If you are anything like me, standing over a hot stove in 90-plus degree heat is not something that gets you going at the end of a long day. However, we are lucky to have a medley of veggies on the farm that actually require zero cooking to be appreciated in all their glory. In fact, consuming vegetable in their raw state is probably one of the best things you can do for your body. Beets, kohlrabi, turnips, and fennel (all in the share this week!) are wonderfully tasty and nutritious when lightly prepared. No cooking required!

This is one recipe with many variations–since not everyone may like fennel or raw beets. But I highly suggest giving them both a try in this fresh and savory/sweet slaw. You might just be surprised!

Two Slaw Variations, One with beets and the other with grated apples

Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw (with variations)

*This recipe makes enough for two “lunch salads”, but could feed four if served as a side dish. The recipe is also easily doubled.

With a mandolin or your kitchen knife, chop into “matchsticks” (a grater works fine, too):

3 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
2 turnips
2 fennel bulbs
1 beet

*If you don’t like fennel, try putting some celery seed, parsley, or extra dill to kick up the flavor. For those of you who might not like raw beets, try grating half of an apple in instead!

Mix together:

2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons stone ground or Dijon mustard

Whisking with a fork, slowly add:

4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper to taste

Pour dressing (to taste) over veggies and toss lightly. Add a fresh herb, like dill, in for a fresh finish.  

Garlic Scapes

Now we have got to talk about these garlic scapes. What the heck are they and what do you do with them?! We knew you would ask.

Garlic scapes are the flowering shoots of the garlic that, if not removed, will bring the growth of the garlic bulb to a bit of a halt. So in order for our garlic heads to get nice and fat, we pluck off these curly cues and put them right into your CSA basket. Did I mention that they are delicious?!

Though they can be grilled or thrown in a food processor to make a pesto, my new favorite way to prepare them is just a quick saute that gives them strikingly similar flavor to garlicky green beans.

Scapes with Lemon and Almonds

I simply heat up a cast iron pan to medium high heat, throw in a little coconut or olive oil, and saute the scapes for a few minutes until they are tender and slightly caramelized.  Near the end I toss in some chopped almonds to toast, add some lemon juice, salt and pepper…..and wha-la! They are a perfect side dish to any meal and are a seriously good/seriously addicting snack.

Recipes contributed by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes uses fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog

Some of you might remember the survey we sent out a few months ago that had a variety of questions surrounding a big idea we had for a BGF cookbook. Although we are not quite ready to make it happen this year, we still gleaned a lot of important information for this blog and the weekly recipes we put on it. One of the most helpful survey questions we asked was, “what veggie would you like more recipes for?”.  An overwhelming number of you said that Swiss chard was among the top of your list. Since Swiss chard is not going to be a stranger to anyone’s CSA pickup basket, we would like to help you out by throwing you a few of our favorite chard recipes every now and then to keep your kitchen churning out delicious variations on this Blooming Glen favorite.

Swiss chard

One problem people always run into when they first cook chard is the difference in cooking times for the leaves and stems. These recipes allow you to make two dishes from one bunch of Swiss chard–one with the tender leaves and the other with the crunchier stems.

This is also a great way to use these beauties from this week’s share….

Spring Onions

Recipe for the leaves:

Creamed Chard and Spring Onions

With 1 bunch Swiss chard from your share:

-Remove leaves from chard and set stems aside.

-Chop and wash (no need to dry) chard leaves and place it in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 6 minutes.

-Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth or paper towel or putting it in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula. Wipe out the large pot so you can use it again.

-Heat: 1 1/4 cups milk or cream in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Keep warm.

-Back in the large pot, saute: 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 spring onions, ends trimmed, white and some green parts sliced into thin coins, and 2 cloves of garlic (optional).

-Whisk in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook roux, whisking, about three minutes.

-Add warm milk or cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking, until thickened, three to four minutes.

-Stir in chard, 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan (keep extra on hand for serving). Then salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated through.

TIP: This is delicious tossed with pasta. Just use 1 3/4 cups of milk instead of 1 1/4 cups. This should be enough to toss with about half a pound of pasta (more or less depending on how saucy you like yours).

With the stems:

Swiss Chard Stalk “Hummus” (taken from the NY Times Recipes for Health)

If you usually toss the stems in favor of the more tender leaves, consider saving them for this luscious and ingenious Middle Eastern appetizer.

-Chop 1 pound Swiss chard stalks (about 4 cups)

-Steam the chard stalks about 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain well, and allow to cool. Place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree, stopping the machine from time to time to scrape down the sides.

-In a mortar, mash 2-4 cloves of garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt until you have a smooth paste. Add to the chard stalks. Process until smooth.

-Add 1/2 cup tahini, and again process until smooth. With the machine running, add 1/4 cup lemon juice and salt to taste. Stop the machine, taste and adjust seasonings.

-Transfer the dip to a wide bowl. It will be a little runny (unless the tahini you used was thick) but will stiffen up. Drizzle on the olive oil and serve.

Yield: About two cups.

Recipes contributed by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes uses fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog

The first CSA Pick-up is set for Tuesday May 31st and Friday June 3rd. In the meantime, while we wait for the produce to start rolling in, here’s a simple recipe for a household staple: Yogurt! It is a great source of protein and calcium, and the live probiotics found in yogurt help our bodies maintain healthy digestive systems. Homemade yogurt is one of my favorite things to make. It is simple and inexpensive — and with all the benefits of the probiotics and none of the additives found in many store-bought brands, who wouldn’t want to try?

No fancy gadgets or expensive ingredients required. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Quart Organic Milk (I recommend raw milk from Hendrick’s)
  • 4 heaping Tablespoons plain yogurt (most store-bought yogurt will do, as long as it has live active cultures and no sweeteners)
  • Thermometer (helpful, but not absolutely necessary)
  • Glass or ceramic container with lid (a 1-quart mason jar works great)
  • 2-3 Kitchen Towels to insulate your container of choice

Start by heating the milk in a saucepan. If you are using a thermometer, heat to 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, no worries, heat the milk until it gets nice and foamy but not all the way boiling. This step essentially pasteurizes the milk, killing off any potentially nasty bacteria.

After the milk reaches 180 degrees, remove from heat and let cool until it is between 95-110 degrees, or about 20 minutes (this will feel slightly warm, but not hot). Whisk in the yogurt. The first time you will have to use a store-bought yogurt or purchase a yogurt culture from a dairy supplier. After you have made yogurt once, you can use a few dollops from your previous batch as a starter for the next one.

Use a clean container with an air-tight lid.

Pour the milk/yogurt combo into the container, seal it up, and wrap it in the kitchen towels. The towels insulate the container, maintaining a warm environment for the live cultures to multiply.  A thermos or crock-pot can also be used to achieve the same results.

A mason jar swaddled in towels provides the perfect climate for live yogurt cultures to do their work.

Leave the yogurt-to-be incubating for several hours. The longer it sits, the more thick and tangy it will become. I usually heat the milk while I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, then leave it to rest overnight. By morning, I have fresh yogurt for my smoothie.

After the yogurt sets up, refrigerate and enjoy! Don’t forget to save a few spoonfuls as a starter for your next batch. Add honey, stevia, maple syrup, or raw cane sugar for a sweeter yogurt. Or mix in your jam of choice for a boost of color and flavor.

This week, I mixed in a bit of the Johnny Jump Up Jam for a stunning and sweet treat

Yogurt is pretty forgiving, so feel free to experiment with milk type, incubation time, and flavorings until you find your perfect variation.

Recipe contributed by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm intern, Colorado native, and food lover.

Though the farm is yet to be in full swing, I have been stretching out the first few trickles of farm edibles–namely herbs and radishes–the best way I know how: BUTTER. A lot of really good butter. Mixed with those first few tastes of spring and slathered on a good piece of crusty bread, butter can be the most decadent and alarmingly simple treat.

First, I suggest you seek out some fresh butter from your nearest dairy/creamery. I often pick mine up at one of the farmers’ markets in the area or from the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. A great local source is Flint Hill Dairy. Their butter is so blindingly yellow and creamy it will bring tears to your eyes.

I choose to enjoy spring radishes the way the French do: red radishes atop a piece of bread with fresh butter and sea salt. So simple, yet so remarkably delicious. (You can also grate the radishes into the butter for easy spreading or if you want to make it ahead of time)

Another one of my favorites is a quick herb butter.

Herb Butter

Jana’s Herb Butter

Good, fresh butter (room temperature)
1 sprig Rosemary
3 sprigs Thyme
A few sage, marjoram, and mint leaves
A small bunch of fresh chives
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Sea salt, to taste

Go forth. Eat butter.

Recipe contributed by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes uses fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog

The flowers and leaves of wild sweet violets and annual violas and pansies (johnny jump ups!) are edible and can be used in a variety of dishes — not just for a garnish or to top a salad. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) or johnny jump ups (Viola tricolor) can be candied or used in violet tea, violet cake, and violet syrup. While commonly added to salads, you can also use violet flowers to make vinegars, butters, spreads, and jellies. Violet flowers are as nutritional as they are beautiful- they are high in Vitamin C and A. Of course, be sure to select flowers that you know have not been sprayed. Their season is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Jam from johnny jump ups makes a vibrant presentation, with a sweet, almost cinnamon-like flavor. This jam is super fast and easy to make.

Gather 1 heaping cup of johnny jump up blossoms, or wild sweet violets, or a mix of both.

Johnny Jump Ups

-On the stove top combine 3/4 cup water and juice of half a large lemon.
-Add 2 1/2 cups white sugar (unfortunately, using the darker organic sugar just won’t achieve the same stunning color). Heat up until the sugar dissolves. It will look like a thick sugar syrup. You want it to be almost clear.
-Put this mixture into a food processor or blender. Toss in your flower blossoms and pulse for 30 seconds to chop. You will notice the color of the blossoms infusing the sugar syrup with a beautiful pinkish purple color.
-Heat another 3/4 cup of water in a pan and stir in 1 package of Sure-Jell pectin. Boil hard for 2 minutes.
-Pour this mixture into the food processor or blender with the other ingredients and pulse for 15 seconds. Quickly spoon or pour into sterile jars and seal. It will start jelling up as you are working.

Johnny Jump Up Jam

In small jars this makes a wonderful gift. If you don’t can the jam, keep it refrigerated. It will last quite awhile in the fridge (unless you eat it as quick as I do!)

Recipe contributed by Tricia Borneman, inspired by herbalist Susan Hess of Farm at Coventry.

Are you anxious for some fresh local spring greens? Take a walk by a creek this time of year, and you’re likely to see the bright fuzzy green of stinging nettles peeking throught the damp soil. Nettles are chock full of calcium and rich in many minerals our bodies are craving after a long winter. But be wary when harvesting- they aren’t called stinging nettles for nothing! They must be steamed or cooked to deactivate the sting. Perfect for spring tonic soup!

Nettle and Chickweed Soup

-Begin by sauteing in 2-3 tbs of butter:
1 bunch of leeks, cleaned and chopped (or substitute onions)

2 carrots, grated
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

-Cover with 2 quarts chicken broth (or water) and bring to a simmer.
-Add 1 cup oat flakes or 1 cup diced potatoes, stir and cover.

While broth is simmering, gather a pair of scissors and a colander or bowl and harvest your greens. You will need 1 large colander of spring nettle tops and 1 large handful of young dandelion greens, or other assorted wild greens: a few small violet leaves, chickweed, garlic grass, garlic mustard greens, dock greens, etc. (We used chickweed.) To avoid the inevitable ‘sting’ of the stinging nettles, snip the tops off with the scissors and allow them to drop right into the colander (Or wear gloves). Use the scissors to cut the tops into smaller pieces while they are still in the colander. If the greens are muddy be sure to rinse them off under cool water.

-The nettles can be dropped right into the soup pot.
-Chop and add other greens to the soup. Let simmer until the greens are very limp but serve while they are still vibrant in color.
-For a bit of lovely creaminess, add a little splash of heavy cream immediately before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Susan Hess of Farm at Coventry. Susan is teaching a number of classes here at Blooming Glen Farm this season. Check out the calendar on our website for more details.