Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Potluck Recipe #33: Brazilian Baked Salmon

Here's a zesty recipe from our new Latino menu. Simple and tasty, this salmon is a sure bet for your next potluck!

Brazilian Baked Salmon

(Serves 4)

4 salmon fillets
1/2 orange, zest and juice
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place salmon fillets in a shallow baking dish.
3. In a small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salmon and turn to coat well. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for 20 minutes, turning the fillets once.
4. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix together the orange and lemon zest, brown sugar, chili powder and minced garlic.
5. Rub the marinated salmon with the sugar mixture and then place it on the baking sheet. Drizzle it with oil and bake it in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We've Got Greens - Even After the Freeze

Last week’s freeze cut our hoped-for primary growing season short by a few weeks. Most of the heat-loving vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, have turned from green to black. In any given year, a freeze of this magnitude is possible on or around September 15, but it is still a bit of a letdown — perhaps more so because our spring didn’t really arrive in earnest until almost June 1! That’s a short season. Nevertheless, we have already produced over 17,000 pounds of nutritious produce for our clients. The other good news is that we’re not even close to finished. We’ll be harvesting several thousand pounds of hearty greens --spinach, arugula, bok choi, broccoli, and cabbage -- well into October, if not later, using season extension techniques. So come on out to Belle Plaine and help us bring in the fall harvest!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Potluck Recipe #32: Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

We had fledgling squashes growing in our garden, but they are frozen in their lilliputian state because of the recent frost -- their leaves are black and the vines have all dried up. They will likely never be good for eating, but they still look great, so we will probably bring them inside for fall decoration. Luckily, the co-op and farmers markets have all kinds of squash right now, perfect for fall-tinged recipes like this one.

This pasta recipe plays on the natural partnership of sage and butternut squash. For a more savory flavor, toss a little sautéed pancetta or bacon into the pasta.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

(serves 4)

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 lb. gemelli or penne rigate pasta
3 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup parmesan, freshly grated, plus additional for sprinkling
black pepper and salt
4 tbsp. chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Roast the squash at 450 degrees for half an hour. Finely chop squash pieces in a food processor.
2. Cook squash, onion and garlic in oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden.
3. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Add sage and simmer one minute more.
4. Cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain pasta.
5. Return pasta to pot and add squash mixture, parsley, 1 cup parmesan and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, stirring until well mixed. Season with salt and add some of reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten if necessary.
6. Serve sprinkled with additional parmesan and toasted walnuts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Potluck Recipe #31: Cucumber Agua Fresca

The fields at Open Farms are full of delicious cucumbers, so every client is receiving a fresh cuke in their bag! Here's a poem from our former poet laureate to celebrate this abundance, followed by a recipe:
by Robert Haas

Sometimes from this hillside just after sunset
The rim of the sky takes on a tinge
Of the palest green, like the flesh of a cucumber
When you peel it carefully.

In Crete once, in the summer,
When it was still hot at midnight,
We sat in a taverna by the water
Watching the squid boats rocking in the moonlight,
Drinking retsina and eating salads
Of cool, chopped cucumber and yogurt and a little dill.

A hint of salt, something like starch, something
Like an attar of grasses or green leaves
On the tongue is the tongue
And the cucumber
Evolving toward each other.

Since cumbersome is a word,
Cumber must have been a word,
Lost to us now, and even then,
For a person feeling encumbered,
It must have felt orderly and right-minded
To stand at a sink and slice a cucumber.

If you think I am going to make
A sexual joke in this poem,
you are mistaken.

In the old torment of the earth
When the fires were cooling and disposing themselves
Into granite and limestone and serpentine and shale,
It is possible to imagine that, under yellowish chemical clouds,
The molten froth, having burned long enough,
Was already dreaming of release,
And that the dream, dimly
But with increasing distinctness, took the form
Of water, and that it was then, still more dimly, that it imagined
The dark green skin and opal green flesh of cucumbers.

Now it's your turn to "feel orderly and right-minded" -- this week's novel potluck recipe turns that chopped cucumber into a cool, frothy beverage, perfect for the end of the work day.

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit

(serves 8)

4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped seeded peeled cucumbers (about 4 medium)
4 cups cold water
2 cups ice cubes
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 large pinches of salt
additional ice cubes

1. Combine 2 1/4 cups chopped cucumbers, 2 cups water, 1 cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup lime juice, and 1 pinch of salt in blender. Blend until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth but slushy, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to pitcher.
2. Repeat with remaining chopped cucumbers, 2 cups water, 1 cup ice cubes, sugar, lime juice, and salt. Add to pitcher.
3. Place additional ice cubes in 8 glasses. Fill with cucumber drink.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Potluck Recipe #30: Peach Butter

This is the perfect time of year to can, as the bounty of the season overwhelms us and the cooler temperatures make it appealing to heat up the kitchen.

Peach butter, with its delightfully smooth texture and pure peach taste, is a terrific way to preserve those fragile orbs. Save a few jars for a midwinter brunch potluck, when the butter can steal the show on toast, pancakes or muffins. This recipe has a delicate touch of peachy tartness -- taste the batch and add a bit more sugar if you like your fruit butter sweet.

Peach Butter

Adapted from a recipe on smittenkitchen.com

(makes 4 cups)

4 pounds peaches
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 vanilla bean

1. First, sterilize several half-pint jars and lids by boiling them in a large, deep pot of water for 10 minutes. The water should cover the jars completely.
2. Peel the peaches by cutting a small “x” in the bottom of each peach, dipping it into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. The peel should slide right off. Halve the peaches and remove the pits, then cut into chunks.
3. Place peach chunks and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until peaches are tender (about 15 to 20 minutes), stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly.
4. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender. Return the peaches to the large pot and add sugar, lemon juice and the seeds from the vanilla bean.
5. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. To test for doneness, drizzle a ribbon of sauce across the surface. When the ribbon holds its shape before dissolving into the rest of the mixture, the batch is done.
6. To can your peach butter: Divide the hot peach butter between the jars, leaving a little room at the top. Wipe the rims clean with a dry towel and cover the jars with their lids. Submerge the jars in a large, deep pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, using tongs to dip and remove them. Let cool completely on towels for a few hours. If canned properly and stored at room temperature, the peach butter should last well throughout the winter.