Waste not, want not…Carrot Tops

Move over Bugs Bunny! After talking to our friendly farmers, who are a wealth of information regarding uses of plant and vegetable parts that are not commonly thought of as edible, my culinary juices were peaked and my kitchen prepped for fun.  Here are some fun carrot top recipes:

  1. Salad: mix in with the rest of your salad greens or Salad Dressing: Carrot Top Vinaigrette
  2. Soup: duh! I feel like any vegetable imaginable can be used in soup…
  3. Tea: Miss Karen suggested steeping the carrot tops to make a carrot flavored tea, can be served hot or cold. Carrot Top Tea
  4. Pesto: Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto

Nutrition bite: use walnuts instead of pine nuts to save money and add omega 3. try green garlic, which is currently at the farmstand, instead of regular head garlic.

  1. with Eggs: Carrot Top Scramble: quick and easy – try for breakfast or dinner
  2. Falafel: Falafel with carrot greens

If you don’t have time or want to try carrot tops (no judgement – it’s not for everyone), you could give them to a furry or feathered friend, such as bunnies or chickens. My chickens love it when I tie the carrot tops in a bunch and hang them from a string from the top wire of their chicken run. It keeps them entertained and provides lots of nutrition. No bunnies or chickens?? Compost the carrot tops.

Culinary Tip: A quick way to get the carrot leaves off the stem: hold the top of the carrot stem, then slide your fingers down the stem.

Nutrition: carrot tops are an excellent source of vitamin C (6 times as much as the root!), vitamin K and potassium

Fun Fact: English women in the 1600’s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers. Reference Other Carrot Top info.

Munch on this: One carrot to a rabbit would be like a human eating 20!

Controversy: Here is a summarized version.

http://theamericanwomanmagazine.com/2013/03/25/fun-facts-on-carrots/

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Did someone say bulk zucchini?!?

Did you say bulk zucchini?

Want to buy or already have bulk zucchini? Farmer Elizabeth noted that there would be bulk zucchini available this week at Fat Moon Farm.

I love zucchini, whether it’s grilled, shredded or sliced or raw or cooked. So, here are my suggestions for how to enjoy zucchini throughout the year.

  1. Prepare now, enjoy later

Some recipes are great made, then frozen. Others I prepare, then freeze and will cook later.

Zucchini Pancakes – After making, I portion them out (putting a small piece of parchment or freezer paper between each pancake), then wrap in plastic wrap

Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies – after preparing the dough, bake what you want to eat in the next couple days. The remainder of the dough, portion (scoop out) onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. The dough balls can be spaced fairly close together as they will be placed into the freezer on the cookie sheet. After dough balls are frozen solid (usually takes at least an hour), place dough balls into a freezer safe bag or container. When you want a freshly baked cookie, preheat oven. Pull out desired amount of cookies and bake per instructions or until done).

Zucchini Brownies – after baking and cooling the brownies, portion, wrap well and freeze. When you want to eat one, take brownie out of freezer and defrost. They usually don’t take long to defrost if left on the counter.

Zucchini bread or zucchini muffins – use your favorite recipe. If you know you’ll only want one slice of bread at a time, pre-cut and wrap each slice well, then place all slices in a bag or container.

  1. Freeze

    Freezing grated zucchini – don’t forget to portion out into the amounts you need for your most used recipes. A quick space saving suggestion: store portioned zucchini in freezer ziploc bags. Make sure you remove as much air as possible. Flatten the plastic bag, then place onto a sheet pan (aka cookie sheet) to freeze so it’s flat. Once frozen, it can be easily stacked in the freezer. And, don’t forget to label it – what it is, amount and when prepared!

    Freezing sliced zucchini – this is good for sauteeing zucchini at a later time.

  2. If you don’t feel like freezing…eat as much as you can now – that way if you OD now, you won’t want it for a while!

 

For more zucchini recipes, see my post from last year.

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Zucchini Bake-off 2014 Recipes

A big thank you to the chefs who submitted their recipes.  All the entries (even those not below) were fantastic!

 

Fat Moon Farm Zucchini Bake-off 2014

Zucchini Bites

Prepared by: Kathleen Spaeth

Recipe adapted from: The Naptime Chef, http://www.thenaptimechef.com/2010/07/summer-zucchini-bites-webisode-22/

Yield: 12 mini-muffin sized bites

1 cup zucchini, grated

2 eggs

¼ cup yellow onion, diced

¼ cup cheese (cheddar or parmesan work the best)

¼ cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper, dash or to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray and set aside.

  2. Grate zucchini, then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water. If you skip this part, the middle of the zucchini bites will be really soggy.

  3. In a bowl combine the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, parsley, salt and pepper.

  4. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the tap. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top is browned and set

 

Zucchini Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prepared by: Greta

https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/145079/Zucchini-Oat-Dark-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies/detail.aspx

Yield: 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded (or grated) zucchini (I like to finely shred the zucchini)

  • 1 cup quick oats

  • 1 cup chopped nuts

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or place parchment paper on baking sheets.

  2. Combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda in small bowl, set aside.

  3. Grate zucchini, then place in a dish towel or use your hands to squeeze out the excess water.

  4. Beat butter, sugar in large mixer bowl until well combined. Add egg and vanilla extract, beat well. Add zucchini; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, nuts and morsels. Drop by rounded teaspoon 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.

  5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Zucchini Pancakes

Prepared by Karen W.

Recipe from: Eating Well July/August 2013 http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/zucchini_bread_breakfast_pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend or cinnamon (If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cloves)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat milk

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (if desired)

Preparation

  1. Put shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible.

  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the zucchini and nuts.

  3. Coat a large nonstick skillet (or griddle) with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Cook pancakes in batches, using a scant 1/3 cup batter for each (I usually make smaller pancakes using ~ 2 tablespoon scoops) and spreading it to make them about 4 inches wide. Cook until bubbles dot the surface, 1 to 3 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat if the pancakes are browning too quickly. Serve hot.

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Garlic Scape Bake-off 2014

A big thank you to the chefs who submitted their recipes! 

 

Fat Moon Farm Garlic Scape Bake-off Recipes 2014

Okonomiyaki with garlic scapes and cabbage
From- http://fiveandspice.com/2011/06/30/okonomiyaki-with-garlic-scapes/

Yield: 10, 2-inch pancakes

Prepared by: Judy Nevius

1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbs. sriracha (hot chile sauce) {I used slightly more than 2 teaspoons}
1 Tbs. ketchup
2 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage {I used red cabbage}
4 thinly sliced garlic scapes (or 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced)
pinch of salt
5 eggs
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup flour
Olive oil, butter, or peanut oil for frying
1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sriracha, and ketchup. Taste and adjust the amounts of everything until you like it. This is what my friend calls “the funky pink sauce,” and she advises that you just don’t think about what is in it. I support that advice
Heat a Tablespoon of oil or butter in a large frying pan, stir in the cabbage and scapes (or scallions) and saute with a big pinch of salt for a couple minutes, until the vegetables just start to soften. Then, remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Then, whisk in the flour until smooth. Stir in the cooked vegetables.
Using the same big frying pan (I didn’t even wipe it out), heat more butter or oil over medium-high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and squash them flat as they cook (they should sizzle when they hit the pan, otherwise the pan isn’t hot enough). Cook for a couple of minutes, until brown, then flip and cook until the second side is brown (just another minute).
Transfer cooked pancakes to a plate. Repeat until all of the batter is cooked.
Squeeze the half lime all over the okonomiyaki. Serve them accompanied by the pink sauce for dipping or spreading. And, if desired, sprinkle them with chopped peanuts, cilantro, sesame seeds, or bonito flakes to garnish.

Garlic Scape and Gruyere Biscuits
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma,
http://pink-apron.com/2010/06/garlic-scape-and-gruyere-biscuits/

Yield: 14 biscuits

Prepared by Judy Nevius

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the cold butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, mix the flour and butter together until small, coarse crumbs form. Stir in the cheese and garlic scapes. Add the buttermilk and, using a rubber spatula, stir to form large, moist clumps.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times, until the dough just holds together. Using floured hands, press the dough together to form a large ball. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, dusting with more flour as needed. Using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out the dough and transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more rounds. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter.

Bake, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through baking, until the biscuits are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 14 biscuits.

 

Baked and Stuffed Grape Leaves

Prepared by: Kathleen Spaeth

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic scapes, finely chopped

7 stalks asparagus, finely chopped

1 handful of kale, finely chopped

1 cup fresh cooked chicken (or cooked ground beef or lamb), finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup cooked white, brown or basmati rice or tri-colored couscous

32-36 grape leaves, rinsed in cold water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 ¼ cups low salt chicken broth or chicken stock

sea salt, to taste

cracked ground pepper, to taste

  1. Prepare fresh grape leaves: Bring cold water to a boil in a large 6 quart pot and carefully remove this hot pot from heat. Submerge the grape leaves for 2-3 minutes in the boiled water and gently push down with a wooden spoon. Carefully remove the grape leaves and rinse with cold water. Lay them out on a paper towel to dry.

  2. Make the filling: Saute yellow onion, garlic scapes, asparagus and kale in olive oil in a nonstick pan for ~ 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the cooked chicken and the fresh parsley and continue to cook this for another 4 minutes. Add the cooked couscous or rice, sea salt and pepper to filling mixture. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

  3. Filling the grape leaves: Flip each grape leaf over (with shiny side down). Remove stem with a sharp scissor or knife. Use a teaspon to place a small amount of the filling along the spot where the grape leaf stems join. Flip this over once to seal your frape leaf. Then fold your grape leaf sides in and then roll up to form a small packet.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  5. Baking the Grape leaves: Place the stuffed grape leaves, seam side down in a deep glass or ceramic baking dish. Place grape leaves close together (and if layers if necessary).

  6. Mix chicken broth and lemon juice. Pour over grape leaves, making sure the liquid fills at least ½ the baking dish. If needed, add more chicken broth.

  7. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake ~ 40 minutes.

  8. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature. Enjoy!

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Homemade Ranch Dip

veggie tray kitLike most kids, our kids LOVE anything with ranch dip. But, the list of ‘hidden’ ingredients makes me reluctant to buy Hidden Valley’s ranch. Instead, we often enjoy this simple, homemade dip. Made with greek yogurt and fresh herbs, my kids can eat as much as they want!

1c. greek yogurt (or regular, plain yogurt if you don’t have greek)

1 c. chopped herbs (any assortment of parsley, chives, scallions, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary)

Dash of salt & pepper

Mix everything, season to taste.

Enjoy with a big plate of seasonal veggies.

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Purslane

Purslane is a succulent weed that many want to control; however, if you can’t beat it, eat it! It has a mild taste similar to spinach and is packed with nutrients. The leaves, stems and flowers can be consumed.

Purslane contains the most omega 3 essential fatty acids of leafy vegetables. Omega 3 fatty acids are called “essential” because our bodies cannot make them, so we must get them from food. The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health has more detailed info about Omega 3’s and purslane. Purslane is also an excellent source of Vitamin E and beta-carotene and is a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. One study indicated that purslane contained twice the antioxidants than cranberry and grape seed extracts.

Purslane can be eaten raw (i.e. on sandwiches or in a salad) or cooked (i.e stir-fried or steamed). Do not overcook or it may become slimy. The stems can be chopped and added to help thicken soup. If the stems are thick and you’re eating them raw, it is recommended to cut them off as they will be difficult to chew.

Fun Fact: In Mexico, purslane is called verdolaga and can be added to tortillas and salsas.


Storage: wrap purslane in a moist paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Recipes: these recipes focus on using common pantry items and other summer vegetables – i’ve heard the cucumber, tomato and zucchini are arriving soon!

Cucumber-Purslane-Yogurt Salad

Potato-purslane salad

Chilled zucchini soup with purslane

Grilled zucchini salad with purslane and tomato

More recipes can be found at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

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Pea Power

IMG_3983Unbeknownst to many, the entire pea plant is edible – leaves, vine, flowers and pods. A sure sign of spring are when the pea shoots arrive.

Pea shoots are the immature (young) leaves and stems. If you have not tried them, you are missing out. Pea shoots can be grown almost anytime of the year and grow in just a few weeks. Pea shoots are a delicate green that are low in calories and packed with nutrients ~ vitamins A, C, K and folic acid to name a few. The variety of pea will slightly alter the taste of the pea shoot – but they will all taste like peas. When the pea shoots are harvested will change the mouth-feel. For example, if the shoots are harvested when the plant is more mature, the shoots will be stringy. Pea shoots can be consumed raw or cooked. Move over lettuce, I have a new green on my plate! Personally, I love them raw – add to a salad, as greens on a sandwich or straight off the plant (or if picking up at the farm – out of the bag). Pea shoot recipes

Pea tendrils are the tops of the mature pea plant. As peas age the plant becomes more fibrous to support the weight of the plant. If the top can be snapped off my hand, it will be good to eat. It is a delight to pinch the top 8″ of a pea plant, with the flowers and tendrils, and munch on it in front of our guests! Here is a simple recipe – note they are cooked slightly longer than pea shoots.

Pea pods are the fruit of the plant. Pea pods are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They are also a good source of B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin and niacin) and fiber. They have a mild flavor and are slightly sweet. Once again, they are amazing raw. They have an amazing textural combination of being crunchy and moist. They can be consumed raw or cooked. They are excellent as a snack or in addition to a meal. If you’re lucky, you may be able to try out some recipes. It is rare that my pea pods make it home from the farm, much less in a prepared dish.

If you have a few minutes, I would suggest reading Elaine Sciolino’s New York Times article “Spring brings caviar in a pod.” It’s an interesting and engaging article about peas and their place in French cuisine and culture.

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