Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pink Lady Apples

This is my favorite dessert, whether I use apples, peaches, berries or pears. The pink lady apples are delightful in this crumble, sweet and slightly crisp.

Apple Crumble

Use any fruit you like, about 3 pounds. You could even combine fruits as well.


6 pink lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch slices

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup sugar (I use organic)

2 tablespoons all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

1 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

8 tablespoons of cold butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.

Place apples in a large mixing bowl and toss with sugar, lemon juice, flour, and cinnamon. Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (I use canola or olive oil spray), and spread out into an even layer. Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix together the nuts, flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for the topping. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, gently work in the cold butter until pea-sized lumps are formed.

Top apples evenly with mixture and bake until apples are bubbly and topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes, rotating once halfway through cooking.

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream

Golden Beets, Leeks, Navel Oranges and Kale

This is a sweet and clever collaboration of several ingredients in the farm box this week, which could accompany grilled salmon or chicken breasts, or simply be savored it on its own.  I can’t wait to eat it again.

Brown Rice Salad with Leeks, Roasted Golden Beets, Kale and Orange Maple Dressing

I use  a rice blend from Trader Joes that has brown rice, black barley and radish seeds, but you could use a blend of wild rice and brown rice as well.

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 leeks, white and light greens sections, cut into rings, well washed

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 cup brown rice, or brown rice mixture (wild rice, red quinoa, barley)

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

teaspoon salt, plus salt and black pepper to taste

1 head kale, tough ribs removed, leaves cut into small pieces

3 golden beets, washed and trimmed, roasted in foil packet, cut into slices


1 orange, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Cook the kale until it turns a vivid green, then remove from heat so the color remains.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil to a shimmer over medium-high heat. Cook leeks and garlic until tender while stirring, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir with oil and leek mixture, allowing to slightly toast the rice, for about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and salt, stir, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked but slightly firm. Cool and fluff with a fork.

In a skillet, heat another tablespoon of olive oil, and cook kale until bright green. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine orange zest and juice, vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Mix the kale with the rice, beets and dressing. Season with salt and pepper, serve or hold in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Carrots and Snap Peas

My daughter loves to eat carrots and snap peas raw, especially with ranch dressing to dip them in, but store-bought has over 30 ingredients in it, including MSG and other preservatives. So we make a homemade version, which I think is even more delicious. I keep it light by using Greek yogurt, and make the flavor extra bright by using fresh herbs. You can use half the amount of dried herbs if fresh are not available.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 cup low fat greek yogurt

1/2 cup low fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and season. Chill for 3o minutes or store in refrigerator for up to a week. Use as a salad dressing or veggie dip.

Farm Box Day

Golden beets, sugar snap peas, grapefruits and leeks were some new additions this week, and we also got favorites like tender carrots, spinach, romaine, kale, navel oranges and bok choy. There are some more pretty pink lady apples. As fortune would have it, we have apples left over from our last delivery, so now I have enough to make an apple crumble. There’s another bunch of cilantro, which has an uncertain future. Maybe I’ll see if I can find some nice tomatoes at the farmers market and make a pico de gallo.

Getting all of the produce cleaned up felt like bringing my kid home from the beach. There was so much sand to contend with, I threw everything in the salad spinner and triple washed everything. I cut the tops of the leeks off, saved a few of them for upcoming chicken stock. I lopped the beets away from the greens, threw them in a foil packet for roasting, then prepped the greens to put in a wild rice salad where I’ll include leeks, beets, oranges and kale. I practically scrubbed the spinach clean, then stashed it in a bag for later. I’ll make a snack out of those sweet carrots and sugar snap peas with a homemade ranch dip to take to Abalone Cove tomorrow. I’ll also bring a nice green salad for the moms.

Before the weekend is over, I’ll have posted my recipe for Apple Crumble, the Wild Rice, Beet and Greens Salad with Maple Orange Dressing and the Homemade Ranch Dip. Have fun cleaning your greens!

Swiss Chard

I’m bringing a dish to a friend’s house, and with not much more than swiss chard, eggs and bread in my pantry, I put this savory bread pudding together. Sometimes humble beginnings beget greatness.

Swiss Chard Bread Pudding

Serves 8 to 12

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

2 bunches Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, cut into fine strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 eggs, beaten

3 cups half and half

1/2 cup goat cheese, softened

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 cups crusty French or country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3 quart oblong baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chard, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, half and half, and cheeses to combine. Mix in the bread and stir until moistened. Stir in the cooked vegetables, then transfer to the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour, until the top is set and the top is golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes, then serve.

Cilantro and Carrots

With huge, beautiful parcels of cilantro and carrots, I made Mexican Chicken Soup. Two things really make this soup shine, using a homemade chicken stock and jam-packing it with fresh cilantro. Don’t be shy, use up that entire bunch!

Mexican Chicken Soup

Serves 8

Olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

6 carrots, peeled and sliced

6 celery stalks, sliced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

salt and pepper

8 cups homemade or good-quality chicken stock

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 

1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed from stems, coarsely chopped

2 cups frozen organic corn

1 15-ounce jar good quality salsa

1 to 2 juiced limes

Tortilla chips, shredded jack cheese or avocado slices for garnish

Shave the cilantro leaves from the stems holding your chef's knife at an angle.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, then add onions and garlic, cooking while stirring until slightly brown. Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper, cooking until vegetables are soft. Add chicken stock and chicken breasts, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. After chicken has cooked for about 10 minutes, remove from the stock and shred into small pieces. Return the chicken to the soup, and stir in cilantro, corn, salsa and lime juice. Heat soup to a simmer, then season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese or avocado, if desired.


Save those tops on the beet and turnip bundles, as this dish is a perfect way to make them shine. You can whip this up in minutes, the most time consuming part of the prep is washing the greens. I used packaged steamed brown lentils from Trader Joe’s, but you could cook your own dried lentils, they take about 30 minutes in boiling water.




Remove the thick stems from the greens and slice into thin ribbons.

Spiced Lentils with Greens

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

Serves 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

3 garlic cloves, skins removed, sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound tender greens, such as Swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, spinach or turnip greens, thick stems removed, sliced thin, triple washed

16 ounces of cooked lentils

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Heat a large skillet and add olive oil, heating to a shimmer. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook until liquid releases and mushrooms brown. Add spices and salt and heat until fragrant, then stir into the mushrooms. Add greens, in batches if necessary, and wilt, turning with tongs. Add lentils and stock, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until greens are tender and stock is reduced. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Farm Box Day

We had a mix of cold weather harvest and tender spring crops this week, with highlights that included sweet, young strawberries and Japanese white turnips. The farm box was also packed with spinach, carrots, cilantro, red beets, red leaf lettuce, navel oranges, clementines, pink lady apples, kale and broccoli.

I was happy to see all of the greens, as I’m looking forward to trying a recipe I found in Food and Wine magazine, Spiced Lentils with Greens. I’ll use the beet and turnip tops, plus the spinach. For the rest of the box, I am planning a Mexican Chicken Soup, utilizing the carrots and cilantro. I steamed the broccoli tonight, which I served with brown rice and teriyaki flank steak. The steak is sliced thin, pan seared it, and cooked it with Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce, a favorite quick family dinner!

I’ll be pickling the beets and turnips, and putting them in a Red Leaf Lettuce, Clementine and Edamame Salad with Rice Wine Pickled Beets and Japanese White Turnips, it will be tossed with an Asian-style, gingery dressing,. I have fixings, and plenty of kale, to make another batch of Portuguese Green Soup, which I constantly play with; I’ve discovered a new turkey sausage that I love, and I’ll throw in the sweet carrots. I’ll have a few recipes and posts to put up before the weekend is over, and until then, happy farm box day!