A Little Corny…

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Anybody else ready for summer? Or at least the taste of it? As the never-ending winter continues, there is a need to find foods that provide comfort and a bright, sweet memory of summer.

I can’t think of a better food than corn to do this. And not the type of corn you find in a grocery store (did you know if you melted down the contents of a grocery store, 30% would be corn syrup…?!) – but real kernels of sweet corn. While there is no substitute for fresh corn on the cob, the frozen stuff will do just fine for now.

Corn comes in all different colors, and is full of antioxidants. It’s also a good source of fiber, B vitamins and vitamin C. I’d recommend going with some non-GMO corn, but perhaps you aren’t concerned with your health or the dangers to the environment….I could go on, but I won’t.

So once you’ve got your corn, you just need a few other ingredients, and you can whip up a batch of sweet cornbread – perfect for snacking, dipping into chili, or eating alongside some bbq.

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Or try some corn chowder, with a different flavor spin than you might be used to. But a coconut-y, curry taste that’s perfect for these chilly, gray days.

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Curry in a Hurry

Lunch on the farm is a wonderful affair. Whether I’m cooking, cleaning or simply sharing in the meal, I know it’s going to be a wonderful celebration of perfectly in season vegetables. It’s tough to go wrong with that. My plan is that each week I’ll post a recipe that I give to our CSA, and I’ll cook that meal for lunch. This way, I can be certain the recipe takes under an hour to prepare, and they’ll get to see pictures, too! Who doesn’t like pictures?
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This Wednesday’s wet, rainy weather got me thinking about a warming, hearty curry. And given what we’re harvesting for the CSA: potatoes, carrots, kale – it just seemed fitting. I also had some fava beans leftover from last week, and I have a sneaking suspicion many of our CSA members do too, so I figured a one pot meal might just be the way to go! Here’s the recipe I gave them:

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I suppose I cheated a little bit – I already had garam masala made (though this does not take more than 5 minutes), and I also had already shucked my fava beans. I’ll admit that step takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it. Fava beans add a rich, nutty creaminess to the curry that you just won’t find elsewhere.

However, I also managed to prepare 3 additional dips/toppings to serve alongside the curry in my short 1 hour preparation time.

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First, Baba Ghanoush
Roast as many eggplant as you can find. I kept mine whole (they were “gourmet” aka small), covered them in a bit of coconut oil and roasted them for 20 min.
Let them cool, then blend with the juice of 1 lemon, a heaping spoon of tahini, a few cloves of garlic, and some salt.
I’m in a parsley place right now, so I added a huge handful of that, too.

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Then, Cooling Cucumber Sauce
Blend up a few juicy, refreshing cucumbers with some lime juice, green coriander or cilantro, and salt.
Strain for a thicker sauce, if desired.
This is a lovely yogurt replacement for Indian cooking, and I can see it tasting great with some cashew cream or something.

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And finally, Spicy Parsley & Peppers
Chop up a big bunch of parsley.
Finely dice up as many hot peppers as you can stand – they aren’t even that hot yet, it’s early in the season, so don’t be a wuss!
Mix ’em together with a touch of oil, salt and lemon or lime juice.
Eat with your curry or by the spoonful.

And there’s lunch! Full of color, texture, flavor, and fragrance. If only more people understood the power of curry! It’s a quick, easy, healthy and delicious meal for a crowd!

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A Trio of Kale Salads

Our CSA has been featuring quite a few green things, with kale being a superstar (in my opinion). Full shares received a whopping pound of this amazing superfood, and I felt obliged to share a few recipes with them upon hearing how many people were not into the “bitter taste.”

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Kale, in general, has a deep, earthy flavor, but the flavor, texture, and look ranges over all the different varieties. For example, Toscano/Lacinato/Dinosaur kale tends to be sweeter and more delicate when compared to Curly/Winterbor kale, which has a lively, pungent flavor. Ornamental varieties like Red Russian or Rainbow Lacinata have their own unique properties as well. And they’ve each got dishes that they work best in, too. Toscano, with its long, narrow leaves, is great in salads. Curly kale makes the best chips. The possibilities are endless. Just ask me.

I’m sure you’ve probably heard other people ranting and raving about kale, and if you still haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, let me give you a quick run down of the nutritional reasons to try this amazing vegetable out:
-Great source of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese and flavonoids
-Significant amount of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids
-Rich source of glucosinolates, which the body converts into cancer preventive compounds
-Twice the vitamin K of other cruciferous vegetables
-A delicious way to get some copper, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium

There’s a lot of debate about raw versus cooked kale (and other vegetables), and for me, it just comes down to balance. Are you having a smoothie or salad? Go raw. Are you looking for a hearty, warming meal? Add some steamed kale. Are you craving a salty snack? Eat some kale chips! Mix it up, and listen to what your body needs. Here were the two recipes I provided to our CSA:

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And here’s a third “recipe” as an example of how to turn this green leafy vegetable into your main dish:

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Curried Kale, Squash and Lentils

Squash – butternut, banana, or sweet potatoes – they are naturally sweet and easy to cut
Lentils – green or brown hold up better than red
Kale – any variety, but a flatter leaf is easier to work with
Spices – curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cayenne

**I’m not giving any quantities because believe it or not, you can decide!! Do you want this to be a side? Go with more kale, fewer lentils. Do you love Indian flavors? Pile on the curry powder. Find your desired flavor profile, and go with it.

Peel your squash, scoop out the pulp, and cut into 1-in cubes.
Drizzle coconut (or sunflower or olive) oil, and a little salt and pepper on the squash. (you can also add spices to get more depth of flavor in your dish)
Roast squash in 400 degree oven until soft & starting to brown, checking on it every 15 min and turning it as needed. Takes 30-40 minutes depending on size of chunks.

In a 2:1 ratio, combine water and lentils. Bring to a rapid simmer, then turn heat down to low and cook until lentils are tender, about 15-20 min. Feel free to add some spices to your lentils, but save the salt until final flavoring.

Meanwhile, chop up a huge handful of kale. Leaves, stems, everything. Add it into the lentils in the last few minutes of cooking to soften the leaves. You can add the stem parts before the leaves if you aren’t into the crunch.
Drain the water, add a touch of salt, pepper, juice of half a lemon and stir.

Combine the squash, lentils, and kale for a delicious, warm meal, and eat the leftovers cold!

This dish tastes great with chopped prunes or dates, golden raisins, slivered/toasted almonds, and even a little blue cheese.

Any¬†stew, grain/bean or noodle dish you love to make would probably benefit from a little kale. Start out small and work your way up to a full kale salad or smoothie…but the more you try it, the more you’ll start to appreciate it’s taste and powerful source of nutrition (this is coming from a kale/green vegetable hater). And the more you’ll find how versatile it really is!

The Wonders of Fresh Turmeric

The Wonders of Fresh Turmeric

It’s amazing to be in a place surrounded by people who love food, and love sharing. I received the wonderful gift of fresh turmeric a few days ago, and I think I am addicted. Not only does it have a pleasantly mild, yet complex taste, it’s a potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. I used it in two different dishes, both prepared in under thirty minutes.

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Turmeric Quinoa
w/ Steamed Spinach and Beets

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
4 c. spinach
1 c. sliced beets
1 T. grated fresh turmeric
1 T. fresh lemon juice
pinch sea salt

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is soft. Mix with turmeric and lemon juice.
Meanwhile, steam the beets (or eat them raw, mine needed a steam as they were a bit old). Depending on how you slice ’em, it takes about 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the spinach to give it a light steam.
Mix it all together and enjoy.

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Beet, Yam & Chickpea Curry

2 T. coconut oil
1 T. diced fresh turmeric
1 T. diced fresh ginger
1 T. diced fresh garlic
1 tsp. coriander seed
1/2 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 small yellow onion
1 medium yam
1 medium beet
1/2 c. stewed tomatoes
3/4 c. coconut milk

First make your curry paste. Melt 1 T. of coconut oil, and add the turmeric – chili flakes. Cook until fragrant, then blend until smooth.
Melt the remaining coconut oil, and cook the onion (diced) until translucent. Dice the yam and beet, and add those in with the onion. Have your heat on medium-low, and a cover on the pan to get some steaming action going. Add in your curry paste and mix it in well. Then add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook until your vegetables are soft.
Serve over greens (I used mustard greens) or lentils, rice, dal, etc.