Recipes from June and July Cooking Days with Chef Jen

COOKING DAY- June 1st:

Biscuits and gravy:

Jen started the morning with biscuits and gravy. She made the biscuits at home.  Heartmoss Farm sausage was browned until done. Add a handful of flour and stir until the flour is browned and fat is absorbed, making a quick roux.  Add milk gradually while stirring until thickened. Season with white pepper and serve on a biscuit.

Sirloin Tips with Shitake mushrooms:

The sirloin (Little River Farm) was tossed with flour and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Sautée the meat and mushrooms in butter with chopped green onions until the meat is browned. Add stock or water to cover and simmer until the meat is tender adding more liquid as needed.

Roasted Cauliflower:

Heat the grill or oven to 400 degrees.  Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and a big pinch of curry powder and place in a single layer on a pan and roast until browned.

Stuffed Nasturtium Flowers:

Blend together one parts sour cream and 2 parts cream cheese until smooth.  Add honey to taste and pipe into nasturtium flowers.

Quick Pickled Sugar Snap Peas:

Mix in a small saucepan 1 ¼ cups vinegar and 1 tablespoon each salt and sugar.  Bring to a boil and dissolve the spices.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cold cup water.  Pack a quart jar with sugar snap peas that have been washed and stems and strings removed.  Add 4 cloves garlic and 2 dried red peppers or some red pepper flakes in a sterilized quart jar. Pour in the vinegar mixture and keep in the fridge for 2 weeks before using.

Chorizo and White Bean Salad:

Soak 2 cups cannellini beans overnight in enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Pour off water and add 2 cloves of garlic and fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until tender.  Always salt beans after cooking or they will toughen.  Brown the chorizo (Olivia’s legacy) and mix with the cooked beans.  Fill a serving plate with fresh lettuce, top with bean mixture and a dollop of sour cream.  Top with dressing.  Jen’s dressing used a pint each of homemade roasted tomato sauce and sweet red pepper sauce, apple cider vinegar to taste, a dash of sriracha sauce and a drizzle of honey.

Lamb Sausage Meatball Sandwich:

Roll lamb sausage (Heartmoss Farm) into balls.  Brown until cooked through.  Add equal quantities of tomato and sweet pepper sauce and simmer until thickened.  Grate mozzarella on French baguette and toast (Stickboy’s in Boone) .  Top with meatballs.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry:

Cut the chicken into small, uniform size pieces and sauté in butter.  Remove from the heat.  Chop vegetables; add olive oil to the pan if needed and sauté.  Jen used carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and squash.  Add the chicken back to the pan when the veggies are almost done.  Season with a dash of sriracha and serve with a sprinkling of chives.

 

COOKING DAY JULY 1ST

Roasted Carrots:

Heat the grill or oven to 400 degrees.  Remove carrot tops and reserve for pesto. Toss scrubbed carrots with salt, pepper and olive oil.  Place in a single layer on heat proof pan and roast until golden brown.  Turn once after 10 to 15 minutes and roast the other side until fork tender.  Most vegetables can be roasted.

Carrot Top Pesto:

Put carrot tops, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a pinch of Aleppo pepper (Penzy’s spices) and salt into a food processor and puree.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  You can add grated parmesan and or nuts if desired but omit lemon juice if you do.

Cole Slaw:

Shred a small head of cabbage.  Shred 2 or 3 carrots.  Add the juice of a lemon, an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste, a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Taste and add a bit of honey or sugar.  You can also add onions, chives and garlic if desired.

Kale Chips:

Heat the oven or grill to 250-350 degrees. ( higher temps will roast faster and need closer attention) Remove the stem and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake on a sheet tray in a single layer for 10-20 minutes.  Flip and continue to roast until crisp.  You can add other seasonings if desired.  Try garlic powder, cayenne, parmesan, lemon zest, onion powder or seasoned salt.  Experiment!

Quick Cucumber Pickle:

Combine in a bowl or Ziploc bag: thinly sliced cucumbers, your preferred vinegar to cover (apple cider, rice wine or white), a bit of honey or sugar, salt and herbs.  Try one or 2 of the following: garlic, chives, parsley, cilantro, green onion, even seaweed.  Cover and leave at room temperature for a few hours for flavors to come together.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tzatziki:

Combine in the food processor: 8 ounces plain yogurt, 2 peeled and sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the juice of ½ a lemon, salt and pepper, a tablespoon chopped fresh dill, 2 cloves of garlic and a dash of sriracha sauce.  Process until smooth.   Jen served this over raw tender baby  beet greens and Heartmoss lamb burgers.

Blue Cheese Dressing:

Combine in a bowl: ¾ cup sour cream, 1 1/3 cup mayo, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper, 4 ounces blue cheese and a dash of sriracha sauce. Blend until smooth.  Best made the day before.  Best with assertive summer greens.

Great cooking ideas

Getting Hooked On Cooking With CSA

by Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have      

Friends of the Market, here is a a great article by Katherine Deumling .  It talks about using a CSA share, but it applies to using seasonal products from Farmers Markets too.

 

A CSA share offers a plethora of produce every week and with it varieties we may have never seen before, let alone cooked—a delight and a bit of a challenge, for sure.

Fresh, delicious vegetables chosen for me week after week is my idea of heaven. It hasn’t always been but I get more hooked every year. I’m hooked on the deliciousness, on not having to make any decisions about what vegetables to purchase, and on the creativity it inspires.

So, how does one get hooked?

Stock your Pantry, Two Ways:

Shop mostly to restock rather than for specific dishes. You’ll spend less time (and money) running to the store for last minute items and can instead spend your time cooking, eating, and creatively using what you already have.

This is a basic list but you certainly don’t need everything listed to cook many dishes. And, your pantry will reflect your particular taste. This is just a loose guide.

Purchased Goods for Pantry, Fridge and Freezer:

  • Lentils; French green, red, brown
  • Beans: black, pinto, white, chickpeas
  • Grains: brown and white rice, barley, farro, cornmeal/polenta, quinoa, pasta, couscous, bulgur
  • Seeds & nuts: sunflower, pumpkin, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, etc.
  • Spices: cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, dried chilies, turmeric, caraway, paprika, cardamom
  • Herbs: thyme, oregano
  • Vinegars: cider, rice and red wine
  • Oils: olive, sunflower, coconut, sesame
  • Hot sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Lemons and limes
  • Meat and fish in freezer: sausages, bacon, chicken, etc.

Semi-prepared Items:

When you have a little spare time you can add semi-prepared items to your fridge/ pantry that will make life much easier and tastier when you don’t have those extra few minutes to get a meal on the table.

  • Make a jar of vinaigrette and keep it in the fridge. Dress lettuces and greens as well as roasted vegetables or plain chickpeas/beans with the same vinaigrette, adding some chopped herbs and toasted seeds. Be creative!
  • Cook a good quantity of beans. Put beans out to soak before you go to work in the morning. Cook them that evening while you’re in the kitchen cooking something else for dinner anyway and have them ready for the next day or freeze half.
  • Cook twice as much rice, barley or farro as you need for any given meal and freeze half of it to make fried rice, rice and beans or a soup the following week on a particularly busy night when you need the head start.
  • Toast a cup of sunflower or pumpkin seeds and keep in a jar. Your salads will be better for them; your soups will have added crunch; your snacks will be cheaper and more nutritious!
  • Use a whole bunch of parsley or cilantro to make a quick, savory sauce with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar. Stir in some thick yogurt for a creamy version. Having a flavorful component like this on hand means a plain bowl of rice or beans or a fried egg turns into a meal in no time.
  • Make chicken or any other meat, fish or vegetable stock and freeze.

Free Yourself from Strictly Following a Recipe & Learn to Improvise and Substitute.

The more you cook—and you will be cooking (!)—the easier and more fun it is to substitute and adapt as you go. Families of vegetables such as brassicas and alliums have certain common characteristics that in many cases let you substitute one for another. However, there is no real shortcut to learning how to do this so experiment as much as you can—you’ll have plenty of opportunity. Here are a few general guidelines to get you started.

Root vegetables love to be roasted as do brassicas like kohlrabi, cauliflower, romanesco, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Cut up, tossed with a little oil and salt and roasted in a single layer, they are delicious as is or can serve as the foundation for soups, mashes, salads, etc.

Onions, like their allium compatriots, shallots, scallions, leeks and garlic, are pungent raw and quite sweet cooked. If you don’t have an onion by all means use a leek, though leeks are sweeter and you might add a little acidity to balance it out and leeks are not so good raw. Scallions (green onions) and shallots can be substituted for onions and vice versa in many recipes, raw or cooked.

Sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery root, rutabagas and turnips and sometimes winter squash can often stand in for one another in mashes, gratins, soups and stews.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spring rabe and romanesco, all brassicas, have similar flavors and behave similarly in many dishes, though certainly not all. Mashed cauliflower is delicious but I would not mash Brussel sprouts.

Leafy greens are eminently substitutable. Chards, beet greens, kale and collards, are all good raw (very thinly sliced) when young and tender. They behave quite similarly when cooked and can be mixed and substituted for each other at will. Turnip, radish, and mustard greens are all tender and often interchangeable, though radish tops are a bit fuzzy raw. Make sure to blanch those.

Get Good at a Handful of Dishes that Showcase most any Vegetable.

It’s not so hard to keep up when you have a handful of recipes that can accommodate most any vegetable and in a variety of combinations.

A simple frittata elevates most vegetables, from leafy greens to peppers, peas, herbs, potatoes and both summer and winter squash.

Pan-fried vegetable fritters/savory pancakes/patties transform mounds of vegetables of all kinds into savory nuggets. Broccoli with parmesan, leftover mashed potatoes, leeks and plenty of parsley, rutabaga and carrot latkes, Japanese-inspired cabbage pancakes with scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. . .

Fried rice with loads of finely chopped vegetables; simple Thai-style coconut milk curries; and soups and stir-fries, of course, are all good vehicles for delicious CSA produce.

A quick, stove top version of mac ‘n cheese with whatever vegetables you have, chopped finely, never fails to be devoured.

Finally, recipes can often accommodate way more vegetables than they call for. Perhaps a recipe calls for 1 lb of pasta and 3 cups of vegetables. Invert that ratio and use ½ lb of pasta and 6 cups of vegetables or just add more vegetables and have plenty of leftovers. You’ll figure out how to make such changes and have recipes and tips work for your particular selection of produce.

Get comfortable making a few of these dishes and make them your own, with different spices, herbs, cheeses.

Some Information from the SSAWG Conference

The Organic Vegetable Farm tour went to Elmwood Stock Farm. A 550 acre certified organic farm that features both livestock and crops. Most of the acreage is in pasture with crops on about 75 acres.  They produce feed for their animals which include 80 cows, sheep, laying hens and broilers and turkeys.  The key to their success is integrating the crops and livestock in an 8 year rotation.  After 5 years in perennial forage they plow and plant both feed grains and food crops. Raising their own feed ensures quality and reduces out off farm expenses.

The 1st year planting features high nutrient demanding, long season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and melons.  Plastic and drip are used. The second year crops are early, cool season crops with slightly lower nutrient needs including beets, radishes, carrots, lettuce, brassicas, chard and turnips.  Overwintering spinach, onions and garlic are planted in fall and any spare ground is put in covercrops.  Year three features nitrogen fixing legumes like peas, cowpeas, endame, green and dried beans.  Following harvest the field is sown back to perennial forage for 5 years.  Working with the University of Kentucky, they have shown that levels of organic matter and soil life are nearly the same at the end of the 5 years in pasture as undisturbed pasture.

Next we toured their seed sowing area.  They make use of homemade tools to speed production and help maintain uniformity.  A germination chamber minimizes heated space and speeds germination. On a smaller scale, take away lessons include using vermiculite in a thin layer to cover seeds. It helps retain moisture and can reduce seedling diseases. A small cabinet can be converted to a germination area.  They also use a technique developed by tobacco growers for leafy crops.  Speedling flats (a stiff Styrofoam tray) are floated in a dilute nutrient solution until ready for transplanting.  This minimizes watering and fertilizing time but requires quite a bit of space.