Monthly Archives: September 2012

Farm Box Day

School’s back in session, and we’re back on track with our farm box delivery. I was chomping at the bit to get meals for the weekend done, as we have a full schedule of work, birthday parties and, hopefully, a lot of relaxing. Our box held Russet potatoes, carrots, kale, red leaf lettuce, grapefruit, Fuji apples, yellow wax beans, zucchini, cucumbers, green grapes, and vine-ripened tomatoes. There were options for cooking and for eating straight out of the box. We’ll enjoy the grapes and grapefruit for breakfast on Sunday morning, and I’m excited about turning everything else into dinner. Here’s what’s cooking at my house today:

Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes and Carrots

Sesame Tofu Stir Fry with Brown Basmati Rice and Red Leaf Lettuce Cups

Chunky Gazpacho with Almond Cilantro Pesto and Garlic Croutons

Grilled Maple Glazed Pork Loin Chop with Apple, Onion and Kale Saute

Recipes coming right up (that’s the work part of the weekend.) Hope you enjoy your farm box!

Kale

I love kale! I love that Farmer Kenny has crops and crops of it! There are times, however, when I daydream that I have a secret life as the New York Times bestselling cookbook author of Fifty Shades of Kale. In this popular tome, kale is transformed from a staple in soups, smoothies and “hand-massaged raw salads” and turned into something surprising. Fifty totally unique recipes, not a kale chip in the bunch. When I saw that Trader Joe’s had a “reduced guilt” Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip, I thought, “Wow, that’s different!” I had a of parcel of kale in my cold drawer at home, so I did what any sneaky creative home cook would do…I took a photo of the ingredient label and bought what I needed to copycat the recipe at home.

Of course, I added my own spin on the TJ’s dip. I didn’t do anything dehydrated, left out the canned water chestnuts and frozen chopped spinach, omitted the xanthan gum (where the heck would I get that?) and added white wine. This makes me more of a copykitten than cat and, as a result, “reduced guilt.” I hope you love it and your kale!

Farm Box Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

Serves 6

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup chopped green onions, green and white portions

1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped, about 3 cups

1 stalk celery, chopped

Olive oil

Sea Salt

Pinch red chile flakes

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup strained Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons natural mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. When oil heats, add garlic, red pepper, carrots, onion and kale, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and chile flakes, and add wine. Cook wine until reduce slightly, about 1 minute, then remove the kale mixture from the pan and cool.

Put kale mixture into the bowl of a food processor, then add yogurt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Process the mixture until combined but chunks of vegetables are visible. Taste the mixture for additional seasoning, if needed, and serve with bread, crackers or vegetables.

Bell Peppers and Red Jalapeno Chiles

Bella and I planted red bell pepper and jalapeno seedlings at the beginning of the summer, so with a plethora of home-grown peppers, I made a batch of this year’s hottest condiment, harissa. This North African sauce can be purchased in jars, but is a cinch to prep at home. The effort pays off with a fresh, snappy bite that is a delicious accent to vegetables, meats and eggs.

Backyard Pepper Pot Harissa

Makes 2 cups

2 red bell peppers

6 red jalapeno chiles

6 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

olive oil

Char the peppers over an open flame, either on a gas range or grill, until the skin is blackened all over. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover to steam the skin away from the pepper. Cool for 10 minutes, then rub the blackened skin away from the peppers with a paper towel. Pull out the stem, pull the peppers into strips and discard the seed pod. Don’t worry about any bits of blackened skin or seeds still clinging to the peppers, they can be included in the sauce.

Place peeled, seeded peppers in a food processor with the garlic, salt, coriander, cumin and enough olive oil to make the pepper mixture slightly moist. Process the peppers until they are smooth and taste for seasoning, adjusting if needed. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Collard Greens

We’re going Brazilian for Labor Day…barbecue, that is. You may know that my husband is from Rio de Janiero, where meat is king and starch is its royal court. Every few weeks, we throw some rock salt on a tri tip and grill it to succulent perfection. Nothing beats that salty, charred crust, which we serve up with white rice, black beans, farofa and molho Brasieiro, a salsa-like tomato topping.

But I’m a veggie girl who needs to have a good dose of greens in every meal, so I always serve up a traditional churrasco side dish of sauteed collard greens, which you might find in your farm box late winter through late summer. You can include these on any barbecue menu, they add a lively, bitter crunch to whatever you throw on the grill.

Brazilian Collard Greens (Couve a Mineira)

Serves 4-6

1 1/4 pound collard greens, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves halved lengthwise

3 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Cutting these collard greens into micro-thin slices helps them cook quickly and taste fresh and bright.

Stack half of collard leaves and roll into a cigar shape. Cut crosswise into very thin strips (1/16 inch wide). Repeat with remainder.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, 30 seconds. Add collards with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt and cook, tossing, until just tender and bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjust if neccesary, and serve.