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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/10/18)


Featured Recipe: Green Beans, Roasted Fennel and Shallots

Serves 4

Instructions

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 large fresh fennel bulbs, green stalks removed, ends trimmed (reserve a few feathery fronds for garnish)

3/4 pound shallots or yellow onion, peeled, halved through root end

5 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided

1 pound green beans, trimmed

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise in half and then in half lengthwise again (you want them to be approx. ½ inch wide wedges, and leave some core attached to hold them together). Combine fennel and shallots or onions in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Arrange veggies in single layer on prepared sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 35 minutes.

Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again (this stops the cooking, so they stay crisp-tender). Pat dry. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add roasted vegetables and beans; toss until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with a dash of the fennel fronds, minced first. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Stonefruit Tips:
“Stonefruit” refers to members of the genus Prunus, which includes peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, cherries, and apricots. The season for summer stonefruit is short-lived, and delicious! With the fruit coming and going so quickly, we don’t want you to miss out by having to toss spoiled or improperly ripened fruit. Here’s some tips for proper storage so you can make the most of these short-season gems.

Care: Store unwashed fruit at room temperature until ripe (usually only 1-2 days), then place in sealed container in the fridge.

Ripeness: Gently press around stem and when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is more likely overripe.

Tips for Preventing Spoilage: Stonefruit’s biggest enemy while ripening is moisture coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered countertop or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen. This lessens the chance of then rolling and bruising. Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Take special care when handling your stonefruit—never squeeze to check for ripeness! Even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Check for ripeness by gently pressing around the stem area. It should yield to light pressure.

Use: Once fruit is ripe, and you’ve placed in the refrigerator, plan to use within a day or two (this gives you a total keeping time of about 4-5 days). Stonefruit is refreshing as a healthy breakfast paired with yogurt or hot/cold cereal, as a topping to a green salad, and as an ingredient in fruit salads. For grilling, or for topping green salads: use slightly less ripe fruit, it will hold up better without breaking apart/juicing. Stonefruit also bakes up fabulously into crisps, pies, and sauces!

Fennel:

Normally fennel tastes like a cross between celery, cabbage, and licorice. Roasting, however, brings out an entirely new flavor – as if pine nuts decided to join the party. And if you enjoy raw fennel, I recommend roasting some just for the fun of it. To do so, see recipe below. Known for its crunchy texture and mild anise flavor, fennel is best used within 5 days. Keep fennel bulbs wrapped in the fridge to keep out air that will lessen its flavor. Fennel is wonderful braised, roasted, or grilled where its it brings flavor reminiscent of pine nuts to the table, or, sautéed, or used raw in salads, where it is crunchy and sweet.

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Protection or Free Trade

Last week we delved into the benefits of farmland and having farmers to work the land. Having local farmland is a national security issue, a national health issue and national environmental issue. Let’s face it, if we do not control our food supply we will be at the mercy of those countries that do. And food will become more like oil. And our presence in other countries becomes more important as other countries control or supply important commodities that America needs or thinks it needs. But whether it is a real or perceived need, if Americans (corporations) think it is important, there will be a demand to protect and ensure its supply/availability.

We are seeing this play out in a real time. Steel and aluminum are front and center. President Trump and this administration is deciding that protecting these industries are important to American security. Manufacturing jobs are good jobs and ironically, good union jobs, too. How did a Republican President of the free trade party take this stance??? We will have to leave this topic for another newsletter or newsletters.

Free trade, which is the issue under attack, is like most things; the pendulum swings one way and eventually swings back. We have been allowing Corporations to move jobs from America to other countries for decades, good jobs, but because it would be cheaper to produce somewhere else. Cheaper is an interesting word. Cheaper for the companies and the consumers who buy their products, but there were losers in the mix, too. Whole regions were shuttered and shoved aside and became “welfare” recipients.  One could argue that the consumers and corporations won, but consumers also had to pick up the tab for the loss of jobs, retraining, mental and emotional stress, shifting environmental damage to other parts of the world, etc. So much to talk about. 

This week, president Trump is trying to reestablish and protect American workers and the industries that remain. And other countries who have benefitted from Free Trade and developed industries to compete and supply steel or aluminum are fighting back because they need to protect their good paying jobs and their national security, economies, etc. 

It is also interesting that Agriculture is going to be the big loser. Farmers are always the first to get tariffs slapped on them, because America mostly exports food and imports everything else. So as this “reset” takes place, it is going to be a rocky road for a while as the world leaders try to figure out how to protect their own interests/corporations/consumers. 

So, to me, it looks like everyone at the table is looking out for their own interests and no one has the high moral ground. 

What I do know is that local food comes from local farms and having locally grown fruits and vegetables are vital to the health of every single person, regardless of where they live – America, China, Kenya, France, etc. And I hope that citizens everywhere invest in their health and strengthen their own local food economies. For most of us, voting with our dollars, does have local, national and international outcomes.

Thank you for your conscious choice to invest in your health and partner with Klesick Farms to keep local food and local farms viable and a part of our local communities.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 6/3/18)

Apricots:

Ripen apricots in a paper bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Unripe apricots can be stored at room temperature up to 5 days. Refrigerate ripe apricots in a sealed container up to one week. (Be sure that they are ripened first, as they will not ripen in the refrigerator.)

broccolini

Broccolini:

Broccolini is tender enough to enjoy stems and all. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy, and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese. Steaming broccolini, until al-dente is a great non-oil alternative. Broccolini is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

crimini mushrooms

Crimini Mushrooms:

Great raw on salads but absolutely fabulous when sautéed. There really isn’t a better ingredient around that works just as well in a breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. To sauté, heat oil or butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Clean and slice mushrooms in half inch pieces. When oil is hot add them to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

Roasted Yam and Asparagus Lentil Salad (vegan, gluten free)

Hearty and filling, this roasted yam and asparagus lentil salad is great on its own or as a side dish. Lentils add some healthy plant based proteins. Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Yams, cut into quarters

¾ cup lentils

8 oz. bunch of asparagus

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 generous handful chopped spinach or kale

6 sundried tomatoes in oil (roughly chopped)

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 garlic clove, crushed and minced

1/2 tsp of salt

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 shallot (optional)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

Toss yams with 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil and place on a tray, in the oven for 40 mins. Assemble dressing ingredients while yams are cooking.

Heat some water in a saucepan. When the water is boiling, add the lentils and cook for 10-15mins until soft (they should still have a bite). When done drain the lentils and set aside in a large salad bowl.

Snap off the tougher ends of the asparagus and discard. Chop the rest of the asparagus in thirds. 10 to 15 mins before the end of the potatoes cooking time, add the asparagus to the oven tray to roast. When all the vegetables are cooked, add them to the lentils. Toss together with the dressing. Leave everything to cool for 5 mins, then add the chopped spinach leaves and sundried tomatoes. Toss again until everything is well mixed together. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Recipe adapted from www.theflexitarian.co.uk

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A Family Farm

Every farm at one time was a family farm. But along the way, farming became more business-like and less farm-like. Don’t get me wrong, farming has a bottom line and to stay in business a farm has to make a profit. What changed though? When did our food become so impersonal? It’s just lettuce, or tomatoes, or?

Just lettuce, for example, takes a year in the making. The lettuce seed farmer has to grow the lettuce plant to produce seeds, clean the seeds, and then package the seeds. Then a lettuce farmer has to buy the seeds, fertilize the fields, and plant the lettuce seeds. Then about 6-10 weeks later that farmer gets to harvest the lettuce and sell it to a thankful customer. But because our farming regions are further and further from urban centers, we are losing touch with the farming industry that is essential for life.

As a farmer I am in awe that food is so readily available and that we have so much local food available. The Puget Sound/Salish Sea area of Western WA has a robust local farm economy. We are blessed with so many smaller farms, surrounded by larger farms – dairies and berries. The whole system is interwoven and supported by tractor dealers, farm suppliers, veterinarians, food processors, etc.

To feed people you need farmers and farmers need land. Thankfully, much of Western Washington farmland is in flood plains—AKA not good places to build houses. These rich alluvial soils that are some of the most productive in the world are right here in our own backyard! This same farmland is a multi-benefit landscape providing many other benefits to our local communities. In addition to local food and food security, local farms store flood water, filter water from the hillsides and cities before it gets to the rivers and estuaries, provide open space and lots of habitat for a host of non-human critters too.

But what makes all these direct and indirect benefits of local farmland possible? A willing consumer and a willing farmer that have developed a mutually beneficial and meaningful relationship. For us, local customers are the reason we are farming. Because of you we grow food—organic, non-polluted food—that nourishes you, your family and indirectly benefits the entire local ecosystem. You might say that having local farmland farmed by local families is a win for you, the farmer and the local eco system.

 

Growing food for you,

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 5/27/18)

Cilantro:

Store cilantro so that they have some breathing room (otherwise they will melt down on you—too much moisture speeds decay). Try removing the band so that they are spread out, wrapping them in a paper towel or cotton cloth, then placing in plastic/airtight—that’s how I’ve had the best luck keeping them fresh. You might also try storing in a jar (used like a vase), but with a bag draped over the leaves, so that the tender leaves don’t dehydrate on you. Most of the flavor in cilantro is in their stalks, so be sure to include that when you dice it up for recipes. Cilantro is a great item to have on hand, it can go with any Mexican-inspired dish as well as your Thai dishes (think lime, curry, coconut, shrimp). Of course, it is great dumped on top of tacos, and can also be mixed in with butter to eat with sweet corn.

Green Beans:

Greens beans make a great side for dinner—try sautéing them in little olive oil and garlic. They are also just as good lightly steamed and topped with ghee or coconut butter. To cook more evenly blanch first by adding to a pot of boiling for 2 minutes. Then drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process. Sauté garlic in olive oil and add green beans, sautéing until lightly seared. Add salt and pepper to taste. Green beans can also be easily baked in the oven like any other vegetable. Simply spread out evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Take out after about ten minutes and shake to turn. Sprinkle with some parmesan and serve.

Turnips:

Turnips can be sliced up and eaten raw with a little salt and lemon juice atop a salad. They can also be cooked much the same way as a potato, you can even boil them until tender and make mashed turnips. You can also roast, sauté, or add to soup. To season try a combo of salt, pepper, and lemon or when baking, toss in coconut oil, salt, pepper, ginger and drizzled in honey (roast at 400° until tender). Toppings: butter, salt, pepper, chives and parmesan.

Featured Recipe: Homemade Pico de Gallo

How to make pico de gallo — a fresh tomato salsa — with tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Makes 8 servings or about 3 cups.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1-2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, finely diced (seeds and membranes removed for a milder salsa)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, diced peppers and lime juice to a bowl. Generously season with salt — start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there. Set the salsa aside for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

After 30 minutes, stir the salsa — making sure to distribute the juices left at the bottom of the bowl. Taste and adjust with more salt (hint: you’ll probably need more than you think, so, taste, salt, taste, salt). Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from www.inspiredtaste.net

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More on Weeds

Last week I delved into weeding and our strategies to combat the looming invasion that comes with plowing and planting. This time of year is especially hard on folks with allergies. My fields look like it has snowed! Living near the river also means living near cottonwoods, and this time of year all my freshly tilled beds are also freshly seeded with cottonwoods now!

If I walked away today and did nothing more out in my fields, there would be a million trees sprouting this Spring and a new forest would take over. Nature is not a fan of bare ground and will constantly look to “plant” something in the freshly tilled ground. I know this. I get it, which is why I try to keep most of my ground planted and only actively till ground that I want to grow vegetables on keeping the rest in pasture, orchard or cover crops.

This week we are planting buckwheat, not to harvest for people food, but to feed our soil and also cover the ground. In this case, I am choosing what to cover the ground with as opposed to letting nature pick! There is a lot more thought that goes into my strategies, but you can sum it up as mimicking nature and working with nature to grow the healthiest food possible.

One of the challenges as a farmer, small business owner, husband, dad, grandpa, coach, volunteer is finding time – time to do anything, and it all feels important. I am constantly juggling. It is the same for most of you. A few of you might be thinking, “What is he talking about?” Well, I am talking about weeds! A lot of our life is more like a garden/farm. Weeds are always entering our world. If there is a free moment, it has 10 weeds that are looking to fill that space. And unless we plan and anticipate, the opportunistic nature of “life weeds” will overwhelm us. Bear in mind, weeds are not always bad, but they are not essential either. This means as the farmer of our lives we get to make room for the important crops and be diligent to limit the weeds – not a small task!

Food is something that consumes a lot of time, especially when you are managing blood sugar or fighting cancer or trying to lose weight. Sadly, the Standard American Diet, aka SAD, is more akin to weeds than food and the whole food system, organic or conventional, is built around processed sugary and/or fat food choices.

May I state the obvious: processed food is everywhere and it is hard to eat a healthy “weed” free diet! That is why we advocate eating more fruits and vegetables and keeping lots of them on hand. We also recognize that weeds are prolific and fill every nook and cranny. Purchasing less processed foods is the first step to keeping less healthy food choices out your pantry limiting their access to your life and your health.

Thanks for eating fresh fruits and vegetables and making Klesick’s a part of your life’s weeding strategy. We want you to be the healthiest you that you can possibly be so you can enjoy this wonderful life.

 

Farmer Tristan

Your local farmer and local food advocate

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How to Eat Your Box (Week of 5/20/18)

tomatoes roasted

Tomatoes:

Store tomatoes in a single layer at room temperature and away from direct light. Refrigerate only after cutting, as refrigeration makes tomatoes lose their flavor. Slicing tomatoes are great to eat raw, fried (quarter first), or broiled; they are great paired with a little olive oil and salt, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta. And yes, you can totally freeze those extra tomatoes for fresh flavor all year (slice first). According to studies done at Cornell University, cooking tomatoes actually increases the lycopene content that can be absorbed in the body as well as the total antioxidant activity.
Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies: Try roasting slices of tomatoes along with the cauliflower, mini peppers, and garlic from this week’s box with a little olive oil, sea salt & pepper in a sheet pan at 375 for 35-40 minutes until your crisp veggies are al dente (roast cauliflower for 20 minutes before adding the rest of the veggies so they all finish at the same time).

Bok Choy:

This Asian vegetable is in a class all on its own. It has a delicate and almost foam-like texture but can be quite versatile. Try sautéing in a little olive oil and freshly minced garlic or follow the recipe below. I recently discovered that baby bok choy has a nice flavor without being cooked at all (not sure why I didn’t try it this sooner!) Plus, it has a wonderfully crunchy texture, which I love! So, if you’re not a fan of the squishier consistency of cooked bok choy, try tossing it into a salad with other salad veggies (try using diced apple and raisons in this one!). Then top with your favorite dressing (a ginger vinaigrette works great) or try making your own! You could simply mix olive oil and vinegar with a little mustard (my go to), or try something a little fancier by blending ½ cup of soy, hemp, or almond milk, ½ cup cashews or ¼ cup cashew butter, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

Cauliflower:

It’s incredible 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.

Cutting out grains? Try this cauliflower pizza crust.

Sugar Snap Peas:

The sweetness of these crunchy veggie lies in their shell. Unlike shelling peas, sugar snap peas are best enjoyed fresh, shell and all. Simply “snap” off the stem bit, and you’re good to go. Great just on their own, they also go well on top of salad, in with pasta, sautéed (lightly) with any Asian-inspired dish or casseroles. Use within 5 days for best flavor and freshness.

Featured Recipe: Grilled Mongolian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Light yet filling. A delicious, gluten-free meal for those busy weeknights! Makes 8 wraps.

Ingredients:

1 lb. Chicken Breasts

1 large Onion, cubed

0.5 lb. mini Bell Peppers, julienned

1 Baby Bok Choy, roughly cut (1.5-inch pieces or so)

½ cup Sugar Snap Peas cut into 1.5-inch strips

1 teaspoon minced fresh Garlic

½ teaspoon grated fresh Ginger

½ teaspoon Crushed Red Chili Flakes

Salt to taste

3 tablespoon Olive oil or Coconut oil for cooking

1 teaspoon Coconut butter

Mongolian or Barbeque sauce (optional)

Organic Tamarind Soy Sauce (optional)

Cooked Rice as a side, or Lettuce leaves

Instructions:

Wash and cut veggies. Wash chicken thoroughly under cold water, pat dry, cut into cubes.

Heat and grease a frying pan or wok. Cook chicken on the hot pan until fully cooked and browned. This will take ~10 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Heat olive oil in a pan (can use the same pan), add ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add peas, bok choy, and onions and cook for a minute. Add bell peppers and cook until the veggies are al-dente (vegetables should be crisp tender) (NOTE: you may need to add more oil, or, try chicken broth if they look dry). Stir in the coconut butter and a dash of soy sauce or other favorite sauce if using. Mix together chicken and veggies. Add salt, chili flakes and mix it well.

Serving suggestions: enjoy over a bed of brown rice or white rice. Or, spoon the chicken filling into the center of lettuce leaves—serve immediately before the leaves start to wilt.

 

Recipe adapted from www.ruchiskitchen.com

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Weed Soon and Weed Often

I always know that I am planting at the right time of the year because everything else around me is germinating too! And oh boy, it looks like it has been a good year for the other seedlings – AKA Weeds!

As an organic farmer, I have a fairly high tolerance for weeds and weed pressure. Really weeds are just misplaced plants or in my case, just happen to germinate in mass wherever I want a crop to grow! But I have learned a few things in my 20 years of farming: better to weed early, the earlier the better.

Given my high tolerance for weed, one could say that I have built a fortune of weed seeds in my farm’s “Weed Bank.” And just to be clear, I am not talking about marijuana, although in the 1970’s the largest marijuana crop was being illegally grown across the street from my farm. Now to be fair, this was before my time and the current neighbors. But as lore goes, the illegal crop was planted in the middle of a field of cow corn.  As luck or bad luck would have it, the marijuana outgrew the corn, and someone spotted it from a helicopter. As they say, “The rest is history.”.

Not to be outdone, the Miller Road lore continues. Nissan was filming a 300zx commercial on our road. Boys and testosterone are not a good mix for the windy farm road we live on. Well anyway, the same field that grew the marijuana/corn crop had been converted to pasture and the film crew was a little nervous with the bystanders observing all the happenings. Apparently, Ferdinand the Bull didn’t care for the color of a RED sports car cruising by, so they asked the farmer kindly to put the bull in the back field.

And lest you think I am telling another yarn, there was the time that a young man with a brand-new motorcycle was drawn to the Miller Road (must have a siren call). Just as he was feeling his “oats” (farm talk for being a little too big for “yer” britches) coming out of the first corner heading into the straight stretch he met the “S” curves and laid that bike out about 60 feet into my strawberry field. Thankfully, only his pride and his bike were bruised. Even more thankfully, my daughters had finished picking the berries about 30 minutes before! Still gives me the chills just to reminisce about it.

Boys, testosterone and the Miller Road. Thankfully, the Miller Road is now a dead end and we don’t get near the bypass traffic we used to.

Oh, back to the weeds. I am talking about dandelions, thistles, chickweed, pigweed, henbit, grasses, and Lamb’s quarter. Nothing to this farmer is more beautiful than a freshly tilled and planted field and nothing is more short lived than that memory. In a week it will look like a blanket of green and purple weeds. But if you plant straight rows and start weeding early, you can knock that first flush back. But the longer you wait the harder the work. So around here we try and weed soon and weed often!

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 5/13/18)

Fresh Herbs

Add them fresh to salad as a garnish. Store them like you would flowers: in a vase on the counter until ready to use.

Artichokes:

Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, baked or grilled. To bake, cut about an inch off the top and stem of the artichoke. Then cut it in half and remove the fuzzy part in the center with a spoon. Rub the cut side with a half a lemon, squeezing some juice into the fold and the middle. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and freshly minced garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes at 425°. Melted butter or mayonnaise mixed with a little balsamic vinegar is commonly used for a dip but you can be creative and use whatever your taste buds desire! Try adding chili flakes, smoked paprika, or fresh herbs to the dip.

Turmeric:

The Fresh turmeric rhizomes look similar to ginger. Turmeric’s flavor is more vibrant when fresh—peppery, earthy, slightly bitter. Peel turmeric with a vegetable peeler before using, but only peel the amount you’re going to use, to keep the rest of the rhizome from drying out. To use, you can zest it (our favorite way), grate it, or slice it up small into discs or cubes.

Radishes:

Radishes a bit too peppery for your taste? Try poaching or sautéing them, you’ll be surprised at how mellow their flavor gets! In the raw, radishes are great as a topping to your salad, tacos, or as a side to Asian or Mexican cuisine! Remove the leaves and give the bulbs a quick rinse before storing to keep them freshest!

Featured Recipe: Golden Turmeric Rice

Serve this gorgeous, aromatic rice with roast chicken or braised lamb. Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice

1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened full-fat or light coconut milk, well shaken

¼-½ cup water as needed (see recipe)

1 oz. fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (about 2-1/2 Tbsp.)

Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. light brown sugar or omit if cutting back on sugar

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch ground cardamom

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios

 

Instructions:

Rinse the rice in a medium-mesh strainer under cool running water, swishing it with your hand occasionally, until the water runs clear.

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the coconut milk, turmeric, 1/2 tsp. salt, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stirring frequently, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat, add the raisins, and let steep for 20 minutes.

Return to a low boil, reduce the heat to very low, and stir in the rice and pepper flakes. Add additional water if mixture looks too thick and you’re worried about the rice sticking (you can always cook it off). Cover and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the rice stand, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, then serve topped with the pistachios.

 

Recipe adapted from www.finecooking.com

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From Rain to Hot

I have never direct seeded Green beans in April before. As a matter of fact, I have never seeded Green Beans at the same time as Sugar Snap Peas either. The weather pattern is shifting and after a few years of extra-wet springs followed by a heat wave, I am starting to have to adapt to this new weather pattern.  Last year really caught me off guard. This Spring we started our transplants a few weeks later than normal.

I was getting nervous that even starting 2 weeks later wouldn’t might have not been late enough. But the weather broke in our favor and we were able to empty the greenhouses and transplant thousands of romaine, green and red leaf plus seed those green beans, peas, kohlrabi, cucumbers, yellow and green zucchini, chard, bok choi, mizuna, frisée, beets and sweet corn. This week we will continue to seed more lettuces and winter squash in transplant trays, plus direct seed the list mentioned above.

What used to be a slow warm up in weather and the farming season has become a mad dash to capitalize on the soil moisture and heat. I am feeling pretty good about where we are to date. I am planting my favorite winter squash – Delicata this week. If you haven’t cooked up the Delicata from last week, get cooking, it is so good!

As a farmer and a business owner involved in the organic food world, I can assure that food doesn’t magically appear. I will grant that it is somewhat magical that wind or bees can pollinate a crop of apples or kiwi berries or cucumbers! Absolutely fascinating and magical. As an organic farmer I spend a lot of time thinking about how to enhance the biology and ecosystems on my farm to attract and keep as much wild diversity as I can to. We do everything from bird, bat and owl houses to planting beneficial flowers, to trees for birds to nest in and escape to. We plant cover crops to feed the soil food web, which in turn feeds the plants, which in turn feed us. Working with nature and its wild cohabitators is absolutely vital to a successful farm and food production system.

The solution to Americas health crisis is right here on my farm. It would be also be helpful if the other Washington would implement meaningful food policy that didn’t line the pockets of the chemical and multinational food companies. But I don’t see that shift happening soon, so it will be up to you and me to say “no” to their food and “yes” to real food and real nutrition grown on farms that respect your health and the environment.

Which is why I get up every day and source or grow and deliver the freshest organic produce I can find. Serving local families with healthy food is all we have done for the last 20 years and I don’t see any reason to change now.

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate