Butternut Squash Soup

This is the butternut squash soup recipe served at the We Grow Farm-to-Table Dinner Event in October 2016. It received very positive reviews and we were asked over and over again to post the recipe. It doesn’t take long to put this soup together, so it is great when you don’t have a plan for supper.

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Butternut Squash Soup

  • 6 cups raw cubed butternut squash, seeds removed ( 2.5 – 3 lb squash)*
  • 6 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tart apple, coursely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz cream cheese (at room temp if time allows)
  • salt to taste

In a large saucepan, saute onions/garlic in butter until tender. Add squash, apple, broth, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Cube cream cheese. Puree the squash mixture and cream cheese with a stick blender or in a food processor in batches until smooth. It is ready to serve at this point. You may need to heat it through when time to serve, but do not allow to boil.

*Tender squash can have the skins left on in this recipe as they will be pureed with a blender. Also, roasting the squash in halves and scooping it out of the skins as needed is an alternative to cubing raw. If using roasted squash, there is no need to cook the mixture for 20 minutes. Simply bring it to a boil to meld the flavors before pureeing.

Make up to three days in advance. Freezes well for an easy winter meal!

Brussel Sprout Gratin

This au gratin recipe can be the base for any number of veggie gratin recipes. As our farm volunteer Linda pointed out, it would also be good with spaghetti squash. We would also try it with a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • 3/4 cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Shave the brussels sprouts horizontally into thin slices with a sharp knife, mandoline slicer or power food slicer. Add to a bowl. Add the Cheddar, flour, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine. Pack the mixture to an 8×8” baking dish. Pour over the heavy cream.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan and oil and pour over the brussels sprouts mixture.

Bake uncovered until the brussels sprouts are tender, the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden,  about 30 minutes.

Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Make it your own by adding bacon or ham, shreds of celeriac, or cubes of butternut squash.

Tomato Soup

In our house during the peak of tomato season, there is a pot of tomatoes cooking on the stove or in the roaster nearly every day. Tomatoes grown in a field aren’t always perfect and who can possibly eat them all? Waste not, want not! Early in the season, when there aren’t a lot of tomatoes ripening at once, they are tossed in the freezer which opens up all sorts of options. Whole, frozen tomatoes in their simplest form can be used in chilis and soups during the cold winter months. Or we will pull them from the freezer in October or November when the garden slows down and we have more time. We also welcome the warmth in the house that time of year versus in August. Frozen tomatoes will easily shed their skins when run under warm water while still frozen. Then allowed to thaw in a colander, they will loose a majority of their water and take a very short time to cook into sauce recipes.

Enough tomato tips, here is our favorite tomato soup recipe. Make it your own by adding other veggies, making it chunky or adding your own fresh herbs to create a unique flavor.

Making tomato soup recipe

Main Ingredients

  • 14 lbs of tomatoes (approx) or 5 quarts of tomato juice
  • 7 stalks of celery
  • 2 green peppers
  • 7 sprigs of parsley
  • 4 medium-sized onions
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2-4 bay leaves
  • 10 cloves

Finishing Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Directions

Coarsely chop all ingredients and combine in a large stock pot or roaster. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for at least two hours. For naturally thicker soup, use paste varieties of tomatoes or simmer up to 8 hours.

Allow to cool down enough to work with and strain the mixture through a food mill or juice master to remove seeds, skins and stems. Prepare jars at this point of you plan to use a canning method of preservation.

PAUSE FOR AN IMPORTANT NOTE:

UW Extension tells us the safest thing to do at this point is to pressure can the vegetable mixture and add the roux ingredients to thicken the soup when you take it OUT of the jar at a later date. That said, I have been doing it the unsafe way for 9 years without any problems to date. Do your research and preserve food at your own risk. Review their recommendations here >>

RESUME RECIPE:

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat then whisk in flour until completely incorporated and all lumps are removed as you would when creating a roux. Add your strained tomato mixture back to the pot, along with the sugar and salt and bring to a boil stirring often to prevent burning to the pot. Taste test for sugar and salt balance. It is now ready to preserve.

*The safest method is to freeze the soup at this point. However, we use a pressure canning method: 11 lbs for 15 minutes at our 0′-1,000′ elevation. I have seen methods using a water bath, but I often add carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers and squash which lowers the acidity to an unpredictable level, so it not recommended.

Every batch will taste different. Using all cherry tomatoes will render a completely different flavor than using all beefsteaks. We have also made this soup with yellow pear tomatoes and it turned out fantastic, but we only needed 1/4 cup of sugar because they are so sweet. Yellow tomatoes are very low-acid, so keep this in mind when choosing a preservation method. We find the best flavor is using a variety of tomatoes and combining them for a rich, robust flavor.

*Please note that it is recommended to NOT can foods that contain flour. Please do you research before using our recipe. All methods are done at your own risk.

Sauteed Rainbow Chard

Garlic, chile, and lemon zest add a kick to garden-fresh chard.

Serves 6 to 8

pic_1785Ingredients

  • 2 pounds rainbow chard
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chile, thinly sliced
  • zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
  • sea salt and  white pepper, to taste

Directions

Remove leaves from stalks of rainbow chard. Thinly slice stalks and tear leaves into bite size pieces.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter; when the butter has melted and oil-butter mixture is sizzling, add the chile and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the oil-butter mixture has absorbed the flavor, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard stalks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the leaves, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com.

Tomato Basil Pasta

This recipe was shared by farm member Kerri in 2015, our first season! She has always been awesome enough to share good finds and this is no exception.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 10 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Stir tomatoes, onion, olive oil, garlic and basil together in bowl.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Cook fusilli in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Toss warm pasta with feta cheese and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Stor tomato mixture in pasta and season with salt and pepper.

We Grow Tomatoes

We grow a huge selection of standard and heirloom tomatoes available for purchase on our farm and at Medford and Rib Lake Farmer’s Markets seasonaly.

Arugula Salad with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnuts

Farm members: This recipe is double what is printed in your newsletter. You will have to halve the ingredients to accommodate the amount of arugula in your weekly shares.

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 10

Caramelized Onions

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Candied Walnuts

  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves

Croutons

  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes crustless country bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 5-ounce packages baby arugula
  • 2 5-ounce packages soft goat cheese, broken into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled

Directions

Caramelized Onions

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions. Sauté until golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with vinegar; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Candied Walnuts

Combine first 4 ingredients in another heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts; stir. Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to sheet of foil and quickly separate nuts with forks. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Croutons

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Drizzle with oil, tossing constantly to coat evenly. Scatter cubes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake croutons until crisp, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand on sheet at room temperature.

Salad

Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Place arugula in very large bowl. Drop in onions, tossing to distribute evenly. Add nuts, croutons, and goat cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly.

This recipe is borrowed from bonappetit.

Pea Pod Salad

Pea Pod Salad | We Grow LLCThis week, I received a unique recipe from a member. It coincides with this week’s farm share. There are several optional ingredients, so go ahead and make it your own. She says, “I never go with recipe amounts – I go with what’s available.”

Ingredients

  • Pea pods. Blanch in boiling water for a minute and then ice bath.  Chopped.
  • Cucumbers. Chopped.

Dressing Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Pepper and salt

Optional

  • I added an onion to today’s batch. Walla²
  • We thought feta cheese would be good to add.
  • Sunflowers seeds or your favorite nuts.

Directions

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and toss.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh sage leaf, chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper

Directions

In a large saucepan, cook beans in boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

Plunge into ice water; drain and set aside.

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, melt butter and add olive oil.

Saute sage 1 minute or until crisp and dark green. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add mushrooms and minced garlic to skillet; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

Add green beans, tossing to mix.

Stir in broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper; cook for 5-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Stir in sage just before serving.

Fresh Salsa

Ingredients

  • 3  medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped, drain juice
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine and enjoy a fresh summer treat. Obviously great served with tortilla chips, scrambled eggs, or anywhere you like to use salsa!

How To Freeze Kale

How to Freeze Kale | We Grow LLCPreserving this iron-rich super food is one of the simpler preserving projects you’ll undertake in your kitchen. Thoroughly wash the leaves. You can freeze stems, which make a nice addition to soups and stir fries, but plan to do so separately from the leaves. Remove leaves from stems, roughly chop.

Blanch leaves for 2.5 minutes, covering the boiling water pot with a lid to steam-heat floating leaves. Blanch stems for 3 minutes. Place leaves and stems in ice water for the same amount of time. Use a strainer to fish leaves from both boiling and ice water.

Dry leaves on a towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Quick-freeze small clumps of kale individually on a cookie sheet, then seal in a larger bag if you want to use it later in small amounts. Otherwise, freeze in larger pre-measured amounts based on what you plan to make with it. When blanched, kale will last 8-12 months in the freezer, however, you must remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

You’ll be happy you have kale in the freezer this winter when you whip up a batch of creamy kale sausage soup!

Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana

Southern-Style Collard Greens

Ingredients

  • 6 smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-size sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound smoked ham, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 48 oz chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Cook bacon in a stockpot over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until almost crisp. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes; add ham and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 hours or to desired degree of tenderness.

Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2tablespoons olive oil (or more)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place in a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic until it is completely filled and just starting to run down the side.

Wrap tightly with foil and place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel outside off of bulb of garlic, then gently squeeze each clove out.

Use in the recipe of your desire, or simply spread on bread for a wonderful addition to any meal.

Kohlrabi Apple Slaw

Part bulb, part serving of greens, kohlrabi may seem one of the more intimidating items in your share. Flavor equals one part mild radish, one part broccoli. The edible leaves are like a milder version of collards being nearly identical in appearance. Along with other cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi is packed with vitamin C and potassium.

We eat this veggie fresh (often right in the garden!) by peeling the thick skin and thinly slicing. The top of the bulb requires less peeling and this part of the kohlrabi is one of our absolute favorite veggies. Consider chopping up finely to make a slaw-type salad with your kohlrabi.

Storage: Cut off leaves and place in a plastic bag. Leaves can be refrigerated for three to four days; the bulb for several weeks.

Kohlrabi Apple Slaw

Ingredients

  • Kohlrabi, cut into matchsticks
  • Apple, cut into matchsticks
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Mix kohlrabi and apple matchsticks (both peeled or not) with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

In July we find ourselves with an abundance of cucumbers. This is the only time of year we get to enjoy creamy cucumber salad. And we will have it in the fridge available at all times for the next month!

Cucumbers have not received as much press as other vegetables in terms of health benefits, but this widely cultivated food provides us with a unique combination of nutrients. At the top of the phytonutrient list for cucumbers are its cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids. These three types of phytonutrients found in cucumbers provide us with valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.

To peel or not to peel. First, it is important to remember that the skins and seeds of cucumbers are both rich in nutrients. In fact, the nutrient richness of both plant parts is significantly higher than the flesh. For this reason, consumption of both skins and seeds is desirable from a nutritional standpoint. If you’re buying from a grocery store, both conventionally grown and organically grown cucumbers may have been waxed. However, the only waxes that can be used on organically grown cucumbers are non-synthetic waxes, and these waxes must be free of all chemical contaminants that are prohibited under organic regulations. Conventionally grown cucumbers may be waxed with synthetic waxes that contain unwanted chemical contaminants. For these reasons, we recommend leaving the skin of organically grown cucumbers intact regardless of whether the organically grown cucumber has been waxed. For conventionally grown cucumbers, we recommend removal of the waxed skin.

We Grow cucumbers are not waxed and should be used within three days for maximum freshness and flavor.

This recipe can be made your own by choosing your favorite variety of vinegar. In our house, we usually do half rice vinegar and half white vinegar, but tarragon and cider vinegar will also work. Play around with what’s available and make it your own. The key to getting a thick creamy salad is to get as much moisture out of the cukes as possible before combining the final ingredients. If you don’t have time and wish to eat the salad immediately, you can skip the salting and refrigeration step intended to do this.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 slicing cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain greek yougurt (make your own yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dill weed

Directions

Slice cucumbers into bowl and mix with salt. Place in colander in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight to draw the water out of the cucumbers.

Combine sour cream, sugar, vinegar, and pepper. Drain cucumbers well and try to get as much moisture as you can out of the sliced cucumbers. Do NOT rinse. Combine cucumbers and sauce and add onion and dill weed. Serve chilled.

Kale Craisin Salad

Kale Craisin Salad

It’s about the fourth of July and we have kale coming out of our ears here on our farm. I am always challenged to find ways to use kale. Usually I just try to work it into other recipes in small quantities because I know kale is loaded with nutrients and is so good for my family. But I wanted to find a great dish where kale takes center stage. This is it, and this recipe is delicious!!

You will impress your friends when you bring this dish to pass. If I could call it Creamy Kale Craisin Lemon Zest Salad I would. There are so many flavors in one bite! Make it ahead, because the flavors taste even better after some time marinating. Don’t skip the real lemon as it is key. We omit the red onion in our version and also double the batch. I have found that it takes about one-third pound of lacinato (dinosaur) kale with the ribs to get 4 cups chopped kale. I prefer lacinato because the leaves are less chewy than traditional blue curled kale.

We have kale available at We Grow throughout the growing season. Contact us and we will bring it to market for you.

Kale Craisin Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped kale (ribs removed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (optional)
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Directions

Mix kale, red onion, and craisins in a large bowl.

Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl; pour over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the salad when ready to eat and toss to serve.

Sorry the photo is slightly deceptive. We usually wait to add the sunflower seeds to keep them crunchier!