Recipes for CSA Share: 10-29-14

This week’s ingredients are colorful, wholesome and the perfect representation of the transition of the seasons. All of this week’s recipes are filling and nutritious, perfect for these cold fall nights, and contain many of the items you’ll find it this week’s CSA shares.

Winter Squash Chili

This quick, fall chili is easy for weeknights and doesn’t require hours of roasting. The sweetness of the squash gives it great flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser with kids who can top their bowls with whatever they like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium winter squash (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black or red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C. vegetable broth (or other broth you have on hand, water works too)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juiced
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped mild green chiles (or sub canned chipotles for more heat and smoky flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional toppings: green onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatillo salsa (recipe below), or cooked bacon

 Method:

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise with a heavy, sharp knife. Use a dish towel to get a good grip – cutting from stem to tip.
  2. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Pierce the skin with a fork a few times, and place cut side down in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 inch water. Micrwave on high about 8-9 min. or until tender. You can do one half at a time if you don’t have a big enough microwave. Let cool.
  3. Heat oil in a large dutch oven (or other deep, heavy-bottom pan) over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Sautee, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent (about 5 min.)
  4. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 min. Stir frequently so garlic is well incorporated and doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in beans, broth, tomatoes, chiles, and spices. Simmer, covered about 10 min. Uncover, stire and cook another 10 more min.
  6. Back to the squash, peel off the outer skin with a paring knife. Cut into ½” chunks.
  7. Stir squash into bean mixture; cook 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Serve warm topped with sour cream, green onions, cheddar cheese, bacon or whatever sounds good!

Simple Balsamic Chard

Vinegar lovers who haven’t tried balsamic on your greens… your life is about to change. Balsamic vinegar is fantastic on steamed or sautéed on spinach, kale, chard and any other dark green. Best part is it’s extremely easy and pairs great with any Italian, American or Greek dish you have planned. Once you’ve had a taste of this method, you’re sure to make chard a regular part of your meal planning – and with it’s incredible nutritional benefits your body will thank you.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of chard (or other green like spinach, kale or collard greens)
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 Tblsp. good balsamic vinegar, to taste

Method

  1. Clean and remove the woody stems of your greens. Roughly chop in to 2″ pieces.
  2. Heat oil and garlic in large, flat pan over medium heat. Start slow and be careful not to burn the garlic. Sautée the garlic 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add chard and sauté 5-6 minutes until desired doneness.
  4. Toss in salt and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Roasted Potato Nachos with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Are you ready for some football?! This is the perfect Thursday night dinner the whole family will love. If you make the salsa in advance, it’s also quick and easy for an after wok meal. Top with the suggestions below or whatever you have on hand.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. fresh tomatillos
  • 2 fresh jalapeños
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. salt

Method

  1. Remove tomatillo husks and rinse under warm water. They’ll be sticky at first but the water will rinse most of that off.
  2. Place tomatillos, jalepanos and unpeeled garlic on baking sheet and broil for 7-8 minutes, turning all once halfway through. Tomatillos and peppers should be charred and softened.
  3. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Peel the garlic and seed the peppers.
  4. Add all ingredients (including onion, cilantro and salt) to a blender or food processor and pulse to desired salsa consistency.
  5. Store salsa in refrigerator for up to 1 week or devour immediately.

Roasted Potato Nachos

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs. new potatoes (gold, red, purple or fingerling)
  • 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 C. shredded, cheddar cheese (or other mild, hard cheese blend)
  • 1 C. Tomatillo Salsa (recipe above)
  • 1/2 C. green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 C. sour cream (optional)
  • Other topping ideas: pulled porkbacon, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, avocado, canned corn (drained), black beans

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Scrub and rinse potatoes and cut in to 1″ cubes. No need to peel.
  3. Toss potatoes in olive oil, just enough to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes. A fork should slide easily in to potatoes.
  5. Top with cheese and salsa and bake for another 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Top with remaining ingredients and any other desired toppings and serve immediately. These make great leftovers too!

Checking Out Chard

Written by Jenni Hepburn for Agricultural Connections

Rainbow Chard

There are lots of great reasons to eat locally—the food is fresher and tastes better, and buying locally-produced food helps support area farmers and stimulates your regional economy. When you buy local food produced in-season, you’re also getting fresh produce that packs a much more powerful nutritional punch. Fresh rainbow chard is a gorgeous riot of color with crisp leaves and crunchy stems—full of nutrients and a great flavor that pairs well with a wide range of foods and seasonings.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits

Chard is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables in the world, with high levels of many different vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of cooked chard provides between 10% and 60% of the daily requirement of nearly a dozen different nutrients.

Vitamin K: Needed for healthy bones, and may protect against heart disease.

Vitamin A: An antioxidant that helps protect against certain eye diseases.

Vitamin C: Antioxidant that boosts the immune system and is necessary for collagen production. Also enhances iron absorption.

Magnesium: Important in bone health and regulation of metabolism.

Copper: Enhances antioxidant activity, required for collagen production, and helps protect against anemia.

Manganese: Needed for healthy bones and skin, and plays a role in regulating blood sugar.

Potassium: This mineral is an electrolyte, and is essential to heart and nervous system function. It’s also important for regulating blood pressure and may help protect against the development of kidney stones.

Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect against heart disease.

Iron: As a component of red blood cells this mineral is used to transport oxygen around the body.

Choline: Essential for healthy nervous system function.

Vitamin B2: Important for energy production, and helps protect against anemia.

Calcium: Essential for bone health.

As a leafy green vegetable with stalks in vibrant rainbow hues, rainbow chard is also full of plant-specific compounds called phytonutrients that have additional benefits. Phytonutrients in rainbow chard include syringic acid, beta-carotene, and lutein.

While the exact way in which some phytonutrients benefit health are not yet firmly established, it is thought that many of these compounds help repair DNA damage, reduce inflammation, improve cellular metabolism, enhance the immune response, and have antioxidant activity. Many studies indicate, for example, that carotenoids like beta-carotene help protect against heart disease, and that even a single daily serving of leafy greens can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Other studies show that eating foods that are high in lutein helps prevent age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to vision deterioration and can cause blindness. Finally, syringic acid helps regulate blood sugar by slowing down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into simple sugars.

Ideas for Cooking with Rainbow Chard

Chard varieties are highly versatile. Just like spinach and kale, they can be used in a wide variety of ways, and in countless different dishes. Most varieties taste fairly similar, regardless of stalk color—a little sweet and very slightly bitter, similar to spinach but with a milder flavor. Flavors that go well with chard of all kinds include garlic, shallots and onions, vinaigrettes, cream-based sauces, and lemon. In general, anything you can do with spinach, you can also do with chard, but the cooking time for chard is slightly longer.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to cooking with chard. One says that the leaves should be treated in the same way as spinach, and the stalks in the same way as asparagus. The second doesn’t differentiate between stalks and leaves; instead, just chop the greens together, and chop the stalks more finely than the leaves to even out the cooking time. Choosing a method depends on personal preference and the dish you’re preparing—for some you may prefer to omit stalks, as they are somewhat tougher than leaves.

Some quick-and-easy ideas for cooking with rainbow chard include:

  • Chopped raw chard can be added to salads, and pairs well with lemon-based vinaigrette.
  • Use chard instead of spinach in vegetarian lasagna.
  • Add chopped leaves and stalks to egg-based dishes like frittata and quiche.
  • Sauté with garlic and olive oil, add toasted pine nuts, plate, and then dress with lemon juice. Alternatively, add grated parmesan and red pepper flakes in place of the pine nuts. Both options are perfect as a side dish or tossed with cooked pasta.
  • Add finely-sliced stalks and leaves to chicken, pasta, or white bean soups, and simmer for a few minutes just before serving.
  • Top pizza with a mixture of sautéed chopped chard, onions, and pancetta or bacon.
  • Use the leaves (minus stalks) as wraps for spring rolls or as a substitute for vine leaves for stuffed vine leaf recipes.
  • Try raw chard leaves in place of lettuce in lettuce leaf wraps.

 

Sources

101 Cookbooks. “Chard Recipes.”  Accessed April 4, 2014. Healthy chard recipes using all-natural ingredients.

JM Hirsch, for The Food Network. “Off the Beaten Aisle: Rainbow Chard.” Accessed April 4, 2014. Cooking with chard.

Kwikmed. “Complete Video Guide to Heart Disease.” Accessed April 4, 2014. Dietary guidelines for cardio health.

Rita Klavinski, for MichiganStateUniversity. “7 Benefits of Eating Local Foods.” Accessed April 4, 2014. Why it’s better to eat local.

The World’s Healthiest Foods. “Swiss Chard.” Accessed April 4, 2014. Nutritional information for chard varieties.

United States Department of Agriculture. “Phytonutrient FAQ.” Accessed April 4, 2014. Information about plant-specific nutrients.

True Star Health. “Swiss Chard.” Accessed April 4 2014. Chard: Preparation, uses and tips.

A Model of Versatility

Acorn squash is one of those amazing food items that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. If you roast it and scoop out the flesh, it can be used in squash pancakes or waffles, which are delicious with walnuts, maple syrup, and bacon (if you’re me, you toast the walnuts and cook the bacon to crispy deliciousness then put both right inside the batter). The squash is also delicious as a hash, with any and all of your favorite hash ingredients.

 Image

However, my all-time favorite way to cook this winter treat is to stuff it.

I cut mine in half and roast it until it’s almost cooked through. I then add a mixture of already-cooked wild rice and sauteed goodies. This could include MANY different ingredients, and I often use it as a way to use whatever I have in my pantry or fridge. Some of my favorite ingredients include shredded carrots, dried cherries or cranberries, celery, toasted walnuts, apple, yellow onion, chopped up kale or chard, garlic, and maybe even shredded beets or parsnips. Almost any combination of these ingredients is sure to result in a flavor-packed, textural, hearty dish.

Once I’ve stuffed the squash, I put it back in the oven to finish cooking and get everything nice and hot. Depending on your preference, this can be served as a main course or side. Either way, it will warm you up from the inside out, and make excellent use of winter-time ingredients.

 So, if you’re looking to experiment with some new applications for this gorgeous gourd, try any of these ideas and enjoy!

 Ingredients from Ag Connect: Acorn squash, carrots, apples, beets, garlic, kale, chard, yellow onion, parsnips, bacon, flour and eggs for pancakes.