Saturday, September 29, 2007

box no. 16 | contents

Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes

I’m a little backed up on my potato usage; I’m about two brown bags behind and we got another bag of the dirty spuds again this week! I really shouldn’t be complaining – the possibilities for potatoes are endless: soups, gratins, hashbrowns, mashed, double-baked, fried... My goal this week is to catch up and use up all of my potatoes by the time the next bag arrives.

I already started last week with a classic Potato Gratin subtly flavored with white truffle oil. The truffle oil is optional – you could replace it with a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick – but I love the mellow, earthy flavor and it’s a classic pairing with potatoes.

The easiest and fastest way to slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices is with an adjustable ceramic mandoline. I purchased mine from Whole Foods for about $24.95 – much cheaper than the stainless steel professional models and it works like a charm. They’re also available on

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Potato Gratin

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One-Skillet Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

We have divided duties in our household – I’m the cook and my husband does the dishes. Needless to say, there are times that, while he might enjoy the meal, he’s not too pleased with the amount of dishes it took to get there. I always try to be frugal with my dish and pot count, and I make every effort to clean as I go, but there always seem to be a flurry of activity at the very end that results in a pile of dirty dishes for Chris to clean. That’s one reason why I love this recipe – it only uses one skillet to cook the whole dish (along with knives, cutting board and measuring cups/spoons). This is also one of our staple household dishes because it tastes great. It has a lot of flavor from the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and the broth-based sauce is pretty light, with just a touch of milk and cheese. This is a great weeknight meal that comes together easy and clean up is a breeze.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

One-Skillet Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Unexpected Ingredients

When I came across these recipes, they both caught my eye because each one had a surprise ingredient. The addition of potato chips in the breadcrumb topping makes for a crispy, crunchy and salty crust on salmon. In the cauliflower & apple puree, the cauliflower is cooked in milk with some angel hair pasta until it is tender enough to puree. The pasta adds just enough starch to give the puree a velvety texture, creaminess and buttery flavor. Better yet, both of these dishes also happen to work well together as a main course.

The Broiled Salmon with Crisp Herbed Crust recipe is written for two servings, but can easily be doubled or tripled for a family. If you have leftovers, the Cauliflower & Apple Puree can be quickly transformed into a wonderful soup by simply reheating equal parts puree and stock (chicken or vegetable). Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and serve with a drizzle of white truffle oil.

Click here to download and print a two-page pdf of these recipes:

Broiled Salmon with Crisp Herbed Crust for Two
with Cauliflower & Apple Puree

box no. 15 | contents

  • Acorn Squash
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Celeriac
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • Cauliflower
My heart goes out to everyone at Angelic Organics who knew and loved Lora Krogman. Lora was involved in a tragic and fatal car accident at about 6:20 p.m., Friday, September 14, 2007; she was 31 years old. Lora’s valued responsibilities at the farm included keeping the bees, maintaining the flower beds, co-managing the biodynamic applications, managing human resources, making vegetable and fruit newsletters, hosting volunteer workers and guests, and assisting Farmer Bob.

I was lucky enough to meet Lora this August at the Learning Center Farm Dinner. She exuded kindness, patience and a great spirit. It saddens me that she is gone. Her family and friends are in my thoughts.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 15.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Book ’n Cook | Fresh Food Fast

This is one of my favorite recipes that I come back to time and again. It’s a relatively easy recipe to make. It uses two of the season’s most bountiful ingredients – leeks and potatoes. And, it’s one of those versatile dishes that you could serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

This recipe is adapted from one of the Winter menus featured in Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour. This is a well organized, beautifully designed, vegetarian cookbook that provides 48 meals – twelve for each season – including recipes, shopping lists and a game plan to walk you step-by-step through each menu. The meals boast a preparation time of under an hour and utilize techniques and tools that the average cook will have in her repertoire. I highly recommend it. It’s one of my top “go-to” cookbooks when cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Leek and Potato Frittata
Adapted from
Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Super Sunday

When I get behind in my shareholder box and the vegetables start piling up in the refrigerator, it’s time for what I like to call “Super Sunday”. This is the day when I buckle down and spend most of the day cooking, prepping for the week and using up as many items as I can. On this particular Sunday, I not only prepped for the week, but also started thinking ahead to the winter months when good, fresh produce is in short supply.

I’m not an experienced canner, so I freeze as much produce as I can to use in the winter months. There are a few tricks to freezing vegetables; make sure to research the proper way to freeze produce online. There are a number of websites the provide helpful information or you can download this free pdf.

Here’s my to-do list on Super Sunday:
  • Make a triple batch of basil pesto to freeze in small containers
  • Roast the sweet pumpkin and freeze to make Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Cayenne Pepper – make sure to blanch and freeze the seeds and guts, too
  • Blanch, chop and freeze kale to make White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup
  • Clean and separate broccoli florets; peel tough, outer layer from broccoli stem and slice into quarter-inch rounds
  • Blanch and freeze broccoli florets and stems
  • Clean and separate cauliflower florets to use during the week
  • Slice, clean and drain leeks to use for dinner
  • Wash and juice leftover beets, red cabbage and kale; mix with apple cider from the farmer’s market
  • Wash and dry lettuce to have on hand throughout the week for salads
  • Roast the eggplant and red peppers to make Eggplant Caviar; freeze extra roasted red peppers to use as a pizza topping
  • Toast pita chips to serve with Eggplant Caviar

Saturday, September 15, 2007

box no. 14 | contents

Leeks resemble a giant green onion with their bright white stalk and dark green outer leaves. The leek is the mildest member of the onion family and brings a hint of both garlic and onion to the dishes they flavor. They’re very versatile and meld well with other ingredients such as potatoes in dishes such as soup, gratins or quiche. The only downside to leeks is they’re a relatively dirty vegetable and need to be cleaned well:

How to Clean Leeks (from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion)
  1. Trim off the roots and tough, dark green tops of the leaves. If the outer layer is wilted or discolored, peel it away and discard.
  2. Quarter or halve the stalk lengthwise. If using the leek whole, leave the root end intact.
  3. Rinse well under cold running water, separating the layers and rubbing the leaves to remove any silt between them.
  4. If a recipe calls for sliced leeks, slice the white and lighter green parts crosswise.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 14.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Roasted Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

I seem to be on a roasting kick – Roasted Squash Soup with Cayenne Pepper, Roasted Tomato Salsa and now Roasted Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas. Oven roasting vegetables brings out concentrated, sweet and caramelized flavors; it lends itself especially well to fall and winter vegetables like winter squash, root vegetables, or brassicas (cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage). This is an easy, healthy vegetarian recipe that doesn’t require any special techniques or equipment. It packs a lot of flavor and the ooey, gooey filling is warm and comforting on a crisp fall night.

Serve these with sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and Roasted Tomato Salsa.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Roasted Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

Roasted Tomato Salsa

The tomatoes are one of the crops hit hard by the constant rains. In the last couple of boxes, the tomatoes haven’t looked too good – they have spots or bruises and always seem to be very close to going bad. So this week I wanted to use them quickly in a recipe that wouldn’t suffer from their lackluster appearance. By roasting and pureeing them in a salsa, all of the surface imperfections disappear and the flavors are more concentrated. This would also be a great recipe for the dead of winter or spring when grocery store tomatoes aren’t at their peak; you can use standard Roma tomatoes and coax more flavor out by roasting them with garlic, onions and peppers.

Serve this with chips or on the side with Roasted Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Saturday, September 08, 2007

box no. 13 | contents

  • Acorn Squash
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Mesclun Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Cilantro
Sometimes there are items in my box that I just can’t identify. Last week, I mistakenly said that we received a red kuri, when in fact, it was an acorn squash. There are a wide variety of cooking greens that all look the same to me. And when the small peppers start arriving in the box, those are ones that I make sure I get right – a small, orange habaƱero vs. a small, red sweet pepper is a big difference. But I’m slowly learning how to identify the different varieties of vegetables and it helps that a lot of them are the same as last year.

There is a great book that I often refer to when I’m in a bind. Ingredients is a visual resource of not just vegetables, but fruits, grains, beans, meat, fish and more. So when a recipe calls for maccheroni pasta or lupin beans, I can quickly look it up and see exactly what I’m shopping for. Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print, but you can order it through Amazon Marketplace or search for it at any used book store.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 13.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Roasted Squash Soup with Cayenne Pepper

Summer is officially over – Labor Day has come and gone, the cicadas are chirping and we’re getting winter squash in our boxes. The latter half of the season – and especially the winter share boxes – are my favorites. I’m kicking off the early fall season with a roasted squash soup that gets a little kick from the addition of some cayenne pepper. The color is stunning and the flavors are smooth and comforting.

You can use any type of squash or pumpkin in this recipe. I used both the Red Kuri and Sweet Dumpling squash to make a double batch of soup so that I had leftovers to freeze. If you’re not the spicy-type, you can omit the cayenne all together, but it does add a nice contrast to the buttery, rich flavor of the squash.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Roasted Squash Soup with Cayenne Pepper

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Book ’n Cook | Farmer John’s Cookbook

For all of you Angelic Organic shareholders, you don’t need me to recommend this one! Last season, all shareholders received a copy of Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. It’s a great resource for information on storing and cooking the vegetables that grow on the Angelic Organic farm as well as a wealth of seasonal recipes organized by vegetable and growing season. But more importantly, it’s a book with stories and anecdotes that give you insight into the people and the process that gets your box of veggies from the ground to your home every week.

I’m not usually a fan of veggie burgers, but this week’s newsletter mentioned a “beet burger” recipe in Farmer John’s cookbook and I was intrigued. This recipe is my kind of veggie burger – it’s actually made out of vegetables! And there’s some sunflowers and sesame seeds thrown in for texture and protein. I strayed a bit from the original recipe in the book, but overall it’s a great vegetarian recipe with a lot of flavor and a lot of room for experimentation with toppings and add-ins (shown here with mayonnaise and avocado). Next time I make them, I’m going to try using smoked cheddar cheese to add another flavor dimension and give the burgers more of a barbequed, “meaty” flavor.

  • I shaped my burgers into smaller patties (2.5” in diameter) and ended up with 18 burgers. But the smaller patties require smaller buns, so I used a 2.5” circle cutter to cut out whole wheat bread rounds and toasted them. If you stick with the original recipe, you can use standard regular or whole wheat buns. The smaller patties cooked for the same amount of time – 20 minutes.
  • I added 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the recipe (1/2 teaspoon if you’re using table salt) and sprinkled the patties with additional salt and a crack of fresh pepper before they went into the oven.
  • I whisked together the eggs, oil, flour, soy sauce, garlic, cayenne pepper and salt to make a sauce, which I then worked into the other ingredients. It made mixing easier and ensured that all of the flavors of the sauce were evenly distributed.
  • And one last tip: I wore disposable kitchen gloves while mixing and forming the patties. They’re indispensable when working with beets but are also helpful to have in the kitchen for other messy jobs or if you’re working with raw meat and chicken. You can find them at any kitchen and restaurant supply store.
Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Baked Beet-and-Carrot Burgers
Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables

Saturday, September 01, 2007

box no. 12 | contents

  • Red Kuri Squash
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Green Peppers
  • Red and Green Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Leek
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Basil
Twelve down, twelve to go…

Box no. 12 marks the halfway point of 24 Boxes. So far, so good. I’ve had a lot of fun preparing posts and recipes. Last week, Blogger featured us on their “Blogs of Note” list which garnered a surprising amount of hits and a lot of new readers.

The constant rain that we’ve been experiencing in the Chicagoland area has taken it’s toll on some of the crops at the farm. The average rainfall in Rockford, Illinois during the month of August is 4.21 inches; August 2007 dropped a total of 13.65 inches of rain! But that’s part of subscribing to a Community Supported Agriculture program – you have to take the good with the bad. Overall, Angelic Organics is predicting a good fall and winter share of potatoes, winter squash, fall brassicas, sweet potatoes, popcorn and beets. But for now, we’re still enjoying the fruits of summer – tomatoes, melons, carrots and basil – and looking forward to some dryer weather so the crops (and the farmers) can recover.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 12.