Friday, July 11, 2008

Farm Share Friday #6

A glance in our share bin this week, and you know we are heading for midsummer. The bounty included kale, lettuce, salad mix, green onions, Swiss chard, cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms and potatoes.

I admit it is still sometimes a challenge to use up all my greens even after all these years as a CSA shareholder!

One of my favourite ways to use up a whole bunch of chard or spinach is to toss them into a quiche. To keep things super simple, I often make a crustless quiche (no fiddling around with a pastry crust!)

Quick Crustless Quiche
This is a truly crustless quiche - not like the other "crustless" variety that forms a crust while it bakes. Serve this with a tossed salad and you will use up lots of salad greens too!

Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of spinach or chard, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
4 slices regular or turkey bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper


1. In a large frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add spinach or chard and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until greens are wilted.

2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Add bacon, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and spinach mixture, stirring gently until well combined.

3. Pour into a greased 9" pie plate and bake at 375° F for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown on top and knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

P.S. My new camera arrived today, so photos shall return to the blog next week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swimming in Strawberries

Right about now I'm wondering if I'm up for another round with the berries. I've safely processed, prepared or consumed the entire 18 quarts our family picked on Canada Day. I absolutely adore strawberries, and nothing can compare to the taste of a freshly picked, sun-warmed berry; however, any sort of serious berry picking effort means a large commitment in the days afterwards since berries will only last a couple of days in the fridge. We may go back and pick another 24 quarts if we can squeeze it in by the end of the week. Our local farm offers a deal that if you pick six 6 quart baskets over the course of the picking season, you get the seventh free, and the frugal part of me doesn't want to miss out on getting $10 worth of free berries!

Here are some of my favourite ways to enjoy one of the great tastes of summer:

Jam - I made 3 batches this year. Once you have some experience, you can whip up a batch in about an hour. I use the standard Certo recipe; for some reason everyone tells me my jam is fabulous and wants to know my "secret". I just follow the directions, LOL!

Muffins - Strawberries are a great substitute for rhubarb in these muffins! If you are lucky enough to have both strawberries and rhubarb handy, use half and half for a scrumptious strawberry-rhubarb muffin.

Spinach-Strawberry Salad - always a hit for a potluck dinner

Strawberry Shortcake - I bake the old-fashioned kind, in one large pan, rather than individual biscuits. I prefer to add very little sugar to the strawberries themselves - just a sprinkle to draw out the natural juices.

Once I've got the jam all safely tucked away, and we've all eaten our fill of fresh berries, I freeze the rest on cookie sheets overnight, then transfer them to plastic freezer bags for long-term storage. Frozen berries are perfect for a fresh-tasting smoothie all winter long!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Farm Share Friday #5

I've finally gotten a chance to come back and edit this post!

This week's share included: salad mix, strawberries, asparagus, lettuce, cilantro, potatoes, cabbage, and green onions.

I confess I promptly gave the cilantro to my neighbour - I abhor the stuff; she loves it. If you happen to be in the latter category, it's great in curries!

I've pretty much done my "standard stuff" with the veggies this week - green salad, potato salad, sauteed asparagus (I tucked some leftover Garlic-Sesame Asparagus into a Hummus and Veggie Wrap for lunch today).

I was pleased to see a cabbage in our share so early in the season. These cabbages are far superior to their grocery store counterparts - smaller and more tender.

Here is one of my favourite summer uses for cabbage (still no camera, sorry guys!:

Colourful Cabbage Salad
Moat of the prep time for this salad is chopping the vegetables. Use a food processor to shred the cabbage - this will speed your prep time considerably!

Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 as a side dish

1 *small* cabbage, shredded (or approx. 1/2 a large cabbage)
1/2 a red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 a medium red pepper, finely chopped
6 strips regular or turkey bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small (1/2" or less) cubes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey mustard
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, red onion, carrots, red pepper, bacon and cheese.

2. In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

3. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and stir until vegetables are well coated with dressing.

4. Transfer to serving dish. Can be served immediately or prepared up to 24 hrs in advance.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Quick Picnic

Summer is picnic season and we had our first family picnic last night (at It's Your Festival, a weekend-long Canada Day celebration).

Many of our picnics are spur-of-the-moment affairs, so I like to be able to pull some inexpensive yet tasty treats on short notice.

Here's what was in our cooler yesterday:

Lime and Garlic Chicken

Potato Salad with Bacon and Garlic Scapes (recipe below)

Tossed Green Salad (veggies from our CSA share)

We didn't pack any dessert, since we planned to enjoy our traditional festival chocolate-soft-serve cones. Otherwise, I would have packed some quick homemade bars or cookies. I'm planning to try these Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies from Cooking Light magazine soon; Gingersnaps are another picnic-perfect family favourite (no chocolate chips to melt all over the place on a hot day!)

We usually bring a family-sized thermos jug of lemonade along, but yesterday we just had ice water as the kids had already polished off our lemonade (which reminds me, I need to stock up on lemonade again when it's on sale).

Potato Salad with Bacon and Garlic Scapes
I decided to toss the garlic scapes from this week's CSA share into my potato salad, with delicious results. You could substitute fresh green beans for a similar texture and flavour.
[Sorry no photo - still no digital camera!]

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6 as a side dish

6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
4 strips regular or turkey bacon
1 bunch garlic scapes, chopped into 1" pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp honey mustard
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper


1. Cook potatoes and onion together in boiling water until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes; refill pot with cold water and set aside to let potatoes cool.

2. While potatoes are cooking, cook bacon until crisp; cool and crumble.

3. In same pan used to cook bacon, saute garlic scapes in olive oil until tender-crisp (if you used regular bacon, you may have enough bacon drippings to skip the olive oil).

4. In large mixing bowl, combine bacon, garlic scapes, garlic, green onions, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper.

5. Drain potatoes thoroughly and add to dressing mixture; stir well to combine. Serve warm or chilled.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Farm Share Friday #4

This week's share included a container of delicious organic strawberries - YUM!! Salad mix, kale, spinach, garlic scapes, asparagus and potatoes made up the remainder of the share.

[Note: no photos this week as my digital camera has kicked the bucket!]

So far I have not done anything terribly original with my veggies this week. Greens have been used in salad, asparagus sauteed, strawberries sliced and eaten by the bowlful.

I did end up making a delicious cake last weekend with the zucchini from last week's share. I think this Chocolate Zucchini Cake is possibly the most decadent use for zucchini I know! It's been a family favourite for a few years - perfect washed down with an ice-cold glass of milk on a hot summer evening.

Garlic scapes are the part of the garlic that grows above ground; it's cut off to encourage the bulbs to grow larger. Scapes can be prepared similar to green beans. I think I might try a potato-and-scape salad or possibly a scape and spinach quiche. I should have a recipe to share by next week!

Kale, kale, what to do with kale? It's good in soup but this time of year I'm looking for some more warm-weather friendly alternatives. I might try this Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale, or see what I can come up with on my own, perhaps using this Kale with Garlic and Bacon recipe as a springboard!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

RECIPE: Hummus & Veggie Wraps

These wraps appear regularly on our warm-weather menus. They are much heartier tasting than you might expect. My favourite vegetable combination is included in the recipe, but you can use any seasonal veggies you have on hand. A hearty tossed salad rounds out this meal very nicely!

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (optional)
2-4 tbsp olive oil

1 medium sized zucchini, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Four 10" flour tortillas (we like whole wheat)


1. In food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, peanut butter, cumin, lemon juice and parsley. Process until mixture is semi-smooth. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until hummus is desired consistency.

2. In medium frying pan, saute vegetables in olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. While vegetables are cooking, warm flour tortillas in oven or microwave.

To assemble:
For each wrap, spread 1/3 - 1/2 cup hummus on flour tortilla, then top with sauteed vegetables. Fold in ends and roll together tightly. Slice in half and serve.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Farm Share Friday #3

This week's share of the harvest included asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, salad mix, radishes and potatoes.

We had quite the early summer feast for dinner last night:

Turkey Burgers
Baked Potatoes
Sauteed *mushrooms and onions
Moroccan-Inspired *Carrot and *Parsnip Salad (recipe below)

*from our CSA share

Local strawberries with vanilla ice cream
(I was dismayed to see that the local strawberries were priced $1.00 higher than the U.S. imports!! Please buy them anyway!)

I will use the spinach to making more Lemony Chicken and Spinach Pasta - for which my husband will thank me profusely! I think the zucchini may become zucchini bread - or possibly chocolate zucchini cake, depending on how ambitious I feel on the weekend.

Moroccan-Inspired Carrot and Parsnip Salad
This is mildly spiced - if you like it hot, add more paprika and cumin. I used green onions in this dish because I still had plenty on hand from last week's CSA share, but you could use 1/4 of chopped fresh parsley instead.

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into coins
3 green onions (scallions), chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp honey mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper


1. Cook carrots and parsnips in boiling water until carrots are tender-crisp (don't overcook the carrots - they should still have a bit of "crunch" to them; the parsnips will be a bit softer). Drain.

2. While carrots and parsnips are cooking, combine remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over cooked vegetables and mix well.

3. Chill before serving (tastes best if refrigerated overnight to allow flavours to blend).