Tag: spinach

Recipe: Orzo with Spinach and Garlic

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

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

Here are the instructions from Trisha’s kitchen:

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


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.


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.


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. 


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


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! 🙂


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How to Make a Buddha Bowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photography: Anne Kingma



Recipe: Spinach 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.


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.


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: California Rolls with Radishes and Greens

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


Photography and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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Recipe: Breakfast Salad with Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus and Spinach

Nothing says spring like asparagus, those tender tips somehow staying intact as they push themselves up and out of the soil, growing tall into supple purple or green spears, noble and strong, almost too beautiful to eat.


And yet eat them we do.  Last year our oldest son (5 years old at the time) begged me to buy asparagus during the winter from the grocery store aisle, and I refused, saying he’d have to wait until spring.  When spring finally arrived, he ate asparagus for three meals a day, three days straight, until he was so sick of asparagus he wouldn’t eat another bite no matter how I prepared it. 

This year, he’s pacing himself.  We’re eating asparagus every other day, mostly for dinner.  However, when you wrap that asparagus in bacon and top it with over-easy eggs, you have yourself a pretty good breakfast dish.  And this next part should come as no surprise.  Here at the Perkins’ household, we serve our bacon-wrapped asparagus and eggs on what?  You guessed it.  A bed of greens.

Start by getting your hands on some good asparagus.  We have a small patch here at our farm, but not enough to sell.  I recommend purchasing your asparagus from local growers Butch and Carol Zandstra if you live in Northwest Indiana.  You can find their asparagus at Tysens or Kal-Bro in DeMotte.


Next, choose how you want to cook your asparagus: oven, skillet, or grill, Since it’s spring and gorgeous outside, I’m choosing the grill for this time around, so I’m going to start by firing up my quaint little charcoal grill.



You’re going to want to thoroughly wash the asparagus to make sure all the grains of sand are removed from the tips.  Then trim the spears, both to remove the woody ends and to create a uniform length.  Separate the spears into groups two or three.

After that, mince some garlic and mix it into a little olive oil, then brush this onto the asparagus spears.

Now for the bacon—yum!  Grab a slice of bacon (I got mine from Yesteryears Meat Market in DeMotte) and wrap it around the asparagus spears, starting at the bottom of the spears and working your way to just below the tips.  If you want to make sure the bacon stays wrapped around the asparagus, you can secure it with toothpicks.

Assuming the grill’s ready to go, let’s get those bacon-wrapped spears cooking!  On my charcoal grill, this happens pretty quickly.  You may need place tinfoil over the grate to make sure the bacon has enough time to cook all the way through–it all depends on your grill–and you’ll need to flip the bacon-wrapped asparagus once during the grilling process.


Meanwhile, get your greens ready by placing about 2 cups of trimmed baby spinach on each plate. 

Then, when the asparagus has about 5 minutes left on the grill, heat up your skillet or griddle.  (If you have an electric griddle, you can probably cook all the eggs at once, depending on how many people you’re serving.)  Cook the eggs over-easy—the runny yolks serves as the “dressing” for this salad.

Top each bed of greens with two bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles, and two over-easy eggs over the asparagus.  Sprinkle with freshly-ground black pepper, and eat immediately while it’s hot!


Photos and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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6 Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Each week you, as a farm member, take home 5-8 different types of leafy greens:

  • Baby salad greens
  • Baby spinach
  • Mesclun mix
  • Beet greens
  • Radish greens
  • Carrot tops
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard

Fall Share You’re receiving enough leafy greens by now that you could probably eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I want to help you do just that.  Here are six ways you can eat your greens this week.

1. In a Sandwich

The boys and I had lunch at the park last week, and I brought the fixing for bologna sandwiches.  I made mine by lightly spreading mayonnaise over Wasa rye crisps, then adding two pieces of bologna and a generous layer of mustard greens.  If I’d thought to bring them along, I would have added green onions.  So delicious I had to make another.

2. As a Base

Tender baby salad greens, mesclun mix, and/or baby spinach work wonderfully as a base for fried rice.  I make Indonesian fried rice (Nasi Goreng) and place it directly from the hot wok onto a plate of greens, where the heat from the rice gently wilts the greens.  You can also use salad greens as a base for re-heated leftovers or stir-fry.

3. Sautéed or Steamed

This is the perfect option for cooking greens like Swiss chard, kale, and large spinach.  One of Dan’s favorite side dishes is lightly steamed Swiss chard sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

4. As a Salad

This option almost goes without saying.  Try a savory salad with fresh herbs, green onions, peanuts, and a touch of sesame oil one day, and a sweet salad with apples, toasted walnuts, and gorgonzola the next.  By varying your toppings (cheese, nuts, beans, fruits, veggies, meat, dressing), the possibilities are endless.

5. In a Soup

You can add chopped cooking greens to many soups.  One of our favorites is Spicy Potato Sausage and Greens Soup (From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook), a delicious soup made with chicken broth and topped with a spoonful of cream.  You can also make soups where greens star as the main ingredient.  This past summer I tried a new recipe, Kale Potato Soup, from the cookbook Simply in Season (one of our beloved cookbooks!).  The kale—cooked and pureed—turned the soup completely green.  Before I showed it to my boys, I told them we were having a very special dish for dinner: HULK SOUP.  Dinner that night was full of loud outbursts as we all morphed into Hulk over and over again, but Harper and Asher cleaned out their bowls with no problem.

6. In a Smoothie

Every day Dan and I drink a quart of green smoothie, a beverage made up of 1/2 to 2/3 greens, and 1/2 to 1/3 fruit.  I started drinking green smoothies about a year ago, after Dan’s parents introduced me to Victoria Boutenko’s Greens for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution.  Since then I’ve experienced an increase in energy and a significant decrease in allergic reactions—I think of green smoothies as my daily dose of a super-vitamin.

If you’ve never made a green smoothie before, here are two important considerations:

  • Use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Nutribullet. You can use a standard blender, but the greens may not blend well, resulting in an unpalatable drink.  Also, Boutenko describes how greens, which are high in cellulose, are more easily assimilated into the body when broken-down in a high-speed blender.
  • Rotate your greens for maximum nutritive benefits. Boutenko recommends rotating a variety of at least 7 greens.

For more information, read Boutenko’s “Guidelines for Green Smoothie Consumption for Optimal Health Benefits.” 

As I said at the beginning of this post, you’re getting enough greens to eat them for three meals a day—including breakfast.  This week I made a frittata with radish greens and beet greens, green onions, herbs, and potatoes.  Pair the frittata with a green smoothie, and you’re off to a great start to your day.

Potato Garlic Herbs

Begin by prepping the vegetables: chop the green onions, leafy greens of your choice, and herbs, and slice the potatoes.  I used fingerling potatoes in this recipe, sliced thinly so I didn’t have to cook them ahead of time.  If you don’t have fingerlings, use baby red or baby Yukon gold potatoes.

Once your veggies are ready, heat your skillet over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I used my cast iron skillet—if you don’t have cast iron make sure your frying pan is flameproof as this dish requires broiling for its finishing touch.

Green Onions

Add the chopped green onions and sauté for about three minutes, until they’re just browning around the edges.  Push the onions to the side of the skillet, then add the potatoes and spread them evenly over the base of the pan.  Let the potatoes sit for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly beat 6 eggs.  Add ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk) and add a touch of salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Potatoes in Skillet

Flip the potatoes and let the other side sit for about four minutes.  The first side should be golden brown.  Once the potatoes are done, add the greens, garlic, and herbs and cook for another two minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Preheat the broiler to high.  Spread the greens/potato/herb mixture evenly over the base of the skillet, then pour the eggs over the potato mixture.  Press the veggies under the eggs, then evenly sprinkle the cheese on top.

Frittata in Skillet

Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the eggs are just beginning to set.  Then place the skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (do not overbroil!) until the frittata is set and golden.

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You can serve the frittata hot, warm, or cold and cut into wedges.  If you’d like, serve with pancakes (I made gluten-free oatmeal pancakes) and a green smoothie made of spinach, beet greens, banana, and tropical frozen fruit mix.

Scroll down for the printables of the Potato, Green Onions, and Greens Frittata and the Every Day Green Smoothie.

How do you eat your greens?  I’d love to hear your ideas–leave me a comment and let me know!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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