Peppers, peppers, peppers!

Are beautiful and bountiful sweet peppers taking over your fridge?  It won’t be long before they are a distant memory. Use the tips below to put them to good use now, and to preserve some of their summer flavor to enjoy during the upcoming fall and winter months.  Bonus:  Most of these tips and ideas will also work poblanos as well.

Peppers!Rockin’ raw peppers:  There’s nothing like the just-picked taste of farm-fresh peppers (and raw veggies have a special nutritional profile), but eating a side of sliced peppers at every meal can certainly get a little boring.  Try mixing it up by using peppers as the base for a veggie salad; this Summer Pepper Salad also takes advantage of the season’s cucumbers, while this one uses tomatoes.  Slice peppers thinly to add to wraps and sandwiches, or dice them up small for pasta and grain salads.  Gazpacho is a classic summer dish that you can always add extra peppers to.  You can also use raw peppers as the base for other cold soups, dips and dressings.

Peppers as a vessel:  Slice peppers in half, remove ribs and seeds, and then lightly steam or roast.  You can now use the pepper halves as a vessel in which to stuff all kinds of yummy eats.  We’ve posted a few stuffed pepper recipes here on the blog, including Freekah Stuffed Peppers, Poblanos and Mexican-style Quinoa and Green Pepper Dolmas.  I also love using eggs as part of a stuffing; this Baked Eggs in a Bell Pepper and Breakfast Stuffed Peppers use a whole egg cracked into pepper halves, while this Broccoli Quiche in Colorful Peppers uses an egg mixture.  Get creative with your stuffing fixins’ — just about any veggie, meat, grain or bean combination will work, so the possibilities are near endless!

Preserving peppers:  The no-fuss method to preserving peppers is to simply slice them into spears, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they’re frozen solid, and then transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container.  You can then use them in stir-fries, soups, sauces and other dishes.  Roasted peppers also freeze very well, holding their flavor and texture quite nicely; check out this method for roasting and freezing.  Roasted red peppers can be used on their own, or as an ingredient for soup, hummus, sauce, and pasta dishes.  And, of course, you can always make like Peter and pickle those peppers! :)

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Posted in Recipes Tagged , , ,

Autumn exhale

The crops coming from the field are reflective of the change in seasons. I love autumn vegetables- the colors and flavors, the earthy sweetness, the warm satisfying meals. From a farmer’s perspective fall is the one time of year we can really relax- the successes and failures of the season have been determined, the chores are geared more toward harvest and field clean up, the temperatures are friendly to physical labor. 

Harvesting Arugula

Harvesting arugula

We exhale, and breathe in a feeling of accomplishment. We take in the views from the farm, the colors of the sky and trees and the smell in the air. It’s not the frantic hot pace of summer or the eagerness and anxiety of spring, nor the planning and office work and excel spreadsheets of winter.

9/16/14, share #16

9/16/14, share #16

This week’s harvest has the first winter squash, as well as kennebec potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and collard greens. Delicata squash is one of my favorites. Also known as sweet potato squash, it is delicious baked in halves or rounds. We’ve featured it in a number of recipes in the blog over the years. Here is one: Sweet & Savory: Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squashand another recipe featuring acorn squash: Herbed Acorn Squash & Quinoa Risotta. Unfortunately, we did not have as much success with our acorn squash, but there is plenty of delicata, butternut and kabocha to look forward to.

A little history on Kennebec potatoes: this light tan, thin-skinned potato, though widely grown is rarely seen in grocery stores. They were introduced in the 40′s by the USDA as a good frying spud and subsequently gobbled up by big companies like Lay’s. The Kennebec was destined to a life as a crispy potato chip, or in the case of California fast food chain In-N-Out Burger, a french fry. With its dry and firm texture, and vivid nutty flavor, Kennebec is a potato that tastes like a potato, whether fried, mashed or baked. 

Speaking of potatoes, we started digging the sweet potatoes this week. After they are dug they will need to cure in a warm place for 2 weeks to encourage optimum sweetness and longevity. Unlike regular potatoes that grow in hills that are super easy to dig with our tractor drawn potato digger, sweet potatoes grow under a mass of vines and take quite a bit more time to unearth.

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Ryan with a 5 pound sweet potato!

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Corbin and crew harvesting sweet potatoes

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Posted in On The Farm

Savory Breakfast Muffins

The summer has flown by and here we are again. September welcomes school lunches, hurried morning routines with little time to stop and smell the 3 course breakfast (ha! who has the time?!), and a dinner that often leaves me muttering “I’ll do better tomorrow”. Tis life and thank goodness for the farm and the bounty of veggies still rolling in the door. My Tuesday and Thursdays barely feel like work (don’t tell Trish and Tom)- the energy is vibrant. I remember thinking to myself when I was given the Chef Educator farm job that this was what my family finally needed to be in perfect health and happiness all day, everyday: veggies and fresh air everywhere. Wow! Life was certainly gonna be easier…….screeeeeech.

Here is where reality sets in. Life is rarely easy. Some days I wish I didn’t know that lunchables and pop tarts were a no-no. My job may be different but my kids are the same, and no amount of happy Mr. Sunshine is going to make them willingly eat kale or squash for breakfast. Let me introduce you to a little game I call Hide the Vegetable. I put them everywhere. Chop them, puree them, shred them, you name it. You can sneak them in pancakes, meatballs, salad dressing, even ice cream (avocado yum).

The biggest argument I run into is the white bread vs. the “what kind of bread was that” option. I pick my battles and to be honest now that they are are at school and open the lunchbox in the cafeteria to find the Mommy bread, I am not there to hear them complain. :)

I like to rotate my foods. Everything from grains, meat and veggies, not only to mix things up but because it reduces the chances of acquiring a food intolerance or allergy. I make a chart for my week and map out my meal plan. I am the worst ever shopper so I usually forget my list anyway but at least I have a mental note. This is the only way I find that I feel good about the meals I prepare for my kids.

Prepping the day of CSA pick up is ideal. Honestly though, I use most of the share either as a raw whole food as snacks or lunches with a dip or salad, or lightly steamed, blanched or roasted. I find the most pleasure comes from eating these foods in their natural state. A vinaigrette or fresh herb citrus blend is simple and delicious. The oven roasted tomatoes from Tricia’s tomato blog and her salad in a jar are gems!

Last week we focused our demo on easy breakfast. I opted for a breakfast bread pudding muffin. Feel free to add whatever veggies, meat, cheese or herbs that your kids will eat. These can be individually frozen and reheated in the oven or a skillet.

Savory Breakfast Muffins 

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Ingredients, makes 12 muffins
6 eggs
2 egg whites whipped
1 loaf of bread – cubed – any kind you prefer
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar
1 zucchini grated and squeezed dry
1 onion minced
2 -3 ribs kale chopped fine
3 sweet peppers
2 oven roasted plum tomatoes
fresh rosemary to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Sauté onion and peppers and set aside in a bowl to cool. Beat whole eggs and half and half in a separate bowl, add salt and black pepper. Grate the zucchini. Wring out the moisture in a towel and add to the onion mix along with the chopped kale.

Kristin

In a very large bowl toss together the bread with the cheese and herbs to really get them happy together. Fold in the veggies and the whipped egg whites. Put a level scoop into greased muffin tins and bake about 25 minutes or until golden and set in the center.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPost and recipes written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Photos and editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Harvest Fest Hoe Down Coming Soon!

Save the Date! Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest is coming up in October. This year the event is on a Sunday, October 12, at 3pm, community potluck at 5:30pm (that’s Columbus Day weekend). What’s on tap? Local music and performance, community art, pie bake-off contest (plan your winning entry now!), garlic seed social, farmy crafts, wagon ride and more! We can’t do it without you! Please consider volunteering to help the day of the event. Sign up sheets will be available in the CSA distribution room. Help us celebrate year nine of Blooming Glen Farm, and another rocking harvest season!

9/9/14, share #15

9/9/14, share #15

Speaking of the harvest, we are excited for the first of the fall broccoli, swiss chard and cabbage.  All these crops are loving the cooler weather, and are growing beautifully.

Broccoli Harvest

Broccoli Harvest

Looking ahead, we planted next spring’s strawberry crop. We treat our strawberries as annuals, replanting every fall so as to avoid weed and disease issues. This planting was our largest yet, with over 10,000 strawberry plugs going into the field. Every plug goes in by hand. Since it’s so crucial not to bury the crown below the soil level, we forego using the transplanter, and tuck in each plant with care. In late fall the aisles will get mulched with straw and by early winter we will cover the plants with a heavy cloth row cover to help them survive the harsh cold.

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Even though the strawberry plants are on drip tape, since it was such a hot day when they were planted, we turned the overhead sprinklers on immediately. Then (some of us) promptly ran through the sprinklers.

sprinklers

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Posted in On The Farm

Spaghetti Squash rolls us closer to fall

With Labor Day come and gone, it may be the unofficial end of summer, but the weather is telling us we still have three weeks until the equinox. This late season heat is keeping the tomatoes and sweet peppers pouring in, and our irrigation manager Jared on his toes. We thought we’d give you a break, however, from all the summer squash of the last few months and roll out the spaghetti squash for a little taste of fall.

9/2/2014, share #14

9/2/2014, share #14

The easiest way I’ve found to roast these is whole (because who hasn’t struggled in alarm with a big knife and a twirling squash??).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick the squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

Saute in some olive oil a bunch of kale, a few torpedo onions and a couple cloves of garlic and toss it with the spaghetti squash “noodles”. Delicious!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

Posted in Weekly Share

Salad in a Jar

The mason jar salad is portable, healthy, and my personal favorite- artistic. The idea has been popping up all over the web and I even spotted a mason jar salad cookbook at the bookstore in town. (Seriously- why didn’t I think of this first?) But there’s a reason people are excited about a meal in a jar. The appeal is truly the make-ahead convenience and as an added bonus for kids (ok, adults too), the fun factor. Put together these jars the night before, customize them slightly for different family members, then grab and go. Head off to school or work with a healthy farm fresh lunch!

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To avoid soggy salad dressing soaked greens, the trick is in the layering. Once you have a handle on the basic idea you can get as creative as you want. I made a pint size for my daughter and a quart size for me. But if you were pairing this salad with soup or a sandwhich, or looking for a light lunch, a pint size would be plenty big enough for an adult.

The first layer is the dressing. (Though I did skip this for my daughter’s first back to school lunch- she’s not a dressing kid, but yours might be.) Use a little less than 2 tablespoons for the pint, and between 3-4 tablespoons for the quart. Mine was a simple balsamic, olive oil and honey blend. Check out Chef Kristin’s previous recipe post for some other salad dressing ideas.

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The next layer is the firmer vegetables- these will act as the barrier between the dressing and the rest of the salad. Put in something you don’t mind absorbing the dressing a bit- I did chunks of tomatoes, then diced cucumbers, followed by diced sweet peppers, and for my jar, the softer veggie came last, roasted eggplant. (The hardest part of this whole process is not making your layers too thick, and really packing them in there. I ended up with enough chopped veggies to make quite a few salads- not a bad thing- just make up some extra jars- they will keep in your fridge for a number of days.)

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Next comes the grain/nut layer- I used chickpeas (organic- drained and rinsed from the can) and noodles. This layer could also be followed by a protein if you so desire- chunks of grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, or tofu. Check the fridge for those leftovers! For my daughter’s jar, I topped the noodles with diced cheddar cheese and called it done.

The final layer would be your greens- kale, spinach, raab, arugula- whatever is fresh and seasonal! My jar got a layer of packed broccoli raab. 

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The morning of school I just grabbed my daughter’s jar out of the fridge, and sat it in a small plastic bowl in her lunchbox with a fork and an icepack. (It’s much easier to eat these salads out of a bowl- and the pouring in part really mixes all the layers up. Plus what 9-year old doesn’t want to feel part of the process?!). It was a hit! She came home with an empty jar and asked for another tomorrow. Score!

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I have mason jar salad ideas spinning through my head- I’m imagining a fresh tomato salsa, followed by rice and beans, then arugula or kale. Or what about a sweet yogurt dressing, a fresh fruit layer, quinoa then spinach? So many options! Experiment and share your ideas on our facebook page. Personally, I’m just thrilled to have a source of inspiration for those back-to-school lunches!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

Posted in Recipes

Back-to-school!

School starts next week, but we are only in week #13 of 24 of the CSA. As schedules change and lives get busier, we start to see more missed pick-ups. Don’t forget to make time to come get your veggies! There are lots of great lunch box snacks to be had- sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers all go fantastic with hummus or your dip of choice. Kale, tomatoes and summer squash are delicious sauteed with pasta and tossed with cheese.  Chef Kristin will be focusing on back-to-school themed demos over the next two weeks, so stop by her tasting booth during CSA pick-ups for some great ideas.

8/26/14, share #13

8/26/14, share #13

Out on the farm the winter squash harvest is ongoing- this week we filled bin after bin of delicata squash. We are continuously seeding cover crops in fields as the vegetable harvests are finished, and the crew moves forward with the work of weeding and thinning fall roots like radishes, beets and carrots. Out of curiousity we dug up a sweet potato plant, and holy cow! The weeding and steady watering has resulted in a beautiful crop. As soon as we find a place to store them all, the harvest of the sweet potatoes will be next up on the to-do list!

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If you are here late doing your pick-your-own crops look up for a 10-inch long grayish black bird with a conspicuous white strip on its wings. Thanks to the keen eyes of a CSA member, we’ve noticed a number of common nighthawks circling the fields at dusk, gobbling up flying insects. Add them to our list of natural pest controls! On our evening walks around the farm we also captured this sunset shot of the fall cabbages, a preview of what’s to come.

cabb1

 Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Posted in Weekly Share

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans PeppersFrom Cuban black beans with yellow rice to Indian ramjah (kidney beans) with basmati rice, rice and beans is a classic, versatile dish that’s found throughout most cultures around the globe. Rice and beans are hearty, inexpensive, and super adaptable, making them a worthwhile addition to anyone’s kitchen repertoire. The key to making this not only a belly-filling meal, but also a nourishing and nutritious one is using whole grains and loading up on veggies. The recipe below uses heart-healthy brown rice, and loads of Blooming Glen Farm-fresh veggies that are packed with vitamins and minerals. The black beans bring plant-based protein, making this a nice rounded and complete meal.

As with many recipes on this blog, the one below is very much open for alterations, depending on your particular tastes, what you have available in your pantry, and what veggies you may need to use up from your share.  I’ve added lots of peppers to this version, since they’re abundant right now. The poblano peppers add a tiny bit of heat, while the frying peppers bring in some sweetness.  Greens are always a good thing to add to your meals; using them here brings in a satisfying chewiness, perfectly complimented by the soft peppers and beans.  Corn would be a nice addition and so would zucchini — feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand!  You can substitute pinto or other beans in place of the black beans. You can even skip the rice and serve the beans over baked or smashed potatoes (leave skins on) or another whole grain. Experiment and have fun :)

Recipe note: I make rice and beans by first getting the rice going in a rice cooker, then moving on to the prep and cooking of the beans.  In most cases, by the time the beans are done, so is the rice.

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans

Ingredients
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (~1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
4 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
1+ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1+ cup kale, chopped fine
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (~2 cups)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1+ cup broth (No-Chicken Broth is good here)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 cups hot cooked brown rice*
Fresh cilantro (optional)
* I prepare rice for this recipe with broth, rather than water.

Method
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for a minute or two, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and spices, cook for one minute more. Add peppers. greens, and tomatoes, stir well, and cook until veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash 1/2-cup of the beans.

Add mashed beans, whole beans, broth, and maple syrup to the skillet. Turn up heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until reduced to desired thick consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, topped with cilantro.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Posted in Recipes Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A mid-August feast

Get ready to eat! There is always one share each season that is truly epic. This might be that one. The summer bounty is at its peak, and you may just need a wheelbarrow to get this share home…or at the very least a strong back.

8/19/14, share #12

With three pounds of plum tomatoes in the share, small batch sauce may be on the menu, or oven-roasted tomatoes. My favorite way to enjoy the plums is to halve them, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, and roast on a cookie tray in the oven. Roast them at a low temp, around 225 degrees. I put them in the oven in teh morning and let them go all day. These are delicious on pizza or in pasta. The whole tray can be put into the freezer, than the frozen tomatoes popped into freezer bags. They make for a delightful winter treat. If you’re feeling ambitious, 25 pound bulk boxes of the plum tomatoes can still be purchased.

This week was the last harvest of melons- both the cantaloupe and watermelon fields were picked, mowed, tilled and readied for cover crop seed to be planted. Hard to believe this is week #12, the midway point for the CSA distribution!

Justin weeds the brussel sprouts

Keeping an eye toward fall, we’ve been digging around in the sweet potatoes and they are sizing up beautifully. Coming out of the ground this week is the first of the celery root (aka celeriac). The fall cauliflower and broccoli is also looking awesome as we keep the weeds pulled and the plants watered.

Fall cauliflower field

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Additional photos by Tom Murtha.

Posted in On The Farm

Marinated Tomato Herb Salad

A handful of fresh herbs can transform any dish, but what better pairing than with the juicy flavorful tomatoes coming from the farm right now. I like to overindulge in these luscious fruits at the height of the season, so I won’t miss them in the winter months. This simple recipe highlights the flavors of summer.

Marinated Tomato Herb Salad

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 heirloom tomatoes, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine
2 baby red torpedo onions, diced
4 sweet peppers, diced

Handful of herbs (parsley, tarragon, oregano, agretti), kept whole, stems removed
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
4 Tbs evtra virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Toss and serve. Enjoy!

Post and recipes written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Photos and editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen Farm owner.

Posted in Recipes