Tag Archives: Garlic Chives

CSA Delivery: June 26, 2014

AHHHH! It’s Thursday night again, and we just took our third summer CSA delivery of the season.

We were also notified that our CSA will be skipping the July 3 delivery and tacking that delivery on to the end of the season (late October). I’m so COOL with that, as the fall items will store long into November.

While these boxes are pretty light right now, they’re still piling up in our fridge. Thank goodness last week’s lettuce is still as fresh and tender today as it was last week. …It’s all about good storage habits.

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In today’s large share CSA Box:

Lettuce – Two varieties Spinach – still the most tender leaves you’ll ever taste
Red Russian Kale – A bigger helping this week
Bulb Fennel – with it’s giant green top
Baby Beets with green tops
Kohlrabi – with it’s green tops
Green Onions – so fresh and crisp
Fresh Herb – Mint – Big fragrant velvety leaves (see below)

CSA online order:
3 bunches of Lovage – my favorite herb from HighCross Farm
2 bunches of Sage with Sage Blossoms
2 pounds of spinach – it’s all gone for the summer
3 small heads of Grade B lettuce – undersized so they were a $1 each
2 dozen farm fresh free range eggs – they don’t get any better than this

Since we weren’t going to have a July 3 delivery, I stocked up on some essentials to carry us over until our July 10 delivery. The extra spinach from last week’s delivery as well as this week’s delivery will be pureed into my kiddo’s organic yogurt bowls with organic bananas and organic frozen strawberries. It’s a great way to make sure he’s eating his greens.

The beets in this week’s share are such a deep rich color. The first time I had them was last year, and they were amazing. …and I’m not a beet eater. Better yet, the greens are delicious in a pasta stir fry (recipe below). The most wonderful item in this week’s share is the fennel bulb. When I cut the green tops off for storage, the licorice aromatics that filled the kitchen were wonderful. My wife could smell it from 10 ft away, “What did you just cut? That smells like licorice”. Can’t wait to slice a little up in my farmer’s salad today.

Here are some more pics from this week’s share:

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Check out these velvety mint leaves – click on the photo for a closer look.  _CJP1778

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A big juicy wildly fresh Kohlrabi – An ode to Milwaukee’s German ancestry.
Those are hollow Lovage stalks to the right.
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Here are the deep red beets with their delicious stems and greens.
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And this is Lovage. It looks a LOT like Italian parsley, but it has a strong celeryesque flavor.
The stalks and leaves are both edible. I use the leaves in salads, and mince up the stalks for cooking in place of celery. If you like bloody marys, use the hollow stalk as a straw.
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And here are those fabulous farm fresh free range eggs. These are the X-Large – and they’re HUGE! Another thing I love about the CSA is how much we recycle containers. This is a Roundy’s egg container. When we’re done using these egg containers, we return them to the farmer so they can reuse them for future egg orders. Some CSA farms, like Pinehold Gardens have multi-colored eggs: brown, white, yellow, and blue. …Never seen a blue egg until I picked up a dozen from Pinehold Gardens last winter.  _CJP1802

Julia Child once said:

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces
– just good food from fresh ingredients”.

We’ve been living this philosophy every since we joined our CSA. LOVE IT!

So. What did I make last night from our CSA pull? 

Sauteéd pasta with beet greens.
Again, I keep my Thursday cooking super easy because we usually don’t get a chance to sit down to eat until 8 PM, and it was no different last night. There is nothing fancy or complicated here. I think Julia would smile.

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Ingredients:

• Leftover Cooked Pasta from the night before, otherwise it’s too starchy to sauté.
• 1 lb of chicken breast – cubed kinda small
• 1 small red onion – finely chopped
• 1 bunch of beet greens (washed, torn into bite-sized piece, then and spun dry) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 6-8 small beet stems (washed and diced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 2 garlic chive stalks (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 5-6 sage leaves (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 3-4 sage blossoms (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• 2-3 Lovage stalks (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Small handful of Lovage leaves (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Kosher flake salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
• Shaved parmesan cheese

Method:

Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat until it begins to soften – season with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Add the cubed chicken breast, give it another drizzle of olive oil. When the chicken turns color, add the minced lovage stalks, sage and most of the garlic chives (not all of it). Reduce the heat, and let the chicken cook through – don’t burn the herbs. When the chicken is done, set aside.

In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil and sauté the beet stems until they begin to soften a bit. Season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside when they’re done.

Still using the same skillet, gently sauté the beet greens until they’re just beginning to wilt, and remove the skillet.Might need to add another touch of olive oil.

Add more olive oil and throw in the pasta and cook until it’s warmed and starts to brown. Add the cooked chicken, herbs, and beet greens. Toss, plate, top with shaved parm, another twist of fresh cracked black pepper and serve hot. Garnish with beet stems and remaining garlic chives.

A couple of notes:

If you don’t have beet greens, use whatever dark leafy green veggies you can find at the Farmer’s Market, or whatever you can find that’s organic in your local grocery store – hopefully it’ll be locally grown.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, skip the chicken and cheese.

Substitute whatever fresh herbs you want. I used Sage because it pairs so well with poultry. The vibrant flavors of Lovage, Sage and Garlic Chives gave it a nice balance to the earthy flavor of the beet greens and stems. 

Thanks for reading – and please leave a comment.

c

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CSA Delivery: June 19, 2014

For me, Thursday nights from late spring through nearly the rest of the year are like Christmas – even on a cloudy dreary Thursday like today. It’s the day I go pick up my family’s new box of fresh produce delivered from HighCross Farm.

This week’s delivery was a bit lighter than last week. Wisconsin is getting nailed with rain this week, so getting into the fields to transplant seedlings and harvest some of the crops has been difficult. …That’s not a terrible problem to have, as it was only a few years ago we in the middle of a drought.

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In today’s large share:
Large Share:
Lettuce – 2 varieties: Red Butterhead and a Green Summercrisp
Spinach – another 1 pound bag of the most gigantic tender leaves you’ve ever seen
Rainbow Swiss Chard – 2 big leaves – gotta try a 
Turnip Greens – harvested a few weeks ago
Garlic Chives – a generous bunch, and thankfully so. I love this stuff. 
Oregano – Trust me when I say, you will NEVER see or smell oregano like this at the supermarket.

With the size of those AWESOME Chard leaves, I’m going have to try this Swiss Chard Wraps recipe by Stephanie Eusebi.

Remember last week when I didn’t receive my chives? I contacted the farmer about not receiving those chives, and in this week’s share….there they were. I nice big freshly cut bunch. I even received a nice little gift of fresh sage, including the fresh fragrant sage blossoms.

Here are some pics from this week’s share:

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Check out his Oregano. The leaves are HUGE and amazingly fragrant.
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Here’s a close up of the velvety tender red butterhead lettuce. So awesome. 
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And check out this sage. Again, you won’t find this in any supermarket —
and you definitely won’t get the blossoms.
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So no. This share certainly wasn’t as big as last week’s. But I’m cool with that.
1) It’s still technically still spring, so the heavy fall harvest items are barely showing fruit.
2) It was a wildly wet week
3) We still had a LOT of produce left over from last week, so we gave it to a neighbor. We try not to waste overage, but even if it has to go to compost pile or feed it to the rabbits out back.

Here is a quick note about last week’s produce; It was still as crisp and velvety as when we received it, so it was easy to give it away. Two big keys to keeping your produce fresh.
1) The produce wasn’t shipped in from 2,000 miles away – it was local. So it already had at LEAST one week of freshness on that strip mined stuff from California.
2) The greens were stored in big ziploc freezer bags, kept partially open, and in the coldest part of the fridge – not the freezer. We learned this from our CSA. If you join a CSA, they will (or should) teach you how to store your produce.

So. What did I make last night from our CSA pull? 

After picking up our box around 6 PM, then spending a little time photographing it, then washing it, and bagging it, I don’t have a lot of time for cooking before it’s time to put our two year old to bed, so I keep things especially stoopid easy. This Thursday was another pasta dinner. This time we used a Giovanni Rana Pasta. Jonas loves picking the cheese out of the center – kinda like he’s eating an Oreo. LOL

Sautéed spinach and cherry tomatoes over spinach ricotta ravioli.

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Ingredients:
• Ravioli Spinaci e Ricotta – Metro Market
• Fresh Spinach (torn into big pieces) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Fresh Garlic Chives (minced) – HighCross Farm CSA
• Organic Cherry Tomatoes (quartered) – Metro Market
• Olive Oil
• Fresh Ground Black Pepper
• Kosher Flake Salt
• Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Method:
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and heat some olive oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat. I used a #8 cast iron Griswold skillet – which is about 10″. Again, I don’t like things overly salty, so I did’t add salt to the water, since the pasta is already full pre-seasoned. …no sense in over doing it.

Gently sauté the spinach in olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Use more spinach than you think, as it wilts down quite a bit. Season with a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper as it steams itself, and be careful not to over-cook. It only takes a few minutes, so get your fresh pasta going too.

While the spinach is cooking, cook the pasta per the instruction on the package. Even if the pasta is frozen, it only takes about 4 minutes – so it also cooks very quickly. If you time it well, both the pasta and spinach will be done about the same time. Drain pasta when it’s done cooking.

Plate the pasta, top with cooked spinach and quartered cherry tomatoes, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the minced garlic chives, more fresh ground black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve hot.

So simple. So quick. So good.

A couple of notes:
Not everything we eat is from our CSA – we definitely need to buy other items – in this case the pasta and the tomatoes – and this is where a good grocery store like the Metro Market in Milwaukee comes in handy – your CSA and a good grocery store should support your nutritional needs harmoniously. 

If you don’t have fresh organic spinach from a CSA or farmer’s market, buy a bunch from your local grocery. If they don’t have a fresh bunch, you can usually get a plastic container of organic baby spinach. Yes, that’ll work – but use it up quickly. 

If you are a member of a CSA, and you didn’t receive spinach, you can use whatever firm dark greens they have (but not lettuce). Try Arugula, Chard, Bok Choy, Mizuna, Turnip Greens, Beet Greens, etc. 

If you don’t have garlic chives, use regular chives, parsley, oregano, or some other fresh herb. No biggie – make it your own. The cool thing about a CSA is, no two weeks are exactly alike, so usually you’re dinners are going to have a little variety by default. 

You can also add browned chicken or italian sausage if you’re a carnivore. 

Thanks for reading – and please leave a comment.

c

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