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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/15/18)

Rhubarb:

Sugar is not rhubarb’s only friend. Rhubarb also makes a beautiful pickle to top salads or sit charmingly on a cheese board. Or in chutneys and sauces to serve alongside roast pork or chicken. Check out food52.com for some great recipe inspiration.

A favorite way to use rhubarb is to cut the stalks in 3-inch portions then roast with a bit of sugar (or honey)—not too much as you’ll want to retain the eye-catching brightness. Try throwing in a vanilla bean or some fresh ginger. Roast at 400°F for about 20 minutes. Don’t disturb the stalks too much as they are incredibly tender when they cook. Serve on top of yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, put in between layers of cake or serve over ice cream for a lovely dessert.

 

Asparagus:

Asparagus is best cooked as fresh as possible but if you need to store it for 3 to 4 days treat it like a bouquet of flowers. Trim a small amount from the bottoms of the stalks with a sharp knife and place them in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. This will keep the stalks firm and crisp until you are ready to cook them.

To prepare: the smallest spears will only need to have their very base tough parts trimmed off before cooking. However, the bottom portions of larger asparagus spears can be chewy and woody; they will either need to be snapped off or peeled. To snap off the tough portion, simply grasp the stalk with both hands and bend the bottom portion until it breaks off. The asparagus will naturally break off at the point where the tender portion ends and the tough, stringy part begins.

The way you cook your asparagus can depend upon its size. The baby spears can be sautéed, or rubbed lightly with olive oil and grilled. With fatter spears you may want to trim them and either steam or boil them in order for them to increase their tenderness. However you choose to cook it, watch your asparagus closely so that it doesn’t get overdone. The perfectly cooked spear is easy to penetrate with a knife, but still slightly firm being bright green in color.

rhubarb pieces

Featured Recipe: Stewed Cinnamon Apple & Rhubarb

Ingredients:

1 bunch rhubarb, stalks only, trimmed and chopped into pieces

2 granny smith apples (or other tart apple), peeled cored and roughly chopped

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup whole cane sugar or honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch ground cloves

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Place everything in a pot over low heat and let simmer for 30-60 minutes until all is soft. Your house will smell amazing. Remove the cinnamon stick before eating.

 

Adapted from recipe by theveggiemama.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/4/2018)

Portabello Mushrooms:

Did you know a single Portabella can contain more potassium than a banana? They’re versatile in the kitchen, too. Flip the caps over, place in a baking dish, drizzle on some olive oil, stuff with veggies (try spinach and tomatoes, with mozzarella for a spin on caprice) or cooked grains such as quinoa and bake until tender about 20 minutes at 425F. You can also slice them up and added to salad or cooked in a skillet with some onion and garlic as a yummy sautéed topping for a breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. Portabellos are a great substitute in recipes calling for steak. Seriously, ask one of your Vegan friends. ? So, get out there and eat some fungus already!

Asparagus:

Asparagus is best cooked as fresh as possible but if you need to store it for 3 to 4 days treat it like a bouquet of flowers. Trim a small amount from the bottoms of the stalks with a sharp knife and place them in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. This will keep the stalks firm and crisp until you are ready to cook them.

To prepare; the smallest spears will only need to have their very bottoms trimmed off before cooking. However, the bottom portions of larger asparagus spears can be chewy and woody; they will either need to be snapped off or peeled. To snap off the tough portion, simply grasp the stalk with both hands and bend the bottom portion until it breaks off. The asparagus will naturally break off at the point where the tender portion ends and the tough, stringy part begins.

Zucchini:

Zucchini is more often used as a cooking vegetable but is also be enjoyed raw. It makes a great addition to salad or veggie trays with dip. When sent through the spiralizer this vegetable makes a sort of noodle which is often used as a substitute in paleo diets in spaghetti or noodle soup. To cook, simply heat oil over medium heat (sauté a little onion or garlic before adding the zucchini if desired), add zucchini noodles and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened. If you don’t own a spiralizer you can use a vegetable peeler and make long, flat noodles instead of round ones.

Serve as the bed to your pasta sauce and meatballs or add to your favorite vegetable soup.

 

Featured Recipe:

Portabello Baked Eggs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 large Portabello mushrooms, stem removed, wiped clean

Olive oil spray

½ teaspoon garlic powder

4 medium eggs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

4 tablespoons chopped parsley OR spinach ribbons for garnish

Salt & Pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

Preheat broiler to high. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet.

Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt and pepper and ¼ teaspoon of the garlic powder. Broil 5 minutes on each side, or until just tender.

Remove mushrooms from oven. Drain any liquids. Switch oven from broil to bake, setting temperature to 400 degrees F.

Break an egg into each mushroom. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake 15 minutes, until egg whites are cooked.

Sprinkle the eggs with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Garnish with parsley or spinach and serve.                                                                                                                             

 

Adapted from recipe by healthyrecipesblogs.com

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A Salad of Nectarines and Asparagus

A SALAD OF NECTARINES AND ASPARAGUS

4 servings

Ingredients:

1 small bunch asparagus, sliced on the bias

1 teaspoon oil

Zest of one lemon, reserve 1/2 lemon for juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

3 tablespoons olive oil

5-6 cups mixed greens, such as lettuces, spinach leaves, young kale, arugula

2 nectarines, thinly sliced lengthwise

2-3 ounces Feta or Chèvre, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped, toasted almonds Sea salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the asparagus in one teaspoon oil, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, until bright green. Add garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute more. Turn off heat and finish with a squeeze of juice from half the lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Make the dressing by whisking together the Balsamic vinegar with the shallot. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a large salad bowl, toss the greens with the dressing. Top with the asparagus, Feta, chopped almonds and finish with slices of nectarine. Garnish with parsley if desired. Best served immediately. Recipe adapted from: theyearinfood.com

Know Your Produce: NECTARINES

Nectarines closely related fruit species to peach. Juicy, delicious nectarines are low in calories (100 g just provide 44 calories), and contain no saturated fats. They are packed with numerous health promoting anti-oxidants, plant nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Store: Although best enjoyed without delay, ripe nectarines can be refrigerated for three to five days. Leave firmer ones at room temperature to ripen. Stone fruit ripens from the inside out: check the stem area to see if it yields to gentle pressure. Ripe nectarines are also usually fragrant. Prep: Wash well under cool water before using. Use: Nectarines may be enjoyed, peel and all. They are delicious sliced and eaten out of hand, or with your breakfast cereal/on yogurt. They also work well in almost any recipe calling for peaches.

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Playing with Water

We are 70% water, so it’s no mystery why it is one of the most necessary nutrients our body needs. But why is it so hard to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day? We know the endless benefits of drinking water: heart circulation, metabolism, joint health, digestive health, clearer skin, etc.

Think of a dried prune; it’s all dry and wrinkled. Now, think of a fresh prune; full of hydration, smooth and healthy. As much practical sense that this all makes, I have to admit the idea of sipping on the same thing all day long can get boring. So lately I have been experimenting with Infused Water. Spring brings us bright, beautiful, and colorful produce that can naturally enhance the flavor of water. Infused water can be any combination of fruits, vegetables, herbs and even flowers. Why infuse water? The answer is simple. By improving the flavor with a healthy option, it’s an easier way to achieve your recommended daily amounts but also include essential vitamins into this healthy drink.

Although there are many flavored waters on supermarket shelves, producing a homemade option is cost effective and far healthier. Most infused waters available at supermarkets include preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and refined sugars. All of these are bad for your short and long-term health, in addition to being an enemy of your skin health.

Everyone has their favorite fruit infused water ingredients, but some are more popular than others. Lemon, lime, strawberries, apples, and oranges are the most popular fruit ingredients, while cucumbers, mint, basil, cinnamon, and ginger are the most popular vegetable ingredients. I think it’s time to produce your own, so I’ve included a basic method to follow. Have fun with it; the rest is up to you! To make your fruit-infused water, simply wash and slice a combination of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Pour cold filtered water on top. Cover the jar and store in the refrigerator. The flavor will get stronger after a few hours. You can replenish the water throughout the day.

Some of my favorite infused water combinations are: Lemon with Strawberry and Cucumber, Cucumber with any Citrus, Apple with Ginger and Cinnamon, Watermelon with Mint, Pineapple and Berry…sounds refreshing, doesn’t it? Here are 3 more tips I follow to ensure I drink enough water throughout the day:

  1. Set a specific goal for the day: Mine is to drink at least 32oz a day, I am working my way to 64oz but for now, 32oz is the goal!
  2. Get a bottle you will actually use and keep it close: My bottle requirements are: absolutely no dripping, BPA free plastic and it must fit in the car cup holder.
  3. Use a straw: I notice that when I use a straw I drink more and faster.

Here’s to a more hydrated you!

Sara Balcazar-Greene (aka. Peruvian Chick)
Peruvian Food Ambassador
peruvianchick.com
instagram.com/peruvianchick
facebook.com/theperuvianchick

 

Asparagus Soup                              

Growing up we had soup as the first course almost every day, this soup made it to our family table at least once a week. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut in ½ in pieces

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek (white part) chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

¾ cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Melt butter and oil in a medium size saucepan at low heat. Add onion and leek and cook until golden brown. Add asparagus and season to taste. Cook stirring for 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until asparagus are very tender.

With an immerse blender blend mixture until creamy and soft. Return cream to pan and add milk or cream. Serve with bread croutons if desired.

Asparagus

Uncooked asparagus will stay fresh for three to four days in the refrigerator. The secret is to keep the vegetable cool and damp. Store spears upright in a container with the stems wading in an inch of water, then cover loosely with a plastic bag. Easier still: Wrap the ends in moist paper towels and drop the bundle into a plastic bag.

Use: cooking asparagus takes only a few minutes. The goal: Preserve the bright color and delicate flavor. Broiling or roasting the spears intensifies their inherent sweetness. Steamed or boiled asparagus is great for salads.

 

If you boil, forget the fancy equipment. Just launch the spears in a skillet full of lightly salted boiling water. The pan should be large enough to fit the spears in one or two layers, so that they cook evenly and quickly. Don’t cover the skillet; otherwise the asparagus will go from bright green to army drab. Start testing for doneness after two or three minutes by piercing the ends with a knife. They should be barely tender, with a slight crunch. Asparagus will continue to cook after you’ve removed it from the pan. If you like asparagus with snap, drop it into a sink full of cold water to stop the cooking.

Tips from thekitchn.com

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The Recipe Box: Chopped Kale Salad + Creamy Almond Ginger Dressing

salad_kale chopped2_edibleperspective.com_used by permission

This week’s recipe box features the ingredients for a recipe from Ashley McLaughlin, the person behind the inspiring blog over at Edible Perspective. I was looking for a recipe to feature the local kale we’d be getting in this week from our friends over at Ralph’s Greenhouses, and came across this one for a chopped kale salad paired with a creamy dressing – a fresh change up from the usual steamed or sautéed kale recipes.

Ashley’s salad starts out with the simple step of steaming and blanching asparagus, and then incorporates a healthy variety of textures and flavors in the form of more finely chopped (mostly raw) veggies. She then tops it all off with protein-rich quinoa and chickpeas, a creamy almond dressing infused with ginger, and finally some marinated Portabella mushrooms. Add a sprinkling of sesame seeds if you will. This is a very filling and satisfying weeknight meal. You can find the full recipe on her blog.

 

The Recipe BoxWe’ll plan, pack, and deliver…you cook and enjoy!

This box contains a recipe and all of the ingredients you will need for assembling a healthy meal for 4 people plus some additional fruit to enjoy.

This week’s featured recipe: Chopped Kale Salad + Creamy Almond Ginger Dressing

Chopped kale & cabbage covered in a creamy dressing (we’ve included directions for an almond dressing), and topped with marinated portabella mushrooms, more veggies, and chick peas. Trust us, it’s delish! Order your Recipe Box here.

Happy salad fixing!

Marty, for the Klesick Family Farm

 

Photos: Copyright © 2013, [Edible Perspective]. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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A Salad of Nectarines and Asparagus

4 servings

Ingredients:

1 small bunch asparagus, sliced on the bias

1 teaspoon oil

Zest of one lemon, reserve 1/2 lemon for juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

3 tablespoons olive oil

5-6 cups mixed greens, such as lettuces, spinach leaves, young kale, arugula

2 nectarines, thinly sliced lengthwise

2-3 ounces Feta or Chèvre, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped, toasted almonds

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish, optional

 

Directions:

1.            In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the asparagus in one teaspoon oil, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, until bright green. Add garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute more. Turn off heat and finish with a squeeze of juice from half the lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2.            Make the dressing by whisking together the Balsamic vinegar with the shallot. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.            In a large salad bowl, toss the greens with the dressing. Top with the asparagus, Feta, chopped almonds and finish with slices of nectarine. Garnish with parsley if desired. Best when  served immediately.

Recipe adapted from theyearinfood.com

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Welcome to Spring!

 

Last week I taught a spring baking class. While the weather outside was gray, rainy and cold enough for me to see my breath, inside the kitchen the oven was singing the flavors of spring. The weather may not be ready to admit that it’s April but my kitchen is.

The evening started with a rhubarb bellini made from a simple rhubarb puree (vanilla bean, rhubarb and a splash of water cooked until tender then blended until completely smooth). There was also freshly baked fennel pollen shortbread served with herb goat cheese and a tangy red onion jam.

Next came a salad that spring invented. A soft butter lettuce paired with thinly shaved radish, creamy avocado chunks and a healthy handful of chives, parsley and tarragon. This salad shed its heavy winter dressing in exchange for a light champagne vinaigrette made ever so creamy with a touch of creme fraiche.

From there we inundated the class with pizza. The first was sauced with homemade creme fraiche and topped with bacon and caramelized onion with a whisper of fresh nutmeg grated right on top. Secondly, we served a roasted asparagus pizza with a perfectly cooked (lovely runny yolked) egg, mozzarella and, while still hot from the oven, we finished it with prosciutto and grated parmesan.

As a ploy to coax the sun to push its way through the dense wall of clouds, we fired up the grill and made a grilled crust pizza with fontina, mozzarella and fresh asparagus all over the top.

And for dessert, more rhubarb. This time it was roasted with orange zest, vanilla bean and served with homemade ice cream and vanilla bean shortbread.

The participants were full, happy and ready to embrace this new season with invigorated taste buds.

I’d like to welcome you to spring! Home of asparagus, citron green herbs bursting with flavor that has been suppressed for months, rhubarb dressed in more pink than my daughter, mildly spiced spring onions and a gentle warmth – just enough to make the cherry blossoms pop and the seedlings emerge.

by Ashley Rodriguez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com