Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

I love cooking magazines and cookbooks…I almost need a full time job just to pay for all my subscriptions. I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the interesting ideas I’ve come across recently for items we will be seeing in this week’s distribution. Please let us know if you try them and like them!

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Yogurt Marinated Chicken and Zucchini Kabobs (click here)

Grilled Straw and Hay Fettuccine (click here)

Shaved Summer Squash with Almond Salsa Verde (click here)

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes (click here)


Google’s Braised Chicken and Kale (click here)

Wilted Kale with Coconut, Ginger, and Lime (click here)

Kale and Scallion Negimaki (click here)


Grilled Radishes with Rosemary Brown Butter (click here)

Blistered Diced Radishes with Parsley (click here)

White Bean and Radish Salad (click here)


Beet Chutney (click here)

Chocolate-Beet Layer Cake (click here)

Beetnik Martini (click here)

Beet Risotto (click here)

Smoky Vegetarian Reubens (click here)

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas with Mint and Warm Coconut Dressing (click here)

Black Rice Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Avocado (click here)


Cucumber, Basil and Peanut Salad (click here)

Wakame and Cucumber Salad (click here)

Emerald Palmers Mocktail (click here)

Poached Shrimp with Cucumber, Coconut Water, and Lime (click here)


Quinoa, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Miso Vinaigrette (click here)

Radish and Feta Snap Peas (click here)

Seared Salmon with Sugar Snap-Fennel Slaw (click here)

 Featured Item—Beets

I can’t think of another vegetable that polarizes people more than beets. Folks tend to love them or hate them. I am one of those “odd birds” that fell in love with canned beets as a kid and have just grown fonder of the vegetable as I have experienced it in other culinary forms throughout my life. Beets just scream healthful goodness…you can’t help but feel healthier after eating one. If you are one of those individuals who can’t seem to get into beets, I can only say, “keep trying”. There are so many ways to enjoy this vegetable that there is bound to be a way to your heart somehow.

Beets hail from the same family as chard and spinach. The leaves are a tender green that cooks quickly and tastes a lot like chard. Young leaves are quite good raw, like in salads. It was surprising to me to discover that even the roots, including the deep red ones, are delicious raw in salads like coleslaw. Simply julienne or shred them and toss with your favorite dressing (but be careful, you’ll get a temporary stain on your cutting board)(see below for a raw beet coleslaw recipe). Beet roots are also great cooked and can be roasted, steamed, boiled, and even grilled (in a foil packet).

Beets are a nutritional powerhouse. Whatever you do, don’t toss those greens…they are the healthiest part of the plant and contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them one of the most nutritious foods available. However, the roots are far from nutritional duds themselves, offering good sources of folic acid, potassium, fiber, and natural sugars in addition to tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Beets can be a few different colors, but are mostly red or golden varieties. The red beets “bleed” when raw or cooked and can stain some surfaces and temporarily discolor others, which is why you might want to consider wearing gloves and being careful when handling them. Golden beets are considered sweeter and milder in flavor than red beets, and won’t bleed or stain. They are a wonderful choice for raw preparations. For grated or julienned beets, it is especially helpful to use a food processor.

Cooking beet bulbs is incredibly easy. To roast, place well washed beet bulbs in a roasting pan with a little water and cover. Roast at 400 degrees for about one hour until beets are completely tender. Once cooked their peels slip off quite easily. Another way to roast beets is to peel and cut them, possibly mix with other root vegetables, and roast in a pan with olive oil and herbs (thyme or sage work great this way).

Beets can also be cooked by steaming, boiling, or grilling (cook in a foil packet for about 1 hour), These are all good cooking options for hot days when you don’t want to run the oven. Cooked beets are wonderful tossed with butter or olive oil and herbs and eaten as a side dish. They are also terrific in salads or pureed and made into soups.

Some natural accompaniments for beets include most nuts, sour cream or yogurt, mustard, tangy cheeses, citrus, fresh herbs (dill, tarragon, mint, parsely, basil), ginger, horseradish, cumin, and caraway.

Choose firm, unwrinkled or unblemished beet roots with crisp greens. Cut greens from roots and store each, unwashed, separately in plastic. When separated from the leaves, the roots can last a few weeks in the refrigerator. The leaves, unfortunately, get limp and lose nutrients quickly. Thus the leaves should be used within a few days. To increase the refrigerator life of the greens, try blanching them for a couple of minutes in boiling water, cooling them in an ice bath, and then draining well. Blanched greens will last an additional 3-4 days in the refrigerator.



This smoothie has become my daily breakfast…it is chock full of veggies and fruit, and contains Kefir, which is an excellent source of protein and healthful probiotics. If you don’t want to use Kefir, try yogurt (or leave out the dairy altogether).

I use a high powered blender for this smoothie so I am not sure how it turns out in a regular blender.  If you only have a standard blender, try cutting the pieces smaller and, if need be, skin the beets and apple.

Berry, Beet, and Veggie Smoothie                                                           Serves 2


– 1/3 cup Knudsen’s Organic Blueberry Nectar (or organic apple juice)

– 1/2 cup Organic low fat or non-fat kefir

– 1/4 apple with skin, cored, roughly chopped

– 1 small carrot with skin, roughly chopped

– 4 organic strawberries

– 1/4 cup organic blueberries

– 1/2 medium unpeeled washed red beet

– 1/2 cup beet greens, kale or spinach leaves

– zest of one lime, or juice from 1/2 lime

– ice cubes


Place all ingredients but ice in a blender. Blend until very smooth. Add ice and blend until ice is smoothie consistency. Serve immediately.


CSA member Lisa Edwards has shared this wonderful recipe for Fennel Frond Pesto. Thank-you, Lisa. See recipe below hers for an interesting way to use the pesto along with zucchini.

Fennel Frond Pesto                                                                        Makes about 1 cup


– 1 cup fennel fronds

– 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

– 2 tablespoons almonds or pine nuts, (I like them toasted)

– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

– 1/4 cup olive oil


Place all ingredients in a mini food processor. Blend until pasty and pesto-like.


Zucchini Ribbon, Olive, & Feta Pizza with Fennel Frond Pesto       1 pizza


– pizza dough for 1 pizza

– 1 large zucchini

– about 1/4 cup fennel frond pesto

– about 1/4 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives

– about 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

– sea salt


Preheat oven (500℉) or grill, along with pizza stone (if using).

Using a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of zucchini, turning as you go, until you reach the seeds. Place ribbons in a small bowl and toss with pesto. Save the rest of the zucchini for another purpose (compost, veggie broth, zucchini soup).

Roll out dough and place on a pizza peel (or pizza pan) that has been covered with flour and cornmeal. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Spread zucchini evenly over dough and then sprinkle evenly with olives and feta. Transfer to pizza stone and bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges are golden. Serve immediately.


My good friend, Jeanne, served these delightful appetizers at a dinner a few weeks ago. They are so simple, yet really delicious.

Radish and Creamy Butter Canapés


– Slices pumpernickel cocktail bread, cut in half into triangles

– Thinly sliced radishes

– High quality butter, softened

– Smoked salt or other large crystal specialty salt


1. Preheat oven to 325. Place bread triangles on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until almost crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2. Place butter, radishes, and salt (with a small spoon) in small serving bowls. Place bowls on a tray surrounded by bread toasts and a small spreading knife. Allow guests to make up their own canapés (spreading butter first on bread, topping with overlapping slices of radish, and then sprinkling with salt).

1 thought on “Simply Fresh by Julie Wern”

  1. I love beets as well! I grew up eating my Mom’s pickled beets that she made from our garden. I roasted some today with turnips, kale, and carrots from my farm share. I definitely will try your recipe as well!

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