Tag: hardneck garlic

Recipe: Roasted Carrots and Greens

With our last week of this season’s CSA at hand and the holiday season just around the corner, I want to leave you with a simple recipe you could serve at your Thanksgiving dinner.  Or you could just make this tonight because it’s cozy and nourishing and pretty much perfect for a brisk fall night.

Start by placing a rectangular rimmed baking stone in the oven and preheating to 400 F.  If you don’t have a stone, use any rimmed baking sheet.

Next, scrub and trim 2 pounds of carrots (around 18 medium-sized carrots).  Quarter the carrots lengthwise and put them in a large bowl.  I use the Pampered Chef 8-cup batter bowl because it has a lid, which makes the next step easier.  And that next step is tossing those lovely carrot pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  (As tempting as it may be, don’t add extra oil olive or the carrots won’t roast well!)

Place the carrots evenly onto the baking stone and lightly season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes, then flip them, making sure to keep them evenly spaced (none on top of each other).  Roast for 10 more minutes.

While the carrots are roasting, prep the rest of your ingredients.  Chop 1/4 cup walnuts, mince 2 cloves of garlic, and roughly chop 3 cups of arugula/tat soi/mustard greens.  When the carrots are done with their initial roasting,  sprinkle with the garlic and walnuts and roast for 5-7 minutes more, until the nuts are toasted and the garlic tender.

Remove the stone from the oven, fold in the greens, and sprinkle the whole batch of goodness with 1/4 cider vinegar.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy! 

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Roasted Carrots with Greens
A perfect roasted vegetable side for Thanksgiving dinner.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
  2. 1 T olive oil
  3. sea salt, to taste
  4. freshly ground pepper, to taste
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  7. 3 cups arugula, tat soi, and/or mustard greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Place rimmed baking stone in oven and preheat to 400 F.
  2. Quarter carrots lengthwise. Place carrots in large bowl and toss with olive oil.
  3. Place carrots on baking sheet, making sure they're evenly spaced. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roast carrots 20 minutes. Flip them over, then roast for 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove carrots from oven. Sprinkle evenly with garlic and walnuts. Roast 5-7 minutes, until nuts are toasted and garlic is tender.
  6. Remove from oven. Fold in greens, then sprinkle cider vinegar over the carrots.
  7. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens "Roasted Sweets and Greens"
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens "Roasted Sweets and Greens"
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

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/

Recipe: Spinach and Swiss Omelette

“Eggs crack. Butter pops in a hot pan. Her father is telling an abridged story of their flight, train stations, fearful crowds, omitting the stop in Evreux, but soon all of Marie-Laure’s attention is absorbed by the smells blooming around her: egg, spinach, melting cheese.

An omelette arrives.  She positions her face over its steam . . . The eggs taste like clouds.  Like spun gold.”

That description, from the beautifully written novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, reveals the sound and taste of an omelette from the perspective of the blind protagonist Marie-Laure after she and her father flee Paris at the beginning of World War II.  They arrive starving at the home of a long-last relative, and they are fed one of the most basic, nourishing meals. 

Now while the omelette may be a culinary basic, I’d like to begin with this disclaimer–I’m not French and I’m definitely no Julia Child.  I know, I know, you already knew that, but I’ve followed Child’s directions in The Way to Cook and I still find it quite challenging to make a pretty-looking omelette.   And sometimes you don’t realize this until you’re trying to take a photograph of one for your farm blog.  But that’s okay!  The omelette provides such an easy way to eat your greens that I had to share.

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Begin with the freshest ingredients possible (you’re off to a great start with your Perkins’ Good Earth Farm spinach!). Make sure everything is absolutely, positively ready to go before you begin cooking.  The ingredients listed below are for a 1-serving two-egg omelette, so if you’re making this for more than just yourself, multiply ingredients accordingly.

  • Chop 1 ounce (about 1 cup) spinach.
  • Mince 1 clove Perkins’ Good Earth Farm garlic.
  • Shred 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup ) Swiss cheese.
  • Grind the pepper and sea salt.
  • Break two eggs into a bowl, add a teaspoon of water, and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk just enough to blend it all together.
  • Cut two tablespoons of butter.

Heat your skillet over medium-high heat.  Child suggests using a no-stick 10-inch frying pan.  Since I don’t have one of those, I used my cast iron skillet, which is kind of awkward and heavy for making an omelette, but it works (sort of).

Heat one tablespoon of butter in the skillet.  Once it begins to bubble, throw in your greens and garlic and cook for about 20 seconds, just until the spinach is wilted.  Spoon the greens and garlic into a bowl and set aside.  (If you’re making this for a group, cook all your spinach and garlic at once.)

With my cast iron skillet, I leave the heat at medium-high.  If using the skillet recommended by Child, she says “to set the pan over highest heat.”  Add another tablespoon of butter, wait for it to bubble (Child–“Watch the butter carefully–when the foam begins to subside and the butter just begins to color”), pour the eggs into the middle of the skillet.

Now, for those of you who’ve never made an omelette, I’m just going to quote Child here for a bit, because, really, she explains this so well!

“At once shake and swirl the pan by its handle to distribute the eggs over the surface, then hold it still over heat for 2-3 seconds, to form a film of coagulated egg on the bottom of the pan.”

Quick break.  Here’s where you QUICKLY scatter the spinach, garlic, and Swiss cheese over the eggs.  Back to Child.

“Now, holding the pan by its handle, start jerking it toward you–thus throwing the egg mass against the far edge of the pan.”  (See why this is challenging in a cast-iron skillet?  I need to do more push-ups or planks or something.)  “Keep jerking roughly, gradually tilting the far edge of the pan over the heat as the omelette begins to roll over on itself.  Push any stray egg into the mass with a spatula, if necessary.  When nicely formed at the far edge, bang on the handle close the near edge with your left fist and the omelette will begin to curl at is far edge.”

Child has another set of instructions for getting the omelette onto your plate from the skillet, but I merely lifted it out with a spatula and put it on my plate next to a piece of toast slathered with homemade black-cap jam.  Done and yum.

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Note: If the whole omelette thing isn’t working out for you, no worries.  Simply lower the heat and turn all those ingredients into a delicious plate of scrambled eggs with spinach and Swiss.  Most of all, enjoy!

 

Recipe: Fresh Mozzarella with Garlic, Tomato, Basil Sauce

Years ago, one of my favorite high school teachers, Mary Lagerwey, handed me the recipe below because she knew I liked (loved, really) basil.  

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This recipe’s seen a lot of love.

I’ve made this recipe for the past 15 years since then, with a few changes.  After having children, I cut way back on the red pepper flakes, sometimes eliminating them altogether.  If I forgot to seed the parsley on time, we’d go without.   And in an unexpected (at least for me) turn of events, I became a garlic farmer, and this dish became flavorful in a way I never thought possible.  

Then, this year, I saw fresh mozzarella in the store and for some unknown reason I was brought back to my time with Dan in Italy eating fresh cheese and tomatoes and basil right off the street and I wanted that again.  Since a return trip to Italy isn’t in the budget (goodness, it was barely in the budget then–we were eating on the street!), I decided to use the tried and true tomato and fresh basil sauce from from Mrs. Lagerwey, bringing a little bit of Italy to our Indiana table.  And the dish turned out to be delizioso–perfetto–gustoso! (That’s all I’ve got.)

Start with your tomatoes.  I know the summer garden season is almost over, but you should still be able to nab a pound of ripe, juicy tomatoes from your garden or farmer’s market.  I like to use a variety of colors–red, yellow, Green Zebra green–for beauty and flavor.  Cut out the cores and seeds, toss them in the compost bucket, and chop the meat of the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces.  Set aside the chopped tomatoes in a bowl.

Next comes the garlic!  If you haven’t purchased any of our garlic yet, now’s the time to do so.  (Yes, that was a shameless plug. For real though, the fresher your ingredients, the better this dish will taste.) Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic, then toss it on top of the tomatoes.

Now for the herbs.  I used to be very particular about tearing my basil because long ago I read in one my herb books that cutting the leaves discolors them.  I used to follow such directions.  Three kids and vegetable farm later, I chop them quick as can be with my trusty chef’s knife.  So chop (or tear) one cup of loosely packed basil leaves and a half cup fresh parsley, then toss the chopped herbs onto the garlic and tomatoes.  

Add a half cup of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more, depending on your audience), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a decent amount of freshly ground pepper, and a half cup of freshly grated Parmesan to the tomato/garlic/herbs.  Toss this all together and let marinate for at least a half an hour, but preferably longer (if you can wait that long to eat this!).

When you’re ready to eat, slice a pound of fresh mozzarella, then lay the slices on a platter.  (I used to make my own mozzarella, but now–yes, three kids and a vegetable farm later–I buy it at Costco.)  Pour that lovely tomato-garlic-basil sauce over the tomatoes,  and sprinkle another quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan over the top.  You can serve this with pasta, crackers or crusty bread, or we like to eat it as is.  Whatever you decide, enjoy!

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Fresh Mozzarella with Garlic, Tomato, Basil Sauce
A delightful summer salad perfect for a quick dinner or party dish.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  2. 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  4. 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  9. 3/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  10. 1 pound fresh mozzarella
Instructions
  1. Remove cores and seeds from tomatoes. Chop the remaining tomato into 1-inch pieces. Set aside chopped tomatoes in a bowl.
  2. Add garlic, basil, and parsley to chopped tomatoes.
  3. Add red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup Parmesan to tomatoes. Toss ingredients together.
  4. Let marinate for a minimum of 1/2 hour, preferably 2 hours.
  5. Right before eating, slice 1 pound of fresh mozzarella. Arrange slices on platter.
  6. Pour garlic-tomato-basil sauce over mozzarella. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Optional: Serve with pasta, crackers, or crusty bread.
Adapted from Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin
Adapted from Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

Recipe: Garlic Tea

It’s back to school time here at the Perkins’ household and you know what that means?  Besides the standard earlier bedtimes, new spelling lists, and tales of ball tag, we’re also saying hello to the annual influx of unwelcome germs encountered in the classroom and late summer ragweed pollen blowing in the wind.  Sneezing abounds.  Eyes tear up.  Noses run.   You get the picture.

To combat this miserableness, we eat our veggies and limit sugar intake, take fish oil and drink green smoothies.  And we also drink a little something we like to call “Garlic Tea.”

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Dan introduced me to this simple drink of garlic and hot water years ago, and at first I tried quashing the flavor by combining the garlic with a tea bag (Passion Garlic tea, anyone?) or adding honey.  Eventually, however, I surrendered myself to what I now consider a savory drink (kind of like choosing a Bloody Mary over a margarita, maybe?  Speaking of, anyone know of a garlic-infused cocktail?)

For real though, when I start to feel those cold symptoms coming on, I drink cup after cup of garlic tea.  I also try to rest, but that’s much more challenging.  I’m not alone in using garlic to combat colds.  University of Maryland Medical Center reports the following:

Early evidence suggests garlic may help prevent colds. In one study, people took either garlic supplements or placebo for 12 weeks during cold season, between November and February. Those who took garlic had fewer colds than those who took placebo. And when they did get a cold, the people taking garlic saw their symptoms go away faster than those who took placebo.

Even if you don’t have a cold coming on, there are plenty of other reasons to drink garlic tea, as Cooking Detective lists in their post 39 Health Benefits of Garlic: Plus Nutritional Benefits of Garlic. 

From Farmer Dan: Hardneck garlic is higher in the allicin or organosulphur compounds; this is the actual compound you smell in “garlic breath”.  Allicin has significant antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiprotozoal activity.  To solve the garlic breath problem, either have everyone drink and eat garlic OR chew parsley or fennel seeds right after having garlic–no more garlic breath.  Gum helps too!

Isn’t a worth a try, friends?  All you have to do is crush 1 clove Perkins’ Good Earth Farm garlic with the base of a knife.  Peel the clove, place it in your favorite (or perhaps garlic-designated?) tea cup, and cover with 8 ounces hot water.  Let the drink steep for 5 minutes before drinking.  Enjoy!

 

 

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: Spaghetti with Caramelized Garlic and Tomatoes

The garlic harvest for 2015 is complete, thanks to the help of our intern Sarah, her family, my family, Dan’s family, and one of our neighbors.  I’m so excited about this I’m even going to use a cliché: Many hands really do make light work!

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This year we harvested the largest bulbs of garlic ever, thanks in part to Dan’s constant tweaking with cover crops, his use of strip tillage, and—crazily enough—all the rain.

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Right now the garlic is curing, a 2-3 week drying process which concentrates the garlic’s flavor and makes it possible to store until next year’s garlic is ready.  (We actually just composted our 2014 garlic—and some of it was still usable.)  Our garlic will go on sale August 10, so the recipe I’m sharing today is kind of a teaser, but I can guarantee it will be worth the wait to use Perkins’ Good Earth Farm hardneck, gourmet garlic in this recipe!

A couple years ago I found a used cookbook from the Gilroy Garlic Festival (which Dan dreams about attending some day so he can eat garlic ice cream), and this winter Dan discovered a recipe in there for Linguine with Caramelized Garlic by Kimra Foster, his inspiration for this recipe.

You’re going to need three heads of garlic, which amounts to about 18-24 cloves.  Yes, this is a serious garlic-lover’s recipe!  But don’t be afraid—the caramelizing will bring out the sweetness in the garlic.

Begin by separating the heads into individual cloves and peeling them.  For easier peeling, Foster recommends placing the cloves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, cooling, and then peeling.  (We’ve never tried this; to loosen the peel, I gently crush each clove with my chef’s knife.)

Next, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Once the oil is sizzling, throw in that garlic!  Just like with caramelizing onions, you’re going to want to reduce the heat to low and very slow sauté the garlic until it begins to brown, stirring often.  This could take anywhere from 25-30 minutes, so I recommend having a glass of wine, LaCroix on ice, or some funky dance music to keep you company.

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When there’s about 5 minutes left on the garlic, cook your spaghetti (we use Aldi’s gluten-free brown rice spaghetti), chop a tablespoon of fresh thyme, and chop some fresh, preferably heirloom tomatoes.

Once the garlic is caramelized, stir in the thyme and cook for a couple more minutes.  Then add about 1/3 cup chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer this altogether for about 5 minutes.  (Note: While this won’t look like enough sauce for the pasta, it really is!)

When the spaghetti is finished, toss the pasta with 2 beaten eggs, then add it to your pot.  Combine the pasta with the garlic mixture, then add Parmesan cheese and tomatoes and do a final toss.  Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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 Note: When Dan made this recipe in the winter with fully cured garlic, the garlic browned much more easily.  He made the recipe picture in this post with fresh, uncured garlic and had a harder time achieving full caramelization, we think due to the higher moisture content.  Search Google Images for “caramelized garlic” for examples.

Photography: Julie Oudman Perkins and Sarah Lindvall

Spaghetti with Caramelized Garlic and Tomatoes
Serves 3
A creamy pasta dish with caramelized garlic and fresh tomatoes.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 heads fresh garlic
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  4. 1/3 cup chicken stock
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. 6 oz spaghetti
  7. 2 eggs, beaten
  8. 3 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  9. 3 medium-sized tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Separate and peel garlic cloves.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic. Reduce heat to low and saute garlic for 25-30 minutes, until garlic begins to brown. Stir often.
  3. When there's about 5 minutes left on the garlic, cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  4. Chop tomatoes.
  5. When garlic is caramelized, stir in chopped thyme. Cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. When spaghetti is finished cooking, toss with the eggs. Combine the pasta with the garlic mixture in the pot and toss with Parmesan cheese and tomatoes.
  7. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.
Adapted from Linguine with Caramelized Garlic by Kimra Foster
Adapted from Linguine with Caramelized Garlic by Kimra Foster
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

How to Plant Garlic

Spaghetti.  Roasted chicken.  Foccacia Bread.  Hummus.  Pizza.  Pesto.  Pretty-Much-Any-Roasted-Vegetable.  What do all these foods have in common?  None of them would be the same without garlic.

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Instead of sharing a recipe this week, I’d like to show you how we grow garlic, a key cooking ingredient.  We grow hardneck garlic, or garlic that produces a flowering scape in the spring, as opposed to softneck garlic, which rarely flowers and is the garlic most commonly found in grocery stores.  Hardneck varieties have anywhere from 4-12 cloves, depending on the cultivar.  Each of these cloves has the capability to produce a new garlic bulb—that is, if you choose to plant the clove instead of eat it.

Garlic Planting Instructions

1. Consider Quantity

For hardneck garlic, 1 bulb planted yields anywhere from 5-8 new bulbs, depending on the number of cloves in the garlic variety.  To determine how much to plant, divide the amount you’d like to produce by 6.  For instance, if you’d like to yield 48 bulbs of garlic, you’d buy 8 bulbs to plant, or about 1 pound of seed garlic.

2. Consider Quality

People often ask if they can plant garlic they buy at the grocery store.  It’s a good question, but the answer is, “No!”  Seed garlic is graded at 2” diameter, because larger bulbs generally contain larger cloves.  When you plant large cloves, you yield large bulbs.  Also, store-bought eating garlic hasn’t been screened for diseases and may be susceptible to pests once planted.  We recommend purchasing seed garlic from a commercial garlic seed grower using organic growing methods, such as Perkins’ Good Earth Farm or Filaree Farm. 

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3. Break the Bulbs Apart

A few days before planting, break the bulbs into individual cloves.  Twist the top off the bulb, peel away the outer skins (not the individual clove skins), and remove the cloves.  We call this “popping”, and because it’s quite time consuming, we think popping works best as a group activity. 

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This year a group of Taylor University students helped pop garlic during a field trip to our farm.  Thank you, Taylor!

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4. Soak the Cloves

12 hours before planting, we soak our garlic in a solution designed to give a nutrient boost and to prevent disease and insect carry over.

Seed Soak Recipe

1. At least 12 hours before planting, soak cloves in 

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp fish seaweed fertilizer
  • 1 gallon water

2. Right before planting, dunk cloves in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes.

3. Plant immediately.

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5. Plant

Because of the amount of garlic we grow, we plant in the field behind our house.  A home gardener planting a small amount, however, might consider planting in a raised bed.  Either way, prepare rows 8-12 inches apart, and plant each clove 5-6 inches apart.  Cloves should be planted 3-4 inches deep here in Northwest Indiana because of the winter temperatures (in the south you could plant 1.5-2” deep).  Be sure to plant basal side down, as the roots grow from the base of the clove.  Cover the cloves with soil.

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This year we had the opportunity to try planting in a new way, with a garlic cart.  This cart was funded by a SARE grant, and was developed by us and Purdue agricultural engineering students.  We’re still in the experimentation stage with the cart, but we’re hopeful it will make commercial hardneck garlic planting more efficient and easier on the body. Click here to see a video of Dan using the cart to cover the planted garlic. 

Dan and Dirk Planting

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6. Mulch

Mulch heavily (3-5 inches deep) with weed-free straw for weed and moisture control.  There’s no need to remove the straw in the spring, as the garlic is strong enough to push through the mulch. You can also use grass clippings, but you’ll need to put a new layer on in the spring. 

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For more information on growing garlic, you are welcome to come visit us at our farm!  We also recommend reading Growing Great Garlic by Ron L. Engeland.  For recipe ideas, search for cookbooks from Gilroy’s Garlic Festival, such as this one we found at a used book store a few years ago.

Have you ever planted garlic before?  If so, how was your planting experience?  For those who prefer cooking to planting, what’s your favorite way to eat garlic?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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