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Week 3 – In the Kitchen

June 4, 2010

 “Greens.  What  should we do with boring greens?… pork fat is always good. But what if we want something healthier?  And for crying out loud, can we make them so we don’t have to pour vinegar all over?”

                                                                —-Nobody.  I made it up.

 Spicy Asian Greens

0 – 8 Dried Chilli peppers (I used 3 peppers cut in half and some of the seeds removed)
Julienned piece of ginger (about the size of a golf ball)
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 red spring onion sliced thinly into discs
Pinch of salt
Couple large handfuls of greens (turnip greens if you have them), washed, de-stemmed, and cut into strips.
1/3 cup of Mirin (Asian Rice wine) or you can use white wine/chicken stock/veg stock/ any stock…
Drizzle of Oil (I used grapeseed but Sesame oil would be great)

Heat oil in medium high heat pan.  Toss in dried chillis, garlic, onion, and ginger and sauté for a minute or so.  Next, add the greens to the pan and stir around to coat with the mixture.  After 30 seconds or so while pan is still hot, pour in the Mirin and stir around the pan to scrape up any pieces stuck to the bottom.  Sprinkle with a conservative amount of salt (conservative because this will shrink down considerably and you won’t need as much as you think). Now put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low and let cook for about 15 minutes.  Check the greens halfway and stir, if they look dried out – you can add some more wine, water, or stock to moisten the pan.  The greens should take about 15-20 minutes.

*QUICK NOTE ON OTHER GREENS
More delicate greens like Swiss Chard or Spinach don’t need to be cooked long AT ALL.  Get a hot pan with some oil and toss the greens around quickly.  I wouldn’t cook chard for more than 20 seconds in a hot pan… toss in some acid like lemon juice and you’re good to go. 

These Asian greens would be great served with some pan seared fish and rice.  The trick to pan searing fish is as follows:

*Hot Pan
*Dry Fish
*High smoke point oil (safflower, grapeseed, veg oil, light olive oil)
*Don’t force the fish from releasing off the pan, it will come off when it’s ready to
*Good fish spatula 

So yeah… I guess that’s the HDHDG rule. I should really be writing this stuff down.

 Enjoy!

Btw, I cooked these greens naked.  I don’t recommend doing that after all.

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Week 3

June 4, 2010

Three straight weeks with no meltdowns.  Success.  Right?   No?… uh… fine.

For those of you not already signed up for a Bikram Yoga class, you might want to consider volunteering on the farm.  It’s a thousand degrees out there and for some people (gregg), weeding is a lot like the Downward Dog position.

We had a pretty good bag go out this week in our CSA.  There were the same lettuces as last week, red and white onions, swiss chard, turnip greens, and some beautiful wildflowers.  We’ve spotted a few early cucumbers on our bush crops… so here’s to hoping there’s enough by next Wednesday.

I hope you all aren’t getting tired of salads. 

Up next… a recipe for something!

B

Box 2 – In the Kitchen

May 27, 2010

Spring Onion and Spinach Frittata

-1 large or 2 small spring onions thinly sliced into discs – separate green part from white
-Good handful of spinach
-2/3 cup of bacon cut into small pieces (leave out or substitute sausage, turkey bacon, chorizo… bla bla bla whatever you’d like… It’ll be good)
-10 eggs or so whisked with salt & a few squirts of half & half, milk OR cream (whatever’s in the fridge)
-Cheese – any kind of cheese you want.  I like a creamy chevre, but feta, ricotta, cheddar, anything could work
-Salt & Pepper

Turn broiler on in the oven and set the rack to the second highest position.

If you’re using bacon, render it on medium- low heat in a dry nonstick/ovenproof pan.  Remove bacon or other meat from pan when cooked and set aside.  Reserve a tablespoon of the leftover fat for cooking your onion and spinach in.  Wipe the pan clean and add your reserved fat to the same pan at medium heat.  Throw your spring onions (white parts) into the fat and toss around for a minute or so until onions are slightly softened.  Pinch some salt and crack some pepper into the onions then add your spinach to the pan.  It will wilt quickly shuffle it around.  After the spinach has wilted down, but not cooked to death, add your bacon back to the pan and evenly spread everything out.  Now pour your egg mixture over the spinach/bacon/onions and begin cooking on medium heat.  Using a silicone spatula, softly pull the eggs away from the sides of the pan to encourage even cooking.  After a couple of minutes, the eggs will begin to set.  It will still be very runny on the top, but it will look a little scrambled and places and runny in others… you will see what I mean.  Now add the cheese to the top.  If it can be sprinkled, just sprinkle it on.  If it’s a soft cheese, just spoon out little globs on the top of the mixture.  Next, place under the broiler in the oven until eggs are cooked through.  You will know it’s finished when the center is no longer runny.  It may take 5 minutes.  Watch it carefully though, because a broiler can turn something black right before your eyes in a second.  

Pull the pan out of the oven and set aside to cool for 3 minutes or so… it will continue cooking a little so you will have to gauge it with your senses.  Top the frittata with chopped green onions and serve with a bottle of Sriracha.  Eat this for breakfast lunch or dinner.  Get creative with it too…  It’s a fundamental cooking technique, with endless combinations, but the trick to this recipe is a good nonstick/ovenproof skillet.  The frittata should slide out of the pan with a little help from a spatula.     

There should never be stress in a kitchen.  If it doesn’t turn out like you hope, chin up and try again another time.  These recipes aren’t always exact, but that’s perfectly ok.  Experiment with new ingredients and relax.  Play some reggae music if you have to. Open a window.  Cook naked.  Do what you gotta do.

until next week.

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Box 2

May 27, 2010

Week 2 es terminado. 

In your fashionable Greenfingers Farm bags, you will find several goodies.  This week we pulled the whole onions out of the ground along with green tops.  In addition to these spring onions, there are more French Breakfast radishes, a bag of Bloomsdale spinach, Winter Density Lettuce, Salad Bowl red lettuce, European Blend cutting lettuce, and Kyoto Mizuna mustard.   If you have never tasted mizuna before… great!  It’s a japanese mustard and it’s best eaten raw.  You will taste the bitterness right away, but it’s a nice contrast in a salad with some sweetness.

Some notes on the farm: We’re happy to see our carrots getting bigger and seemingly suitable for our soil.  Squashes and cukes are flowering.  We have successfully successively planted 5 – 50 foot rows of tomatoes and the first two rows have some early tomatoes growing.  We put our eggplant plants in the ground two days ago.  Our yukon golds have formed some nice looking early potatoes already and we’re considering an early harvest on some.  Our onions look solid and the shallots!  Love the shallots….For every shallot bulb planted, we have seen 4-6 new bulbs form off of it…. seriously can’t wait for the shallots.  We had a wimpy crop of mustard greens, chard, and collards.  We’re expecting 2 harvest weeks for the collards, one for the chard, and none for the mustards.  😦   These are all more suitable for growing in the fall though. 

We’re learning a lot… stuff you can’t read in books and we’re thankful every day that we get to do this.  And as always, thank you for eating our food and supporting us.

B&G

post script: we WILL start putting more pictures up soon. okay? got it. great.

In The Kitchen – Box 1

May 20, 2010

Let’s recap what are in the boxes: Green 0nions, Winter Density lettuce, Salad Bowl Red lettuce, French Breakfast radishes, and wild strawberries.

Many of you will make a salad out of all this… so I’ll start with a good dressing recipe.  I showed this to some of you a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s in writing.

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing

1 ⅓ cups of a neutral oil like Canola Oil or Safflower

4 raw fresh egg yolks

¼ cup of Buttermilk (Cruz Farm makes the best buttermilk)

Juice of 1 lemon – maybe more to taste

1 Tsp. of Vinegar (Champagne, White Wine, White Balsamic, White, Cider … just avoid red or balsamic vinegars for this)

⅓ cup Chopped herbs of your choice (Tarragon, Chives and Thyme is a great combination but Basil would be nice… or Chervil and Mint – get creative!)

½ Tsp of Kosher Salt – maybe more to taste

Black Pepper to taste

Crack the Yolks into a blender and add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and vinegar (all while blender is off).  Turn the blender on a low speed and keep a towel over the top.  While blending, drizzle in a few drops of the oil and wait a few seconds.  Now start drizzling in your oil in a very slow stream, occasionally stopping and letting the mixture blend.  You will see this “mayonnaise” form before your eyes.  The mixture will eventually thicken to the point where it won’t blend anymore.  At this point, add some buttermilk and give the mixture a little push with your spatula to get it going again.  Continue adding the buttermilk until it reaches the consistency you prefer for your dressing.  If you would prefer it as a dip AND a dressing, add less buttermilk and keep it thick.  When the consistency is reached, taste it.  If it needs salt, add it. If it needs pepper, add it… lemon juice… etc.  When your flavor is good, add your chopped herbs to the blender and blend once more.  Don’t leave it on too long unless you want your dressing to turn green.  Now you’re done.  Toss it with a salad or use it as a dip.  This is a basic recipe for a mayonnaise adapted for salad dressings.

For an easy Asian stir fry, here’s a classic combination that will taste like something you had a Chinese restaurant. 

Cut into strips whatever vegetables you’d like… peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms, radishes… take your pick.  Next, cook some thinly sliced lean meat (pork, chicken, beef) that has been lightly coated in seasoned flour (salt, coriander, cumin, pepper, cayenne, etc…) in med/high heated canola oil.  When cooked (maybe 2 minutes) Set meat aside until the veggies are ready.  In a separate pan, heat up some olive oil and start the pan with ginger and dried red chiles (red pepper flakes if you don’t have whole chilis)– cook for 30 seconds then add your vegetables.  When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, add equal parts of Japanese Soy sauce and Sweet Soy Sauce along with a few drizzles of sesame oil.  This will be your sauce.  If it’s not thick enough you can add equal parts of a starch like corn starch or potato starch with water to thicken your sauce (this is called a slurry).  It won’t take much so start with 1 TBL of corn starch mixed with 1 TBL of water and stir this into your sauce.  When the sauce is to your liking, add your meat and toss with chopped green onions. 

enjoy!

Box 1

May 20, 2010

Our first harvest is over and our bags have been picked, packed, and hopefully many of you enjoyed a tasty salad with your dinner. 

We have had some ups and downs over the past few months.  Several weeks ago, Gregg’s home was destroyed by a kitchen fire – taking our growing equipment and 500 plants down with it.  We’ve had some members quit, and were forced to let some go.  We have seen a small crop of radishes and arugula go to seed before we could ever harvest, and the weeds. OH, the weeds.

On the bright side, the potatoes are thriving.  Our leeks, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, beans and okra seem to be doing just fine.  The cabbage and broccoli are starting to form heads, and the corn is nearly a foot tall.   And did I mention we sent out our first CSA?

Thanks for your patience and support. 

See you next week!

Brian and Gregg

March 22, 2010

My dad brought us quite a few fingerling potatoes that we’re going to need to get in the dirt the next couple of days. Also, we have some broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and leek seedlings that need to be transplanted. Oh, and did I mention that spring is in the air and after this little storm system that blew through it is going to be back to sunny days where it’s not unbearably hot and humidity is low and it is just perfect, in a general kind of way. Cool. That said, we would love to have some folks out on the farm to help us get all these crops in the ground. So if you aren’t doing anything the next two days (we realize it is short notice), “lettuce” know if you want to come out and play. greenfingersfarm@gmail.com. And here is Brian’s personal phone number that you can reach him at ANY time. Really, ANY time. 865-318-9570. Peace.

Gregg

P.S. Did you catch the super savvy play on words? Yeah. Pretty cool.