Sides and Snacks

Roasted Root Vegetables

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carrots, red beets, white potatoes and parsley

When winter sets in, the best of the local farms, even those with extended growing seasons, will have a predominance of root vegetables to offer. No late tomatoes from the hoop house, no summer squash. In California, all of those crops have gone south to Mexico for the winter. Now we see these earthy, winter jewels in the farmer’s markets and CSA boxes: mature carrots and potatoes, beets of every color, sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery root.  Late winter can be monotonous, after you’ve received box after box of root vegetables, and options for cooking them seem to run out, but truthfully, there is one tried-and-true way to prepare the earth’s tubers: roast them.

Once you get started, the options become endless. The easy part is paring the skin with a vegetable peeler (though that combined with chopping them can be not-so-easy on wrists, power through, they are worth it), then cutting them into chunks of equal size. Douse them in sufficient olive oil and enough salt and pepper to appeal to the eye, then tuck them into a 350 degree oven, turning every 10 minutes or so. For the most part, they will tell you when they are done, with a slight brown edge and a pucker of flesh, but you can also pierce them with a fork or paring knife, or better yet, eat a chunk. Most vegetables take 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the cut.

Then come the options: Chopped herbs? Thick sliced shallots and garlic? A finish of vinaigrette at the end of cooking? A pesto rub before roasting? How about a honey or sugar glaze?

Use your imagination, go without a recipe, take some time to experiment with roasting, and enjoy the cozy comfort of these earthy winter gifts.

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chioggia beets, turnips and carrots with thyme

Did you make this recipe? Tag your photo #familyfarmbox

Cauliflower and Potatoes

Cauliflower Mashed PotatoesSubbing mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes is a novel trend, and for all of the right reasons: it has fewer carbohydrates, more fiber and is rich with vitamins C and K. But have you tried the swap on your kids? Not so popular at my dinner table, where I heard a hilarious conversation between my daughter and friend: “These mashed potatoes taste terrible!” “I think they’re that thing that parents do with the cauliflower instead of potatoes to make us eat cauliflower.” I was called out, a little ashamed that I was trying to pull one over, but the truth was, I liked it. In an attempt to meet in the middle, I made a half and half compromise, which won the whole family over. This mash is very light, using olive oil and chicken stock, but if you prefer a richer flavor, you can substitute butter and milk.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower, stem removed, broken into florets

2 bay leaves

1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into equally-sized chunks

1/2 cup of homemade chicken stock, or a good quality, low sodium boxed broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Fill a large stock pot with water and a generous pinch of salt. Add the cauliflower and bay leaves, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the cauliflower until slightly tender, then add the potatoes in with the cauliflower, and cook until the potatoes are tender to the probe of a fork. Drain the cauliflower and potatoes in a colander, shaking off the excess water.

Pass the cauliflower potato mixture through a ricer or food mill, squeezing the mixture back into the hot stock pot to help steam away any excess moisture. Discard the bay leaves. Add the chicken stock and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, tasting to adjust the seasoning.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes 2

Zucchini, Maui Onion and Carrot

zucchini a scapeceFresh, zesty and deeply flavored, this side dish is your perfect summer side dish to meat, chicken and fish pulled off the grill.

Zucchini, Maui Onion and Carrot a Scapece
Serves 4

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large Maui onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
5 large zucchini (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2″ rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat 1/3 cup oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and garlic, then add the carrots, cooking until golden. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then add the onions and garlic back in, along with the basil and mint leaves over. Drizzle the vinegar over the vegetable mixture and toss gently to coat, cooking for an addtional 3-5 minutes to glaze the vegetables. Serve immediately or chill overnight in the refridgerator, serving at room tempurature. Serve with grilled bread, meat, fish or chicken.

Caulilflower and Cilantro

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I’d been roasting, roasting and roasting cauliflower, it was time for a change. So I made this Spanish “rice” with black beans, and created a new favorite.

Spanish “Rice” with Black Beans

Serves 4

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, cut into a small dice

1 cup diced onion

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 head of  cauliflower, approximately 1 pound, stem, outer leaves and core removed, grated in a cheese grater or passed through the grating blade of a food processor

1 15-ounce can organic diced tomatoes (or use fire-roasted tomatoes)

1/2 cup homemade or good quality prepared chicken stock

1 15-ounce can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

Salt & pepper

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic, chile and onion. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin and coriander, cooking for 30 seconds to toast, then add the cauliflower, stirring to incorporate the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, then cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes with juices, chicken stock and beans, then season again to taste. Cover with a slightly cracked lid and cook for about 2-4 minutes, until cauliflower is slightly tender. Fold in the cilantro and serve.

 

Green Cabbage, Carrots, Kohlrabi

Little Shop of Horrors

Did your farm box have a “Little Shop of Horrors” head of cabbage in it? I managed to fit this huge beauty into three dishes. I served this slaw with Beef Stew in Red Wine with Root Vegetables.

Winter Slaw with Lemon Fennel Dressing

2 cups shredded cabbage, green or red

2 beets, grated

2 carrots, grated

1/2 cup of seasonal vegetables such as red onion, shallots, fennel, radish, turnip or kohlrabi

A handful of fresh soft herbs (use mint, fennel, dill, parsley and chervil), leaves picked and chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon of stone-ground mustard

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

Extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper

Mix the vegetables together with the fresh herbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, mustard, fennel, yogurt, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour enough dressing over the slaw to coat the vegetables, then taste for seasoning. Adjust with additional lemon juice, salt, or pepper as needed.

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.

 

Summer Succotash with White Corn, Red Maui Onion, Yellow Wax Beans, Summer Squash, Navel Oranges

 Always a hit during the warm weather months, I’ll serve this Summer Succotash along with grilled chicken or fish that has been simply seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Summer Succotash

Serves 6

1 tablespoon butter

1 red onion, diced

2 cups green or yellow beans, stem trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups zucchini, sunburst squash or yellow crookneck squash, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

4 white corn cobbs

1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock

zest and juice from one orange

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Heat over medium-high heat a large skillet and melt the butter. Add the onion and beans to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until slightly softened and browned, about 1 minute. Add the squash and corn, and cook for another minute. Pour in the chicken stock, orange zest and juice, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for another 3 minutes, until liquid has reduced and vegetables are still crisp, but tender. Stir in the basil, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Greens

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.

Romanesco Cauliflower

I’m giddy when Romanesco cauliflower, or broccoli, comes in the farm box. It’s just so stunning with its bewitching pattern of lime-green florets, and a change of pace from ordinary cauliflower, with its sweet, nutty flavor. It is delicious raw, but I love it roasted. This is a dip that I like to eat with Akmak crackers or warm pita bread.

Romanesco Cauliflower, Carrot and Feta Dip

1 head Romanesco cauliflower, or a half head of regular cauliflower, cut into 2-inch pieces

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

4 whole cloves peeled garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 pinch chile flakes

salt and pepper

4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, plus more for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the Romanesco cauliflower, carrots and garlic on a baking sheet, and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with oregano, chile flakes, salt and pepper, and roast in oven until vegetables become very soft and browned around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Place vegetables and remaining olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add feta cheese and pine nuts and process until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove from food processor and top with pine nuts. Serve with crackers, bread or vegetables to dip. Can be stored in refrigerator for a week.

Bella’s Favorite Applesauce

Those fuji apples from two weeks ago haven’t made it to the lunch box, so I’m making a special treat for my daughter, steaming them with organic simple syrup and a cinnamon stick, then pulsing them in the food processor for a super-yummy applesauce. This applesauce can be modified in so many ways! Throw in very soft strawberries, persimmons or pears. Use nutmeg, cloves or allspice for a unique flavor profile. You could also sweeten this with fruit juice instead of the sugar/water combination.

Bella’s Favorite Applesauce

Makes 2 cups of applesauce

2 cups of apples, skin on, cut from core into chunks (or berries, persimmons, pears, stonefruit)

2 tablespoons organic sugar, minimally processed

4 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon organic butter

1 cinnamon stick

Put the apples, sugar, water, butter and cinnamon stick in a covered sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes, until the fruit is soft to the touch of a fork. Remove fruit and juices from the pan into the bowl of a food processor. Puree applesauce until it is very smooth and no skins are visible. Eat right away or store in the fridge for 3 days.

Cut apples away from the core, then into chunks.Process apples until they are smooth and no skins are visible.

The warm applesauce is wonderful, but it can be stored in your fridge for 3 days.