Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tomato-Corn Pudding with Leeks and Cubanelles

**Originally posted on Greensgrow's blog**

Ah, sweet corn. Nothing says summer quite like it.  It’s commonly enjoyed boiled, slathered in butter and eaten messily with your hands straight off the cob.  But if you grow tired of picking kernels out of teeth or run short on napkins, give this—one of our favorite sweet corn preparations—a try.

In all honesty, this is really more of a casserole than a pudding, but my grandma always called it corn pudding so we’ll stick with that.  This works well paired with grilled shrimp or pork but is hearty and delicious enough, i think, to be eaten as a stand alone main course.

In this recipe, we used the corn from last week’s pick-up and this week’s tomatoes from AT Buzby Farm. The juicy-sweet acidity of a cooked tomato is a beautiful compliment to corn.  Add in your leeks from Marodla Farms to bolster the savoriness and the cubanelles (also from last week’s pick-up) for a little peppery zest.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blueberry, Peach and Ginger Fruit Leather

**Originally posted on Greensgrow's blog**

While preparing for an upcoming hiking trip, we decided to hit the trail with as much of our CSA as possible.  Backpacking cuisine is all about saving weight, space and preparation effort, which makes packing fresh produce tricky. Doe Run’s Seven Sisters cheese is a no-brainer (we always like to bring hard cheese), but we needed to conceive of a way to get our Fifer Orchard peaches and blueberries trail-ready.

Fruit leather was the answer.  Think of this snack as an all-natural, homemade Fruit Roll-up.  Or maybe fruit jerky.  Pureeing then dehydrating the fresh fruit condenses its sugars and essential flavors resulting in a tart, chewy, easily portable and non-perishable fruit snack.  In other words, a perfect companion for extended trekking.

This can also be a great tool for tricking your kids into healthier eating.  It’s as sweet as candy yet contains no added sugar or preservatives.  It requires very little effort and you can make fruit leather with almost any fruit.  

For this batch we added lemon and ginger for a little extra zing.  But when choosing flavor enhancements keep in mind that you’ll be baking the fruit leather for a very long time and delicate herbs like mint and basil won’t hold up to the heat.  Look instead to heartier herbs and spices like cardamon, cinnamon, cayenne or rosemary.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chilled Pea and Garlic Scape Soup

**Originally posted on Greensgrow's Blog**

It's official folks: summer's here.  And while the season's super-stars—tomatoes, peppers, corn, and melons—have yet to hit the stage, it's time to give it up for summer's fantastic opening acts.  Strawberries and cherries need no introduction, naturally. English peas, fava beans, and string beans are also favored headliners this time of year.  But with this recipe, we'll be shining the spotlight on a more obscure offering of early summer's harvest: garlic scapes.

These curly, twisty sprouts are trimmed from the growing garlic plant to encourage larger bulbs.  And although they're often relegated to the compost pile, they offer great flavor and unique visual appeal.  You can use them as a substitute for garlic in almost any setting, or try charring them on the grill for a punchy addition to your line up of cookout toppings.

We decided to highlight scapes as a vital component in a light, refreshing chilled pea soup—a perfect dish for enjoying on a hot summer evening.  This is a quick, easy and fun way to use your fresh peas from Fifer Orchard.  We blanched some of Glick Farm’s garlic scapes to soften their fibrous texture and provide a savory backbone to the soup.  We also left a few raw, and pureed them in for a nice garlicky bite. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pickled Beets

Pickling is a trick every CSA shareholder should carry in their bag.  It's fun, easy and acts as a delicious last-ditch way to utilize your produce.  You can pickle any fruit or vegetable.  Plus, making pickling brines provides plenty of room for experimentation.  Tweak the ratio in this recipe, use different spices and vinegars and enjoy the limitless array of pickling possibilities

Pickling brines are best understood by breaking them down into ratios of vinegar, water, sugar and salt.  For this recipe I used (basically) 2 parts vinegar: 2 parts water: 1/2 part sugar: 1/4 part salt.  A good starting point is a basic sweet and sour recipe, which is 2:1:2:1/2. So 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup salt.  Want it sweeter? Use less vinegar and more sugar. More sour? Obviously, less sugar, more vinegar.  Want to accentuate the flavor of the vegetable? Use more water.  Like I said folks, there's an infinite amount of fine tuning available here.

For this most recent pickling endeavor, we did some beets that were taking up space in our fridge.  Beets are a sweet vegetable so I cut back on my sugar and amped up the acidity, combining orange juice (because it has a huge flavor affinity with beets in my opinion) and rice wine vinegar to make up the vinegar component.  I used a "hot pickling" technique by boiling the solution first then pouring it over the beets.  This will cook the beets slightly to give them a softer texture.  For other, softer vegetables (like a cucumber), you'd want to chill your brine first so your pickles don't turn to mush.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Raw Kale Salad with Rhubarb-Mint Vinaigrette

**Originally posted on Greensgrow's blog**

If you're like us, you have a ton of rhubarb in your fridge right now begging to be used. The obvious way to utilize rhubarb is in a dessert setting, such as a pie or cobbler. But being the health conscience folks we are, we decided to employ its palate tingling tartness as the base for a salad dressing.

While any type of salad green will certainly do, we used the kale from Mardola Farm in Vineland, NJ. Making a salad with raw kale is a great way to level up your salad game. Rather than simply dressing the salad right before you eat it, massage the vinaigrette onto the kale and let it marinade for a for an hour or two. The acidity from the vinaigrette slowly tenderizes the kale, resulting in a hearty salad that melts in your mouth.

Toss in the this week's strawberries from Fifer Orchards in Delaware, some red onion and goat cheese (we bought Kirchenberg Farms goat cheese from Greensgrow's awesome farm stand) and you've got a salad that's absolutely singing with the fresh flavors of spring.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chocolate Crepes with Honey Ricotta and Macerated Berries

One thing you'll learn about me is that I'm a huge Francophile.  That is, I love all things French--their food, their art, their language, their berets--I'm really into it.  It follows then, that I love crepes, and I jump at any opportunity to make them.  So when Naomi's parents came to visit us last weekend we found the perfect excuse to try out a chocolate crepe recipe from one of my cookbooks.

As much as I'm into crepes, I'm also deeply interested in cheese-making and I thought it would be fun to show her dad (who immigrated from Italy) how easy it is to make his homeland's famous fresh ricotta. All you need is milk, lemon juice and cheesecloth and you'll never want to eat store-bought ricotta again.  Flavor your fresh-made ricotta with a little honey and you've got something really amazing.

To complete this dish, we thawed out some frozen raspberries and blueberries from CSA's past and mixed them up with a little bit of sugar to create a tart berry jam.  In one fell swoop I managed to indulge my passion for crepes, make an unforgettable breakfast and score major points with the in-laws.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Porto

For a foodie, Philly is city sparkling with neighborhood gems.  And in my 'hood, none shine brighter than Porto at 11th and Wharton.  It's a tiny lunch counter that has everything I look for in a good brunch spot: Good coffee (they serve La Colombe), relaxed atmosphere, reasonable pricing and well-executed food.  But what makes this place really stand out--and I mean really stand out--is their menu, which is a menagerie of strange but tantalizing pairings, and dishes that come straight outta left field.

Porto touts itself as a Portuguese joint, but most of their dishes are intriguing (if not completely insane) riffs on classic, good-ol'-fashion American diner fare.  Want French toast?  Porto's got banana s'mores stuffed French toast, topped with gram cracker crumble and caramelized maple pecan syrup.  How about waffles?  Porto has the "Yo Cuz," a mad-cap chicken and waffle sandwich with bacon cheddar waffles and jalapeno maple yogurt glaze.

As if that's not crazy enough, the menu also skews unexpectedly across disparate ethnicities.  Take for example, their "Porto Special," a heaping plate of eggs, kielbasa and periogies that are sure to be the envy of Polish grandmothers everywhere.  Consider also their culturally confused "Virgin Mary Falafel Tacos," served with a cabbage lime slaw, feta cheese and a yogurt-sumac sauce.  What?