Archive for CSAs

Steamy Creamy Squash Packet…Yum!

I have had a LOT of summer and winter squash in my CSA box over the past month or so, and was running out of ways to prepare it without it tasting too mundane. I have been roasting, steaming, and including squash in my soup recipes, but I needed something with a little more kick to the recipe. Enter Lisa Lillien’s (aka Hungry Girl from the Food Network) new cookbook, ” 300 Under 300″ to help me spice up my squash! I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Lisa Lillien at my nutrition conference in San Diego in September, where I was able to snag a signed copy of her new cookbook. Check out page 162 of this book, for the steamy, creamy squash packet recipe. I guarantee it won’t let you down!

Steamy Creamy Squash Packet

Ingredients:

2 yellow summer squash, stem ends removed

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

2 tsp light whipped butter (or spread)

1/8 tsp dried oregano

Dash of black pepper

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light Creamy swiss cheese

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Thinly slice each squash lengthwise, forming wide, flat strips. Cut strips in half widthwise and set aside.

3. Lay a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray. Place sliced squash and onion in the center of the foil. Top veggies with two evenly spaced dollops of butter. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Top with garlic.

4. Place another large piece of foil over the veggies. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, form a well-sealed packet.

5. Bake in the oven until veggies are soft and tender, about 20 minutes.

6. Let cool slightly. Cut packet to release steam before opening it entirely. Empty into a boil and set aside.

7. Place cheese wedge in a small bowl, and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir until smooth, add to veggies, and toss gently to coat. If you like, season to taste with additional salt or pepper. Enjoy!

*I served my squash with two black bean burgers, topped with light sour cream and a corn salsa*

Nutrition Facts:

1 serving= 1/2 of recipe

80 calories, 2.75g fat, 232mg Na, 11g Carbs, 3g fiber, 5g sugars, 3.5g protein

 

 

 

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Purchase a CSA Membership!

I promise you won’t regret your decision!

During my practicum, I had the opportunity to visit, speak with, and “taste test” produce from a variety of farms and farmers markets. I do not think that you could go wrong purchasing a CSA membership from any farm in the Triangle region. Growing up in Philadelphia, I never had the exposure to such wonderful farming, fresh produce, and hands-on experience. Every farm and market that I have visited since moving to Raleigh has been awesome, and the food they sell is delicious!

However, if I were to give you my own personal opinion, my two favorites are Hilltop Farms and Wild Onion Farms. Hilltop Farms has an amazing CSA from personal experience and provides fresh and tasty produce each and every week. Farmer Fred Miller and his workers are so friendly and helpful, and really make you excited about consuming local foods. In addition, Wild Onion Farms has a produce stand at the Midtown Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning. To me, they have the most delicious produce available, the greatest selection, and the most affordable cost. That constitutes a winner in my opinion!

Here are 15 different farms and local businesses in the Triangle area that provide seasonal CSA boxes:

1. Farm to Form- Raleigh, NC

2. Britt Farms- Mt. Olive, NC

3. The Produce Box- Raleigh, NC

4. Rare Earth Farms- Zebulon, NC

5. Kellam-Wyatt Farm- Raleigh, NC

6. Freshtables CSA Farm- Apex, NC

7. Hilltop Farms- Willow Springs, NC

8. Five Points CSA- Raleigh, NC

9. Triple T Ranch- Fuquay Varina, NC

10. Smith’s Nursery- Benson, NC

11. Coon Rock Farms- Hillsborough, NC

12. Ben’s Produce- Clayton, NC

13. Fickle Creek Farm- Efland, NC

14. Wild Onion Farms- Middlesex, NC

15. Beausol Gardens- Pittsboro, NC

 

Search http://www.localharvest.org/, type in zip code to get a complete list of CSA programs in your region

 

If you are still undecided about which CSA membership to sign up for, or what to consider when purchasing a CSA, check out this website: www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-38.html

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The Best Kale Recipe I’ve Ever Tried…

I happened to stumble upon this creative recipe for kale while I was browsing on the Whole Foods Market website. Just as a side note: Whole Foods has a wonderful recipe collection if your are ever looking for new dishes to try. All of the recipes posted use fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients- not to mention many of them are vegetarian and vegan-friendly!

This recipe involves a combination of kale, apple juice, and cherries. It sounds like an unexpected pairing, but trust me, the flavors blend really well together. The cherries add a touch of sweetness to the kale, and the apple juice makes the dish a little sweet. The cherries and kale make this dish chock-full of antioxidants and fiber. This makes for a unique combination of flavors, and is a perfect vegetarian side dish.

I made this side dish for dinner and paired it with a cup of whole wheat penne mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli spears, and a touch of olive oil and parm cheese.

Wilted Kale with Cherries

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 shallots, thinly sliced

½ cup apple juice, divided

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered

1 large bunch kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaved thinly sliced

¼ cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Preparation:

1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until they just start to stick to the pan, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

FYI- Shallots taste very similar to spring onions

2. Add ¼ cup apple juice and cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in the cherries, remaining apple juice, and kale. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes or just until kale is wilted.

3. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts.

Makes a flavorful side dish!

Nutrition Facts:

1 cup contains: 170 calories, 6g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 29 total CHO, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 7g protein

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Learn to Make a Healthy Plate!

Over the past month, the USDA has launched a new healthy initiative called, “My Plate.” This logo has replaced the My Pyramid, and the goal of My Plate is to make planning and visualizing healthy meals easier for the general public. I really like this new method, considering that Dietitian’s have been teaching this to their patients for years! (Of course, we are the experts!) My Plate is literally a circular plate that is divided into four sections- Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, and Proteins. There is also a circle at the top corner of the graphic, representing the dairy group (in the form of milk, yogurt, etc.) I think this is a very easy and realistic way to look at nutrition, because you can break down every component of your meal to resemble this icon.

What do you think of the new Healthy Plate initiative?

So, let’s take a dinner meal- I usually like to think that 1/2 of your plate will consist of non-starchy veggies, 1/4 grain or starch, and 1/4 protein. A serving of fruit can always be consumed later as a “dessert.”  The following is a meal that I made completely out of my Hilltop Farms CSA box, including yellow squash, red potatoes, green and wax beans, and local chicken breast from Triple T Farms. This meal was cost-effective, completely local, and perfectly portioned!

A perfectly healthy plate- 1/2 cup green beans, 1/2 cup squash, 1/2 cup roasted potatoes, and 3 oz of grilled chicken breast

For more information, please visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

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Potatoes Galore!

Each week, we have been receiving at least 2 pounds of potatoes in our CSA boxes. They are absolutely delicious, probably the freshest potatoes I’ve ever tasted! I’m a huge fan of Hilltop Farm’s red potatoes- they are perfect to roast, mash, or include in a summer potato salad. The following potato recipes are compliments of Leslie, one of Farmer Fred’s awesome employees at Hilltop Farm. These are simple to make, and a great variation from a typical white baked potato.

Do you have a favorite local potato recipe? Post it here!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I tried the mustard roasted potatoes this past weekend, and served them with barbeque chicken tenders, garden salad, and roasted yellow squash. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2lbs potatoes
2 spring onions (or 1 small onion)- chopped
3 garlic cloves -minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice (I used lime juice and it still tasted great!)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp melted butter (or alternative like Best Life butter)
3 tbsp fresh thyme- chopped
3 tbsp fresh Rosemary- chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Combine olive oil, melted butter, lemon juice, onion, garlic, mustard, thyme, Rosemary, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

2. Cut washed potatoes into small chunks and toss in dressing.

 

3. Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes stirring about half way through.

Olde American Potato Salad

This dish is a creative a healthy dish to bring to summer cookouts! It is a great way to introduce new kinds of potatoes to your friends and family, instead of sticking with the same ol’ white potato.

Ingredients:
2 lbs potatoes: Red, Yukon Gold, Blues
3 cloves garlic- minced
4 tbsp fresh dill
4 tbsp fresh sage- chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley- chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice (and a hint of zest)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Wash, cut and boil potatoes until tender. Drain water and let cool. Set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, lightly brown the minced garlic in olive oil or a tbsp of butter.
  3. In a serving bowl combine dill, chopped sage, chopped parsley, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice (and zest), and salt & pepper. Add cooked garlic and stir to combine.
  4. Cut cooled potatoes into smaller chunks and toss in dressing. Chill potato salad for at least 2 hrs or refrigerate overnight.

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Colorful Summertime Spaghetti

Ryan is always looking for new recipes to try on the weekend, and this week he came home with quite the healthy dish! Ryan is a Physical Therapist at Highsmith Rainey Long Term Acute Care Hospital in Fayetteville, and as part of the hospital’s new health initiative, he received several healthy summer recipes that were emailed to all of the employees. I am not a big pasta person, so at first I was not crazy about this recipe. However, this recipe did include many of our CSA ingredients this week, so I felt like I had to try it at least once. Boy, am I glad that I tried this one out! The sauce is filled with fresh veggies and herbs, it is too good to pass up! It is a light and easy dish to make as well. Serve with a toasted wheat baguette and a garden salad for a healthy and hearty summer time meal!

Summer Vegetable Spaghetti

 

Ingredients:

2 cup small yellow onions, chopped

2 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I like to use golden cherry tomatoes instead)

2 cup yellow and green squash, thinly sliced

2 1/3 cup water

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 can tomato paste

1 lb. uncooked spaghetti ( I like to use whole grain penne pasta for added fiber, nutrients, and texture)

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preparation:

1. Combine the first 10 ingredients in large saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes then stir in the tomato paste.

2. Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender.

 

 

3. Cook spaghetti in unsalted water, according to the package directions

4. Spoon sauce over drained hot pasta and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top

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Walking Fish: A Community-Supported Fisheries Project

After taking a Gastronomy class in graduate school last semester, my professor Dr. Fisher informed us about a new and upcoming project that was occurring on the Carolina shoreline- a community supported fisheries program (CSF). I am not a huge fish fanatic, but it seemed very environmentally friendly and sustainable, so wanted to look into this program a little deeper. After visiting the farmer’s market last weekend, I stumbled upon some additional information about this CSF, and wanted to share this with you all!

What is a CSF?

This program is based on the Community-Supported Agriculture model (CSA), which you already know that I love! A Community-Supported Fishery (CSF) is a program that connects local fishermen to local consumers. The local CSF in the Triangle area is the “Walking Fish CSF.”

What is the goal of a CSF?

The idea behind the fisheries project is quite simple- to provide long-term solutions and recognize the interconnectedness of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems.

Goal 1: To support traditional coastal communities by fostering economic opportunities that support resource-based livelihoods.

Goal 2: To encourage an ethic of ecological stewardship that results in creative, community-based approaches to conservation.

Goal 3: To cultivate a healthy community and ties within and between North Carolina’s rural and urban sectors.

How Does a CSF Work?

This program works strikingly similar to a CSA. Members pre-pay for a season of fresh, locally harvested fish. Members can choose their share based on delivery frequency, share size, and degree of processing. Fishing seasons usually last 10-12 weeks.

The fish is caught and processed Monday-Wednesday, and transported to Durham on Thursday. Members meet at the pick-up site to receive thei fresh fish, it’s as simple as that! Weekly emails announce the species that will be delivered each week, and also provide recipes and special cooking or storage instructions.

What Makes Walking Fish CSF Special?

Walking Fish is now in their second SOLD-OUT CSF season, and our community has really become interested and excited about this type of local food.

~In 2009, over 400 members participated, and even more participated in 2010.

~Over 11 different species were provided during the last 12 week season

~Over 95% of the current Walking Fish members say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the shares they receive, and would reccommend this program to others.

For More Information…

www.walking-fish.org

info@walking-fish.org

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