Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter's Bounty

Raw Sauerkraut

We have a ton of cabbage and this is an easy way to get raw super tasty sauerkraut. Fermented cabbage is helpful for detoxifying harmful chemicals and hormones from the body.

  • 1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 Tbs caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tbs juniper berries (optional)


  1. In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds, and salt. Pound with wooden pounder, potato masher, or a meat hammer for about 20 minutes to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The tip of the cabbage should be at least 1/4 inch below the top of the jar.

  1. Pack the cabbage tightly into the jar. Place the bottom of a Ziploc bag into the jar and press it firmly a along the surface of the jar and the cabbage. Fill the bag with water until water reaches the lip of the jar. The water provides weight to keep the cabbage submerged. Screw a lid on the jar over the plastic bag. Label the jar with the date.

  1. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.

Yield: 1 quart

From "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon

Braised Cabbage and Carrots with Mint and Cider Vinegar

Braising is a great technique for infusing greens and vegetables with flavor. Braising cabbage brings out its natural sweetness. Apple cider vinegar adds brightness to the dish and aids in digestion.

  • 2 lbs green or napa cabbage, about 1 medium head
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Homemade or low sodium vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped


  1. Cut the cabbage into quarters and cut out the core. Chop into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large wide pan on medium-high heat. Add the butter, onion, carrot, and cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar and enough stock to cover the vegetables about 3/4 of the way up. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer and uncover. Allow to cook until almost all the liquid is cooked out and the vegetables brown a little.
  4. Season again if necessary.
  5. Remove to a platter and garnish with the chopped mint.

Servings: 6-8

Sausage and Kale Soup

This soup is surprisingly easy and delicious and it’s a satisfying way to eat more kale. Give it a try.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 5 waxy potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 quarts homemade or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale (12 ounces), stemmed and shredded
  • 12 ounces spicy sausage, cut into 1/2-inch half moons


  1. In a large pot (6 to 8 quarts), heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Cut sausage and cook over medium heat in a skillet. When cooked all the way through set aside.
  3. In a blender, puree half the soup. Return to pot; add kale and sausage. Simmer until kale is wilted, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 6

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's lingonberry time!

We love the zingy taste of lingonberries – and their cheery red sparkle – in all sorts of dishes at this time of year. Lingonberries can be used in any recipe that calls for cranberries, but be sure to use less sugar than the cranberry recipe calls for, since lingonberries are naturally sweeter. They are sweeter than their close relative – cranberries – and share many of the same nutritional benefits (high vitamin C content, potent antioxidants). For starters,
  • Use them as a garnish for pancakes, waffles, French toast or crepes
  • Add to fruit pies or cobblers
  • Stir into cookie, muffin, scone or sweet bread dough
  • Make sauces and relishes to accompany poultry and meats
  • Toss into green salads.

Since they are available fresh for only a few weeks in November, we freeze them for later use. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, put them in the freezer overnight, then measure them by the cupful into zip-lock bags and return them to the freezer.

Try out some of these delicious recipes straight from the resident lingonberry expert herself, Susan.

Lingonberry Relish

2 cups lingonberries

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup orange juice plus ¼ cup water

1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)

Cook over medium heat until the mixture is somewhat thickened, for 7-10 minutes. Cool and serve or refrigerate. (Serves 4)

Fresh Lingonberry-Fruit Relish

2 cups lingonberries

¼ orange, unpeeled

¼ apple, unpeeled

3-4 Tbsp. local honey

Cut the orange in quarters, core the apple and cut in quarters, and chop (with rind) in food processor. Add lingonberries and pulse until mixed, but not pureed. Stir in the honey and refrigerate for at least 2 days and up to 2 weeks. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (Serves 6-8)

Favorite Lingonberry Bread

This is a family favorite, handed down from Susan’s mom, who used to make it with cranberries.

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached white flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

½ cup butter

1 Tbsp orange zest

1½ cups orange juice

2 eggs

2 cups fresh lingonberries

3/4 cup raisins

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Sift dry ingredients together (or mix in food processor). Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine orange zest, orange juice and eggs; add to dry ingredients, mixing just to moisten. Fold in berries, raisins and nuts. Turn into 2 greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Pumpkin/Squash Lingonberry Bread

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup lingonberries

Combine flour, spices, baking powder and salt. Combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin or squash and oil in a mixing bowl and beat until just blended. Stir the wet mixture into the dry with a wooden spoon until the batter is just moistened. Fold in the lingonberries. Spoon the batter into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-50 minutes.

Apple Lingonberry Bread

2 eggs

¾ cup sugar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples

1 cup lingonberries

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; add to egg mixture must until combined. Stir in the apples and lingonberries. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beautiful Leafy Greens

We have the most beautiful mustard greens right now. I just couldn't resist cooking some up right after harvest. Granted, the recipe below degrades their bright colors and different textures but the result is melt in your mouth greens. I am a huge proponent of leafy greens because their nutritional value is staggering....staggering! So, eat your greens! Just in case you are unfamiliar with eating and/or cooking these leafy gems I've thrown in my favorite way to eat kale too.

Spicy Mustard Greens with Cumin
Peter Berly - The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen

This is a true culinary jewel. I am always stunned by the effect that these slow cooked, mouth–watering tender greens have on my guests.

2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2 large bunch mustard greens (about 1.5-2 pounds), chopped into bite-size pieces
Cider vinegar
Coarse sea salt
Freshly milled black pepper

  1. In a large pot over medium heat,warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and cumin and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the mustard greens and raise the heat. Stir until the greens wilt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the greens are meltingly tender.
  2. Season with vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Steamed Kale with Olive Oil Drizzle

1 bunch kale
sea salt
olive oil

1. Set up a steaming basket. Place and inch of water in a pot with a steaming basket on top and crank up the heat.

2. Remove the midribs from the leaf. The fastest way to do this is to place your fore finger and thumb at the base of the leaf gently grasping the midrib (fibrous stem-like thing running down the middle of the leaf). Next drag your fingers up the midrib pulling the leaf off.

3. Stack the leaves and roll them up into a cigar and then cut across the cigar (shortwise) to make inch wide strips.

4. When the water is boiling, place the kale in the pot. Toss around the leaves a bit with tongs and then put the lid on. Steam the kale until desired tenderness. This will not take more than a few minutes.

5. Move the steamed kale into a bowl and toss with salt and drizzle with olive oil. I like the kale to be lightly coated with olive oil but not drowning in it. The flavor of the olive oil really enhances the flavor of the kale - so don't be shy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Slow food and easy beets

Hi Everyone - I've posted two new recipes. One is quick and tasty featuring beets and a yummy yogurt sauce, and the other is a soup with homemade stock and garbanzo beans. Enjoy.

Roasted Beets with a Citrus Tarragon Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is relatively hands off leaving you gaps of time to pull together the rest of your meal. It is easy and shockingly beautiful when the yogurt meets the hot pink of the beets. Beets are becoming a staple in our house. I hope you enjoy this yummy dish.

2 bunches of beets (~1.5 lbs)
1 cup thick whole fat yogurt
2 tsp orange juice concentrate
1 ½ tsp honey
1 tsp tarragon, minced
2 Pinchs of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut the tops (greens) and root tips off. Then cut each beet in half (or quarter) so that they are all close to the same size. Place them cut-side down in a casserole dish. Fill the dish with a ½ inch of water – enough to cover the bottom of the pan and come a tiny bit up the beet. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes. The beets are ready when you can cut through one with a spoon with minimal resistance.

While the beets are roasting mix the remaining ingredients together. Stir well with a spoon or spatula to soften the yogurt and mix the honey in. I am using oj concentrate because oranges are not in season. In the spring time feel free to use orange zest and fresh orange juice instead.

When the beets are done, pull them out and set them aside to cool. Once they are cool to the touch gently pull the loosened skins off the beets to reveal a silky shiny beautiful roasted beet! You can cut them into bite sized pieces at the point. Wash you hands and anything else that’s turned bright pink as soon as possible. Toss the beets with a pinch of salt and serve along side the yogurt sauce.

Herby garbanzo bean soup with roasted vegetable stock

This soup is satisfying and a tasty tribute to slow food. The key is taking the time to make your own roasted vegetable stock. Homemade stock makes any dish taste richer and more flavorful. It is well worth the prep time required and there is no salt added. So, if you are going to be around the house and in and out of the kitchen give it a try.

Roasted Vegetable Stock

(can be made the night before you want the soup)

1 lb carrots

1 lb potatoes

2 onions

1 green pepper

1 ear of corn

2 ½ quarts water

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

3 thyme sprigs

½ bunch parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the carrots, potatoes, onions into 2 inch pieces. Note: if you are using smaller potatoes or fingerlings leave them whole. Place the carrots, potatoes, onions, green pepper, and shucked corn on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 30-40 minutes. The veggies should have some color and the onions should be sweet.

Place the roasted veggies in a large pot and cover with water (2.5 quarts). Add the garlic.and thyme. Bring the stock to a simmer. Try to keep the stock from boiling and do not stir or agitate the contents during the simmering process. Keep the stock at a simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Add the parsley for the last 20 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth


1 cup dried garbanzo beans (soaked for 8 hours with optional 3 inch piece kombu*)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

1 Tb thyme leaves, minced

Roasted vegetable stock (recipe above)

1 ½ Tb red wine vinegar

2 Tb olive oil, plus some to coat pan

1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 packed cup kale, remove midrib and chiffonade

Place the soaked beans in a pot and cover them with 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Taste for doneness regularly after 40 minutes. Make sure the beans stay covered with water. Alternatively, cook the soaked beans in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 13-18 minutes.

When the beans are almost done, cover the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat the onions till they are soft and translucent for about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and the thyme and continue to sweat. When the peppers are soft add the stock, red wine vinegar, cooked garbanzo beans, olive oil, salt, and cayenne. Let all the ingredient simmer together for 10 minutes. Taste and alter salt and cayenne content if needed. Add the kale strips and simmer for 5 more minutes.


Here is a suggested timeline if you don’t want to cram it all in to one night
Night one: make stock
Next morning: soak beans
Night two: cook beans, put soup together

Not so slow version
Use 4 cups prepared vegetable stock – preferably organic and roasted
Use 2 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans from cans

*Cooking beans
Soaking and cooking your beans with a piece of kombu will ease digestion and reduce gas production making your bean experience a happier one

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chopped Salad and Zucchini Bread

It’s been too long since I’ve posted – the summer is just flying by. Below are two recipes: one is with year round stand bys dressed up as a light and bright cold salad and the other is a tasty exotic zucchini bread full of flavor.

Chopped Ruby Red Salad with Tarragon and Roasted Garlic Dressing
Recipe by Julie

Beets, carrots and kale are packed full of vitamins when eaten raw which is best done in the summer time. This salad can be made lightly steamed and then chopped in the winter. Also, these veggies together can be dressed up in a million different ways. Another version was created with the help of my friend Rylyn (age 5); we like to call it Sunset Salad. Toss the beets and carrots with rosemary salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.

1 bunch carrots (~ ¾ lb)
1 bunch beets (~ 1 lb)
1 bunch dino kale
¾ tsp sea salt, divided
2 large garlic cloves
3 tsp tarragon, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the unpeeled garlic cloves in olive oil, place on a baking sheet in the oven about 10 minutes. The cloves are ready when they are fragrant, golden, and soft to the touch.

2. Peel and grate the carrots and beets using a box grater or a food processor.

3. Remove the midribs from the kale leaves. You can either cut them out with a knife or place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the midrib on the cut side, hold the cut tip with your other hand and strip the leaf away from the midrib by running your fingers down its length. Stack the leaves together, roll them into a cigar and cut thin strips across the short length.

4. Place the cut kale into a bowl with ¼ tsp salt and begin massaging the kale, grab handfuls and release. Doing this with the salt helps break down the kale and will make it more palatable raw and easier to digest. Continue until the kale looks wet and wilted (see picture).

5. Combine the carrots and beets with the kale.

6. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and place them in a blender.with the tarragon, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, remaining sea salt, and some pepper.

7. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature or cold. This salad keeps well.

My Special Zucchini Bread
Recipe by

Play around with the optional treats. I skipped the walnuts and ginger and added the poppy seeds, lemon zest, and curry powder. The curry flavor is subtle and brings a nice richness to the bread.

1/2 cups chopped walnuts, plus a few to sprinkle on top
1/3 cup poppy seeds (optional)
zest of two lemons (optional)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fine grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium), skins on, squeeze some of the
moisture out and then fluff it up again before using

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment "handles" and lift the zucchini bread right out.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts, poppy seeds, lemon zest, and ginger. Set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer).

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.

By hand, fold in the walnut, poppy seed, lemon zest, and crystalized ginger mixture. Save a bit of this to sprinkle on the tops of the zucchini loaves before baking for a bit of texture. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist, not unlike a butter cream frosting.

Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans, by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. I like to under bake my zucchini bread ever so slightly to ensure it stays moist. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling - if you leave them in their pans, they will get sweaty and moist (not in a good way) as they cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New veggies are popping up all over the farm and things are finally looking a little less leafy and green and a little more like spring and summer. Below I've posted a minty pea salad recipe and a yummy pasta recipe with sausage and spinach. Enjoy.

Fresh Pea Salad


If you end up with a dressing that is too spicy for your tastes, tame it with a dollop (or two) of plain yogurt. If you know you are sensitive to spiciness you can always remove the seeds and veins in future versions. If you like a bit more kick, add more serrano chile a small piece at a time.

1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 dried dates, pitted
1/2 of a small serrano chile, stem removed
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 1/2 cups fresh peas
1 small head of romaine lettuce, cut into shreds
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
fine grain sea salt

To make the mint-date dressing, puree the mint, dates, chiles and lemon juice and zest using a food processor or hand blender. Blend until uniform in texture. Thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time until it is a consistency that you can drizzle (the photo up above is before I added 2-3 tablespoons of water to thin it out). Taste and adjust for lemon and spiciness.

When you go to cook the peas, the key is not overcooking them. Fill a big bowl with ice water and set aside. Add some salt (as you would pasta water) and the peas. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. You are just going to boil the peas for a very short time. Don't leave the stove. Somewhere between ten and twenty seconds.You want them just barely tender, so they still pop in your - mouth. Quickly drain and dunk the peas in the bowl of ice water.

Just before serving gently toss the peas, lettuce, and pumpkin seeds with about half of the dressing and a couple pinches of salt. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Finish with a pinch or two of your favorite finishing salt.

Serves 2 - 4.

Proper blokes sausage fusilli…with spinach

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver Cook with Jamie

I added sautéed spinach to this recipe and exchanged the white pasta for whole wheat making this a nutritious one pot meal. It turns out that spinach and sausage make a yummy combination.

2 heaped tsp fennel seeds

2 dried chilies crumbled (rep pepper flakes work too)

Olive oil

1 lb 6 oz good quality coarse Italian sausage

½ lb spinach (one bag)

1 Tb dried oregano

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1lb whole wheat fusilli or penne

Sea salt and pepper

1-2 Tb butter

A handful of parmesan

Cook your pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the package instructions. When the pasta has cooked al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water and toss it in the pan with your sausage.

Bash up the fennel seeds and chilies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed, then put to one side. Slice spinach into ribbons. Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Remove the sausage casing and put the meat in the pan, really breaking it up using the back of a spoon. Fry for few minutes until the meat starts to color and the fat has rendered slightly, then crush it once more so it resembles coarse mince. Add the bashed-up fennel seeds and chilles and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes add the spinach. Stir spinach to coat with the rendered fat and cook until wilted. Stir in your oregano. Add the lemon zest and juice. Turn off the heat.

Coat the pasta in all the lovely flavors then add the butter, Parmesan, and a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste and check for seasoning, then serve immediately with a little extra grate Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hi again. Well, we are up to our eyeballs in spinach. So this post is all about spinach. Spinach is a versatile green that can be eaten raw or cooked and everywhere in between. Spinach is extremely nutrient dense and has twice as much iron as other greens. Plus it is an excellent source of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, cancer fighting flavonoids, and more. It is an excellent addition to quiches, pasta dishes, salads, and as a pizza topping. That being said, below I’ve listed two great recipes that showcase the spinach. One is a warm salad and the other is a lighter version of southern style creamed spinach. So enjoy – and eat your greens!

Warm Spinach Salad with Reduced Balsamic, Baked Goat Cheese, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Sweet Cran
Recipe by Julie, serves 4

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tb goat cheese
½ pound fresh spinach (1 Synergy bag)
1 clove Synergy garlic or 2-3 medium, minced
~ ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup sweet dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Maintain a boil and reduce the vinegar for 5 minutes.

  3. Pile the goat cheese on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until soft and bubbly.

  4. Cut the spinach into 1-inch strips by making stacks of leaves and slicing through crosswise.

  5. Place all of the spinach in a bowl. Pour olive oil onto the spinach and toss gently with your fingers to coat all of the pieces with the oil.

  6. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until fragrant and golden brown. Stir constantly when the pan gets hot.

  7. Pour the reduced but still hot balsamic over the spinach and toss with your fingers. If the spinach is not wilted put the spinach in a skillet on medium heat and toss constantly with tongs to warm through and wilt for just a couple minutes. Return the spinach to the large bowl.

  8. Toss the spinach with the pine nuts and cranberries and then pile the ooey-gooey goat cheese on top. Season with a little salt and pepper directly onto the salad. Yummy!

Creamed Spinach with Yogurt and Dijon
Courtesy of “The Grit Cookbook” (My favorite vegetarian restaurant ever.) Serves 4

1 Tb plus 1 tsp butter
½ medium yellow onion, finely minced
1 pounds fresh spinach (2 bags of Synergy spinach)
3/4 cup plain (whole fat) yogurt
¼ tsp Dijon or coarse-grained mustard
Generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Very small pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan if you got it on hand)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add onion. Saute over medium-high heat until caramelized, approximately 5 minutes. Add spinach and cover, stirring frequently over medium-high heat until fully softened and thoroughly warmed through.

Stir in yogurt and spices. Add Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until spinach is satisfactorily tender.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Braising Mix Two Ways

After a long break, the Synergy Farm recipe blog will be up and running for the rest of the season. You can expect delicious and nutritious recipes for all the tasty produce coming out of the farm. We've been busy the last few weeks planting peas, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, onions, and spinach. My name is Julie and I'll be putting up seasonal recipes regularly. I love cooking and I love vegetables - so let's get started.

The Synergy Farm braising mix can be any combination of kale, mustard, chard, tatsoi, and mizuna. Greens are the most nutritious vegetables out there. They are filled with vitamins C, B6, B1, B2, E, plus manganese, copper, iron, and calcium!

Some people don't know what to do with leafy greens. So, here are two yummy ways to enjoy bags of braising mix available now.


Braised Greens with Red Wine Vinegar

Serves 4-6, recipe by Julie

1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin half moon

1 clove Synergy Farm elephant garlic (or 2-3 regular), minced

3 Tb olive oil, divided

¾ tsp sea salt, divided

1 lb Synergy Farm braising mix (or straight kale)

3 cups water or broth

2-3 carrots, ribbons (~1 cup)

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ cup red wine vinegar

  1. Heat a heavy bottom large stock pot over medium heat. When pan is hot add 1 Tb oil, onion, garlic and ¼ tsp sea salt. Stir to coat the onion and sweat the onion on medium heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Chop the braising mix into 2 inch chunks. You can pull the leaves off of the midribs or leave them intact if you want to save time. The leaves and mid ribs are small and not too fibrous right now so the choice is yours.
  3. Add the braising mix and the 3 cups of water/broth. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes to get all the greens wilted and wet. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Uncover and give the greens a stir. At this point they should just be peeking out from the liquid. Leave the pot uncovered and cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Meanwhile use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons out of your carrots. Shoot for about 1 cup of carrot ribbons.
  6. Add the carrots, garlic powder, red wine vinegar, ½ tsp sea salt, and 2 Tb olive oil. Stir to combine and simmer for a couple more minutes.
  7. Enjoy.

Eggs in a Nest

From Animal Vegetable Miracle recipe written by Camille Kingsolver

(This recipe makes dinner for a family of four, but can easily be cut in half.)

1 medium onion, chopped

garlic to taste, chopped

Carrots, chopped

½ cup sun dried tomatoes

2 bags of Synergy Farm braising mix, coarsely chopped

8 Synergy Farm eggs

Sea salt and pepper

Cooked brown rice (optional)

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a wide skillet until lightly golden.
  2. Add carrots and tomatoes and sauté for a few more minutes, adding just enough water to rehydrate the tomatoes.
  3. Mix in greens and cover pan for a few minutes. Uncover, stir well, then use the back of a spoon to make depressions in the cooked leaves, circling the pan like numbers on a clock.
  4. Break an egg into each depression, being careful to keep yolks whole. Cover pan again and allow eggs to poach for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and serve over cooked brown rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note – This makes a great breakfast, with or without the rice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

French Chicken in a Pot --- the other best way to cook a Synergy chicken

The meat is gorgeously juicy!!!

From Cook's Illustrated with their wonderfully detailed recipes!

One synergy chicken, any size you choose, wings tucked under back
1 tblsp olive oil

3 large Synergy garlic cloves

1 small onion
1 bay leaf

salt and pepper
optional fresh rosemary

1 tsp lemon juice

And, special equipment:
DUTCH OVEN or other oven safe large pot plus a sheet of aluminum foil

Place oven rack in lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat your chicken dry and season it with salt and pepper.

Heat the oilve oil in your large dutch oven over medium heat just until smoking. Add chicken, breast side down; scatter onion, garlic, bay leaf, and optional rosemary around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden sppon inserted into the cavity of the bird, flip the chicken and cook other side until well browned, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove dutch oven from heat and if you are concerned your dutch oven does not have a tight seal, or are using teh large oven safe pot rather than a dutch oven, then cover the pot with aluminum foil and then place lid tightly on top. Transfer it to the oven and cook for 80-110 minutes till cooked through. Check it as often as possible, so as to not let too much of the juices escape as steam.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from the pot and skim and discard solids and fat. You'll have about 3/4 cup juices. Allow the juices to settle for about 5 minutes.

Pour juices into saucepan and as you carve the chicken add any other juices into saucepan. Then, tasting as you go, add up to 1 tsp lemon juice into what is now your "jus." Serve chicken with jus in a gravy boat at the table.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Freezing Green Beans and Snow Peas

  1. Bring a very big pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil (the kind that will quickly come back after you add your room temperature beans.)
  2. Add rinsed beans, in one pound batches, though that depends on just how big your pot is. Do not crowd the beans!!
  3. Boil , or as it is more technically called, blanch the beans for 2-3 minutes depending on just how big your beans are and whether or not you left them whole, or chose to cut them into 1 inch or 2 inch segments.
  4. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. The key is that your beans are partially blanched, not completely blanched, before freezing.
  5. Shake the beans so that most of the water drips off and then lay them out of a baking sheet. If they seem really wet, pat them dry, to minimize ice crust formation on their surface.
  6. Then place your sheet, of well spread out beans in the freezer and come back to it in a half hour or so. What you are doing is beginning the freezing process in such a way that each bean freezes on its own, and not in a crammed, packed mass stuffed inside a ziploc bag. You want inidividual frozen beans, not a frozen ice block of beans.
  7. After a half hour or so of freezer time on the tray, go ahead and place them into ziploc bags with as much air as possible squeezed out of them.
  8. Come December, enjoy your summer green beans and snow peas by pulling out a bag full and blanching them straight from the freezer for 2-4 minutes in a big, well salted, rigorously boiling pot of water!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thomas Keller's Favorite Simple Roast Chicken is My Favorite Too

Rich golden brown, crispy skin, juicy flesh. It looks that good because it is that good.

Salt, salt, salt, pepper. Hot oven.

a chicken


kitchen string (optional)

thyme (optional)

This recipe is from Thomas Keller in his own voice!
It's DELICIOUS! And SOOOOO easy, I can't tell you enough times. It's EASY! Sometimes I truss the bird, sometimes I don't. I only bothered with the thyme once. It is so simply good even without it. Why? Because the Synergy chickens are amazing and, I speak from first hand knowledge, taken care of so very well.

"Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I'm cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook's rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Synergy Chicken Stock, nonchalantly

Concentrated chicken stock. Simmered once more after pouring through a sieve. I save the beautiful fat on top.

one chicken carcass (or two if you have a big enough pot and have been saving them in your freezer)

This is more of a testimony than a recipe, on purpose.

There are endless ways to make stock. Some include onions, celery, herbs. Others instruct you to skim constantly. A recipe might tell you to simmer for no less than three hours, others say to simmer twice. I find that making chicken stock is a forgiving task. Sometimes I skim every fifteen minutes. Other times, I have forgotten to skim until the very end. It is something I put on the stove and walk away from. While it simmers, I putter around elsewhere, carefree.

Most of the time with chickens as flavorful as Synergy's I don't add anything to the pot besides the carcass, water to cover by a couple inches, and some shakes of salt and pepper. If I have half an onion or some "seconds" carrots, I'll throw those in. But I never add herbs or garlic or celery, since I don't know what I'll use the stock for ultimately and maybe I won't want those flavors.

High heat is initially necessary to bring your big pot of water and carcass to a boil, but then turn it down and find a gently simmering heat. Leave it uncovered, and skim occasionally. If the water level gets low, add some water, but try and avoid that problem by finding the gentle simmer point. Then three hours later or so, pour the stock through a large sieve and discard the solids. Chill stock, uncovered, until cool, then cover. Refrigerate or freeze. Discard the solidified fat before using stock, or better yet, save it for some future use.

To save space in your freezer, concentrate your stock by simmering it down after pouring it through a sieve.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canned Dilly Beans

The green bean glut is on!

After the harvest on Friday, we knew we had more beans than we could possibly sell or eat at once, so Saturday evening, spurred by the abundance, we undertook our first canning project of the season.

As amateur canners, we carefully consulted and stuck to the recommendations of Nancy Chioffi and Gretchen Mead's book Keeping the Harvest. Their recipe for dilly beans and general processing instructions were easy to follow, and we only needed a few special tools:
  • pint-jars
  • new pint lids
  • large pot
  • makeshift canning rack to keep the jars off the bottom during processing (we used the rings off old canning lids)
  • jar lifter (available at the grocery store)
If you don't have experience canning, it's best to head to the bookstore or to the library (or jump on the internet) and read up before you get started.

We haven't opened a jar to try them yet, but the process seemed like a success. Do you have a favorite bean canning recipe? We'd love to hear about it!

from Keeping the Harvest by Nancy Chioffi and Gretchen Mead

2 lbs green and yellow wax beans, trimmed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 heads dill
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1/4 cup canning salt

Pack beans, lengthwise, into hot pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. The jars shouldn't end up too full -- leave enough room for vinegar solution to flow between beans. To each pint, add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 clover garlic, and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour boiling hot water over beans, leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Adjust caps. Process pints 10 minutes in boiling water bath (10 minutes from the point when water is boiling vigorously). Yield: 4 pints.

For best flavor let the canned beans stand for at least two weeks before serving. This allows the flavor to develop. And don't worry if they look shrivelled right after processing. They'll plump up in 4-6 weeks.

Fresh beans, trimmed to leave 1/2'' headroom in the jar and rinsed in a colander

Beans packed in the pint jars, topped with a garlic clove, a dill-head, and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

Once the jars are filled with the hot vinegar solution (leaving 1/4'' headroom), we wiped the tops of the jars with a dry paper towel to remove any moisture that might inhibit the seal. Then we put on the tops and screwed on the rings.

The jars were added to a pre-heated pot of water, positioned atop our makeshift can rack, made of old canning lid rings. It's important to use a rack and to make sure the jars don't touch each other or the sides of the pot in order to ensure an even temperature around the jar during processing. Once the water came to a boil, we processed for 10 minutes.

We lifted out the jars with our handy jar-lifter and put them in a draft-free place to cool for 12 hours.

The beans were a little shrively, but our sources promise this will go away in a few weeks.

After 12 hours, we tested the seal by removing the ring and lifting the jar by the flat lid. Success!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bran Carrot Squash Muffins

If you find yourself with lots of carrots or lots of extra zucchini, you can change the recipe to accommodate. If you happen to get an extra juicy carrot or zucchini, try to remove some of the liquid by squeezing a cup at a time in a paper towel. You can grate the veggies by hand, but if you have a food processor, by all means, save yourself some time and use it!

A few times when I've made this recipe, the muffins came out a little too sweet for my taste, likely because the carrots I used were super-sweet already. Consider crunching on a bite of your carrots before shredding, and cutting the sugar by up to half.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2 large eggs

1/2 cup organic canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups grated raw carrot

1 cup grated raw zucchini or other summer squash.
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin really really well and consider using muffin liners to make things easier on yourself -- this is important. The bran and all the carrots make these muffins fall apart more easily, so you'll need to take care or your muffins will stick and your tops will fall off. This is okay in a Seinfeld episode, but less cool in real life. If you're filling the muffin pan to the top because you want big crispy muffin tops, also make sure that you grease the top of the pan and not just the inside of the cups or it will stick.

Mix dry ingredients: flour, bran, salt, bkg pwdr, bkg soda, nutmeg, cinnamon. In separate bowl, mix eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar.

Add carrot & squash into wet stuff and mix to coat, then gently fold in dry ingredients 1/4 at a time until just combined.

Add raisins and walnuts, stir gently, then fill greased muffin cups 3/4 to all-the-way full. Cook 20-25 minutes at 400

A yummy breakfast treat -- goes great with a steaming cup of coffee