Seasonal Food Ideas: Risotto with Farm Share Veggies

By Mike Cuccaro

I was struggling one Saturday to get some free time so I didn’t get to customize my Harvie share from Rivendale Farms. They always offer a big variety of stuff (curse them!) and the Harvie algorithm strives to create a variety of produce (curse us!) so I wound up with a large assortment of things to cook which would be great if every day of the week I could cook a different vegetable as a side dish. But, as it happens in life right now, it’s really only the weekends that I get to do any cooking. So here it was Saturday and we’d barely touched Tuesday’s box. What to do?

The one thing I had managed to do was make sure I had at least some savories (onions, garlic, leeks, etc.), solid veggies (carrots, beets, squash, etc), leafy veggies (chard, cabbage, kale, etc.), and optionally, fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, etc.) because if you pick one from each of these groups, you always have a good backbone for lots of recipes. As it happened, I had a lot to choose from, so I decided to cook two big batches of risotto, mixing and matching from my share.

For one risotto, I planned to cook the pearl onions (savory), yellow squash (solid), baby broccoli (leafy), and basil (herb). For the other, I chose baby leeks and chard stems (savory), baby beets (solid), chard leaves (leafy), and basil (herb). The first step was a whole bunch of prep work. I tend to prefer to have everything cut up ahead of cooking. It feels like an accomplishment and takes away the stress of doing too much later.

Risotto is kind of a “fancy” but not really dish. I’m not going to look it up but I always imagine it was invented by an Italian peasant with a very very small water bucket and a well that was far away from the house. So the standard method of cooking until all the water is gone, constantly stirring so it does’t burn, and then only adding a small bit more of water each time came about by necessity.

I probably don’t need to go into detail about this recipe. Basically, fill the bottom of a big pot with olive oil and cook the savories until they soften up and the house smells like heaven. (ht Isabel Allende)Then drop in your solid veggies and cook them a bit – maybe 10 minutes? Then put in your leafy veggies and cook them down.

It doesn’t all have to be cooked at this point because you’re going to be cooking that rice with all this stuff for another half hour. It’s hard to keep good track of time on this because risotto is a good cooking-with-wine dish. You won’t need all of it so you can be calmly finishing the rest of the wine while waiting for the veggies. We had a subscription to Winc which was like a wine-of-the-month club. It’s almost all blends from California and the one I used here was called Funk Zone. It was tasty.

So when you’re ready, you’ll also have to have a big old pot of some kind of liquid going — chicken broth, veggie broth, or just water. As I was already using up my two biggest pots and two pots of two cups of arborio rice needed a total of sixteen cups of liquid (4:1 ratio). So I just kept refilling my electric kettle and just using water with a little of this Better Than Bouillon goo that looks like Marmite. Mostly I figured all those veggies would flavor it enough.

First thing is to dump the rice in dry and let it toast up in the oil for a minute or two. Then comes the wine (2:1 ratio rice:wine) and let that sadly cook itself away. Then drop in the first of the water or broth. You can go with the same amount of water as rice at first, stir that up and let the water cook away and then add 1 cup at a time whenever the mixture becomes hard to stir and makes little dry canyons when you drag the spoon through so you can see the bottom of the pot. The risotto will get creamier and creamier as you go. You know you are doing it right if you start to feel like Hans und Franz.

The last thing you’ll add, basically when you’ve turned the heat off and used up all the water is a hefty amount of grated Italian cheese (2:1 rice:cheese) and the chopped basil. You shouldn’t need salt. The cheese will do just fine and if you’ve forgotten that you ran out of cheese, you’ll also need an awesome spouse to run to the store and the chillest baby in the world to hang out with you while you cook!

Seasonal Food Ideas: Cucumber Boats

By Harvie Staffer Julie Inman

Talk about a crowd pleaser that brings the WOW factor!  I took these to a 4th of July party and quickly saw my ‘Merica platter being passed around the room cocktail party style, serving up these fresh little bites to the curious guests.  What I love about them is their simplicity, crunchy freshness and versatility – they can be topped with any ingredients you like, especially for themed parties! Almost anything goes with cucumbers!   

The ingredients are simple!  All you need is:

Cucumbers – any size will work

Hummus – your favorite recipe or our suggested recipe below*

Your favorite toppings

For this recipe, we used the following ingredients to create two different styles of Cucumber Boats, the Mediterranean and the Home Garden (see below!)

Carrots, shredded

Black Olives, sliced

Cherry Tomatoes, sliced

Red Onion, thinly sliced

Feta Cheese, crumbled

Sunflower Seeds, toasted

Basil, chopped

The Mediterranean Cucumber Boat

Home Garden Cucumber Boat

Lets get started!

Gather your ingredients.  I always find this helpful as it makes your prep go so much faster when you have everything in front of you ready to go!

Slice the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds.  This creates the “boat” affect. Cut the slices up into bite-size pieces in any size you desire.  

Fill the boats with hummus.  To make it easier and cleaner, I suggest using a piping bag with a plastic nozzle.  If you don’t have one, you can fasten your own with parchment paper and a nozzle or by filling a plastic freezer bag with hummus and cutting a hole in the corner of the bag to act as the nozzle.  

You will want to fill the boats enough so they “grab” your toppings well.  

Add your toppings with the amount of ingredients based on the size of your cucumber.

Enjoy!  Get ready to receive compliments on your creativity!

*Here is a classic hummus recipe we suggest!  https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/classic-chickpea-hummus

 

Seasonal Food Ideas: Two-Step Chimichurri

By Jonathan Doron

Let’s talk about what we can do with all of that parsley you just got in your farm share. If you’re like me, then you know that the sauce is the boss. Today we’re making chimichurri (aka “chimi”). It’s so easy to customize, and so versatile, you’ll have no problem finding a dish to include it in. Toss it together with some grilled vegetables (summer squash or potatoes), pour some on your favorite steak, or even smear it on a toasted baguette.

The foundation of chimi is very simple. You begin with garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, salt, and pepper. If you’re in the camp where you think that cilantro tastes like soap, or are simply allergic, feel free to substitute it with an equivalent amount of parsley.

Once you’ve got this base, the recipe is super flexible. But, before you start going and practicing chimnastics, there’s two final decisions that you need to make. Whether or not you choose to include some form of onion and/or oregano is entirely up to you (I think they both add a nice flavor, and so should you). Be passionate about whichever combination you choose, and heckle anyone who tells you otherwise.

Now you can go crazy with whatever other additions suit your taste, or pair well with your final dish. For a spicy kick, red pepper flakes are hardly optional. Or, if you’re feeling weird, fresh jalapeño is also an option. If you like your sauce more or less acidic, feel free to adjust your ratio of vinegar and olive oil. Just don’t forget the red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

1 medium clove of garlic, minced or grated

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

Kosher salt or sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup yellow onion or scallion, finely chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons oregano leaves (optional)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional-ish)

2 tablespoons minced stemmed and seeded jalapeño (optional)

Directions

Gather all the ingredients.


Throw everything in a medium-sized bowl, give it a good stir and season that bad boy with salt and pepper.

That’s it!

Seasonal Food Ideas: Potato Hash Tacos

Potato Hash Tacos!

By Mike Q. Roth

The great thing about tacos is that you can make them out of most anything.  We’re a vegetarian household so we usually do our tacos with a base of beans or something like tofu, tempeh or seitan but we also like to use potatoes and sweet potatoes as an option to mix things up a bit.  As long as you have some tortillas, you’re well on your way.

Your farmshare can provide you with the raw materials for many different interesting taco combinations.  Today’s recipe for Potato Hash Tacos uses a bunch of stuff from my recent farmshare, a couple other things I picked up at the farm market this morning, some things that I just had on hand and a couple things from a trip to the local Mexican grocery.

The ingredients

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 garlic scape
  • 2 small carrots
  • 2 red radishes
  • 1 avocado (optional but always so good on tacos)
  • Cilantro (also optional but likewise it helps make the flavor pop, unless you of course hate cilantro, then avoid)
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Tortillas
  • Hot sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika and whatever spices you might like

This amount of ingredients was enough for 4 tacos.  Another great thing about taco recipes: they are easily scalable.  Just chop more stuff if you’re feeding more people

Starting with the slaw (you want something crunchy on top of that taco!)

I made my slaw out of radishes and carrots – cutting them into small matchsticks and then letting them marinade in some rice vinegar and sprinkling them with some salt.  Prep these first and let them marinade while you prep the rest of the taco fillings.

You can make this with any number of things in your farmshare – carrots, radishes, beets, cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi…really anything crunchy.  Just chop it up into fine pieces that’ll go into a taco well and marinade. It’s that easy.

Making the taco filling (you want something hot in that taco!)

For the filling I just chopped up the potatoes into small cubes (1/8″ or so) and tossed them in the frying pan with a bit of olive oil.  Cook them up just like you are making hashbrowns/homefries. Let them get a bit brown and crispy. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper. I added some of that good Hungarian paprika to give them a bit of a smokey flavor.  

Right before the potatoes are done, I also tossed in the chopped up scallion and garlic scape. Fry that lightly and mix in with the potatoes.

Putting it all together

Once the potatoes are done, remove them from your frying pan but leave the pan on the heat.  I recommend taking your tortillas and tossing them in the pan to get them warmed up. If you are doing cheese on your taco, toss some on the tortillas and let it get melty (if that’s your thing).  Keep the heat down a bit and don’t leave them on too long or they start getting crunchy and burned. You just want to hit ‘em with a bit of heat to warm them up.

Scoop a couple tablespoons of potato hash into each tortilla, then a pile of the slaw on top of that, add some chopped up avocado on next, then the cilantro.  To finish things off, shake a little bit of hot sauce on there. After my wife and I spent two months in Mexico over the winter, we developed a bit of an affinity for Valentina and Salsa Huichol; highly recommended but you do you.

Preparation time

About 30-35 minutes from chopping to eating.  Probably a little faster if you team up with someone in the kitchen.

Recommended Listening

The Clash – self-titled album (just long enough to prepare the food and eat it)