About Andcookiestoo

Hi, my name is Adah and I love to cook. I initally wanted to start blogging when my family became CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shareholders with a local farm and I discovered that we didn't always know what to do with unfamiliar veggies. There weren't always recipes or ideas to be found on the internet that I thought accessible or that I thought would work in our family's daily menu. As I began to experiment with new recipes and found ways to incorporate new (to us) vegetables into my familiar recipes (without scaring away my six year old and sometimes veggie adverse hubby) I realized there may be others out there who might find themselves in a similar predicament and would benefit in my sharing my family's journey in trying to incorporate more vegetables into our daily routine. Also, it gives me an excuse to take pictures of my food :-). My family joined a CSA because we love to cook and eat and wanted to feed our family quality produce grown without pesticides. We realized that as consumers, our dollars make an impact where we spend them, and that our purchases speak volumes to producers. Eating this way can sometimes be cost prohibitive when shopping at chain grocers, so a very local, organic, farm was a Godsend to us. We still supplement our produce from grocery stores, mostly with fruit, which is a must in my daughter's lunchbox. Overall, we love food, and yes, plenty of cookies! I promise there will be cookies! Please join me as I chronicle my family's journey through our CSA box and our kitchen.

Mushroom Barley Soup with Mini Meatballs

I’m in the middle of a cupcake baking frenzy for my daughter’s birthday party on Saturday. It always makes me nervous to not have a definite guest count, but I decided I would rather be short on pizza than cupcakes. So I’m making extras. ūüôā¬† I had a pretty eventful weekend picking strawberries, making jam, and canning it. It is always¬†wonderful to walk around the¬†farm that provides us with our¬†CSA box of deliciousness.¬†We didn’t get to pick as many strawberries as we wanted, but I managed to pick enough for 6 jars of jam which I’ll be hoarding unless I can get another bountiful supply of strawberries before the season is over.

Here’s a pretty little ladybug we encountered while picking strawberries at our CSA farm.

I did manage, between party planning and jam-making, to whip up a tasty soup with my CSA veggies. I know, it’s getting rather warm in pretty much all parts of the country, but I’m always a sucker for a good soup. This is one. Soup is also a good way to use a lot of veggies at one time.¬†In my efforts to consume more whole grains and legumes, I have been making a batch of either beans, or grains on Sundays to incorporate into our weekday meals. This week I cooked barley. I made¬†a homemade vegetable broth to use as the soup base. I incorporated the water from reconstituted dried mushrooms. You can use fresh, but I did feel that the dried mushrooms and their broth gave the soup a¬†nice richness and color. The soup was even better the next day as is usual with most soups. I highly recommend you eat it with a squirt of Sriracha.

I have to apologize for the soup pic. When I started making the soup I was just going through my routine and didn’t even think about photgraphing it until I was happily half way through my bowl. If you’re like me and love soup no matter the weather, give this a try!

If you would like to use uncooked barley, add them before you add the broth and simmer until the barley is just about cooked through before you add the meatballs.

My half eaten bowl of soup

Mushroom Barley Soup with Mini Meatballs

For the soup I used:
1 cup of reconstituted dried mixed mushrooms,chopped small
Half an onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 celery stalks, plus leaves, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped
1-1/2 cups cooked barley
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
About 8-10 cups of vegetable broth, depending on if you want it stew-like, or brothy
3 T Worcestershire
3 T liquid aminos or soy sauce(I used aminos)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:
1-1/3 lbs organic ground beef
1 egg
1tsp dry parsley
1tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic Mrs. Dash
1tsp kosher salt
1 T grated onion
1 T Worcestershire sauce

Sauté veggies, except mushrooms, in 1T coconut oil or olive oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add bay leaves and mushrooms. Add broth, and liquid seasonings, bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 min.

Meanwhile make meatballs. Mix ground beef with seasonings and egg. Shape into marble sized balls and drop carefully into simmering soup. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer 10 more min, then add cooked barley. Simmer until heated through. Taste check for salt and pepper.

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More Than Salads

I picked up a new box on Saturday. We received the largest beets I have ever seen! My husband wasn’t too happy about that! Luckily, my mom, who came over for Mother’s Day,¬†really enjoys beets and I promised to take her half of mine¬†that I cooked and marinated today¬†like I did when I made the Power Up Salad. I am also sharing some with my friend. I love fellow beet lovers! I reserved 2 cups of cooked beets which I pureed. I am going to try my hand at making beet chocolate cake. I keep hearing a lot about it. Time to see what all the hubbub is about.

You can see the giant beets in the picture below. The two dark red beets are what my beets normally look like. Those came with the greens attached. The two top ones came sans greens, but I thought they were interesting enough to deserve their own pic.

The two beets at the top are huge!

Veggie box contents this week:

Strawberries (Not pictured. We had already eaten most of them by the time I assembled the veggies for their photo shoot) ūüôā
Celery- It was a very pretty purple/red color near the roots.
Beets- I snip and wash the beet greens to use in salads and other dishes.  
Carrots- snip these greens too to make carrot top pesto
Fennel
Lettuce
Basil
Micro rainbow greens mix
The items in the lower left corner were purchased at the farm stand (zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, a large bunch of mint, and also a large bag of wheatgrass, not pictured).

Veggie box contents

I am linking up with In Her Chucks¬†for her CSA link party. Go check it out¬†if you haven’t already!

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It is strawberry season where I live and we have been getting about a pint or so of strawberries in our boxes. We have also been buying extras from the farmstand because they are so beautiful and tantalizing that it is hard to resist them. I was not able to make it out to the Second Saturday Farm Tour to do some bug perusing because my daughter had a soccer game smack dab in the middle of both tour times. However, the farm is hosting a Strawberry Jam this saturday, basically a strawberry u-pick, which I will be attending. I plan to convert our strawberry bounty into delicious jam after the event. I will bring my camera along to the farm to take some pictures of any Veggie Friends who might appear during the strawberry picking. I am going to make time to attend a proper tour so I can do my Veggie Friends update probably some time in June.

We have had quite an abundance of mint lately and my husband and I made some beverages to use it up. My husband made a Strawberry Mojito (he is really good at making mojitos!) and I made a non-alcoholic citrus punch using lemon verbena tea leaves which I also purchased from the farm. They were both very refreshing. I hope you give them a try.

Strawberry Mint Mojito

Refreshing!

4 oz. club soda
2 large strawberries plus 1 for garnish
2 pkgs Sugar in the Raw or 1/2 pkg Truvia (We have made them both ways. I prefer the taste of the Truvia as it is very light and granulated enough to help muddle the mint leaves, but I am also used to stevia. If you are not used to the taste of stevia, use sugar or other preferred substitute)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
8 mint leaves
2 oz white rum (We used White Rhum Barbancourt that a friend brought us from a trip to Haiti)

Place sugar or truvia in cocktail shaker. Add the mint leaves.¬†Slice up the 2 strawberries and add. Muddle together with the back of a wooden spoon until the strawberries are broken down a bit.¬†Add lemon juice, rum and fill to top with ice. Shake well and pour into¬†glass over club soda. No need to strain it unless you don’t want the strawberry chunks in your drink. Garnish and drink up!

Lemon Verbena Citrus PunchThis makes a concentrate you can dilute with seltzer water to serve or add seltzer/water all at once in a larger pitcher to serve as is.

Lemon Verbena Citrus Punch

2 cups of lemon verbena tea, cooled (You can brew to your liking using loose tea leaves or bagged tea)
2 cups of brewed mint tea, cooled
1 cup mint simple syrup (I made my own using 1 cup each of water, sugar and fresh mint leaves)
3 lemons
2 grapefruit
handful of mint, torn up
Ice
Seltzer water or plain drinking water
Prepare tea, set aside to cool. Juice 2 lemons, and both grapefruits. Slice the remaining lemon into thin slices. Combine in a pitcher (I used a 2 qt.pitcher)- both teas, citrus juice, and simple syrup. Stir to combine- add lemon slices, and torn mint leaves. Refrigerate for a few hours to cool.  Flavors will concentrate as it sits.
To serve: Fill a glass with ice. Fill 1/4-1/2 way with seltzer water then top off with citrus punch. Sweetness can be adjusted to your taste. If you want you can also add water to the pitcher until it suits your taste and refrigerate.You will need a larger pitcher to do this.¬†Fridge space is at a premium at my house so the concentrated version works better for me. ūüôā

Carrot Top Pesto

Hello all! I have not fallen off the face of the earth. ūüôā I am still here, but have been rather stuck in the whirlwind known as the end of the school year. The end of the school year always seems to be a blur. It’s almost as if spring break accelerates the arrival of Summer and we find ourselves in a whirlwind of time, desperately trying to catch up and accomplish all that needs to be done before the days of summer relaxation can begin. The last few weeks have been kind of like that for me. Between¬†shuttling my now 7 year old to school and soccer, carpool,¬†homework, nightly dinners, keeping up with my own schoolwork and (gulp) finals, I have still been making healthful meals and trying to find new ways to use my CSA box contents. I received a new box today, but am going to post the contents tomorrow.

Today I want to share that a) I did make cookies on cookie friday, even though I didn’t post them. b) I made carrot top pesto! From carrot tops! The green¬†leaves that grow out of the top of my beautiful CSA carrots. c) We also finally acquired an item we had been ogling for a very long time– a Vitamix blender. I’ve been drinking a large portion of my fruits and veggies lately. I apologize beforehand if I have a bit of Vitamix fever in the coming weeks.. I will say that even though the Vitamix is touted as a juicer, it doesn’t really juice like a juicer. It makes wholemeal juice, meaning that the pulp and fiber are all pulverized into the juice which results in a smoothie texture. It works for me as long as I think of it as a smoothie and not juice.

On to the carrot top pesto. I had been wanting to make carrot top pesto for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.The leaves are beautiful, but they taste so different from anything I know that I wasn’t sure I could successfully pull off using them in a recipe. My CSA put up a recipe for carrot top pesto on their blog a while back, but I was skeptical. Our last box had some insanely huge heirloom carrots in it, and the leaves were abundant and very pretty. I really want to make our CSA experience as waste free as possible so I decided to give the pesto a whirl. I did not follow a recipe, but did my usual method of pureeing and adding as I went along to suit my taste. I had one stalk of green garlic left and I decided to use that so the pesto wouldn’t consist of just the bitter carrot tops. I also added some mint leaves as I had a lot of those and thought it would add some interest. I also used some lemon juice to cut the bitterness. It worked really well. I used some of the pesto¬†for dinner with pasta and froze the rest in an ice cube tray (1 TB in each compartment), then transferred to a freezer storage bag. I had leftover pasta which I turned into a pasta frittata the next morning.

Carrot Top Pesto

carrot top pesto ready for freezing

3 cups of carrot top greens, washed and spun dry

1 whole stalk of green garlic, or 2 garlic cloves, minced

12 mint leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan (I used a parm/romano mix)

1 tsp black pepper

1 TB lemon juice

olive oil ( I didn’t measure. I just streamed it into the food processor to get a nice paste.¬†I would suggest starting with 1/4 C and adjusting to suit your preferred consistency.)

Add everything to your food processor and whir away until you have a nice paste. Separate for freezing like I did, or store in a glass jar in the fridge to use during the week.

Carrot top pesto with penne

I will share the cookies I made later in the week.

Veggie Friends update, new box, and beet greens rice pilaf

I’m back and have a new box! I can’t believe our spring break totally threw me off my schedule! luckily¬†I still remembered¬†to take pictures (most of the time). I did a bit of baking, but was¬†having some oven issues. Thankfully, I seemed to have figured them out.¬†I’ll be back to posting regularly and I believe next Friday is Cookie Friday!

I actually have a great little story to share with you guys about my Veggie Friends post. Before I wrote the post I had emailed my CSA provider to ask some information about the local bugs that I might find in¬†their crops.I know farmers are very busy people and I wasn’t really expecting them to reply, so I went ahead and wrote my post just based on my experience. The farm’s general manager actually got back to me a little while later and put me in contact with their Farmer #1, named Ellie, who was very accommodating¬†and gave me plenty of information. They also included my original email in a current blog post with tons of info seen here: http://www.suziesfarm.com/. If you read their post, you will see they have invited me ūüôā to head down and experience the bugs for myself during¬†their Second Saturday Harvest Tour next month and I intend to do just that! I will do a follow-up post about my Veggie Friends after the tour!

Box contents:
Strawberries
Baby Lettuce Mix
Mixed Beets
Carrots
Kale
Lettuce
Artichokes (We were super excited about these)
Wheatberry¬†Sprouts –Never had these before, but we liked them. I¬†used the recipe for wheatberry salad that came with our box insert (It’s also on their website). It was delicious, but I¬†want to get more ideas to use them more often.
Mint

They have the texture of cooked brown rice with a hearty nuttiness. We ate them raw.

This week's box contents. Looks like Spring!

My husband bought additional strawberries and beautiful, fragrant basil!

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This week, my beets came with some very abundant, and beautiful beet green tops.

They were so pretty I felt compelled to take their picture.

I have really come to love eating beet greens. I put them in all our salads and they blend in really well with other greens and a nice vinaigrette. For a long time I didn’t even know they were edible until one of the farm stand marketeers told me. She also told me about eating the broccoli greens (which I do now). I cringe to think back at how many times I threw them away! :-0 I’m still working up to eating carrot¬†tops,¬†I can’t really figure out which way to go flavor-wise as they are¬†pretty bitter.

For some reason this week’s beet¬†bunch had more beet greens than usual. It might be because the beets were also a lot bigger.¬†I make rice pilaf often and usually just switch out the herb/veggies I add in. This week as soon as I thought of rice pilaf I knew I was going to make it with beet greens. It was delicious and I loved the little red speckles from the beet greens.

I almost always use my electric rice cooker to make rice. It’s much more practical for me and it keeps the rice warm until I’m ready to serve.

Beet Greens Rice Pilaf

I love the red flecks in the pilaf from the bright red veins in the beet greens.

1-1/2 cups rice (I use Calrose, I like the texture of medium grain rice)
1/4 cup of orzo pasta
2 cups of beet greens, shredded
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2-1/2 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter

Place a medium size skillet over med-low heat and melt butter. Add orzo and stir until slightly browned, this will take about 3 or 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat in butter, add garlic and toast for another 2 minutes. You do not want to let the garlic burn!

Carefully transfer the toasted rice/orzo mixture into an electric rice cooker (or proceed with your usual stove-top steaming method), add the broth and salt and set to cook. Once cooked, remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and very gently fold in the beet greens a handful at a time. Serve.

I served this with a mustard pork tenderloin and a side of marinated beets like the ones I used in my Power-Up Salad. We had a guest for dinner and I kept hearing “This rice is really good!” Success! ūüôā

New Box 4/31 and Power-Up Salad

I’ve been a bit M.I.A. lately. We’re on Spring Break and have been very busy gallivanting around town. ūüôā We picked up our new CSA box last Saturday. It’s taken me a whole week to put up this post!¬†There was green garlic at the farm stand this morning! Hooray!

Our new box¬†was a beautiful melange¬†of greens. We made a¬† delicious salad to fully encompass the freshness and surprise– I got my family to eat beets!! My daughter even had seconds! I tried to keep my mouth closed as I watched her eat the sliced beets, one in each hand. My husband ate them, but didn’t say a peep about them, that’s progress right? ūüėČ The farm stand also¬†had¬†some insanely red,¬†mouth-watering¬†strawberries that we¬†purchased. I made jam, I put some on this salad, and my husband snuck a few which he turned into mojitos!¬† The night before we pick up a new box, I like to scour my fridge for any remaining veggies to be used up. I made a delicious broccoli soup with a few of those stragglers. Recipes on those¬†later!

Kale (I am not sure of the variety, but it is purple! And beautiful!) If anyone knows what kind this is, please let me know!

Beautiful red lettuce

More beets! The beet greens are delicious!

CSA Box 4/31 Contents

Savoy Cabbage
Broccoli
Red Beets
Carrots
Kale
Lettuce (Red Butter Variety)
Green onion
Micro rainbow greens
Mint (Very fragrant and fresh! I can’t believe I forgot to get a picture!)
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Power-Up Salad

I didn't take an individual picture of the micro greens, but you can see them sprinkled around the salad. I topped it with my husband's favorite vinaigrette recipe.

The contents of my CSA box this past weekend were so fresh and beautiful I couldn’t help but want to eat them all raw. I thought about just shredding the beets raw but remembered my family probably wouldn’t eat any of the salad that way so I just barely cooked them through, sliced, and then marinated them in a vinaigrette of sorts. The result was fabulous! It made me wonder if my daughter might like beet pickles. Anybody make those before? I will be preparing this way again. The vinaigrette I used to dress the salad is one I got from a nephew’s ex-girlfriend. The only change I made to it is the addition of Dijon¬†or honey mustard to help emulsify it. My husband loves this dressing and will never complain about having to eat a veggie if it has been dressed in it. After eating the delicious salad, I wondered why I didn’t chop up some mint to go on top.

For the salad:
red butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
shredded Savoy cabbage
shredded kale
shredded beet greens
strawberries
2 beets
micro greens
a big handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Prepare the beets first to allow time to marinate. (see below)
Shred all your greens and place into a bowl. You can toss the salad with the vinaigrette or dress it once it’s on your serving plates. Place all your greens onto individual serving plates and top with sliced strawberries, microgreens, marinated beets and pepitas.

Sliced and marinated beets.

To prepare the beets for the salad:
Peel the beets with a potato peeler. Place in a small saucepan and just barely cover with water. Place over med-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until you can pierce the beet about 1/4 inch through with a fork. Remove the beets from the water (you can save it to dye easter eggs!), allow to cool until you can handle them. Slice into rounds and place in a bowl. Sprinkle them liberally with red wine vinegar, the juice from half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place into the refrigerator to marinate for a bit while you prepare the salad and dressing.

For the dressing:
4T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
2T cider vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1T pure maple syrup
1T Dijon or honey mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in a jar and shake til combined.

Veggie Friends and Green Garlic and Kale Mashed Potatotes

Before I post the very simple recipe for the green garlic and kale mashed potatoes I made¬†last week–I wanted to take a few¬†minutes to talk about what I have come to call my “Veggie Friends.” My Veggie Friends are the little bugs that I find clinging to my farm-fresh produce on pretty much every trip back from a CSA pick-up. I wanted to bring this up because when my family first decided to join a CSA I wasn’t sure what to make of them. I have to begin by admitting that the sight of them on my produce initially caused a bit of an “ick” factor for me. I mean, there were little black bugs and sometimes little green aphids crawling around on my food. I didn’t want to eat them. I knew my bug aversion was ridiculous. I knew that they were there because, obviously, my produce had not been sprayed with poisons to kill the little critters. I knew that I would be washing them off. It took some reflection, but the bugs that I find in our CSA veggies have now become my Veggie Friends.
What helped me get over my aversion? My daughter.
I thought about the alternative–conventionally farmed produce which has been sprayed with pesticides or grown with GMO¬†seeds. I decided a few little bugs were a small price to¬†pay for not only superior vegetables, but also the peace of mind that I was not unwittingly harming my family with the food I was feeding them. Also, I don’t want to eat produce that not even a bug will eat!! I involved my daughter in our bi-weekly veggie storage prep. Instead of quickly rinsing off the buggies, I began showing them to her. She would ooh and ahh¬†and sometimes touch them. I marveled at the simplicity with which she accepted their presence. I never once saw her hesitate to eat a vegetable after she had helped clean off the mites, or aphids. I explained to her that the bugs live off of the produce. It’s their food. I explained to her that our produce had not been sprayed and had allowed the bugs to live and grow and continue their cycle of life as much for them as for us. I tell you all of this as a sort of marker of growth for me. Finding Veggie Friends in my produce has become a discussion; a sharing moment, and a learning opportunity for all of us. It is defining what my daughter knows about where food comes from and how it grows. It has established a basis for her understanding of life, and that sometimes bugs can teach us a little something about mercy.

A caterpillar we found on our cabbage last week. I hope he turned into a beautiful butterfly.

The day I made the tuna patties I found a caterpillar living in my Napa¬†cabbage. When I cut the cabbage in half and began stripping away the leaves to wash and chop. I found him. He had been in my fridge for a few days. He was alive and wriggling around. I called my daughter and she came excitedly to see.¬† My daughter asked if she could hold him. I gave her the leaf¬†and we watched him crawl around. I couldn’t even think about washing him down the drain¬†and I felt kind of guilty to remove him from his food source so we took the leaf outside and laid it amongst fallen leaves at the root of a tree and watched him wriggle around. ¬†I gave a silent thanks to the little guy as proof that the produce I held in my hands is sustenance, for us, for him, and for the earth. That moment was a reaffirmation for me that the choices I am making for my family are steps in the right direction. The presence of my Veggie Friends is now a welcome one.

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I’m pretty sure green garlic is still available in some parts of the country. Saturday’s trip to the farm stand¬†will tell. Hopefully the green garlic is¬†still in¬†our harvest rotation.

Potatoes and kale seem to work so fabulously together. I pair them up whenever I can. This is a super simple side with tons of flavor. I used Lacinato kale for this recipe.

Green Garlic and Kale Mashed Potatoes (makes about 5-6 servings)

1 whole stalk green garlic, halved lengthwise and washed well between layers
5 large potatoes
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup milk(measurement not exact. You may need a splash more or less. Pour a little a time to get right consistency)
1-1/2 cups of shredded kale
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
salt to taste (start with 1/2 tsp)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel (or scrub well) potatoes and chop into quarters. Place into a 2 qt pot or larger and cover with water. Place over medium heat and bring gradually to a boil, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to pot. Mash with a potato masher. I like my mashed potatoes a little lumpy so I don’t mash too much. Add milk, salt and pepper and stir. Taste check for salt. Adjust if necessary.
Chop green garlic. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a skillet and place over low heat. Add chopped green garlic and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add butter to green garlic skillet and once melted, add kale and just toss quickly. Add the kale/garlic contents to the potatoes. Combine. Add shaved parmesan, stir, and serve. Top with extra shaved parm if desired.

Cabbage Panic and Not-My-Mother’s Tuna Patties

Tuna patties-nicely golden brown!

It happens every time we receive a CSA box- I panic a little. It’s irrational really, but I can’t seem to help it. At first, it was the greens, I would panic about what I was going to do with all my greens. We weren’t big salad eaters and my family didn’t regard a plate full of salad as dinner. I eventually figured out that I didn’t have to eat platters full of raw salad in order to get greens into my family’s diet. I found ways to incorporate them into other dishes like soups, omelets, even mashed potatoes and voila, everyone was eating greens and happy.
Lately, my panic has been more of the cabbage variety. I don’t know why. I like cabbage. We ate it on a pretty regular basis when I was growing up, but it was usually boiled in a pot of caldo de res, or shredded on top of fish tacos, or, on the rare occasion that we ate out, it came¬†transformed¬†into coleslaw¬†in a foam cup with KFC stamped on the side. That was really the extent of my experience with cabbage. I’ve been warming up to it, but sometimes inspiration completely fails me when I stare at this innocuous vegetable. It’s really a blank canvas that adapts and plays well with many different flavors and modes of preparation, but I’ve had to work hard around my cabbage bias to see it that way. This time around, I worked half of a pretty large Napa Cabbage into tuna patties and the other half into a casserole, but I’m going to share the tuna patties with you because they turned out great.

You see, I ate plenty of tuna patties growing up. It’s one of the foods I associate with home cooking. My mother would make a batch with several cans of tuna, mix them with egg, onion, celery, salt and pepper and then fry them. She¬†would then slather them with red chile sauce and serve them with nopales.¬†They were really good, but they absorbed huge amounts of oil and we seemed to gobble them up, well, like cookies. No matter how big a batch my mom made for our family of seven, there were never leftovers. When I moved out on my own I tried to lighten up her recipe several times. I coated them in bread crumbs and baked them, or tried to “light” fry them, but they never worked well with the red sauce application. So, here I resolved to move away from my mother’s tuna patties and allow them to evolve into something more veggie-ful. I added thinly shredded fennel, a handful of chopped dill, steamed cabbage,¬†steamed and chopped¬†heirloom carrots, and of course, green garlic.They have still retained the heartiness that came with my mother’s original recipe but without the greasy edge. I browned mine in a heavy pan spritzed with olive oil. You could bake them, but they might not hold together as well. I served them up with a side of green garlic and kale mashed potatoes and a dill sauce. It was a mouthful of spring. I hope you try them.

I chose to steam the cabbage first, because the volume of the cabbage would have made it hard to work enough of it into each single patty. I also steamed the carrots, but you could opt to shred them instead. Shredding would have been more practical. Alternately, you could sautee the cabbage and carrot together. I used a small mandoline to shred the fennel.

Not-My-Mother’s Tuna Patties (makes about a dozen patties)

Not-My-Mother's Tuna Patties and Green Garlic and Kale Mashed Potatoes.

2 (5 oz) cans tuna packed in water, drained
half a head of cabbage, cored and sliced thin (I used Napa)
half of a fennel bulb shredded, or sliced thinly
2  small carrots, steamed and diced small, or shredded
half of a green garlic stalk, or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
olive oil for browning

Place a pot of water to boil over high heat with a fine mesh colander set over it, making sure the bottom of the colander doesn’t touch the water. Shred the cabbage and drop it into the colander once the water is boiling. Cover and steam for 3-5 minutes until cabbage is tender-crisp. Set aside to drain in the colander. Once cool enough to handle dump the steamed cabbage into a tea towel and wring most of the water out. If you are steaming and chopping the carrots, do so now.

steamed cabbage after wringing water out

steaming the heirloom carrots

Set a large skillet to heat on stove over med high heat. Spray/drizzle with olive oil. Combine steamed cabbage, fennel, dill, carrot, garlic, tuna, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add eggs, and mix well. Add bread crumbs, combine. Pan should be ready for browning patties by now.

Tuna patty mixture ready to be scooped into the pan.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop mixture into pan and then slightly flatten with spatula. Brown about 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown. Flip carefully, the patties are a bit delicate because of the high veggie content. You may need to use the two spatula method–use one spatula to hold down the patty while you ease the second spatula under it. That’s it! Serve with dill sauce and lemon wedges.

Dill Sauce

1/4 cup mayo

1/4 greek yogurt or light sour cream

juice from half a lemon

handful of chopped fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything up in a bowl! You can double the recipe if you need more sauce. This is delicious on fish or chicken, or almost any veggie.