Daily Archives: January 20, 2012


When the farm box came in, I needed to fortify myself with a quick lunch before I broke it down. Lively spinach captured my attention; with the eggs I had gotten from the Redondo Beach certified farmers market, the quart of homemade chicken stock I had just defrosted, and some good cheese, I could whip up a 10-minute soup that is as humble and elegant as its Italian roots. Stracciatella (translated as “torn apart) soup is a classic Roman soup that is a wonderful showcase for fresh spinach.

Just a few words about breaking down the farm box though. I made it sound arduous, but I was really just famished. All it entails is washing the produce within reason (some items, like fresh herbs or strawberries, shouldn’t be washed right away, it causes them to soften prematurely), storing it appropriately, and applying some thought into the cooking process.  But farm-grown spinach, unlike your store-bought, bagged spinach, needs to be triple washed. I do this in a salad spinner, first putting it in the basket inside the bowl, covering it with water, and allowing all of the sand to fall to the bottom. Then I fish the spinach out of the water, rinse it in a fresh stream, spin it, and repeat. After this process, you shouldn’t have any silt.  

Here’s the recipe for my 10-minute, super-nutritious and easy-peasy lunch:

Spinach Stracciatella Soup

Serves 4 to 6

4 cups good-quality or homemade, low sodium chicken stock

Grating fresh nutmeg on a microplane gives this soup depth of flavor

2 cups water

1 bunch fresh spinach, triple washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

pinch of fresh grated nutmeg

2 eggs and 1 egg white, beaten

salt and pepper

grated Parmesan cheese

Heat water and broth to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add spinach and nutmeg. Cook until spinach is wilted, then slowly pour in eggs while stirring. Season with salt and pepper, top with as much cheese as you like, and eat!

Farm Box Day

It’s our farm box delivery day, chock-full of emerald-green spinach, funky kohlrabi, the always welcome carrot and kale bundles, crunchy bok choy, “wildfire” salad mix, cilantro, sweet and crisp fuji apples, satsuma tangerines, navel oranges, broccoli and gem-like golden beets. I decided to tear into the spinach right away, and make something quick and satisfying for lunch. I whipped up a ten-minute Spinach Stracciatella Soup. I’ve been craving really clean foods since the excess of the holidays, and this soup delivered with depth of flavor, nourishment and simplicity.

Here’s how I am going to tackle the rest of the box:

Kohlrabi, Apple and Potato Mash with Seared Pork Tenderloin  This is a dish I’ve made a few times when kolhrabi showed up, and it was a hit with my family, especially my daughter, who liked the sweetness of the mash.

Sauteed Kale with Kolhrabi, Citrus and Pistachios  On the Tanaka Farms Facebook page, I followed a thread about kohlrabi, and one fan raved about a recipe that she had found on Epicurious.com, with sauteed kale, shaved raw kolhrabi, lots of citrus and pistachios.I think I’ll grate the raw golden beets in this as well, and make it my lunch tomorrow. 

Bok Choy, Broccoli and Beef Stir Fry  I’ll get a skirt steak and either do a soy-based or red curry sauce, then serve it with black rice.

Chicken Drumsticks with Chimichurri Sauce  The cilantro will become chimichurri, which we love to have on hand to accompany any kind of grilled meat. Here’s my tip when you are cooking for picky eaters like my daughter, but want to enjoy full flavors at every meal: Master a few sauces that can be served along with “plain” food. Chimichurri is one of those sauces. I’ve already grilled some drumsticks, seasoning them with salt, pepper and garlic powder (not to constantly sing the praises of Trader Joes, but I love their California Garlic Powder. There’s nothing in it but garlic, no preservatives or stabilizers), that I will reheat later, serve with chimichurri and some cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”

For the salad greens, I’ll use the navel oranges, sliced fujis and some kind of dried fruit, cheese and nut to accompany my weekly roasted chicken. Another tip: Hold on to the bones of the roasted chicken after you’ve carved the meat. Maybe even freeze them. I will post later on how you can turn it into easy and delicious stock that will transform your soup. My daughter, in fact, has claimed the carrots for her favorite chicken soup, made with this stock. She also hoarded the tangerines for her school lunch box. That zips up our farm box, neat and tidy! I’ll be adding recipes to the blog before the weekend, hope you come back to check them out!