Recipes

Strawberries are here, no need to fear!! As red and ripe as they are, they are almost through their season. Soon we will say goodbye to strawberries for the year. Strawberries for our markets are picked from the field at sunrise. From our CSA share, the members go into the strawberry field and pick for themselves. Strawberries do not just come and go in the blink of an eye. The plants produce strawberries and their flowers continue to bloom and turn into strawberries. Hurray for strawberries!

My mom makes Strawberry Shortcake every strawberry season. It is so delicious. Here is the recipe.

Strawberry Shortcake
Serves 8 (modify for less)

6 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons cold (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.
2 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar; let sit to bring out the juices.

In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal but with some pea-size bits of butter remaining, 10-12 times. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup cream and the eggs; pour over flour mixture, and pulse until some large clumps begin to form, 25-30 times.

Using a half-cup measuring cup, gently pack dough, invert, and then tap out into a baking sheet. Repeat to form 8 biscuits. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes.

Beat remaining 1 1/2 cups cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with the vanilla until soft peaks form.

Slice biscuits in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries and their liquid over bottom halves. Spoon whipped cream on strawberries, and replace top halves of biscuits.

Recipe courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

Written by Dakota, a 9 year old farm girl who loves to chase her chickens, read books, ride her bike and cuddle with her dog. Her favorite thing about growing up on a farm is getting to eat the food that grows right outside her door. Photo by Tom Murtha. 

Today on the farm we had our first chef demo and tasting during CSA pick up. We look forward to building deeper more intimate relationships with each other and the food.

After many months of winter, I always find myself needing Spring on so many levels. As the anticipation heightens so does the influx of Spring inspired recipes.

Most recipes can easily be adapted to suit personal preference or convenience, thanks to the internet. Get creative! Most likely, if you can imagine it, you can find help creating it online. My personal Spring inspiration for recipe design comes from my love and adoration of nature’s unadulterated perfection. I am not a raw chef, or even a vegetarian chef, but let’s face it, Spring is the time to eat RAW. So let’s do it….!

Raw Veggie Hash with Green Garlic Vinaigrette in a Lettuce Bundle

For the Hash:
2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced small
1/2 bunch radish, diced small
2 beets, peeled and diced small
2 cups total beet greens, kale and escarole, chopped fine
1 cup cooked grains of your liking: for example, barley, rye berries, rice, kamut
salt and pepper
Lettuce leaves, whole, for serving

For the Vinaigrette:
2 stalks green garlic, sliced thin
2 stalks spring onion, sliced thin
1 bulb of fennel, fronds removed, finely sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
fresh herbs

Dice the kohlrabi, beets and radish and place in a bowl. Chiffonade greens (cut into long, thin strips) and set aside.

Heat oil in a saute pan on medium and add sliced green garlic, spring onion and fennel.

Cook 10 minutes stirring frequently until they are very tender and sweet. Add the vinegar and reduce for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture looks and smells happy. Remove from heat and stir in honey.

At this point any fresh herbs such as tarragon, marjoram, lemon thyme, basil etc, can be folded in. Whole grain mustard is also a nice addition when making any vinaigrette. For the sake of spring simplicity, I left it out.

Toss the warm vinaigrette with the diced veggies. Fold in greens and grains. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in lettuce leaves. If making ahead of time, I suggest keeping the beets separate as they will bleed into the salad and make everything pink. Enjoy!

Few rituals are as sacred as that of feeding ourselves and our families. Consciously connecting to the land, the sun and the harvest opens our hearts and strengthens our bodies, minds and spirits. Carry with you, from the farm to your table, joy and presence with every bite.

Post written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Photos by Tricia Borneman.

We were lucky to pick a quart of perfect strawberries at this season’s first share pickup — yum!  These pretty, plump berries aren’t just nice to look at: One cup of them offers nearly 150% of the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C and 29% of manganese, both powerful antioxidants that protect our bodies from free radical damage.  They also offer a healthy dose of dietary fiber, needed for everything from blood sugar maintenance to happy digestion.  Finally, strawberries have an “amazing combination of phytonutrients,” including anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids, which help prevent unwanted inflammation.

Although it’s tempting to pop all of the berries right into my mouth, I was able to refrain from that temptation and save them for the salad below.  Feel free to use any combination of the greens that you have on hand from this week’s share.

Macerated Strawberry Salad

Ingredients
Macerated Strawberries:
1 cup strawberries, sliced into quarters
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs brown sugar
Splash of vanilla extract

1-1/2 to 2 cups greens, chopped (kale and red lettuce are pictured)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt
2 tbs sunflower seeds
Balsamic vinegar

Method
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, add the strawberries, and pour the balsamic mixture over top. Let the fruit marinate for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain the berries from the marinade.

Note: If you are using lettuce and/or spinach, you can skip this step, which is to soften up tougher greens, such as kale. Place chopped greens into a bowl, squeeze on a bit of lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar, and add a little salt. Massage the greens, so they’re coated. Let stand until strawberries are ready.

Pour drained berries onto greens, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.  Add balsamic vinegar to taste.

Post Sources:
Nutrition Data
The World’s Healthiest Foods

Post 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!

Blooming Glen PotatoesBlooming Glen Farm grows a really wonderful selection of potatoes. We’ve been introduced to a variety of potatoes this season, including Sangre, Purple Sun, Kerrs Pink and Purple Viking, along with classic Yukons. While specific nutrition may differ a bit between varieties, generally speaking, all potatoes have almost half the recommended daily values of vitamins C and B6 and potassium. The recent low-carb craze have given potatoes a bad rap in recent years, but the truth is potatoes are actually a healthy complex carbohydrate. They’re a “good” carb, meaning that they digest slowly, preventing your blood sugar from spiking like simple carbs do. The caveat: We need to eat them with their skin and prepare them as healthily as possible. So, choose the baked potato or simple mashed potatoes over the French fries and potato chips 🙂

If you’re anything like me, you still have some potatoes from the last few weeks’ shares hanging out in your kitchen, and maybe even a couple different varieties. Feel free to mix and match whatever potatoes you happen to have on hand for the recipe below. This recipe is based on one of my mom’s classic soups. Growing up, we always looked forward to the first batch of her potato soup each fall — it took some of the sting out of the increasing colder weather and darker nights. In this version, I add beans, which provide a healthy boost of fiber and plant-based protein, and makes for a more filling and nutritionally complete meal. The seasonings are kept super simple, allowing the natural flavors of our fresh and local potatoes, leeks and celery to really come through.

Sam’s Potato Soup

Sam's Potato Soup
Serves 12
Ingredients

2 tbs Earth Balance
1 tsp peppercorns
1-1/2 cups leeks, cut into half moons and sliced
1 cup celery stalks and greens, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cups potatoes, scrubbed clean with skin left intact, cut into a large dice
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 cups vegetable or No-Chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat butter in a large heavy-bottom pot. Add leeks, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and peppercorns, sprinkle with a bit of salt and stir well. Cook until veggies begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Add a splash of broth and let potatoes heat up, about 3-5 minutes. Add 6 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer and cook until potatoes begin to get get tender, about 20 minutes. Remove peppercorns. Add beans and, depending on consistency of soup desired, add more broth. Cook for 5-10 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste. Option: You can blend part of the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender for a creamier soup.

Post 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!

Folks were lined up in anticipation of our fourth annual Pie-Bake Off contest at the farm’s Harvest Festival on October 12th, waiting patiently for the chance to taste and vote for their favorite pie. Over 100 votes were cast for the People’s Choice, and it’s no stretch to say that we were all winners for the opportunity to taste ten delicious homemade pies.

Lining up while the judges make their decision; Patiently waiting!

Bernadette Rodrigo, the landslide winner of the People’s Choice with her scrumptious Cherry Pistachio Pie, was presented with the large ceramic pie trophy made by Katia McGuirk- bragging rights for one year, to be held and passed on to next year’s winner.

New this year we introduced the Judges Vote. Our esteemed panel of three judges carefully savored and compared slices of the competing pies. They were able to quickly come to a concensus on the first and second place pie, with some deliberation involved for the third place win. The judges looked at creativity, flavor, crust and presentation. The winner of the Judges Vote, also Bernadette Rodrigo, was presented with a ceramic pie-plate handmade by potter Christine Hernandez. (*The winners of both the People’s and Judges awards were not announced until later in the day, so no voters were influenced.)

2013 Pie Judges: Thomas Murtha, Iliana Berkowitz, and Susan Kahn

The first pie judge was Thomas Murtha- not Blooming Glen’s Farmer Tom- but his father who shares not only a name but a deep love for pie. Thomas Murtha turns 82 this week, and that adds up to a lot of pies enjoyed over a lifetime (without hesitation he’d choose pie over cake anyday), with many more to taste and enjoy. Thomas, (aka Tom the young, with Farmer Tom being Tom the Younger), or Pop as we like to call him, has a serious soft spot for fruit pies (but don’t tell next year’s contestants ;)).

The second pie judge was Iliana Imberman Berkowitz. Iliana is a professional bread baker at Stephen Starr’s Parc Bistro in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. Previously, she made croissant and other pastries in West Philadelphia at Four Worlds Bakery. “In my spare time I like to bake cookies, pies, brownies, and anything sweet. I’ve got flour in my veins! I was delighted and honored to participate as a judge in this year’s contest, and was impressed by all 10 entries.”

Susan Kahn of Bucks County Cookie Company was the third pie judge. Susan said, “I’ve been baking all my life, well, ever since I was young. I always loved it! I started my cookie business for that reason, actually. Guess I figured I might as well start a business that I loved. So, when I left my full time job, I began BCCC in 2008. Pies are just such a homemade comforting all American dessert. Everybody loves Pie! My favorite pies have a nice flaky crust and the filling can be anything from fruits to custards. It doesn’t matter…I love them all.”

Cherry Pistachio Pie
by Bernadette Rodrigo
Judges Vote: First Place
People’s Choice: First Place

Bernadette Rodrigo lives with her husband and two children in Plumsteadville. She has been enjoying baking and experimenting with ethnic and gourmet cooking since she was a teenager. She finds joy in being able to create food that brings people together and puts a smile on the faces of friends and family. “This pie takes elements from different recipes and combines them. The simplicity of the ingredients and the richness added by the buttery crust are what makes this pie irresistible. I hope you enjoy it.”- Bernadette

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 sticks chilled butter
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and sugar. Chop butter into 1/2” squares and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, blend until it resembles course meal. In a small bowl lightly beat egg yolks and water. Add liquid to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork, until evenly distributes. Mixture will be crumbly. Use hands to press the dough into a ball. Turn out onto counter top and kneed a few times, smearing the butte and forming the dough into a ball. Divide in two. Flatten into two discs. Wrap and refrigerate. This recipe makes enough crust for 2 pies.

Pistachio Paste
3/4 cup pistachios, unsalted
1/4 cup almonds, blanched
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Process above ingredients in food processor until a paste forms. Then add:
4 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Process until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Cherry Filling
3 cups of cherries, fresh, frozen or jarred
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Toss together and set aside.

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine in above ingredients in food processor to mix, leaving oats semi-intact.

Assembly
Roll pastry to fit your pie pan and shape the crust.
Spread the pistachio paste evenly on the bottom of the crust.
Spread cherries evenly over the paste. Then sprinkle crumb topping over the cherries.
Bake at 375 degrees until crust is browned and the center bubbles. Approx. 45 minutes.

Raspberry-Apple Crumb Pie
By Esther Berko
Judges Vote: Second Place
People’s Choice: Third Place

“My inspiration to participate in the contest was because it would make me feel closer to my daughter Lexi’s world at the farm and more than just a spectator. (Lexi is a student at DelVal College and a BGF employee.)  Before Saturday I had no thoughts about the pie because I really don’t enjoy baking that much and my sister e-mailed the recipe to me. I have neither baked that pie before Saturday nor tasted it until the pie contest – and, yes, it was delicious!! However, given the positive response, I will definitely bake it again and will consider it my favorite pie in the universe. I will definitely participate again next year and will begin the search for a great pie recipe … or maybe concoct my own! I guess you could say my inspiration to bake more pies has just begun!” -Esther Berko

Crust
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box.  Do not bake ahead of time.

Filling
3 cups thinly sliced peeled baking apples (3 medium).  Add a splash of lemon juice.
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
½ cup cubed or crumbled almond paste (from 7 or 8 oz. package) *Check the label to make sure it lists almonds as the first ingredient.

Almond Crumb Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cold butter
½ cup sliced almonds – roast them in a pan a little

Assembly
Heat oven to 350.  Place pie crust in a 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on the box for One-Crust Filled pie.
In a large bowl, stir together apples, ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and the cinnamon. Spoon filling into crust-lined plate.  Sprinkle with raspberries.  Sprinkle almond paste over raspberries.

In medium bowl, mix ½ cup flour and ¼ cup sugar.  Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions) until particles are size of small peas. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle topping evenly over almond paste.

Bake 30 minutes. Cover edge with 2-3” strips of foil to prevent excessive browning.  Bake 30 to 50 minutes longer or until apples are tender in center and surface is golden brown.  (Put foil underneath to catch drips).  Serve warm or cool.

Sour Cream Apple Pie (adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook)
By Alysha Day
Judges Vote: Third Place

“I really enjoy cooking and baking with fresh ingredients for my family and friends. Over the past 2 years my family and I have learned so much about the food we eat by being members of your CSA, and are glad to have the chance to share something delicious with you!” -Alysha Day

Crust
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
5 tablespoons Sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled)
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening (chilled)
4-6 tablespoons apple cider (chilled)

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon into a bowl. Cut in the butter and sugar with a fork until the mixture resembles rolled oats. Moisten with just enough cider to permit the dough to be formed into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hr.

After filling is ready cut off 1/3 of the dough and return it to the fridge. Roll out the remaining dough between sheets of wax paper. Grease a 9inch pie pan and line it with dough.

Filling
5-7 tart apples (I mix several varieties.)
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Whisk together all filling ingredients and then toss with the peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples. Spoon into the pastry lined pie. Roll out remaining dough and cut into strips for lattice on top.

Topping
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Set the pie on center rack of a 350 oven (preheated).  Bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden. 50-65 minutes. If crust browns too quickly cover loosely with foil.

 

Strawberry Crumb Pie
By Tricia Borneman
People’s Choice: Second Place

“Each pie contest so far I’ve found a new recipe and slaved over the elaborate ingredients- (homemade gingersnap cookies became a crust with a carmel brittle one year), but this year I just decided to go with my favorite pie to make and eat, especially since it really showcases the taste of the farm’s bounty. The word from the pie servers was this was a favorite with the kids- I can relate- it’s a pie I grew up loving, and one I look forward to making every spring. Thanks to my mom for this recipe- not many people go for the straight strawberry- but we both agree- don’t mess up our strawberries with rhubarb! (Though I do love a straight rhubarb pie!) Enjoy!”- Tricia Borneman

Crust
Pate Brisee recipe from Martha Stewart.com

Crumb Topping
1 Cup flour, ½ cup sugar and 1 stick cold butter. Mix with pastry cutter until crumbly.

Filling
4 cups sliced strawberries (I used frozen ones from the farm from Spring)
2 1/2 tablespoons Tapioca
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ to ¾ cups sugar, depending on how sweet berries are.

Assembly
Mix filling ingredients gently, let set a few minutes, pour into 9” crust. Top with crumb topping. Put pie on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min then turn back to 350 for approx 40 min. If crust is getting too done, cover edges with foil. Pie is done when crumb top is golden and pie is bubbly.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

sweet potatoesIt’s hard to find a person who can’t appreciate sweet potatoes. They’re often something I recommend to clients who need to add a little more color into their diets — both literally and figuratively — because their sweet flavor, beautiful color and ease of preparation make them a relatively safe new veggie to try.  I’ve found that sweet potatoes, specifically fresh ones, have the ability to impress even the most fastidious of palates 🙂

Nutritionally speaking, sweet potatoes are most noted for providing beta carotene, which helps increase the cancer-fighting antioxidant, vitamin A in our blood. They also provide a healthy shot of fiber, vitamin C and manganese, in a low calorie, low fat, low cholesterol package.  As is the case with many fruits and vegetables, it’s important to eat the skin since that’s where many of its nutritional benefits are stored.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to add far too many sweeteners in sweet potato recipes — the most classic example being, of course, the marshmallow-topped Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole! There’s nothing wrong with adding a small drizzle of maple syrup to sweet potatoes, but having these potatoes fresh in our CSA shares each week offer a great opportunity to experiment a bit and try them prepared different ways. We can simply bake them and top with a small dollop of butter, or mash them adding a sprinkle orange zest and cinnamon. They also make a good addition to soups and chilis, as seen in the chili recipe below. This chili pairs the sweet potato with savory and smokey spices, and boosts nutrition with heart-healthy black beans and one one of my all-time favorite superfoods, kale. An added bonus: In total, it uses five veggies (potatoes, kale, onion, peppers, tomatoes) from our share!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

sweet potato and black bean chili

Ingredients
2 small onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
3 – 4 cups sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced.  Leave the skin on, but cut out any gnarly spots.
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes or equal amount of fresh diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Method
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used a Dutch oven), sauté onion and garlic with a sprinkle of salt over medium-high heat for a couple minutes until onion begins to soften.  Mix in spices and cook for another minute. Add potato, kale and peppers and a splash of the broth and stir well.  Cover and cook for ~5 minutes until veggies begin to soften.  Add tomatoes, beans and broth, stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Salt and pepper to taste, serve with vegan (or dairy) sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Post sources: Nutrition Data

Post 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!

Acorn squashAutumn has arrived at Blooming Glen Farm, as noted most deliciously by the lovely winter squashes making an appearance in our shares over the last couple weeks. Autumn-time squashes, including acorn, kabocha, delicata, butternut, and sweet dumpling, are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese (which helps or bodies absorb nutrients). They also provide vitamins A and B6, thiamin and magnesium (good for maintaining healthy blood pressure). All this nutrition is delivered in a sweet-tasting package that is low in calories, carbs and cholesterol!

The recipe below uses health-boosting acorn squash along with super grain, quinoa — which isn’t really a grain at all, but a seed. Quinoa is known for its nutrient density; most notably, it offers plant-based, complete protein, meaning that it has all of the essential amino acids the human body needs. Cooked risotto-style with a generous helping of herbs de provence, the dish below makes a savory side, perfect for fall.

Herbed Acorn Squash & Quinoa Risotto

Herbed Acorn Squash & Quinoa Risotto

Ingredients
2 tbs Earth Balance, divided
salt
1 acorn squash
1+ cup chopped onion (I used 2 small onions from the share)
1-1/2 tbs herbs de provence
1 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups No-Chicken broth (or sub veggie broth)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast, optional (or sub Parmesan cheese)

Method
Cut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds and pulp with a spoon. Peel the skin off with a peeler and then cut squash into small cubes. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add squash in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir squash and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a large skillet, and add onions and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook for a minute. Stir in quinoa and cook 3 minutes. Turn up heat to medium-high and add 1-1/2 cup of the broth, bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the broth is absorbed. Add broth like this, 1/2-to-1 cup at a time, until the quinoa becomes creamy and the germs have burst. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast, and then gently stir in squash. Salt and pepper to taste.

Post 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!

One of the (many) benefits of belonging to a CSA is being introduced to new vegetables.  It can be a little intimidating at first, and can even feel a little overwhelming as you try to figure out just what the heck to do with kohlrabi, delicata squash or tomatillos.  But, once you learn a little about their taste and have the opportunity to prepare them a couple times, chances are you’ll start wondering, Where has this been all my life? Dandelion greens are certainly a vegetable that falls under this confusing-then-loving category 🙂

Nutrition-wise, dandelion greens have a lot to offer, even in comparison to other green veggies.  I primarily recommend people eat them for heart-healthy fiber and for a great source of plant-based calcium and iron.  However, they offer a whole plethora of nutrition.  Dandelion greens are also used for their diuretic properties, as they promote liver, gallbladder and kidney health.  And, as with all dark, leafy greens, dandelion is a wonderful little fighter against inflammation, helping protect us from all kinds of illness.

Because dandelion greens are so versatile, and because greens are something we really should be eating every day, I’m offering a top-ten list of ways to use dandelion greens, instead of just one recipe.  Be sure to let us know how you like to use dandelion greens!

Digital greens
Top 10 Dandelion Greens Uses

  1. Rip them up and add them to your veggie salad.
  2. Sauté them with onions and garlic, stir in tamari sauce and top with sesame seeds for a side to your main dish.
  3. Chop them up and add them to spaghetti sauce.
  4. Blend them with cucumber and pear slices for a refreshing smoothie.
  5. Use them in place of basil in pesto.
  6. Cut them into ribbons along with your beet greens, sauté for a few minutes and combine with roasted beets and slivered almonds for a warm salad.
  7. Add a layer of steamed dandelion greens to lasagna.
  8. Blanch, chop and add them to your favorite grain side or salad.
  9. Steam or water sauté them, drain, then sprinkle with malt vinegar and nutritional yeast.
  10. Use them with other veggies in a pasta primavera.

Post sources and recommended links:
Health benefits of dandelion greens on the SFGate.
10 recipes for dandelion (and other) greens on Kitchn.
Greens for Winter Wellness article on the Blooming Glen Beet.

Post 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!

Sweet peppersIt’s pretty hard to resist the sweet taste and rainbow color of the frying peppers finding their way into our share the past few weeks.  Peppers are standard in most of our diets, but did you know that they also provide a huge dose of vitamins C and A to our diets?  They’re also high in phytonutrients, which help us fight off an array of illnesses and disease.  Add to that their fiber content and these little guys are a lot more than just good looks! As with most veggies, we can get the most nutrition from eating them raw.  Chopped up, you can top salads and tacos with them.  Sliced, enjoy them dipped in hummus or a black bean dip.

The stuffed pepper recipe below uses cooked peppers, which are certainly still healthy, especially since we’re adding fresh tomatoes and the whole grain, freekeh. Freekah, young green wheat that’s been toasted and cracked, is super rich in fiber, provides essential minerals, and is a good source of plant-based protein.

Freekah Stuffed Peppers
Freekah Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients
4 peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and cored (choose the largest ones you have)
1-1/2 cup diced peppers
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tbs fennel
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs basil
1/2 tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4+ tsp crushed red pepper
1 package of freekah (8 oz)*
2 cups broth
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tbs nutritional yeast (or parmesan or romano cheese)
1+ cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
* Freekah is available in the natural/organic section of the grocery store and at health food stores. If you can’t find it or want to use a gluten-free grain, you can substitute freekah for brown rice (increase simmer time below to 40-50 minutes) or quinoa (decrease cooking time below to 15 minutes).

Method
Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, sauté 1 minute. Add spices and salt and sauté for a couple minutes. Add peppers and tomato, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in freekah and mix well. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, adding more broth or water if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, cover the bottom with a light layer of marinara or spaghetti sauce.

Remove veggie and freekah mixture from the stove, add bread crumbs and nutritional yeast and stir until everything is well combined. Stuff pepper halves with mixture, and place in a single layer in the baking dish. Top peppers with a spoonful of marinara or spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake 35 minutes, checking occasionally to see is more sauce should be added to the bottom of the dish. Uncover and broil for 3-5 minutes, making sure pepper halves have softened.

Post sources and recommended links:

Cooked red pepper‘s nutritional profile on Nutrition Data.
Bell peppers on World’s Healthiest Foods.
What is freekah? on the Freekah Foods website.

Post 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!

EdamameFresh edamame is one of the unique foods us CSA members are lucky enough to receive each season, but what exactly is it and what the heck should we do with it? Edamame is simply an immature soybean, picked before it hardens on its branch. When it comes to soy foods, consuming them as close to their natural state as possible is a great rule of thumb. Edamame fits that bill perfectly, making it a fantastic addition to our meals.

As far as nutrition, edamame is considered by most as a “superfood,” chock full of health-boosting properties: It’s a good source of fiber, protein, thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of vitamin K, folate and manganese. Hard to believe all that nutrition is in such a little, baby bean!

Although edamame has been included for thousands of years in Asian diets, it’s relatively new to the American diet. The recipe below used an Asian-inspired dressing and healthy whole grains along with several CSA ingredients.

Asian Bulgur & Edamame SaladAsian Bulgur & Edamame Salad

Ingredients
1 cup bulgur (use quinoa for gluten-free version)
1 bunch of edamame, shelled* (~1 cup)
1 sweet pepper, small diced (~1/2 cup)
1 poblano pepper, small diced (~1/2 cup)
1/4 cup shallots, minced (scallions would also be good here)

Dressing
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
1 tbs tamari
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp powdered ginger (or, use fresh if you have it)
2 tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp agave (optional)
cilantro for garnish (optional)

* Edamame is much easier to shell after cooking. Add beans to a pot of boiling water and blanch 4-5 minutes. Drain and immediately put pods in ice water. When cool enough to handle, simply squeeze the pod until the beans pop out.

Method
Bring bulgur to boil in 2 cups of water, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed.

Add edamame, peppers and shallots to a large bowl. Add cooked bulgur and stir to combine.

Whisk together dressing ingredients, and pour over the salad mixture, stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust dressing seasonings, adding a bit of sweetener, if needed.

Let cool and serve garnished with cilantro.

Post sources and recommended links:
Edamame‘s nutritional profile on Nutrition Data.
Soy beans on World’s Healthiest Foods.
12 easy edamame recipes on Eating Well.

Post 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!