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Everyday Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS 
Lacinato Kale, 1 bunch, de-stemmed
Olive oil, 1 cup
Apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup
Balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup 
Soy sauce, ¼ cup
Ginger, 1 tablespoon, shredded
Garlic, 1 clove, minced
Agave syrup, 1 tablespoon
Topping
Sesame seeds, ½ cup
Salt, ½ teaspoon
 

PREPARATION

•    After washing, remove kale stems and drain leaves in a salad spinner.  Chop kale leaves into thin strips.  Place your serving amount into a salad bowl and store the remainder of the leaves in the refrigerator inside the salad spinner. They will stay crisp and crunchy for up to one week.

•    In a salad dressing jar or storable container, add olive oil, vinegars, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and agave syrup.  Shake or mix well.  Use approximately 1 tablespoon of dressing to each 1 cup of kale leaves and store the remainder in the refrigerator.

•    Roast sesame seeds with salt in a dry skillet on medium-high heat.  Stir constantly until seeds start to pop and smell nutty.  Remove from heat and sprinkle generously on kale leaves in your salad bowl.  Store remaining seeds for salad tomorrow, and the next day, and the next …

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What’s for Dinner?

TKE_CoverOption2-500x500We’ve recently added a cookbook to our line of offerings: The Kale Effect! Co-written by one of our own Klesick customers, Christina Bandaragoda, this delightful cookbook will have you dishing up your dark leafy greens in some of the tastiest recipes ever! Our article this week is an excerpt from the cookbook. Enjoy!

Every Thursday afternoon the Klesick Family Farm delivery truck pulls up to my house with my weekly Box of Good – a box full of fruits and vegetables that are good for my family, good for my local economy and good for the earth. Thursday has become my favorite day of the week, my sigh of relief, a moment in time when my hope in the future is regularly renewed.  

How can a box of fruit and vegetables have this effect? The tangible benefits are obvious.  The time I save shopping I now spend with my family. The money I used to spend on fuel driving to the store is now allocated to buying food. The intangible benefits are less obvious and depend on my perception, attitude and meaning I attribute to how these fruits and vegetables made their way to my kitchen. I trust my local businessman. Based on my experience, I know that the produce will be of good quality, fresh, and free from toxic or harmful chemicals. As my family struggles with various allergies and food intolerances, I place a high value on toxin-free food. Why add more unknowns to the chemical cocktail we encounter in our modern industrialized lifestyle? 

I also consider the challenge of being introduced to new kinds of foods an intangible benefit. I know that if a vegetable I have never eaten before arrives in my box, I can find a delicious way to prepare it. I also believe that my Box of Good has the benefit of preserving open space.

Knowing that a portion of my grocery budget contributes to maintaining working farms in my county is valuable. I used to think of local farmers as guardians and stewards of our landscapes, soils and water. As each Thursday rolls around I become increasingly aware that it is us, the customers, who are guardians and stewards with each food purchase we make. Those with economic access to sustainably grown food should take this responsibility seriously.

Our buying habits determine the future of the farms in our surrounding communities as well as the health of our environment. The cultural perception that as a society we value nature, open space, clean air and water is an idea that has not been fully realized. This cloudy vision of a sustainable future can become a clear reality one grocery bill at a time.

Enjoy this Everyday Kale Salad from The Kale Effect Cookbook

Christina Bandaragoda
Christina is from Michigan, received her bachelors degree at Wheaton College, and later attended Utah State University where she received her masters and doctoral degrees in Civil Engineering. She now works as a hydrologist and environmental consultant.

 

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Sauteed Green Beans Peruvian Style

IMG_7551INGREDIENTS: 
1 lb of green beans, cut into 1 inch long pieces
1 lb lean beef or mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small piece of ginger (1/2 inch), finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced

2 eggs, beaten (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

Heat oil in a pan and when hot add the onion. Cook until it becomes transparent, add the garlic and ginger and mix well. Add the meat or mushrooms, soy sauce and pepper, mix well and cover the pot. Cook for a few minutes. Add the green beans and mix well. Cover again and cook over low heat until the green beans are cooked and have turned color into a darker green. Add eggs and stir until the eggs are cooked. Season to taste.

Separately fry the potatoes in plenty of oil and add to the preparation just before serving or serve them as a side dish. Serve with white rice.

Picture shows mushroom version. 

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Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry

photo 10INGREDIENTS

1 cup pre-rinsed quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth, optional chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame seed oil

1 cup finely diced carrots

1/2 cup minced green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup frozen peas (thawed) 2 eggs, beaten (omit for vegetarian) Kosher or sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons lite soy sauce

In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and broth, turn to medium-high heat, cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until all liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and allow to cool. Refrigerate quinoa until cold. In a large skillet, heat oils to medium-low heat, add carrots and green onions, cover and cook until tender, approximately 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook one additional minute. Add quinoa and peas, cook until heated through, 5 to 6 minutes. If using eggs, push quinoa to the sides of the skillet, add eggs and scramble. Stir to combine scrambled eggs with quinoa mixture. Add soy sauce and cook just until heated, about 1 minute.

 

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Meeting Peru Through Its Cuisine

photo (10)There are many ways to meet a country, but for me one of the most gratifying and charming way to learn about a culture is through its cuisine. In the case of Peru where the senses multiply with the infinite amount of textures, colors, aromas and flavors, this rings very true. Peruvian cuisine is the result of a nearly 500-year old melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese influences, to name a few. Without the familiar ingredients from their home countries, immigrants modified their traditional cuisines by using ingredients available in Peru. 

One of the questions I get asked the most is “What is Peruvian food like?” and after many attempts to put it in a few words, I have come to the conclusion that there is no short answer to this question.

Today, I am honored to have the opportunity to share with you a little more about Peruvian cuisine. I am Peruvian Chick, a self-proclaimed Peruvian food ambassador to the world. Being born and raised in Peru and now living in the Northwest, I have taken it upon myself to share Peruvian recipes and techniques’, utilizing the beautiful ingredients the Northwest has to offer.

Peru has three very distinct regions: coast, highlands and jungle. Each of these three regions has a different climate, providing Peru with a wide variety of crops, ingredients and dishes. Its biodiversity makes Peruvian cuisine one of the most varied and richest in the world and therefore, adaptable to any region.

Thousands of years ago what the Incas cultivated the most was potatoes. At that time they were used in basic ways such as for soups and stews. Today, there are over 3,000 potato varieties in Peru. Spanish conquistadors introduced the potato in Western civilization, but the potato was born in Peru!

The rich biodiversity of the Peruvian ecological zones combined with new species and plants brought by the Spanish, created the foundation of Peruvian cuisine, as we know it. The Spanish created a whole new layer of flavor which included the introduction of meats (beef, pork and chicken), rice, barley, wheat, olives, oils, vinegars, new vegetables, fruits, spices and other flavorings.

The Arab influence in Spain left its mark through the arrival of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves, which joined the Peruvian desserts along with sugarcane, a perfect complement to Peruvian herbs and spices.

The greatest and most dramatic influence on Peruvian food however would come from Asia with the first Chinese workers in 1849. These workers retained their culinary traditions and cultural identity by importing seeds to produce their vegetables, such as peas and ginger. This once again infused Peruvian food with new flavors. In 1899 Japanese immigrants left their mark in Peruvian kitchens as well, mostly revaluing fish and fresh food from the sea. While the Incas ate fish, it was the introduction of limes and onions made by the Spanish and the new approach to fish from the Japanese that gave us ceviche.

As you can see, there is not a “short answer” to the question “What is Peruvian food like?” but maybe these few words can sum it all up: fresh, seasonal, diverse and unexpected!

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

Sara Balcazar-Greene and her husband host trips throughout Peru with a special emphasis on food. Their stateside business is a branding agency. For information and inquiries, please visit PeruvianChick.com 

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Picnic Time!

picnicWhen was the last time you went on a picnic? Now that Summer has officially started, why not enjoy it? Pack dinner, gather your friends and family, and head out on a lazy, sunny afternoon for a relaxed picnic.

Picnics are great for groups of all sizes. They feel romantic and intimate with your loved one, or fun and exciting with children. Even if you decide to go on a solo picnic with a good book you will end up feeling relaxed and re-energized.

If you're lucky enough to live in the Pacific NW, the options on where to go for a picnic are endless. If not, set up a blanket and plates in your own backyard! 

Here's a few helpful tips from our friends at Table Talk by Rosanna:

– Plan a menu that's easy to pack. Think sandwiches, bags of cut up fruit and veggies, salads – simple no-muss, no-fuss foods that you enjoy.

– Don't forget the beverages! Try sparkling water with chopped fresh fruit or fresh lemonade for a change! 

– Remember to pack the heaviest items at the bottom of your picnic basket – no one wants to eat a smashed sandwich!

– Keep one or two cold packs in your picnic basket to keep drinks and other chilled items cool.

– Don't forget the non-food essentials such as a good, heavy blanket (those with a waterproof bottom work best), flatware, napkins, plates, cups, and corkscrews. Fun items such as books, frisbees, horseshoes, playing cards, etc. And don't forget the sunglasses and SPF!

– Make sure to take trash bags – you don't want to leave a mess behind!

Have a great time!

Adapted from Table Talk by Rosanna.

 

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How Important is Farmland Anyway?

farmHere is a great equation for national security: Let’s continue to convert over a million acres of farmland every year for habitat restoration or strip malls. 

The conversions are great for a few landowners and the developers who profit from them, but what is in it for the rest of the community? For starters, eventually food production can now join oil as an imported control piece, a piece that is controlling us. Sure we have lots of land in this country, but most of it is going to the highest bidder and if crops don’t pay as well as something else, most farmland goes on the block and out of production.

Recently, the City of Arlington received an application to develop a piece of farmland at Island Crossing. Dwayne Lane’s Chevrolet has been fighting to move to this location before Congressman Rick Larsen was a congressman. At that time, the Growth Management Act was able to hold the line on preserving this prime agricultural land from going into development. Eventually, the City of Arlington was able to annex this noncontiguous piece of land and all of Island Crossing, and in the process doom agriculture and the ability of that land to feed the Puget Sound region.

The most valuable land we have in this country is our resource lands: timber, mining and farmland. These types of land provide the bedrock for our economy and our national security. We should do everything possible to ensure that these lands are converted as a last resort. I would contend that land closest to the cities is the most vulnerable land and also the most valuable. 75% of our dairies, fruit and vegetable farms are located near urban populations.

If we need more of anything in this country, it is more fruits and vegetables, not less. We need to expand fresh fruits and vegetables reach to the inner cities, hospitals and schools. We need to expand the reach of organically grown foods and foods grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides. We need to stop coddling mega food corporations, mega chemical corporations and mega farms, and change our national food policy to feed our people healthy nutrient-rich food. 

I got an idea: Let’s make the quality of food a priority, not the size of a campaign contribution or the shareholder’s profits.

The farmland at Island Crossing is all but lost. Unfortunately, the loss of this piece will inevitably doom the land next to it and the land next to that and so on, until Arlington reaches from I-5 to downtown. Then all that beautiful productive farmland will look like the Kent Valley; all because Chevrolets sell better on cheap farmland at Island Crossing then at the better situated, commercially zoned and serviced, non-floodplain Smokey Point exit.  Really?

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A Leafy Green Cookbook

TKE_CoverOption2-500x500Experience The Kale Effect! Eat Your Greens.
 
Increasing your servings of vegetables does not have to be an elusive mystery. Get ready for this cookbook to change how you shop, cook, eat, and live your life.
 
Co-written by one of our own KFF customers, Christina Bandaragoda, Ph.D. and by Emily Miranda, LCSW, this delightful cookbook is not only fun to read, but will have you dishing up your dark leafy greens in some of the tastiest recipes ever! Softcover, 81 pages, full color photos of all recipes; includes tips on how What’s for Dinner can be made Heroic.
  
The Kale Effect (noun)-  an immediate, and observable*,  autonomic nervous system response to the absorption of  the vitamins and minerals in nutrient rich kale. Symptoms may include uncontrollable smiling, laughing, and jumping up and down in the kitchen. *This reaction has been most reliably noted in children under the age of 10.

To add this book to your next delivery click here

*State sales tax will also be applied to this item. Cookbook will ship out with your box of good at no extra charge for shipping. 

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Tomatoes & Potatoes

tomatoes potatoesOh baby, has it ever been warm. Of course, the one year I decide to skip sweet corn (our other local farmers are growing this crop) the weather is perfect. There is some corn in the valley that was waist high by the fourth. Shoot, most farmers are ecstatic with knee high corn by the fourth. For us, the raspberries are on, the peas are on, summer squash is on, the cucumbers and peppers are on. The tomatoes are just turning, the potatoes are already the size of baseballs and soon we will be picking green beans. 

I have been thinking to myself why am I so busy? The other day, I finally came inside at 11 p.m. and realized that I was as hungry as a bear waking up from a long winter’s nap—I had skipped dinner. But the real reason, I am so busy is because we are two to three weeks ahead in most crops. Having that rainy, sunny, rainy, sunny weather cycle has been good for almost everything.

I am a little nervous, though. Strange thing about weather in the NW, last year once it stopped raining at the end of July, it didn’t rain for another 80 days. Most crops appreciate some moisture. And because of the spring and early rains, most crops were able to catch up when the hot August nights rolled around. This year they are early, but will the rains come to carry them to harvest? I think it will work out. But in the end, I can’t change the weather, but I can work with it.

I just planted our last crop of green beans for September harvest and we are now in the process of mostly weeding and harvesting, as opposed to weeding and planting. I love this stage, when we begin to harvest. You get to see the fruit of your labor and, more importantly, you get to start paying off the fertilizer bill, fuel bill and the labor bill, and, hopefully, at the end of the season in November, there will be some $$bills left for the farmer ☺! 

We also managed to get a few hundred bales of hay in the barn. Feels good to have some feed for the beef cows put up in case this great weather holds. When it comes to raising beef, I mostly focus on the grass. My goal is to manage the grass so that the cows don’t overgraze it. I want it to bounce back and get growing again. Rarely does a day go by that the cows are not moved to a fresh pasture. Yes, it is absolutely way more work for us to move our animals daily, but it is way better for the pasture to move the cows daily. And in a year like this…August grass will be a premium if we have another glorious summer with little or no rain till October.

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The Cherries of Summer

cherriesYesterday I stepped into the market with a grocery list of a few things and big plans for dinner. It was our date night that evening and earlier in the day I had given myself permission to leave a few gaps in the menu. This time of year I’ll often allow the food itself to determine its destination. Sometimes the plans become grand and sometimes they are as simple as melon and plums, thinly sliced with nothing more than a drizzle of fruity olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper, which was what filled in the gap for last night’s meal.

I walked through the stacks of produce and followed the heady scents until I found the origin. This lead me to apricots, blushed and freckled, dimpled melon that was far heavier than its diminutive size would allow you to believe. In other words, perfect. A quick sniff at the top where it once hung from a branch and my suspicions were right –  ripe.

Then there were cherries. A childhood favorite of mine that seems to be repeating itself in my own children. I bring home a bag of cherries and they act as if I’ve surprised them with a bag of candy. In fact, it’s more precious than candy because these treats – bulbous, sweet, tart and crisp – are eaten with great abandon for such a short time. Summer.
In this season we go through pounds and pounds of cherries, often eating them straight from the bag that they traveled home in from the store. Or, at the very most, served with dinner over ice. The ice slowly melts into the bottom of the bowl, dragging some of the buoyed little fruits with them. Those ones are the best – completely cold and crisp throughout, melting away the summer heat from the inside.

In the rare moments when I have a few cherries to play around with in the kitchen we’ve discovered their affinity towards white chocolate while dipping them in a bowl of melted chocolate much like you do strawberries with dark chocolate. We’ve bruised them in the bottom of a tall glass then poured chilled lemonade over their juices and soft skins. I’ve even pickled the sweet fruit to serve with sharp cheddar for a simple summer appetizer. They topped salads with goat cheese and have bathed alongside chicken thighs. And every year, at least once, there is a cherry pie (see recipe below). If I’m lucky enough to get my hands on sour cherries I’ll use those but often I’ll consider it a win if I’m able to squirrel away enough cherries for the pie before the cherries are eaten as is. You know, that’s all right too. Sometimes, cherries – perfectly sweet with ruby red juice, tight skin and simple – are best just the way they are.

by Ashley Rodriguez    
food blogger
www.notwithoutsalt.com

CHERRY PIE
Pie Dough
 
2 1/3 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks (8 oz.) cold butter, cut in 1/2” cubes
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold water
 
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add dry ingredients. Mix on low to combine. Add butter using two hands to evenly distribute. While mixing on low, slowly add the oil, cream and cold water. When crumbly and dough holds together when squeezed, it’s ready. I like to finish off the mixing by hand to insure that the butter is evenly mixed and some remains in rough pea-sized crumbles. Divide in two discs and wrap well. Chill for one hour.

Cherry Filling 
For the cherries, I used Bing cherries. If you are lucky enough to have sour cherries, you can use those and simply omit the lemon juice.
 
2 pounds cherries 
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t salt
3 Tablespoon cornstarch
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
Egg
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
 
Mix everything in a large bowl then set aside while rolling the crust.
Roll out one of the discs of dough and place in a pie pan. I prefer glass pie pans, as you can see the color of the bottom crust while baking and it seems to bake more evenly.
Use flour if the dough is sticking at all. Roll to about ⅛” inch thick. Place the pan with the bottom crust in the freezer while rolling out the second disc.
Roll out the other disc to ⅛” inch thickness. If you are doing a lattice top cut the dough in ½” strips.
Remove the pan from the freezer and fill with the cherries. Top the pie with the top crust, alternating the ½” strips.
Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Dot the pie with a few little bits of butter before putting in a 370*F oven for at least one hour or until the crust is deep golden and the juices are bubbling thickly.