The late spring boom in new farm ingredients also coincides with hotter weather and harder work, such that we eat more and more to keep up. Here are some of the ways we’ve been using fresh and preserved farm products in the last few weeks. Hopefully vegetarians and vegans will find these especially interesting, as this is the season we run low on meat and go back to that style of cooking. The next few months of food blogging will help balance all the meat blogging we do in the winter. Ah, seasonal eating. As always, on-farm ingredients listed in italics.
FRIED RICE FOR BREAKFAST
Our usual breakfast rotation includes homemade granola with farm-made yogurt, various baked goods from coffee cake to cornbread to scones, fried/scrambled/boiled eggs, and so on. One recent morning we felt burned out on all of that, so I summoned my Filipino side and made fried rice for breakast, using eggs, green onions, fresh shiitakes, garlic scape pesto, beet greens,
and leftover brown rice. With a side of Uprise bread and blackberry jam from Eric’s stepfather,
this was filling and enjoyable.
LENTIL SALAD AND STIR FRY
On the left is a nice lentil salad I more or less invented, taking loose inspiration from a couple vegetarian cookbooks. I cooked some organic lentils and buckwheat (also using some cooked cowpeas in another version), then mixed them with radishes, green onions, dill, garlic scallions, mint, farm aged cheddar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. I made two different batches, winging the amounts both times, and it came out wonderfully as a filling but cool-temperature meal for hot days. This is a great example of excellent ingredients making cooking easier; I really didn’t need to add other flavors than the vegetables and herbs. Served with a side of dill pickles.
On the right is a basic stir fry, something every fresh-foods cook should be able to do. This one is stored sweet potatoes, roasted farm peanuts, radishes, green onions & garlic, with a bit of soy sauce & calamansi juice, over organic brown rice. Simple but lovely.
COCONUT CURRIED VEGETABLES AND FRESH SALAD
This was lunch on Friday, when we came in hot, tired, and hungry from a long morning of harvesting for market with no leftovers and no plan for food. This didn’t take long to throw together and was excellent. For the curry, I chopped and briefly sauteed green onions, radishes, baby beets, beet greens, fresh shiitake mushrooms, organic bok choi from a recent visit to our friends at Happy Hollow Farm (we traded strawberries), then added organic coconut milk and a dash of organic soy sauce and simmered. Meanwhile, I crushed some dried anaheim peppers and dried tomatoes and mixed with fresh-ground coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and black pepper to make a spice mix, and added that to the pan. Meanwhile I boiled some simple Asian noodles. Just before serving, I chopped some fresh mint and cilantro into the curry as well, and mixed in the noodles. Filling, with a rich, complex flavor, and took less than 30 minutes.
The salad was typical of something we eat almost every day this time of year: lettuce, radishes, farm cheese, green onions/scallions, green garlic/scapes, herbs, beet or other greens, topped with light dashes of good balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We never get tired of that.
CILANTRO-BEAN WRAP WITH SWEET POTATO FRIES, EGG-DROP SOUP
Cilantro-almond pesto is one of our favorite condiments, made by blending cilantro, garlic, almonds, olive oil, and so on (lots of recipes online). It tastes amazing, can be used lots of ways, and can be frozen. Here, we made fresh flatbreads and filled them with the pesto, cooked cowpeas, lettuce, and farm cheese for a really simple but tasty meal. Sweet potato fries are quite easy, just cut stored sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil and salt, and roast at 450 for maybe 20-25 minutes until you get the texture you want.
Egg-drop soup is also quite easy, and this one features a great example of using and reusing farm ingredients (in this case, mushrooms). Good egg drop soup relies on good broth, and we’ve been making a lot of mushroom broth lately by boiling the stems of our fresh shiitakes with the green tops of overgrown green onions and salt to make a richly flavored broth that stores and freezes well, thus using parts we otherwise might not eat or use. To make the soup, just simmer the broth, beat a few eggs and gently drizzle them into the soup through a fork, and top with scallions or green onions. Serve immediately.
None of these meals are particularly complex or difficult, and rely heavily on spring-seasonal ingredients available at our stand and the rest of the farmers market, and can easily be adapted to whatever is on hand. This is how we cook and eat, and how anyone can cook and eat from a good CSA or market stand along with a few basic kitchen staples.