Follow Your Food: Spring Latkes

Memorial Day is the unofficial marker of our transition from Spring into Summer. Now the sun rises early and sets late, giving plants longer hours of solar radiation for photosynthesis and metabolism. The increased photon energy provided by longer days allows for greater glucose sugar production. Naturally, as the plant makes more sugar, it must be allocated for storage. So, to keep up with energy production, the roots of certain species develop to accommodate the glut of glucose and store it as a carbohydrate. Over time this storage unit becomes a viable food crop, which we all enjoy in the form of a carrot or a beet. This trait to store increased energy is not ubiquitous among all species. Normally, it is either something represented in perennial plants, who must survive for a number of years or has been cultivated in annual plants from years of farming. Most plants would prefer to allocate available resources directly towards reproduction and setting a flower head. Eventually the fertilized flower develops into a fruiting body to provide life to a new generation, or to a hungry table. This requires an immense amount of energy, and if the plant has not met a critical mass of photosynthetic capacity, reproduction can stress a plant. So, it is critical that the season is right and the days are long to plant a fruiting crop. As Spring is to green, summer is to color; that color is derived by new growth in root and fruit crops. This week we saw an example the shape and color of early summer food with fresh Zucchini and Carrots.

Fortunately, for most, the introduction to summer is met with an extended weekend. I know how I will spend these long days ahead; sharing food and late afternoon memories with friends to grow our roots deeper.

This is an amended recipe to one I found online for some vegetable latkes (or fritters, whatever you prefer). I must say, this is an easy and delicious way to use seasonal produce, and nothing but seasonal produce. If you go online, there are a lot of iterations of this meal. I went with what worked best for the materials I had on hand. Find what works best for you. But here is a little kick to get you on your way…

Ingredients to serve 4 Latkes:

  • 2 small Zucchini, shredded (Groundwork Organics)
  • 3-4 medium Carrots, peeled and shredded (Organic Redneck)
  • 1 medium Potato, boiled and mashed (Rainshadow Organics)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced (Groundwork Organics)
  • 1 Green Onion, chopped (Cinco Estrellas)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (Sagestruck Herbary)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (Rainshadow Organics)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or both!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Half & Half

Cooking instructions:

  1. Begin by prepping your zucchini and carrots by shredding with a large-holed cheese grader. If you are like me and lack this piece of equipment, this can be done with some dextrous knife work. Transfer veggies to a collander, add the salt and mix. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or so.
  2. Add the potato to water and boil until soft all of the way through. This can be accomplished more quickly if the potato is quartered beforehand. Remove potato to a bowl, add the half & half and mash.
  3. Add the Flour and Baking powder to a separate bowl and mix.
  4. Squeeze the veggies dry, using either just your hands or a cheesecloth, and transfer to a bowl. Add the Garlic, Paprika, Cayenne and Thyme. Mix together. Now add the mashed up potato, mix. Lastly, add the flour/baking powder and mix.
  5. Once mixed, grab a medium sized handful and pack into a ball, repeat 3 times. Place the uncooked latkes on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes so that they hold form better while cooking.
  6. Heat up 2 Tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add the packed latkes. Cook for 3-5 minutes and turn. They should be slightly charred and crisp when flipped. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Fin!

I did not have the ingredients at my disposal to make an adequate sauce for serving, but these would be amazing served with a yogurt based side. Perhaps yogurt, cucumber and lemon.

This was so easy, so good, and almost 100% local, that it may just become a staple in my diet.

Advertisements

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!

Recipes for CSA Share: 10-22-14

The bounty of fall is here and it’s so colorful! Each one of this week’s items has its own unique flavor that can be paired wonderfully together to celebrate the start of the season. The below recipes utilize all of this week’s share items and some other basic ingredients you probably already have on hand. Some of the other linked ingredients below are available to add to your weekly order!

Roasted Root Veggies (beets, sunchokes and sweet potatoes)

A great alternative for those already tiring of fall squash, this recipe is wonderful on its own as a vegetarian dinner, or paired with a hearty oven-roasted (or slow cooker) beef brisket. You can cut your veggies to any size you prefer – just be sure that they’re all relatively the same size to cook evenly.

Ingredients

½ lb. beets (trimmed, peeled)
½ lb. sunchokes (about 6, scrubbed, no need to peel!)
½ lb. potatoes (peeled)
2 medium sized carrots (peeled)
1 ½ Tblsp. Dried rosemary
3 Tblsp. Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Cut all veggies in to same desired size, about 1 in. diameter
  • Toss all ingredients together to evenly coat
  • Lay mixture out in one even layer on a baking sheet
  • Roast 40-45 minutes (mixing around halfway through) or until beets and carrots are fork tender

Optional: You can add in peeled, whole cloves of garlic halfway through for a delicious flavor boost. Just make sure you add them before you toss the veggies at the halfway point so they get a light oil coating.

Fava Bean Burgers with an Asian Daikon Radish and Carrot Slaw

Adding Asian flavors to seasonal fall produce is a great way to inject some new, fresh flavor on a dark fall evening. The burgers can be eaten the day of or pre-made and frozen for a quick weeknight dinner later in the week. Experiment with condiments like wasabi mayonnaise, sriracha, sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce and more!

Ingredients

Fava Bean Burger Patties

2 cups shelled fava beans
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. curry powder (or paste)
1 clove garlic, minced finely
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
½ cup canola oil (spike with some sesame or chili oil if you have it)

Daikon Radish and Carrot Slaw

½ cup rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave (or white sugar)
¼ tsp. salt (or celery salt if you have it)
¼ tsp. mustard powder
3 Tblsp. sesame oil (or canola oil)
1 medium daikon radish, sliced in to thin strips (or grated on sturdy cheese grater)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced in to thin strips (or grated on cheese grater)
½ cup chopped scallions

Method

  • Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for about a minute then immediately run under cold water in a colander. Drain thoroughly.
  • While the beans cool, wilt the spinach in a hot pan with 1 Tblsp. of the oil over medium heat and set aside.
  • With your fingernails peel the skins of the fava beans. Discard the skins and add the beans to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add spinach, rice, spices, garlic, and the remaining oil. Mash with a potato masher until you have a crumbly mixture that is well blended. This will be the consistency of the patties so mash to your preference. The finer the mash the better the burgers will hold together.
  • Add the spinach, cilantro and breadcrumbs. Taste the mixture and adjust if necessary. Add the egg and mix well.
  • Shape the mixture in to 1 inch thick patties, 2 – 2 ½ inches in diameter, all uniform in size. Place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. If you’re freezing any of the patties for later use, now is the time. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  • As your burgers chill, prepare your slaw. Combine vinegar, agave and spices in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in oil. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. (This slaw is even better if prepared the day before and left in the fridge to incorporate the flavors overnight)
  • When ready to cook the patties, heat the remaining oil in a cast iron (or other deep non-stick frying pan) over high heat. Once a couple of drops of water in the pan pop, the oil is ready. Add the burgers a couple at a time and fry until golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes per side. Drain cooked patties on a paper towel.
  • Serve the burgers topped with the slaw and any Asian condiment that sounds good and enjoy!

Pear and Basil Collins

This twist on a classic cocktail is a refreshing, seasonal sip to pair with the fava bean burgers or to simply enjoy for a homemade happy hour after work. This recipe uses tonic water but you can easily substitute soda water or diet tonic water to cut calories. You can also mix in more sweetener to the finished cocktail if you’d like it sweeter.

Ingredients (Makes 2 cocktails)

1 medium ripe pear, peeled, cored and cubed
2 shots of fresh lemon juice
2 shots of simple syrup (recipe below)
5-6 basil leaves
Gin (or vodka)
Ice in tall Collins glass (or pint glass)
Tonic Water

  • In a food processor or blender, combine the first three ingredients and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • Divide the ice evenly between two glasses (enough to fill halfway). Muddle the basil on the ice with a muddler or the back of a metal spoon.
  • Add 1-2 shots of gin to each glass, however much you prefer
  • Divide the pear mixture evenly between each glass. You may have a little leftover. Don’t forget to leave space for the bubbles!
  • Top with tonic water and stir.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary & Garlic

roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-fingerling-potatoes-with-rosemary-6793-3

If you are getting a produce box from Agricultural Connections this week, you’ll likely have fingerling potatoes. One of the best things to do with potatoes in general is to roast them. Many of you may have roasted potatoes before; this recipe adds brussels sprouts which is a fun way to add veg to your meal as well. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. Don’t let the soggy brussels sprouts from your childhood stop you from trying them roasted. They are really quite wonderful and full of flavor. Today’s recipe is from the lovely Oh She Glows recipe blog. Enjoy!

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary & Garlic
Serves 4-5 as a side

1 part brussels sprouts
2 parts fingerling potatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar) (optional)
3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and scrub potatoes and pat dry. Slice in half lengthwise and place into large mixing bowl. Cut off stem of brussels sprouts and remove loose outer leaves. Rinse and pat dry. Place in bowl. Add the minced garlic, minced rosemary, oil, optional Sucanat, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes into the bowl along with the potatoes and sprouts. Toss with your hands to combine and place on baking sheet. Roast for 35-38 minutes at 400F, stirring once half way through baking. Potatoes will be golden and brussels will be lightly charred when ready. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/10/08/roasted-fingerling-potatoes-and-brussels-sprouts-with-rosemary-and-garlic/#ixzz2ZoNRfijS