• Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

    Friends, I must appeal to you once more….please send in your favorite CSA recipes. I have only received recipes from two families out of about 500….we desperately need your contributions! If you know the original source of your recipe, please include it. Together, we can make a great Holcomb Farm cookbook and CSA guide.

    A Sunday of CSA meals

    Our family recently acquired an eight-week old puppy.   Suddenly I find myself stuck in the house again overseeing naps and potty breaks. So… I’ve been cooking! This Sunday I managed to cook both a brunch and dinner using up some of my week’s CSA share. For Brunch I whipped up a delicious and hearty frittata made with farm potatoes, onions, and Swiss chard. For dinner, we enjoyed a pork chile verde that used this season’s first tomatillos, served with steamed green beans and cabbage (for garnish). Dessert was a delicious lemon cream topped with farm raspberries and ground cherries. See below for recipes.

    Featured item—Tomatillos

    My love affair with tomatillos is fairly new, as the tomatillo and I were formally introduced only about 10 years ago. Before that, my amour was salsa verde, the tart, green, vibrant sauce you could find only in Mexican restaurants served as either a salsa or a sauce. I was a huge fan of enchiladas and tamales that featured this kind of sauce but they weren’t easy to find. Out of frustration and sheer desperation, I decided to start making my own from scratch. That is when I met the humble tomatillo in its strange husk. I was intrigued.

    I had always assumed that salsa verde was made from some kind of green chili, but instead it was made from something else entirely, a tomatillo. Like a small green tomato, but not a tomato at all, tomatillos are clothed in an odd husk with a sticky substance on the fruit. I admit that at first I was a little intimidated, but I was determined to get to know this fruit better.   What I found is that it is remarkably easy to cook with and simply delicious to eat, with a tangy, almost citrusy vibrancy that is addictive. If you have not met my love, the tomatillo, you must do so, for once you get over its initial strangeness, you too, will be unable to resist its charms.

    In case you are hesitant to meet this stranger, keep in mind that it comes from the venerable Nightshade family. Its close garden relatives are familiar “respectable types” you know well, such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Traditionally used in Mexican cuisine, tomatillos are gaining popularity as they become more familiar to home cooks across the country.

    If you fancy the “nutritional types”, tomatillos are not a bad choice, being low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber. Tomatillos are also easy to store. They last longest if removed from their husky home and placed in plastic in the refrigerator, where they can hang out for a good couple of weeks. Be sure to wash off the sticky substance that coats the fruit before using them.

    Tomatillos grow and mature within inedible papery husks. When it is ready to be harvested, the tomatillo fills out and pushes through the bottom of the husk and splits it open. Mature fruit tends from green to yellow, but I have read that yellow tomatillos, while sweeter, lose their characteristic tartness. For that reason, many recommend picking the tomatillos once they have filled out the husk and barely split it open, but when the fruit is still bright green.

    Tomatillos are eaten raw or cooked. Raw, they maintain a crisp tartness that is great in salsas and salads. Cooked, the flesh becomes quickly softened and their tartness tamed, although they still keep a certain level of acidity. Here are some ideas of ways to prepare tomatillos.

    Raw—chopped or blended in salsa; chopped in salads (try it mixed with fruit); in cold soups like gazpacho

    Boiled—just until soft (about 5-7 minutes), then pureed to make sauces or salsa. Also great in soups/stews, either left in pieces or pureed.

    Broiled—charred and softened (usually quickly) and used for salsa verde or other sauces.

    Grilled—try putting them on your next shish-kabob, or grill to soften, then puree for sauce.

    Uses for Salsa Verde (see recipe below)—salsa; sauce for enchiladas, tamales,  tacos or burritos; braising sauce for meat, esp. chicken and pork; a base for stew (as in posole).

    At Holcomb Farm, tomatillos are offered as a pick-your-own crop that will be maturing from now until the fall. Keep your eyes on the PYO news and be sure to pick when the fruit is mature and ripe (when it fills out and starts to split the husk). Also, be careful of the bees, who are busy fertilizing the hundreds of tomatillo flowers that will soon morph into my luscious love, the tomatillo fruit.

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    This frittata is a real winner—hearty yet not too heavy. If you do not care to eat bacon, simply leave it out. Use your preferred oil in the pan instead of bacon grease and continue with the recipe as it is written.

    This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking, Oct/Nov 2014. I lightened it by substituting egg whites for some of the eggs. I also included bacon and some Dijon mustard in the base, and changed the cheese from Gouda to Gruyere (what I had available to me at the time).

    Potato, Swiss Chard, and Gruyere Frittata

    INGREDIENTS:

    – 3-4 slices thick cut organic bacon, finely chopped

    – 1 cup minced red onion

    – 1 clove garlic, minced

    – 4 medium farm potatoes, any variety

    – 1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves separated from stems

    – 4 organic eggs

    – 8 egg whites

    – 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    – 1/2 teaspoon salt

    – 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

    METHOD:

    1. Chop chard leaves and top 3 inches of stems (1/4” slices) and reserve separately.
    2. Cook bacon in a 8-inch cast-iron skillet until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon bits to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. On medium heat, cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes become tender and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 6-8 minutes. Add chard stems and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add chard leaves and bacon bits, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 more minutes or until chard begins to wilt.
    3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, egg whites, Dijon mustard and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add cheese and mix well. Pour egg over vegetable mixture in pan and stir to mix well. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. As if cooking scrambled eggs, slowly scrape egg from the sides to the middle as you work your way around the pan. Smooth out egg mixture evenly and cook another 2-3 minutes, scraping from the edges to the middle once more. Smooth out mixture and allow to cook until mixture bubbles throughout and looks almost set (except for the top), about 3-5 minutes more.
    4. Place oven rack about 6 inches from broiler unit. Preheat broiler. Place frittata in pan on rack and close oven door. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until frittata is puffed, browned on top, and appears completely set. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around outside edge of frittata to loosen sides. If you wish to turn out the frittata onto a plate, run a thin spatula around the entire bottom of the frittata. Place a plate upside down on the top of the pan, and using oven mitts, gently turn the pan with the plate upside down to release the frittata (there will be a thin layer of browned goodness that stays on bottom of the pan which is normal). The ease and cleanliness of this step depends upon how seasoned and “non-stick” your skillet is. If you have concerns about being able to release the frittata from the pan, simply cut out slices and serve them directly from the pan.

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    I served this rich, tasty stew with shredded cabbage and some homemade guacamole. It would also be good served with warm corn tortillas.

    Pork Chile Verde                                                                                         Serves 6

    INGREDIENTS:

    – 8-10 tomatillos husked and rinsed

    – 2 jalapenos

    – 1 large onion, cut into quarters

    – 4 garlic cloves, peeled

    – 2-3 pounds pork loin (rib end), trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes

    – 1/4 cup all purpose flour

    – 1/2 teaspoon salt

    – freshly ground black pepper

    – 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil

    – 2 cups homemade or purchased chicken or veggie broth

    – 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

    – 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

    – 1 29-ounce can hominy or white beans

    – juice of 1/2 lime

    – chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

    – shredded cabbage, for garnish

    – slivered radish, for garnish

    METHOD:

    1. Place oven rack 6 inches below broiler. Turn broiler to high. Place tomatillos and jalapeños on a cookie sheet sprayed well with coconut oil spray. Spray vegetables well with more oil. Place in oven and broil for 3 minutes. Turn tomatillos and jalapeños. Return to oven for another 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cook, turning vegetables every 1-2 minutes, or until tomatillos and jalapeños are blistered and tomatillos are quite soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut jalapenos in half and scoop out seeds (unless you like your chili hot). Place all vegetables in a blender and blend until smooth (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Place tomatillo sauce in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to continue).
    2. Place pork pieces in a large resealable plastic baggie along with flour, salt and pepper. Shake well to evenly distribute flour. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil on medium-high heat in a medium Dutch oven until very hot. Brown pork pieces in oil in batches in a single layer until golden. Transfer pork to a bowl using a slotted spoon and add more oil if necessary to the pan before adding the next batch of pork. Once all pork has been browned, add tomatillo mixture and broth to the pot, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring mixture to a boil. Add pork, stir well, and allow to come to a boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until pork is tender.
    3. Rinse and drain hominy or white beans in a colander. Add to stew. Cook, uncovered, until mixture is thick and hominy or beans are hot. Remove from heat and stir in juice of 1/2 lime. Serve, garnished with cabbage, radish and cilantro.

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    Lemon Cream with Raspberries and Ground Cherries

    • Start with about 1 cup of chilled homemade or store bought lemon curd. I like this recipe from Cooking light (Click here for recipe) which was a great way to use up the egg yolks I had leftover from making the frittata. If using store bought lemon curd, I like to add a little bit of fresh lemon juice to freshen it up.
    • Whip about ½ cup of whipping cream with a bit of sugar until soft peaks form. Gently and gradually fold into lemon curd. Chill for at least one hour.
    • Spoon lemon cream into small dessert bowls and top with fresh raspberries and halved ground cherries. I like to top the dessert with granola or crushed graham crackers.

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    This is a traditional style salsa verde recipe that was adapted from Rick Bayless. It is a great on its own as a salsa, or is a great sauce base for enchiladas, stews, or tamales.

    Salsa Verde

    INGREDIENTS:

    – 2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed

    – 2 whole jalapenos, rinsed

    – 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled

    – 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

    – 1 large onion, chopped

    – 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

    METHOD:

    1. place tomatillos, unpeeled garlic, and jalapenos on a sturdy baking sheet. Preheat broiler with top rack placed 6 inches below heat. Broil tomatillo mixture, turning pieces every couple of minutes, until vegetables are lightly charred but soft, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
    2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a heavy stockpot on medium heat until hot. Add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and soft, about 8 minutes. Srape onion into a blender or food processor bowl but keep pan ready to use again.
    3. Squeeze garlic from skins and place in blender or processor bowl with onions. Peel as much skin as possible off of jalapenos and split open, using a small sharp knife to remove seeds and ribs. Place jalapeno flesh (without seeds and ribs), along with all of the tomatillos and any accumulated juices, in blender or processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup broth and blend until completely smooth.
    4. In stockpot used to cook onions, add 2 teaspoons oil and heat on medium-high heat. Add tomatillo mixture all at once. Mixture will splatter and sputter so be careful. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture darkens and thickens, about 4 minutes. Add remainder of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and, cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10-15 minutes. Add salt. Taste and adjust salt level if necessary.

2 Responsesso far.

  1. Lori says:

    I made the pork chile verde this week and it was delicious! Tasted even better the second day. An hour wasn’t quite long enough to get the tenderness I desired in the meat, next time I’d cook it longer or put it in the crock pot on low for the day.

    Will definitely make again. I’d like to try this in the style of pulled pork ( mixing the sauce in with slow-cooked, shredded pork) because I think that would work better for tacos.

  2. Julie says:

    Lori, so glad you like the pork chile verde. I’m also glad you brought up the issue of cooking time. A lot of it depends on the cut you use and the size of your pieces. I tend to cut my pieces pretty small so they aren’t much bigger than the hominy and I bet that is why mine cooked up more quickly. I have done the meat shredded in tacos but I didn’t use as much liquid and I think I reduced the sauce down quite a bit before adding back in the shredded meat, otherwise you get soggy tacos. Enjoy!