Posts Tagged ‘Local Ingredients’

The Workout Smoothie or Sneaky Veg For Kids

This smoothie is perfect for either a pre- or post-workout boost.  It’s filling, yet leaves you feeling light.  Best yet, it’s a fabulous raw food nutritional powerhouse that even kids will love.  Instead of a recipe, it’s more of a formula that can be played with as fruit comes into season.

In a blender, add:

  • 1 cup liquid (Choose from unsweetened soy milk, kefir, yogurt, water & ice, etc.)
  • 1 banana (I know that this is so not local, but it’s my weakness!  I think smoothies just scream for that creamy texture they impart.)
  • 1 cup (or the equivalent) local fruit in season (This morning I used a single large nectarine.)
  • Handful of greens (This morning I went into the garden and harvested some red Swiss chard)
  • 1 Tbsp flaxmeal

Simply puree until smooth and serve.  Just don’t tell the kids that there is anything green in there until after they’ve enjoyed it!

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Traditional Flan (Pudim Flan)

What sweeter way to use up farm fresh eggs than with a Portuguese flan?!

Egg Note: Do consider the size of the eggs in the recipe. Oddly enough, there isn’t much difference in yolk size from a small to a jumbo egg, but the white part changes in volume rather dramatically. What does this mean? If you are using small eggs, which are usually from younger or bantam chickens, this will mean that you will have a richer, yolkier flan because the yolk to white ratio is much higher. When small eggs are what I have on hand, I will use 10 small eggs instead of 8 large eggs and two egg yolks.

Traditional Flan (Pudim Flan)

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Make sure you have flan dish. You can purchase Portuguese flan mold at a specialty store or use 6-8 individual ramekins.

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Simmer over medium low heat until the syrup caramelizes and turns a deep golden brown. Keep an eye on this pot because it will go from boiling sugar…

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… to perfect golden brown caramel in seconds. Likewise it can go from perfect golden to to burnt in seconds, too. It take about 5-10 minutes for the color to develop.

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At this point you have a choice… You can either pour ALL the sugar into a large flan mold or 6-8 individual ramekins OR you can pour about a 1/4 cup of the stuff into the custard and the rest into the flan mold.   My father-in-law’s family does the former and mother-in-law’s family does the latter.  In her version, the caramel in the flan infuses the whole custard with that caramel flavor and makes it much darker in color.  Either way, remember that hot sugar syrup burns so make sure you are careful and use pot holders! Rotate the pan to coat both the bottom and sides and set aside.

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Custard:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • peel of one lemon without the pith (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp port wine (optional)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Heat the oven to 350F. Beat the eggs, sugar, and milk together until frothy. Add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel if using. Heat on the stovetop until warm. Remove from the heat and add the port wine if using. Strain into the prepared mold(s).

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Place the custard dish into a water bath, which is quite easy to make: Simply place an oven-safe dish into the preheated oven, put the custard dish inside, and fill with boiling water until it comes halfway up the custard dish.

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Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the custard comes out clean. If you are using smaller ramekins, 35 minutes should be enough.

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Chill completely before unmolding by topping with a large plate and flipping upside down.

Fresh Apricot Tart

Fresh apricots are available locally for a brief, but glorious season.  They shine in this European-style rustic tart or galette.

  • 1/2 recipe butter pie crust
  • generous 1/2 of a 1/4 peck bag fresh apricots, washed, pitted, and halved
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 bantam-sized egg, lightly scrambled
  • 1 Tbsp coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Toss the apricots, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl.  Roll out the pie crust and transfer to a baking dish (I recommend using parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil so the tart doesn’t stick).  Arrange the apricots on the crust and fold the edges around.  If the apricots are falling over and pushing the crust out, you can use toothpicks or skewers to hold it together while baking.  Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the pie crust with the egg.  Sprinkle the egg-washed crust with coarse sugar.  Bake for 60-70 minutes at 350F.

Allow tart to come to room temperature.  Mix apricot preserves with water to form a glaze.  Using a pastry brush, glaze the apricots with the preserves mixture.   Enjoy!

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Of Asphalt and Chestnut Honey

I’ve had a honey epiphany.  As a consumer of our local liquid amber, I’ve seen variations of flavor and color over the seasons and years, but always sweet and delicious.  Except, of course, for that memorable year when the town paved the roads and the honey had, let’s call it, um, distinctive asphalt notes.

Here’s the amazing discovery.  I made a recipe from a friend that required Italian chestnut honey.  I was assured that it was integral to the recipe and to forget about local, get on the Internet, and order me some.  Fine.  It arrived.  I opened it.  Took a sniff.  Bleck.  Had it gone bad in transit?  I then read the label, which described it as (and I quote) “ideal for who don’t like very sweet flavour honey.” I took a lick.  Double bleck!  Had I just been poisoned by the infamous Internet Tuscan honey mafia? More reading… The site Serious Eats describes chestnut honey as “not for the timid palate” and “Dark and spicy, with touches of smoke and leather, chestnut honey is complex, mysterious, and nuanced.”  Yup, that about sums it up.  Leather and smoke.  But in defense, it did impart a distinct and magnificent flavour to the recipe.

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Bottom line… I had no idea that honey could be so variable, which makes me want to embark on my dream beekeeping project even more.  But, after the great rooster disaster of 2012, I’m not eager to once again mix toddlers and talons until the kids are much older.

Ps.  Welcome back! It’s been ages since my last post because our family welcomed a new addition to our ranks.  Priorities, now.  So as baby sits by me and assists with “yayayayayayaYAyaya” we can now find the time to get back to hobby blogging about our minifarm.

CSA & Farmers’ Market: CSA #3

Ok, you get the point:  You can eat local and on a budget.  So enough of seeing my weekly meal plans after this post.  Besides, half the time I need to revise them as life happens, appetites vary, and sales change.

Surprise CSA Box:

  •   1 bunch Parsley
  •    1 head Red Boston Lettuce 
  •    1 head  Red Oak Leaf Lettuce 
  •    3 pieces mixed Beets
  •    2 heads Green Romaine
  •   3 heads Baby Bok Choy
  •    4 oz Sugar Snap Peas
  •    5 pieces Garlic Scapes
  •   1 Greenhouse Seedless Cuke 

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  Strawberries, fresh pasta, bread, mushrooms, whole chicken

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

Saturday
Breakfast:  toast, blueberries
Lunch:  Strawberry Festival
Dinner:  Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup), grilled fresh sardines

Sunday
Breakfast:  Toast, blueberries
Afternoon Dinner:  Beer Can Chicken, roast potatoes and beets, grilled romaine, cake with strawberries

Monday
Breakfast:  omelet with sautéed garlic scapes, beet greens, and feta cheese
Lunch: PBJ, Snap Peas
Dinner:  Salad with leftover chicken

Tuesday
Breakfast:  toast, homemade yogurt, strawberries
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, Snap Peas
Dinner:  Kofte (Turkish Lamb Meatballs), bulgar, salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  cereal, fruit, yogurt
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner: Grilled sausage pinwheel, rice, salad

Thursday
Breakfast:  Eggs and toast, strawberries
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Tofu stir fry with boy choy, rice

Friday
Breakfast:  Cottage cheese, crackers, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner:  Pasta al Carbonara, salad

CSA & Farmers’ Market: CSA Week #2

Surprise CSA Box:

  •    1 bu Garlic Chives
  •    1 head Bok Choy
  •    1 bu Red Oak
  •    1/2 lb Asparagus
  •    1 bu Leeks
  •    1 Green Boston
  •    1 Red Leaf Lettuce
  •    8oz Sugar Snap Peas
  •    1 bu Garlic Scapes
  •    1 bu mixed Carrots

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  pickles, bread, strawberries

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

Saturday
Breakfast:  Omelet with sauteed garlic scapes
Dinner:  Birthday Party!

Sunday
Breakfast:  strawberries and yogurt
Lunch:  Greek Salad
Dinner:  Stir Fry with tofu and bok choy

Monday
Breakfast:  buttered toast, strawberries
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Pork Chops, rice, asparagus

Tuesday
Breakfast:  breakfast smoothie
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  breakfast smoothie
Lunch:  egg salad sandwich
Dinner:  Feta and leek quiche

Thursday
Breakfast:  yogurt with cereal and dried fruit
Lunch:   leftovers
Dinner:  Steak, rice, snap pea and carrot stir fry

Friday
Breakfast: yogurt with cereal and dried fruit
Lunch: Garden salad with leftover steak
Dinner:  Pizza night!

CSA & Farmers’ Market: Week #1

Yippee!!  Our CSA season has begun and there was much rejoicing!

Surprise CSA Box:

  • 1 bu Parsley
  • 1 bu Green Scallions
  • 1 head Green Lettuce
  • 1 bu Asparagus
  • 1 bu Leek
  • 8oz Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 pt Strawberries
  • 1 head Red Romaine Lettuce
  • 3 heads Baby Bok Choy

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  More asparagus, more strawberries, bread, pickles, spinach, mushrooms

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

It’s vegetarian week at the farm.  Why?  Because.

Saturday
Brunch:  Asparagus, Leek, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Dinner:  Girls Day Out in the Big City!

Sunday
Breakfast:  Strawberries and Oatmeal
Lunch:  Asparagus Soup with Almond Romano Pesto
Dinner:  Stir Fry with Sesame Tofu, Bok Choy, Snap Peas, and Scallions

Monday
Breakfast:  Strawberries and Overnight Oatmeal
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast: Smoothie
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Greek Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  Smoothie
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Spinach and mushroom omelet

Thursday
Breakfast:  Eggs and Toast
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Greens and Beans and Pasta

Friday
Breakfast:  Smoothie
Lunch:  Egg Salad
Dinner:  Pizza

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