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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/27/17)

Bartlett Pears:
Try adding them to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s red leaf lettuce. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about 1/8 cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts). Pro tip: The skin of Bartlett pears brightens as it ripens. Bartlett pears are ripe and ready to eat once they change from green to yellow in color. Refrigerate after pears are ripe.
Kale:
Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you! One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. For prep: rinse well upon opening your box, de-stem, and you have it ready for the week! (The stems make a great addition to a stir-fry, or soup stock – don’t toss them!); For a fresh salad: chop the leaves small, sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness, “tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute). Lastly, massage in your olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and makes it so it is evenly covered. Try topping your salad with fresh apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries are also a great addition!

 

 

Kale and Roasted Potato Salad
Hearty roasted potatoes, caramelized shallots and wilted kale makes this salad delicious and satisfying!

Ingredients:
6 cups cubed yellow potatoes (about 1″ cubes)
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 large bunch of kale
2-3 carrots, sliced into 1” pieces
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, to taste
sea salt
black pepper
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine potatoes, carrots, grape seed oil, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large mixing bowl until veggies are coated and seasoned.
3. Spread coated veggies on baking sheet and cook for 45-50 minutes, turning once or twice to brown evenly. Potatoes are done when browned and crispy.
4. Combine whole grain mustard, extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar in a small bowl. Taste and add additional vinegar if desired. Set aside.
5. Caramelize shallots by cooking with 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat, for 15-20 minutes or until they’re browned.
6. Prep kale by thoroughly rinsing, chopping off the rough part of the stems and discarding. Slice the kale into 1-2″ strips.
7. When potatoes and carrots are nearly done roasting add garlic and kale to the onions and sauté over medium-low heat. Cook until the kale is thoroughly wilted, stirring often.
8. Combine kale and potatoes in a large serving bowl. Toss in vinaigrette or serve on the side as preferred (this recipe makes more than enough vinaigrette, so dress the salad to your taste). Add additional sea salt to preference. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from ahouseinthehills.com

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The Days Are Getting Shorter

This is the season where I just run out of gas, figuratively and sometimes literally. The one thing you never want to run out of is DIESEL. Nope. Never run a tractor out of DIESEL. Gas yes; Diesel no. But sometimes, I personally just run out of gas. I have been at this farming season for 7 months so far and there are a few more to go.

And this farm season has been hard. Wet early and well into June. Then DRY! The weather pattern has stressed some of the crops and blessed others. Great year for cucumbers and tomatoes; lettuces and spinach, marginal at best. Blackberries and raspberries were happy, as were the birds that descended on them like locusts. Farm years like this one require so much mental energy.

Twenty years ago, I made a choice to not farm with chemicals, to focus on soil health, biology and habitat. Which means that I have to work with nature. When the weather is too wet or too dry, the crops can get bug and disease pressures. But, if you are going to choose to not farm with chemicals/poisons, you are going to have “those” years that remind you how fragile the farming and the food system is.

But this is the time of year when local farmers have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We will be into peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers till the first frost and soon we will be harvesting our pears and plums. Potatoes and winter squash will be coming after that. And then we will start to put the farm to bed with cover crops of wheat, rye, oats and vetch to protect our soils and feed the biology.

As the days get shorter and Summer marches towards Fall, so does my outside work and I am grateful for that. Yes, life is returning to normal and I can get back on a schedule. Anybody else feel like you can’t wait for school to get out and you can’t wait for it to start? I know as a farmer, summer is just crazy. Your life is ordered around the day length and chores, but when school starts, life takes on a different rhythm.

It is a more peaceful rhythm like the “Resolve” at the end of a great symphony. Still very intricate, but as the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Fall, this farmer senses it is time to begin to hush the horns, percussions and, eventually, the winds and let the farm I partner with rest, rejuvenate and get ready for next season.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

 

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/20/17)

Sweet Onions
Sweet onions lack the sulfuric pungency of yellow onions. The best part? They won’t make you cry when you cut them up! This is also why they taste “sweet” – not because they have more sugar than regular onions, but because they lack the Sulphur. Sweet onions are best eaten fresh – cooking them wastes their delicate flavor and you won’t get the “onion-y” flavor that you want with a cooking onion. The mild flavor of these onions makes them perfect for your raw in salads and relishes or chopped as a garnish. If you do cook them, either roast them to caramelize their flavor or make homemade onion rings.
Garnet Yams:
Yams are more nutrient dense than potatoes as they have good amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, but you can generally use them in the same way as potatoes. They are delicious baked and loaded with beans, scallions and a bit of cheese. They also make a lovely mash or soup. They have a natural sweetness that pairs nicely with something acidic like lemons or vinegars. As with most vegetables, yams are delicious roasted. Cut into wedges then toss with a little bit of cornstarch and finely grated Parmesan. The cornstarch helps to lock in the moisture so they turn crispy and more fry-like in the oven. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper then roast in a hot oven 425-450°F for 20 – 30 minutes or until caramelized in parts and tender.

 

 

Roasted Garnet Yam and Goat Cheese Salad
Hint: Toss the lettuce, onions, roasted red peppers, with the dressing first, THEN add the goat cheese and roasted yams (fresh out the oven) for the ultimate bite.

Ingredients:
For the sweet potatoes:
2 medium sweet potatoes, in ~1in. cubes
1½ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
⅛ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
For the salad:
Lettuce, chopped (about 6 cups)
½ Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
4 roasted Red Peppers, sliced
Roasted Garnet Yams, cut into cubes
100-125g goat cheese (plain or herbed, as you like)
For the dressing:
1 tbsp. lemon juice (~half a lemon)
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Spread Garnet yam cubes onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.
3. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
4. Sprinkle spice blend on top of yams and toss with a spatula.
5. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender and slightly browned (keep an eye on them to avoid burning!). This may take slightly more time depending on your oven.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey, and Dijon. Pour olive oil slowly, while whisking constantly.
7. In a large bowl, toss the baby greens, green onion, and roasted red peppers. Dress to your liking (you don’t have to use all the dressing if you don’t want to)
8. Dish out the salad onto plates or bowls, top with tons of goat cheese and, finally, with the warm roasted Garnet yams.
Adapted from ahintoffaith.com

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Hand in Hand

Being a first-generation family farm has been an amazing journey. For nearly 20 years, Joelle and I have been supplying, growing, and delivering our produce and produce from other farms. As we near Fall and the Fall harvest, I am reminded that what was a little seed a few months ago is ready for harvest now. Time flies by.

For Joelle and I, our farm has transitioned from being the young farming family to being a multigenerational farm family. Time has flown by. With each season there are so many rewards and riches to be had, but some of the most precious are the excitement and wonder of children.

Our youngest, Joanna (7), still excitedly reminds us to look at the sunset every night. She hasn’t quite figured out how to remind us to look at the sunrise, though. ? Sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, but seeing another grandson or granddaughter join the family – that is life changing.

Joelle and I are both parenting and grand parenting. The older children have gotten married and are having children and our little Joanna is now an Auntie 4 times over with one more coming in November.

A few weeks ago, we welcomed Nathan Lee Klesick to the world. I haven’t got him on the tractor yet, but it will happen sooner than I can say scalafragilisticespcalldocius. Because, well, time flies by. And before I know it that little guy will be under foot harvesting strawberries alongside his grandparents, just like his older brothers and cousins, and just like their parents did.

Seeing your third generation is a gift. Having them grow up near the farm, spend time on the farm, and experience the farm, that is priceless. Right now, those little ones are more likely to get a taste of the dirt on our farm, but that taste could very well lead to a future taste for farming.

For me, I am going to work a little slower and take a little more time to get the chores done, because I will have the third generation trying to keep pace with grandpa’s footsteps. To hear “Grandpa, Grandpa” and turn around and see a little one toddling as fast as those little legs can go is all the motivation I need to slow down, bend down, and swoop them up!

Maybe it is just me, but I think that locally grown food tastes better, because a local family on a local farm is growing it and quite possibly, as it is with our farm, another generation of future farmers, too.

 

Teaching another generation to farm,

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/13/17)

Beets:

Beets can be cooked just about any way you like. They are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375 °F for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done). But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed as well so don’t throw them out! Try cooking the greens in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bright green – be careful not to over cook. 

Celery:

Popular as a finger food, celery also makes a flavorful addition to soups. Because of their crescent shape, they make a great healthy medium to stuff as a fun and flavorful snack. You can get creative when it comes to what you put on them: Peanut or almond butter is the classic pairing but you can pair celery with just about any snack dipper. Cream cheese makes a good filler, try it mixed with chopped nuts and raisins. Homemade ranch or Hummus also makes a good savory pairing. Celery is also great in salad. It can lend itself to the sweet: using thinly sliced apples, pecans, raisins, yogurt or sour cream, honey and a pinch of cinnamon, or, the savory: with lettuce or spinach, finely chopped onion, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper.

Herb, Savory:

Savory is an aromatic herb similar in flavor to thyme that works well to season fish and meats as well as vegetables like summer squash, green beans, and tomatoes. It is perhaps best known for flavoring lentils and beans, where it helps with digestion. Savory blends nicely with other spices such as rosemary, basil, oregano, marjoram, and bay leaf. Strip the leaves from the stalk and add towards the end of cooking to best preserve the flavor. This savory was cut at prime while flowering and dried for packing early August.

 

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Who knew that adding this vegetable to a chocolate cake could make it the most moist and delicious cake ever? The beetroot plays up the chocolate but you’ll be hard-pressed to taste it! Ingredients:

3-4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks*

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups organic whole cane sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon Salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup safflower oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cover beets with 2 inches water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Puree beets in a food processor until smooth. (See note, below)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups beet puree (reserve any remaining puree for another use). Whisk until just combined.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9 x 3-inch round cake pan with parchment, and coat pan with spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn cake out from pan onto racks, and discard parchment. Let cool completely, right side up.
  5. Trim top of cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer cake, cut side down, to a platter. Pour chocolate glaze over the top, and let set, about 30 minutes.

 

*If you don’t have a food processor, leave the beets whole when cooking, then grate beets on your finest-hole cheese grater.

Adapted from marthastewart.com

 

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Rain – It’s Overrated

Water. Who needs water?

We just passed a record without rain for the Seattle area that has stood since 1951. YES, 1951! My parents were wee lads and lasses back then. I wonder if global warming was the talk of the day. They were probably more concerned with the Russians coming through Canada or maybe it was how North Korea with the help of China and Russia invaded South Korea?

One could conclude that not much has changed since 1951. What are we talking about in today’s local and world events? How dry it is, North Korea, China, and Russia. Hmm, I guess I don’t have to worry about wondering what my grandparents were thinking about in the 50’s anymore. I am reliving it.

 

Oh, and of course the Modern Supermarket got a solid stronghold on the American marketplace. And our cheap food model has been exported all over the world to the detriment of local communities everywhere. What about today? We see a mini renaissance of local food outlets. Victory gardens and eating locally were still widely in use in the 50’s and lots of small farms dotted the landscape. But once again, we see the big getting bigger with Amazon buying Whole Foods and the PCC’s building another new store every year or another local farmer selling out and a larger farmer taking over.

 

But we are not seeing the local farm community keep pace; it is as if the American populace has chosen industrial food all over again, only this time it is even more convenient – you don’t even have to leave your home to get what you want!

 

In 1997, when we started a home delivery company based on a local farm and farm-direct model, quality and convenience was our niche. Back then, we knew that if we were going to make it as first-generation farmers, we needed to serve local families and that’s what we did. We chose to serve one family at a time, to provide the freshest ingredients at competitive prices. We built our farming methods around variety and quality and our business model around customer service.

 

These are the things that Joelle and I wanted for our diet – variety and quality – as well as actually being appreciated for being a customer. We extend these basic tenets to you, our customers, every day, in every interaction, whether it is through email, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or a phone call or when you get a box of good delivered.

 

The only reason that Klesick Farms is even a farm today is because a local family said we want the freshest, best quality, farm-direct fruits and vegetables. There was no other way for us to be able to farm unless a family like yours said “Yes” to a local farm and our delivery service.

And that is a good thing that I hope never changes, because local food only comes from local farmers and organic food only comes from organic farmers. I have the best of both worlds, I am small family farm serving local families in my community, just like it was in the 50’s.

 

May this never change.

 

Tristan

Farmer, Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 8/6/17)

This week’s How to Eat Your BOX and recipe brought to you by Ashley Rodriguez.

 

Green Beans:

I’m not one to eat green beans raw like my children although thinly sliced and added to green salads is a fine vegetal bite but the truth is my favorite way to eat green beans is when they are deeply tender and sweet.

This year I’ve discovered grilled green beans and that is now my favorite way to enjoy them.

Roasting is also a good choice when you don’t want to turn on the grill. Roast until thoroughly crisp and they’ve nearly shriveled down to nearly nothing. Dress in a simple vinaigrette and serve alongside anything.

When blanching green beans be sure to make the water taste of the sea. This will not only provide an adequate seasoning for the beans but also help to preserve the texture.

Zucchini:

Raw, roasted, sautéed, grilled – I love it all.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave long thin strips of raw zucchini. Toss with basil, olive oil, lemon juice or red wine vinegar and a heap of halved cherry tomatoes. Finish with fresh feta or goat cheese if you’d like.

Grilled zucchini steaks make a lovely accompaniment to grilled chicken, steak, or fish. Top with a fine chop of fresh herbs (basil, mint and chives are nice options), lemon zest, and garlic. Thin with a bit of olive oil.

Whenever you grill zucchini brush with plenty of olive oil and be sure to use a good bit of salt.

Small tender zucchini is best for eating raw or for a quick sauté. Larger zucchini can tend to lose some of its sweetness but are perfect for baking.

 

Grilled Green Beans with Basil Gremolata and Parmesan Brittle

This recipe is from my next book – yet to be titled. It uses my current favorite cooking method for green beans; grilling. While warm and freshly charred the green beans are tossed in a fragrant basil gremolata (an herb sauce laced with lemon, garlic and sometimes anchovy). It’s then topped with crispy baked Parmesan that you will want to put on all the things.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup basil leaves, finely minced

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, finely minced

Flake salt

1 cup crumbled Parmesan Brittle (recipe below)

Bring a large stock pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Blanch the beans just until their color shifts, about 2 minutes. Shock them to halt the cooking process by adding them to the ice water. I find a spider – the tool often used when frying – is the best for retrieving the beans from the boiling water. Or tongs.

Drain the cooled beans and toss with the olive oil and sea salt. Grill over high heat until the beans are tender and deeply charred in parts.

In a large bowl combine the basil, lemon zest and juice, and garlic clove. Toss the warm beans in the gremolata. Taste a bean and add flake salt or more sea salt if needed.

Turn out the beans onto a platter and finish with the Parmesan Brittle.

*To prevent the beans from falling into the cavernous grill set a wire cooling rack (not rubber coated) over the grill grates and place the beans on the wire rack.

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My Summer Garden

Last time we spoke I boldly proclaimed that this year I would finally give my little garden the attention it deserves. It has served us well in years past providing yard snacks of sugar snap peas, wild strawberries and raspberries. But this year I wanted to be able to cook a few dinners solely using the harvest from the garden.

In spite of me the garden flourished. By April I was giddy with the thought of spending extended periods of time outside again. Evening dinners by the garden seemed an impossible act when as the rains persisted. I started seeds on the ledge above our sink and watched their steady progress. For hours, I dug deep into the dirt extending the garden’s borders making room for squash, peppers, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, radish, and cucumbers. Hopes were high.

And then reality hit. Summer with three kids, camping trips, beach picnics, book writing and opening a retail/studio in Seattle leaves little time for pulling weeds. And yet the garden gives and rewards my efforts – no matter how lacking they may be.

Last week, after a quick jaunt to the islands, I came home to an empty fridge and a deep desire to order take out. I wandered into the garden to turn on the sprinkler but immediately found myself pulling weeds and making plans for dinner. There was a zucchini – a rare one not yet enjoyed by our squirrely garden guests, tender skinned potatoes, ruffled butter lettuce, green beans and plenty of fragrant herbs.

The potatoes I boiled in a vinegar brine then roasted until crisp on the outside and buttery inside. With the zucchini, I cut it into thick coins then fried in a bit of olive and finished with sumac – a brilliant red spice that tastes as if it’s laced with lemon – and mint. The greens were lightly dressed with a lemon yogurt dressing immersed with herbs. And the green beans, well, the kids ate those raw as a snack while they waited for their garden dinner.

Perhaps next year is the year I really dig deep into gardening and I can live out my dreams of weedless rows and towering teepees of greens beans. In the meantime, I’m thankful for tangled stems that produce tomatoes sweet and bursting with flavor, and jungle-like web of green beans that bring smiles to my kid’s faces, and potatoes springing from the dirt in which I proudly hold them high in the air and proclaim to my husband, I grew that! Really, the earth does the work and for that I am so grateful.

 

Ashley

 

Get Ashley’s recipe for this week’s box menu, here.

 

Ashley Ashley Rodriguez is a NW Mom, Chef, Food Blogger at notwithoutsalt.com and author of Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship