It’s Fall Planting Time

jay seeding

I know it is hard to believe, but July is the time we plan for fall crops and get the seeds ordered.  The fall crop actually gets planted by mid-August.  We often try to be the first to market with several crops, so we may even push the common wisdom and try to plant some of our fall crops by early August.  We have a few gardens with good afternoon shade and irrigation that work pretty well for this.  Our planting strategy is to first plant Rabbit Eye Ridge and the fields that are closer to the house because they have irrigation.  This is essential because it is so hot here, these fall crops will not germinate and grow without adequate water.  We will plant our second planting of fall crops in the fields that are not irrigated.  Seed selection is tricky for fall plantings because the crops planted in late summer need to be very heat tolerant, and the crops planted later in the fall need to be very cold tolerant.  Read and choose varieties carefully if you are a grower.  Also be careful to choose varieties resistant to the insects and diseases you think you will encounter during the growing season you are targeting.  

We peruse the seed catalogs in July, and get all of our seeds ordered.  We also order our transplants.  I love this part of my job.  I want to plant everything!  My favorite seed choices for fall include Brussels sprouts, mixed lettuce, mixed kale varieties, colorful root vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, and cool season herbs.  Each one has its own strategy behind which variety to choose.

Kailey Cabbage Transplant

Lettuce: choose a heat tolerant variety for early planting, then shift to a cool season variety for later plantings that will be harvested in the winter.  Plant the warm season varieties in places with afternoon shade and irrigation.  Plant the cool season varieties in full sun and in fields farther away.  

Kale: the most heat tolerant varieties I have found are Lacinado and Siberian kale.  These go in first.  Then, I plant Red Russian for later season harvests, because it tolerates cold much better.  I also specifically look for something colorful and different.  I might do Redbor this year, or even a Portuguese kale just for juicers.  

Broccoli and Cauliflower: as with all winter crops, I buy heat tolerant varieties and cold tolerant varieties for successive plantings.  For broccoli and cauliflower, I also look for good disease resistance, as well as pretty colors.  The seeds for colorful broccoli are extremely expensive, but these crops do demand a slight premium at the market.  The key is to not waste any of the seeds.  This means I need to buy them as transplants.  If I direct seed them into the field with my seeder, too many get wasted.  It has to be transplanted.

Brussels Sprouts: these are a challenge because the time from when the plants emerge to when they can be harvested is very long.  They are not very heat tolerant either, so they cannot be planted too early.  This means that if they are planted in early September, when it finally cools off a little bit, they may not have time to mature before it gets too cold.  We use two strategies.  The first is to find varieties that have some heat tolerance and the shortest possible days to harvest.  The shortest I have found is 90 days.  Plant them early, and be ready to cover them with frost protection if you have to.  The second strategy is to find very cold tolerant varieties with a long days-to-harvest and try to overwinter them for an early spring harvest.  I’m going to do some of both this year.  Last year it didn’t work because it got so cold that everything froze out.  This year might just be a little warmer.  Everyone loves Brussels sprouts.  It is worth the extra work and a bit of risk.  

Root Vegetables:  I choose sweet turnips, colorful beets, colorful carrots, and different types of radishes.  I don’t hesitate to direct seed these crops with close spacing, because I can remove some of the crops as baby root vegetables, and allow the rest of the crop to mature to full size.  If is funny, but root vegetables sell well as babies, but it is much harder to sell full-sized beets or turnips.  

Herbs:  great winter herbs include several types of parsley, dill, cilantro, and chervil.  We plant all of these and love them.  These also make great beneficial insect habitat, so I love having them all around the farm.  

By the end of July, we have at least half of our fields empty and are preparing to plant fall crops in August.  The chore list for the last week of July and August includes removing many of the tattered summer crops, composting, tilling, raking, and preparing to plant.  I can hardly wait!  I love fall crops, and honestly, think I might be better at growing cool season crops than summer crops.  Not only that, I love the huge diversity of cool season crops.  Bring on the winter farming!

Eat your veggies,

Robin

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What Do I Do With This Okra?

Okra is absolutely the vegetable of the summer.  You plant it until it gets stinking hot, and then it is ready to harvest when it is stinking hot times two, July and  August!  All of us from the south are used to eating okra, because our grandma fried it up.  Our northern friends seem to be a little stumped and maybe even a little scared.  Fear not the okra.  I’m here to help, along with a little help from my friend Organic Eater.  

Grain free fried okra from Organic Eater. This is the traditional southern way of frying okra, but with healthier ingredients.

photo credit @organiceater

photo credit @organiceater

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of okra 
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coconut oil

Implement it.

Cut the okra into rounds that are about ½ inch thick and put them into a bowl.  Sprinkle them with coconut flour and mix in the bowl to cover each one. Then some almond flour. Put them one layer deep in a cast iron skillet with hot coconut oil.  Fry them without stirring, until they are beginning to brown on the bottom then flip/stir them in the pan and fry until the other side is turning brown.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve them up!  

Roasted Okra

Ingredients:

  • Okra
  • Coconut oil
  • Curry powder
  • Salt and pepper

Implement it.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss whole okra in melted coconut oil, curry powder, and  salt and  pepper.  Spread evenly on  a cookie sheet.  Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  They should be crisp tender when they are done.  If they are slimy, they have cooked too long.  

Fermented Pickled Okra

Ingredients:

Implement it.

Stuff the whole okra tightly in clean pint jars.  Add a peeled clove of garlic (or two or three).  Add a hot pepper.  Add a big sprig of fresh dill.  Make a brine of ¾ Tablespoon of salt to one cup of water.  Pour the brine over the okra, leaving about ¾ inch headspace.  Mix your starter culture as directed on the package, and add to each jar.  Put your pickle pebble or other weight on top of the okra.  Okra are hollow, so they float.  You will need to weigh them down to keep them under the brine.  Cover loosely (use your pickle pipe if you have one) and let ferment (set out on counter) about 5 days, then put in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.  Done!

Eat your veggies,

Robin

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But My Life Is Too busy To Eat Healthy!

rattatoi1 copy

I feel like this all the time.  Our life is busy!  We run two farms.  I have a full time job.  We try to spend time with family.  On top of that, we are committed to our health and fitness.  That pretty much takes up all the hours.  When meal time comes around, it really can be difficult for me to muster up the mojo to make something healthy happen.  I know we are not the only ones with that problem.  Time to prepare healthy meals seems to be trouble for many people.  Here are my best solutions:

  1. Plan your meals.  I plan at least 4 good dinners per week and plan on cooking double so we have enough to stretch them out to 8 meals.   That works well if I can keep Jay from eating up all the food, so we will actually have leftovers!  Being able to just heat up a plate of healthy food without cooking sure is nice.  
  2. Do all your shopping, washing, slicing and dicing all on one day.  Multiple trips to the store is a real time buster, as well as a money sink.  I don’t know why every time I go into the store it costs at least $100.00, no matter what I went there for!  I try to make my one trip on Saturday afternoon, and grab all that we need for the week, and I know what I need for the week because I planned my meals!  I also hit the meat and milk venders at Atherton market for those types of things.  I take it all home, sort it out and get it in the fridge.  I also do a big veggie washing on Saturday as well, so that I have all I need, ready to go.
  3. Often on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons, I will cook the meat for several different meals.  This usually involves the grill or the smoker.  Then, for my meal, I just have to slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers or quickly sauté some squash or greens.  This is especially easy if all my veggies are ready to toss on a plate or in a pan.  I love having things mostly done, so I don’t have to think too hard, and the meal comes together quickly.  
  4. Some weeks I make cauliflower pizza crust and use it for several meals.  I make a pizza for lunch and a breakfast pizza for breakfast.  It is great to have a few pieces left over from each of these, that can work for another meal.
  5. Recently, two of our CSA pros (Organic Eater and Tina B.), have been telling me about their “instant pot” electric pressure cooker.  They both seem to love this thing.  Tina says you can toss a frozen chicken in there and have it table ready in 45 minutes.  She said it browns, it crocks, and it pressure cooks.  It also reportedly can have fresh limas cooked into good old southern style soft beans in 6 minutes and a pot roast ready in 40.  This is my type of convenience.  I ordered one yesterday.  I’ll report back on it later, but if it works like they say, it will be a huge help! There are plenty of times I don’t cook because nothing is thawed, or whatever is thawed, will take too long to prepare.  This kind of convenience sounds great!
  6. Lastly, breakfast seems to be one of our bigger challenges.  We often will make a huge 12 egg sausage frittata and eat that for several days.  Sometimes I just scramble up sausage, greens, onions and anything else with eggs.  That comes together in about 15 minutes and always tastes great. 

Any way you do it, cooking nutritious food is important.  The few times that we don’t eat right, we feel the effects in our sleep, joints, energy, mood, and focus.  I don’t have time in my life to have any of those things go wrong.  Good food seems to be key.

Eat your veggies,

Robin

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Spaghetti Squash Breakfast

SPAGHETTISQUASHBKFSTCASS

Spaghetti squash are a great low-carb vegetable that most people use in place of pasta.  Here is a delicious way to eat it that has nothing to do with pasta, and enhances that natural yumminess of the squash, and makes a nutritious and satisfying breakfast. 

chicken eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or a couple of small spaghetti squash
  • ½ pound of breakfast sausage (I always recommend pasture-raised meats)
  • 4 eggs (from a local farmer, of course!)
  • Grated cheese (grate your own, so you are only eating cheese and not other ingredients)
  • Cream cheese (organic or grass fed/pastured is best)
  • Salt and pepper

Implement it:

Cut the squash in half, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 350.   Let cool overnight.  The next morning, loosen the squash flesh like pasta and put in a big bowl. Scraping the inside of squash with a fork works well.  Mix with about ¾ cup of grated cheese and return it to the skins like a filled cup.  Fry out the sausage and add it to the top of each squash cup.  Make an indention in each squash cup by using a spoon, and crack a whole egg in each.  Add little blobs of cream cheese all over the top of each squash cup.  Add a little bit more grated cheese to the top of each.  Add a little salt and pepper to the top of each.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and the eggs cooked but soft.   Serve a squash half per person.  Yum!

Eat your veggies,

Robin

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large or a couple of small spaghetti squash
  2. ½ pound of breakfast sausage (I always recommend pasture-raised meats)
  3. 4 eggs (from a local farmer, of course!)
  4. Grated cheese (grate your own, so you are only eating cheese and not other ingredients)
  5. Cream cheese (organic or grass fed/pastured is best)
  6. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the squash in half, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 350. Let cool overnight. The next morning, loosen the squash flesh like pasta and put in a big bowl. Scraping the inside of squash with a fork works well. Mix with about ¾ cup of grated cheese and return it to the skins like a filled cup. Fry out the sausage and add it to the top of each squash cup. Make an indention in each squash cup by using a spoon, and crack a whole egg in each. Add little blobs of cream cheese all over the top of each squash cup. Add a little bit more grated cheese to the top of each. Add a little salt and pepper to the top of each. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the eggs cooked but soft. Serve a squash half per person. Yum!
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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Nutrition for Kids is Critical

grant2

A few years ago, I read the book Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan, MD .  This was one of the most interesting and influential books I have read.   Dr.  Shanahan gives a powerful description of how the foods we eat (nutrition) directly effect gene expression, appearance, and degenerative diseases of both ourselves and our children.  Much of what she presents correlates closely with the writings of Dr. Weston A. Price, in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  

The book begins by describing how nutrition impacts beauty.  It never occurred to me that facial structure and symmetry could be directly influenced by nutrition.  Dr. Shanahan offers a persuasive case for good facial and jaw structure, as well as symmetry, being directly influenced by nutrition, not only fed to the child, but also of the mother, dad, and even grandparents.  How my mom and I nourished our bodies directly influenced the lives, health, and appearance of my children.  Wow! Now that is a new concept!  

This book also goes far deeper than facial beauty.  It discusses the way what we eat impacts how our genes are expressed.  This gene expression is important to long-term health and preventing degenerative disease.  Is it possible that by eating healthy food I can keep the genes for Alzheimer’s disease from expressing themselves?  Could this also be true for some of the most common diseases of our society, such as diabetes and obesity?   This book convinced me that nutrition probably is one of the most importing things we can do to prevent these problems, even though they may have a strong genetic correlation.  

The four keys to good nutrition and health presented in this book are as follows.  They strongly correlate with Dr. Weston Price’s conclusions.  

  1. Grass fed meat on the bone
  2. Organ meats from grass fed animals
  3. Fermented and sprouted foods
  4. Fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruits and herbs  

Sadly, our modern diet rarely includes these foods.  We are all too quick to get boneless/skinless meats.  Additionally, most people wouldn’t dream of eating healthy organ meats such as liver and kidney.  Most Americans don’t even know what sprouted or fermented foods are, much less want to eat them.  Lastly, although we know eating produce is one of the keys to good health, it often plays a minor role in our meals.

When I talk with families at the market or in our CSA, who are specifically searching out real food for their families, I can’t help but smile.  I know they are not only giving their families a good meal, they are changing the direction of their lives!  They are giving a huge gift to not only their children, but even their grandchildren who are not even born yet!  Maybe these kids, and even their kids (to come!) won’t suffer from the plethora of degenerative disease that seems to plague our society.  Maybe they will have normal weight, guts that work well, and clear minds.  Maybe they won’t have cancer. Maybe they won’t have diabetes.  All of these terrible problems have a thread of nutrition that run though them.  Only wish I had known sooner, so I could have taken better care of myself during my child bearing years, as well as fed my kids better.  It must be true that wisdom comes with age. 

Eat your veggies,

Robin 

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Plenty of Ways to Use Fresh Spring Mint!

chocolate mint

Mint is at its fresh best in the early spring.  We love putting it in our CSA bags and we also bring bags of it to the market.  It sells fast.  Mint is not an herb I grew up cooking with, so it is only in the past few years that I have been using it.  See what you think of my mint ideas.

 

  1. Chop some mint and garlic and add to plain Greek yogurt.  Finish with some salt and lemon. Use on any type of meat.
  2. Season lamb or chicken with mint, garlic, salt, and pepper before you roast it.  
  3. Slice up some fresh strawberries and add fresh whipped cream and slivers of thinly sliced mint.
  4. Put fresh mint in a big pitcher of filtered water.  Tastes great!
  5. Pour hot water over mint to make a tummy soothing tea.  
  6. Add mint to your juice or smoothie.  
  7. Add chopped mint to your salad for a fresh kick.
  8. Add mint to your slaw, along with some scallions and a squeeze of lime.
  9. Add mint and other chopped fresh herbs to rice or cauliflower rice.
  10. Make a mojito!

Mint is not only yummy; it is also good for you.  Mint has historically been used to soothe the stomach.  Mint also inhibits microbial growth and naturally freshens breath. Mint contains a phytonutrient, called perillyl alcohol, which in some studies has shown anticancer properties.  Mint has natural cooling properties.  Use it in a bath or foot soak!

 

Mint is not only tasty; it is also delicious.  Enjoy it this spring while it is growing lush and strong.  

Don’t forget to add herbs to your veggies!

Robin

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It’s Not About the Kale

kale salad

Last weekend, I sat down and thought about all the wonderful CSA members we have and tried to figure out why they joined a CSA.  I suspected it probably wasn’t the turnips or kale that lured them in.  After all, turnips aren’t the yummiest of all veggies and you can get them and kale at any grocery store these days.  The reasons are deeper.

I believe the main reason people join a CSA is because they truly care about their health and the health of their children, and a CSA is a great way to be sure your fridge is full of things that make you healthy.  Let me tell you about some of my discussions with members at Atherton Market last weekend.  One sweet young lady has trouble with her tummy.  She is committed to eating real food and healing her gut.  What a great reason!  I believe she will be successful with this and it will change her life and health.

Another beautiful young family of 3 (one is a baby) gets our biggest possible membership size.  When I questioned them about managing to get it all eaten in a week, I quickly realized these guys are pros!  They avoid processed foods and are successfully maintaining their vibrant health by cooking nearly all of their meals and making their own baby food.  I told them they are absolutely changing their health and the health of their children and even grandchildren with this commitment.  Don’t ever underestimate the value of deep nutrition and avoiding junk! The secret is not that they eat kale, it’s that they completely changed their lifestyle and it will impact the lives of others they love.  

Another friendly young woman and her cooking man are super fun to talk to, just to see what they cook every day!  They can take a big CSA bag and have that thing broken down into photo perfect meals in no time.  I’m pretty sure the reason they cook and eat these lovely meals is not because they are Instagram worthy.  It is because those beautiful meals are what give them their strong health and vitality!  Again, it is about their health and life.  

My last example is Katie and her beautiful baby, Lexie.  I’ve known Katie since she was pregnant and saw how careful she was with everything she ate.  Now that Lexie is toddling around, I have seen how well she nourishes her.  I know buying a bar or bag of something marketed to toddlers would be a whole lot easier than the trouble Katie goes to in order to nourish her family.  She does it because she loves them and is committed to their health.  As Lexie grows, she will be strong, healthy, and focused.  That is what good food does!

So you see, it isn’t about kale, or whatever the next “health crazed” veggie will be. It is about changing your life.  Real food supports your body and mind so they are healthy and can function the way they were designed. When our bodies function as they should, our bodies heal and protect.  CSA members are smart. They know that how they feel, how they think, and their overall health is directly related to the nutrition they put in their body (and the junk they don’t!).  I know that learning to cook the veggies in your CSA bag is not easy.  I know there are about a zillion things along the aisles of the grocery store that would be a lot easier.  I’m glad so many people understand that it is not just food.  It is their life and health, and what could be more important than that?!

Eat Your Veggies,

Robin

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Basic Southern Coleslaw

Cabbage

Basic Southern Coleslaw

Every southern cook knows that to make good coleslaw, you need some cabbage, Duke’s Mayonnaise, vinegar, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper.  Easy as that!  My mom made this recipe throughout my childhood.  So does her sister, as well as my cousins!  It is a kitchen staple.  Right now, the cabbage is ready on our farm, so let’s get to making some slaw!

Ingredients:

  • ½ head of cabbage grated (can use a food processor, box grater, or a mandolin slicer)
  • ¼ cup of Dukes mayonnaise (or make your own! Google it)
  • 1 tsp of sugar (or honey, or stevia.  This is optional.)
  • 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • Lots of pepper

Implement it:

Throw it in a bowl and mix it all up!

You can make this basic recipe your own, several different ways.  Try using wine vinegar.  Try adding some chopped herbs such as scallions, cilantro, parsley, or basil.  Try what one of our CSA members did.  They made a basic slaw and added the mint and scallions from their CSA bag.  This would be especially yummy if you use lemon or lime in place of the vinegar.  Thanks for the great idea Jeff and Leslie!

Although Dukes mayo is a Carolina staple, it actually contains soybean oil and it really isn’t that hard to make your own with an emersion blender using your favorite oil.  Check out this video for simple instructions.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3xx8Bpau0E

Eat your veggies,

Robin

Basic Southern Coleslaw
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ head of cabbage grated (can use a food processor, box grater, or a mandolin slicer)
  2. ¼ cup of Dukes mayonnaise (or make your own! Google it)
  3. 1 tsp of sugar (or honey, or stevia. This is optional.)
  4. 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
  5. Salt
  6. Lots of pepper
Instructions
  1. Throw it in a bowl and mix it all up!
  2. You can make this basic recipe your own, several different ways. Try using wine vinegar. Try adding some chopped herbs such as scallions, cilantro, parsley, or basil. Try what one of our CSA members did. They made a basic slaw and added the mint and scallions from their CSA bag. This would be especially yummy if you use lemon or lime in place of the vinegar. Thanks for the great idea Jeff and Leslie!
Notes
  1. Although Dukes mayo is a Carolina staple, it actually contains soybean oil and it really isn’t that hard to make your own with an emersion blender using your favorite oil. Check out this video for simple instructions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3xx8Bpau0E
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
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Eating Healthy Is Important, Even If You Can’t Cook!

photo credit o@organiceater

photo credit @organiceater

For those of you who know me (Jay), this does not come as a surprise, but I like to eat. Not just good food, but also A LOT of food.  That trait, along with the fact that my significant other is Robin, obviously makes the luckiest guy on earth! Robin is an incredible cook.  I consider her a home taught Chef and our meals testify to that fact. If anyone needs proof, let me know, and I can fill up your inbox with pictures of the meals she prepares.  Incredible! Healthy! Delicious!  Voluminous! Just my style.

There is, however, a downside to being married to a “chef”.  When you eat at this level, on a consistent basis, without conscious thought, you become accustomed to it.  Now, consider you are eating at this level, and then out of the blue, your personal chef leaves.  “Please don’t go!  I’ll STARVE”!  I use that one on a regular basis.  So there I am, in the house, alone.  Where does she keep the food?  Oh yes, the fridge!  Open the fridge, don’t see anything that looks like leftovers I can nuke.  Once here, I realize my options include heading out for fast food, or I will have to prepare my own meal.  My health is a priority, so I have developed a small repertoire of healthy meals I can manage without burning down the house.  For those of you who are just learning to cook and might be in the same boat, maybe this will help!

My cooking skills only include one breakfast.  Here are the detailed instructions.  If I can do it, anyone can.  

  1. I start with a plate.
  2. Then create a pile of raw fresh leafy greens, usually baby arugula, kale or mixed colored mustards.  Make sure you have rinsed them, so they are not sandy.  Sometimes, I am lucky enough to even be able to head out to the field and cut them fresh.  
  3. I find that they taste even better if some olive oil and balsamic vinegar is splashed on the greens.
  4. Then, I will cook up some sausage or bacon (grass fed of course) and toss it on top of the greens.
  5. Last, I cook two or three eggs in the same frying pan that the meat was in (don’t want to clean too many dishes).  I usually do my eggs over easy and put the eggs on the bed of greens and breakfast meat.  

Voila, that is it.  This fills me up after a good workout, loaded with protein, and will last me into the middle of the day with no problem.  

But no one is capable of existing on one meal a day.  So here is a suggestion for dinner.  I really like a thick cut pork chop (grass fed of course). First, I drizzle some olive oil on it and load it up with salt and pepper.  Then, I place the chop on a baking dish.  To go with this, I would take a large turnip, peel it, and cut it into cubes about 1 /2 to 1″ square.  Toss these cubes in a little olive oil.  Salt to taste.  Then place in the baking dish with pork chop.  These turnips cook right along with the chop and begin to brown on the edges and take on the yummy flavor of the roasted meat.  They are quite delicious this way.    You can do the same thing with sweet potatoes or even beets!  Our toaster oven is on its last leg, so I have to crank the heat as high as it will go, 450 degrees.  That might only be about 375 on a normal oven.  I cook it for about 45 minutes.    

If the turnips seem a bit overwhelming, you can make this even easier, and go with greens under your pork chop.  No cooking necessary.  Make a bed of greens on the plate, and just put the cooked pork chop on the greens.  Be sure to pour some of the oil out of the pan onto the greens as well, and add a little drizzle of your favorite vinegar.  The oil and vinegar make a dressing, and it’s very tasty.

I hope this helps when your significant other abandons you in the uncharted territory of the kitchen.  You must be willing to brave the kitchen if you want to eat healthy.  Just get in there and do it.  If I can do it, anyone can.  

Eat your veggies!

Jay

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What to do with the yummy things in a Spring CSA bag

I got asparagus, mint, strawberries and baby greens and a whole lot more in my CSA bag!

Spring is amazing here because, in a matter of weeks, the produce world goes from collard greens, onions, and sweet potatoes, to some of the most exciting produce of the year!  In April, our CSA members get fresh spring asparagus, as well as young baby mixed greens, kale, spinach, sweet onions, mint, and fresh pesticide free strawberries!  Wow! What a plethora of yumminess!  Here are some suggestions for these fresh tasties.

asparagus and mushrooms veronicaAsparagus:  

  1. Wrap it in a wet paper towel and microwave it for 2 minutes.  Unwrap it, add fresh butter, add sea salt and enjoy the simple fresh flavor of just cut asparagus.  
  2. Buy some fresh mushrooms and green garlic or ramps at the market.  Sauté the ramps or green garlic in a good chunk of butter (or ghee). When soft, add a bunch of chopped mushrooms; when mushrooms are soft, add chopped asparagus.  Finish with sea salt.  
  3. This recipe came from a market DAD!  Sauté shallots in olive oil or butter.  When fragrant, add fresh washed chopped asparagus (with the water from washing still on it). Saute just a few minutes, until bright, and add a splash of wine vinegar and sea salt.  This one really impressed me. It was so so yummy.  Then, I got creative and combined number 2 with this one.  I added mushrooms to the mix.  
  4. Grill it up along with the steak!  Toss whole asparagus in olive oil.  Throw it on the grill for just a few minutes, after the steak is done and while it is resting.  When it gets some grill lines on it, it is done.  Finish with sea salt, or even a fancy salt, like truffle salt.  A squeeze of lemon is really great on grilled asparagus also.

strawberriesStrawberries:

  1. Just eat them.  No instructions needed.
  2. Make a smoothie out of kefir and strawberries.  Tastes like strawberry cheesecake.  Great way to get some kefir in the kids.  
  3. Whip up some fresh cream.  Add fresh sliced strawberries.  Add grated dark chocolate.  Add thin ribbons of sliced mint.  So easy and so elegant.

baby trout lettuce2

Baby greens:

Baby greens can be any mixture of baby leaves.  It might include sweet mild lettuce, or it might include baby kale, chard, choy, radish tops, tiny turnip leaves, and mustard leaves all mixed up.  It is a highlight of spring.

  1. Toss them on the plate. Add some chopped chives or spring onions.   Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Can’t beat it.
  2. Use them as a bed for steak, fish, chicken, or even a frittata!
  3. Make greens and eggs.  Fry out some chopped bacon and set aside.  Fry 2 over easy eggs in the bacon grease.  Place the eggs and crumbled bacon on a plate piled with fresh greens.  Once the eggs are out of the pan, heat the leftover bacon grease with some wine vinegar and minced onions, shallots, garlic, or ramps.  Drizzle all over the eggs, bacon and greens.  Enjoy a fresh spring breakfast.  

Eat up those spring veggies in your CSA bag!

Robin

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