CSA 2015 – Week 8

Next CSA Pickups: August 4 & 6


In your share this week:

  • Melons
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Pearl Drop Onions
  • Chard/Lettuce (tentative)

How about that gorgeous pepper display last week! We will see many varieties of pepper in our weekly shares, from mild to hot. Peppers are part of the Capsicum family, and the degree of hotness depends on how much capsaicin is contained within the pepper. When you pick up your share, take note of the posted signs for each pepper variety, which will give you an idea of their intensity and the preparations for which they are best suited. If you’re experimenting with the hotter varieties, good for you! Just be aware that the seeds and internal white membranes are where most of the capsaicin resides. Removing these parts from the pepper can greatly reduce the amount of heat. **BE CAREFUL** when handling hot peppers – wear gloves and do not touch your eyes or face. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in pepper spray, so take care not to have any inadvertent accidents!

Because it was my son’s birthday this week, he requested a simple pepper salad we make often. We simply seed and chop the peppers into a serving bowl, season with coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, and oregano, then cover with olive oil and toss. It’s excellent to dip in, or spooned onto your favorite bread or sandwich. This time, he chose mainly mild peppers, all but one, which adds an excellent kick to the salad when you least expect it. Which varieties did you choose?

Roasted Bell Peppers and Eggplant Dip
Recipe adapted from tusconcsa.org

Here’s another interesting dip or spread to try; again, many of the ingredients are in your share.

2-3 bell peppers
1 large or 2-3 small eggplant
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut eggplant, onions and bell peppers in cubes. Add to a large bowl with oil, garlic and cumin, and toss until well coated with oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender and browned, tossing once for even roasting. (If you are using already-roasted bell peppers, omit them at this stage and add them at the next stage.) Let cool. Add vegetables to a food processor with tomato puree, and salt and pepper to taste, and blend to obtain a slightly chunky puree.

Red Pepper and Zucchini Salad
Recipe adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.

This is a great way to combine two of our most copious CSA ingredients. Enjoy!

2 lbs sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 lbs zucchini or summer squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic (I use more)
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and trim the zucchini. Quarter lengthwise and then cut into 1-inch pieces. Salt* and drain the zucchini, and pat dry. Heat the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Toss with the vegetables, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours. Serve cold tossed with the sesame seeds, if using.

*To salt zucchini: Place zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit over a bowl or in the sink for 15-30 minutes, to draw out extra moisture. Drain and pat dry, then proceed with the recipe.

potatoes summer squash_2

Veggie Meatballs
Recipe adapted from Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Bastianich

If you’re feeding suspicious carnivores like I am, the trick is to ease into the all-veggie preparation. Start by serving these in your family’s favorite tomato sauce, side by side with your regular meatballs. Or, include some ground turkey or ground beef in the mixture with the zucchini and potatoes, and then you can gradually reduce the amount of meat each time you offer it.

4 medium-small potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs)
3 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup chopped scallion
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes in water and boil until tender. Drain, cool until easy to handle, peel, then pass through a potato ricer into a large bowl, or grate using the smallest holes on an upright grater. While the potato continues to cool, shred the zucchini into a kitchen towel and wring out the extra moisture over the sink. Add the zucchini, eggs, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, scallions, basil, and salt to the potatoes, and mix well. Form the mixture into balls or patties, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle with salt to taste before serving.

Alternatively, these can be pan-fried. Add a small swirl of olive oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the veggie balls/patties in batches until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Drain on paper towels and season with salt before serving.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Mint
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman on nytimes.com

4 cups mixed diced watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe
2 cups diced cucumber, seeded if there are seeds
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
¼ to ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder (to taste), or 1 serrano chile, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss, and serve immediately.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 5

Next CSA Pickups: July 14 & 16

pickling cucumbers
In your share this week:

  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Spring Onions
  • Scallions
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Basil or Dill
  • Green Beans

(Updated list 7/13/15)

Around this time each July, we host our annual family reunion. We rush around, especially this week, trying to get everything ready to receive what we now loving refer to as “the invasion” of our nearest and dearest. It’s a time of frenzy and laughter, stress and delight, bedlam and joy. Life is like that, isn’t it?

I thought I’d share a couple of the recipes we’ll be preparing, as they all make great use of our current CSA bounty. Enjoy!


Classic Deli Coleslaw
Recipe adapted from instructions by my dear and talented eldest brother, Paul Marmora

Since the size of each cabbage can vary so widely, these measurements are approximate. In particular, add the mayo little by little, as you may need more or less depending on the size of the cabbage.

1 medium head of cabbage
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 cups mayo **
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cut the cabbage in half, then half again, so you have four quarters. Cut the core out of each quarter, then slice very thin, about 1/8 of an inch. Once sliced, cut that quarter in half crosswise. Place sliced cabbage in a large bowl, and toss with the remaining ingredients. Stir and toss and toss and toss. (It’s easiest to do this with your hands.) You want to distribute all of the flavors very well. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more, to further blend the flavors.
**Add the mayo a little at a time. You may need more or less. Start with a cup and go from there, adjusting the consistency to your preference. The cabbage should be well coated, but neither dry nor soupy.

red cabbage slaw
Red Cabbage Slaw with Lime Dressing
Adapted from the Beantown Baker

A wonderful, “cleanse-friendly” alternative to heavier slaws, this salad is always a big hit. Best made the night before, as it is delicious served cold after having chilled for several hours.

1 head red cabbage, cored
8 oz carrots, peeled and shredded
1 large bunch cilantro or parsley, leaves roughly chopped
3 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
2/3 cup neutral oil, such as peanut or safflower (I still use olive oil)
1-2 tsp sugar or honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Shred the cabbage finely, using a sharp knife, a mandolin or in your food processor. In a very large bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage with the shredded carrots and chopped cilantro or parsley. Whisk the lime juice and oil together in a bowl, and whisk in the sugar or honey. Toss with the slaw, and season generously with salt and pepper. Taste, and add additional seasoning as needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, to blend the flavors well. Serve cold, tossing well just before serving.



We make lots and lots of pickles for our reunion, and they’re always a big hit. My husband, who is a true pickle lover, has developed a variety of delicious recipes for different types of pickles over the years, and this is probably everyone’s favorite. Note that I’m sharing this photo just so you get an idea of the sheer scope of our pickle-making chaos – the recipe below is for a much smaller quantity (1 quart), but can easily be multiplied.

Scott’s Famous Sour Garlic Dill Pickles
Recipe complements of Scott Palmer. Shared with permission!

Plan ahead – for maximum flavor, these pickles need to be made 3-4 days ahead of time.

For 1 quart jar:

3-5 pickling cucumbers (Kirby)
2-1/2 tsp kosher salt
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp pickling spice
1 stalk dill
1/16 tsp alum
1/4 cup white vinegar

Wash the cucumbers well and pack cucumbers halfway into jar. Pour all remaining ingredients directly into the jar. Finish packing the cucumbers into the jar, and fill the jar to the top with cold water. Carefully seal the jar and invert the jar several times to dissolve ingredients. Let stand at room temperature at least 24 hours (longer for more sour, up to 48 hours) and then refrigerate. Ready to eat after two days in the fridge.


zucchini bread
Zucchini Bread
Recipe adapted from my friend Leslie Fulton, complements of her friend Zenona

This bread is delicious and sweet, but not too sweet. Walnuts are divine.

3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon (I used a little less)

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in zucchini, raisins, and nuts. Divide batter evenly between the 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (or till done).


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA 2015 – Week 2

Next CSA Pickups: June 23 & 25


In your share this week:

  • Beets
  • Arugula
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Scallions
  • Mizuna
  • Summer squash (tentative)
  • Basil (tentative)


Welcome to Week 2! How did you make out in Week 1? I pick up on Thursdays, so as I write this, I am still relishing last week’s pickup.

I came across a fantastic idea to make great use of any CSA abundance that you don’t get around to using: save it in the freezer to make your own vegetable stock. Check out this link. I’m a big soup fan, all year round, and homemade vegetable stock makes all the difference. One of my favorite soup cookbooks is Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette, a monk from right here in the Hudson Valley. See below for one of his delicious recipes using fresh seasonal greens.

Did you know? Chef Maria Reina, Executive Chef and Owner of Bella Cucina Maria, is offering a series of Farm Stand Cooking Classes at Hilltop Hanover Farm this summer! Chef Maria will share her expertise and show you how to get the most out of what you’re getting from the farm. Each class will explore seasonal, just-harvested ingredients, and is sure to inspire your inner chef! Classes are coming up July 10 & 24, so check out the Events page for more information.

We have a real treat in this week’s share: garlic scapes! These beauties are the curly green shoots of hard-neck garlic plants, and they are only available at their most tender and delicious for a very short time around this time of year. By snapping these shoots off the garlic in the spring, the farmers not only provide us with this seasonal treat, they are helping to redirect the plant’s energy back down into the garlic bulb itself, which increases its size and, many say, enhances its flavor. Garlic scapes add a fresh, milder garlic flavor to your dishes. Check out this article for some entertaining and creative ideas for garlic scapes.

garlic scapes

Garlic Scape Pesto
Adapted from The New York Times

It seems like everyone’s favorite thing to do with garlic scapes is to make pesto, so why fight it? Here’s one method:

1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10 to 12 scapes)
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup basil leaves
Juice of one lemon

Place the garlic scapes in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the olive oil and process on high for 15 seconds. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until the ingredients are combined. Add the basil and lemon juice, and process until reaching the desired consistency. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.


Garlic Scape and Mizuna Salad
Recipe created by Maria Reina of Bella Cucina Maria

Here, Chef Maria Reina provides a wonderful recipe which highlights 2 items in this week’s share: both garlic scapes and mizuna.

3/4 cup garlic scape stems, 1/4″ dice
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 bunch of mizuna, rinsed well
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups cooked rice, quinoa or a grain of choice
1/3 – 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large sauté pan cook the garlic scapes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. While the scapes cook slice the mizuna stems thinly, alone about 1/4″, and the leaves in a rough chop. After the scapes cook for about 3-5 minutes add the mizuna stems and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the leaves and let them just wilt, about a minute. Turn off the heat and toss in the rice or grain you are using along with the lemon and lemon zest.
3. Mix in the parsley and taste for seasoning, adding additional salt pepper or olive oil. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.
Makes 4 servings.
Cook’s Notes: Cooking with garlic scapes adds a nice punch of flavor to your rice or grain side dish. If you like lime swap that out for the lemon and use cilantro as your herb. If you don’t have any leftover grains, start that first, and then begin cooking the garlic scapes. The grain will be done about the time you are ready to toss it in.


A great suggestion for helping to ease your family toward embracing more pungent leafy greens is to chop the greens and simply toss them with boiled potatoes, salt, and olive oil (or whatever spices you like). While the potato helps to temper spicier-flavored greens like mizuna, it still allows the flavor to come through. You can sauté the greens first or not, depending on your preference. If you’re just introducing these different flavors, go easy at first, and gradually increase the amount of greens each time you serve it. Give it a try, and maybe soon you’ll be able to omit the potatoes!

Foglie e Patate (leaves and potatoes)
This method comes from my Mom, who got it from my father’s mother’s Italian kitchen. Like most household favorites, there are as many varieties of this preparation as there are home cooks. This is the way we do it:

4-5 medium potatoes, cut into uniform pieces
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic or garlic scapes, sliced, chopped or minced (depending on how you’d like it in the finished dish)
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
1 tsp oregano
1 bunch greens of your choice (mizuna, arugula, broccoli rabe, kale, mustard greens, tatsoi, etc.)

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, wash the greens and roughly chop. Discard any tough stems. Steam the greens until tender, then drain very well. (Note: if you are using tender greens, you can skip the steaming and go straight to the sautéing.) Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and oregano. When fragrant, add the greens and sauté over low heat for about 5 minutes, tossing regularly to blend all the flavors. Drain the potatoes well, then add them to the skillet. Mash the potatoes on top of the greens, add some salt (to taste), then mix everything together. Cover the skillet to let it all cook together, tossing from time to time to continue to blend the flavors. Add more olive oil if it looks like it’s getting too dry. We like to let the potatoes brown a little, to form a nice “crostolo”.


Cream of Fresh Green Soup
Adapted from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

6 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 head lettuce or escarole, finely chopped
1 bunch arugula or watercress, finely chopped
1 pound spinach or chard, chopped
6 quarts water, more if necessary
2 bouillon cubes
2 potatoes, sliced
1 pint heavy cream
salt, nutmeg, and white pepper, to taste
paprika, as garnish

Pour the olive oil into the soup pot and sauté the onion slightly. Add the chopped greens, potatoes, bouillon cubes, and water. Boil the soup for 15 minutes and then simmer for another 15 minutes. Blend the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Add the heavy cream and seasonings and stir well. Reheat the soup and serve hot, sprinkling some paprika on top of each serving. Makes 6 servings.


Weekly CSA Blog produced by Chris Marmora Palmer


CSA BLOG 2014 – WEEK 4

Next CSA Pickups: June 24 & 26



In your share this week:

  • Cabbage
  • Summer Squash/Zucchini
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Lettuce
  • Scallions
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Turnips




Zucchini is a type of summer squash and probably the most recognized variety. Other kinds of summer squash  include crookneck and straight neck yellow varieties as well as pattypan squashes, small roundish squashes which can be green or yellow or a combo. All summer squash are a great source of antioxidants including the cartenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. They’ll also provide you with manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A. But be sure not to peel off the antioxidant-rich skin when cooking with summer squash as that’s where many of the disease-fighting nutrients reside. Steaming summer squash–rather than boiling–also helps to retain these vitamins. Summer squash is very fragile and should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator crisper drawer in a plastic bag or airtight container for about four days to a week. I’m looking forward to trying this new recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog for pasta salad with zucchini.  Check out some other uses for zucchini and summer squash in the recipe collection below.




Crushed Beet Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine


Here’s a new take on the beet salad: You cook the beets twice for more depth of flavor.

1 pound small to medium beets, scrubbed

Olive oil, for cooking and for vinaigrette
Kosher salt and fresh pepper
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Place beets on 1 large sheet of foil. Drizzle beets with 1/2 tablespoon oil; season with kosher salt and pepper and wrap up foil around beets. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 40-50 minutes. Let cool slightly, then, using a paper towel, rub skins from beets (they should slip off easily). Crush beets with the bottom of a small bowl (it’s alright if they fall apart). Meanwhile, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beets, season with kosher salt and pepper, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to bowl with vinaigrette, add mint and 2 dill, and toss to coat. Serve beets and dollops of yogurt drizzled with more oil, topped with more herbs, and seasoned with pepper and sea salt.


Polenta Squares with Kale & Bacon
Adapted from Whole Grain Mornings


These squares are great for breakfast–top with a fried egg, or as a dinner side. 

Butter, for greasing
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped
1 3/4 cup water
1 cup milk
3/4 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small or 1/2 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Butter an 8-inch square pan; set aside. Over medium-hight heat, bring water and milk to a boil. Add polenta and salt, store to combine and decrease heat to low. Simmer uncovered until the polenta is thick and creamy, 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Taste and add seasoning. Add kale and bacon to polenta and stir until the kale is wilted, about 2 minutes. Scoop polenta into prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Slice polenta into 6 large rectangles or 9 smaller squares. In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, warm olive oil. Panfry polenta squares until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Finish with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.


Swiss Chard and Leek Tart
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pie plate
2-3 large leeks (white and light green parts only), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chopped Swiss chard, kale, spinach or a combo of greens; ribs removed
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, half and half, or whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Roll out pastry on floured work surface to approximately a 12-inch square. Lightly grease the pie plate with butter. Transfer and lightly press pastry into to a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch, fold under and crimp edges. Lightly prick pastry with a fork. Cover; chill. 2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet, over medium-low heat. Add leeks. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard, sauté until wilted about 2 minutes (if using kale, you may need a few more minutes). Remove from heat; cool.3. Position rack in bottom third of oven (this is a very important step for getting a browned bottom crust); preheat to 425 degrees F. 4. Whisk cream and all remaining ingredients in large bowl. Fold in the cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake until filling is puffed up and set in the center, about 15-17 minutes longer (if using half and half or whole milk you’ll probably need to bake it a few minutes longer for the filling to set). Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 6-8.


Stuffed Zucchini
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 slices country style white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup  milk
5-6 medium to large zucchini or summer squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the filling:
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/3 cup white wine, such as pinot grigio, or chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 2 heavy baking sheets with vegetable oil cooking spray.In a small bowl, combine the bread and milk. Set aside to allow the bread to absorb the milk, about 15 minutes.
For the zucchini: Using a melon baller, remove the flesh from the zucchini, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Reserve the flesh. Place the zucchini, hollowed-out sides up, on the prepared baking sheets. Season with the salt and pepper.
For the filling: Place the zucchini flesh in a food processor. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, shallot, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend until all the vegetables are finely chopped. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the blended vegetable mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooked vegetables, turkey, egg, 1 cup Parmesan, the bread mixture, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients until well combined. Spoon the filling into the hollowed-out zucchini. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan on top of the filling. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the tops are golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a platter and serve.


Spaghetti with Fried Zucchini, Parmesan & Basil
Adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow


12 ounces spaghetti
Coarse salt
3 zucchini and/or summer squash, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup pasta water, to think
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or shredded

Boil the spaghetti in salted water until just al dente. Meanwhile, toss the zucchini with the flour. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over high heat and add as much zucchini as will fit in a single later. Cook, flipping ocassionally, until well-browned and crispy, about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Meanwhile, whisk the cheese with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup pasta water and whisk until you get a creamy consistency. Drain the spaghetti and add to the bowl with the Parmesan mixture. Toss, season with salt and pepper, and fold in 2/3rds of the zucchini and all of the basil. To serve, portion pasta into 4 bowls and evenly distribute the rest of the zucchini on top. Add more cheese, if you want.


Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Cabbage and Feta Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appétit

cabbagestill  blackbeantacos

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Mexican or regular oregano
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups shredded  cabbage
2 scallions, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 to 6 yellow or white corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Hot sauce, for serving

Place beans and spices (you can vary the spices to your liking) in small bowl; partially mash beans with a fork or spoon. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add cabbage, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lime juice or salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.

Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer or do it in batches if your pan isn’t large enough. Spoon a few tablespoons of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Carefully fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, a few minutes per side. Transfer to platter. (I sometimes stick the tacos in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to get the tortillas really crispy).  Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Serve with hot sauce if desired. Serves 2 to 3. The recipe can be easily doubled.


Weekly CSA blog prodded by Nicole DeCoursy Mead.

2014 CSA BLOG – WEEK 3

Next CSA Pickups: June 17 & 19, 2014




In your share this week: 

  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Chard
  • Scallions
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce

*Please note that this is an anticipated list from the farmers, but may change due to availability/field conditions the day of harvest.



Red Russian Kale

Red Russian Kale

Kale–like cauliflower, collards, and broccoli–is a descendant of wild cabbage, which originated in Asia Minor and was brought to Europe  in 600 B.C. This cruciferous veggie is one of the healthiest veggies around–brimming with vitamins A, C, and K. At the farm, you’ll find curly green kale as well as red Russian kale, which is one of the more tender and mild varieties. Check out some delicious ways to use it below.



Kale & White Bean Salad
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach


1 (15-oz) can rinsed and drained canned white beans (cannellini or Great Northerns)
1 small bunch kale, tough stems removed and leaves chopped or shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and heat for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add kale and sauté until wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add beans, red onion, cheese, remaining olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chill. Makes 3 to 4 side-dish servings.


Pasta with Greens & Garbanzo Beans
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


The great thing about this pasta is you can use pretty much any greens you have including beet greens or turnip greens–don’t let them go to waste!

1 pound orecchiette or other short-cut pasta (I used fiore pasta above)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
12 ounces Swiss chard, beet greens, or kale,  or a combo, stemmed and chopped (I used beet greens–and they were fantastic in this!)
12 ounces spinach leaves or other greens, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), rinsed and drained
2 cups small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or left whole
8 ounces ricotta salata cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons lemon zest (don’t skip this–it really makes the dish!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add greens in batches and cook until wilted. Add the beans and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the pasta, 1/2 of the cheese, and the lemon zest. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Makes 6 serving–you can easily halve this recipe if you want to serve fewer.


Swiss Chard Rolls with Brown Rice, Lentils, and Ricotta Cheese
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada De Laurentiis


Butter or olive oil, for greasing

6  to 8 large Swiss chard leaves,
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup chopped arugula, mizuna or spinach
1/2 cup room-temperature ricotta or soft goat cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils or 1 (15 oz.) can, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for extra seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for extra seasoning
3  cups homemade marinara sauce or 1 (26-oz) jar of your favorite jarred marinara or tomato basil sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter cut into pieces

1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a 8×8 glass baking dish; set aside. 2. Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Cut each chard leaf in half lengthwise. (I recommend doing a few extra chard leaves because some will break or tear.) Trim any ragged ends from the leaves so each leaf is about 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. (Don’t worry if it’s not this size, I had some smaller ones and they worked just fine. The rolls were just smaller.) Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the chard leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Gently remove leaves and run under cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside. 3. For the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown rice, arugula, lentils, softened goat cheese or ricotta, mint, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste; season with additional salt and pepper to taste if needed. 4. Spoon about 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of prepared baking dish. 5. Place about 1/3 cup of brown rice filling onto the end of each chard roll and roll up like a jellyroll. Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top, sprinkle with Parmesan, and drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter. Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Chopped Broccoli & Chickpea Salad
Adapted from Whole Living magazine


2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1/2 of a 15-oz. can)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive  oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steam or boil broccoli until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place in an ice bath or run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain water thoroughly. Once cool, chop and combine with chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and pine nuts. In a bowl, combine garlic, mustard, and lemon zest and juice. Slowly add oil, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle broccoli mixture with dressing and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Makes 2 to 3 servings. You can refrigerate the salad in an airtight container for up to two days.


Farro Salad with Roasted Beets & Feta
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit


6 to 8 medium-sized beets, tops trimmed
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled or quick-cooking farro or wheat berries (the 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s is super fast)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped
2 cups thinly-sliced radicchio or kale, or chopped spinach, arugula, or mizuna
1/2 up finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange beets in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil, cover with foil, and roast beets until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool, trim beets, and peel. Cut into wedges and set aside.

Cook faro in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes for semi-pearled farro or about 10-12 minutes for quick-cooking. If you use wheatberries, they will need longer–about 35 to 40 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl, Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature.

Add beets, radicchio or other greens, onion, and parsley to farro, and toss to incorporate evenly. Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Weekly CSA Newsletter produced by Nicole DeCoursy Mead

CSA BLOG 2014 – WEEK 2

Next CSA Pickups: June 10 & 12, 2014



In your share this week:

  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli Rabe

**Please note that this is an anticipated list and may change based on the field and vegetable conditions the day of the harvest.


Salad Days

LETTUCESTILLWEEK1  saladcilantrolimedressing

A delicious salad starts with properly cleaning, drying, and storing your lettuce:

Wash: As soon as you get home, fill a bowl with cold water. Break up greens and add them to the water. You can also use the bowl of a salad spinner. Swish the leaves around gently to remove dirt, then lift the green out of the water and drain. Repeat with fresh water until there’s no grit at the bottom of the bowl. I usually need to do this process two or three times.
Dry: Spin the leaves in a salad spinner until dry, or roll gently in a clean kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towels. Thoroughly remove all moisture because damp greens go bad fast, and the dressing adheres better to dry leaves. Transfer greens to a zip-top bag lined with dry paper towels. Or, loosely roll the greens in a clean kitchen towel before bagging.
Store: Loosely seal the bag so the greens get some air. If you have room in your fridge, you can also store greens in your salad spinner. Lettuce lasts for about five to seven days if you dry and store it properly.
Source: Everyday Food 

Don’t have a salad spinner? Try this “human salad spinner” tip from Mother Earth News: After cleaning lettuce, wrap it in a large, clean dish towel. Close the towel up and gently twist. Then step outside and swing the bundle of lettuce in circles as fast as you can like you’re winding up to pitch a softball. Most of the moisture will be gone when you open the cloth. Salad dressings will coat lettuce leaves more evenly when they’re dry.


Dressed for Success
Once you’ve prepped your lettuce and your favorite salad toppings, you’re ready for the dressing. Fresh greens deserve a fresh dressing–make a big batch so you’ll have it ready to use for salads all week. Here are a few of my go-to dressings:

Shallot Vinaigrette: Finely chop 1 shallot and whisk with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit 20 minutes to mellow the shallot flavor and then whisk in 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 minced garlic clove. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Makes 1/4 cup. Recipe from Everyday Food.

Classic French Vinaigrette: Finely grate one garlic clove and whisk with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Simplest Asian Dressing: Finely grate 1 small garlic clove and whisk with 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce and 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil and then 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. This dressing is great on mizuna! Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette: Whisk together 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste. (This dressing is best used right away rather than storing in the fridge as the cilantro will turn brown). Recipe adapted from Gourmet.




Grilled Swiss Chard Bundles with Ricotta and Sundried Tomato Filling
Adapted from Martha Stewart


2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes, drained and blotted if in oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 large bunch Swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling and brushing
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, prepare an ice bath and set aside and line a large plate or baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels ad set aside. Choose the 6 largest Swiss chard leaves. Add one leaf at a time to the boiling water, and blanch for 10 seconds. Place each leaf in ice bath to cool. Transfer to prepared plate or baking sheet to drain. Roughly chop remaining chard leaves (there should be about 2 cups). Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped chard and sundried tomatoes. Cook until chard is wilted about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Then add pine nuts, ricotta, and more salt and pepper to the mixture. Stir to combine.

Place a blanched leaf facedown on the work surface. Cut out the thickest 1/3 the length of the leaf. Place about 1/3 cup of cheese mixture slightly off center toward the bottom of the leaf. Fold bottom of leaf over mixture. Fold in sides. Fold leaf over to completely enclose contents. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium heat. Brush lightly with oil. Grill packers until lightly charred and heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 3.


Creamy Soba Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables
Adapted from Giada’s Feel-Good Food by Giada De Laurentiis


8 ounces dried buckwheat soba noodles
3 tablespoons creamy almond butter
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons wasabi paste or a couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce
2 cups shredded kale or spinach leaves, tough stems removed
1 red or yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup radishes or hakurei turnips, thinly sliced or julienned
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes. Rinse well with cold water, drain, and put in a serving bowl.
For dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender and blend until smooth. For salad: Pour the dressing over the noodles. Add all the vegetables and almonds. Toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve, or keep in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend. Makes 4 servings.


Grilled Sweet and Tangy Bok Choy
Adapted from Food Network Magazine


1 pound bok choy, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Preheat a grill to medium heat. Place the bok choy on a microwave-safe bowl or large plate and microwave, covered 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and toss with bok choy. Grill until charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side, brushing with any extra sauce.


 Weekly CSA Blog produced by Nicole DeCoursy Mead.

CSA shares are going fast, but we still have some left!

Hilltop is gearing up for its second year of our CSA program.  Spots are filling up fast, but there are still some left.  This year, we’re excited to get to know our members more and host social events on a more regular basis – we’re looking to make the CSA a real community this year and members can look forward to picnics and other gatherings.  Shares are a mere $630 for 20 or more weeks of fresh organic produce, plus weekly newsletters with recipes, health information, and stories from our farmer!  Visit hilltophanoverfarm.com now to learn more and register before spots fill up!