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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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Savoring Summer

I am not going to be one of those people that starts lamenting the end of summer at the beginning of August, but I won’t lie – I’m feeling the end ticking nearer and nearer. Okay, so maybe I am one of those people, but rather than hosting a pity party and shedding tears that there weren’t enough tomatoes, days with sand in our toes, and sun on our faces, I’m going to do my best to soak up each day.

It’s probably no surprise that one of my favorite ways to savor the season is to eat of its bounty. So from here until the end of September, you will find me eating pounds and pounds of tomatoes, serving up slices of melon with a whisper of vanilla salt (just tried it last night for the first time and I’m never going back), picking blackberries off the wild vines, eating fresh peaches and letting their sweet juice drip down my arms and face.

We’ve had a pretty incredible summer this year and perhaps that’s why I’m already feeling a bit of sadness to see the days slip away so quickly, but what I’ve learned with seasons – any season in life – is that if you spend your time willing it to not pass, it won’t listen to you. I’d rather spend these days tucking away flavors and memories to recall when another season is upon us.

This recipe mingles all of my favorite flavors of summer into one bowl. It’s where sweet and savory collide into a flavorful salad filled with vinegar-spiked bread and a showering of fresh herbs. We really believe in the adage “What grows together, goes together” here, when peaches and tomatoes become fast friends. And it’s not just with this recipe—the next time you make the classic Caprese salad, try slipping in a few peach or nectarine slices there as well.

I hope that we all find the time to savor all that this season blesses us with. And may there be an endless supply of tomatoes and peaches until squash hits the basket.

Ashley Rodriguez

NotWithoutSalt.com

Award-winning food blogger

Author of Date Night In

 

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Peach Panzanella

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1 pint / 280 g cherry tomatoes, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 cups / 85 g 1⁄2-inch bread cubes from a rustic loaf

2 garlic cloves, minced, divided

1 peach, diced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chopped assorted herbs (I used basil, dill, mint, and tarragon)

1 cup baby arugula

1⁄3 cup / 60 g goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place half the pint of cherry tomatoes on the prepared sheet and toss with a generous pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through the cooking process. Cut the remaining cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.

3. Place the cubes of bread on a second parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 minced garlic clove. Toast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and completely crisp, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted tomatoes, remaining minced garlic clove, diced peach, vinegar, oregano, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gently toss to combine and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Finish the panzanella by adding the crisped and cooled bread cubes to the bowl, along with the herbs, unroasted tomatoes, and arugula. Toss well and let sit for 10 minutes so that the juices start to soften the bread, still leaving a crunch. If you prefer the bread a bit softer, you can let it sit for longer.

6. Finish with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

 

Know Your Produce: Summer Stonefruit Care

Stonefruit’s (peaches, nectarines, pluots, etc.) biggest enemy while ripening is moisture, coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered counter top or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen, which lessens the chance of them rolling and bruising.

To test for ripeness, gently press around stem – when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Never squeeze the sides of the fruit, as even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is most likely overripe.

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. Once refrigerated, plan to use within a day or two.

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What’s New?

What’s new is that it’s July and I am wondering what happened to June!? It looks like chilly June is going to carry over into July. Sorry tomatoes and peppers, maybe August will be your month!

After last year, I made a conscious decision to plant heat-loving crops early and take advantage of the changing climate. That decision has not worked out so well. The tomatoes and peppers look like they want to put on my wool sweater, but I am not giving up :).

Speaking of tomatoes, I planted 200 Early Girl/Stupice type red tomatoes. I got them all caged up and cleaned up and growing in the right direction and now there are a few starting to ripen, but they are ripening orange! I apparently transplanted orange tomatoes. They taste great, but that is not what I was expecting to grow.

For the last few months, I have been looking at those plants and wondering about them, I knew they were “setting” fruit differently, but with the cool, wet weather, I just chalked it up to climate change. So this year we are growing Klesick Farm’s tasty orange colored tomatoes. #ithappens #ohmy #atleasttheyarestilltomatoes

Another telltale sign indicating that I guessed wrong about the weather this season was the cucumbers. They were direct seeded in early May…and GERMINATED LAST WEEK! Seriously, that is a head-scratcher, but they are up and growing now. Thankfully, I planted some cucumbers in the greenhouses also, and they are happy – really happy. I mean, they are rivaling Jack-and-the-Bean-Stock happy. Long story short, cucumbers are going to be in the boxes of good food, picked daily and delivered daily.

This week we are putting a lot of Klesick Farms-harvested good food in the boxes. We use a KF next to items from our farm on the newsletter, and an * next to other local NW farms’ fruits and veggies. So this week, my crew and I are picking, packing and delivering chard, chives, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and a few raspberries.

We are also getting cherries and carrots from two other organic growers that I have been working with since 1997! Those are some seriously long relationships. All of our customers – some since 1997 – have nourished their families with these farmers’ produce as well.

We are a different kind of food system; a more sustainable, more earth-friendly option – as we have been for the last two decades – helping families to eat better food and feel better about the food they eat.

Bon Appétit!

Farmer Tristan

 

Recipe: Indian Roasted Potato Salad with Chard

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. potatoes, halved and/or quartered

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. ground turmeric

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bunch chard, shredded (or cut into thin ribbons)

2 Tbs. Greek yogurt

2 Tbs. lemon juice (more if desired) salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place the diced potatoes on a large baking sheet, covered in foil. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Slide into a 400°F oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until browned all over and tender, tossing halfway through.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, remaining oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl place the ribboned chard and roasted potatoes. Drizzle with the lemon dressing and toss to coat.

4. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or basil, if desired. Or even bacon bits!

Recipe from bevcooks.com

 

Know Your Produce: Chard

Chard has large, fleshy but tender deep green leaves and thick, crisp stalks. Although they’re unrelated, chard is similar to spinach, but with a stronger, more assertive (some think, bitter) flavour.

Different types of chard have different coloured stalks and ribs. Some stalks are white, some are a golden orange and some are red (called ruby or rhubarb chard) – there’s even rainbow chard. There’s very little difference in taste, but ruby and rhubarb chard can have a slightly stronger flavour.

Prepare: The leaf and the stalks should be cooked separately. Wash, then cut the stalks from the leaves and either leave whole or chop, depending upon your recipe. On some older leaves you may need to cut the ribs out of the leaves, too.

Cook: Leaves: boil (1-2 minutes); steam (3-4 minutes). Stems: stir-fry (around 2 minutes); boil (3-4 minutes); steam (4-5 minutes); roast (10 minutes).

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To 2017 and Beyond!

Week of April 17, 2016

Yes, I am looking ahead. On the farm I always have the past, present, and future on my mind. I am referring back to previous years, concentrating on the weather windows to do things on the farm the current year, and preparing for future years. So this year, with an eye towards the future, we are planting more plums, pears, raspberries, and strawberries again. Here is a little update on what we are growing for the future.

Plums.  The Yellow Egg plum, is a European plum that produces an abundance of large, oval, freestone, golden yellow fruit with a golden interior that tastes like honey. The Yellow Egg has juicy flesh and is very sweet and is grown for the outstanding quality of the fruit which is excellent for dessert, cooking, and canning. This addition to the Italian plums and Green Gages will round out our plum plantings. We will have Italian and Green Gages in September, but look for the Yellow Eggs in 2018.

Pears. This year we relocated our Stark Crimson pears and added some Orcas pears and a few Asian pears for pollination. The Orcas pear was discovered by horticulturalist Joe Long. He discovered this tree growing on his property on Orcas Island, Washington and it has become a regional favorite. The fruit is large, flavorful, scab resistant, and loaded each year with yellow fruit with a carmine blush. The pears are great for canning, drying, or eating fresh. Look for them in 2018. We will have Bosc and Conference pears this fall.

Raspberries. Tulameen is the “go to” choice for fresh market farmers. These fresh market berries are large, have good sugar content, and are bred for hand picking. We pick them every two days during the season. Our new plantings will produce in 2017, but really come on in 2018. For this season we will have Tulameen from our plantings in 2014.

Strawberries. Albion is an ever-bearing type with long, conical, symmetrical, and firm fruit bursting with sweetness. This strawberry produces from June to October. We love this berry because it is sweet, but also does well in August (when there is less rain!). Look for these in August 2016, with them really producing in 2017.

I have selected these fruit varieties for three reasons: 1) they grow well in Stanwood, 2) they work with my organic approach to farming, 3) I personally like the flavor and am excited to eat them!

Lastly Tomatoes. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. We are planting hundreds of them, but for you home gardeners we will be offering plants very soon! These plants are grown by our friends at the Rents Due Ranch. We will start selling tomatoes (slicers, pears and cherries) and pepper plants in early May. The May window to plant tomatoes will be perfect this year, given the colder and wetter spring we have had. Stay tuned for more information!

Back to the farm, I am sure I can find something to do. 🙂

Tristan Klesick

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into slices 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored (if large), cut into same size as carrots

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey (such as heather, chestnut, or wildflower)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  1. Add carrots and parsnips.
  1. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
  1. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.
  1. Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.
  1. Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  1. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

 

Know Your Produce 

Radishes

Benefits: Radishes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as many other trace nutrients. Due to their dietary fiber and diuretic properties, radishes promote healthy digestion and purify the kidney and urinary systems.

Storing: Remove the green leaves and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preparation: Wash radishes and trim the roots just before using. You do not need to peel radishes. Soak red radishes in ice water for one hour to crisp before serving. You can grate or slice them for salads, or add as a garnish.

Search online to find new ways that you can add this power vegetable into your diet.

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Tomatoes

I have been getting used to using our new greenhouses. (In actuality, they are giant cold frames.) I have noticed that the crops closest to the door are smaller and, well, not quite as happy as the other ones in the back.  I keep the door open all the time, so I am pretty sure the initial breeze is making the difference. I will try and keep the door partially open and see if the tomatoes like it better. The plants are setting fruit and I just finished suckering (pruning) them.  
 
Suckers are the branches that sprout in the crotch of the main stem and a branch, if you don’t take those suckers off they will cause the plant to produce a lot of little tomatoes. Remember that a plant’s sole purpose is to reproduce or make seed, it is not concerned with the size of the fruit, but just making seed. So as a farmer, I try to manage the plants’ desire to produce seed by controlling how much fruit it produces, which forces the plant to put more energy into fewer fruits. Suckering makes the tomatoes larger since they are getting more attention from the plant. And just when the plant thinks they have produced enough seed, I pick the fruit and put in your box of good☺. By pruning to limit tomato production and timely harvesting, I am able to work with the tomatoes’ desire to make more seed and keep producing more fruit over a longer harvest.
 
In the other greenhouse, I am growing sugar snap peas, but don’t ask me why I am doing that though. On a whim, I planted some extra seed from my field plantings. Now I need to get busy trellising them before Jack, in Jack and the Bean Stalk, switches to climbing pea vines.
 
We still have a long ways to go before any tomatoes or peas will be ready, but when they are, they will be coming your way!
 
Growing good food,
 
 

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Fresh This Week Tips 1.11.11

Broccoli
Broccoli is a nutritional bonanza—potassium, vitamin C, antioxidants. It’s also versatile, at home on a crudité platter, tossed into stir-fries and quiches, or pureed into an elegant soup.
STORE: Refrigerate broccoli unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a bag in the vegetable compartment up to 5 days. Broccoli can be blanched (to retard enzyme action) and frozen for up to a year.
PREP: Rinse broccoli briefly, then separate the head into florets to encourage even cooking. Peel and slice the stems and cook along with the florets.
USE: Broccoli is best roasted, sautéed, or steamed.
Radishes
STORE: Remove the leaves to prolong freshness. Refrigerate radishes unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a loosely closed plastic bag. Most are best eaten within 5 days after purchase; they can be used until they become soft, though you should keep them no more than 2 weeks.
PREP: Just before using, trim the stems and the root ends and wash.
USE: Radishes are most often eaten raw, in salads, as garnish, and as crudités. (Halved radishes served with soft unsalted butter and sea salt are a classic French snack.) They can also be braised and served as a side dish with mild fish, like striped bass.
Tomatoes
STORE: Keep tomatoes at room temperature on a plate; never store them in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator. If you want to speed the ripening process, put them in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent. Once ripe, tomatoes will last up to 3 days.
PREP: Tomatoes are excellent in salads and salsas. They are popular sliced and used as a topping for sandwiches.
USE:
Cooking – Very popular in sauces. Cooking tomatoes release the micronutrient lycopene, which is thought to help prevent cancer. Tomatoes can also be stewed or crushed for use in casseroles and chili. To quickly remove the skin from tomatoes, boil for 15-30 seconds. Rinse under cold water and peel.
Baking – Tomatoes can be stuffed and baked. To prepare the tomato for stuffing, cut a small piece off the bottom to make the tomato sit sturdily. Cut off the top ¼ of the tomato. Use a spoon to scoop out the innards. Set the shell upside down for 15 minutes to give it a chance to dry.