Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Easy Artichoke Arugula Pesto Burrata Pasta

A fast-to-fix vegetarian pasta dish using farm share greens, marinated artichokes, and creamy burrata cheese. Putting up pesto is one way I keep from being overwhelmed when the farm share greens are in abundance.

I forgot to take finished, plated, photos of this dish. I also had the grill going and it just slipped my mind. I debated sharing this recipe today, seeing how it's the first day of the the farm share season and I had the potential for new and returning readers arriving on the blog and did I want to start off with less than my best foot forward?

I decided that I did. Hope you understand!

The idea that you don't have to Eat All The Greens in a Week was a revelation to me when I adjusted to eating from a CSA, and putting some items up for later use is one of the ways I feed my family from our seasonal farm share year round. We're starting our 10th year enjoying the fruits of CSA farmers' labors, and recipes like this are one the tips and tricks for farm share success. For other tips, please check out this post

When we get a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box filled with assorted greens I am emphatically not looking to throw them all into salads. There are only so many salads we can eat in a week. Instead, I'm looking to turn anything not expressly salad-like into a recipe ingredient, and I give myself bonus points if it becomes a long-storing ingredient. I've shared a concept recipe for incorporating farm share greens into pasta dishes here, which is a terrific quick use for a bunch of greens. If you've got a bit of time to do some prep work, though, you'll be reaping the benefits for months by putting up some of your greens as pesto.

Arugula pesto fits the long-storing ingredient category--typically we're getting arugula in the farm share side by side with a bag of salad greens and other cooking greens. It's useful to be able to put up a batch of pesto. I store mine in the freezer in half pint jars, with a splash of olive oil on top, using these terrific lids (Amazon affiliate link). I don't just want to share how I put up this stuff, though--I want to show you how I use what I put up.

This pasta dish is my second version of a fast burrata pasta meal. The first one, that I've made three times now [unheard of in my family] uses meat and winter squash so it will debut in the Fall. Oh, so worth the wait. I wanted a vegetarian and summer-friendly version, good for a quick supper, so I took the burrata pasta concept and here we are. Adding in artichokes just elevates a simple pasta dish into a snazzier one, though we are in danger of the kids becoming artichoke fans and eating all the leftovers. The same thing happened to us with take out Indian food, and now my picky eater tells me the spaghetti sauce needs more eggplant. Educated palates. Harrumph.

Burrata cheese was new to me, and my spellcheck keeps trying to change it to burrito. When I first bought it I thought it was just like fresh mozzarella and was sorely disappointed when the creamy center oozed all over my pizza dough. Once I embraced the gooey center I came to appreciate it for what it is (creamy), not for what it's not (solid). I've found burrata cheese at the fancy cheese counter of my local Kroger. It's pricey but perishable, which means whenever I see it marked half off/quick sale I pick it up. [Yes, I cruise the fancy cheese counter looking for magical markdown stickers--I'm married, I don't cruise bars anymore.] I know we'll enjoy burrata pasta dishes so it's worth the splurge--at half price at least.

For other recipes using arugula, please see my Arugula Recipes Collection. For other recipes using marinated artichokes, you're looking for the Recipes Using Veggies In Jars Collection. These are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for ideas when you're facing an unfamiliar ingredient. You can also find me sharing ideas via my Pinterest boards and my FB page. Want to know how to Use This Blog? Click here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Green Garlic Hummus with Green Garbanzo Beans

Freshly harvested mild green garlic and green garbanzo beans make a colorful and flavorful dip.

We are all hungry. My spouse is bike commuting these days and comes home starved. My kids get home from these last weeks of school and are starved. I think about making dinner and get peckish. Having an easy appetizer on hand, one that is protein-packed like hummus, is such a time- and appetite-saver for us all. I'm not worried about mindless snacking when I know what went into the dip.

Sometimes I'm buying the giant vats of Sabra from Costco to get our hummus fix. Sometimes I'm looking around at the contents of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box for hummus ideas. I've done quite a few for the blog--here are some of them: Avocado Feta Hummus Kale & Sumac Hummus Sriracha Butternut Squash Hummus Garlic Scape Pistachio Pesto Hummus uffalo Butternut Squash Hummus Image Map

In the spring we sometimes get fresh green garlic in the farm share. I like to play with it and try new things--I grow my own garlic but I've never harvested it as green garlic. Susan of Luna Cafe has a Fresh Primer on Green Garlic and Garlic Scapes--check it out here. [The garlic scapes, however, are something very worth harvesting--here's what a brand new baby scape looked like on my tallest plant the other day].

This hummus marks my first foray into green garbanzo beans. I saw some at my local spice shop and couldn't resist. I had no clue that spice shops existed before I moved to Dayton, and now I'm aware of 3--although I primarily shop at Spice Paradise where I got these beans. You can also make this with regular dry or canned chick peas. Whatever's easiest.

Green garbanzo beans and green garlic seemed like a good idea--so I made a hummus. We enjoy hummus with carrots, pita chips, pretzel chips, and even piled up in a plate with other summer eats for an easy dinner.

For other recipes using garlic, please see my Garlic Recipe Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. Want to know how to Use This Blog? Click here. For other vegetable appetizers, please see my Awesome Veggie Apps and Snacks Pinterest board. To see what's up in the garden, feel free to check out my FB page. And, for more clickable collages of recipe suggestions like the hummus above, click here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Time Out for some Weeding

I've been doing a lot of weeding lately, and sitting and pulling out unwanted growth gives me time to think. Weeding one section of the brick patio gives me a sense of accomplishment, but when I turn around and gaze at the rest . . . . sigh.

I'm truly grateful that so much is bursting to life in the yard. I'm tickled that I appear to have volunteer cilantro and dill, and about a dozen volunteer pumpkin-ish squash plants. [Those squash starts are like moles popping up all over, but I'm not playing Whack A Mole unless they truly are in in a terrible spot. Like the section of brick patio I just weeded a few days before.] I'm creeped out as I drive past sterile brown fields that recently sprouted orderly rows of corn. Where is the green chaos of my garden?

Having a blog is a lot like having a garden in perpetual Spring. There is always some weeding to be done. Updating the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, adding notes in earlier posts directing readers to other recipes using similar farm share ingredients, and updating older posts with new search descriptions are all ways I weed the blog.

Spending time weeding means I'm not editing photos and writing up new posts, nor going around on social media sharing my newest recipes.

I'm taking a week off of posting new content to weed--both the garden and the blog. I can't promise I'll have everything ship shape, but it will be incrementally more user-friendly when I return, in time for our 10th CSA season to begin.

I'll be back with Green Garlic Hummus, a fun way to use both green garbanzo beans and fresh green garlic--in a week. In the meantime, if you see my on FB--please tell me to go weed!