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How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/26/17)

Ataulfo Mangos:

Unlike other mangos, Ataulfos get very soft, and even wrinkly when ripe. And the darker the yellow, the sweeter they are! They also have a creamier texture and don’t get those annoying stringy fibers like other mangos do. Eat these raw or try adding them to one of your favorite cooked savory dishes. Fried rice with mango is simply amazing! Mangos also are great on salads, stir-fries, or added to sauces or in salsa. If you have a dehydrator they are so good dehydrated or made into fruit leather. You can order a whole case and dehydrate them or try freezing to use in smoothies.

Butternut Squash:

There are many, many ways to use this creamy squash, but my favorite way is in soup. It adds such a wonderfully rich and smooth texture that I can’t pass up any opportunity to puree it. The key to getting that rich full flavor is to roast or sauté the squash first. You can peel, cut into cubes and sauté with onions and garlic until tender or cut in half, slather in olive oil and bake cut side down at 425° for about 50 minutes. If you follow the baking method, simply scrape the insides out with a spoon; no need for peeling. Then blend everything with 1-2 cups of milk (depending on how thick you want it). This can be eaten as is with salt, pepper, a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper, and topped with cream and toasted nuts.

Savoy Cabbage:

These crinkled leaf cabbages are one of the best varieties for cooking and is tender enough to be eaten raw in salads. A drawback of its tender nature is that it does not have the keeping quality of its sturdier cousins. However, because they are miniature size this week, you can use them up in a single meal. Cook them like you would a regular cabbage; in soups, stir fries, or other cabbage recipe. Or, simply cut into one-inch strips and sauté in a large covered pan with some butter.

Featured Recipe: Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

Kosher Salt 1 lb. Green Beans ¼ Cup Sliced Almonds

1 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Spring Onion

Fresh Thyme leaves

Black Pepper

Directions:

Fill a large high sided skillet with some water, adding enough to be just shy of the rim of the pan by about 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring up to boil; add a big pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes, the beans should still be crisp. Drain the beans and then run them under some cold water to stop them from cooking. Reserve the beans while you start the onions. Return the skillet you cooked the beans in to the cook top over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast stirring every now and then until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the almonds from the skillet and reserve. Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring frequently until the onions caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the thyme, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cooked cooled green beans and almonds, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe adapted from Finecooking.com

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Systems

Sometimes it just comes down to a system—like my morning routine. I get up at 5 a.m. (unless the dog was barking at 2, then I get up 5:15 :)) and head downstairs. This is the trickiest part of the day in our old farmhouse. The steps are small and steep, and my preference is to use the steps as steps, not a slide!

After I navigate the steps and am more awake, I put on my headphones and start listening to the Bible. At this point, I am ready for action! I get the teapot, fill it up, and turn it on. Next, I get the small pan, put in a little milk, maple syrup, coconut and Cacao powder and turn it up. Then I grind a few tablespoons of coffee from Camano Island Coffee Roasters. (Joelle, my wife, really likes the Papua New Guinea medium roast.) Now the tea pot is starting to get hot and so is the milk. I grab a coffee filter and the ceramic pour over container and put in the ground coffee (this is an important step, trust me :)) Next, I pour the milk into the cup, place the pour over container over it and start pouring the hot water.

While I am waiting for the coffee to pour through the filter, I start making the morning smoothies for the Kiddos. Just about the time the coffee is ready, the smoothies are almost ready as well. When I deliver the coffee to my wife, the first set of kiddos start to awaken and I am well on my way through a ½ dozen chapters of the Bible. I really like serving my family.

Klesick Farms operates in a similar way. Just like I want to deliver the freshest coffee to my wife every morning, I want to bring you the freshest ingredients so you can feed your family incredible produce, and drink the freshest roasted coffee and freshest milk.

Our team has spent 20 years improving our system. The goal has always been the same: get the freshest organically grown ingredients to you ASAP. When it comes to produce, we are easily 2 to 7 days fresher than the traditional grocery store model. Our coffee is roasted to order and our milk is from a family farm in Lynden who is committed to getting us the freshest milk, so we can get you the freshest milk.

We can accomplish being ultra-fresh because our passion is to serve you. We do everything on purpose. Your box of good food arrives at your door because we have a system that ensures your produce, your coffee, your milk get to your door as fresh as possible.

And, just around the corner, you will be getting locally grown produce within a few days of harvest as myself and other local growers fire up our tractors and start growing food. Fresh, healthy, convenient. That is a recipe for busy families to eat healthy and be healthy.

Farmer and Health Advocate,

Tristan Klesick

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How To Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/19/17)

source: pixabay

Good quality lettuce is a might hard to find right now but don’t let that stop you from eating your veggies raw. Here are a few ideas on how you can still have a fresh side-dish on the dinner plate without the leafy greens:

Zucchini Salad: Zucchini is more often used as a cooking vegetable but can easily be enjoyed raw. It makes a great salad when sent through the spiralizer and tossed with carrots, cucumber, and snow peas. Like cucumbers, zucchini is good when marinated for a couple hours in the fridge. Simply toss in lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, cover and let sit in the fridge for a time. Add freshly chopped basil or parsley right before serving.

Chicken Celery Salad: What makes this salad so great is that there’s really no wrong way to make it. You can put whatever you want in it! Just cut up your celery and other veggies into small pieces and add diced or shredded chicken. Mix in some spices, vinegar, sour cream and Dijon or mustard.

Cucumber Salad: Try marinating thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion, and crushed garlic cloves in a one to one of mixture water and white (or cider) vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours. If you leave it overnight the flavors come out even more! Drain and enjoy. Try adding a garnish of freshly chopped parsley or dill.

French Fingerling Potatoes: These little taters are the perfect size for making “smashed” potatoes. Check out the recipe below on how to cook them to crispy perfection.

Potatoes have gotten a lot of flak from the health community but when eaten in moderation (and without the host of other unhealthy ingredients they often come with), potatoes are actually good for you! They are rich in potassium and vitamin C. True, they are high in starch, but nothing that your body can’t easily process when eaten in healthy portion sizes along with a meal.

 

Recipe

  
Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

 

Ingredients:

1-1½ lb baby red or yellow potatoes

2 + ¾ tsp. kosher salt

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes: Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least an inch of water. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt to the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a metal or wood skewer. Make sure they are cooked through but don’t overcook. Should take about 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Flatten the potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking, remove them from the water, let them drain and sit for a minute or two on some dishtowels. Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on each potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
  3. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil. Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.
  4. Roast the potatoes: Heat the oven to 450°F. Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 tsp. salt and drizzle the olive oil over them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and that they are well coated on both sides. Roast the potatoes until they’re crispy and deep brown around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes, turning over once gently with a spatula or tongs halfway through cooking. Serve hot

Recipe adapted from Finecooking.com

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Chungo

It will be a sad day when the Farm’s black lab passes from this life to the next. I remember the day we got him. I took two sons to visit Debbie and her new litter of black labs.  Our intention was to get another dog to be a companion to our Golden Retriever, Chapps. Chapps was getting on in years, and I thought that staggering the ages would be a good strategy.

I had Goldens all my life, which just happened to be City life. Well, when we moved to the Stillaguamish Valley and onto our current farm, it became obvious that a light brown dog quickly became a dark, almost black dog in the winter.  In fact, when he would go swimming in the sloughs around here, he would definitely be a black dog with “brown roots” :).

That fateful morning, Micah, Aaron and I headed over to get our new puppy. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. When we got there and saw all those puppies running around and playing, it became obvious that I was going to be BRINGING HOME TWO puppies. Okay, call me soft, but they were sure cute and those two boys of mine definitely wanted one each.

Ironically, I let the boys pick out their own dogs and wouldn’t you know that each picked out a black lab with a personality completely different than theirs! I know this often happens in a marriage, but I never made the connection between dogs and dog owners.

Another connection I didn’t make was that when those boys moved out, their dogs wouldn’t. And then I would become the proud owner of two black labs. Lightning is no longer with us, but Chungo still is. However, 13 is mighty old for a lab and his hips are just not what they use to be. He is super sweet, sleeps a ton and still wags that tail like only a lab can.

The writing is on the wall. His days are fewer than more, his strength is fading, and his hearing is mostly gone. But, as long he is able, he will always be welcome on my farm, by my side. And when he finally passes, there will be a big section of Marginalia written on the margins of my life. Thankfully, this isn’t the final chapter yet. When I get home tonight, Chungo will be waiting, wagging that tail like only a black lab can, standing right in my way to make sure he gets some loving on my way to the front door. That’s living the good life.

Tristan

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/12/17)

Cauliflower:

I’ve said before how versatile this vegetable can be. Soaking up and blending with whatever flavors surround it, cauliflower fits right in just about anywhere. But cauliflower doesn’t have to go with anything. It’s great all on its own! Simply break it up into small pieces, toss in some olive oil and garlic salt, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Green Bell Peppers:

The color of a bell pepper depends on what stage it’s at in the ripening process. All bell peppers start out green. A green bell is usually just an immature red bell pepper. Because of this, they are less sweet than a fully ripened pepper. They can be used interchangeably with other bell peppers and seem to keep their crunch a little longer.

Eggplant:

It took me many trial and error attempts to learn how to cook this vegetable. More times than not, I ended up with a gooey mess. That being said, it may be worth spending a little extra time preparing this particular vegetable. The larger globe eggplant should be peeled and salted before cooking. To peel, use a small knife or peeler and cut off the skin in stripes, leaving some of the peel still intact to help hold its shape when cooking. Then cut into slices or cubes. The most important step is to “sweat” the eggplant. This helps in getting the best flavor and consistency. Do this by tossing in a generous amount of salt and leaving in a colander for about an hour. Rinse well under cold water and completely dry by squeezing them between a towel. To cook you can grill, bake or sauté. Sautéing eggplant seems to throw people the most because of how much oil eggplant can soak up. If you’re using globe eggplant, be sure to salt it and squeeze it dry. Also, make sure the oil is very hot. Put the slices/cubes in the pan in one layer. If you crowd the pan, the eggplant will steam instead of fry and won’t cook evenly. Turn often and adjust the heat to avoid burning until the slices are a rich brown color, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

 

 

Recipe: Eggplant & Cauliflower Curry ( Add shrimp or chicken for a non-vegetarian dish)

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, cubed

1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

1 tbsp red thai chili paste

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp ginger, chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 can 14.5 oz light coconut milk

Directions:

Preparation: 10 min Cook time: 30 minutes Total: 40 minutes

Note: wear kitchen gloves when handling the jalapeño pepper, if it gets in contact with sensitive skin/gets under your cuticles it will burn for a couple of hours.?

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook eggplant according to instructions above.

2. To make the curry sauce place all the ingredients from cilantro to turmeric into a blender and pulse until the mixture forms a paste.

3. Add coconut milk and process until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes over medium low heat.

4. Add cauliflower and simmer another 10 minutes, adding eggplant in at the end.

5. Turn off the heat. Serve over rice, with naan bread or as is.

Recipe adapted from OlivesandGarlic.com

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Excuse Me, Pardon Me

John, the intrepid Klesick farmhand, is all too acquainted with his rain gear this year. As Seattle Mariner announcer, Dave Niehaus, used to say, “My, oh my.” This is an amazingly wet year. Just as I start to get the itch to fire up the tractor and plant some peas, it rains and then, rains some more. Or it snows or hails or gets sunny and snows or hails and gets sunny again. About the only thing I can count on is that it will get dark around 5 p.m. and be dark at 5 a.m. when I get up.

And, does anyone else think that Daylight Savings time is early this year? Is it really already time to roll the clock ahead? Thankfully, cell phones make the adjustment automatically, or some of us would be waiting till Fall to get back to the right time. 🙂 Some of us will even actually spend another 6 months subtracting an hour every time we look at that clock. (You know who you are.) The irony of it all is that it will take about as long to do the math as to change the clock!

But I digress (a writer’s prerogative).

Back to farming.

In really wet years like this, it feels like a sprint when Spring actually arrives. In fact, John and I have been preparing by just climbing up into the tractor. Ten reps a day. We check the fuel, the oil and have our rain gear and boots all cleaned up and ready to go. We’re just waiting for the starter’s gun to go off or the spigot to turn off!?!?!? Tongue in cheek, of course, but rest assured, John and I are ready and eager to get going when the mud dries and the weather warms up. But, if you would, pray for two things: 1. that it happens sooner than later, and 2. it won’t be the first day of fishing season or on Easter Sunday, because, well, it’s complicated… or it’s competing priorities or it just wouldn’t be fair!

Thank you for being a part of our Organic Home Delivery service. Small to medium size farms like ours need local eaters in order to remain viable. Every time you order a box of good food, it encourages a whole lot of local organic farmers to press on and continue growing nutritious food for you and your families.

Cheers to your health,

 

 

Tristan Klesick,

Farmer/Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/5/17)

Butternut Squash:

There are many, many ways to use this creamy squash, but my favorite way is in soup. It adds such a wonderfully rich and smooth texture that I can’t pass up any opportunity to pureed it. The key to getting that rich full flavor is to roast or sauté the squash first. You can peel, cut into cubes and sauté with onions and garlic until tender or cut in half, slather in olive oil and bake cut side down at 425° for about 50 minutes. If you follow the baking method, simply scrape the insides out with a spoon; no need for peeling. Then blend everything with 1-2 cups of milk (depending on how thick you want it). This can be eaten as is with salt, pepper, a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper, and topped with cream and toasted nuts. Or, add to another soup recipe to thicken it up and enrich the flavors.

Yams:

Baked yams make one of my all-time favorite snacks. They are also a great added to soups, stir fries, burritos, you name it! Or, just eat them all by themselves as a snack/side dish. I like to dice mine up into small cubes, toss in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt and bake at 425° for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender and edges are browned. Also, very good when sprinkled with cinnamon. Yum!

Cabbage:

Cabbage is such a great thing to have around. Don’t let it be that vegetable that sits in the bottom of your refrigerator drawer for months on end. There are endless opportunities to use it up. I’m constantly pulling mine out and adding it to my “just about anything”. I like to cut mine into little cabbage “shavings”. First cut the cabbage in half, then simply shave off slivers from along the inside edge. I rarely ever use a whole cabbage in one sitting so to keep the cut edges from drying out I make sure to store sealed in a plastic bag or plastic wrap.

Recipe: Rainbow Chard Hummus Wraps

Ingredients:

1 large rainbow swiss chard leaf

1/4 cup hummus

Veggies for topping, such as tomato, cucumber + onion

Directions:

Preparation: 15 min

1. Rinse and dry your Swiss chard, chop off the stem, and shave the bottom thicker part of the stem so it will roll up easier.

2. Then, top the center with hummus and veggies, wrap up and enjoy. You can also secure it with toothpicks or wrap it in parchment to take on the go.

Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker.com

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Marginalia

Marginalia refers to 1) marginal notes or embellishments (as in a book) or 2) nonessential items. Marginalia are very personal. The notes that are made in the margins of books or articles reflect the moment in time for that individual as they are engaged in reading or learning or reflecting. Highlighted sections or a few scribbled notes capture those unique inspirational moments. A family cookbook filled with smudges and stains and several generations worth of marginalia guide us through a recipe, but also remind us of a family member who left the note. Just seeing my grandma’s hand writing brings me back to the Oso farm, rope swings, the over gown apple tree in the back 40…

The margin notes of our lives are anything but marginal. If we compare our lives to a book, an unfinished book, filled with several chapters, what would be some of the marginalia that have been written? For many of us our books span decades and multiple generations. The books themselves are chock full of wisdom and life lessons, but the marginalia of our lives are where we find deep meaning, joy, sorrow, life.

Many of the notes speak out to us from the midst of a full, but oft chaotic life. The birth of a child; the loss of a child. Cancer; cancer in remission. A wedding; a divorce. The first dance recital; the last dance recital. A first word; a last word.

It is in such places that the marginalia have been highlighted or written by life. Very important places. Places filled with deep love and pain, hope and sorrow, joy and sadness. And we can’t really know either without knowing both. I contend that in the marginalia of our lives there is very little of the nonessential. Rather, there we find the foundation of knowledge and experiences that can be used to create more love, more hope, more joy to heal the pain, the sorrow, and the sadness of our own lives and the lives of others.

Yet, are we willing to let others read the marginalia of our lives? All of us can use our margin notes to write on the lives of others, but what and how we share our marginalia will determine whether we have a positive or negative impact. Let us strive to write or speak words of hope and life. Let us do acts of kindness on purpose with intention to make the life of another better tomorrow than it is today.

 

 

Tristan Klesick

Farmer/Health Advocate