Blooming Glen Farm | escarole
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escarole Tag

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most common barriers to health eating that I hear is time. Between family & friends, work & school, hobbies & activities, there just never seems to be enough time, does there?

There are two tricks that I always recommend — and use myself: 1) A little meal planning & food prep each week, and 2) A repertoire of quick, simple, & adaptable recipes.  The Summer Veggie Noodle Bowl here serves double duty, playing a part in both of those tricks!  Prepare a big batch at the beginning of the week & reheat for lunches or dinners throughout the week, & when the seasons (or contents of your pantry) change, simply adapt the ingredients to what’s available.  Bonus: this dish taste great both hot & cold.

Summer Veggie Noodle Bowl

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Sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup tamari or liquid aminos
2 TBS sesame oil
3 TBS agave (or other sweetener)
6 gloves garlic, minced
1/2+ tsp crushed red pepper

Noodle bowl
1 package (~10 oz) brown rice vermicelli*
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups zucchini &/or summer squash, shredded or julienned
2 cups carrots, shredded or julienned
kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 head escarole, chopped
1 can (~1-3/4 cups) black soy beans**
Sesame seeds for garnish
* Or 1 package (~9 oz) whole grain soba noodles or 1 package (~8 oz) whole wheat angel hair pasta.  Or, change it to a whole grain bowl & use any whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, etc.)
** Or shelled edamame, chickpeas, adzuki, other bean, or any other protein of your choice.

Directions
In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until combined & then set aside.

Prepare noodles per package instructions, drain & stir in a small splash of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add zucchini, carrots, corn, escarole, & 1/3* of the sauce & sauté for 5-7 minutes, until heated through. Stir in beans & sauté another 5 minutes, until beans are heated & escarole is cooked down. Stir in noodles & 1/3* of the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until everything is heated through. Garnish with sesame seeds & serve immediately.

* If you’re making a batch that will be reheated, reserve 1/3 of the sauce for reheating.  Otherwise, use 1/2 the sauce while cooking the veggies & 1/2 the sauce when stirring in the noodles.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

According to Ayurvedic tradition, every meal should contain all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. Leaving one out will leave us unbalanced and under-nourished. Have you ever felt unsatisfied at the end of a meal, even though you are completely full? You were probably missing one of these key tastes.

We obviously don’t have a problem getting in the sweet and salty, but I know I shy away from the bitter. However, bitter foods have tremendous health benefits. They have a drying and cooling effect on our bodies (and what could be better in the recent heat and humidity?). They cleanse and detoxify our immune systems. They also help to manage food cravings.

I have to admit, I’ve been nay saying escarole for a while now – its bitter taste didn’t appeal to me and with so many other vegetables to choose from, it has been easy to leave escarole off the plate. But this week, I was reminded of the Ayurvedic taste-balancing philosophy, and was inspired to face my escarole fears.

Typically, escarole is eaten cooked, which diminishes its bitterness, but I couldn’t bear the thought of preparing a hot dish in this weather. This salad balances the bitterness of escarole with sweet fennel and oranges, pungent chive blossom vinegar, and rich olive oil.

Escarole Salad with Fennel and Orange

Chop or tear the leaves of one head of escarole, removing any yellowed outer leaves, much like you would a head of lettuce.

Cut off the stalks and bottoms of three bulbs of fennel, thinly slicing the bulbs across their width. To supreme (a fancy chef word for section) two oranges, first peel them with a paring knife, making sure to remove the white pith. Holding an orange over a bowl to catch the juice, slice between the white membranes of each segment, lifting the slice of orange out with the knife.  Save the juice and toss orange segments with the fennel and escarole.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together reserved orange juice with two tablespoons chive blossom vinegar*, ¼ cup olive oil, one teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over salad and toss.  

*To make this simple infused vinegar, stuff a jar full of cleaned chive blossoms. Pour distilled white vinegar over the blossoms and leave to steep for at least one week. If you don’t have it or can’t make it, replace the vinegar in the salad recipe with white wine vinegar and add a sprinkle of chopped spring onions or whole chive blossoms to the salad.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, Colorado native, and food lover. 

This comforting soup is a classic from Southern Italy better known to most as Italian Wedding Soup. I couldn’t help deviating a bit from the standard recipe. My version is a little less brothy with the addition of fresh tomato and a bit more orzo to make it a more satisfying meal. This is also a great way to showcase that escarole you may not know what to do with. You can also use swiss chard or kale as a substitute if you prefer.

Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs

-Make meatballs by combining in a large bowl:

1 pound of ground beef (or turkey, pork or veal if you prefer)
1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 white onion, grated (set other half aside for later)
a handful of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-Form small bite-size meatballs (about the size of large grapes) and then place on a plate in the fridge to chill for a half hour. **I only used about 3/4 of the mixture and froze the rest for later use.

-In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and dice the other half of the onion and 2 medium carrots. Saute until onions are translucent.

-Add 8 cups of veggie or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of orzo and 1 cup fresh, chopped tomato. Simmer for 8 minutes.

-Gently add in the meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes.

-Rough chop 4 cups of escarole and add to the soup. Cook for 5  more minutes at a simmer.

-Add more stock or water to get the consistency you want. Salt and pepper to taste.

-Garnish with a little Parmesean cheese and ENJOY!

**Serves 4 as a main dish. Can be cooked ahead of time and reheated before serving.

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/