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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/18/18)

Blood Oranges:

With ruby-red to maroon-colored flesh, blood oranges are a surprise when you cut them open; taste-wise, they’re tart-sweet and slightly berry-like.

Storage tips: To keep these ruby gems fresh longer, choose refrigeration over the fruit bowl―they’ll only last only a couple of days at room temperature, but up to two weeks in the fridge.

How to eat them: Blood oranges are best eaten fresh―out of hand, or in salads, salsas, or marmalades. If you’re following a recipe you may be asked to section the fruit. To do so, peel the orange, cut between the white membranes to expose the flesh, and remove the sections (for more juice, squeeze the leftover membranes).

Health benefits: Oranges are rich in antioxidants―vital for healthy cells―including vitamin C, which aids in healing, boosts your immune system, helps your body absorb iron, and even helps reduce the risk of cancer. This citrus fruit is also a good source of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and, like vitamin C, reduce your cancer risk. (To maximize your fiber intake, be sure to eat some of the spongy white pith right under the skin.)

 

 

Mangos:

To peel a mango: using the tip of the mango as a guide, slice the two cheeks of the mango off, cutting around the stone in the center. Then place the edge of the mango against the lip of a glass and slide it down one of the halves, so that you’re using the glass like a giant spoon to scrape the mango from its skin. If your mango is ripe (yields to soft pressure, fragrant), you can get the glass to slide through it and separate the skin with ease. If you want to get the part around the pit, we advise going at it with a paring knife, or if you have a toddler, this will keep them busy for a while. Then, you can eat the half of mango, or, if you’re sharing, slice it up, cut it into cubes, and dump into a bowl, ready to serve!

 

Broccoli:

Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese.

Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

 

Green Onions:

Also known as scallions, green onions are milder than regular onions but add a nice pop of flavor and color to almost any dish. They are commonly used as a topping for baked potatoes or salad, but can also be used to liven up your Asian style soups like egg drop or ramen noodle. They are also a great addition to omelets or quiche. You can even grill them whole like spring onions and serve as a side dish with a little lemon, salt & pepper.

 

 

Featured Recipe: Roasted Yams

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 

2 large yams

1 tablespoon honey

1-2 teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, approximately 2 limes

2 green onions, both green and white parts, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions:

Heat oven to 425. Cut the yams lengthwise into 4 wedges per yam. Put them in a large bowl, and toss them with the honey, ½ tablespoon of the crushed red-pepper flakes, the smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, tossing once or twice to coat, as the oven heats.

Transfer the yams to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and then bake until they are deeply caramelized around the edges and soft when pierced with a fork at their thickest part, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

As the yams roast, combine the yogurt, lime juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl, and whisk to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When the yams are done, transfer them to a serving platter, drizzle the yogurt over them and garnish with the remaining pepper flakes, the green onions and some flaky sea salt.

 

Adapted from recipe by cooking.nytimes.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 4/9/17)

How to Eat Your Box:

 

Rhubarb

I’m thinking of starting a countdown-to-rhubarb calendar. Every day I’d get the satisfaction of crossing off another day knowing that I was inching my way closer to enjoying one of my favorite vegetables. Yes, I said vegetable.
Rhubarb is a hearty plant that thrives in the Pacific Northwest. It has a short season that begins in early spring. It’s often one of the first signs that let’s us know spring is indeed coming. And you know what my rhubarb countdown calendar is telling me right now? IT’S TIME FOR RHUBARB!
The leaves are poisonous so we’ll stay away from those but the celery like stalks have a crisp, tart crunch. Fresh rhubarb stalks should look firm and glossy. When sugar is added the tartness is tamed to the point of palatability and you are left with a floral flavor that somehow matches its brilliant pink color (although some varieties are green) that maintains a puckering sharpness that I find irresistible.
But sugar is not rhubarb’s only friend. Rhubarb 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.
My favorite and most used way with rhubarb is to cut the stalks in 3-inch sticks then roast with a bit of sugar (or honey) – not too much as I love to retain the mouth clutching brightness. Sometimes I’ll even throw in a vanilla bean or some fresh ginger. Roast (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 dessert.

 

Garnet Yams

Garnet Yams are the brilliantly orange colored tubers that often get mistaken for a sweet potato. Yams and sweet potatoes are in fact distinctively different. However, because of mislabeling in American grocery stores, these two are commonly confused.
Yams are more nutrient dense than potatoes as they have good amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C but I often use them in the same way as potatoes. They are delicious baked and loaded with beans, scallions and a bit of cheese. Or, make a lovely mash or soup. They have a natural sweetness that pairs nicely with something acidic like lemons or vinegars.
As with most vegetables, yams are delicious roasted. Cut into wedges then toss with a little bit of cornstarch and finely grated Parmesan. The cornstarch helps to lock in the moisture so they turn crispy and more fry-like in the oven. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper then roast in a hot oven 425-450°F for 20 – 30 minutes or until caramelized in parts and tender.
NOTE: Read Ashley’s guest post for this week’s newsletter, here.

 

 

Featured Recipe: RHUBARB FLOATS

By Ashley Rodriguez, Not Without Salt

Of all the many wonderful uses of rhubarb this syrup remains my favorite. It’s a fridge staple all through spring as it easily becomes the base for numerous cocktails, sodas and now ice cream floats. I love the warmth the spice brings but just rhubarb alone is great too. Feel free to play around with the add-ins. I’ve also added citrus peel into the mix with great results.

 

4 cups/1 pound/ 450 g chopped rhubarb

1 cup + 1 tablespoon/ 8 ounces/ 230 g sugar

2 cups/ 1 pound/ 450 grams water

1 vanilla bean (optional)

1 cinnamon stick

3-5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

 

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly so the mixture continues to boil gently. Boil for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by nearly half. The rhubarb will break down and the liquid will get syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.

When cool, strain out the rhubarb. Save the rhubarb mash to add to yogurt, on top of ice cream or oatmeal.

Rhubarb syrup will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks.

 

For the float

These measurements are rough as it’s all a matter of taste. Adjust how you’d like. I kept on meaning to muddle strawberries with the syrup before adding the club soda and ice cream but got too excited that I forgot. Perhaps you’ll remember. Or imagine using strawberry ice cream or even coconut sorbet. So many floats to be had.

1/8 – 1/4 cup rhubarb syrup (recipe above)

1/2 cup club soda

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

 

Add the syrup to a glass. To that add a scoop of ice cream and finish with club soda. Serve with a spoon and a straw.

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 3/5/17)

Butternut Squash:

There are many, many ways to use this creamy squash, but my favorite way is in soup. It adds such a wonderfully rich and smooth texture that I can’t pass up any opportunity to pureed it. The key to getting that rich full flavor is to roast or sauté the squash first. You can peel, cut into cubes and sauté with onions and garlic until tender or cut in half, slather in olive oil and bake cut side down at 425° for about 50 minutes. If you follow the baking method, simply scrape the insides out with a spoon; no need for peeling. Then blend everything with 1-2 cups of milk (depending on how thick you want it). This can be eaten as is with salt, pepper, a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper, and topped with cream and toasted nuts. Or, add to another soup recipe to thicken it up and enrich the flavors.

Yams:

Baked yams make one of my all-time favorite snacks. They are also a great added to soups, stir fries, burritos, you name it! Or, just eat them all by themselves as a snack/side dish. I like to dice mine up into small cubes, toss in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt and bake at 425° for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender and edges are browned. Also, very good when sprinkled with cinnamon. Yum!

Cabbage:

Cabbage is such a great thing to have around. Don’t let it be that vegetable that sits in the bottom of your refrigerator drawer for months on end. There are endless opportunities to use it up. I’m constantly pulling mine out and adding it to my “just about anything”. I like to cut mine into little cabbage “shavings”. First cut the cabbage in half, then simply shave off slivers from along the inside edge. I rarely ever use a whole cabbage in one sitting so to keep the cut edges from drying out I make sure to store sealed in a plastic bag or plastic wrap.

Recipe: Rainbow Chard Hummus Wraps

Ingredients:

1 large rainbow swiss chard leaf

1/4 cup hummus

Veggies for topping, such as tomato, cucumber + onion

Directions:

Preparation: 15 min

1. Rinse and dry your Swiss chard, chop off the stem, and shave the bottom thicker part of the stem so it will roll up easier.

2. Then, top the center with hummus and veggies, wrap up and enjoy. You can also secure it with toothpicks or wrap it in parchment to take on the go.

Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 12/18/16)

How to Eat your BOX

Yams:

If it were up to me I would put yams/sweet potatoes in the boxes every week! 😉 They make one of my all-time favorite snacks and are also a great side for any meal. I like to slice them into quarter inch rounds or strips (a mandolin comes in handy here), toss them in a little olive oil and any desired seasoning (sage, rosemary, and thyme are great with yams) and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, until tender. You can also bake them whole. Make sure to thoroughly clean first and pat dry. Prick with a fork and bake for about 40-60 minutes at 425°.

Beets:

Beets can be cooked just about any way you like. They are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done). But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed as well so don’t throw them out! Try cooking the greens in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bright green. Don’t let cook them too long though or they’ll get ‘slimy.’ Check out this recipe for sweet potato and beet chips!

Pears:

Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with Gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

Mushrooms:

Mushrooms are in a class all their own. Literally, they are quite distinct in nature and classified as their own kingdom, separate from plants and animals. But, they are packed with nutrients and make a great addition to a healthy diet. Mushrooms are good raw on salads or in an array of cooked dishes. You can dice them and sauté with onions as a base for scrambled eggs or stir fry or in soup. They also blend well with ground beef, enhancing the flavor and making the meat go farther. Great for tacos or in pasta.

Parsnips:

Parsnips have an almost peppery sweet flavor to them that comes out nicely when roasted. They make a great addition/alternative to the more traditional baked or sautéed root vegetables! Try these diced into bite size chunks or julienne, drizzled with olive oil and tossed in a bowl with a little salt and cayenne(or other spices). Bake on bottom rack at 450° for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned and crispy.

Papayas:

Papayas are ready to eat when they take on a yellow/orange-y color and are slightly soft. Leave on the counter in paper bag for a few days to ripen. The skin looks like it is going bad when ripening, but don’t throw it because it looks bad. Opening a rough-looking papaya often reveals a perfectly good piece of fruit. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator but try to eat within day or two for best flavor. Unripe/green papaya can be eaten it green salads or cooked dishes. After washing this fruit, cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and eat with a spoon. For a little extra zest, squeeze lemon or lime juice on top. Cut papaya into smaller pieces for fruit salad or recipes, but first peel it with a paring knife. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. If you are adding it to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruit to become soft. (Thanks to all those good-for-you enzymes.)

While most people discard the big black seeds, they are actually edible and have a peppery flavor. They can be chewed whole or blended into a creamy salad dressing.

Try a mix of diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and ginger together to make a unique salsa that goes great with shrimp, scallops and halibut.

Or try adding papaya to your smoothie. Combine with strawberries and or other fruit and yogurt in a blender. The papaya gives it a wonderfully creamy texture.

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Fresh This Week Tips 12.07.10

Pomegranates

STORE: 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature; 2 months in the refrigerator.
PREP: Cut the crown end off a pomegranate, removing with it some of the white pith. Lightly score the skin in quarters, from the stem to the crown end. Firmly yet gently break the sections apart, following the score lines. Bend back the skin and gently scoop the seed clusters into a bowl; remove any pith.
USE: Pomegranate juice can be used in drinks, syrups, and jellies. The liquid stains, so wear an apron and wipe up spills immediately. Sprinkle the gorgeous, sweet-tart seeds into salads, rice dishes, or even glasses of Champagne.

Image from flickr.com

Yellow Onions

STORE: Store whole onions in their mesh bag (or any container that lets air circulate) for up to 2 months in a cool, dark, dry space. Don’t store onions under the sink or near potatoes, because moisture and the gases emitted by potatoes will cause the onions to rot. Refrigerate a cut onion, skin on (it will last a bit longer) and tightly wrapped, for up to 4 days.

PREP: The best way to reduce tears when chopping an onion is to minimize the amount of time you spend working with it. Watch this video to learn how to chop the versatile onion properly, quickly, and efficiently.
USE: We consider this the all-purpose onion, and personally, it’s the one we use most often. Yellow onions have a nice balance of astringency and sweet in their flavor, becoming sweeter the longer they cook. They are usually fist-sized with fairly a fairly tough outer skin and meaty layers. Spanish onions are a particular kind of yellow onion and we find them to be slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor. Check the back of this week’s newsletter for a tangy onion jam recipe from Chef Ashley Rodriguez…the perfect handcrafted holiday gift!

Image from flickr.com

Bunch Beets

STORE: Before refrigerating, separate the beets from the leaves (which leach moisture from the roots), leaving an inch or two of stem at the top. Store the beets and the leaves, unwashed, in separate bags in the refrigerator’s vegetable compartment. The greens will last for only a few days, but the roots stay fresh for up to 3 weeks.
PREP:  Beet juice can stain, so protect your countertop when cutting. Keeping the skin on while cooking (it comes off easily afterward) preserves flavor and color.
USE: Small, young beets are tasty grated raw in salads. All types are delicious steamed or boiled, but to best bring out the flavor, roast them at 400º F for 45 minutes, then slip off the skins, slice, and top with goat cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Image from flickr.com

Yams

STORE: in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days. Ideally, they should be kept out of the refrigerator in a cool, dry, dark place not above 60˚F /15˚C, which would fit the characteristics of a root cellar. Yet since most people don’t have root cellars, we’d suggest just keeping your yams loose (not in a plastic bag, but if desired, a brown paper bag with multiple air holes punched in it will work) and storing them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated cupboard away from sources of excess heat (like the stove).

PREP:  Wash the skins with a soft cloth so you don’t peel the tender skin off just before use. As the flesh of yams will darken upon contact with the air, you should cook them immediately after peeling and/or cutting them. If this is not possible, to prevent oxidation, keep them in a bowl covered completely with water until you are ready to cook them.

USE: Yams are delicious just baked and then dotted with butter. Often you can use a yam for recipes calling for Baked potatoes. Since these are certified organic you can enjoy them, tasty skins on! Steamed, they make a great side to chicken, pork or fish. Try shedding them and cooking like “hash browns” for breakfast, or add to a slaw with raisins and peanut sauce.  You can also make “sweet potato chips by cutting peeled yams into 1/8” rounds, place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. Bake in a 350°F oven until crisp. For a homemade “fries” see http://sarahscucinabella.com/2008/04/07/parm-rose-sweet-potato-fries/

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Fresh This Week Tips, Week 10.23.10

Gala  Apples
STORE: To store, keep Gala apples as cold as possible in the crisper of your refrigerator.
PREP: Wash apples prior to eating under cool water. Peel, core and chop them if you plan to make sauce or simply cut them into thin wedges for making apple pie.

USE: Gala apples make delicious applesauce, but they can also be used in pies, juice, apple butter or eaten straight out of the hand. For a tasty applesauce add 4 apples (peeled, cored and chopped), ¾ cup water, ¼ cup sugar (omit for sugar-free sauce) and ½ tsp ground cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick) to a dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the apples are nice and soft. Once apples are cooled, mash with a fork for chunkier sauce or puree in your blender.
image from bestfruitnow.com

Dapple Dandy Pluots

STORE: Your pluots will continue to ripen once off the tree. Turn them upside down and leave them on the counter away from the sun. When ripe, store them unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days.
PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum and apricot).
image from newfinmysoup.blogspot.com.


Pomegranates

STORE: A whole pomegranate can be stored for up to a month on the counter or up to two months in the fridge.
PREP: Cut off the crown and cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in bowl of water then push out the arils (seeds) with your fingers. Discard the membrane and strain out the water.

USE: You can either snack on the juicy, tart arils of the pomegranate or use them in dishes. Arils make a beautiful garnish for salads, bruschetta or desserts. Don’t be afraid to try something a little decadent with these jewels. Try this recipe for Beef Filets with Pomegranate-Pinot sauce.
image from my recipes.

Acorn Squash
STORE:
Store acorn squash in a cool, dark and well-ventilated area for up to five weeks.
PREP: Rinse off dirt from your squash and halve it from the stem end to its point with a sturdy knife. If you are making acorn squash rings, begin by cutting the squash horizontally. Clean out all of the fibers and seeds from the cavity with a spoon.

USE: This round, acorn-shaped squash is one of the best for baking. Make a classic acorn squash side with butter and brown sugar(or just butter, then top with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves – a Klesick Farm favorite). If you’re feeling more adventurous, stuff your squash or make a risotto.
image from mango tomato.

Cilantro

STORE: Snip off the bottom of the cilantro stems and make sure leaves are completely dry. Fill a jar half full with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water. Store in the refrigerator with a plastic bag loosely covering the top of the herbs. Change the water every few days. It should last a little over a week.
You can also freeze cilantro for later use in soups and entrees (it won’t work as a garnish, but will add that nice cilantro flavor). Begin by removing the leaves from the stem and proportionally adding them to an ice tray. Fill the tray with water on top of the leaves and freeze for 2 days. Remove cilantro cubes from tray and place in a freezer bag. Thaw when needed and use within 2 months.
PREP: Fill a bowl with water, submerge your cilantro leaves in the water and swish them from side to side to remove any dirt. Shake off the excess water and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice through the stems with your chef’s knife and finely chop the leaves (by rocking back and forth) or leave them whole.
USE: Cilantro provides great flavor for Mexican, Thai, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a staple ingredient for salsa and is the perfect garnish for soups and curries.
image from qwickstep.

Yams*


STORE: Store yams in a cool, dark and dry area for up to two weeks.
PREP: Wash them thoroughly to remove dirt. Slice with a sharp knife into rounds, cubes or whatever cut your recipe requires.
USE: Yams are a wonderful and versatile fall staple. Make candied yams, mashed yams or yam fries. You can also bake them in the oven (rubbed with a little extra virgin olive oil for crisp skin) at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour. For a delicious vegetarian dinner, try this week’s Yam & Black Bean Burritos.

*Note: Did you know that yams and sweet potatoes are entirely different vegetables? In North America we seem to use the names interchangeably, but they aren’t actually related. True yams typically have black or brown thick skin with flesh that varies from off-white to red or purple. These large tubers are from Africa and not readily available in the US.  Sweet potatoes have thinner skin and are generally shorter and stubbier than yams with flesh that ranges from a pale yellow to bright orange. For cooking purposes, sweet potatoes are sweeter, moister and less starchy than yams. In regards to this week’s box of good, here at Klesick Family Farm we call the dark skinned, bright orange sweet potatoes “North American yams.” All that being said, sweet potatoes and North American yams are usually interchangeable in recipes with minimal changes needed to compensate for the differences.
image from rhapsody in books.

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Yam & Black Bean Burritos

Adapted from www.thekitchn.com

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 or more jalapeño peppers, minced
Salt and pepper
3 medium yams, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can black beans
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup sour cream
Wheat tortillas or wraps
Salsa Fresca

Directions:
Toss the yam cubes with the jalapeños, some salt and pepper and a little extra vegetable oil.
Heat the vegetable oil over high heat and add the cumin, shaking to keep them from burning. Cook for just a few moments or until toasted and fragrant.
Turn the heat to medium and add the yam. Cook, stirring, until the edges are golden and the insides are tender – about 8-10 minutes. Turn out into a bowl and set aside.
Add the beans and their juice to the skillet and heat until warmed through.
Stir in the cilantro and sour cream and heat just until warm.
Pile the yams, beans, and some salsa fresca together on a burrito, roll up and eat!