Stuffed shells with chard and baby shells

Mama shells with baby shell cheesy chard stuffing

Mama shells with baby shell cheesy chard stuffing

The theme this week is Mamas and Babies! These jumbo shells are stuffed with the typical cheeses, but also Swiss chard and baby shells! I often think stuffed shells are heavy on cheese and light on pasta, so I was excited to try this recipe from EveryDay with Rachel Ray. I only modified it to use chard in place of spinach, and some Everblossom tomatoes I still had in the freezer from last season.

Many recipes will call for frozen spinach. To help me deal with fitting everything in my fridge, I try to chop, cook, squeeze out the liquid and freeze chard in advance. Then, when I need it for a recipe, I thaw it out and weigh out how much I need. Chard and spinach are interchangeable to me.

Once you have chopped and cooked chard at hand, adding it to soups, meatloaf and pasta is easy.

1 pound jumbo “mama” pasta shells (16 pieces)

1 cup (4 ounces) baby pasta shells

6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence*

Salt and pepper

1/2 pound thawed frozen spinach, squeezed to remove excess liquid

1 1/2 cups ricotta (about 12 ounces)

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1. Preheat the broiler. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the jumbo shells until al dente (about 9 mins). In a smaller saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the baby shells until al dente. Drain separately, reserving 3/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Spread the jumbo shells out on a work surface.

2. In a large ovenproof baking dish, toss the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Broil for 15 minutes. Remove, then stir in garlic, herbs and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. Lower the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a bowl, toss the baby shells with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir in the spinach, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan, remaining 1/4 cup pasta water; season. Stuff the jumbo shells with the spinach mixture; arrange in the dish atop the sauce. Top with the remaining parmesan, cover and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.

* herbs de provence = equal parts dried thyme, tarragon, rosemary and oregano.

Serves 4 – 6

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Fava beans and peas with bucatini in black pepper and cheese

Favas, peas and bucatini in pepper and parmesan

Favas, peas and bucatini in pepper and parmesan

The simplicity of this buttery sauce enhances the sweet fresh favas and peas. The basil kicks it all up a notch. Favas take some work, you first have to shuck them from their spongey pods and then blanche them to remove their soft shells. Luckily, I did this with family and had help with all the pea and bean shucking. Then it only takes a minute to combine all the ingredients and the result is so rewarding.

Thanks to Everblossom farm manager, Vallie, and our farmer’s market customer for suggesting this dish. If there is something you want to see, please let me know.

1 pint snow peas

1/2 pound English pea pods, shucked (about 1 cup peas)

1 1/4 pounds fava bean pods, shucked (about 1 cup peeled favas)

1 pound bucatini or thick spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 tablespoon very coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup grated Parmesan, more for serving

Coarse kosher sea salt, to taste

Extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Freshly chopped basil leaves for garnish

1. Bring a medium saucepot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with water and ice. Blanch peas (both kinds) for 30 seconds and use a slotted spoon to transfer peas to strainer in ice bath. Let sit for 5 minutes and pull up strainer to drain peas. Repeat process with fava beans, cooking for 1 minute. (You can use same pot of boiling water that you used for peas.) When fava beans have been blanched and cooled, slip off peels.

blanched favas in ice-water bath

blanched favas in ice-water bath

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

3. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add pepper and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Stir until sauce begins to thicken, about 30 seconds.

4. Add cooked pasta, pecorino and Parmesan and toss until cheese melts, about 30 seconds. Add peas and fava beans. Toss very well to coat, adding more pasta water if pan seems dry. Season with salt to taste. To serve, sprinkle each portion with more pecorino and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in and garnish with basil.

Parmesan and a Lark Rise baguette ready for the main event

Parmesan and a Lark Rise baguette ready for the main event

sesame salmon atop salad greens, snow peas and beets

This week we are using your Everblossom salad greens, snow peas, cilantro and beets. Want to do some cooking ahead? You can cook the peas and beets and make the dressing ahead of time. And, if you hate to turn your oven on in the summer, you can pre-heat a grill to medium and place the salmon on a rack not directly over heat. And, if you’re getting out the grill, this is also be great with pork chops.

8 ounces beets, trimmed, scrubbed or peeled, and quartered
6 ounces snow peas, trimmed (about 1 pint)
4 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
4 cups salad greens
2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

  • Pre-heat oven to 4500
  • Cook beets in boiling, salted water for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
  • Meanwhile, place a steamer basket in a large saucepan; bring 1 inch water to boiling. Add pea pods; cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes or just until tender. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  • Brush 1 side of salmon fillets with oil, in a shallow dish combine sesame seeds, flour, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Dip oiled side of salmon into mixture to coat. Place salmon, coated side up, in a shallow baking pan. Bake uncovered for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl combine vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup sesame oil to make dressing.
  • In a large bowl toss salad, cilantro, peas and beets with a bit of dressing. Divide onto four plates; add salmon fillet coated side up to each plate and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Sautéed Kale with Raisins and Garlic Scapes

Elaine’s friend and fellow farmer, Jenn Halpin, recommended this recipe from a class she took that focused on using locally farmed ingredients called Cooking for Real.

A garlic scape is the shoot that the garlic bulb sends up like a long curly flag. It’s got a wonderfully mild garlic flavor that you can chop and add to hamburger, pasta or try in this recipe. It goes nicely sautéed with kale. The proportions of ingredients you use here are not critical. Like many times when we “cook for real”, a little of this and a little of that make a lot of delicious.

Handful of raisins
2 or 3 Garlic scapes, chopped or bias-cut
Olive oil
Large bunch of Kale, stems removed, rinsed and chopped
½ Teaspoon hot pepper sesame oil (optional)
Salt to taste
Sliced Almonds

  • Sauté the raisins and scapes for a few minutes in olive oil until the raisins have plumped and the scapes have softened slightly.
  • Add chopped kale and cook until wilted.
  • Add a little salt to taste and hot pepper sesame oil or another source of heat if you like. We like a little heat with the sweetness of the raisins.

Kohlrabi Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing

The German translation for Kohlrabi is “cabbage turnip”. You’ll find, however, that it’s not much like a cabbage or a turnip and it has a slight broccoli flavor. Confused yet? Well, just try it. You’ll like it. This week our Kohlrabi is purple. It is often eaten raw and in salad, but you could also roast it with other springtime roots like radishes and turnips. All you need to do is peel and chop it.

Serves 4

2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon of your favorite mustard
Salt & pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon honey
4 medium kohlrabi bulbs peeled and diced, stems discarded
2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced

In a bowl stir together the sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the kohlrabi and the apple, and combine the salad well.

The acidity of this mustard dressing would also go well with the frisee in our share this week. Wash the frisee in cold water and remove the tougher outer leaves. Chop it and toss with the Kohlrabi Apple Salad, or just the Creamy Mustard Dressing.

Chopped Napa Cabbage Salad in Sesame Maple dressing

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Chopped salad is the new cupcake. In DC, where I work sometimes, chopped salad shops like Chopt and Sweet Greens are the new hot lunch places. They are even catching up to the cupcake shop trend. Then last week Subway invited me to “make any sub a chopped salad!” So, I figure it is officially catching on. But, honestly, who can resist a salad you can eat with a spoon! The magic is in the combinations. To your greens choices (far beyond our old standby lettuce) add something creamy, crunchy and sweet. Now you’ve got a salad. I made this recipe to use our napa cabbage and bok choy. You could also make other combinations with these greens and the sesame dressing, like avocado, radish and fried wontons. Add a protein like baked chicken breast and you have a meal.

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, finely minced

For the salad:
2 heads of Napa cabbage
1 baby bok choy
1 3-ounce package ramen noodles and seasoning
¼ cup butter
1 cup dried chopped apricots and cranberries
1 15.5-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed

In a bowl whisk the sesame oil, vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce and minced garlic.

sesame maple dressing

Prepare the cabbage and bok choy, slice the stalk and the leaves both thinly and then chop in the other direction so you have bite-sized pieces.

chopped napa cabbage

chopped Everblossom napa cabbage

Crush the ramen noodles in a bag with a rolling pin. Brown them in butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning – it will only take 2 to 3 minutes. Add the seasoning packet and stir to combine.

toasty Ramen noodles

toasty Ramen noodles

Place everything in a large serving bowl – greens, crunchy ramen noodles, dried fruit, chick peas and dressing; toss well to coat.

Spinach Frittata with Radish Sorrel Salad in Buttermilk Dressing

My goal for the recipe you’ll receive each week is to help you (1) use every part of each beautiful pea, bean, leaf and root that Elaine grows for us, and (2) keep eating-in as fresh and easy as going out.

First up, we have a frittata. To me, a frittata is simpler than both a quiche and an omelet because there’s no pie crust and you don’t have to fold the thing over. But it’s no less special. I certainly found it very special when Eric made me this one for my first Mother’s Day four years ago. I hope this helps your family eat their spinach.

6 large eggs
¼ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup spinach (baby leaves or chopped leaves)
3-4 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped

Pre-heat oven to 375o. Whisk together eggs, ricotta, salt and pepper in medium bowl.

Heat oil in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallion and cook until scallion is tender, about 4 minutes. Add spinach leaves and cook, stirring, until tender, about another minute.

Add egg mixture to skillet. Stir to distribute vegetables evenly. Place skillet in oven and bake until eggs have set, about 13 minutes. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Dressing

On the side, serve a salad of mixed greens, chopped sorrel and radish tossed in this dressing. Sorrel is the lemony leafy green in your bag this week.

Whisk together:
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced finely
Coarse salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Simple Swiss Chard Pie

Photo to come!

Serves 6 easily

When looking for recipes to use Swiss chard, collards or kale, I just look for a good spinach recipe and adjust. I have developed this easy spanikopita (spinach pie) recipe using a variety of the Everblossom organic greens. This is the least fussy spinach pie assembly I have found and the result was delicious. Here’s what I do…

1/2 a box of frozen phyllo dough (about 20 sheets)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter, plus 4 tablespoons butter for brushing on phyllo layers

3 to 4 small leeks, white and light green parts chopped finely

3 bunches of a combination of chard (leaves and stems), collards and kale (stems removed), rinsed and chopped

16 ounce container of ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (you can use pre-grated, but not the shake style here)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Melt 4 tablespoons butter for brushing on layers of phyllo.

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and butter to melt. Then add leeks and the chopped chard stems and cook until softened about 8 minutes. Then add the wet chopped greens in batches – start with the tougher Kale/collards if you’re using those. Work in batches to allow them to wilt down and make room. Sprinkle with more water if you need to; add a teaspoon of salt. Cover and stir occasionally until all nicely wilted.

Remove from heat and stir in ricotta and parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Open half of the phyllo sheets and cover with a damp tea towel. Then add one or two sheets to dish, brush butter completely over the top and layer another one or two sheets, and brush butter over the top layer again. Continue layering phyllo brushed with butter until about 10 layers are on the bottom.

Spoon in the greens and ricotta mixture. Repeat layering of sheets brushed with butter for another 10 layers on top. Be sure to brush the very top completely with butter (melt a bit more if you ran out).

Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely browned and bubbling inside. It’s ready to be served, sliced like lasagna along with a simple green salad and creamy buttermilk dressing.

Watercress Salad with Apricot and Blue Cheese Potatoes

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How I love cable access television! I just watched Elaine’s latest interview on ACTV (Adams County Television). She was recently a guest on Mark Berg’s show, Community Focus where he featured CSA’s. Watch it at https://vimeo.com/62109515. It makes me wish AGAIN that I had a job on television. Her first interview on ACTV was many years ago with me asking the questions – pretending I was Samantha Brown from the travel channel.
Elaine, what a smart, confident and knock-out representative of farmers you are!

And, it reminded me that I owe my blog a recipe. I made this for dinner after our last CSA pick-up. It uses Everblossom potatoes, parsley, butter crunch lettuce and watercress. I served it with baked chicken breast tossed with olive oil, salt pepper and Everblossom rosemary. My oldest, Audrey, actually cheered, “Hooray Hooray, Mamma made the best supper today!” I think she knows exactly what she’s doing.

The proportions in this recipe serve 3 to 4 comfortably.

The Salad
The peppery watercress is complemented by the tart apricot and sweet dressing.
Combine the following in equal portions:
1 head of butter crunch lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 bunch watercress, washed and chopped
1 handful of diced dried apricots
Poppyseed dressing (we love Brianna’s)

The Potatoes
I LOVE blue cheese on potatoes.
Peel about 15 to 20 small potatoes. Steam them in a steamer basket for 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender.
Remove them and empty the water, then put the potatoes back in the pot with 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

…p.s. food photography is hard.

Creamy Horseradish Potato Salad

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We’ve gotten an abundance of potatoes from Everblossom this winter. One of my favorite ways to eat them is in potato salad. I know it’s mostly thought of as a summertime side, but with horseradish this has a kick that feels like a wintry – or maybe even early spring – version. How ever you like to make potato salad, consider leaving the peels on. It’s where the nutrition is.

2 pounds potatoes, cut into bite-sized 1-inch pieces, with peels on
1 tablespoon kosher salt for boiling water
4 celery stalks, chopped in small pieces
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup horseradish sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Strain and add to large bowl with celery, mayo, horseradish sauce and paprika. Stir to combine. Add salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste.