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Lazy Summer Lasagna

Ingredients

  • Fresh pasta sheets, cut into eight 5” squares (note: you can use store-bought lasagna, cooked, cooled slightly, and cut into 5” lengths)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 small yellow squash (or more zucchini), sliced thin
  • 2 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, summer savory (or oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin

Directions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta sheets, two at the time (to prevent sticking), 3-5 minutes until al dente. Transfer, with tongs, to a plate.
  • In a sauté pan, add oil over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and onions, and cook 5-7 minutes until golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Transfer garlic and onion to a medium bowl, and set aside. In the same sauté pan, add zucchini and summer squash, and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring, until translucent.
  • Add ricotta, summer savory, basil, salt and pepper to the bowl with garlic and onion. Stir well and season to taste.
  • To assemble, place one pasta sheet on a plate. Spread with ricotta-herb mixture. Top with zucchini, summer squash and tomato slices. Finish with an additional pasta sheet, if desired. Season to taste with additional herbs, salt and pepper. Repeat to make a total of four lasagnas.


From www.fresh365online.com

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Fresh This Week Tips – July 26, 2011

KIWIS

STORE: Place unripe kiwis in a paper bag with an apple, pear or banana at room temperature for a few days. These fruits give off ethylene gas, which helps accelerate ripening.

USE: Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, the bright green flesh of the kiwifruit speckled with tiny black seeds adds a tropical flair to any fruit salad. Of course, kiwis are also delicious eaten straight out of their skin.

PREP: Wash the kiwi and dry lightly with a paper towel. Cut the kiwi in half so that you have two oval kiwi halves. Hold one kiwi half in your hand and slip the tip of a metal serving spoon just under the kiwi skin. Slide the spoon along the curve of the kiwi to separate the kiwi fruit from the skin. Slice the kiwi half into 1/4-inch slices.

PEACHES

STORE: Even firm, unripe peaches are delicate, so handle them carefully to avoid bruising. Ripen hard fruits at room temperature, stem-side down, until the flesh feels soft when pressed and they begin to emit a subtle fragrance. Refrigerate peaches only after they’ve ripened, which can prolong freshness for up to 5 days.

USE: Try grilling or roasting peaches for an excellent accompaniment to pork, fish, and chicken.

PREP: If baking, look for freestone peaches, whose pits are easier to remove. To slice, cut through to the pit all the way around the seam, twisting each half to dislodge the stone. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can prevent sliced fruit from browning. To remove the fuzzy skins before baking, submerge whole fruits in boiling water for 10 seconds, then slip off the skins.

ZUCCHINI:

STORE: Refrigerate, unwashed, in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.

USE: A component of ratatouille, zucchini is also good grilled, roasted, steamed, pan-fried, or raw. It also adds a boost to sweet breads and muffins.

PREP: Wash zucchini by gently rubbing them under cool water. Slice off both ends of the zucchini. Cut them into rounds, spears or half moons.

Start your morning off right with this interesting recipe, courtesy of Gojee.com, for Zucchini Pancakes.

RECIPE: ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed

PROCEDURE:

  • Shred the zucchini and onion on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor with the shredding disk. Place the shredded vegetables in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to combine. Let drain for 30 minutes, then pick up by the handful and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Place on a kitchen towel or double layer of paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, garlic, cheese, herbs, lemon zest, and pepper. Beat well with a fork. Add the drained zucchini mixture and mix together. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder on top and mix with a fork just until well combined.
  • Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy pan. When the oil is hot, drop the batter into the pan by heaping tablespoonful. Cook for about three minutes on the first side, until nicely browned. Flip and cook for about two minutes more. Place the cooked pancakes on a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining oil and batter. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, tzatziki or applesauce.

Enjoy!

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Bitter, Short, and Ugly

No, the title has nothing to do with my personal description—ummm, I’m not bitter :). It has to do with some of the challenges we faced last week in our effort to bring you the freshest quality organic produce available.

Our goal at Klesick Family Farm is to deliver a box of produce that will “Wow!” our customers and leave them with the feeling that we have served them the way we ourselves would want to be served. Tristan working the crops in his field, Marty coordinating with our suppliers and planning the produce for the week, Mike and Brenda processing hundreds of customer orders, our warehouse crew quickly hand packing a multitude of boxes, and our delivery guys scurrying throughout our region to place a box of good at your doorstep, all have one goal—to serve our customers with perfection.

Now, of course, this perfection of service sometimes gets a bit of interference from Mother Nature and human fingers. Last week, for example, the baby leaf lettuce we planned on using from our farm was bitter so we had to change to regular lettuce. We ended up short on the russet potatoes because we were accidentally sent a few cases of a different type of potato. We also had to cancel many orders for fresh raspberries because, although scrumptious, they arrived partially juiced.

These last minute hiccups usually require us to adjust your order or change what we had planned for your box of produce. We feel badly when these things happen because we know at times they may inconvenience you. But because we will never intentionally send you a wrong or bad product, sometimes we do end up having to make changes in order to serve you well. If we end up having to change an item(s) in your box from what we had originally planned, please know that you are always receiving the same value.

You are why we are in business and to serve you well is our goal. We appreciate your understanding when changes happen as we work to bring you the freshest quality organic produce available.

Wishing you all the best,

Jim Coleman

Office Manager

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Fresh Fruit Parfait

INGREDIENTS:

1 large banana, sliced
1/2 cup fresh strawberries sliced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup apricot sliced
2 cups nonfat frozen yogurt
1/2 cup of granola cereal

DIRECTIONS:

1. Rinse fruits delicately under water, place fruits in a bowl and toss gently.
2. Into each parfait dish, layer 1/4 of fruit mixture, 1 tablespoon granola, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup fruit mixture, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon granola and then garnish with a strawberry.
3. Use single blueberries, strawberries, apricot slices, or raspberries as a garnish and enjoy!

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Fresh This Week Tips – July 19, 2011

FENNEL:

STORE: Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days. However, it is best to consume fennel soon after purchase since as it ages, it tends to gradually lose its flavor.

USE: The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning. Try using Fennel to make an antipasto salad, with fish, onion soup or add it to a vegetable side like green beans for some extra flavor.

PREP: The three different parts of fennel—the base, stalks and leaves—can all be used in cooking. Cut the stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to be using the intact bulb in a recipe, then first cut it in half, remove the base, and then rinse it with water before proceeding to cut it further. The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb.

RAINBOW CHARD:

STORE: Do not wash rainbow chard before storing it because exposure to water can encourage spoilage. Place chard in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around it, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days. If you have large batches of chard, you can also blanch the leaves and then freeze them.

USE: Great in salads, chard can also be cooked. If you’re looking to cook your chard, one of the best ways to bring out the sweetest flavors is by boiling it for at least 3 minutes, but be sure to discard the water once it is fully cooked. This ingredient makes a great addition to many Italian dishes or breakfast frittatas.

PREP: Rinse chard under cold running water. Remove any area of the leaves that may be brown, slimy, or have holes. Stack the leaves and slice into 1-inch slices until you reach the stems. Cut stems into 1/2-inch slices discarding the bottom 1 inch portion.

CELERY:

STORE: To store celery, place it in a sealed container or wrap it in a plastic bag or damp cloth and store it in the refrigerator. If you are storing cut or peeled celery, ensure that it is dry and free from water residue, as this can drain some of its nutrients.

USE: There are many great ways to use celery both as a delicious snack and in a meal. Consider adding chopped celery to your favorite tuna fish or chicken salad recipe or include celery leaves in a salad. Try braising chopped celery, radicchio and onions and serve topped with walnuts and your favorite soft cheese.

PREP: To clean celery cut off the base and leaves, then wash the leaves and stalks under running water. Cut the stalks into pieces of desired length. If the outside of the celery stalk has fibrous strings, remove them by making a thin cut into one end of the stalk and peeling away the fibers.

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Feathered Friends & Farming

As I sit to write this newsletter, I have to stop and marvel at a pair of hummingbirds. I wonder at how fast those wings beat to stay stationary in one place (up to 80 times per second with the smallest species). Talk about amazing creatures! This year we have had an explosion of feathered friends. Multiple species are now calling this place home. The other day, when I was mowing some hay, I had a bald eagle land not more than 15 feet from me. Shoot, around here, those birds are about as domesticated as my chickens. I think my favorite neighborly bird is the American gold finch—what a striking color contrast to the green backdrop of the apple trees.

Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I set up my irrigation it rains and, boy, did it ever! I will have to try that trick more often. The rain is both a blessing and curse. For many of my friends, it means they are unable to make hay and they have hundreds of acres to put up. We have been fortunate this year and  been able to get our most “pressing” hay fields cut, tedded, raked and baled between rain storms. If you need hay this year, talk with your farmer and let them know you are interested, it looks like it is going to be a tight year.

This week we are finally harvesting lettuce and spinach. With this cold season, things are not coming (growing) quickly, but now we get to harvest. YEAH!  On the flip side, the weeds are loving life and living large, so this week I am bringing a big crew to weed the carrots, basil and beets. The beautiful thing about the rain is that it makes weeding a ton easier. When the ground is dry, it is almost impossible to pull the weeds and get their roots, but with this rain the roots will come easier.  Conversely, so will the roots of the carrots and basil, so the crew will have to be slow and steady. And the last blessing about weeding and the rain is that the dirt clods will be easier on our knees, much appreciated after a few hours of crawling around.

Farming is so much about managing the weather you get. Hopefully we will get some sunshine to go with this moisture and the crops will really start to come (grow).

I hope you have our farm day on your calendar. For this year’s event (August 20th) we are adding music. I have several friends coming to play and if you have a fiddle, violin, guitar, banjo or djembe, bring it along and maybe you can getting in on the jamming. As always, our farm day is a blast—part old fashioned picnic, part educational and part historical.

Farming really slow food this year!

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Summer Squash Burritos

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 small summer squash, sliced
Salt to taste
4 (7 inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomato

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the green pepper in the hot oil until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the squash in three batches, making sure the first has softened slightly before adding the next. Season with salt.
  3. Heat the tortillas under the broiler for about 20 seconds. Spoon the squash mixture into the center of the tortillas; top with the Cheddar cheese and tomato. Roll into a burrito to serve.
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Fresh This Week Tips, July 12, 2011

GREEN BELL PEPPERS:

STORE: Proper storage can extend their useful life, preserve their nutritional value and help retain their flavor. Store green bell peppers for short-term use by refrigerating them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. With proper refrigeration, a healthy bell pepper should last from three to five days in the refrigerator.

USE: Whether you eat them raw, roasted, or cooked, green peppers add a flavorful punch to any dish. Enjoy crunchy strips of raw bell peppers in your next vegetable platter, add soft pieces of roasted pepper to salads or sandwiches, or add them to stir-fries, soups and stews. Cooking green peppers in any form will be sure to bring out their sweetness.

PREP: When it comes to preparing bell peppers, first wash and dry them. Then, remove the stem by cutting around it in a circle. This gets rid of most of the seeds. When you look inside, you’ll see the white “ribs”; slice down the ribs, so that you have three or four pieces of pepper.

YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH:

STORE: It can be kept in the fridge for up to one week. When you’re ready to use it, wash the squash, then slice both ends off.

USE: Whether creating a delicious salad, grilling vegetables, or sautéing them for an extra touch, summer squash is a beautiful, simple, and easy addition to any summer dish.

PREP: To prepare squash, start by washing it off and drying it. Then, when you’re ready to use it, slice both ends off and cut it into the size pieces you need for whatever dish you are preparing.

BEETS:

STORE: Place beets unwashed in a cool place, like the refrigerator crisper, in a plastic bag where they will keep for two to four weeks. To increase storage life, remove the greens, but be sure to leave at least an inch of the stem. Use gloves to prevent staining if that’s a concern.

USE: Beets make a great addition to sweeter summertime dishes. Whether you make them in a glaze, roast them for a refreshing salad, slow cook with a delicious roast, or sauté them with greens, beets add a beautiful color and flavor to almost any meal.

PREP: Wash the beets whole, and trim to one inch from the stem to minimize bleeding before placing on a baking sheet. After cooking, trim off about 1/4 inch of the beet roots. Then rub off the skins, which should slip off easily after cooking.

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Parenting for the Next Generation

Joelle and I have been raising, homeschooling and hanging with our children for the last 20 years. It hardly seems possible that our eldest, Micah, is nearly 20 years old. Surely it couldn’t have been but a few years ago that I was teaching him to ride a bike. Alas, it is true, our children do grow up with or without us. I now find myself teaching Stephen, his four year old brother, to ride a bike—without the training wheels!

Stephen wants to ride with the rest of the clan to the top of the Pilchuck tree farm and go mountain biking. If he only knew how much uphill there was compared to downhill he might change his mind! The other day we stopped into see Mark at the Arlington Velo Sport to pick up a bike and Stephen got the vision for some new wheels. Funny, it seems that Micah got the vision for some new wheels as well, ones that could generate a little more horsepower than his legs could—a 1979 black Chevy T-top Camaro. Hey, that was the car I wanted when I was in high school! Now, 30 years later, they are affordable for him, but for me impractical. Hmmm??? Maybe things really don’t change, just their price tags do.

One of the first lessons I learned as a parent was to teach our children “no” early and that it is not negotiable. Many parents argue with a two year old and far too often the two year old wins. If a child learns “no” early there will be less arguments (now I didn’t say no arguments, just less), which means there will be more pleasant interactions. Doesn’t that sound nice?

As I enter into this new phase of transitioning children from parent-dependent to independent, I have been learning a lot. When I chose to farm, back when we had six children, I did so because it gave me the opportunity to be more involved in the raising of my children and to have them work with me. Our focus was family—we did things as a family and with other families. It was easier as a parent to navigate this world of young children because they were totally parent-dependent. As my oldest is moving on and his 18 year old sister and 17 year old brother are close on his heels, Joelle and I have had choices to make. Do we hold back or do we release? We have learned to do both—to hold where they want us to hold and to release where they want us to release. The goal of parenting is not to keep our children back for ourselves, but to launch the next generation, to see them stand not fall, succeed not fail, to love that which is good and do good. This is not easy for us, but it is easier because we built a relationship early, played together, worked together, laughed together and went to church together. And now that they are adults we still do those things, just less often together.

Sure we miss them, but aren’t they supposed to grow up, hopefully marry, have their own families and their own lives. My job is to impart whatever I can into them for the short time I am privileged to parent them. I understood the process, after all, I went through it. But now that I am experiencing it as a parent, I have been thinking about it more intentionally. If I am going to be a successful parent and raise children that become good citizens, who are focused on blessing others, I need to not only model that but also involve them in it—at the grocery store, gas station, ball field, church, etc. And I need to gradually decrease in their lives and they need to increase. They need to make more decisions as they get older, yes good and bad ones. But I want them to practice making those decisions while they are still at home, so when they do move out they will have already been making life type decisions for awhile.

We still have little ones to raise and they will be gone before we know it, but I am committed to seeing them develop into what they were created to do with their lives, which means that I have to recognize their strengths and strengthen them and recognize their weaknesses and strengthen them. But I can’t do that if I am still heavily pursuing my own personal dreams, passions, hobbies. At some point my own personal goals have to decrease and my children’s goals (not my goals for my children) need to increase in my life. And at the same time I have to recognize when it is time for me to decrease in my parental role to allow them to pursue their dreams.

Many of you are parents, I want to encourage you that it is not a mistake that you are raising children and the children you have are going to need your insights, perspectives and experiences to negotiate the adult world and no one is more qualified than you to help them succeed. They are a gift to you and you are a gift to them.

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This Week's Add-Ons – July 11th, 2011

The local season is beginning to explode…finally! Guess what that means? It’s berry time!

Local flats of fresh blueberries and raspberries are available to order now!

Local Blueberries, Flat: $48.00

Local Raspberries, Flat: $35.00

Local Cherries are here and fabulous! Red Bing: $4.00/1-lb. Rainier: $6.50/lb.

Local Apricots: $1.00/each.

*If we don’t have the berries the week you order due to weather/availability, we will send them out  when they become available…and, let us know if we need to contact you first.*

To order please visit: http://www.klesickfamilyfarm.com/main/order-fruit

This is THE time to get your garlic scapes for pesto!

Garlic scapes freeze exceptionally well and are terrific with basil in pesto or as a topping on pizza…and pickled! See Ashley Rodriguez’s lovely post on pickling these short-season gems: http://notwithoutsalt.com/2009/06/18/garlic-scapes/

Garlic Scapes, local. 5 bundles for $9.00

Basil, local. $2.00/bn.

Shiitake Mushrooms (also local): $4.55/0.5-lb.

To order please visit: http://www.klesickfamilyfarm.com/main/order-vegetables