Tag: Indiana food (page 1 of 2)

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: Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp

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A few weeks ago farm member Sarah Hamstra asked me if I’d ever tried beets in an apple crisp.  I had not, but since I’m a big fan of almost anything that gets topped with vanilla ice cream, I decided to give it a try.  As a base recipe, I used America’s Test Kitchen’s apple crisp recipe from their fabulous The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

The night I served this to my family, I told them it contained a special ingredient and they had to figure out what it was. Since my kids like beets and are used to eating my food experiments, no one seemed that surprised by the veggie addition, and everyone agreed that the new version was just as delicious as the original–yay!

I find this recipe is best made on a day when you have some time, maybe a Saturday morning (crisp works perfectly well for brunch!) or a relaxed Sunday afternoon.  Make yourself a cup of coffee or grab a glass of wine.  If you want to make it a family affair and you have children, enlist their help.  If you need some time alone, shoo those kiddos outside, put on some music, and simply enjoy yourself.

Start by prepping the topping.  First, cut 6 tablespoons of butter into 6 pieces and let soften.  Set aside.  Then preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking with parchment paper.  Place 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats on one side of the baking sheet and 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side.  (ATC calls for almonds, but since I never know which nut I’m going to find in the cupboard, I’ve tried all these–any of them works here.)  Bake for 3-5 minutes, until the oats and nuts are lightly toasted.  Set them aside to cool.

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Next, quarter 4 small beets, or cut 2 large beets into 1″ pieces–you’ll want to end up with about 1 cup of beet pieces.  While recipes with beets often call for peeling, if your beets are fresh and tender (like those found in your fall share), there’s no need to peel. Steam the beets for about 10 minutes.

Grab a large bowl and add 4 teaspoons lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch.  Whisk these together until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Keep this bowl close by; it’s where you going to be adding the rest of your filling ingredients.

Cut 4 Gala apples (or whatever kind of apple you have on hand) into 2″ pieces to end up with around 5 cups of pieced apples.  Next, half 1 cup of pitted dates.  Add both the apple and date pieces to the bowl.  Once the beets are done steaming, add them to the bowl, along with 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix this all together until the fruit/veggie pieces are coated.  Set aside.

If you have eight ramekins, lightly grease them to prepare them for the filling.  Ramekins work well for company or if you want to easily hand out individual servings.  If you don’t have ramekins, transfer the filling to a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.  Whichever you use, cover it tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

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Back to the topping.  First, set aside 1/4 cup each of the toasted nuts and oats.  You’ll be using them for finishing touches at the very end. Next, get out your food processor and pulse the following ingredients together until combined (about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, 5 tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Remember that butter you set aside at the beginning?  Add that, along with half of the toasted nuts, over the topping mixture and process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together.  Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses.

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Assuming your filling is finished baking, remove it from the oven, uncover, and stir well.  Cover the filling with pieces of the topping–it won’t cover it completely, which is fine.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking.  When the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges, you’re good to go!  Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. 

I recommend serving with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream.  Finally, sprinkle the reserved toasted nuts and oats on top of the ice cream.  Enjoy!

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 Photography: Anne Kingma

Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp
A unique take on a classic recipe.
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Ingredients
  1. Topping
  2. 1 cup GF old-fashioned rolled oats
  3. 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  4. 5 T Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour
  5. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
  6. 2 T granulated sugar
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1 tsp water
  9. 1/8 tsp salt
  10. 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
  11. Filling
  12. 4 tsp lemon juice
  13. 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  14. 4 small or 2 large beets, cut into 1" pieces and lightly steamed
  15. 5 Gala apples, cut into 2" pieces
  16. 1 cup pitted dates, halved
  17. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  18. pinch of salt
  19. pinch of cinnamon
  20. pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place oats on one side of the baking sheet and chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side. Bake 3-5 minutes, until oats and nuts are lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch in large bowl. Add apples, beets, dates, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until well coated. Place in 8 individual lightly greased ramekins or a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Pulse together the following ingredients until combined(about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, flour, brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, water, and salt. Place butter and half the toasted nuts over the topping mixture. Process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup each of nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses. Set aside remaining nuts and oats.
  4. Remove filling from oven, uncover, and stir well. Cover the filling with pieces of the topping.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking. Remove from oven when topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges.
  6. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve this crisp topped with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream. Sprinkle with reserved toasted nuts and oats.
  8. Enjoy!
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
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/

 

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

 

 

The Vinaigrette

When Dan and I got married, dear friends gave us a wedding gift of a wooden salad bowl and tongs, as well as several favorite salad and vinaigrette recipes.

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Eventually the tongs took on multiple uses, such as a drumstick for banging pots and pans when my boys were toddlers, and sadly, one day the tongs broke.  But we still use that wooden bowl for delicious salads, which, at their very core, consist of fresh greens and a vinaigrette.

The basis for every vinaigrette is three parts oil mixed with one part acid. The acid is usually a vinegar but can also be a citrus juice.  You can make any amount of dressing that you want and add all sorts of good stuff, but if you want the dressing to mix well and taste good, stick to an approximate 3:1 oil/acid ratio.  

How to choose your oil and vinegar?  1) Whatever tastes best to you!  2) Whatever complements your salad toppings. Here’s what I choose from most often:

OILS

  • olive
  • avocado
  • canola
  • sesame (in combination with olive or canola)

VINEGARS/CITRUS

  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • unseasoned rice vinegar
  • lemon juice

Combine your oil and vinegar in a jar or bottle, add a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and shake, shake, shake it! You’ve just made your own salad dressing. 

If you want to get a little more creative, here are some of my favorite ingredients to add, NOT all in the same dressing.

ADDITIONS

If you’ve never made your own dressing before, please don’t let all these lists intimidate you! Think of them as tools for unleashing your creative culinary genius on your next salad.  If you’d like specific recipes, here are a couple combinations I used in the past week.

For the single-serving salad I posted about on Monday, I made this:

Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • one clove minced garlic

On Sunday I made a chopped spinach salad (8 oz spinach) with blue cheese, chopped Paula Red apples, and caramel corn.  (Yes, caramel corn.  What can I say–I ran out of pecans but had just opened a bag of Chicago style popcorn!)  We’ll call this a honey mustard vinaigrette because syrup mustard just doesn’t quite sound right.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Rogers Golden Syrup (I ran out of honey.  Fortunately I had this cane syrup that, sadly, you can only purchase in Canada.  Thanks to my parents and Canadian relatives for keeping me stocked in this deliciousness!)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Note: My 8-year-old Harper declared this salad delicious and a little sour–I took that as an okay to make it again this week. 🙂

If you don’t use all your vinaigrette at once, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer, depending on your ingredients.  Make sure to shake it up again before using to mix together the oil and vinegar.

What’s your favorite vinaigrette?

Photography: Anne Kingma 

The Salad

Let’s talk about the most basic way to eat those leafy greens you’ll find nearly every week in your share: The Salad.

 Fresh greens and root crops make up the bulk of your fall share, and one of the great things about our greens is that they’re almost always harvested the morning of distribution, and if not the morning of, you’re getting them within just a a few days of harvest.  We’re talking serious freshness here, people.  Which makes them perfect for a leafy salad.

If you’re looking for something specific, try these fall salad recipes from the farm blog: Kale Salad with Apples and Figs , Chopped Salad with Asian GreensGreen with Maple Apples and Onions.

But this post is less about giving a specific recipe and more about giving you ideas for how to make a salad of whatever you have in the house, Waste-Free-Kitchen-yet-still-super-tasty-style.

The most basic salad is a simple side salad made up of about an ounce of fresh greens and tossed with your favorite dressing.  (Or, if you’re Farmer Dan, just greens.  For real!)

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1/4 oz serving for child / 1 oz serving for adult

We, however, often eat salad as our lunchtime meal, a time when we need more than greens to power through the rest of the day.  In this case, I like to top 2-3 ounces of greens with some combination of the following:

Savory Salad

fresh veggies, chopped or grated (peppers, cucumbers, beets, radishes)

cheese, grated or cubed (cheddar, havarti, pepper jack, mozzarella)

beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto)

meat (usually leftovers from the night before)

hard-boiled egg, chopped

fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, oregano, basil)

tortilla chips, crumbled

dressing (sometimes store-bought; sometimes a quick, homemade-for-one vinaigrette)

Sweet Salad

fresh fruit, chopped or sliced (apples, pears, strawberries, grapes)

cheese (Brie, cheddar, Camembert, blue cheese, gouda)

caramelized onions and garlic

nuts, chopped (pecans, walnuts, almonds)

dressing, like poppyseed or a honey-mustard vinaigrette

Here we go.  I’m going to make a salad here and now out of whatever’s in my fridge, pantry and garden, and show you what I come up with.  Be right back!

This is what I came up with:

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A little bit of this, a little bit of that: pepperoni, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, brick cheese, green onions, olives, red-wine vinegar/avocado oil/garlic vinaigrette

I used salad greens but you can use any type of green for your base–spinach, kale, mustard greens, tat soi, bok choy, beet greens–any kind of green!  Each one will give your salad a slightly different taste and texture–yay for culinary adventures!

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Later this week we’ll talk more about vinagraittes, the quick-and-easy salad dressing you can make in less than five minutes and that can truly make or break your salad’s flavor.

What are your favorite salad toppings?

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!

 

 

Recipe: Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Peaches on Corn Tortilla

This year’s biochar crop is Red Russian kale, a variety of the once-obscure, now-seen-everywhere garden green.  

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Dan talking kale with a Purdue student.

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Farm intern Matt and neighbor Luke harvesting kale for research, not eating. 🙂

Even though some foodies argue that kale has reached its popularity peak, plenty of others see kale as a kitchen staple that is here to stay.  (Despite the dismay of comedian Jim Gaffigan, and, yes, Dan and I did find this clip really funny even though we love our kale!)

Anyway.  Here’s a quick kale recipe I often make for lunch for just myself.  This can also easily be made for a group of family or friends.  

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  As it’s heating, slice a sausage in half–I used Gilbert’s Craft Cheddar Chicken Sausage.  Once the skillet is hot, fry the sausage or 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned.  

While the sausage is cooking, chop up 1 cup of kale and one small yellow peach (half a peach if it’s large). Once the sausage is done, remove it from the skillet and chop it into 1-inch pieces.

Add a little bit of olive oil to the skillet–you can skip this step if there’s enough fat from the sausage–and turn up the heat to medium-high.  Once the fat is hot, throw in the chopped kale and peach and saute 1-2 minutes.  Remove the peach and kale from the skillet.

You’re almost ready to eat!  Keeping the heat at medium-high, place one corn tortilla in the skillet and fry it for 20 seconds or so on each side.

Using tongs, put the tortilla on a plate, then pile on the chopped sausage, kale, and peaches.  Enjoy!

Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Peaches on Corn Tortilla
Serves 1
A quick and easy meal for lunch or dinner.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken sausage
  2. 1 cup kale
  3. 1 small yellow peach
  4. 1 corn tortilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. As it’s heating, slice a sausage in half. Once the skillet is hot, fry the sausage 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned.
  2. Chop kale and peach.
  3. Once the sausage is done, remove from the skillet. Chop sausage into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Add olive oil to the skillet if needed. Turn up heat to medium-high.
  5. Once the fat is hot, saute chopped kale and peach 1-2 minutes. Remove the peach and kale from the skillet.
  6. Keeping heat at medium-high, fry one corn tortilla for 20 seconds or so on each side.
  7. Place tortilla on a plate, then pile on the chopped sausage, kale, and peaches.
  8. Enjoy!
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/
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