Seasonal Food Ideas: Father’s Day Food Adventures

By Mike Cuccaro,  Harvie Development Crew

It’s Father’s Day so I got a chance to do one of my favorite things: cook! I love doing bulk cooking on Sundays with what I’ve gotten in my Harvie share from Rivendale Farms and had doubled up my order of pearl onions and chard this week to cook a big pot of beans. That’s the best thing for me about Harvie. The meal-planning aspect! Instead of figuring out what to do with 9 different things, I’ll narrow my choices to fit my narrow window of opportunity. So, let’s set to it.

First thing I did was cut up those pearl onions. But they were so beautiful whole, I couldn’t bring myself to chop them fine. Instead I figured I’d try quartering them. Because they’re going to get slow cooked and pearl onions taste good boiled whole I figured this could be a good compromise. Then, I got to the chard. One reason why I often swap kale for chard is that I don’t have any use for the kale stems but chard stems make a great soup base. I rip the leaves from the stems and then chop the stems up fine. At this point I get out the crock pot and fill the bottom with olive oil. Then I throw in the onions and chard stems to coat and get the flavor started.

While that’s going on, I go down to the pantry to select a bag of beans. We make regular orders to Rancho Gordo in California. I know it’s not local but these beans are amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had even a single bad bean, much less a batch. I picked out some Goat’s Eye beans which are one of my standbys. You still have to rinse them up but I never presoak them. They are so good they don’t need it. Then, partly because it saves on counter space and partly because I enjoy the act, I rip up the chard leaves with my hands rather than chopping.

Next, I pour the soaked beans into the crockpot and mix them around with the savory veggies. I pour enough water over top to cover by about 2 inches. I never measure how much this is. Sorry. This is also the point where any bad beans will float up to the top and say, “I’m a bad bean. Get me out.” None floated up of course.

Last, I take the torn chard leaves and pile them on top. These are great for weighing down the beans and keeping them submerged so they’ll cook well. Then, just lid it and quit it! “Hey, where’s the salt, dude?” you might ask. That’s the trick to good dried beans. NO SALT until the very end. Otherwise they’ll harden on the outside.

After maybe half an hour after the chard has steamed down to a manageable pile I’ll submerge the leaves around the edge of the crockpot so they’re not burning to the sides of the crock pot.  After a few hours I’ll check the level of the water but otherwise just leave everything alone. In maybe another hour more I’ll test a bean. If it’s tender, then at this point I’ll add some salt and turn the beans down to warm until dinner time. We might serve with rice or bread or pasta. Meals for the week!

This particular day my wife had reminded me that we had some vegan chorizo that should have been eaten a few days earlier. So instead of spicing up the beans, I just browned the chorizo and let the beans mellow out the flavor and serve with chips.

I’d like to say I then enjoyed my Father’s Day gifts of the new release of the Who Live at the Fillmore East with some Dewars on the rocks after I got the kids to sleep but instead just passed out myself as soon as they were down. Real talk, right??

   

Cooking Simply: The Harvie Way

By Simon Huntley Founder and CEO, Harvie

Good morning fellow eaters!

Buying a farm share from a Harvie farmer is a great first step to culinary adventures and eating healthier, but now you need to take that beautiful, farm-fresh produce out of the box or bag and put it to good use in your kitchen!

Our philosophy at Harvie is that cooking is not about intimidating recipes and elaborate meals. Our obsessions with food TV like “Iron Chef” and “Chopped” make us feel like only the professionals can make food taste good. False. You can do this. Any chef knows that the ingredients make the dish – whether it’s a simple omelette or beef wellington. The point is, the quality of ingredients matter more than the number of ingredients and in your Harvie farm share you have the best ingredients!

Each week Harvie provides recipes and cooking ideas (look at the bottom of your emails) based on what your farmer grew for you that week. However, even more important is to get in the right mindset.

Here is Harvie’s Cooking Philosophy:

Fresh, high-quality ingredients from your local farmer is a great start for a simple and healthy meal

Every great meal, no matter how simple or complex, starts with high-quality ingredients. I find the joy of cooking is turning simple foods into something incredible. A simple omelette using farm-fresh eggs, spring asparagus and local goat cheese isn’t out of your reach: it’s exactly the way nature intended us to eat.

Back to Basics

Food should not be complicated. Taking a minimalist approach to preparations and recipes not only saves you time and your sanity, it allows the taste of the food to shine through. Don’t worry about making an Indian curry with 9 different spices (unless you want to!).

For example, with my first farm share of the season from Rivendale Farm in the Pittsburgh, PA area, I cooked up my kale as a simple stir fry and served it over rice noodles.

Helpful hint: Stir-fry of any kind is a simple way to use up veggies you have on hand. The right sauce makes the dish. Here is a staff favorite for homemade stir-fry sauce

Be Flexible

Learning how to substitute different vegetables or make variations of the same recipes to achieve different results is a way to keep your taste buds happy and your food waste low. In the stir-fry example, you could substitute swiss chard or spinach for the kale, and swap out rice noodles for cauliflower rice, brown rice, or soba noodles.

Learn techniques over recipes

As you start cooking more, you’ll become more comfortable with going off the script of a recipe. Learn some simple preparations and techniques like how to make a salad dressing or how to make vegetable soup, then these techniques can be applied to anything you have in your refrigerator. Be creative, it’s OK to fail.

Helpful Hint: Coming in July, Harvie is teaming up with Cook With What You Have to bring you a monthly lesson in basic kitchen techniques. 

Embrace leftovers, cook ahead

Cook, wash, and prepare in bulk when you have time and put the leftovers in the refrigerator. For example, when I get my lettuce home from my farm share, I immediately wash a big bowl of lettuce and put that in my refrigerator and then every time it is time for a meal, I have lettuce ready to eat. This means I eat a lot more lettuce because it is convenient and ready to go.

Helpful Hint: Use this “How to Store Your Farm Share” PDF print out to help you organize and store your share!

Enjoy the process of cooking

Slow down and enjoy the physical act of cooking. So many of us work in front of computers all day moving around 1s and 0s in digital space, but with cooking we have an opportunity to feel the food, to hear the sizzle of an onion, and the percussive pleasure of chopping a carrot. Take a little time to reflect on that carrot: it was grown in a particular field, on your farmer’s farm, weeded, watered, harvested, and washed by a person and delivered to you. Each carrot ties us to the land and the farm and the earth. Cooking is a moment to slow down and enjoy these connections and the timeless art of nourishing our bodies. It’s not a chore, it is one of life’s pleasures.

If you really don’t like something, don’t get it

For me, it’s beets. I want to like to beets, I really do. And everyone tells me that I will love them if I just figure out how to cook them. I’ve tried everything and I still don’t like beets. That’s OK, I simply mark my beets as a “0” in my preferences in Harvie and I’ll get more of something else I do like.

So, get out there and cook!

Are you having trouble with a particular item in your share? Send me an email back and I’ll try to help!

Did you cook something delicious with your Harvie farm share? Post your photo on social media tagged with #harviefarms or @harviefarms and send me a link!

In the coming weeks, we will open a Harvie member community on Facebook to allow you to share your creations and help you when you are stuck, so look out for an email on that soon.

Seasonal Food Ideas: Simple Kale Chips

Simple Kale Chips by Calien Fisher, Developer Crew at Harvie

This week was our first Rivendale share delivery here at Harvie headquarters, and the only thing cooler than seeing our system in action first hand was getting the fantastic fresh produce!

Everything in my Rivendale box was generously portioned, perfectly fresh and bundled, and all around awesome.

The first thing I made with my share was simple kale chips. My elder son (who is my hardest case when it comes to veggies) walked in while I was prepping them and said “are those kale chips?!”

They might not look like much, but they are easy and delicious!

Simple Kale Chips

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1/2 tbsp olive oil (approx.)

seasonings of choice

Instructions

Cut the kale down from the top with kitchen scissors until the stem starts getting thick, then rip off any leaf remaining on the stalk.

Kale from Rivendale Farm

Place cut kale in a mixing bowl, add enough olive oil to very lightly coat the kale.

Add seasoning of choice (I just used salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

Toss/mix like you would a salad.

Arrange seasoned kale on a baking sheet (I used parchment paper to make clean up easier!).

Bake at 280 for 18 – 24 minutes, depending on how crispy you want your chips to be.

Enjoy!

Seasonal Food Ideas: Making Chive Blossom Vinegar

Seasonal Food Ideas: Making Chive Blossom Vinegar

By Julie Inman, Harvie Sales and Implementation Specialist

If you are growing chives or getting them in your farm share or CSA in the spring, you will start to see these beautiful, purple, ball-shaped flowers emerge from the middle of the plant called chive blossoms. Ever wonder what you can do with them? One great idea is to infuse them to create a tangy, onion flavored vinegar!

The ingredients are simple!  All you need is:

1 1/2 cups champagne or white wine vinegar

2 1/2 cups chive blossoms, snipped right beneath the head

Glass pint jar

Lets get started!

Plunge the flowers in a bowl of cold water and gently swirl them around to shake off any dirt and bugs that may have found their way deep into the blossom.  Toss them into a colander and shake off the excess water. 

Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm, but don’t let it boil.  The warm vinegar will coach the subtle flavor out of the blossoms.

Stuff the pint jar with the blooms.

Pour the warm vinegar into the jar to submerge the blossoms.  Push the blooms down until they soak up all the vinegar and don’t float to the top.  

Let the vinegar cool.  If you have a pint jar with a glass hinged lid, then seal the jar.  If you have a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper in between the jar opening and the lid and then seal it.  That way, the vinegar won’t erode the metal lid.

Allow the vinegar to steep in a dark, cool spot for about 1 – 2 weeks.  

Taste the brew to see if you are satisfied with the flavor.  When you are ready, strain the blossoms and toss them. Pour the vinegar into your favorite, glass bottle with a rubber stopper and display prominently.  Enjoy the beauty too!

UPDATE: Here is a picture of the finished product!

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog for many more features on seasonal food ideas!