Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekly Recipe #80: Ben's BBQ Chicken Marinade

In honor of Labor Day weekend coming up, we asked our kitchen staff for their favorite end-of-summer recipes. Chef Ben Harrelson, our resident grilling guru, gave us this flavor-packed marinade. Gather your friends and family, fire up the grill and enjoy the long weekend!

Ben's BBQ Chicken Marinade

1 bottle Anchor Steam beer
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry thyme
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Marinate chicken for several hours or overnight.
3. Light up the charcoal grill and have at it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekly Recipe #79: Basil-Walnut Pesto

Pesto is a terrific way to use up summer's abundance of basil — before those big, bushy plants start to bolt. Easy, tasty and versatile, it can be stored in the refrigerator and used for just about anything. Toss pesto with pasta or warm potatoes (steamed or roasted), use it as a dip with crackers, swirl it into salad dressings, spread it on sandwiches or pizzas, or marinate your favorite meat in it before and after grilling.

Pesto recipes often call for pine nuts, but this recipe uses walnuts as a less-expensive but just-as-tasty alternative.

Basil-Walnut Pesto
(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on use)

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/4 cup tasty olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pulse together basil, garlic and walnuts in a food processor until mixture is a cohesive paste.
2. Add cheese and pulse until just blended.
3. With the food processor on, add olive oil in a stream until the mixture is the right texture for your application.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekly Recipe #78: Tomato Cobbler

By Jeanne Foels, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the bounty of tomatoes in my kitchen, so I decided to give this new recipe a try. I love sweet cobblers, but I'd never encountered a savory one! I was happily surprised by the biscuit-like topping and lovely roasted tomato taste -- this recipe's a keeper in my book.

Use the most locally sourced and flavorful tomatoes you can find to star in this dish. Since you can serve this cobbler at room temperature, it's a great choice for a summer potluck.

Tomato Cobbler
Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman
(Makes 6-8 servings)

Butter for the baking dish
3 lbs. ripe tomatoes ( 8-10 medium), cored and cut into wedges
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into large pieces
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1. Grease a square baking dish or a deep pie plate with the butter. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Put the tomato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
3. Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
4. Add the egg, buttermilk, cheddar and basil and pulse a few times more, until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture doesn't come together, add a spoonful or two of flour. If the mixture is too dry, add a few drops of buttermilk.
5. Gently toss the tomato mixture again and spread it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Drop small spoonfuls of the batter on top and smooth a bit with a knife. Try to leave some gaps so that the steam from the tomato mixture can escape as the cobble bakes.
6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly underneath. Cool to just barely warm or room temperature. To serve, scoop servings out with a large spoon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meet Sarah Mobry, Open Arms' New Farm Assistant

By Ben Penner, Open Farms Director

We’d like to introduce you to Sarah Mobry, who joins our staff as the Open Farms Assistant. Help us welcome her! Here’s some information to help us get to know her better.

Ben Penner: How did you hear about Open Farms?

Sarah Mobry: I heard about it through your Facebook posting. I was a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, and found out about Open Arms through a search for their programs in the Twin Cities after I moved from Rochester.

BP: Where did you grow up?

SM: Anoka. I grew up on a plot of land, about 3.6 acres, so similar to the size of Open Farms! My parents grew food on part of the land while some of it was wild grasses and flowers. It was a mix of fruit trees, native grasses and vegetables.

BP: Living with a garden nearby gave you a love of gardening?

SM: Yes, I used to help my mom every summer – mostly eating what I had picked.

BP: So you kind of knew what you wanted to do?

SM: I have always been kind of a tree-hugger type. I learned to volunteer on farms. My first farm was a squash farm – squash as far as the eye can see.

BP: What was your favorite class in school?

SM: I went to an environmental college, Northland College in Ashland, WI. I took an orienteering class in the winter. Basically they let everyone loose with a compass on snowshoes. It was fantastic. They had a farm, too, with wind power. It was all vegetables and no fruit.

BP: What is your favorite vegetable?

SM: That’s a tough one. I like everything. I’d say zucchini. You can do a lot of good stuff with it. You can bake with it, grill it, you can do a lot of things. Heirloom tomatoes are a close second, though.

BP: What fun fact would you like everyone to know about you?

SM: I am running the Chicago marathon in October, so that takes up a lot of my time.

BP: Have you ever done a marathon?

SM: I’ve done a half-marathon before.

BP: Do you run every day?

SM: Yes. I’m up to 10 or 12 miles on my long runs.

BP: What would you like to learn at the farm?

SM: Most of what I have done has been the sort of grunt-work of the farm at the beginning of the season. I’d like to see how things get wrapped up at the end of the season in the fall. Everyone does everything a little differently, so it will be good to learn a different system and all of the inner workings.

BP: Is there anything else that you would like people to know?
SM: I have a daughter, Amelia. She is four and is a lot of fun. I think the farm is a great place for kids – maybe because that was my experience. I think kids should know where food comes from – they should know what a tomato plant is!
Welcome to Open Farms, Sarah!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weekly Recipe #77: Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Zucchini Bread

Did you know we offer a gluten-free menu option to our clients? This menu is also dairy-free, pork-free and nut-free, furthering the number of dietary restrictions we can accommodate. All diet needs are welcome here at Open Arms!

Gluten-free recipes often get a bad reputation for not being as tasty as their gluten-filled counterparts, but this recipe from Cook/Baker Rita Panton proves that portrayal wrong. This moist, delicious bread is the perfect antidote to the zucchini fatigue that often sets in this time of year.

Note: If you're wondering what the term "gluten-free" means, check out this post.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Zucchini Bread 
By Open Arms Cook/Baker Rita Panton
(Makes one 9-inch loaf)

2 cups gluten-free mix*(see below)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. flax seed, ground
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Gluten-Free Mix
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour or garbanzo flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch or potato starch

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   
2. Grease one 9-inch cake pan or loaf pan. 
3. Combine gluten-free mix with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and flax. 
4. In a mixer combine oil, zucchini, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium until smooth. 
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix for 2 more minutes.   
6. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecan pieces, if desired. 
7. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done.