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 🙂 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! 🙂

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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. 🙂 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? 😉 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.