Showing posts with label CSA Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CSA Recipes. Show all posts

Monday, March 27, 2017

Asparagus Goat Cheese Muffins #MuffinMonday

A savory dinner muffin bursting with bright lemony asparagus and tangy goat cheese.

photo of a plate of savory asparagus goat cheese muffins

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It's funny how, when Spring hits, you feel all fresh and new inside when in a brown reality you're surrounded (barely) by bits of buds and shoots. There's not much green around! The local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share food I'm currently feeding my family is the last of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve out of my basement plus whatever I've canned and/or frozen during the past year.

That doesn't stop me from craving green things. Grabbing a bag of local spinach out of the freezer to make a Peanut Butter, Spinach, and Banana Smoothie helps, but I need fresh green vegetables in my life, too! This craving for fresh greens is yet another way eating seasonally from the farm share has changed my life.

close up picture of asparagus goat cheese muffins

I've never gardened in one place long enough to even think about growing asparagus until it's too late. It's always in hindsight that I think "you know, if I'd planted an asparagus bed our first year here, we could have harvested some before we moved". I've read that "military spouses plant annuals for themselves, and perennials for those who come after them". That's sure been my experience. I've left strawberry patches, daffodils, and/or mint beds all over the globe, but I've never moved to a home that had an established asparagus bed. Maybe someday.

pic of a plate of muffins with asparagus and goat cheese

These muffins were inspired by a ravioli I make at work. I kept some key elements and turned them into a savory muffin. This would be good with chili, stew, or a Spring/Summer soup like my Finnish Summer Soup with Kale. I tend to think most muffins are enhanced when served warm with butter, but these were pretty nice served to my classmates at room temperature without any butter. We had wine, though, so that possibly made a difference. Who knows?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sausage Pasty Meat Pie

A savory meat pie stuffed with seasoned pork sausage and vegetables.

photo of a sausage and vegetable-stuffed meat pie

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With Pi day (March 14, or 3.14) coming up, how about a meat pie? Meat pies make a wonderful dinner and a great leftover lunch. You can combine Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables with meat into a simple and satisfying vehicle for nourishment.

cooking the sausage and finely chopped vegetables for the sausage pasty filling

I did not grow up eating meat pies. My spouse did--in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the pasty reigns supreme. Last summer we took the kids on a Lake Michigan Loop (up one side and down the other). We ate pasties in multiple places. Each was different (pasty sliders?!) and nearly all were amazing. [At one tourist place I had a merely 'good' pasty, but the brown gravy served alongside it was a new twist for me, so I considered that visit not a total loss.

a serving of sausage pasty meat pie

This pasty uses pork sausage. It was inspired by my visit to the Runyan family of Oak View Farm Meats where I received a basket of pork products to play with at home, including the pound of pork sage sausage I used in this recipe, and loads of ideas on how to use them. You can take a virtual tour of Oak View Farm Meats with me here. I wanted to make a colorful filling to stand out from the paleness of the sausage, so I grabbed what I had handy--some potatoes from the basement Strategic Winter Squash Reserve--and a package of marked down chopped vegetables from the store. The key is to use finely chopped vegetables so that you have a cohesive filling.

Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Choose a CSA Farm Share

Factors to consider when choosing a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share.

a typical summer CSA farm share box with corn, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and beans

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Welcome to Part Three of my series on How to Eat Local This Year. I'm trying to cover all the aspects I've learned over more than a decade of eating locally-sourced produce, so I've addressed different questions in each post of the series. In the first part, How to Eat Local, I cover the WHY question. To me, local produce just tastes better--and supporting local businesses supports your local economy. In the second part, Where to Find The Best Local Foods, I cover the WHERE--looking at farmers markets, on farm markets, grocery stores and Community Supported or Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm shares. Today I'm diving a little deeper into the HOW, to share the thought process behind choosing the CSA that's the best fit for you.

the chicken RV at Keener Family Farm
The chicken RV at Keener Family Farm.

How do you find what CSAs are in your area? There are several websites that offer a CSA search function, each with slightly different populations, so you're sure to find something from one of these. My favorite is through the website Local Harvest. The USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service operates the National Farmer's Market Directory. The EatWell Guide offers a listing of markets and CSA farms as well as farm to table restaurants. My favorite site for finding pick your own farms,, operates a sister site called Simply enter your zip code or postal code and search for the closest CSA.

The most common form of CSA is a produce CSA--mostly vegetables, some fruits. There's also meat CSAs, prepared dinners CSAs, bread CSAs, and even beer CSAs! Here in the US we are lucky to have a wide array of CSA farms in many urban, suburban, and rural areas. With multiple farms to choose from, how do you pick the one that's right for you? Since we've now made this choice 4 times in 2 states in the past 12 years, I figured I'd write a bit abut the primary factors that went into the decision. The biggest factor is convenience followed by the farming method, and finally the CSA model.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sweet Sausage Bread

This quick nut bread combines sweet fruit and savory pork sausage for the ultimate in grab and go breakfast treats, with plenty of protein to get and keep you going.

close up of a loaf of sweet fruit and nut bread powered by a pound of pork sausage

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This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. They have compensated me for my time and provided the sausage I've used in the recipe below. Please see the link at the bottom of this post for a short survey and a chance to win a KitchenAid mixer with sausage attachment. That's a $350 value!

a slice of sweet sausage, cranberry, and walnut bread terrific with coffee or tea, or as a breakfast on the go

The BLUF (military acronym for Bottom Line Up Front) is this is a quick sweet fruit & nut bread that happens to use a pound of pork sausage. Meat and fruit in bread? It sounds crazy--but recall that mincemeat originally contained meat. Honest--you gotta try it! This recipe comes from Ruth Runyan of Oakview Farms. She and her family have been raising hogs in Urbana, Ohio for going on 4 generations now. You can read about my visit to Oakview Farms here. In this post I share how 3,500 Ohio farms raise enough pork to feed 25 million people. That's more than double Ohio's population, but these good folks share with plenty of other states. When you buy pork at the grocery store or farmers market, you are supporting Ohio farm families! (Hey thanks for eating locally and supporting local businesses. It's kind of a thing of mine.)

I was intrigued by the idea of using savory sausage in a sweet bread. After all, I like maple syrup on my breakfast sausage, bacon in my Maple Peanut Butter Bacon waffles, and I have been known to do "quality control" testing on the honey bacon at work. Sweet and savory just goes together. In addition to a hearty breakfast option, this bread can be served as a side dish (like I first tried it, with Perfect Grilled Pork Chops). I suspect it would make a terrific stuffing or dressing alongside a holiday meal. I bet you could even stuff thick cut pork chops with this bread! No matter what your application, it's an unusual recipe to add to your repertoire. If you enter the survey below, and win the KitchenAid mixer and sausage attachment, you could even customize your own sausage to make this bread!

the ingredients to make sweet sausage bread

Friday, December 2, 2016

Carrot and Celeriac Fritters or Latkes (Gluten Free)

Shredded carrots and celeriac combined into patties and fried to perfection. These could be a side dish, breakfast, or a fun addition to a latke party.

a plate of carrot and celeriac fritters topped with a fried egg

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One of the great things about root vegetables is that they keep such a relatively long time. Just like the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the basement (new and improved with white and sweet potato subdivisions!), root vegetables are an excellent resource for folks trying to eat locally grown foods in the winter months. I'm glad to support farmers who offer extended deliveries after the regular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share season ends, knowing that for the most part I'll get long-storing vegetables that will see me into the new year.

close up of a carrot, some celeriac, and an egg--the ingredients for carrot celeriac fritters

I've got root vegetables filling up my crisper right now. After the local apples vanished (sad face there, there's nothing like a local apple in terms of flavor) I'd usually transition to crispers full of citrus fruit from the Band Fruit Fundraiser. But seasons change, and your kid who has been in band throughout high school moves on to college where you get to write big checks and not get a case of tangelos in return. So no citrus--right now I've got glorious carrots from the farm share packed into my crisper.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Morning Muffins with Carrot, Cranberry, and Pistachio #Muffin Monday

This festive-yet-healthy muffin, with carrots, dried cranberries and pistachios, has a sweet surprise on the inside--cream cheese filling!

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I'm always looking to add vegetables into baked goods. I think they add moisture, flavor, and nutrition to my family's table. Muffins are an easy delivery method because they assemble and bake so quickly. My kids are happy to eat muffins for breakfast and for an after school snack. For this month's Muffin Monday, I bring you a recipe that is both festive--with the bits of red dried cranberries and green pistachios. This recipe is elevated above my usual muffin because of the sweet cream cheese filling tucked inside, but it's still on the healthier side because I don't really want to send my kids off to school with a bunch of chocolate frosted sugar bombs in their bellies.

a carrot, craisin and pistachio muffin with a sweet cream cheese filling

I got the idea for this muffin thanks to my daughter. We were walking the dog herd down to the local grocery store to buy a gallon of milk. [This is a bonus fitness and economic tip--over a year ago I started walking a mile to the store if the only item on the list was milk. It saves on impulse purchases and the dogs and I get a bit of exercise.] I left her with the dogs and went inside to shop, calling over my shoulder 'do we need anything else?' as an afterthought.  She requested a Killer Brownie. It got me thinking that I could use a treat, too. Since I was in the bakery buying the brownie anyway, I turned to the muffin case. This was the site of the Good Morning Muffin that inspired my Healthy {No Sugar} Carrot Cake Muffins. I was delighted to see a new version of the Good Morning Muffin with sweetened cream cheese in the center and decided that would be my splurge. After we got back home we enjoyed a snack of milk & baked goods and I put my thinking toque on. [That's a Bob & Doug McKenzie and Great White North reference, not some kind of chef thing.]

close up of a Christmas Morning muffin sliced in half to see the sweet cream cheese filling

I made two batches of these muffins, trying different ways to include the sweetened cream cheese filling. The first way, shown below, was to scoop the usual amount of muffin batter into the prepared cup, then use a small spoon to create some space and spoon in the sweetened cream cheese. This technique did not turn out well. The cream cheese oozed out onto my pan and the muffins were hard to serve in a mounded heap because the cream cheese on the top of them was sticking to anything that landed atop it. The second effort worked better--I used a smaller scoop to put in about half the amount of batter, then spooned in the cream cheese and topped with the other half of the batter.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Grill the Perfect Pork Chop with Oakview Farm

The secret recipe to a perfectly grilled pork chop from an Ohio hog farming family.

a panoramic view of Oakview farm

This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. They have compensated me for my time, arranged the visit I'm sharing today, enjoyed the delicious grilled pork chops, and supplied me with loads of pork products I'll be using in recipes to come.

photo of perfectly grilled pork chops on the grill

Want to win a Family 4 Pack of tickets to the 2017 Ohio State Fair PLUS coupons for 4 Free Meals at the Ohio Pork Council Food Stand in the Taste of Ohio Café? 

Scroll down to the bottom to enter!

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This time of year there's a buzz to shop locally and support small businesses.  I know that by choosing to spend my cash in a local business, nearly half of each dollar spent stays in my local economy. That money will keep on circulating around, supporting the people and places near me. That's why I buy local. Well, that and I think fresh food tastes better so I may as well enjoy it.

image showing recirculation of dollars spent at local businesses vs chain retailers

I want to challenge my readers to expand their support past a single day of the year, and commit to making one Saturday a month Small Business Saturday. I've got an idea for you--instead of just buying holiday gifts from small businesses once a year, what about staples? Can you think of an item you could source locally? How about food [this site is about food, after all]. Perhaps a condiment, spice rub, loaf of bread, honey, eggs or meat? Choose to buy that item exclusively from your local source for the next 4 months. What about gifts for other people--in the form of gift certificates to local businesses? Talk about a win-win situation!

shop small local businesses

I've been supporting my local farmers by participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share for over a decade. I started this website to help other folks like me make the most of the fresh produce both while it's seasonally abundant and by putting it by so I could keep on eating locally even in the winter months. Over the past couple years I'm learning how convenient it is to source my meats locally as well. Once my spouse decided to stop eating meat unless he knew where it came from, it became imperative for me to up my local meat game. When the Ohio Pork Council invited me to tour a local hog farm I immediately emailed my spouse and asked, "are you free next Monday to go visit a farm with me?" Many photos in this post where taken by him.

close up image of a perfectly grilled pork chop

Now, before I get to the farm visit, I'd like to share a little bit about Ohio Pork.  If you're buying pork at the farmer's market or at a farm store you can be reasonably sure it was locally produced. Did you know that by buying pork sold at grocery stores, like the Kroger down the road, you continue to support Ohio farm families? There are 3,500 farms in Ohio raising pork--for our region and for a lot of the East coast as well, as Ohio is one of the closest pork-producing states to one third of all Americans. Click here for more information about Ohio Pork.

Mark Runyan and I talking about something pork related.

Now I'll tell you a bit about the Ohio hog farmer I met, Mark Runyan of Oakview Farms, before getting to the title of this post--the Runyan family's secret to the perfect grilled pork chop.

the entrance sign to Oakview Farm Meats store

Oakview Farms is a 4th generation hog farm located in Urbana, Ohio. During our visit we met with Mark's parents, Bud and Ruth, as well as his son Myer. Bud and Ruth live next door to the store, Oakview Farm Meats, and we divided our visit between the 2 places. I learned so much and I am afraid I'll skip over some parts [I may know a tad more than a civilian about pork production thanks to my degree in Animal Science] and I don't know what you don't know, you know? For example, when you buy meat at Oakview Farm Meats, or at the farmer's market, that meat is frozen. Why? Just like Clarence Birdseye knew that freezing vegetables right after they are picked ensures the best quality product, freezing meat after it's harvested results in the best quality product. Yes, it makes me need to plan ahead to use move meat to the lower shelf of the fridge to thaw the day before, but it's worth it. You can't beat that kind of freshness.

Mark Runyan and I with a bountiful basket of pork products

I was expecting to see some pigs on this tour, but I didn't and I'll tell you why: biosecurity. The Runyans care more about the health of their livestock than they do about my desire to take a picture with a pig, and that is how it should be. We all carry germs with us, and if my germs were to get a pig sick, they'd need antibiotics. To avoid needing to give hogs antibiotics it's just easier to make the barn a secure facility. So, no piggie pictures. Check out this barn quilt, instead!

the Oakview Farm Barn Quilt--on a silo

In addition to routine antibiotics, do you know what else these pigs don't get? Hormones! Hormones are not permitted for use in growing pigs. Period. This is a federal regulation. Pork producers don't use hormones. End of story. What about GMOs? There are no genetically modified food animals on the market. What about hogs being indoors vs out of doors? The answer to this question makes sense to me--as pigs have skin similar to ours, pork producers do their best to keep their livestock comfortable. That means keeping hogs cool in the summer and warm in the winter. That way, the pig's energy is used towards growing, not to regulate its temperature based on changing conditions. After all, the most efficient way to get the pig to a market weight is the most cost effective for a pork producer, and we're all looking for value.

a wall of plaques won by Oakview Farms

Each time I talk with farmers I come away impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge in their chosen fields and amazed at how small our planet is. Earlier this year I visited with John Ludy, a cheesemaker in Wisconsin (and my Dad's high school classmate) who has travelled to Eastern Europe and South America sharing new ideas in cheesemaking. Mark's been to Sweden, Mexico and China in efforts to produce a quality pork product from the ground up, so to speak. You see, when folks began breeding hogs to be more lean and muscular, that carried with it a piece of DNA known as a stress gene--the animals didn't fare well when handled. When Mark Runyan shared how his family emptied their farm and started from scratch with Swedish hogs 20 years ago it just reinforced the fact that farmers are constantly trying to improve using the best research available. By starting over with the Swedish hogs, which do not have the stress gene, Mark is helping pork producers improve throughout the world. His son Myer is a recent graduate of OSU so I'm interested to see what the future brings.  From the DNA of the animals to their living conditions, care is taken by the Runyan family to produce the best pork that they can at Oakview Farms.

chatting with Mark Runyan and Pam Bowshier of Hippie and the Farmer

Mark's newest venture is with Pam Bowshier, of Cosmic Charlie Breads and Threads. I first saw Mark & Pam two years ago at the Montgomery County Food Summit, where they spoke about their virtual farmer's market (I wrote about it here). Together they've formed Hippie and the Farmer. This started when Pam was selling her vegan breads and Mark was offering samples of grilled Oakview Farm meats. They put their products together [like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese's cup] and the result is a savory success. In the summer months they offer a Harvest Moon subscription box with produce, meats and breads. In the winter they offer a Cucina Rustica box--farm fresh frozen dinners. That's a great way to make eating locally-sourced food accessible to a wide variety of folks.

the Ohio Porkette Cookbook
Stay tuned, I've got a bunch of recipe ideas from this gem!

In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing another one of the Runyan family's favorite ways to enjoy pork, Ruth's Sweet Sausage Bread, but for now I wanted to share what we ate for lunch. Bud grilled up these absolutely perfect pork chops, and Ruth supplied delicious side dishes (as well as breakfast at the beginning of the visit--bacon inside the cinnamon rolls? You bet!). When I asked for a favorite recipe to share, all three generations suggested these pork chops. We certainly enjoyed them, and I hope you do as well!

the Runyan family's supper spread.

Secrets of perfectly grilled pork chops from Ohio farm families.

1 ribeye pork chop, about ¾ to 1 inch thick
Lawry's seasoned salt


  • Preheat grill to direct medium heat, about 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sprinkle Lawry's seasoned salt on both sides of the chop.
  • Grill for about 5 to 8 minutes, then flip to the other side.
  • Continue grilling until the internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, another 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Serve, and if you're lucky enough to have some of Ruth's hash brown potato casserole and sweet sausage bread (recipe here) you're lucky, indeed.

  • For more information on Oakview farm, including hours and location, please click here. For more information on cooking pork, please click here. For more information on Ohio Pork, please click here.

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    Secrets for grilling the perfect pork chop from an Ohio farm family.

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    Tips for a Small Batch Thanksgiving

    Practical ideas for cutting back, paring down, simplifying and enjoying the holiday more when you have fewer people at the Thanksgiving table.

    a plate of Thanksgiving dinner

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    One of the most relaxing Thanksgivings I have had was a deliberately low key affair. Because it was my house/my kitchen/my table, we did have 2 kinds of locally sourced vegetable sides from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share as well as stuffing and mashed potatoes and warm rolls and turkey and gravy and pie.  But not too much . . . .

    serving Thanksgiving dinner in a relaxed, low key fashion
    It's adorable how the dogs get in line when we're serving in the kitchen.

    Last year we were 3 at the Thanksgiving table. By choice. My spouse was deployed, and while we've often shared others' tables during previous deployments, I just didn't have it in me again. I wanted to relax, chill out, spend the day in my jammies, watch my friends in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and just not fuss with being at a certain place or eating at a certain time.  I felt selfish and indulgent and I went with those feelings because, when he's on his 5th deployment, I've kinda earned the right to say 'nah, thanks but no thanks, we're good staying home'. I don't need to pretend.

    Yes, engineers wear hard hats to carve & serve dozens of turkeys to their troops.

    That's not to say I'm not grateful for the offers of well-meaning friends and family. I appreciate the love and support that surrounds us each time he's gone.  Each place we live manages to surpass my expectations of what 'support our troops' means to the families back home. As an aside, I'll offer a couple of tips if you've got a friend or neighbor who's dealing with a deployment: don't wait for her/him to ask for help. Offer concrete suggestions for ways you're comfortable lending a hand. From shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing grass, edging the sidewalk, picking up a gallon of milk or some children's cold medicine while you're out running errands, taking and sharing your photos or recordings of the school play--there's something you can do to lighten the load of the family left behind that they'd appreciate but won't ask you to do. Show up. Offer. And if your offer is declined--offer again at another time. I'd imagine these tips would work for chronic illness or other long term situation where folks need kindness.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    Small Batch Sweet Potato Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

    Topped with crunchy pecans and mini marshmallows, this lightened up small batch sweet potato casserole makes a tasty side dish for a small Thanksgiving gathering.

    a plate of Thanksgiving foods, including lightened up sweet potato casserole

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    an image of small batch lightened up sweet potato casserole

    Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers over the years have some things in common. One is growing amazing sweet potatoes. It seems every year the size, shape, and sheer number of sweet potatoes in the farm share box increases. No complaints here--just compliments! We went from a family who would occasionally eat sweet potatoes at Outback Steakhouse and Boston Market's Sweet Potato Casserole to a family who enjoys Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili and Roasted Sweet Potato Nachos at home.

    Since Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes for me, when I planned our Small Batch Thanksgiving I knew I'd be including a version of sweet potato casserole (alongside a full size batch of MA's Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole because 5 pounds of mashed potatoes for 3 people sounds about right). I like the Boston Market sweet potato casserole, so I searched Copykat Recipes for a similar one. I changed up the recipe--reducing the butter and sugar, replacing the oatmeal cookie crust with just marshmallows and nuts, shrinking it to fit in a 3 cup baking dish--and made it my own. This was a keeper last year, and will return to the Thanksgiving table this year. Our sweet potatoes in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve (which accommodates potatoes, onions, and garlic as well as winter squash) are ready to be of service.

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    How to Make White Pizza with Arugula and Sausage

    A fast and easy white pizza with fresh creamy burrata cheese, peppery arugula, and Italian sausage.

    a slice of white pizza with arugula, sausage, and burrata cheese

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    This colorful pizza is a tasty way to involve cool weather greens in a family style pizza. When your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box is heavy on the greens, which happens at the beginning and end of the typical temperate season, it can be overwhelming. I wrote about my Greens Paralysis here, in a recipe for Slow Cooker Spicy Mustard Greens Soup. Rest assured, new seasonal eaters, even though I've been eating from the farm share for 11 years now, I still get stuck. There are myriad ways to eat greens. Having an idea of how to use each type of green (raw or cooked) helps a lot and is part of the reason I started this website.

    Arugula is such a versatile green. This Fall we've been enjoying it as the basis for hearty main dish salads, tossed with a red wine vinaigrette and topped with boiled eggs, beans, peas, goat cheese, dried fruits and nuts. I've tossed arugula into pasta dishes for color, nutrition, and to get it out of the crisper while it's still fresh. I've processed and frozen arugula as arugula pesto when I didn't think we'd have time to eat it fresh. A leafy green that's yummy both raw and cooked is useful indeed.

    A fast and easy white pizza with fresh creamy burrata cheese, peppery arugula, and Italian sausage.

    Regular readers know that I am often working up to a year ahead. Since I'm a seasonal eater, by the time I get the photos out of the camera and the scribbled recipe notes onto a screen we're onto a new season. In fact, the Thanksgiving recipes I'm sharing now were created (and photographed and enjoyed--hot!) last year. I enjoy sharing ways to use the farm share here, but my family likes to eat food while it's hot, and I like to kick back and enjoy our Friday Night Pizza & Movie nights with them. So what I'm fixing for dinner tonight may appear on Instagram, but won't be on the website for a while.

    Friday, November 4, 2016

    Roast Pork Loin with Yogurt, Mustard, and Fresh Dill

    This recipe starts with a boneless pork loin, slathered in a yogurt/mustard/fresh dill coating, then roasted to juicy tenderness. Served alongside dilled carrots, French breakfast radishes, and mashed potatoes it's a wonderful Sunday dinner.

    a plate of roast pork with yogurt, mustard, and fresh dill served with roasted carrots, radishes, and mashed potatoes

    This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. They paid me for my time, I bought my ingredients and created this recipe.

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    The unifying theme today is the massive pile of fresh dill I have from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. In my garden, I'll let my dill go to seed for all the pickles I put up and my plants petered out months ago. The dill from Mile Creek Farm is still going strong, though, and I've got a lot to work with. In the past I've shared How to Make Dill Butter, but I had more dill than that. [Two more big bunches like the one shown in the photo below.] I used some to make the Roasted Carrots with Fresh Dill shown alongside the pork. I used more tossed in with my mashed potatoes, though not full on MA's Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole like I'll be making later this month for Thanksgiving. I'll vacuum seal/freeze some of this fresh dill, and dehydrate the rest in the oven. I'll be making my own spice blend for my Spiced Cottage Cheese Potato Chip Dip which has my family unduly excited.

    a title image of roast pork with yogurt, mustard, and fresh dill served with roasted carrots, radishes, and mashed potatoes

    It's been a while since we've had a big Sunday Supper sort of meal. While my family eats together most nights of the week, the resumption of activities once the school year starts means that we are more fractured around the dining room table certain evenings. My son and I eat early, before leaving for hockey practice on hockey nights. My spouse and I often eat together while our daughter is at her weekly sewing class. Warm weather and busy weekends mean that we haven't sat down to a more traditional meat & potatoes kind of meal in forever!

    close up image of roast pork with yogurt, mustard, and fresh dill

    When the Ohio Pork Council asked me to come up with a recipe for pork loin, chops, or tenderloin I headed to my local farmer's market to ask Jean Mattis of KJB farms what she recommended. She sold me a piece of boneless pork loin, perfect for roasting, then snagged another market goer to give me tips on how to cook it. Talk above service! Then I headed to volunteer at the thrift shop and got Emily's tips for using yogurt, mustard, and fresh herbs to make a flavorful crust for roasted pork. Finally, my fellow prep cooks at work helped me brain storm some vegetable side dishes using more of the abundant fresh dill. It really took a village on this recipe!

    Monday, October 31, 2016

    Golden Beet Muffins with Caramel and Chocolate #MuffinMonday

    These decadent muffins owe their golden hue to roasted beets. Take them over the top with chocolate chips on the inside and a caramel drizzle. Eating your beets for breakfast never looked so good!

    close up image of roasted golden beet muffins with chocolate chips and a caramel drizzle

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    a plate of golden beet muffins with chocolate chips and a caramel drizzle

    I'm used to getting scarlet beets in the farm share. For years I've been searching for recipes that will entice my family while using up the beets from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I've tried sweet and savory preparations with mixed results. One thing that is consistent is that beets + chocolate go well together in a sweet baked good, but sometimes the vibrant color (found in nature--no dyes necessary) is off-putting. Other times, like in my Cocoa Beet Chocolate Chip Muffins, it can really look cool.

    add a caramel drizzle to the golden beet muffins or leave them plain. Your choice.

    When I opened up the farm share box to see a bunch of golden beets I was delighted. Now, maybe I had a chance to remove the shocking pink aspect of the beet dishes from the equation, and just let the earthy-sweet flavor of the beet work its magic.  I roast beets wrapped in foil (scrub them good but don't peel, drizzle with a bit of vegetable oil or water so they steam) in a 400 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 45 to 90 minutes or until tender when you squeeze the foil packet. After that you simply slip the skin off the cooled beets and you're ready to use them however you like. Roasted beets will keep in the fridge for several days and can be frozen for several months, though when you thaw them I hope you don't want lovely slices as the plant cell walls will have burst during the freezing and they'd rather be smashed into puree.

    Friday, October 28, 2016

    Roasted Carrots with Fresh Dill

    Roasted carrots tossed with fresh dill and spices makes an easy suitable for a variety of eating styles.

    close up of a plate of roasted carrots with fresh dill

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    Carrots are unsung vegetables. They can hang out in the crisper drawer for weeks before supporting soup stocks or transferring hummus into my face. They are one of the innocuous vegetables to encourage picky kids to eat. Rarely do they get a moment in the spotlight. A few years ago I noticed I'd amassed a bunch of bags of carrots from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, so I celebrated HashtagCarrotWeek and shared a variety of recipes using carrots (breakfast through dinner).

    title image of a plate of roasted carrots with fresh dill, mashed potatoes, and roast pork with a yogurt mustard dill coating

    When I got a particularly uniform group of carrots from the farm share, along with yet another bunch of fresh dill, I decided to combine the two in a roasted side dish. Ok, truthfully I tossed in some French breakfast radishes to the roasting pan as well, but this post is about the carrots because they really shined with this treatment. My dad is getting more out of the weekly bunches of radishes, eaten on buttered bread, so I'll leave those to him.

    I think these carrots would be a terrific holiday side dish. Since I used olive oil they are vegan, and would be useful if you need a side dish for a crowd of eaters of varying styles. I served mine with roast pork covered in a yogurt/mustard/dill sauce, a quickie version of my Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole (with fresh dill added) and the dill on dill action worked nicely. Stay tuned for the pork recipe--it's coming up next month!

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

    Colorful as well as flavorful, this soup recipe combines sweet potatoes and kale with chicken and . . . maple breakfast sausage? Yes. Just try it. It's yummy!

    a bowl of chicken, sweet potato and kale soup with an egg salad sandwich on the side

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    When the weather cools off I'm ready to make up a pot of soup. Seeing folks' soups simmering on Instagram compels me to head into the kitchen and make some soup for my family. Usually I open the fridge and see what farm share produce needs to be used up. I think all great soups started out that way--with whatever was on hand--and it remains my go-to method for soup making.  Using flavorful ingredients (stock instead of water, sausage instead of unseasoned meat) are a couple of shortcuts to a warming, filling, and enjoyable soup experience.

    close up of a bowl of chicken, sweet potato and kale soup with an egg salad sandwich alongside

    In the past I've shared several soup recipes. My Spicy Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder remains perennially popular on Pinterest. (No charge for alliteration). The Six Ingredient Spicy Mustard Greens and Chorizo Soup was my first time using sausage for double duty--as both a seasoning and a protein--a short cut I now use often while cooking for my family. When we're feeling under the weather, my Thai Turkey Cold-Busting Hot & Sour Soup is just the ticket. And underpinning all of these soups--stock. Doesn't matter if it's chicken stock or vegetable stock, using the scraps left from the farm share and turning them into soup stock is just plain Frugal, Eco, Farm Fresh Feasting. Or so I coined it 4 years ago.

    part of the process of making chicken, sweet potato and kale soup

    I keep a bag in the freezer and each time I chop carrots, onions, or celery--the tops, tips, peels and or skins go into the bag. Mushroom stems if I'm making beef or vegetable stock. Then I add some bones (for beef, turkey, chicken or ham stock) and I've got the beginnings of a great soup.  In fact, I picked up chicken necks and backs at the farmer's market recently and my next 'day off project' will be to simmer a big ol' pot of chicken stock.