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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/26/18)

Pluots

STORE: ripe pluots in the refrigerator for up to three days.

PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum x apricot).

Cauliflower

Containing unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, cauliflower is also very easy to add your diet. It’s tasty, easy to prepare and can replace high-carb foods in recipes. Cauliflower can be chopped up and added to salad or soup, roasted in the oven, tossed in a stir fry, boiled and pureed as a stand-in for mashed potatoes or to make a creamy soup, baked into a pizza crust as a flourless alternative, or simply eaten raw. You don’t even have to cut it up. Try baking it whole by simply cutting off the leaves and stem so it can sit upright, baste in olive oil, salt and spices of your choice, and bake on a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet at 450° for about 45-60 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily. Because of its mild flavor, cauliflower goes well in spicy dishes or curries as it soaks up all the other flavors

 

Eggplant

Larger globe eggplants 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 (helps it not be bitter). Do this by tossing in a generous amount of salt and leaving in a colander for about an hour, then squeeze dry. Rinse well under cold water and completely dry by squeezing them between a towel. To cook you can grill, bake or sauté.

 

Featured Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Pine Nuts

The eggplant soaks up lots of flavor from the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness. Toss it all together with chewy quinoa and you’ve got a satisfying whole-grain salad to enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, or about 3 cups cooked

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chile pepper, optional

1 teaspoon minced hot green chile such as serrano, optional

3/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or more as needed

3/4 teaspoon dried mint, preferably spearmint, optional

For the salad:

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (less than 1/4 inch)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.

To prepare the quinoa, add the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and dried chile to a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the grain is tender with a slight chew, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and chile, drain if needed, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the minced chile, Aleppo pepper, and dried mint and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the eggplant and the onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and combine well, using your hands. If you don’t mind the extra dish, it’s a bit easier to toss everything in a large bowl.

Roast the mixture until the eggplant pieces have softened and are browned in spots, and the onion slices have caramelized, turning them once with a spatula in between, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately sprinkle the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the fresh mint and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Toss well with a spatula — this will soften the mint leaves and take the sting out of the vinegar.

To finish, add the warm eggplant mixture to the quinoa. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar and toss to combine. Season with salt and vinegar to taste. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup mint and the pine nuts and serve.

 

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

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Hoping for a Gully Washer

Actually, I am looking for a good rain to clean the air and end the fire season early or at least allow a respite for all the fire crews and families directly impacted by all the forest fires. And for the rest of us breathing this smoke, it would be most appreciated too. Lord, please send the rain.

Last week, Joelle and I and a few of the kiddos snuck off to Moclips for a few days before soccer starts, school begins and the final push to the Fall farm season. Fortuitously, it also happened to have the best air quality in the state, not great but not above 100 either.

We just played at the beach.

The waves just kept coming and coming and coming! Awesome power and rhythmic. When all was quiet during the wee hours of the morning, (I might be on a vacation, but I still get up at 5am) you could hear the constant roar of the ocean, like a freight train, but it is never accompanied by a crossing signal or the faint coming or going of a train. What power, magnificent power!

Most of us reading this newsletter, appreciate the tide coming and going as it pertains to the Puget Sound of Salish Sea. And for sure the sound can be very stormy, but it is a tame beast compared to the Pacific Ocean.

We wandered out into the Griffiths-Priday state park and waded the quiet waters of the Copalis River. We made our way to the mouth of the river, a completely different experience than the Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. There we came across the biggest hoof prints I have ever seen. Definitely not coastal black tail, or horses, they belonged to an elk. I guess Elk Creek was appropriately named after all! The tracks were huge, and the gait had to be 6 feet between hoof prints. We followed the tracks in the wet sand till it crossed back over the Copalis River and though we searched and searched, we couldn’t find the tracks on the other side of the river. But it was fun to look and since we are on vacation and no need to be anywhere at the moment, looking was perfectly acceptable.

Nature is beautiful. It is beautiful at the ocean, and in the city and on the farm. There is so much intricacy on a centipede or a robin or skate. Leaves floating above the water and leaves jostling below the water both making their way to the ocean or the bottom, but both destined to rejuvenate the ecosystem.

It is a privilege to participate actively or passively with nature and all its wonder.

 

Tristan

Last week wanderer, this week farmer

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August

It is that funny month, where you hang onto every last drop of Summer and yet are looking forward to Fall. The mornings are cooler, but the days are still hot and smoky! A good rain would sure be appreciated by everyone across the West. I recently paused and read this great email/newsletter written by Tom Stearns from High Mowing Seeds that summed up the season better than I could. It is written for growers by a grower. I pulled out this small excerpt to share with you. (Disclaimer. I receive no financial benefit by saying this 🙂. I purchase most of my organic seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds and would encourage you to give them a try, too.)

 

In Need of Pause

August. What does it bring to mind for you? Perhaps it is harvests: long, seemingly never-ending harvests. Or maybe it is water: the drips we give our thirsty plants, or the lakes, ponds, streams and rivers in which we cool our over-heated bodies after a long day in dusty fields. Certainly, August embodies the Sunday Syndrome of summer: although the season is not yet over, we already begin to look past it to what the next has to offer. This strange, hot month offers us a respite – a needed breath of air before plunging in again for cool, abundant autumn.

I have always appreciated how the poet Helen Hunt Jackson described this month in her poem of the same name: an “interval of peace” in which “all sweet sounds cease, save hum of insects’ aimless industry.” It truly is a pause – a greatly needed one – in which our plants are finally at stasis, if only briefly, and we can at last sneak away for an afternoon or an evening to do nothing but perhaps listen to the hum of aimless insects and recharge the wellspring for the final push of summer.

Wishing you a welcome pause this month,

Tom Stearns, Owner & Founder
High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

Farmer or not, those words aptly describe what most of us are experiencing.

Our farm is at that spot, plantings have slowed, summer harvest is going strong and weeding is mostly caught up. Fall is often busier than Spring and ironically, what went into the ground as a seed in June is now coming out by the ton.  My attention is definitely on Fall crops, like making sure to pick the apples before they fall! That doesn’t always happen, but when one drops, the rest are not far behind. Corn, winter squash and pears are not far off either and then there is the last plantings of garlic, winter kale, frisée, and Radicchio’s to be planted. We will also be planting cover crops to feed the soil and protect it from the compaction of winter rains.

I am tired just thinking about it all, but at the same time I am energized to see it through to completion.

 

Tristan

For the tired farm crew.

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At What Price

Fresh salad with hummas and walnuts

I love what we do. I love that our team gets to grow, source, and deliver health. I love that everything we deliver is better for your heath and better for the environment. For the last twenty years we have been offering nutrient rich fruits and vegetables to families like you every single week. That is a long run! Many of you reading this newsletter have been a customer for a decade or more and more than a few of you have been customers from the beginning since 1998.

For us, doing business is more akin to serving our neighbors. We want everyone to eat healthy and be healthy. We want each of you to have access to the freshest and healthiest foods to nourish your body and provide energy to accomplish everything on your to do list – everyday!

I firmly believe that health and health care start at the farm and our forks. When we choose a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, our bodies tend towards a normal weight as does our A1C, lipid panels and blood pressure. We also introduce a lot of antioxidants into our bodies that just love to tie up damaging free radicals.

The other day I saw this ad in the Everett Herald – “Ready to Get Healthy”. There was a picture of a smiling obese person. The sub text said, “Sign up to attend a free seminar on Bariatric surgery.” To be perfectly clear, Bariatric surgeries can work, but so can sewing your jaw shut! Our stomachs are about 1 liter in size. That is not very big and to go through an intense and invasive surgery to limit our ability to overeat seems extreme.

I think it would be better for insurance companies to invest the thousands of dollars that this surgery costs and spend it on a one month stay at a health clinic where a person could get educated about a healthy diet, be fed a healthy, primarily plant-based diet and given an appropriate exercise regime – all monitored. The same money would produce better, less intrusive results and would impact other people in the immediate family and circle of friends.

Of course, the FDA and USDA could just require purveyors of junk food to pay for the medical bills out of their obscene profits instead of expecting the taxpayers or insurance companies to pay for the medical costs as they use their profits to sicken more. Or, the USDA and FDA could just ban known junk food that is contributing to the health crisis, but don’t hold your breath for these changes.

Unfortunately, legislating health is not likely, but we get to choose health one bite at a time, 3x’s a day. Even having just one salad a day can have immense health benefits.

I also want to share that is both hard to eat healthy and easy to eat healthy. So, where ever you find yourself on the continuum of eating healthy or being healthy, that is where you are. You can’t change that.

You can’t go backward, only forward. So today, tonight, pick up that fork and make a healthy choice and another and another.

The culmination of all of us saying yes to healthy food will have a powerful impact on our personal health, our family’s health and eventually our Nation’s health.

 

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Health Advocate

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A Time to Heal

Last week was the week I decided to fix my knee. I had twisted it around Mother’s Day and had been limping along for a few months between doctor visits and what not. Finally, it became obvious that surgery or limping along for the rest of my days were my two choices. I settled for surgery and had my knee scoped and all cleaned up—hopefully for a good long time, too.

Can I state the obvious? July on the farm is not the best time to slow down and few things slow you down more than a knee surgery. Currently, the Klesick farm team is in full harvest mode, planting mode and playing mode, but I am in CONVALESCING MODE! Not for long! I am already feeling better and gaining mobility.

When to schedule a surgery? That was a surprisingly easy decision. I took the earliest date possible. Around here we say, “Why put off tomorrow, what you can do today!”

So, for the last two weeks I have been running the farm from the “seat of my pants” in a very literal way! I have an awesome team and am grateful for their help.

Frisée

This week we are featuring Frisée and all its health benefits. The Bitter Greens are so foreign to the American taste buds, but so critical to our health. Here is an excerpt from an article by mindbodygreen.com:

Imagine if you could eat something that would help your liver, act as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, assist in weight reduction, cleanse your skin, eliminate acne, improve your bowel function, prevent or lower high blood pressure, prevent anemia, lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half, eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods, and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. 

If I also told you that this wonder food also tasted good in salads, teas, and soups, what would you do to get your hands on this treasure? Well, thankfully you have nature on your side, providing these miracle plants in abundance during spring!

I’m talking about bitter greens. Dark and leafy, some great examples include dandelion, arugula, and kale. In addition to being vitamin-rich (like most greens), bitter greens are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. They have a bold flavor that may take some getting used to, but the health benefits are definitely worth the effort!

Cheers to your Liver’s Health!

Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 7/1/18)

Red Cabbage

Cabbage is a handy 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 make cabbage “shavings” by first cutting the cabbage in half, then simply shaving off pieces from along the edges. Also, if you’re like me and rarely use a whole cabbage in one sitting, keep the cut edges from drying out by rinsing and storing in a sealed plastic bag.

Good source of Thiamin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese.

—nutritiondata.self.com

Berries

NW berries need to be treated a little gentler than their California counterparts. Always wait to wash until ready to eat, gently pat dry to avoid soggy berries, and try to eat within 3 days of delivery.

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.

Sweet onions will keep for a week or two at room temperature. For longer storage keep them in an open paper bag in a cool, dark place. You can put them in the veggie drawer of a fridge in a paper bag or on layers of newspaper, but don’t keep them wrapped in plastic, since their juicy constitution makes them susceptible to rot and mold.

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Protein Rice Bowl

Fiber-rich and full of protein. Serves 4

Ingredients

1 small head of red cabbage

1 large sweet potato

1 sweet onion

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas

4 handfuls of red leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped

1 1/2 cups of rice

8 ounces 2% yogurt

1 handful of cilantro

1 lime

Olive oil

Spices for Veggies: Onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and some red chili flakes

Kosher salt

Optional: Feta Cheese

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven to 400F

Note: You can either chop and toss the sweet onions in with the veggies to roast, or, if you are fine with the crunch, serve them raw as a topping. For the veggies, cut the cabbage in 8 wedges. Cut large chunks of sweet potato so they cook around the same time. Cook for about 20 minutes or until al dente-tender. Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and toss in some olive oil to coat and a couple shakes of the spices and a couple pinches of kosher salt. Throw on a lined baking pan and place in the oven (can bake at the same time as the veggies, but try for 10-15 minutes at 400F.

Meanwhile, cook the rice on stove top or in a rice cooker.

While veggies, chickpeas, and rice are cooking, make the cilantro yogurt sauce. Mix together the yogurt, cilantro, juice of the lime, shake of onion powder (or add in some fresh minced sweet onion!), garlic powder and some salt in a food processor or blender, blend, taste, adjust seasonings.

As soon as the veggies, chickpeas, and rice are done cooking, place everything in a bowl including the red leaf lettuce (optionally, you can mix everything else and dump on top the greens) and mix well, then cover for a few minutes, season with some salt and mix some more.

 

Recipe adapted from susanstable.com

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“Don’t Plow More Than You Can Disc in a Day”

Don’t you enjoy fun facts or sayings? “Don’t plow more than you can disc in a day” is akin to “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”. These two sayings are getting at a similar thought but were born out in real world examples. Most of us can relate to having taken on too much and the feeling of being unable to complete the task well.

I have a friend who can hardly ever say “No” to anything. I might be more like that friend than I care to admit. I have to work hard to say “No”. There are just so many good things to do. But I did realize the other day that I am able to say, “NO”. I say it all the time, but instead, I just keep saying, “YES, NO PROBLEM!” I am guilty of biting off a little bit more than I can chew. Can any of you relate????

The other phrase is from my days farming with Belgian Draft horses. When you plow and turn over the soil, the soil that is lifted from the bottom to the top is “soft” or “mellow”. So much so that if you immediately work it with a disc, it will turn into a manageable seedbed. The converse is true as well and I have experienced it many a time. If you plow the soil and don’t get back to discing it for a day or two, your work load increases immensely. You often can’t get that nice seedbed! As soon as the inverted soil “sets”, it tends to bind together. The best thing is only plow what you can disc in a day. It was wise 200 years ago. It is wise now.

This time of year especially feels full! I am thankful for increasing day length and a really nice break in the weather. John (Mike’s son) and I plus a few Klesick kiddos have been tackling the Spring farming season. We have been planning and preparing for this season. And like most Springs, it rarely goes as planned. Yet without some planning, the season would be lost before it started.

We have been planting lettuce every week into transplant trays. About 1000 plants every week get seeded. We purposely started a few weeks later this year anticipating a wetter spring, but I don’t know any farmers who anticipated an end of April start??? As you can imagine those greenhouse plants kept a growing. Last week, the farm crew planted the 3/7 and 3/15 and 3/22 plants all at the same time in the field. So much for planning. But if we hadn’t planned to “start”, we wouldn’t have had any lettuce or peas ready to go and would be unable to take advantage of the weather.

Because we had a plan, it allowed us to take a few minutes and think through some last minute changes. We decided to plant the Sugar Snap Peas in a different location and to plant the green beans earlier than normal. FYI, peas we plant once and beans we plant several times during the summer. We also cut back on the peas this year because the later Spring will push pea harvest into the raspberry and blackberry harvest. Crazy, but when you are working in a living system, flexibility and nimbleness are assets to be coveted.

I think we are well on our way to a good start to the local season. Let the planting continue and the weeding be nonexistent (just hoping)!

 

Tristan

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate

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How Can I and Why Can’t I?

How am I ever going to lose 10, 20, 30 or more pounds? Losing weight is a fairly simple mathematical equation—calories burned minus calories consumed. Calories are a measure of energy. The more energy you use the more calories you need to fuel your body and conversely, the less energy you use the less fuel your body needs to operate. So, in a sense, one could choose Bariatric surgery, wire their jaw shut, or eat only grapefruit and lose weight.

But is losing weight the real goal? Granted if we lose weight we will probably have better health numbers and being overweight or obese is a leading indicator for Prediabetes, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease…. So, in real sense losing weight is important. I would contend that when we say we would like to lose weight or need to lose weight, we are really saying, we need to be healthier. And for the most part if we are skinnier, we would be healthier.

Perhaps we could amend the question by saying, “We need to lose 10lbs, so we will be healthier.” That is a good reason to lose weight. And if you read last week’s newsletter, “To Serve or Be Served” you will remember that Americans and the world are not on a healthy trendline. Which means that the healthier folks are going to have to serve a lot more folks who are unhealthy.

But why is it so hard to lose weight so we can be healthy? I have been wrestling with that question for years. I know that I “bought” into eating the organic version of the Standard American Diet AKA SAD, but it was only minorly better than the nonorganic version of the Standard American Diet. It wasn’t until last October that I finally understood the forces that were at work to prevent me from being healthier. I picked up a copy of the book Brightline Eating by Susan Pierce Thompson. She explained why so many of us struggle with weight loss and how you can win with food.

Is Brightline perfect for everyone? Mostly. I do believe that the information, tools and strategies are helpful and have helped me lose 25 pounds and keep them off through the Holiday Gauntlet of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter and numerous birthday celebrations.

Having the science behind why it can be so hard to lose weight and get healthy was invaluable and then having a strategy to eat the right amount of food and the right foods was essential. Without a food plan/strategy it is almost impossible to compete with Grocery Manufacturers of America and their advertising campaigns. The GMA is not concerned about your health, they are concerned about the health of their bottom line.

But we don’t have to play their game, we get to choose. I have a plan for my food and to be as healthy as possible as for as long as possible. My plan looks like vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and high-quality proteins—both plant and meat—plus drinking water and getting exercise. This is my strategy to get and remain healthy, and those extra 25lbs I lost were a nice perk!

 

Thank you,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Community Health Advocate

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/25/2018)

Pumellos:

Also referred to as pomelos, these giant citrus fruits are closely related to grapefruit. Pummelos have a much thicker pith area than other citrus, but other than that, are much like a milder (non-bitter) grapefruit. We think you’ll like it! Store up to one week in the refrigerator. To eat: remove the thick rind and peel the membrane from around the segments. Pummelos can be eaten fresh, tossed into salads or salsa, used in a marinade, or juiced for a cocktail. Enjoy them nearly any way you eat your favorite citrus fruits.

Mangos:

To peel a mango: using the tip of the mango as a guide, slice the two cheeks of the mango off, cutting around the stone in the center. Then place the edge of the mango against the lip of a glass and slide it down one of the halves, so that you’re using the glass like a giant spoon to scrape the mango from its skin. If your mango is ripe (yields to soft pressure, fragrant), you can get the glass to slide through it and separate the skin with ease. Then, you can eat the half of mango, or, if you’re sharing, slice it up, cut it into cubes, and dump into a bowl.

Dandelion Greens:

Among the list of bitter greens that we talked about earlier in the season, dandelion can also be used in recipes calling for kale or chard. Try balancing them out with milder greens like leaf lettuce or spinach. To use, rinse well, and trim the thicker stems away. Dandelion greens make a great garnish (add to the recipe below) and can be parboiled if you’re looking to make the bitterness go away. Try it: Sauté in with a little olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes, then sprinkle with a soft mild crumbled cheese and pair with flat bread and hummus.

 

Featured Recipe: Lentil Niçoise Salad with Shallot-Herb Dressing

Cook the lentils ahead for a quick protein-packed plant-based weeknight meal. Vegan and Gluten Free. Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

 

2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppers

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon herbs de providence

1 lb. small potatoes (halved or quartered if large)

2 cups steamed lentils (cook according to package directions)

0.75 lb. green beans

1/4 cup niçoise olives (or other black/green olives)

8 cups shredded green leaf lettuce

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced

 

Instructions:

Steam potatoes in a steamer basket for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. They should be fork tender when cooked. Remove from steamer basket and rinse under cold water. Retain the potato water for steaming the green beans.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the shallots, Dijon, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of herbs de providence. Set aside.

 

Add green beans to the steamer basket and steam for 2 minutes, remove and rinse under cold water.

Divide the steamed potatoes and beans, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, and lentils among 4 bowls. Toss with shallot-herb dressing and serve.

 

Adapted from recipe by damndelicious.net

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Tacos 101

 

Gabe’s grandfather has repeatedly encouraged me to write the cookbook, 101 Tacos. When we see him which unfortunately isn’t often enough as he lives in northern Mexico, he always has more ideas for tacos. “Shrimp tacos, beef tacos, tacos de fish, chicken tacos…” He’s relentless in this idea and honestly, I totally get it because if there is one thing I can eat on repeat its tacos. And now, as I’m working on my second cookbook I’m realizing that we do indeed eat quite a few tacos. In my opinion, they are quite possibly the best solution for quick weeknight meals. My 15 minute steak tacos never disappoint and my latest favorite, asparagus tacos, have me really reconsidering that 101 Tacos book idea.

Summer is the perfect season for minimal prep for quick easy cooking. The ingredients available to us right now overwhelm me in the best sort of way. To capture the maximum nutrition and flavor very little cooking is needed as the warmth of the sun has done the hard work for us. These Swiss chard tacos, like so many other tacos, quickly became a staple in our house the moment I found the idea in one of Rick Bayless’ books. While greens aren’t necessarily a favorite at the dinner table for my three children when you wrap them around a tortilla suddenly they get devoured.

The Swiss chard gets a quick and simple sauté with caramelized onions and then topped with store-bought or homemade salsa and then creamy queso fresco. If you’re out of Swiss chard, spinach makes a fine substitute. Throw in some other roasted vegetables for variety and extra nutritional heft.

For quick summer meals that give you more time outside and less time in the kitchen, learn from me and always keep tortillas at the ready along with a good salsa, and crumbly, salty cheese. A quick roast of whatever you have lingering in your vegetable crisper and you have yourself a taco that would make Gabe’s grandfather proud.

For Ashley‘s Recipe for Swiss Chard Tacos, click here.

 

Ashley

 

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