Monthly Archives: March 2014

Colorful Chard

Hey again!

Seattle’s fickle spring weather is here! Will it rain, will it shine, or will we get our two flashes of lightening and thunder and call it a storm? Either way, it’s our Northwest springtime and it’s arrived.

file000899060491Around this time of year many people begin planning a vacation to a location where the sunshine is an everyday occurrence rather than a rarity to celebrate. And that’s where this week’s chard came from; a few hundred miles to the south in California, where many Washingtonians wish they lived during the rainy season. Though we strive to always provide local produce some of our produce has to come from a little farther because of the weather. Don’t worry though, it was still organically grown buy responsible local farmers, they were just a bit farther away! This is basically because chard is usually harvested in the fall, but in California they can grow healthy crops much earlier than we can here in Washington. Crops like Swiss Chard.

The name “Swiss Chard” is actually quite misleading. The vegetable is a member of the beetroot, or garden beet family, and originated in the Mediterranean area. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it became known as Swiss Chard. This was to help distinguish it from French Chard, or as we now know it, spinach.

168123_1017Like most leafy greens, chard is full of health benefits, most notably its ability to regulate blood sugar and its supply of vitamin K. Swiss Chard contains large amounts of syringic acid, also known as a flavonoid.This flavonoid stops certain enzymes from breaking down carbohydrates into complex sugars and therefore aids in moderating your blood sugar. Chard is also high in fiber which helps prevent heart disease and stabilize blood sugar levels.

The Vitamin K is extremely necessary for building healthy strong bones. Everyone knows that calcium is essential for bone health, especially among women. However, vitamin K is a prime component used to activate osteocalcinsOsteocalcins attach calcium to molecules inside our bones and keep our bones from breaking down!

Now that you know all the benefits of this veggie, the most important part comes: how to cook it and make it taste good. Below is a quick and delicious recipe to help get you started!

 

 

Rainbow Chard Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 small sweet onion (there is a yellow onion in this week’s box which will work well too), chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
6 leaves Swiss chard (you can add the stems to if you finely chop them), chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in an eight to twelve inch skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rainbow chard and herbs. Sauté until the chard is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the eggs are solid but still moist to the touch.

Happy eatings!

 

 

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Coconut Kiwi Banana Bread

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Coconut Kiwi Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

1 ½ cups flour 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar ½ light brown sugar, packed 2 eggs ½ tsp vanilla extract 2-3 ripe large bananas, about 1-1/2 cups, mashed ½ cup coconut, toasted 1 cup diced kiwis, and 1 sliced kiwi for the top

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. Add bananas. Gradually add flour mixture to banana mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in toasted coconut (reserving 1 tablespoon) and diced kiwis. Pour batter into greased loaf pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle reserved tablespoon of toasted coconut on top, and evenly place sliced kiwis on top. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Who’s in for Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Tacos?

Cilantro Lime shrimp-tacos-hl-1713088-xOne of the easiest meals that still allows for some creativity is the beloved TACO.

So why not shake things up and try these awesome Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Tacos?

Below is this crowd-pleaser recipe, and let us know what you think!

 

 

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Tacos Recipe
We credit this recipe to Laura Martin Zapalowski.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 medium diced peeled avocado 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bottled salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 1/4 cups red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 pepper)
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

PREPARATION:

1. Combine shrimp, beans, scallions, and avocado. Season with pepper. In a separate bowl, stir together the salsa, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss shrimp mixture with 1/4 cup salsa mixture.

2. Arrange tortillas on a microwave-safe plate in batches of 2. Place a damp paper towel over the tortillas and microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds.

3. Arrange 3–4 pepper strips in the center of each tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup of the shrimp-and-bean mixture. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the salsa verde mixture over each taco. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.

 

How to fix a leek

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Leeks have always been problematic for me. Not because I don’t enjoy their flavor, but because I was never properly taught how to clean and prepare a leak and therefore rarely attempted to cook with them. And though this is hard to admit, I only got the idea to write about leeks this week after I discovered that I had once again let one spoil. Figuring that I can’t possibly be alone in this, and not wanting any more innocent leeks to go uneaten, I found out how to properly clean and prepare leeks.

One of the first things I learned about the leek is that when it is grown dirt is piled up around it. Why you may ask? Primarily to make it very hard to clean. Dirt seems to permeate all the way through this vegetable.

Though the dirt piling is true, the purpose maybe a bit different than I let on. The dirt is piled around the leek to produce the long, soft, light colored stock that we associate with a good leek. Unfortunately the hard to clean dirt is inevitable, but at least there is a good reason for it!

There are two different ways to prepare leeks, depending on what they’re being used for. We’ll go through both, starting with the chopping method.

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Chopped Leeks (best for Soups)

First, it’s important to know the whiter parts of the leeks are the most usable. Also, good leeks are about an inch thick.

Secondly, wash your leeks under cool water thoroughly.

After cleaning, slice lengthwise and cut off the root. As I mentioned, the pale part is the most usable.

However, the darker, top part of the leek can still be used. It has a stronger taste and is much tougher, and takes much longer to cook. So, you need to decide how much of the green you would like to use, or simply throw out. If you decide to keep the tops, they can be used for stock.

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Next, chop leeks crosswise and place in a colander for a final rinse. Now, they are ready to go!

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Preparing the Whole Leek

About half an inch below the lowest opening make a cut straight through the leek and up through the greens. The lower, paler shaft should still be intact.

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Now that your leek has been cut, it should be easier to rinse all the dirt away. Make sure the water is cool.

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Finally, cut the root off at the end of the leek and the dark green top.

Congratulations, you have now successfully prepared a leek!

 

 

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Banana-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There are sooooo many recipes you can incorporate our delicious organic produce, and this week, our team was craving some healthy-yet-delicious cookies!

Yes, it’s possible… with Banana-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies….yummmm!

We’re sharing this great recipe, so you can enjoy some, too!

Banana-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Credit: Health Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ripe banana, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or other favorite nut
  • 1/3 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips (such as Tropical Source)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 6 ingredients (through sugar) in a bowl. Whisk together oil, soy milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients; stir to combine. Fold in banana, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto pan with a small ice-cream scoop. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning baking sheet halfway through. Let cool on a wire rack.

Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 25 minutes.  Makes 16 cookies.

This recipe is:
Low cholesterol
Low saturated fat
Low sodium

What are YOUR favorite cookie recipes?  We’d love to hear about them!

Sunchoke and Sausage Soup

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Ingredients:

4 slices turkey bacon

1 (16 ounce) package sausage, coarsely chopped

1 pound sunchokes, peeled, halved, and cut into ½” slices

6 small purple potatoes, peeled and halved

3 stalks celery, diced

½ large onion, diced

1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart chicken stock

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 pinch ground paprika

¼ cup flour

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Place the turkey bacon, sausage, sunchokes, potatoes, celery, onion, leek, and garlic into a large saucepan.

2. Pour in the chicken stock, and season with parsley, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper.

3. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes.

4. Stir the flour into the water until no lumps remain. Stir into the simmering soup, and continue simmering, covered for 30 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Serves 10

Hope you enjoy this delicious dish!

 

 

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Tasty Sunchokes

This week I thought I’d offer a couple of recipes with sunchokes. Sunchokes, or Jerusalem Artichokes are a tasty root that we are including this week in our vegetable and Washington box. They look a bit like ginger root, taste a bit like a potato, aren’t actually artichokes and likely their name has nothing to do with Jerusalem. But they are quite tasty and because they aren’t as common or popular as many of the other vegetables lots of people don’t know how to cook them. Anyway here are a couple of recipes that I hope you enjoy.

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Jicama Salad with Sunchokes

Ingredients

  • Honey Mustard Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoons fresh dill weed, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The  Salad

  • 1 (2 pound) jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 2 cups unpeeled sunchokes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red kidney, cooked
  • 1 large bunch fresh watercress, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh mustard greens, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh arugula
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and julienned
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, cored and julienned
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and julienned
  • 6 green onions, coarsely chopped

Combine all ingredients and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.

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Oven Roasted Sunchokes

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 large sunchokes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole.
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice sunchokes 1/4-inch thick. Add the sunchokes and garlic to a roasting pan or baking sheet and toss with the olive oil so the bottom of the pan and the sunchokes are lightly coated. Sprinkle with the salt, rosemary and sage. Bake for approximately 20 mins or until the sunchokes are soft

Give these a try and let us know what you think!

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