Month: October 2016

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/

Recipe: Red Curry Shrimp with Carrots, Red Peppers, and Green Onions

Growing up in Indiana in a family that didn’t fish, my exposure to seafood was mostly limited to a rare night out at Long John Silvers when I was a kid.  It wasn’t until I met Dan and traveled to his hometown of Portland, Maine, that I began to really love seafood.  But, living so far from the coast and having little cooking experience with seafood, I rarely ate it when back home in the Midwest.  

I still don’t have much experience when it comes to cooking with seafood, but this summer I took the plunge (it’s okay, you can laugh at that terrible pun) and purchased my first pound of live saltwater shrimp–right here in DeMotte, Indiana.

Our first introduction to JT Shrimp involved a tour of their facility, where Dan , our brother-in-law Luke, Harper and Asher got to see firsthand how Wheatfield, Indiana residents Scott and Leslie Tysen raise saltwater shrimp.   The Tysens use a zero exchange aerobic heterotrophic system to raise their shrimp; in other words, they use a system that makes the water as close as possible to the shrimp’s natural habitat, without the pollutants you would normally find in the ocean.  The indoor system involves running water through several filters to remove unwanted bacteria, algae, and viruses from the water, allowing for the growth of large, healthy shrimp.

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JT Shrimp’s Scott Tysen showing Harper, Asher, and Uncle Luke a shrimp at their Wheatfield facility Photo: Dan Perkins

When I purchased that pound of shrimp this summer, I was pretty intimidated.  I had a recipe in mind, but how was I going to get the shrimp OUT so that I could cook them?  Thankfully, Leslie explained how to remove the head and peel the shrimp.  Before I get to that though, you should know that when you buy from JT Shrimp, they give you serious freshness.  At the DeMotte Market, where I bought mine this summer, Leslie literally caught the live shrimp right there in front of me.  She placed them in a plastic bag about 1/3 filled with ice, where the shrimp expired quickly (at least I hope so!) without water.

When I got home, I placed the bag of shrimp in the fridge, and about a half hour before I was ready to peel them, I moved them to the freezer.  Leslie assured me this quick freeze would make for easy peeling, and she was right!  (I know she was right because I didn’t completely follow her instructions.  She suggested taking two shrimp out of the freezer at a time, peeling those, then taking two more, and so on.  I did this at first, but about a halfway through I lost my patience and grabbed the rest of the bag, meaning the last five shrimp or so were no longer frozen by the time I got to peeling them.  Obvious Moral of the Story: I would’ve saved more time listening to Leslie’s directions.)  

Here’s a pictorial journey for the removal of the heads and peeling.  Let me just say that Harper is a great helper!

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Cut off the head with a chef’s knife or kitchen shears.

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Remove the upper legs.

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Grasp the tail between your left hand thumb and index finger, grasp the upper section of the shrimp with your right hand thumb and index finger, and PULL!

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Your shrimp are ready!  Quick note: Don’t throw away the heads and shells.  I know they’re not the most pleasant to look at it, but put them in a tupperware and stick them in the fridge.  I’ll revisit them at the end of this post.

Now let’s get to this delicious, comfort-food curry!

First, start your rice. I like to serve this curry with organic white basmati rice, which takes about 20 minutes total, with 15 minutes of cooking time.  If you start your rice RIGHT NOW, it should be good to go right when your curry is ready.

Next, time to prep your produce.  Mince one clove of Perkins’ Good Earth Farm garlic, julienne three carrots, and thinly slice half a red pepper.  Set aside. Grab three green onions.  Chop two and set aside. For the third, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces, slice each piece in half, and, you guessed it, set aside.  

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I like to use a wok for this recipe, but you can just as easily use a skillet.  Heat your wok over medium-high heat, then add two teaspoons of olive oil.  Once the oil’s hot, add the chopped garlic and half the chopped green onion.  Saute for about one minute, or until the garlic and onion start to brown.

Next, shake the can of coconut milk as hard as you can since the coconut milk usually separates in the can.  Add the milk to the garlic/onions, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer over medium-low heat.  

Stir in one tablespoon of coconut sugar (or brown sugar) and two tablespoons red curry paste.  (If you haven’t bought this before, local friends can find it at Tysens Family Market (usually) or Meijer.) (I’m going for a record–how many parentheses can I use in one paragraph?) 🙂

Bring the coconut milk back to a boil.  Add the carrots, then lower to a simmer for five minutes. 

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Another helper!

Add shrimp, peppers, and green onions.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until shrimp have just turned into a C-shape and the peppers and carrots are al dente.  Don’t overcook the shrimp!  (To quote from JT Shrimp’s recipe page on their website: “Shrimp that have twisted into an O-shape are terribly, irreparably overcooked. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery and sad. We hope you never have to eat one for your whole life.” I agree!)

So once those shrimp are just turning into C’s, remove the wok from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of fish sauce.

For a pretty presentation, pour a ladle of curry on a plate, top with a cup of rice, drizzle a little more curry and a few shrimp and veggies on top, then sprinkle on more of those chopped green onions.  For easier eating, I serve this dish to my children in bowls, with rice on the bottom, curry on top.  Either way, yum!

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Alright, now to get back to those shrimp peels.  Sticking with our waste-free-kitchen theme, don’t throw those out just yet!  They’re exactly what you need make a shrimp stock.  If you don’t have time for that when you make the curry, no problem.  Simply toss the peels and heads in a freezer bag–you can freeze them for up 3 months.  And hopefully by then I’ll have posted the recipe I used to make my shrimp stock.  I used the stock for cooking rice, and when I tasted the rice I was immediately reminded of paella.  Which, naturally, made me want to buy more shrimp.

If you’d like to buy shrimp from JT Shrimp, you can contact Scott and Leslie through their website by clicking here.   Don’t forget to comment here and tell us how you used your shrimp!

Photos (except for that first one!): Anne Kingma

 

Red Curry Shrimp with Carrots, Red Peppers, and Green Onions
A comfort-food, tasty curry.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 clove Perkins' Good Earth Farm garlic, minced
  3. 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  4. 2 T red curry paste
  5. 1 T coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  6. 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  7. 3 carrots, julienned
  8. 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  9. 3 green onions--2 chopped / 1 cut into 1 1/2" pieces and thinly sliced
  10. 1 T fish sauce
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, saute garlic and half the chopped green onions for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add coconut milk and bring to boil, then lower to a simmer on medium-low heat.
  3. Stir in curry paste and sugar. Bring the coconut milk back to a boil. Add carrots, then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp, peppers, and sliced green onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until shrimp have just turned into a C-shape and the vegetables are al dente.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce.
Notes
  1. Serve with jasmine or white basmati rice. Enjoy!
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

 

Recipe: Leek, Shiitake, and Garlic Pizza

I’ve posted before about the Perkins’ Friday night pizza tradition, back when our family used to watch a movie together as we munched.  Sadly, movie nights have become a thing of the past.  Now we have Pizza and Pokemon nights.  That’s right, and since Dan and I didn’t play this as children, we go with the house rules made up by our 8-year-old and 6-year-old.  Therefore, now that Friday nights aren’t quite as relaxing as they used to be, I find it extremely important that I eat not just any pizza, but that I eat delicious pizza, where each bite provides brief moments of reprieve from my cluelessness about the Pokemon game and subsequent inability to truly win.  (What can I say, I grew up in a family of competitive board/card gaming!)

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I usually make myself a pizza with caramelized onions, sliced pears, and goat cheese, but since I didn’t have any pears, I decided to try something new.  After rummaging through the fridge, I found leeks and shiitake mushrooms–and I am so glad I did.

I started with the all-important step of preheating my oven with my pizza stone inside.  (Nothing worse when making pizza than discovering that yes, my oven is hot, but the stone’s still in the cupboard!)  Because I was using Udi’s gluten free pizza crust, which you can find in DeMotte at Tysens Family Market, I only heated my oven to 375 F.

About a half hour later, I heated 2 tablespoons of butter in my trusty small cast iron skillet over medium heat.  As the butter heated, I thinly sliced 2 leeks, thickly sliced 4 shiitake mushrooms, and minced 2 cloves of garlic (all produce from our farm!).  Once the butter was bubbling, I threw in the leeks, sauteing them for about 2 minutes.  Then I added the mushrooms, garlic, a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and sauteed for another minute.

At this point, I placed my Udi’s crust on the stone and baked it for 2 minutes on its own.  Then I pulled it out of the oven, brushed about 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over the top, covered the crust with 3 ounces of sliced fresh mozzarella, and added my leek/garlic/shiitake toppings.  To finish it off, I sprinkled Parmesan, freshly ground pepper, and fleur de sel (thanks to farm member Anne Kingma for introducing me to this French sea salt!) over the top.  

I baked the pizza for 7 minutes, then broiled the top on high for about 2 minutes, checking on it every 30 seconds at the for the first minute, every 15 seconds for the second.

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Then, because Dan and our two youngest weren’t home yet, I waited.  Harper and I went out on what we call Perkins’ Mountain (compost covered with tarp in the field) and we wrapped ourselves in a blanket and watched the sunset.  Turns out sitting there with my son in the midst of so much beauty provided all the peace I needed to get me through another Friday night Pokemon battle.

Leek, Shiitake, and Garlic Pizza
Comforting and flavorful pizza.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Udi's gluten free pizza crust
  2. 2 T butter
  3. 2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  4. 4 shiitake mushrooms, tops only, thickly sliced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  7. 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  8. 3 ounces fresh mozzarella
  9. 1 T grated Parmesan
  10. freshly ground pepper, to taste
  11. fleur de sel, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place pizza stone in oven. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. While oven is heating, prepare ingredients. Once oven is at 375, wait about 30 minutes before baking pizza.
  3. Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once butter is bubbling, add leeks and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper and saute 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat.
  5. Place pizza crust on stone. Bake for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove crust and stone from oven. Brush crust with olive oil. Place cheese slices on top of crust. Cover cheese with leek/shiitake/garlic topping. Sprinkle Parmesan, pepper, and fleur de sel on top.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, then broil on high for around 2 minutes, checking pizza every 30 seconds for first minute and every 15 second minute. Remove when cheese begins to brown.
  8. Enjoy!
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

 

 

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