Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chocolate Beet Muffins – CSA Week 8

Confession: I hate beets. To me they taste slightly sweet, somewhat slimy and very earthy. And by “earthy” I mean dirt-like. I do appreciate the nutritional value of the beetroot and I admire its beauty. It’s the taste and texture I can’t get past. For these reasons, I’ve been on a mission to come up with ways to consume, but not taste, beets.

We can all have a good laugh at my attempt at Candy Cane Beet Sundaes. That was a mess. But as promised, I have come up with a winner. Chocolate Beet Muffins probably sound a little strange but I swear they taste great.

Using the recipe analyzer at caloriecount.com, I found out that  each one of these muffins provides a whopping 17% of your daily fiber recommendation and 9% of your daily iron (based on a 2000 calorie diet). Yay beets!

Chocolate Beet Muffins

Chocolate Beet Muffins

  • 4 medium-small beets
  • 1/2 C dried, pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 C raw sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C non-dairy milk – unsweetened (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s brand happens to be vegan)
  1. in a 350 degree oven, roast the beets (wrap whole, washed beets in tinfoil) until tender, about 1 hour
  2. once beets are cooled, peel and add to food processor
  3. add dates to food processor and process until mixture is completely smooth – you will have to scrape down the sides several times
  4.  in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and use a whisk to get rid of any clumps
  5. add the wet ingredients, including the beet and date puree and stir until combined
  6. fold the walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter
  7. line a 12-muffin pan with wrappers and spray each one with a little PAM
  8. divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin wrappers
  9. bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean

roasted beetsdried, pitted datespureed dates and beetschocolate beet muffinschocolate beet muffin batter

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Farm Fresh Potato Salad – CSA Week 7

My version of a great potato salad is tangy and bright with a kick of freshness and just the right amount of salt. No gloppy mayo here. This simple dish is good, clean, eatin’!2013-07-28 01.00.09

Farm Fresh Potato Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs Red Gold potatoes, halved (could also use Red Bliss)
  • 1 Alisa Craig onion, minced (if you can’t get mild, fresh onions, use shallots)
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 C fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T whole grain mustard or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. fill a large pot with 1-2 inches of water and fit with a steamer. Bring water to a boil. Place the halved potatoes along with your discared onion scraps in the steamer. Cover and steam until tender, about 12-14 minutes
  2. in a large bowl, whisk the onions and herbs together with the oil, two types of mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper
  3. add the cooked potatoes to the bowl while still hot and toss to combine
  4. serve warm or at room temp

If you prefer your potato salad more gooey, you can double the recipe for the dressing. You can also cut the potatoes smaller and/or partially mash a few chunks.

red gold potatoesred gold potatoes steamingfarm fresh potato salad dressing

Cabbage “Noodles” – CSA Week 6

Growing up, I loved when my mom made cabbage “noodles”. She would fry a little bacon in a very hot skillet and cook thinly sliced ribbons of cabbage in the bacon fat. The only seasoning required was a bit of salt and pepper. Served as a side dish with crispy crumbled bacon on top, the noodles were a buttery, decadent comfort food.

The recipe that follows is my lightened up version of mom’s recipe. Fresh sliced onions from the CSA add dimension in the bacon’s stead.

cabbage noodles

Cabbage “Noodles”

makes 2-4 servings

  • 1 mini cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 Alisa Craig onion, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. heat the olive oil in a large skillet (cast iron works great)
  2. saute the onions over medium heat until soft
  3. turn the heat to high, add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper
  4. cook over high heat, flipping the cabbage, until browned

Candy Cane Beet Sundaes – CSA Week 5 – FAIL!

Chioggia beets, also called candy cane beets, due to their delicate concentric white and red rings, are stunning. Whether thinly shaved into salads or coarsely diced and roasted, these beauties always steal the show.

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When I saw candy cane beets in the share room, I couldn’t wait to take these marvels of nature home from the farm and get creative with them. But then I lost all ambition to cook. Yet another heat wave had hit us New-Englanders and I was having trouble getting into the kitchen.

In the oppressive heat of the afternoon last week, I was contemplating the many ways in which I could showcase the beauty of my lovely CSA Chioggias. As hard as I tried to brainstorm recipes featuring root vegetables, my mind kept wandering back to cooler things. With visions of swimming pools, industrial fans and frozen margaritas dancing in my head, I just couldn’t focus on roasting, mashing, pureeing, dicing or slicing beets.

And then it hit me.

Ice cream! Because really, when in doubt…ice cream.

I would make sundaes, starring not only the lovely candy cane beet, but also her more practical, if less showy friend, the red beet. I’d kill two beets with one sundae. A risky endeavor that sounded like a solid plan in my head, which, in retrospect, was clearly affected by the midday heat.

I spent most of Sunday morning feverishly working in the kitchen to bring to life my vision. First, I peeled and juiced a few red beets and boiled down their liquid with starlight mints, producing a shocking red, “candy cane” sauce.

red candy cane sauce

I then hauled out the ice cream maker to whip up a coconut milk based, vegan, “candy cane” ice cream.

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To the ice cream I added crushed up starlight mints and a bit of my fresh “candy cane” sauce for a red, minty swirl.

crushed starlight mints

red swirl ice cream

I even candied and crisped paper-thin candy cane beet chips for a dainty garnish.

After all that work, I was excited for my sundaes to be a total hit.

But alas, they were a total flop. The once vibrant candy cane rings on my beet chips became washed out and faded, the ice cream was waaay too sweet and the red minty swirl was more like gelatinous, semi-coagulated beet juice with subtle notes of Listerine.

I decided to share this kitchen nightmare because it proves that while it can be very rewarding to leave your comfort zone and try new things, you won’t always hit a home run. And that’s OK! For every failed recipe you’re bound to create some winners. Especially when cooking with a CSA, half the fun is in being creative…in leaving behind the cookbooks and breaking some culinary rules. A little coagulated beet juice isn’t going to stop me. A bold new beet recipe is my next project, and it’s going to be a good one!

Grilled Summer Squash Sandwich – CSA Week 5

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Throwing together a rustic sandwich for lunch makes me feel so European. Simplicity equals elegance here and good bread is a must! This delicious fresh sammy will be on the plate in 10 minutes, start to finish.

Grilled Summer Squash Sandwich

  • 1 T coconut oil (you could use olive oil but I love the nutty flavor that coconut lends)
  • 1 summer squash, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise
  • a pinch of salt
  • crusty French or Italian bread
  • olive tapenade
  • handful of fresh basil leaves2013-07-15 00.51.17
  1. in a nonstick pan, heat the coconut oil until pan is very hot
  2. add the sliced summer squash and season with a little salt
  3. brown the squash on each side – it should be tender once browned
  4. spread the tapenade on one piece of the bread, stack the summer squash and whole basil leaves on top and cover with the other slice of bread

CSA Week Five

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  • CSA Week Five
  • snap dragon flowers
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • (and all the usual herbs)
  • fennel
  • mini cabbage
  • salad turnips
  • chioggia beets
  • carrots
  • scallions
  • garlic scapes
  • russian red kale
  • vitamin green
  • lettuce
  • snap beans
  • summer squash

Dill-Pickled Scapes, Fennel and Radishes – CSA Week 4

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I love the strong aroma and bright flavor of fresh dill, so I was super excited to have a few items in the farm share this week that I knew would make delicious dill pickles.  No need to drag out your canning equipment for this recipe; these refrigerator pickles are quick and easy.

Dill-Pickled Scapes, Fennel and Radishes

makes 2 large jars

  • 3 C water
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 6-8 whole sprigs of fresh  dill
  • 4-6 medium radishes, sliced
  • 6 garlic scapes, cut into sections
  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced (I tried using the stalks but they were much too fibrous to eat)
  1. in a saucepan, bring the water, apple cider vinegar and salt to a boil
  2. stuff 2 glass jars with the peppercorns, dill, radishes, scapes and fennel*
  3. pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, filling the jars all the way to the top
  4. cover and allow to cool
  5. store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving

* use a wooden skewer to help pack the dill around the veggies