Simply Fresh by Julie Wern–Week 2

IMG_0834Happy Tuesday everyone!  Great news!  There is quite a bit more to be had in the picking fields this week so be sure to allot enough time for picking (I think I was out there for about 40 minutes).  Also, there are some flowers available to pick (see photo) so don’t forget to bring scissors and a container with water for your flowers.

CSA Tip—Try Breakfast Salads

I am always so pleased with all the early season greens that come out of the farm, but it can get challenging as the season progresses to find ways to use all the lettuces. This challenge, combined with my commitment to reduce the amount of sugar and refined carbs in my diet has led to one of my favorite new mantras—lose the “breakfast food” mentality and eat vegetables for breakfast! Good bye pancakes and cereal and hello breakfast salads. Here are a few of my favorites for this time of year:

Spicy Asian greens, arugula, or spinach with sugar free, nitrate free bacon (like Applegate’s Paleo Friendly version), radishes and a fried egg with Dijon Vinaigrette (see photo left)

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Lettuce, sliced bok choy or Napa cabbage, sliced strawberries, and chopped tender pea shoots (or chopped snow or sugar snap peas) tossed with a maple poppyseed vinaigrette (see recipe below) and sprinkled with low sugar granola or almonds.

Featured Item—Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage is perhaps the most popular cabbage in the world owing to its relatively mild flavor and delicate, crisp texture. It has always reminded me of a cross between lettuce and cabbage, as its leaves are so tender, yet hold up well in salads and cooked dishes.

Even with their delicacy, Napa cabbage leaves can be used like any other kind of cabbage leaf. Here are some of my favorite uses with examples culled from the internet:

Raw

Cooked

Napa cabbage is one healthful vegetable. It is low in calories and is very low in fat and cholesterol. Yet it contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C, is high in calcium and dietary folate, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Thus it is one of those filling, satisfying foods that doesn’t put on the pounds. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the potential protective effect of the Asian cabbages against various cancers, owing to their high antioxidant content.

Choose bright, crisp bunches with compact, tightly closed leaves. Store whole cabbage, unwashed, in plastic in the refrigerator. Remember that cut cabbage quickly loses nutrients, so it is best to cut your cabbage just before preparing it.

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Maple Poppyseed Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 1/2 teaspoons minced red onion
– 1 tablespoon maple syrup, preferably grade B
– 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
– 5 tablespoons avocado oil or oil of choice
– 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds

METHOD:

In a container high enough to contain the stick of a hand blender (like a large used ricotta container), place red onion, maple syrup, white wine vinegar, and canola oil. Blend until onion is pureed and mixture is emulsified. Alternatively, puree mixture in a blender. Mix in poppy seeds.

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Too often we think Napa cabbage has to be prepared with Asian flavors.  This recipe changes things up in an easy, quick Indian style curry.  As shown in the photo I served it with sautéed Swiss chard and forbidden rice.

Curried Turkey and Napa Cabbage SauteIMG_6158

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil
– 1 pound ground turkey, preferably pastured
– 1 medium onion, minced
– 1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon grated ginger
– 1 tablespoon curry powder, plus 1 teaspoon
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 6 cups chopped Napa cabbage
– 3 tablespoons coconut milk (regular or light)
– 2-3 tablespoon water
– 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
– 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
– 3 tablespoons chopped cashews

METHOD:

Melt coconut oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, onion, garlic, ginger and alt. Cook, breaking up meat with the back of a spoon and stirring frequently, until meat is browned and cooked through. Add Napa cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until cabbage is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and water (to desired consistency). Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve topped with cashew pieces.

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A creative way to use the tougher pea shoots is to blend them into a liquid and use the liquid to cook with, as in my baked risotto recipe below. This recipe was culled together from two sources, Martha Stewart’s Baked Risotto and the bbcgoodfoodblog.

IMG_0818Baked Pea Shoot Risotto with Peas and Parmesan      Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 1 small onion, chopped small
– 3/4 cup aborio rice
– 2 cups roughly chopped pea shoots
– 1/4 cup dry white wine
– 1 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
– 1 1/2 cup water
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
– 1 tablespoon unsalted grass fed butter
– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Plus more to serve
– 1 cup cooked fresh or frozen peas

METHOD:

  1. Place water, broth and pea shoots in a blender. Blend until as smooth as possible. Pour mixture over a sieve into a large measuring cup, pressing down on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Pour 1/2 cup pea shoot liquid into another container. Add any additional water to remaining liquid to reach 2 cups.
  2. Preheat oven to 425℉. Place olive oil in an oven proof pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until onion is soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until wine has completely evaporated. Add pea shoot liquid, salt, and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice. Remove from oven and stir in reserved 1/2 pea shoot liquid, butter, peas, and Parmesan. Risotto should be creamy. If dry, add a bit more water. Taste and season as desired with additional salt and pepper. Return cover and allow to sit for a couple of minutes to warm peas. Serve with additional Parmesan on the side if desired.

 

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