Thursday, April 16, 2015

Good Eats Newsletter - April 15, 2015

Localvore Members 
& Veggie Only Share Members
take a TAN / LIGHT GREEN BAG

This week your bag will contain:
Shoots; Spinach OR Mizuna; Potatoes; Carrots; Parsnips; Shallots
 
And OUT of the bag:
Frozen Sweet Peppers
Frozen Chard

Localvore Offerings Include:
Quebec Organic Pearled Barley
Rhapsody Natural Foods Tempeh
Pete's Kitchen Baba Ganoush
Champlain Orchards Northern Spy Apples


Half Veggie Only Members
take a YELLOW BAG
containing:
Shoots; Spinach; Potatoes; Parsnips; Shallots

And OUT of the bag:
Frozen Sweet Peppers
Time to stock up your freezer!

We're having a sale on all your frozen favorites. We've got corn, chard, spinach, sweet peppers, broccolik, kale, roasted peppers, cauliflower, shredded zucchini, and jalapenos.

Buy 10 frozen veggies
get 2 free!

 See order form for pricing and ordering information. We'll send your veggies right to your delivery site!

Pete's Musings

Well, that was the toughest winter I've ever experienced. The sustained cold strained greenhouse production and we are eager to build our new gutter connect greenhouse this summer with lots of energy saving equipment that will allow us to grow greens even through the depth of a frigid winter. This morning spring is bursting all over the Black River valley. Geese, ducks, turkeys and deer are prevalent and we even saw a moose a couple days ago. Our greenhouse crops are taking off and we'll be seeding greens, peas, beets and more outside at the end of the week! It's about time, hopefully the spring weather will be dry and stable and allow us to catch up. 
Isaac and Mark are putting the finishing touches on a prepared food kitchen at the Waterbury Farm Market. I'm excited to see the menu Mark is developing, he's a great cook. I hope you get a chance to stop in. 
Our big new change on the farming front this year is that we are planning to apply straw mulch to much of our vegetable acreage. Vegetable farming is intensive use of land. We're constantly stirring, turning, and otherwise disturbing the soil as we plant and cultivate crops. This can cause soil structure to deteriorate and leaves the soil exposed to erosion. It seems we are getting more frequent pounding rainstorms, when you get an inch in 15 minutes it can cause some soil erosion on even the flattest fields. We purchased round bale haying equipment last summer and got our feet wet learning how to hay. This year we're going to harvest rye and oat straw and some reed canary grass hay. We've just procured a machine that chops and spreads a round bale of straw and evenly distributes it over the field. We think this is going to help with weed control, moisture retention, foliar disease (many leaf disease start from soil splashing onto crop leaves), add organic matter, and make a nice dry clean carpet for the crew to work on. Stay tuned, I'm very excited about this project. 
Enjoy the sun, we've earned it this year. ~Pete
Top: today's greenhouse view
Middle: good things on the way - cucumbers!
Bottom: Cukes, pac choi, and mud


Storage and Use Tips

Everyone will get to enjoy shoots this week! Do you have any new and fun recipes for them? I'd love to hear what you're doing with your shoots so please let me know.

Large share members are going to get either spinach OR mizuna. There's not quite enough of either to go around so you'll get one or the other. It's pretty exciting that we've got some new greens going out this week!

Everyone who's getting spinach (ALL half share members and some Large share members) - it will be included IN YOUR BAG OF SHOOTS.

If you get mizuna it will be in a bunch inside your large bag. Mizuna, also know as spider mustard, is a Japanese mustard green with tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavor. You could substitute it, chopped, in a salad calling for arugula. It adds a nice zest to a stir-fry or saute too. Store mizuna, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Special note on the mizuna - it's very delicate and may have a few aphids even though we washed it the best we could. Aphids are a very common greenhouse pest. We have biocontrol systems in place to mitigate these pests, but it only works on certain types of aphids and doesn't control them 100%.  Such is organic growing! If you see them just wash the leaves again gently.

The mizuna was picked as late as possible because it is so perishable (see Molly harvesting it today at right). Your bag may be a little wet so you may want to unpack your veggies as soon as you get home to avoid any damage.

This week's potatoes are called Peter Wilcox. They're beautiful purple potatoes.  They are nicely textured, firm but not waxy, and wonderful whether roasted, boiled, or sliced into wedges or fried.  They have a full earthy flavor that hints of hazelnuts.  For best visual and nutritional effects, leave the skin on while cooking.

Parsnips have a nutty-sweet taste and a tender-hearty texture that is entirely distinct. For centuries, parsnips were a more common staple than the potato—and deservedly so. Satisfying, versatile, and highly nutritious, these delicious roots make a terrific base to any meal. Young parsnips don’t need to be peeled. Simply scrub them under running water with a vegetable brush. Peel larger parsnips, and cut out the core if it seems woody. However you slice or chop parsnips, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size, ensuring an evenly cooked dish. Refrigerate unwashed parsnips in a loosely wrapped or perforated plastic bag for up to two weeks.

Our shallots are a sweeter tasting type of onion. They're a member of the alium family being similar to both garlic and onions. They grow in cloves similar to garlic and have a sweet, mild flavor like a sweet or Spanish onion. They are well known for their ability to be caramelized or cooked down to where the sugars are reduced or concentrated. When eaten raw, they are much sweeter and milder than even sweet onions. You can slice them thin and saute them in recipes that benefit from a sweet, mild onion flavor. When minced, they are fantastic in homemade vinaigrette and pan sauces. Store them in a cool, dark place.

Our frozen sweet peppers are sweet and tasty. Keep them frozen into you are ready to use them.  Frozen peppers tend to not have the same rigidity as fresh peppers but retain all the flavors and yummy summer goodness. They will be delicious sautéed and thrown onto a pizza, or cooked into lasagna, casseroles, soups, or sauces. Recently I enjoyed these sauteed with some onions - they would be delicious with some shallots!

Frozen chard is great for casseroles, lasagnas, quiches etc.  Thaw it, squeeze out the excess liquid and add it in.  Or let it thaw on counter til it softens up enough to saw with a knife, and saw off section to use a lesser amount in a dish.  You can put the remainder back in freezer.

Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section.  I am sure you will find it useful.

Localvore Lore


The organic pearled barley was grown in Quebec and milled at Golden Crops owned by Michel Gaudreau. Pearled barley has been de-hulled, with some or all of the bran removed. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you soak the grains for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. You can also cook barley like pasta, using lots of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over. 

Rhapsody Natural Foods' Tempeh is made right down the road from us in Cabot.  Their farm and production facility is located on a beautiful hill over the small town of Cabot.  They are a small family run operation that prides themselves on making genuinely traditional Japanese foods.  Besides the tempeh, they make other traditional Japanese products - miso, amazake (a fermented rice drink), rice milk, koji (a starter culture for tempeh, amazake, sake and rice vinegar), rice bran, and vegan eggrolls.  They also grow Hayayuki Rice, a cold weather, short season variety from Hokkaido, Japan.

This tempeh comes to you ready to eat - if you're hungry when you pick up you can eat it on your way home!  Otherwise throw it in a frying pan to heat up for a few minutes.  It's wonderful cubed in salads, sliced in a sandwich, great in stir fries, or mashed in sauces or gravies.

* There will be a mixture of BBQ and Teriyaki flavors at your site - choose your favorite! *

Last summer we saved our surplus eggplant, roasted it and made Baba Ganoush to share with you this winter.  It's made with our own eggplant plus cumin, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt.  This is often eaten as a dip with crackers, veggies, or used a spread on bread. It's coming to you frozen so you can stick back in the freezer to enjoy at a later date, or you can thaw out and enjoy right away (use within the week).

Champlain Orchards has their Northern Spy apple for you today. This heirloom apple is best known for its ability to keep through the winter, so we get to enjoy through the spring! Its large size, tart flavor, and pear undertones make for excellent pie, giving it the nickname: “Northern Pie”.

Northern Spy



Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.




Recipes



Simple Mustard Greens Recipe
This is a wonderful way to enjoy your greens - feel free to use your spinach in this recipe if you didn't get mizuna.

1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant. Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.



Fermented Carrot Pickles
If you're like me you have a drawer full of carrots that you haven't quite gotten around to using yet. This is a great recipe for those carrots! You'll need 2 32-oz. canning jars with canning jar bands and lids and cheesecloth. Fermented foods are filled with healthy probiotics and are really good for you to eat. I would also throw in some shredded ginger to add a little kick!
 
1½ lb. small carrots, peeled
 Zest of 2 limes, removed in 1” strips with a vegetable peeler
4 bay leaves
1.2 oz. kosher salt

Combine salt and 6 cups warm water in a large bowl, whisking to dissolve salt. Divide carrots, lime zest, and bay leaves between canning jars. Add brine to cover carrots. Cover with cheesecloth and secure with canning jar bands (without lids). Let sit out of direct sunlight in a room-temperature spot, skimming off any white mold that forms on surface of brine, 5 days. You may want to put the jars in a bowl or on a baking sheet just in case they bubble over.
   
After 5 days, taste carrots every day; once they are tangy and flavorful (this should take about 1 week in most cases), cover jars with lids and chill.
  
DO AHEAD: Pickles can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled.


Caramelized Shallots
What to do with all the shallots besides tossing them into a stir fry?  Make these caramelized shallots!  This recipe, from the Smitten Kitchen, is a great way to maximize the sweetness of the shallots.

6 tbs unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs good red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Melt the butter in a 12" oven-proof saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss to coat.  Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to brown.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender.  Season, to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.



Creamy Parsnip and Pears
For a great twist on mashed potatoes try this recipe. From Eating well, Fall 2004.

2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large pear, (Bartlett or Anjou), peeled, cored and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice, juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place parsnips, pear and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the parsnips are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a food processor. Add butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until completely smooth. Scrape into a serving bowl and serve hot. (To keep puree hot for up to 1 hour, cover with parchment or wax paper and set the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water.)


 
Greens, Garlic and Barley Gratin

This recipe is a great way to enjoy some greens and barley together. Feel free to add some chopped up, steamed carrots or parsnips to bulk it up a bit. Serves 4 to 6.



1 generous bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced, or one small head that has not separated into cloves, chopped

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3 eggs

1/2 cup 2 percent milk
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked pearled barley, brown rice or arborio rice

1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese (2 oz, the clothbound chessar would be a delicioud substitute for gruyere)

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish with olive oil. Blanch the beet greens for one minute in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, or steam over 1 inch of boiling water for two to five minutes until wilted and tender. Rinse with cold water, squeeze out water and chop medium-fine. Set aside.



Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Continue to cook for another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the cooked greens and the thyme, and toss together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.



In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in the greens mixture, the barley or rice, and the cheeses. Mix together well. Scrape into the oiled baking dish.



Bake 35 to 40 minutes until sizzling and lightly browned on the top and sides. Remove from the heat, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.



The gratin will be good for three or four days. It is as good served cold or at room temperature as it is hot.



Persian Chicken Barley Soup (Soup e Jo)
Here's that barley chicken soup I mentioned a few weeks ago. Hopefully you have homemade broth for this, but if not store bought will work just fine. (makes 4-6 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium-sized carrot, shredded
1/3 cup pearl barley
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup plain yogurt (or substitute with heavy cream)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over low heat, and add the onions and celery along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until well softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook, stirring, another 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, another minute. Add the carrots, barley, and stock and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook covered 30-40 minutes, or until the barley is very tender.

Combine a ladle of the soup in a separate bowl with the yogurt and stir until smoothly incorporated. Pour the mixture into the soup and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, or cover and chill before serving for up to 5 days.

 

BBQ Country Style Ribs

Country style ribs require long slow cooking and deserve to be cooked to the meat is nearly falling from the bone. You can do this in a slow cooker in about 6-8 hours, or you can go the oven route and get there in a shorter amount of time. Either way, the results should be delicious. This recipe was reviewed by over 200 users of allrecipes.com, most giving it 5 stars. Not surprising as the method is perfect for this cut of meat and the lemon slices on top help tenderize the meat while it cooks. You could use any BBQ sauce for this, or just serve the ribs plain if you have picky kids in the house. They'll be yummy regardless. Some reviewers covered the ribs with foil for the first 2 hours to keep the more moist. 



10 country style pork ribs

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce



Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if desired. Spread the garlic on the ribs, then place the lemon slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 to 250 degrees F.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good Eats Newsletter - April 8, 2015

Localvore Members 
& Veggie Only Share Members
take a TAN / LIGHT GREEN BAG

This week your bag will contain:
Shoots; Potatoes; Carrots; Beets; Celeriac; Cabbage
 
And OUT of the bag:
Frozen Spinach
Frozen Cauliflower

Localvore Offerings Include:
Grand Isle Vermont Spelt Fusili
Von Trapp Savage Cheese
Pete's Kitchen Basil Pesto


Half Veggie Only Members
take a YELLOW BAG
containing:
Shoots; Potatoes; Beets; Celeriac; Cabbage

And OUT of the bag:
Frozen Spinach

It's not too early to start thinking about a summer share!

We are now accepting sign-ups for the summer share!

It starts on June 17th and runs through October 7th.





Storage and Use Tips

This week's salad greens are shoots. Got any hard boiled Easter eggs left? Make up some egg salad and include shoots! Or add shoots to coleslaw or the beet-cabbage salad below.

Everyone's getting baby potatoes this week! The large share is getting baby bakers and the half share is geting baby Modocs. These potatoes are great roasted up and so easy - you don't even have to peel them. Just mix them with some oil, salt and pepper, and roast until tender.They're also wonderful boiled! Store potatoes in a cool dark place.

Celeriac, while funky and scary looking, is a wonderful vegetable. Once you peel away the gnarly outer layer you'll find a creamy interior with a clean taste. Store unwashed celeriac in a plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for several weeks.  Here's how to cut this veggie: I like to take a thin slice off the top so that I can lay it flat.  Then I cut the whole thing into 1" wide strips and trim the edges off.  It's tough to peel because it's so uneven so this method works well for me.  Like apples, celeriac will darken if exposed to the air for too long. If you don’t plan to cook it immediately, submerge the celeriac in a bowl of water with lemon juice squeezed in.

Savoy cabbage has loosely wrapped, savoyed or crumpled leaves.  These cabbages have a thick wrapper leaf which enables them to store well but are not as well suited to stir fry or egg rolls as Chinese types of cabbages with their thin skins and sweet flavor.  They are also not so high in dry matter like your slaw or kraut cabbages which are perfect for retaining structure during processing and fermenting.  The savoy cabbage is perfect for cooking however, especially in soups that can tenderize its thick kale-like leaves.  I also prefer savoy cabbages to stuff with rice, tomato sauce and sausages.  Saute with a little butter and a splash of milk or cream to quickly soften the leaves and bring out its sweet flavors on the stove top.  Store cabbage in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for a few weeks.

Frozen spinach is great for casseroles, lasagnas, quiches etc. Thaw it, squeeze out the excess liquid and add it in.  Or let it thaw on counter til it softens up enough to saw with a knife, and saw off section to use a lesser amount in a dish.  You can put the remainder back in freezer.  This is really great in pasta or even added to smoothies.

The frozen cauliflower was grown on our farm, brought in from the field and straight into the freezer. They were washed, blanched, bagged and frozen within hours of harvest.To use vegetables let the package thaw in the fridge till soft, or submerge bag in warm water till usable. Remove from plastic bag before heating. Since frozen foods are often blanched (or lightly cooked) the cooking time tends to be reduced and all they really need is a warm up.

Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section.  I am sure you will find it useful.

Localvore Lore

This is an exciting week with 2 new products!

Starting off on this pasta week is Vermont Spelt Fusili from Grand Isle Pasta. This pasta is made with water and certified organic whole wheat spelt flour grown at the Biedler Family Farm in Randolph Center. Grand Isle Pasta is described as vibrant artisinal pasta inspired by local ingredients, created with the unique traditions of Italy. Husband and wife team, Daniel and Gloria, were inspired by the local food movement in their hometown of Grand Isle. They started pairing the vibrant flavors and colors of local vegetables with local flours to create simple, flavorful artisanal pastas. They extrude the pasta through brass plates, which creates a coarse textured pasta that carries sauces well. They dry the pastas with a slow, multi-step process so that it retains the nutrients and flavors of the high quality ingredients used. The brass plates, fresh vegetables, and range of flours give their pasta a unique and creative taste. They are delicious, and perfect for the simplest preparations of olive oil and garlic to the most intricate dishes.


GI Pasta Gallery 3.jpg

Up next is Savage Cheese from a new to the localvore share cheese maker - Von Trapp Creamery. The creamery, located in Waitsfield, is a family farm;  they started making organic artisan cheeses in 2009. They are truly a "farmstead" cheese operation as the milk from the cows is being produced in an adjacent building to the cheese making facility.  They set out to be part of the solution to Vermont's declining dairy economy and working landscape.  Their vehicle to sustainability is artisan cheese making on a 50-cow family farm and their mission is to be one example of how to make a small family farm in the center of Vermont economically viable by producing delicious organic small batch cheeses.

This cheese, named for Samuel S. Savage,  who settled the von Trapp farm in the 1700's, is delicious!
It's an Alpine style cheese that's hard-cooked and pressed, then aged for 8 to 12 months.  Savage is comprised of their organic unpasteurized cows milk and delivers with bold, nutty and sweet flavors.

Rounding out our share this week is Pete's Kitchen Basil Pesto. This would be awesome mixed with the pasta! It's made with our own basil blended with olive oil, romano and parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice and salt. If you like yours garlicky - add some minced fresh garlic to your cooked pasta before mixing the pesto with the pasta.  The pesto will come to you frozen. To use, simply thaw and eat as is or add to your dishes. It will keep in your fridge a couple weeks, but if you won't use the entire tub right away, just throw it back in the freezer! It keeps really well.


Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.




Recipes



Tart Apple and Celery Root Salad
This salad hits you on the head with its sharp sweetness and oniony heat, and it's a great way to shake you up a little on a drowsy spring night. Serve it alongside a seasonal stew and you'll get a perfect balance. When serving it on its own try adding a handful of chopped walnuts and a few baby leaves. From the book "Plenty More" by Yotam Ottolenghi.

3/4 cup quinoa
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp superfine sugar
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 large celery root
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 Granny Smith apples
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 red chile, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
salt

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, and then set aside to dry completely.

Place the vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the onion and rub the liquids into it using your hands. Add the oil, stir, and set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.

Peel the celery root, cut into very thin strips, and place in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Quarter the apples, remove the cores, and cut each quarter into similarly thin strips. Add to the celery root and mix well. Add the onion along with the quinoa, poppy seeds, chile, and cilantro. Mix well and taste to see if you need any more salt, sugar, or vinegar; you are aiming for a pungent, sweet-and-sour flavor.



Baked Pesto Pasta
This is a different twist on an old favorite, baked penne. The tomato sauce adds a nice layer of depthness to the pasta and pesto mixture and the cheese brings it all together.

1 lb plain pasta or 1 lb whole wheat pasta (penne, ziti, shells or corkscrews work well)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaf
salt and pepper
1 cup basil pesto
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1⁄2 lb part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  Preheat your pot for the tomato sauce over medium heat. Add olive oil, then garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Next add the diced onion, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until onion soft and fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir well.   When tomatoes begin to boil, reduce heat to low, add fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Let sauce simmer.

Preheat broiler.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook until just barely al dente. Drain pasta, and toss with 1 cup of your pesto sauce, 1/2 cup parmesan, and 1 cup of the ricotta cheese, be sure to blend well. Add pasta to a casserole dish. Top with the tomato basil sauce. You don't need to use all of the sauce, but rather serve the extra on the side. Top casserole with shredded mozzarella cheese. Place under broiler for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

 Remove foil for last 5-10 minutes in order to melt cheese.

   **Note:Casserole can be assembled ahead of time, covered with foil, and then reheated in a 350 degree oven until heated through.


Shredded beet-cabbage salad
This salad is super tasty and would be even better with some shoots added in!

2 cups red beets, peeled and shredded
2 shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup fresh parsley (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp onion, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup fresh parsley
green olives (optional)

Steam beets, carrots, and cabbage separately until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Mix veggies with all other ingredients and chill.



Beer and Vegetables One-Pot Dish
So apparently today, April 7th is National Beer Day! In honor of this "holiday" I thought it would be fun to include a beer recipe. This is a super easy way to roast your veggies!

Various root vegetables - carrots, potatoes, beets, celeriac, cabbage, onions, garlic
1 bottle beer
salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Peel and chop veggies to a uniform size and put them all into a pot. Add salt, pepper, and beer. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until tender. Enjoy!



Garlic Potato Salad
This is a very pleasing and light tasting potato salad with a Mediterranean flavor. It would be especially good with garlic scapes once in season.

6 cups potatoes, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green onions, minced, OR 1 yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, OR 1 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked potatoes and stir to coat. Chill about 3 hours before serving.

 

BBQ Country Style Ribs

Country style ribs require long slow cooking and deserve to be cooked to the meat is nearly falling from the bone. You can do this in a slow cooker in about 6-8 hours, or you can go the oven route and get there in a shorter amount of time. Either way, the results should be delicious. This recipe was reviewed by over 200 users of allrecipes.com, most giving it 5 stars. Not surprising as the method is perfect for this cut of meat and the lemon slices on top help tenderize the meat while it cooks. You could use any BBQ sauce for this, or just serve the ribs plain if you have picky kids in the house. They'll be yummy regardless. Some reviewers covered the ribs with foil for the first 2 hours to keep the more moist. 



10 country style pork ribs

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce



Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if desired. Spread the garlic on the ribs, then place the lemon slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 to 250 degrees F.