3 package Wasa light rye crisps (7 oz – about 20 cracker)
  2. ½ pound (8 oz) spinach greens
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  4. 1 small bell pepper, chopped (about ½ cup)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 Tbsp seasoned salt
  7. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
  9. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place crackers in gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Crush into fine crumbs.
  3. Place spinach greens in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Place chopped greens into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add onion, pepper, garlic, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and all but 3 Tbsp of the cheese to the bowl. Mix until well-blended.
  5. Add beaten eggs to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Roll into 1-inch balls. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  7. Bake on greased baking sheet or stone for 15-20 minutes or until browned.
  8. Serve warm with condiments (ranch dressing, mustard, sweet chili sauce, etc).
  9. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you need these for a party or potluck, you can make the mixture the night before, refrigerate overnight, bake the next morning, and place the bites in a pre-heated crock pot.
  2. These also freeze well. Just pop them into the oven for 10 minutes to warm them up to serve.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/
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