Month: October 2015

How to Peel, Mince, Crush, and Slice Garlic

The other day a friend of mine said she’d like to buy garlic from us, but she wouldn’t know what to do with it.  When I suggested she mince it and use it in a sauce, she asked me what it meant to “mince”, saying she’d only ever used powdered garlic.

At this point, another friend who was listening in suggested I illustrate how to actually mince a clove of garlic, but since I don’t regularly carry around a cutting board, knife, or said garlic, I opted for this blog post.

Even if you’ve been using garlic for years, keep reading!  While researching for this post, I learned a new technique for peeling garlic, so who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new here too.

Peeling

The first thing you need to do is separate the bulb into cloves–

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and then peel away the outer layers of skin.  Awhile back, my brother-in-law emailed this video of a chef banging garlic around between two metal bowl for 10 seconds.  When he was finished, the garlic cloves were all separated and peeled.  I wondered if this technique worked for hardneck garlic (what we sell), so I gave it a try, and—for real—it worked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what if you only want to use one clove of garlic at a time rather than the whole bulb?

Starting at the top of the bulb, pull away a clove of garlic, but don’t start peeling.  First, place the blade of your chef’s knife flat against the garlic.  Holding on to the handle with one hand, use the heel of your other hand to press down on the blade.

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This loosens those skin layers and makes for easy peeling (rather than the sometimes painful experience of scraping away the skin with your fingernails!). Remove those papery layers from your cutting board so they don’t get mixed up in your soon-to-be-minced garlic.

Next, find the basal end of the garlic clove, cut it off, and drop it in the compost bin.

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Now you’re ready for the knife work!  Most recipes call for minced, sliced, or crushed garlic, so let’s take a look at each of these techniques.

Mincing

Using your chef’s knife again, lay the blade flat against the top of the clove.  Hold the knife’s handle with one hand, and press down gently on the knife with the heel of your other hand to bruise the clove against your cutting board.

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Next, move your knife into a cutting position, place your non-dominant hand flat across the top of your knife, and rock the knife back and forth until you’re garlic’s chopped in tiny pieces, or minced.  For a video of this technique from a pro, check out this link from the American Test Kitchen. 

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Crushing

To crush the garlic, repeat the steps used for mincing.  Next, sprinkle a little bit of salt over the garlic (to soak up the garlic juices), and, place your knife’s blade flat against the minced garlic.  Press the blade against the minced garlic until the garlic is sufficiently smashed.   Or, you can use a garlic press for quick and easy crushed garlic.

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Slicing

To slice, lay your garlic clove flat on the cutting board.  Hold the clove with the fingertips of one hand.  Use a rocking motion to make careful slices across the clove.

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That’s it!  Now all you need is practice, and to practice, of course, you’re going to need some garlic!  Check out our storefront to get yourself some gourmet, hardneck Perkins’ Good Earth Farm garlic.  Then let me know in the comments section below how your garlic adventure is going!

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sliced – crushed – minced

 

 

Photography, Video, and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

 

Recipe: Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Fall Vegetables

This week farm member Sarah Hamstra shares a recipe that includes three delicious items from your share: radishes with their greens, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.  Thank you, Sarah!

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One of the veggies featured in this recipe is Brussels sprouts, and the timing couldn’t be better.  Brussels sprouts sweeten after exposure to frost, which we experienced here at our farm this weekend for the first time this fall.  Our favorite way to eat these little cabbages is sautéed or roasted, so they work perfectly in this recipe.

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Here are the instructions from Sarah’s kitchen:

Stepping into Julie’s blogging shoes for the week is an intimidating proposition, as a business major who now sells real estate, but I’m up for the challenge! She and I do share a love of food and of cooking, which is part of what originally sparked our friendship. My husband Brian and I have been farm members since 2010—the inaugural year!—and we even have the vintage Good Earth Farm canvas tote to prove it. We have two little girls, Elizabeth and Anneliese, and we make our home in DeMotte.

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Roasted vegetables and I have a love affair. My default way to prep vegetables is to toss with olive oil, maybe add some garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice, and spread on a sheet pan in a hot oven until they’re browned and delicious. Think you don’t like broccoli? Prepare it this way and you’ll be sneaking bites straight off the pan before dinner.

Julie’s recipes last year opened my eyes to thinking about new ways to use the greens in our farm share. Of course, carrots, beets, and radishes all have greens, but for years, I discarded them without giving it a second thought. Last fall, though, I made several amazing frittatas with radish or beet greens. So, when paging through my Real Simple magazine last month, a recipe using radishes and their greens caught my eye and was occasion to immediately text Julie and tell her about it.

The original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, zucchini, and radishes. My sister and I made this together the first time, and tossed in some peppers we had on hand. When I prepared it for this post, I skipped the zucchini and added carrots and Brussels sprouts. I love recipes like this one that are easily adaptable to what’s in season or what you might already have on hand!

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Start by preparing your rice. Brown rice is better for you and has a slightly nutty, more complex taste. I used brown basmati rice in this recipe. It will take about 35 minutes to cook, so get that started right away.

Preheat the oven to 425. Cut your vegetables into halves or quarters, depending on how large they are.

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Pull out a sheet pan. Toss your chopped vegetables with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Use fresh lemon juice for the best taste – it’s brighter and fresher-tasting than bottled. Top with a little kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

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Roast the veggies for 20-30 minutes or until browned and done to your liking.

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While your vegetables are roasting, you’ll want to prepare the sesame dressing. Toast one tablespoon of sesame seeds in a hot, dry skillet for about 3-5 minutes, until the sesame seeds are lightly browned.  Remove the sesame seeds, and, in the same skillet, toast about ½ cup whole walnuts for about 5-10 minutes.  The recipe calls for chopped walnuts, but wait to chop them until after they’re toasted and cooled. Set them aside.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, the sesame seeds, and 3 tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice.

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Roughly chop your radish greens.

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Directly after chopping the radish greens, gently toss them with the other roasted veggies on the sheet pan. By combining them in this way, fresh out of the oven, the radish greens flash cook without wilting. 

Serve the roasted vegetables over brown rice, drizzled with the sesame-soy dressing and topped with the toasted walnuts. The combination of the brown rice, vegetables, and walnuts made this a really hearty and satisfying meal. I taste-tested this recipe on my sister, my two-year old, and my lovely friend Jolene and it got rave reviews all around. The leftovers also reheated wonderfully for lunch the next day, which is another big plus for me when it comes to quick and healthy meals. Enjoy!

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Photograph and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Fall Vegetables
A healthy, hearty, satisfying fall meal.
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Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups brown rice
  2. 1 ½-2 cups (6 oz) Brussels sprouts, halved
  3. 4 slender carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  4. 8 radishes with greens, radishes halved and greens chopped
  5. 8 oz mushrooms, halved
  6. 5 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  8. Kosher salt and black pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  10. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  11. ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Toss the Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and radishes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast on a baking sheet until tender and browned in spots, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and stir in the radish greens.
  3. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame seeds, and the remaining 3 tablespoons each of lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.
  4. Serve the roasted vegetables/greens and walnuts over the rice, drizzled with the dressing.
Adapted from Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Soy Dressing by Justin Chapple
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

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/

Recipe: California Rolls with Radishes and Greens

A couple weeks ago I received this delightful birthday card from my son Harper.

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There’s lot of love in this card!  There’s also soosee, which is a mostly phonetic version of—you may have guessed it—sushi!  While Harper has had actual sushi before, at home I only make California rolls, or sushi made without raw fish, but sushi is A TON more fun to say, especially when you’re seven. 

After receiving this card, I made a couple rounds of California rolls for my little guy, and he proceeded to have them for lunch three times the following week.  I used kale or spinach for Harper’s filling, but you can use any veggie you want.

Before I get into the recipe, I’d like to give the disclaimer that I really know very little about sushi.  I made sushi for the first time at a friend-of-a-friend’s house in Spain in 2005.  I can’t remember the details, but I’m guessing we used bamboo mats and sushi rice and raw fish.  Fast forward ten years, and I’m still making these little rolls, but in my own super-simplified way.  Anyway, I may not know a lot about sushi or California rolls, but I do something about cooking with veggies.  If you’d like advice from an expert, check out this Food and Wine post featuring sushi master Masahuru Morimoto

While you’ll probably have most of the ingredients for California rolls in your house, there’s a good possibility you won’t have a key ingredient sushi-nori, or seaweed wraps. 

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Fortunately, our local grocery store Tysens does carry this ingredient in aisle 2, or you can purchase at least five different highly-rated nori on amazon.  

To begin, set up your work space.  I lay out two nori on a cutting board.  Around the cutting board I arrange the rest of my ingredients: cream cheese, rice, sliced veggies, and a little bowl of water.

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the nori, stopping within an or so of the far end.

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Next, dip your fingers in the water (this will keep the rice from sticking to your fingers), and add a layer of rice over the cream cheese.  Most people use seasoned sushi rice, but since I’m often using these rolls as a meal for my child, I like to use organic long-grain brown rice.  In the sushi world, there are probably rules forbidding this type of replacement; fortunately these rules don’t apply in my home.

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Now it’s time for the fun stuff—veggies!  Try any combination that sounds good to you. I’m going use produce from your share this week: radishes, radish greens, green onions, kale, and/or spinach.  Slice the veggies into strips, then line them up in a row on the edge of the nori that’s closest to you. 

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Now, carefully and tightly roll the nori away from you, tucking in the veggies, continuing until the wrap is all rolled up except that empty inch at the end.  Dip your finger in the water, run your finger along the edge of the wrap, and finish rolling.

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Finally, use a sharp knife to slice the roll.  I start from the middle and work my way to the ends.  And because I don’t use a bamboo mat, my ends are often unsightly, so I feel compelled to eat them on the spot instead of waiting until dinner.  Sometimes it’s tough being the cook.

California rolls are commonly served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.  Dan’s the only one in our family who likes wasabi, so I keep some on hand for him.  None of us are big fans of pickled ginger, but I recommend you at least give it a try once.  And Harper and I prefer simply dipping our California rolls in soy sauce.  What’s your favorite way to eat sushi or California rolls?

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Photography and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

California Rolls with Radishes and Greens
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 sushi-nori sheets
  2. 2-4 ounces cream cheese
  3. 1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
  4. 1 cup thinly sliced greens or vegetables (radishes, radish greens, green onions, kale, spinach)
Instructions
  1. Lay out nori sheets on a cutting board or kitchen counter.
  2. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each sheet or nori, leaving one inch of space at the far end of the wrap.
  3. Dip your fingers in water, then spread a layer of rice over the cream cheese.
  4. Line up sliced vegetables or greens on the edge of the nori closest to you.
  5. Roll the nori away from you. Tuck in the vegetables, then continue a firm roll until you reach the empty inch at the end of the sheet. Dip your finger in water, run your fingers along the edge of the wrap, and finish rolling.
  6. Slice with a sharp knife.
  7. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and/or pickled ginger. Enjoy!
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/
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