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Beets

Posted 7/5/2016 8:34pm by Jennifer.

 

"We LOVE our delicious potatoes - especially heart-shaped ones!"

 

You will receive New Potatoes.  These are potatoes which have not been cured in the ground yet.  Their skins are extremely tender, so we will not wash them.  It will be best for you to wash them right before use, and there's no need for peeling, because their skins are extremely tender.  My family really likes when I make these on the grill (or oven using the same following method).  I thinly slice the washed potatoes and place them in a foil pack with sliced onions.  I toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper, and seal the packet up tightly.  I place it on a grill that was heated on high and then reduced to low (or oven preheated to 400F).  I cook them until the potatoes are fork tender - about 10-15 minutes.

 

We also grilled some zucchini this past weekend.  I slice the zucchini lengthwise.  I make sure the slices are relatively thick, so they will hold up to the grilling process without falling apart.  I toss the sliced zucchini with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  I place the slices on a low-medium heat grill.  After a few minutes I check for some nice grill marks and flip them.  Cook for another couple minutes.  Chris ate his grilled zucchini plain.  I put a little leftover pesto on mine....mmmm.

 

I had some beet roots accumulating in my fridge (Note - if you cut the tops off the roots, the roots will store in your fridge in a plastic bag for months.  As long as the roots are firm, they are good to eat).  I made a couple quick jars of pickled beets, similar to the recipe below, except I put sliced onions in the jars also.  I also put chopped garlic scapes in the jars, and omitted the chopped garlic cloves in the brine.

 

Refrigerator Pickled Beets 

 

I think next time I have beets to use up, I'm going to try this Refrigerator Beet Salad recipe that I found on the Food in Jars website, which is a great resource for small scale canning recipes.

 

Beet and Onion Salad

 

And if you still have basil left from last week, you can still make pesto out of it.  If you don't use all the pesto at once, leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays.  When the cubes are completely frozen place them in a freezer bag for storage.  Put a cube or two in the pasta sauces that you make throughout the winter to add a little summer freshness.  Typically pesto sauce is made using pine nuts, but if you are allergic to them, substitute another nut.  I use almonds or walnuts.  Here's a basic pesto sauce recipe to get you started.  

PESTO SAUCE

Pesto is an aromatic herb paste, traditionally made from fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. It is most commonly used as a pasta sauce.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

1. In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts,           garlic, and cheese.

2.  Pour in oil slowly while still mixing.

3.  Stir in salt and pepper.

  • Since pesto has a very concentrated flavor, make a pasta sauce by reserving a cupful of the pasta cooking water when you drain the pasta.
  • Return the drained pasta to the hot pan, add a tablespoonful or so of pesto, and add the water a little bit at a time until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  The starch in the water will help to thicken the sauce and allow it to coat the penne or linguine (or whatever shape you choose). 
  • Serve the pasta as is, or top it with chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts.

 

You can also make it more filling by adding sautéed vegetables and leftover cooked chicken or ham.  

 

Pesto Pointers       

  • Fresh basil is very delicate, and will turn brown if it gets very hot or if it's exposed to air for long periods of time. Many cooks use fresh spinach as well as basil in their pesto to help maintain its brilliant green color.        
  • When mixing pesto with pasta, potatoes, or risotto, stir it in at the last minute, just before serving.       
  • Store pesto in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week, or in the freezer for about six months.   
  • Keep it looking fresh and green by covering the top with a thin layer of olive oil or with a sheet of plastic wrap directly on its surface; this will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown. (If your pesto darkens in color, it will still taste good. Only discard it if it has been stored improperly.)  

 

Serving Suggestions for Pesto

 Try pesto:        

  • On pizza in place of or in addition to the red sauce        
  • Added to a cream sauce or Alfredo sauce       
  • Mixed with mayonnaise as a sandwich spread or burger topping       
  • Stirred into mashed potatoes        
  • Stirred into risotto       
  • Dolloped on soup      
  • Spread on crostini and topped with chopped tomatoes, smoked salmon, roasted red peppers or goat cheese     
  • Whisked into scrambled eggs or folded into omelets
  • In pasta salads, potato salads, or salad dressings   
  • Mixed with cream cheese and spread on a bagel

 

Posted 6/27/2016 8:32pm by Jennifer.

The garlic you will be receiving this week is fresh garlic.  Some people call it green garlic.  It has not been dried and cured, so it will not store for a long period of time on the counter.  It should be stored in a closed container in the fridge and used relatively soon.  It has a more potent flavor than dried garlic, so adjust your recipes accordingly. 

 

This week you will be getting another bunch of beets.  In addition to the recipes I shared last week for roasting the beets or using them in a cake, you might also like to try this special treat for your loved ones.

Beet Tarts with Goat Cheese

 

You will be getting a bunch of Swiss Chard.  Once again you can saute this just as you would any other green, or if you would like to try something new, how about stuffing the chard - kind of like stuffed cabbage rolls.  You can adjust the filling to your family's taste.  Here are three recipes for stuffed chard, each with a different filling.

 

Stuffed Chard with Fresh Marinara

Stuffed Chard with Cheese Filling

Stuffed Chard with Mushroom Filling

Tags: Beets, Chard
Posted 6/20/2016 8:28pm by Jennifer.

 

The best way to store your beets is to first cut the tops off, and store the tops and roots separate.  This will keep the roots from getting spongy and extend the roots' shelf life dramatically.  I usually saute the beet greens like I would any other green (with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper).  I also sometime slice it finely and put it in pasta dishes or soups at the very end of cooking.  This is a sneaky way to hide veggies in your kids' meals.  They're also good in your favorite juicing or smoothie recipes.

 

As for the beet roots the possibilities are endless.  I usually do one of the following:

 

Roasted Beets
  •  Wash the beets thoroughly. 
  • I only peel them if the skin is tough (not usually the case with spring beets). 
  • Chop them up and toss in olive oil with a couple of cloves of smashed garlic.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. 
  • Roast on a baking sheet at 400o for approximately 30 min.
  • These roasted beets can be used in salads or as a side dish on their own.
 
Sometimes I roast the beets along with a couple chopped potatoes, garlic, chopped carrots, and chicken thighs drizzled with olive oil and seasoned on a baking sheet for a one-pot meal.  In this case I would bake for 45 minutes.
 
 
Here's a delicious chocolate cake recipe that uses beets in the batter.  It's super moist.
 
BEET BUNDT CAKE
INGREDIENTS
1 c. butter, softened, divided
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar                    
3 eggs 
4 (1 oz.) squares semisweet chocolate                                                     
2 c. pureed cooked beets
1 tsp. vanilla extract            
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt                        
powdered sugar
 
DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube pan. 
2.  In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 c. butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs; mix well.  Melt chocolate with remaining butter; stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into creamed mixture.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Pour into prepared pan.
3.   Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Move to wire rack and cool completely.  Before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
Tags: Beets