Super Easy Thai Curry Soup

SFC_bok_choy_labeledMy son John and his beautiful wife, Tiffany had their first child over Christmas.  I was so blessed to be able to be the one providing household support for them during this time.  I got free reign to cook them every single healing and healthy dish in my Nana Robin repertoire!   Tiffany’s family is from the Philippines and she really loves all types of Asian food.  In my great to love and honor this couple, I made this soup for them.  This soup starts with a good bone broth.   I normally cook my bone broth in the crockpot overnight. Then strain out all the veggies and herbs with a colander and the broth is ready to use!  If you don’t want to make your own broth, you can order it on Amazon.  But bone broth really is so simple.  You should give it a shot.

Ingredients:

  • Good bone broth (about 2 qt)
  • Can of full fat coconut milk (Don’t use the kind in a carton that you get in the refrigerated section)
  • Red curry paste
  • Pac choy leaves (could also use chard or spinach.)
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Your favorite meat cut in bite sized pieces. (I used salmon, shrimp and oysters because Tiffany loves seafood)
  • Bean sprouts 
  • Chopped Thai herbs such as basil, cilantro, and mint (I used all of these!)
  • It is also yummy to add grated fresh ginger to the soup with the herbs

Directions:
Put your broth to simmer in a soup pot. Add the coconut milk, big spoon full of red curry paste, big splash of soy sauce, splash of fish sauce, and chopped pac choy leaves (or spinach or chard). Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. It probably needs salt. When it is simmering, add your seafood or other meat and cook about 5-10 minutes. The version I made for Tiffany had oysters so I added those at the last minute so they wouldn’t cook too long.  Add a big pile of bean sprouts. Don’t boil the bean sprouts.  Add plenty of chopped herbs to each bowl.  Serve immediately. Yum!

Super Easy Thai Curry Soup
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Ingredients
  1. Good bone broth (about 2 qt)
  2. Can of full fat coconut milk (Don’t use the kind in a carton that you get in the refrigerated section)
  3. Red curry paste
  4. Pac choy leaves (could also use chard or spinach.)
  5. Soy sauce
  6. Fish sauce
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Your favorite meat cut in bite sized pieces. (I used salmon, shrimp and oysters because Tiffany loves seafood)
  9. Bean sprouts
  10. Chopped Thai herbs such as basil, cilantro, and mint (I used all of these!)
  11. It is also yummy to add grated fresh ginger to the soup with the herbs
Instructions
  1. Put your broth to simmer in a soup pot. Add the coconut milk, big spoon full of red curry paste, big splash of soy sauce, splash of fish sauce, and chopped pac choy leaves (or spinach or chard). Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. It probably needs salt. When it is simmering, add your seafood or other meat and cook about 5-10 minutes. The version I made for Tiffany had oysters so I added those at the last minute so they wouldn’t cook too long. Add a big pile of bean sprouts. Don't boil the bean sprouts. Add plenty of chopped herbs to each bowl. Serve immediately. Yum!
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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Mechanize or Die Trying

image-208699313Here we go, into our 6th season for farming for a CSA (sign up here), local restaurants and farmers market.  I have to confess, I’m getting tired.  When we first started this adventure, we went into it with so much enthusiasm and energy for growing things and saving the world with healthy food.  This dream, while extremely fulfilling, has also turned out to be a lot of physical hard work.  Something needs to change, because our love of farming and enthusiasm for healthy food is being clouded by sheer exhaustion!  Up until now, we have been farming only our six acre homestead, and have been doing everything by hand.  This includes shoveling compost from the back of the truck, tilling it in with our Troy-bilt, planting by hand with a push along seeder, hand weeding between the plants, and using straw between the rows to suppress weeds.  We even use a simple backpack sprayer to apply seaweed extract to the crops.  With the recent purchase of a new 11 acre farm and Jay’s 56th birthday, we have come to realize this can’t go on the same way.  Even with the help of some strong high school boys, we have to shift more of our farming to something more mechanized.  It might just make this career choice a little more fun as well!  Here is the plan.

To break the land, we have an old disc we bought from a farmer down the road that simply needed a new bearing.  Jay got this into action.  Total cost is only a few hundred bucks.  We will image-208699314use this disc for our initial pass at the new land, to break new soil.  Once we get the soil into farmable condition, we rarely will need it.

Then, we will till the land into soft friable ground with a rear tined tractor mounted PTO driven tiller.  They are hard to find used, because people love these for their home gardens.  We saw one at a used equipment yard in Monroe for about $900.  That sounds pretty expensive to me, considering you can get a new one for $1400.  We went with the new one.  This piece of equipment will get used a lot, so I was ok with putting little more money here.

Next, we will throw up some 3-ft beds with a used bedmaker we just purchased from Morning-glory Farm.  This cool piece of equipment will make a nice and tidy raised bed we can plant on.  Raised beds improve crop drainage, as well as allow the soil to warm up quicker in the spring.  Up until now, we haven’t had this luxury, so I am very excited about this new equipment.  I think it will improve our farming hugely.

After we make the beds, the next step is to plant the crop.  This year we purchased a two row tractor mounted vegetable seeder that can plant a variety of different vegetable crops.  This piece of equipment is essential, because it plants the seeds in a straight line at very exact row spacing.  We need the straight lines and exact distance between rows because we want to be able to cultivate between the rows with tractor mounted sweeps instead of all by hand.  These sweeps look like a simple bar, with hooks attached to it, spaced so they go between the rows of plants on the bed.  With our very intensive planting methods, we normally don’t have to worry about weeds, once the crop grows big enough to close the space between the rows, because it shades out all the weeds.  The sweeps will be used in the few weeks after planting, before the crop is big enough to shade out the competing weeds.

Lastly, we purchased a tractor mounted sprayer we can use to make our weekly seaweed extract applications.  These treatments are a key part of our farming, because seaweed makes the crop more resistant to diseases and insects, as well as more tolerant to environmental stresses, such as heat and drought.  No more lugging around a 50 pound backpack sprayer.  We are going uptown, baby!

So that is the plan.  This will be a serious foray into mechanization.  I think it is essential.  When we first started farming, we were able to do the job largely based on sheer love of farming and enthusiasm.  We still love farming and have lots of enthusiasm, however, we need to make it more physically manageable.  Even the young high school helpers can barely manage the strain of the physical labor involved.  I hope we can find the right balance between having the right equipment to make the job doable, but not get close to the idea of “bigger is better”.  Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture in the 70s, told farmers to “get big or get out”.  We don’t want to do that.  We just don’t want to die trying here on the farm.  We are going to seriously try to make the balance.

Eat your veggies,

Robin

Signups are open for our spring/summer CSA! 

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Healing, Loving, Delicious Soup for a New Mommy

Signups are open for our spring/summer CSA!

 

This soup has a loving history.  My son John was born in Yuma, Arizona, far away from any of my family.  The day I came home from the hospital with the little bundle of love, my neighbor from across the street came over with a big pot of this soup.  She said it would improve my milk supply.  She was a maternity nurse, so it had to be true!  The beautiful part was that after I ate this soup, my milk came in full force!  Now 25 years later, I have made this soup for lots of new mommies and I tell them it is to bolster their milk supply. I was blessed over Christmas to be able to make this soup for my beautiful daughter in law, Tiffany.  It worked beautifully!  I think the secret key ingredient is lots of love.  

tiff and pookie

This dish starts with a healthy bone broth, which is so healing to the body, anti-inflammatory, and good for the gut.  There are three keys to a good broth: bones from a pasture-raised animal (the more joints and cartilage the better. I love to use chicken feet), handfuls of fresh herbs and flavorful vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots, and a splash of something acidic such as wine, vinegar or lemon juice. Click this link for my broth recipe http://bellsbestberries.com/bone-broth-with-herbs-left-from-the-market/.  I normally cook my bone broth in the crockpot overnight, then strain out all the bones and veggies with a colander, and the broth is ready to use!

Once you have your broth, here is how you make this soup:  

soup for a new mom

Ingredients

  • Pot of bone broth (about 2 quarts). Don’t use sage in this broth because it can inhibit milk production.  Use lots of anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, fennel, parsley etc.  
  • Barley (Although I normally don’t eat grains, this has lots of fiber for a new mommy’s bowels and works well)
  • Your favorite chopped meat  (I normally just use chopped chicken, however for a new mommy, I added chopped organ meat to help rebuild lost blood and strength)
  • Two leeks (prebiotic fiber!)
  • Eggs (pasture-raised!)
  • Bacon, pork belly or hog jowl with no chemicals from pasture-raised animal (good fats!)
  • Fenugreek (encourages milk production)
  • Salt and pepper

Putting it together

Put the finished bone broth in a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Add about 3/4 cup of barley and simmer about 45 min. When the barley is done, chop up the leeks about 1/3 way up the green part and toss in the pot, along with the chopped meat and about a teaspoon of fenugreek. Let simmer another 15 min. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. While the soup is simmering, fry out some fresh bacon, pork belly or jowl.  Fry out an egg or two, but leave the yolk really runny. Spoon the soup into bowls. Gently place the soft egg on top. Crumble the pork on top. Add a little more salt and pepper on top. If you have fresh parsley, chop a little and put it on top. Fill it with all your love and prayers and serve it up. 

Soup for a new mommy doc
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Ingredients
  1. Pot of bone broth (about 2 quarts). Don't use sage in this broth because it can inhibit milk production. Use lots of anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, fennel, parsley etc.
  2. Barley (Although I normally don’t eat grains, this has lots of fiber for a new mommy’s bowels and works well)
  3. Your favorite chopped meat (I normally just use chopped chicken, however for a new mommy, I added chopped organ meat to help rebuild lost blood and strength)
  4. Two leeks (prebiotic fiber!)
  5. Eggs (pasture-raised!)
  6. Bacon, pork belly or hog jowl with no chemicals from pasture-raised animal (good fats!)
  7. Fenugreek (encourages milk production)
  8. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Put the finished bone broth in a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Add about 3/4 cup of barley and simmer about 45 min. When the barley is done, chop up the leeks about 1/3 way up the green part and toss in the pot, along with the chopped meat and about a teaspoon of fenugreek. Let simmer another 15 min. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. While the soup is simmering, fry out some fresh bacon, pork belly or jowl. Fry out an egg or two, but leave the yolk really runny. Spoon the soup into bowls. Gently place the soft egg on top. Crumble the pork on top. Add a little more salt and pepper on top. If you have fresh parsley, chop a little and put it on top. Fill it with all your love and prayers and serve it up.
Notes
  1. This dish starts with a healthy bone broth, which is so healing to the body, anti-inflammatory, and good for the gut. There are three keys to a good broth: bones from a pasture-raised animal (the more joints and cartilage the better. I love to use chicken feet), handfuls of fresh herbs and flavorful vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots, and a splash of something acidic such as wine, vinegar or lemon juice. Click this link for my broth recipe http://bellsbestberries.com/bone-broth-with-herbs-left-from-the-market/. I normally cook my bone broth in the crockpot overnight, then strain out all the bones and veggies with a colander, and the broth is ready to use!
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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Magical Nana

Signups are open for our spring/summer CSA!

 

Our son and his wife had a baby over the Christmas holiday.  I was blessed to be able to provide household support for this beautiful family.  The entire week that we were there was like being in some other world.  To begin with, it was dark, cloudy and rainy the entire week.  Secondly nobody slept any type of normal hours.  The baby was born at home around 4:30 in the morning with mommy and daddy being up all night with her in labor prior to the birth. 

When I arrived the evening after the baby was born, they were deliriously tired.  Then the little bundle of love acted just like a newborn.  He wanted to nurse every 2 hours night and day.  It didn’t take long until any semblance of night or day was completely gone and our world became almost surreal with no sunshine, no sleep, overwhelmed with love for this beautiful baby, and the new family trying to get their legs under them.  This prompted my very creative husband to do a little writing to describe the situation.  The baby was born on post at the United States Military Academy – West Point. 

There was a house high up on the hill as you approached the security gate that looked like a castle straight out of a movie.  Jay imagined that the baby was magically delivered from this crazy castle.  Then it rained for days and days.  This only added to the strange magical aura of the whole situation.  I think you will enjoy his interpretation of the whole event.  

The Magical Nana 

This is the story of how the newborn arrived. As is common knowledge, all newborns descend from Castlerock.  This one was no different.  Mom was given the sign that the child would be delivered soon in the middle of the night.  On the night of the event, her water broke midway through the evening.  Once this occurred, a call went out through the countryside.  Forces were mobilized; Christmas parties were interrupted.  Logistical hurdles were overcome.  The special forces “A” team was assembled.  Into the mode of transportation they piled.  

John and Tiffany

With the “A” team on the way, we now shift to the scene back home.  Home is on the campus of the United States Military Academy, West Point.  Staid, quiet, secure, the residential area is the home of Captains, Majors, Colonel, Generals and of course, at least one lieutenant.  Up to the security gate, complete with multiple armed guards, mirrors for checking under vehicles, dogs sniffing for bombs and persons hiding, comes this screaming red VW microbus, complete with flowers painted on the side.  Inside were three of the coolest hippy moms to ever bless a Cheech and Chong movie.  Through security they go, with the speed of a heavy, low lying fog.  When in front of the house, they arrived with a clatter, their neighbors, peered through their blinds to see what was the matter.  Then out of their microbus they sprang to the steps, a midwife, a doula, and an intern in training, the laws of propriety they were a straining.  Tie dye, incense and portable pool for birthing, one could only hope what was born was an earthling. 

The team went to work with all of the precision of a well coconut oiled machine.  Breathing was regulated with horse lips, vital signs were taken and the birthing pool was filled.  Everything was set.  Every preparation had been made.  Now all that was lacking was the grand entrance of the special invited guest.  The final to-do was to wait.

Without much ado, the wonderful event occurs.  Joy has arrived.  Now, the months of training, painting, wall papering, furniture moving, purchasing, and finding a Geoffrey, all comes into play.  Within minutes of the blessed event, a call goes out for backup!  Who can help?  Who can possibly assist at a time like this?  There is only one call to make:  the magical Nana.

Stepping into the house is an event.  Coming through the threshold, you lose all reference, concept of time or thoughts of the outside world.  You have entered the world of the newborn.  A realm encountered by most at some point in their life, yet so alien to life as you know it that once traversed, it is quickly blocked out and never remembered afterward.  

IMG_0021The 9 pound master of this alien dimension is unrelenting, shows no compassion and is completely merciless and unforgiving.  In a very short time, the master can have all subjects completely at his beck and call with no regard for common social niceties such as sleep, food, and showers.  .  In the case here at John and Tiffany’s, the full weight of the newborn world was in full effect.  Born at home, a completely natural birth, this newborn was awake, hungry and relentless.  Their pre-birth planning and training was clearly missing a key component. They neglected to adequately complete their weeks of sleep deprivation training.  Language school lessons were not sufficient.  Elimination clean up training, while somewhat effective, was not able to avoid incurring the wrath of the newborn at their lack of sleep deprivation training.

While parents melt, shrink, recoil and wither under the onslaught, into the fray steps the magical Nana.  Wading through the fog of fatigue, dispensing love and calm like ammunition in short supply, holding the line in the face of relentless assault.  Nana works her magic, calming the newborn in its own language, selflessly protecting the parents, scouring the barren landscape of the kitchen and providing life sustaining nutrition.  Even going out into the cold and gray to provide resupply for this alternative universe.  She travels through this world like a candle in a dark room, bringing hope and comfort where she goes.

The house is a battlefield.  The landscape pockmarked with the burning hulks of past encounters.  The stroller, abandoned in the hallway, marking the previous evening’s battle still smoldering; a blanket, half on and half off the couch, marking the spot where the parents had tried to get some much needed rest.  The nursery itself, even with the weeks of preparation, has not been able to stand firm.  Baby blankets, pillows, wet-wipes, even diapers strewn about in mute testimony of the mayhem. 

IMG_0039

In all of this, there are glimpses of hope.  There are times when you can glance into the nursery, and there is the magical Nana, sitting calmly with the new born while it sleeps.  How is she able to accomplish this?  Other times, Nana moves among the various occupants of this world and provides comfort, advice and nourishment.  Offering food and drink to the tattered and exhausted bodies of the parents.  That nourishment and encouragement will soon get the parents out to the other side of this world.  Soon, their time in this alternative world will be done and their life will resume.  This time will become a black-hole of memory that even light cannot escape.  The joy and light of a baby and later a toddler, will shine like a bright light and chase all shadow of the newborn world from retrievable memory.  Also moving to the misty edge of memory is the magical Nana.  Though still around, quickly forgotten will be the calm in face of turmoil, the cleaning in light of chaos, the nourishment of good food in the famine of the newborn world. In spite of appearing inexhaustible, she is, but only after the newborn devastation has passed.  Then in the calm, in seclusion, she will rest and reenergize, in preparation for the next event.  Wherever she may be needed, at whatever time, she will be ready.  This is the saga of the magical Nana.  

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CSA SUMMER SIGN-UPS ARE OPEN!

Signups are now open for our CSA and we have some exciting CSA plans for next year at our new farm!

Have you been considering joining a CSA?  I have great news!  “Bell’s Best Berries” is now open for signups for our summer CSA.  We are already prepping the ground!  In the spring you can expect to see kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, arugula, beets, turnips, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and more!  As it warms up, our CSA members will be getting the best of the summer, including tomatoes, cucumbers, snap beans, melons, sweet corn, peaches, and of course, BERRIES!  Everyone loves the spring/summer CSA.  Our CSA has been completely sold out the past three seasons, so if you are considering joining, don’t delay!

 

RabbitEyeRidge_Logo2015This past season, we bought a new farm near Mint Hilled called Rabbit Eye Ridge.  We have been spending our Sunday afternoons brainstorming about how to use our new farm near Mint Hill to improve our CSA for our beloved veggie lovers.  The thing we keep thinking about is that CSA members really want to know about where and how their food is produced.  They also want their children involved and to grow up valuing healthy food.  We often get members asking if they can bring their kids out to “help”.  We also get members who want to volunteer for different jobs just to be involved.  Most of the time we don’t do that because we can barely keep our own heads on straight, let alone supervise or teach different volunteers.  Even so, we want to respect this key part of why people join a CSA to begin with.  We thought up some ideas that we are going to try out this spring.  You are going to love it!

Blueberry Pedroli5

We are going to make our new farm on Hwy 218 a CSA pick up location on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  This farm is easy to get to.  Take the Hwy 218 exit off 485 and head away from Mint Hill for 2.8 miles.  The farm is at the intersection of Hwy 218 and Mill Grove Road.  It is the first caution light you will come to and it is very near the water tower.  There is also an unusual neighbor with a HUGE American flag, multiple confederate flags, and a profusion of Christmas lights everywhere.  Anyone who has been down Hwy 218 now knows EXACTLY where I am talking about.

Here is the coolest thing about this pick up location.  Our lucky members who sign up for a standard bag not only can pick up their CSA bag, they also will have the freedom to head out to the field and grab any extra produce they feel like picking.  Bring the kids and show them where their food is grown and let them pick some!  If you want to help out with some work, this would be a great time.  We will have hoes and equipment available.  We also will have a couple of helpers there to give you your bag, as well as take you to the place in the field where the things you want to pick are located.  What fun!  You could not find a better opportunity to really know where your food comes from and get involved.  

All this at no extra charge for our CSA members who sign up for a standard sized bag.  As you can imagine, this type of farm freedom could result in mayhem or with a few people taking advantage of it and stripping the fields.  I honestly don’t think our CSA members would do that.  They already complain that they can’t even get through their CSA bag.  Why would they want to pick so much more that they strip the field, when their fridge is already full just by what is in the bag?!  We will even allow members to bring their friends.  We are happy to have guests visit and will gladly sell any fresh produce to them that they want.  What a nice way to get to know the farm.  

Look for a nice porch with relaxing chairs, two polite smiling high school boys, a beautiful expanse of produce of all kinds, and a wonderful way to spend your Tuesday evening or Saturday morning.  Come to the farm!  Plan on signing up for a Standard sized CSA bag and choose Rabbit Eye Ridge as your pick up location!

Eat your veggies…and pick them too!

Robin

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Broccoli with Ginger and Mushrooms

I have never considered myself very good at making stir-fries.  My thoughts on this are starting to change, after an afternoon of talking about cooking with my co-worker, Nuch, from Thailand.  I asked Nuch her favorite Thai dish and how to prepare it.  She was pretty laid back about it and said that she likes all stir-fries!  I tried to get her to go into details about her secrets to preparing yummy Thai dishes and had no luck at all.  But she did tell me that she really didn’t worry about recipes, and that she just sautéed up her onions, spices, and veggies and added whatever sauce she felt like eating.  She mentioned red curry paste, coconut milk, green curry, soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and red chili sauce.  She puts them together any way she wants!  Of course, this could mean that she doesn’t know how to cook Thai food at all!  Even so, this encouraged me to get “out of the box” a little, so I made this broccoli dish this week.  It turned out pretty good, so I thought I would share it.

Ingredients:

  1. A bunch of broccoli florets
  2. One chopped onion
  3. A bunch of chopped mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms)
  4. One chunk of minced ginger
  5. Sesame oil (refined is good for high heat cooking; use “toasted sesame oil” for a splash of flavor at end)
  6. Hoisin sauce
  7. Soy sauce

Instructions (This is so easy)

  1. Sauté the chopped onion in the sesame oil, until just getting soft and very fragrant
  2. Add the broccoli and ginger, and sauté until the broccoli is getting soft
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are almost done
  4. Add a small spoon full of Hoisin sauce and a splash of soy sauce  

Serve it up!  You can serve this by itself as a side dish.  You could add some meat with the onion and make it a main dish.  You could spice it up with a bit of chili sauce.  You could top it with chopped nuts or sesame seeds (black sesame seeds look gourmet!).  You could serve it on top of rice or cauliflower “rice”.  You could add any veggies you like to the dish.  

Nuch told me to quit worrying about it and to just throw it all together.  I think she was right.  I was worrying too much about this stir-fry thing.  Jay loved it and ate two big servings!  Nuch must have taught me well.  I’m still not really sure if she knows how to cook Thai food though!

Eat your veggies,

Robin

Broccoli with Ginger and Mushrooms
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Ingredients
  1. A bunch of broccoli florets
  2. One chopped onion
  3. A bunch of chopped mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms)
  4. One chunk of minced ginger
  5. Sesame oil (refined is good for high heat cooking; use “toasted sesame oil” for a splash of flavor at end)
  6. Hoisin sauce
  7. Soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Sauté the chopped onion in the sesame oil, until just getting soft and very fragrant
  2. Add the broccoli and ginger, and sauté until the broccoli is getting soft
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are almost done
  4. Add a small spoon full of Hoisin sauce and a splash of soy sauce
  5. Serve it up!
Notes
  1. You can serve this by itself as a side dish. You could add some meat with the onion and make it a main dish. You could spice it up with a bit of chili sauce. You could top it with chopped nuts or sesame seeds (black sesame seeds look gourmet!). You could serve it on top of rice or cauliflower “rice”. You could add any veggies you like to the dish.
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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I Can’t Possibly Eat this Many Greens

Don’t laugh.  I hear this all the time.  The name of the game for CSA bags in the winter is greens.  Our members get all kinds, from kale to chard, to choy, lettuce, collards, mizuna,  arugula, mustards, turnip, cabbage, and spinach, to more and more and more of each.  I suppose it is no wonder that so many people tell me they are overwhelmed with greens in the winter.  Don’t worry, we are here to help with some ideas on how to make sure they nourish your family and don’t end up rotting in the bottom of your fridge.

Siberian Kale

  1. Wash and store them as soon as you get your CSA bag home.  Then they are ready to be used at a moment’s notice.  Sometimes getting out a big bag of unwashed greens can just sound too hard, and so they get left in the fridge another day. If they are ready to be used, they are more likely to be eaten.  
  2. Eat greens three meals a day.  Try eggs over greens, or chopped greens in your frittata. Mixed greens salads.  Sautéed greens (Organic Eater has a video on YouTube and on her blog to show you how to cook kale and other greens in a frying pan). Greens on your sandwich.  Greens in your kids sandwiches.  Greens in your soup.  Greens in your stews. Greens in your bone broths. Stir-fries with greens. Smoothies with greens. Roasted greens (kale chips) recipes are all over the internet!
  3. Make a big pot and eat on it all week!  I enjoy cooking up a huge pot of mixed greens and then having it all week long.  You can mix the kale, collards, mustards, choy, turnips, and about any other greens you have.  Just chop them all up and cook them together in the pot.  My grandmother did this by putting her chopped greens in the pot, covering them in water, adding a chunk of meat or bone for seasoning.  Then simmer until the liquid is reduced to just a nice “pot liquor”, in other words a flavorful broth in the bottom of the pot.   Add some salt and hot sauce and enjoy all week long.  You will be amazed how quickly a pot of greens the size of Texas quickly cooks down to nothing that gets eaten up in no time!
  4. Make a juice or green lemonade (or smoothie).  Juicing uses up a HUGE amount of greens.  Kale, choy, lettuce, chard, and spinach are especially good juiced or added to smoothies.  If you find that it is hard to eat all the greens up in a week, then juice up the ones that work well.  Try kale, cucumber, ginger, apple and lemon.  That makes an excellent high vitamin C anti-inflammatory juice.  It also tastes great!  If you find it tastes a little strong, then add more cucumber, apple, or lemon.  Make it the way you like it.  
  5. Almost any type of crisp greens can be turned into a slaw!  Slaws do not have to be just cabbage.  They can be cabbage, and kale, and choy or anything else that you like to put in there.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  I like half and half cabbage and kale.  I add a little mayo, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Simple!  Tons of greens go away with a slaw.
  6. If you have no other choice, you could wash and freeze your greens, to use in soups/broths or smoothies later. Organic Eater keeps a Ziplock freezer bag in the freezer, and anytime there are left over (clean) greens, they go in the bag for smoothies or broths). 

Ok, that should be enough ideas to get you started.  You really just have to get in the habit of always including greens.  Greens are what nature provides in the winter.  It must be what our body needs.  I find that when it finally gets so cold that all our local produce is gone, greens are what I crave and greens are the first thing I want in the spring.  Don’t fight mother nature.  

Eat your greens!

Robin

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Chard Breakfast Wraps

SFC_chard_swissI read an article online this week that said Swiss chard was in the top ten most hated items to get in your CSA bag.  Oh no! That is terrible.  Chard is so beautiful, nutritious, and yummy.  It is full of some key nutrients that are often difficult to get enough of such as vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and plenty of fiber.

My guess is that it is simply a matter of being foreign to many people.  Here is an easy recipe your whole family will love.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 bunch of Swiss chard, with the leaves removed from the midrib.  Chop the leaves and midrib, but put in separate bowls
  2. 1 chopped onion
  3. Chopped bacon
  4. Wrap (try these grain free “ paleo wraps
  5. 4 beaten eggs
  6. Organic cream cheese
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Fry out the chopped bacon.  When it is finished, remove it from the pan.
  2. Add the chopped onion and chopped chard midrib to the bacon fat.  Sauté until tender.  
  3. Add the chopped chard leaves and cook until wilted.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In another pan, scramble the eggs.
  6. Prepare your wrap by smearing it with cream cheese, add the greens, eggs and bacon.
  7. Add some hot sauce, if you like it spicy.
  8. Roll it up and enjoy!

Now, I don’t want to hear anyone else tell me they hate chard!  It is just a little misunderstood, and you haven’t yet added enough bacon!

Eat your veggies!

Robin

Chard Breakfast Wraps
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch of Swiss chard, with the leaves removed from the midrib. Chop the leaves and midrib, but put in separate bowls
  2. 1 chopped onion
  3. Chopped bacon
  4. Wrap (try these grain free “ paleo wraps”
  5. 4 beaten eggs
  6. Organic cream cheese
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Fry out the chopped bacon. When it is finished, remove it from the pan.
  2. Add the chopped onion and chopped chard midrib to the bacon fat. Sauté until tender.
  3. Add the chopped chard leaves and cook until wilted.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In another pan, scramble the eggs.
  6. Prepare your wrap by smearing it with cream cheese, add the greens, eggs and bacon.
  7. Add some hot sauce, if you like it spicy.
  8. Roll it up and enjoy!
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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Juice the Greens

KaleOur winter CSA bags are absolutely chocked full of beautiful greens!  Our lucky members get kale, chard, collards, parsley, cilantro, dill, mizuna, sorrel, lettuce, and spinach.  It isn’t uncommon to suddenly have your fridge packed with green nutrition, and the next thing you know, another delivery of greens is right around the corner!  One solution is to juice these greens.  Log into your Amazon Prime account and order a juicer, and then try one of these variations on a healthy green juice.

 

Ingredients:

  1. Greens such as kale, chard, spinach, collards, or even lettuce (flavor is more mild). We would not recommend arugula or mustards unless you want that spicy “kick” they can bring
  2. Lemons
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Celery
  5. Any herbs you like such as parsley, dill, or cilantro
  6. Ginger
  7. Apple

Instructions:

This is all based on your personal taste, so there are no hard and firm directions.  Basically, cram an entire bag of kale down your juicer.  Then add a few stalks of celery and a bunch of herbs, a cucumber and a chunk of ginger.  Add a lemon.  Top it off with half an apple (more if you need it sweeter).  You will end up with this brilliant green juice.  Don’t let it scare you!  Drink it down.  You will find that it actually tastes pretty good and the health benefits are multiple. Greens are full of vitamin A and lutein to keep your eyes healthy.  They also are loaded with calcium and vitamin C.  Best of all, they are full of chlorophyll and antioxidants, which is like drinking fresh sunshine and life!  

Don’t let those beautiful greens go to waste.  A good green juice is so yummy, that even the kids will love it.

Eat (or drink) your veggies,

Robin

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Seafood Chowder with Dill and Bone Broth

dillNow that the weather is cooler, I am inspired to make delicious soups.  Seafood chowder is one of my favorites because it is so healthy and comforting.  This is what I made as an appetizer for Thanksgiving.  It uses quite a few items in the fall CSA bags, such as scallions (bunching onions), dill, parsley, and turnips. 

This dish is also a great way to get the nutrition of bone broth, as well as introduce naturally fermented products into your family’s meal, such as real cultured butter and real cultured crème fraiche.

raw-salmonIngredients:

  1. Two big fish fillets cut into bite sized pieces and/or any other type of seafood you might have such as shrimp, oysters or clams.
  2. 4 cups of bone broth
  3. 1 cup of homemade crème fraiche or sour cream
  4. Butter
  5. 3 sliced up scallions
  6. 1 diced carrot
  7. 1 peeled turnip, diced into tiny pieces
  8. Chopped fresh dill
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. Hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Sautee the onions, carrots and turnips in a big soup pot in plenty of butter, until very fragrant and getting soft
  2. Add the fish and seafood and sauté a few minutes
  3. Add the broth and simmer about 15 minutes
  4. Add the crème fraiche and fresh dill
  5. Bring the temperature up to a simmer and turn off the heat (don’t boil this)
  6. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper
  7. Serve with a beautiful salad made with sweet fall greens and a bottle of hot sauce for the chowder!  This chowder should be loaded with fish and fragrant with broth, dill, and butter! Who wouldn’t love that?!
Seafood Chowder with Dill and Bone Broth
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Ingredients
  1. Two big fish fillets cut into bite sized pieces and/or any other type of seafood you might have such as shrimp, oysters or clams.
  2. 4 cups of bone broth
  3. 1 cup of homemade crème fraiche or sour cream
  4. Butter
  5. 3 sliced up scallions
  6. 1 diced carrot
  7. 1 peeled turnip, diced into tiny pieces
  8. Chopped fresh dill
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. Hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Sautee the onions, carrots and turnips in a big soup pot in plenty of butter, until very fragrant and getting soft
  2. Add the fish and seafood and sauté a few minutes
  3. Add the broth and simmer about 15 minutes
  4. Add the crème fraiche and fresh dill
  5. Bring the temperature up to a simmer and turn off the heat (don’t boil this)
  6. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper
  7. Serve with a beautiful salad made with sweet fall greens and a bottle of hot sauce for the chowder! This chowder should be loaded with fish and fragrant with broth, dill, and butter! Who wouldn’t love that?!
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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