Monthly Archives: June 2014

Spinach-Broccolini Quiche

Happy Solstice, Produce Lovers!

Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen, Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen, Wikimedia Commons

We hope you are enjoying the longest days of the year. Today we bring you a recipe we love, with veggies we are serving this week. You can serve this one warm or cold and for breakfast or dinner, and it should be a good way to get even the kids to eat their veggies.

Spinach-Broccolini Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

    Photo Credit: Agriffin, Wikimedia Commons

    Photo Credit: Agriffin, Wikimedia Commons

  • 4 oz broccolini, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 ¼ cup skim milk
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pie crust

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Sautee broccolini, spinach, and garlic in butter for a few minutes, to lightly wilt spinach. Do not over cook at this stage, as these ingredients will cook further in the oven.
  • Meanwhile, mix milk, mozzarella, mustard, salt, pepper, eggs, and egg whites in a bowl.
  • When the spinach is slightly wilted, transfer sautéed spinach and broccolini mixture to pie crust. Pour in egg and cheese mixture. Top with parmesan cheese and bake 35-40 minutes.
  • Let cool to appropriate temperature before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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Save the Bees!

As any farmer will tell you, pollination is a critical step in growing good food. The transfer of pollen from male to female plants is accomplished by a variety of methods, including wind currents, but the most common method for agricultural crops is transfer by insects such as bees. Many species of fruits and vegetables, as well as crops for feeding livestock, such as alfalfa and clover, rely on insect pollination in order to survive and reproduce. One study, by Roger Morse and Nicholas Calderone of Cornell University, valued the economic effects of the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) alone at $14.6 billion per year.

 

Photo Credit: Erik Hooymans, Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Erik Hooymans, Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, pollinators of many different species are suffering from severe population decline and a mysterious ailment known as Colony Collapse Disorder, in which apparently healthy colonies of bees suddenly lose their adult workers. The most recent studies indicate that a major cause of Colony Collapse Disorder may be the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on agricultural crops, which have been shown to inhibit the neurological functions of honeybees, impair their ability to find their way home to their colony, and slow the production of new queens.

These dramatic changes threaten the very existence of honeybees and other pollinators, making extinction a real possibility. The loss of honeybees would threaten our ability to feed ourselves, let alone produce the kinds of fantastic agricultural surpluses we have been able to produce in recent years.

 

Photo Credit- Javier Robles, Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit- Javier Robles, Wikimedia Commons

So what can we do to help prevent this dire possibility? There are several easy steps we can all take to help our local pollinators recover and thrive.

 

Eat Organic!

Organic produce is grown without the use of chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers that harm the health of bees. When bees are released into fields of organic crops, all they find is nice, healthy pollen, uncontaminated by the kinds of dangerous chemicals found in non-organic industrial crop production.

Think Twice about Weeding

Photo Credit: Thomas Bresson, Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Thomas Bresson, Wikimedia Commons

As we mentioned in an earlier post, some of those plants that we think of as common garden and lawn pests, like dandelions and daisies, are critical food sources for wild pollinators. Having a healthy and diverse yard (as opposed to a manicured lawn) will help the bees in your area thrive. Avoid using chemical pesticides and herbicides in your garden, and if you must weed, weed by hand instead. In a similar vein, planting flowering plants in your yard and garden will provide food and habitat for bees. Lavender, lilac, mint, tomatoes, squash, and herbs like thyme and rosemary are all great for the bees.

Buy Raw Local Honey

Raw, locally produced honey (such as BeeKing’s Raw Honey, available in the PCH Online Market) supports commercial beekeeping operations that give local bees lots of food and habitat. Many beekeepers also rent out their bees to farmers to help pollinate the fields, keeping the pollination cycle that has sustained agriculture for thousands of years in motion.

Keep an eye out for your friendly local pollinators this summer!

 

Stay organically connected!

John, Tom & Reece
Pacific Coast Harvest
“We Buy Local First”
206.455.8959

The easiest (and yummiest) casserole for dinner

zucchini-casserole-edit
Are you ready to mix things up for dinner—and enjoy a delicious casserole!

We’ve got a SUPER easy casserole recipe for you to check out—let us know what you think!

 


Easy Zucchini Casserole

Adapted from Melody, The Very Last Bite

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchini squash
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of French fried onions
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of shredded Pepperjack cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Finely chopped oven-roasted garlic to taste
  • Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel the skin off of your zucchini squash.
  3. Slicing the zucchini squash into VERY thin round slices, (you should almost be able to see through them)
  4. In a large bowl, mix together your milk, crushed French onions, Cream of Mushroom soup, pepper, and garlic.
  5. Add your cheese and sliced zuchinni to the bowl of mixed ingredients and mix them together until everything is coated.
  6. Grease an oven-safe, square glass dish and pour your mixture into the dish.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes
  8. While the dish baking, combine panko and dried parsley in a bowl.
  9. After 25 minutes, remove the dish from oven and cover with panko mixture.
  10. Bake five or ten more minutes or until panko starts to brown.

Cooking Time: 35 min

Stay organically connected!

John, Tom & Reece
Pacific Coast Harvest
“We Buy Local First”
206.455.8959

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Hello everyone! We hope you are enjoying this lovely June. It’s time to gear up for Father’s Day barbecues, so this week we have a special post on one of our favorite springtime veggies- the spring onion.

ARS_red_onion

What is the difference between a regular onion and a spring onion?

Spring onions are harvested very early in the season (hence the name) before the bulbs have had a chance to grow to their full adult size. They are delicious little treats with a very sweet taste. Although some people and stores refer to spring onions, shallots, and green onions interchangeably, these three food items are quite different.

Green onions are the stalks of very immature onions, even younger than spring onions, and they have a very mild taste. Shallots are elongated and brown. They look a bit like heads of garlic, but darker in color. Spring onions, on the other hand, have a small bulb and a more intense flavor than green onions, but are a different species than shallots (though both are in the genus Allium).

Allium_ascalonicum_Ypey29

These juvenile onions have less of the volatile compounds that cause your eyes to water when you cut an adult onion, which is a great benefit if you are cutting a lot of them for a barbeque! The lack of these compounds also makes the taste of these onions sweeter.

 

Side note:

Did you know that when onions are cut, they release a gaseous compound called propanethiol S-oxide, which reacts with the water in our eyes to form sulfuric acid, causing the burning sensation? Yikes! Here’s a fun little explanation of that process from a chemist. Wiki-How also has a page of fun suggestions on how to avoid burning eyes while cutting onions.

So this weekend, if the weather permits, enjoy a few grilled spring onions with your Father’s day barbecue!

 

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Zucchini and Carrot Muffins

Ok guys, summer is rolling in, and that means summer squash! Here’s a fun little recipe you can make with zucchini from this week’s box. Serve at BBQs for a fun treat.

1024px-Courgettes_(7232533258)

 Zucchini and Carrot Muffins

Makes six standard muffins

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1 cup grated zucchini

1 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a pan with 6 muffin cups with paper liners or cooking spray.

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, salt, and egg. Add zucchini, carrots, cinnamon, and pecans.

 

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the batter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

 

Bake the muffins until the edges are lightly browned and they feel firm if gently pressed, about 20 to 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack, and cool completely.

 

Enjoy!

 

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The PERFECT Quiche for Father’s Day Brunch

spinach-mushroom-quiche

Whether you are celebrating Father’s Day, the weekend or any ol’ day of the week, we’ve found the PERFECT quiche to have at brunch.

Delicious Spinach Mushroom Quiche
Adapted from Allrecipes

Makes 1, 9-inch quiche (6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1, 9-inch single pie crust, already prepared
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach
  • 8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 oz. container crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 oz. package shredded Swish cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

PREPARATIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Put pie crust into 9-inch pie dish
  3. Whisk in a bowl: eggs, parsley, milk, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, salt
  4. In a separate bowl, combine mushrooms, spinach, onion and feta cheese.
  5. Spread mushroom-spinach mixture into the pie dish, and top it with half the Swiss cheese
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the filling evenly while swirling the egg mixture in the bowl to spread the seasonings throughout the eggs.
  7. Add the remaining Swiss cheese to the top of the quiche.
  8. Place the quiche on a baking sheet.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven until the quiche is puffed and lightly browned (approximately 45 to 50 min.)
  10. Test the quiche with a toothpick; the toothpick inserted into the center of the quiche should come out clean.
  11. Cool for half an hour before serving. ENJOY!

PREP TIME:  15 minutes
COOK TIME:  45 minutes
TOTAL TIME:  1 hour and 30 minutes

Stay organically connected!

John, Tom & Reece

Pacific Coast Harvest
“We Buy Local First”
206.455.8959

 

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The Alchemy of Produce Freshness

Last week we gave you some beginner’s tips on how to begin a compost system for the food you don’t end up using. This week, we thought it would be useful to follow that up with some handy tips and tricks on how to prevent your fruits, veggies, and herbs from ending up in the compost pit. Keeping produce fresh as long as possible can be complicated, but we will try to make it easier for you with these simple steps.

 

Ethylene Gas

 800px-Avocado

Ethylene is a harmless gas given off by all fresh produce as it ripens. The gas speeds the ripening process of fruits and vegetables, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on what you want to do. You can harness the power of ethylene to ripen hard avocados or stone fruits by placing the unripe items in a paper bag on the counter with a few bananas or apples, which give off more ethylene gas than other foods. This will have your avocados ripe within a day or two. On the other hand, if you want to keep produce from ripening too quickly, simply keep it away from high-ethylene producers in a separate drawer in the fridge. The blog SparkPeople.com has a handy little chart here that will help you figure out what to store together and what to keep separate.

 

Ethylene gas is the principle behind produce freshness bags like Debbie Meyer and Evert-Fresh. These bags contain a chemical called zeolite, which absorbs and cancels out the effect of the ethylene gas. This works well for produce that should be bagged, like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, but other items, like bananas and tomatoes, shouldn’t be put in plastic bags at all.

800px-Cauliflower_(4701349936)

 

Reviving Limp Produce

Some items, especially stalks like celery or rhubarb, can be brought back from the edge of extinction by placing them in a bowl of cold water for a few hours. If your celery is limp to the point of being unappetizing, try this trick and the celery will soak up the water back into its cells, firming it up and making it look like the day it was picked! This trick works with limp carrots as well, though they won’t taste as fresh as they would have been before going limp.

800px-Celery_cross_section

Let us know what you think, and as always, have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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