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The rendezvous

Arugula and I first met in a dimly lit restaurant on the edge of an Umbrian town that sat on an ancient stone as if organically formed. The pizza that was served was a welcome reprieve from the usual pasta dinners we enjoyed while in Italy.
 
I was nearly twenty, and yet somehow I had managed to live that long without enjoying the peppery bite of arugula. My memory is unclear as to how or why I ordered the pizza I did, but it turned out to be one of the highlights on my culinary timeline. What arrived to my table was a pizza whose blackened crust extended beyond the plate. The tomato sauce was perfectly simple and floated amid islands of mozzarella. Piled high on top was bright and dramatically pointed leaves of arugula, or rocket as it was referred to there. 
 
Since that fateful night, there is hardly a week that goes by that I don’t enjoy a healthy portion of this fragrant and delightfully spicy green. As with all greens, arugula is very low in calories and packed with plenty of vitamin A and C. So I generously add a handful to salads, top on sandwiches, toss into a simple warm pasta dinner, and process into a powerful pesto.
 
It’s a member of the mustard family and with one bite you’ll recognize that warming, nearly nasal cleansing heat. Spring arugula offers a softer bite than the sun soaked late summer variety. I like them both. Loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel and wrapped in plastic, arugula can last 3 days in the fridge, but mine rarely does as I use it almost immediately. 
 
This arugula-rich dish I have for you today uses the zesty green in two places. Half is blended to make a flavorful pesto made bright with a bit of lemon and the rest is tossed with just warm lentils and sweet, grilled asparagus. The whole dish is brought together with an aged and salty pecorino. It’s healthy, flavorful, and destined to be a favorite spring dish.
 
by Ashley Rodriguez
www.notwithoutsalt.com
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Please no more false starts

This Monday was the day to plant. After two serious days of rain on Thursday and Friday, the fields began to dry out, allowing us to move forward with planting shallots, beets, spinach, and round two of sugar snap peas. It is still early, but we aren’t getting greedy. The farming season is a long one and while getting out of blocks early does help, it isn’t a make it or break it deal. 

But with that said, the race has begun. The fruit trees are just about to “pop” and then we will have apples, plums, pears, and dandelions??? in blossom. I love this season, even with its erratic weather, because everything just wants to grow.

We have several farm trials going on this year, so I hope you can make it out to our Farm Festival on August 18th to see what is going on. We are doing a compost trial with Cedargrove and WSU extension, some Chinese medicinal herbs with Eastern Asian Medicinal Practitioners, some test plots on strip tillage, double digging, and soil microbe applications. I didn’t think this was going to be an overly busy year, but after typing this list I already feel tired J.

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Savory Rhubarb Lentil with Spinach and Red Peppers (vegan)

Another one of our favorite blogs shares a must-try rhubarb recipe! This dish combines lentils, rhubarb and spinach with sweet potatoes, red pepper and a touch brown sugar.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
1 large sweet potato
1 cup of lentils
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 stalk (or 2) of rhubarb (diced into small pieces)
1/2 of 1 red bell pepper (diced into small pieces)
2 cups frozen spinach or 2 cups cooked spinach, chopped finely
1 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 TB minced ginger
1 TB cumin powder
1 TB brown sugar
salt to taste
add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat
 
DIRECTIONS:
Pour 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Add lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft, but not falling apart. Drain excess water.
 
Cook sweet potato. My favorite method is baking: Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the skin pulls away from the flesh and the potato is soft. Baking caramelizes the sugar and brings a nice deep flavor to the potato. You can also just peel and cube the sweet potato and steam it. 
While lentils are simmering, cut your vegetables.
 
In a large sauté pan, heat oil, add red pepper flakes and fennel. Add ginger (careful here, this may lead to a minor explosion. Have a lid handy just in case) Add cumin.
Add red peppers and rhubarb to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes. Add spinach and sautée until fully cooked. Add cooked lentils, cooked sweet potato and brown sugar and stir. Add salt to taste.
 
Serve alone or with a grain like rice or quinoa.
 
Original recipe from: http://www.scissorsandspice.com/2011/05/spice-in-kitchen-savory-rhubarb-lentil.html
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Sweet and Tangy Roasted Carrots

One of our favorite blogs shares this great recipe with us.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots 
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 medium green pepper, de-stemed and seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2-3 tbsp raw honey (start with 2 tbsp and add more if you want a sweeter flavor)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots in 1 tbsp of the oil and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until nicely roasted and tender.
  2. While the carrots are roasting heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and green pepper and sauté until tender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 4-5 minutes.
  4. To serve you can either place the carrots in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over them or serve the carrots with sauce on the side.

Original recipe: http://www.thenakedkitchen.com/sweet-and-tangy-roasted-carrots/

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The 29 Healthiest Foods on the Planet

The following is a "healthy food hot list" consisting of the 29 food that will give you the biggest nutritional benefit, as well as decrease your risk for illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. 
 
FRUITS
01. Apricots
The Power:  Beta-carotene, which helps prevent free-radical damage and protect the eyes. The body also turns beta-carotene into vitamin A, which may help ward off some cancers, especially of the skin. One apricot has 17 calories, 0 fat, 1 gram of fiber. Snacks on them dried, or if you prefer fresh, buy when still firm; once they soften, they lose nutrients.
 
02. Avocados
The Power:  Oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that helps lower overall cholesterol and raise levels of HDL, plus a good dose of fiber. One slice has 81 calories, 8 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Try a few slices instead of mayonnaise to dress up your next burger.
 
03. Raspberries
The Power:  Ellagic acid, which helps stall cancer-cell growth. These berries are also packed with vitamin C and are high in fiber, which helps prevent high cholesterol and heart disease. A cup has only 60 calories, 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber. Top plain low-fat yogurt or oatmeal (another high fiber food) with fresh berries.
 
05. Cantaloupe
The Power:  Vitamin C (117mg in half a melon, almost twice the recommended daily dose) and beta-carotene – both powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage. Plus, half a melon has 853mg of potassium – almost twice as much as a banana, which helps lower blood pressure. Half a melon has 97 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Cut into cubes and freeze, then blend into an icy smoothie.
 
06. Cranberry Juice
The Power:  Helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. A cup has 144 calories, 0 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Buy 100 percent juice concentrate and use it to spice up your daily H20 without adding sugar.
 
07. Tomato
The Power:  Lycopene, one of the strongest carotenoids, acts as an antioxidant. Research shows that tomatoes may cut the risk of bladder, stomach and colon cancers in half if eaten daily. A tomato has 26 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Drizzle fresh slices with olive oil, because lycopene is best absorbed when eaten with a little fat.
 
08. Raisins
The Power:  These little gems are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen and which many women are short on. A half-cup has 218 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Sprinkle raisins on your morning oatmeal or bran cereal – women, consider this especially during your period.
 
09. Figs
The Power:  A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which is responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention. The Pill depletes B6, so if you use this method of birth control, make sure to get extra B6 in your diet. One fig has 37 to 48 calories, 0 fat and 2 grams of fiber. (Cookie lovers – fig bars have around 56 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber per cookie). Fresh figs are delicious simmered alongside a pork tenderloin and the dried variety make a great portable gym snack.
 
10. Lemons and Limes
The Power:  Limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help prevent cancer. A wedge has 2 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Buy a few of each and squeeze over salads, fish, beans and vegetables for fat free flavor. 
 
VEGETABLES
11. Onions
The Power:  Quercetin is one of the most powerful flavonoids (natural plant antioxidants). Studies show it helps protect against cancer. A cup (chopped) has 61 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Chop onions for the maximum phytonutrient boost, or if you hate to cry, roast them with a little olive oil and serve with rice or other vegetables.
 
12. Artichokes
The Power:  These odd-looking vegetables contain silymarin, an antioxidant that helps prevent skin cancer, plus fiber to help control cholesterol. One medium artichoke has 60 calories, 0 fat and 7 grams of fiber. Steam over boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice on top, then pluck the leaves off with your fingers and use your teeth to scrape off the rich-tasting skin. When you get to the heart, you have found the best part!
 
13. Ginger
The Power:  Gingerols may help reduce queasiness; other compounds may help ward off migraines and arthritis pain by blocking inflammation-causing prostaglandins. A teaspoon of fresh gingerroot has only 1 calorie, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Peel the tough brown skin and slice or grate into a stir-fry.
 
14. Broccoli
The Power:  Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which help protect against breast cancer. Broccoli also has lots of vitamin C and beta-carotene. One cup (chopped) has 25 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Don't overcook broccoli – instead, microwave or steam lightly to preserve phytonutrients. Squeeze fresh lemon on top for a zesty and taste, added nutrients and some vitamin C.
 
15. Spinach
The Power:  Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help fend off macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in older people. Plus, studies show this green fountain of youth may help reverse some signs of aging. One cup has 7 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Add raw leaves to a salad or saute with a little olive oil and garlic.
 
16. Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) 
The Power:  Brassinin, which some research suggests may help prevent breast tumors, plus indoles and isothiocyanates, which lower levels of estrogen, make this vegetable a double-barreled weapon against breast cancer. A cup will also give you 158mg of calcium (16 percent of your daily recommended requirement) to help beat osteoporosis. A cup (cooked) has 20 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Find it in your grocer's produce section or an Asian market. Slice the greens and juicy white stalks, then saute like spinach or toss into a stir-fry just before serving.
 
17. Squash (Butternut, Pumpkin, Acorn) 
The Power:  Winter squash has huge amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which may help protect against endometrial cancer. One cup (cooked) has 80 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Cut on in half, scoop out the seeds and bake or microwave until soft, then dust with cinnamon.
 
18. Watercress and Arugula
The Power:  Phenethyl isothiocyanate, which, along with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, may help keep cancer cells at bay. One cup has around 4 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Do not cook these leafy greens; instead, use them to garnish a sandwich or add a pungent, peppery taste to salad.
 
19. Garlic
The Power:  The sulfur compounds that give garlic its pungent flavor can also lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, lower blood pressure and even reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer. A clove has 4 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Bake a whole head for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and sweet and spread on bread instead of butter.
 
GRAINS, BEANS, DAIRY AND NUTS
20. Quinoa
The Power:  A half cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of protein, more than any other grain, plus iron, riboflavin and magnesium. A half-cup has 318 calories, 5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber. Add to soup for a protein boost. 
 
21. Wheat Germ
The Power:  A tablespoon gives you about 7 percent of your daily magnesium, which helps prevent muscle cramps; it is also a good source of vitamin E. One tablespoon has 27 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber. Sprinkle some over yogurt, fruit or cereal.
 
22. Lentils
The Power:  Isoflavones, which may inhibit estrogen-promoted breast cancers, plus fiber for heart health and an impressive 9 grams of protein per half cup. A half-cup (cooked) has 115 calories, 0 fat and 8 grams of fiber. Isoflavones hold up through processing, so buy lentils canned, dried or already in soup. Take them to work, and you will have a protein packed lunch.
 
23. Peanuts
The Power:  Studies show that peanuts or other nuts (which contain mostly unsaturated "good" fat) can lower your heart-disease risk by over 20 percent. One ounce has 166 calories, 14 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Keep a packet in your briefcase, gym bag or purse for a protein-packed post-workout nosh or an afternoon pick me up that will satisfy you until supper, or chop a few into a stir-fry for a Thai accent.
 
24. Pinto Beans
The Power:  A half cup has more than 25 percent of your daily requirement of folate, which helps protect against heart disease and reduces the risk of birth defects. A half-cup (canned) has 103 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Drain a can, rinse and toss into a pot of vegetarian chili.
 
25. Yogurt
The Power:  Bacteria in active-culture yogurt helps prevent yeast infections; calcium strengthens bones. A cup has 155 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of fiber. Get the plain kind and mix in your own fruit to keep calories and sugar down. If you are lactose intolerant, never fear — yogurt should not bother your tummy.
 
26. Skim Milk
The Power:  Riboflavin (a.k.a. vitamin B2) is important for good vision and along with vitamin A might help improve eczema and allergies. Plus, you get calcium and vitamin D, too. One cup has 86 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. If you are used to high fat milk, don't go cold turkey; instead, mix the two together at first. Trust this fact: In a week or two you won't miss it!
 
SEAFOOD
27. Shellfish (Clams, Mussels) 
The Power:  Vitamin B12 to support nerve and brain function, plus iron and hard-to-get minerals like magnesium and potassium. Three ounces has 126 to 146 calories, 2 to 4 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Try a bowl of tomato-based (and low fat) Manhattan clam chowder.
 
28. Salmon
The Power:  Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of cardiac disease. A 3-ounce portion (cooked) has 127 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 fiber. Brush fillets with ginger-soy marinade and grill or broil until fish flakes easily with a fork.
 
29. Crab
The Power:  A great source of vitamin B12 and immunity-boosting zinc. A 3-ounce portion has 84 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 fiber. The "crab" in sushi is usually made from fish; buy it canned instead and make your own crab cakes. 
 
Source: http://www.bellybytes.com/articles/29foods.shtml
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Beef…the way it was meant to be

The good food community is making a difference! Thanks to committed “foodies” and connoisseurs of fine food, “pink slime” is being removed from the market place. And it is not because our beloved USDA or federal government had an issue with the product, but because the consumers spoke up and said, “Enough !”

Last week, Tyson Foods told their major investors to expect a 2-3% drop in sales because of the pink slime issue, and AFA in Pennsylvania, the major supplier (producer) of pink slime, filed for bankruptcy. 
The loss of this “filler” product is going to further cut into the shortage of American beef animals because pink slime was made of beef scraps and then added to hamburger. Without pink slime being added as a filler, it means that more beef will have to be used to replace the loss of this product. Also, because of the drought in the Southwest over the last few years and really high grain prices, many beef operations sold out and got out. The grain prices have been high for lots of reasons, but the primary reason is that a lot of grain is now being grown for ethanol and when farmers compete against automobiles we usually lose.
Ironically, the consumer is the biggest loser. When the cost of fuel increases, so does the cost of food. When farmers have to pay higher fuel prices then it costs more to produce, harvest and get our food to market. Fuel is the 800 pound gorilla in the room and it takes a huge bite out of everyone’s budget.
 
Thankfully, there is an alternative to rising fuel costs and grain-fed meat. Klesick Family Farm has been working with local family farmers since we began in 1997. We have a great network of farmers that care about their animals and raise them with dignity.  And because we are a local grass-based farm and work with other local grass-based farms, we are not contributing to the craziness of petroleum and its world politics. But even more importantly, we are not supporting the unhealthy GMO grain world and our cows are not beholden to Monsanto in any way, shape or form.
 
We still have shares of 2012 grass-fed lamb and beef available. A quarter share of beef is approximately 90 lbs. of meat, filling about two shelves of a large upright freezer, and costs around $6/lb. Imagine that! You can get locally raised, all natural grass-fed hamburger and T-bone (100% true beef) for $6 a pound. By purchasing beef the way it was meant to be, you are not only supporting local farms, but also sending an important message to Monsanto, Tyson Foods and other mega food companies!
 
If you haven’t ordered local meat from our farm or network of local farmers, it is easy, healthy and straight forward. Just click on the meat page at our website or call the office and we can walk you through the process. 

 
In support of local farms and real food,

 
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Blood oranges with rosemary infused honey

INGREDIENTS {makes 4 servings}
 
6 blood oranges  
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons of water
3-4 rosemary sprigs plus extra for garnish
 
PREPARATION
– Use a small sharp knife to cut both ends off one orange. stand on board and run the knife from top to botton, cutting away the peel until just the juicy fruit is showing. place orange on side and slice into rounds. remove seeds and arrange oranges into little stacks, adding rosemary for garnish.
 
– Pound rosemary with a rolling pin or the side of a large knife until the rosemary is bruised and extra aroma and flavor has been released
 
– Combine water, honey and rosemary in a pot and heat on very low setting (avoid boiling).  let mixture cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 
 
– Remove honey mixture from heat and let sit for 10 minutes
 
– Remove rosemary from honey mixture and drizzle onto orange stacks.
 
*recipe from http://www.ahouseinthehills.com/ahouseinthehills/2012/1/23/a-fancy-treat-blood-oranges-with-rosemary-infused-honey.html
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Cooking with Fresh Herbs

 

My gardening space and knowledge are very limited, so I must plan wisely. Judging from my last year’s success story, herbs were the most abundant and most used. Every time a recipe called for an herb that I had in my garden, I would proudly make my way into the garden carrying scissors and a smile. Cutting a handful of fresh herbs, I would immediately bring them to my nose to inhale their floral scent and not release the fragrance until I returned to the kitchen to stir them in to whatever I was cooking. think I’ll grow only herbs this year,” I commented to my husband, whose eyes tend to glaze over when I mention anything about the garden. He doesn’t have much input when it comes to the yard, but he also didn’t like coffee when we first married and now he roasts his own, so I remain hopeful.

There is little more that improves food than that of the addition of fresh herbs. Depending on the herb, it can brighten, soften, and add intrigue to anything from eggs to cocktails. The moment you slice into their delicate leaves the kitchen is flooded with a fresh and intoxicating perfume. Beyond that, fresh herbs bring with them an added boost of nutrients.

Spring brings with it a variety of fresh herbs. My garden is already brimming with sage, parsley, thyme, chives, and rosemary. With plans in the very near future to add tarragon, mint, oregano, cilantro and basil. Besides rhubarb, the addition of fresh herbs is what I look forward to most as the season changes.

Tips on working with fresh herbs:

Usually when you purchase herbs they come in a quantity quite larger than what the recipe calls for. Prolong the life of your herbs by storing them in water as you would fresh flowers. Doing this not only gives you fresh herbs for longer, but also a lovely decoration for your kitchen sill, something a multi-tasker like myself can get giddy about.

Think of basil as you do mint. Add it to hot water for tea, muddle with sugar and add a bit of rum or gin, and infuse with cream for the base of a herby ice cream. As a member of the mint family, basil adds a similar scent with a bit more interest than just mint alone.

Tuck fresh herbs into your favorite green salad to add more flavor and freshness.

A fine chop of fresh herbs tossed in at the end of the cooking process adds a stunning pop of green and a bright flavor.

by Ashley Rodriguez           

www.notwithoutsalt.com