This week you (Durham and Pick-Ups only) received some dark little berries called blackcurrants. Through taste-testing in the field, we discovered that they are rather tart and could be tastier if sweetened. So here are some ideas to get those vitamin C infused, ant-oxidant rich berries into your family. This will probably be the only week you will be receiving currants, as I think they are officially the slowest thing on the farm to harvest. There were people picking them all day yesterday and into today, just to get a little for everyone.
Who doesn’t love a good breakfast smoothie, especially for hectic mornings? Make this the night before and wake up to a nutritionally solid start to your day. From itv.com
Blackcurrant Breakfast in a Glass
2 bananas, rough cut
1 punnet of blackcurrants (200g), stripped from their stems
115g porridge oats
2 tablespoons runny honey
240ml 0% fat Greek yogurt
300ml skimmed milk
12 ice cubes
Process all the ingredients in your blender and serve in four glasses.
Maybe you need a pick- me-up in the afternoon. Here’s a tropical energy smoothie recipe from the Blackcurrant Foundation. And yes, there is a Blackcurrant foundation (www.blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk). Who knew? They also have a lovely dinner idea for pork-eaters. If none of these ideas appeals, why not add the blackcurrants to your favorite muffin recipe?
Fruitful Burst of Energy Smoothie
50g fresh or thawed blackcurrants
110ml pineapple juice
1/3 of a banana
3 1/2 teaspoons coconut milk
Press the blackcurrants through a sieve using a spoon, discarding the pulp that’s left behind. Add the blackcurrant juice you have made to the other ingredients and whizz them all together.
Now you can say you have cooked/prepared blackcurrants. Yet another notch on your local eating belt!
Picking the peas was a great way to start today in the nice cool morning. The weather is giving us some sweet relief from an incredibly hot and stormy week. Sugar snap peas are fresh out of the field this week and they are my favorite of all peas! They have sweet flavour paired with the ease of using the whole pod. So, please don’t sit there shelling your peas- the whole pod was made to be enjoyed.
Also new this week is cauliflower- and I must say, it is an achievement. Cauliflower is very vulnerable to pests that are extemely hard to control organically. This is the reason we have not grown more in the past. However, in the shelter of the greenhouse, it looks like the bugs were unsuccessful in finding their favourite treat. Why not try wrapping your cauliflower in tin foil and grilling it?
There are still many leafy greens decorating your box. Try to enjoy them for their versatility- salads, pastas, soups, sauteed on their own or with those sassy garlic scapes! You can even try adding them to smoothies for a little “green power” or using them in an omelette. As more of the other vegetables become available, they will gradually replace some of the greens.
So, here is what you are receiving this week and some recipe ideas.
-asparagus (last week folks, savour it!)
-green leaf lettuce
-red leaf lettuce
-rainbow swiss chard
-large sugar snap peas
-snow peas (York & Durham) or black currants (Durham & Pickup)
-red beets (first crop this year!)
-kohlarabi (those light green or purple martian heads with big leaves)
Now for the recipes:
Snow Pea and Bean Sprout Stir-Fry: Try this Lightning-fast Vegetarian Main Dish!
(Adapted From Fresh Juice Magazine, June/July 2012)
-pint clamshell of snow peas
-4 cups bean sprouts
-2 tbsp. peanut or other oil
-3 garlic scape stems, chopped
-1.5 cups julienned fresh shitake mushroom caps
-3 green onions, sliced thinly on a diagonal
-pinch granulated sugar
-1 tsp. light soy sauce
1. Pull off strings from peas. Stack 3 or 4 pods and slice lenthwise into 3 or 4 thin strips to make julienne.
2. Pinch off roots and brown seeds from bean sprouts.
3. In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, onions and garlic scapes, and stir fry one minute. Add peas, sugar and 3 tbsp. water, stir-frying until peas are tender and water has evaporated (1-2 mins). Add bean sprouts and soy sauce; stir fry for 1 minute. (Serves 4)
One of my customers was kind enough to share that her family’s favourite way to enjoy spinach was cheese canneloni. I found this recipe online, which is fabulous and hearty, but I must add a few tweaks. The recipe uses frozen spinach, which to me would be more suitable as hockey pucks. Instead, use your fresh organic Ontario spinach, chop it up, steam it for a few minutes (wilted but still vibrant in colour), and then drain it (I squish out the water to save time with my hands). Add as directed. Also, your garlic scapes can be used the same as garlic cloves, so you can easily use this instead of purchasing garlic. Here’s the basic recipe http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/Spinach-and-Cheese-Cannelloni-L1412.html .
Finally, a few ideas for the whole sharers with that odd vegetable called kohlrabi. Try it raw or roasted this week. The green are good to eat also.
It may be simply sweltering out there, but it is still early in the season.
The peas are flowering- a sure sign of things to come and the raspberries are forming little buds of their fruit. The asparagus is growing so fast, you could almost watch it move up towards the sun before your eyes. I was hoarding every last stalk to put in your Farm Share boxes, only to discover that the very next day, many more bunches had emerged from the ground.
The variety is still limited as we wait out new growth. I am eagerly spying out the progress of each row, hoping to tbe the first to discover it’s fruits. I was lucky enough this week to discover red currants, flashing their striking colour from humble little bushes. While I dreamt up ways to use them, my toddler gobbled them up as is- apparently he’s not afraid of a little tartness. Later, we added them to pancakes with cinnamon of course. And what about on salad? They’ve got the flavour burst and bright colour working for them there. Before I get too into the romance of growing vegetables, here is a list of what you can expect in your Farm Share box this week:
-Currants or Snow Peas
-Red or Russian Kale
-Green Leaf lettuce
-Potted Basil (We ran out for Durham region- I will send you them as soon as we have more)
-Red or Russian Kale
-Green Leaf lettuce
-Rutabaga or Snow Peas
-Red Swiss Chard
You may wonder why I feel the need to cook everything. Well, I went raw for our side tonight and I did not mind one bit. I rediscovered baby bok choy as the main show in a salad. Easy, delicious, and suprising.
1lb. baby bok choy, cleaned and sliced ot combination of baby bok choy and swiss chard
2 tbsp. chopped chives
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a glass jar with a lid, mix together olive oil, white vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Close the lid, and shake until well mixed.
Combine the bok choy, chives, almonds, and dried cranberries or currants in a salad bowl. Toss with dressing, and serve.
For those of you with little ones who can’t quite chew salad (my 14 month old was a gummy grinner for the longest time), try cooking leftover swiss chard or spinach in a little almond milk with the lid on, then stir in some goat cheese (or whatever cheese your little one fancies). He gobbled it up- but then again, he has a thing for cheese.
Just a side note on bok choy- it makes a stellar side for fish, even just simply sauteed with your favorite oil and seasonings until wilted.
After the arrival of your first box, I’m sure some things were gobbled up right away and you did not even have to think about how you were going to use them. Other vegetables might be hard enough for you to identify, never mind to cook into something wonderful. Here are some ideas to help these new veggies out of the fridge, and into your belly.
Rutabaga: That giant root vegetable that could double as a medicine ball for being so heavy!
Here’s a recipe from Foodland Ontario for a side dish of rutabaga on its own. The directions are for microwave, but for myself and other microwave-shunners, I’m sure this could easily be made on the stovetop, or better yet, roasted in the oven.
Rutabaga Creamy Gingered RutabagaFor a flavour change this zesty rutabaga recipe really delivers. It freezes well and is a good use for leftover mashed Ontario Rutabaga.
Preparation Time: Not Available
Cooking Time: Not Available
Microwave Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: 4 Ingredients:
•1 small Ontario Rutabaga (½ lb/250 g), cubed (4 cups/1 L)
•¼ cup (50 mL) water
•½ cup (125 mL) cubed cream cheese
•1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
•¼ tsp (1 mL) each of ground ginger and salt
•A pinch each of ground nutmeg and pepper
Cut 1 small Ontario Rutabaga (½ lb/250 g) into cubes, about 4 cups/1 L. Cook covered, in 4 cup (1 L) casserole dish in ¼ cup (50 mL) of water on High for 10 minutes or until fork tender; drain well and mash. Stir in ½ cup (125 mL) cubed cream cheese, 1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar, ¼ tsp (1 mL) each of ground ginger and salt and a pinch each of ground nutmeg and pepper.
Last night I made a nice creamy asparagus and rutabaga soup which contained very little added anything! Creamy does not have to mean using fatty creams. The vegetables themselves puree into a nice thick and creamy texture.
-1 tbsp. of butter
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 medium or 1/2 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 3-in lengths (use most of the way down the stalk- it should be tender, even close to the bottom)
-2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
-2 cups water (liquis should just cover vegetables)
-garlic powder, white pepper and salt to taste
-plain yogurt or sour cream to garnish
-chives, chopped, to garnish
1. Melt butter in large stock pot. Add onion and sautee until softened.
2. Wash, peel and chop rutabaga and asparagus
3. Add broth and water and bring to a boil.
4. Add rutabaga and asparagus and bring to a boil again.
5. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or until very tender.
6. Transfer to blender in batches (be careful pureeing hot liquids!) and season to taste.
7. Garnish with plain yogurt or sour cream and chives if desired.
We’re back! I’m excited to bring you the fruits of our labours on the farm, and share a little in your culinary adventure as we hunt down new recipes to enjoy some wonderful foods that don’t come in a box.
It was a far from uneventful first day packing your Farm Share boxes. We had a new staff to train, a sudden storm complete with a little hail, and a power outage. After many half-blind trips to the cooler to distribute the freshly-picked vegetables, we came up with the little box of surprises we call Farm Share. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the curveballs life throws at you.