Underwood Family Farms - CSA Member Blogspot

Easter Ideas

Radishes with Herbed Butter

10 radishes – any type
4 T unsalted butter
1 T chopped herbs – parsley, fennel fronds, carrot tops
1 tsp. lemon zest
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Rinse radishes in ice cold water and cut in half. Pat with cloth to dry. In a small container, mix together butter and herbs. Pipe butter on top of radish halves and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper or you can spread the herb butter on baguette slices and top with sliced radishes.  This herb butter also makes a nice base for a tea sandwich appetizer with crustless white bread and radishes or other vegetables.

Vegetable Dyed Easter Eggs

Long before there were egg dyeing kits on the grocery shelves, 13th century Orthodox and Eastern European churches began coloring eggs red - representing Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. I don’t think they had Paas back then - they just used what they had – natural plants of course!

Why not have some fun with the kids and teach them how plants can do much more than just dress up your dinner plate! There is no waste with this method - all the vegetables will be consumed unlike other recipes that having you throwing away the cooked vegetables after you make the dye. Egg shells are very porous and the dye does penetrate – by using vegetables and spices you are just adding nutrition – not artificial colors. Not everything needed is in your box this week, however all items are easy to find either at our farm stands or the farmers' market.

First start with perfect hard boiled eggs.

Next, you will need the following ingredients to make the dyes.

3 Red Beets
3 Golden Beets
2 cups of Red Cabbage
6 cups of water
1 T Turmeric
3 T vinegar
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 pint mason jars

Red Dye

Peel the red beets (save the skins) and cut the beets in quarters. Place in pan with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer until the beets are tender – about 25 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid into a pint mason jar and add 1 T vinegar and 1 tsp. salt. Let cool. Separate out the beet peels (skins) from the quarter pieces, store the cooked beets in a container for use on salads.

Yellow Dye

Peel the golden beets (save the skins) and cut the beets in quarters. Place in pan with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer until the beets are tender – about 25 minutes. Remove the beets and peels from the cooking liquid and add 1 T. Tumeric and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid into a pint mason jar and add 1 T vinegar and 1 tsp. salt. Let cool. Store cooked beet quarters in a container in the refrigerator for salads or you can make this same dressing for a nice cooked beet salad: blog.underwoodfamilyfarms.com/2010/06/18/golden-beet-salad.aspx


Chop the cabbage and place in pan with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 25 minutes and strain cooking liquid into a pint mason jar. Add 1 tsp. baking soda (fun science experiment), 1 T vinegar and 1 tsp. salt. The baking soda is what makes the purple turn blue – cool huh?! Store cooked cabbage in the refrigerator for salads or add this dressing to it for a sweet and sour cold salad: ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 T. honey or sugar, 1 tsp. celery seed, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

To achieve deep colors you will have to soak the eggs much longer – probably about an hour. The eggs in the picture above were soaked for about 30 minutes each.

Texas Onion Soup

No disrespect to the French, but if the Texas Sweets were around in the 18th century in France, then I'm convinced the soup would have been aptly named.  The basics are pretty simple, carmelized onions, some wine or sherry, beef broth, bread and cheese.  I like to split the broth - 1/2 chicken and 1/2 beef but it's good with 100% beef stock as well.  Gruyere cheese is a more traditional choice, but I prefer the shredded Parmesan made from raw milk at Trader Joe's.  Also, typically you would broil each serving in ramekins with the bread and/or cheese on the top, I find it easier to make the gratinéed bread slices that then adorn the top of each soup serving to ones liking.

½ cup of butter
1 bunch of Underwood Texas Sweets, thinly sliced
1 cup of dry white wine or sherry
32 oz of low sodium chicken broth
32 oz of beef broth
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme (dried or fresh)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 sourdough baguette, cut in ¼“ slices
3 T olive oil
2 cups of shredded Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a heavy, oven safe Dutch oven or soup pot.  Add onions and cook on the stovetop, covered, for 30 minutes. Add garlic, stir and put the pot in the oven to carmelize the onions.  Cook time is between 45 minutes and 1 hour, the lid can be left on for the first 20 minutes, then removed for the last 25- 30 minutes to make sure the onions are browning.  Stir a few times to make sure onions aren't sticking to the bottom and to ensure even browning.

Return the pot to the stovetop and add the wine or sherry, broth, Worcestershire and thyme.  Bring to a simmer over medium high, then lower the heat and cook another 25 minutes.

Prepare the bread slices, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Remove and let sit until ready to serve.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with gratinéed bread slices.  Bon Appétit!

We Got the Beets

Thought I would pass on some storage tips this week and point out a recipe from last March for a beet and tangerine salad that has become a staple in our house.

To store beets, trim the greens approximately two inches from the beet as soon as you get your CSA box home, otherwise the leaves will sap the moisture from the root. You do not need to trim the tail, keeping the entire root with the skin in tact helps them last longer. Store the leaves in a separate container and use within 3 or 4 days. It helps to store the beetroots in a container or plastic bag in the crisper and they should keep up to two weeks, probably longer.  Because your produce is in the field right up to the day before delivery, if stored properly will normally keep much longer than even the "experts" recommend.

Another interesting beet fact - after noticing a mold spot on a beet that I had for only about a week I asked Farmer Craig about it and found out that this is not uncommon! The dark black spots that you may see on the skin of the beet, those are defects due to temporary conditions in the soil not to worry about those at all.  At times, mold can form around these defects but it does not affect the quality of the beet itself.

By the way, this storage method applies to any edible “root” – carrots, kohlrabi, turnips, celery root, radishes – even those Texas sweet onions that should be coming soon!
  Remove those tops and greens immediately to preserve the roots.

Now get your groove on with this salad!

Candy Striped Beet and Tangerine Salad

Brussels and Bacon

Nothing says "Irish" like a little smoked meat and some green vegetables!  This is a simple side dish to add to your Saint Paddy's Day menu! 

1 lb of Brussels Sprouts, cut in quarters
1 T olive oil
3-4 cloves of minced fresh garlic
1 onion, sliced in rounds
1/4 lb of bacon

In a large skillet, cook bacon slices until crisp over medium heat.  Place cooked bacon on paper towel lined plate and drain all but about 1 T. of the bacon fat from the skillet.  Place the skillet back on the flame and add olive oil and onions to the bacon fat and reduce the heat to medium low.  Slow cook the onions until they are beginning to brown slightly, about 10 minutes.  While the onions are cooking, crumble or slice the bacon into small strips. 

Bring the heat back up to medium and add the minced garlic, stir and saute until fragrant - about 2 minutes, then put the brussels in the skillet and stir and cook them for another 5-8 minutes - until they are beginning to soften and the core starts to get translucent - don't overcook!  Add the bacon and toss everything together.  If you like balsamic vinegar, you can sprinkle a bit of that over the top.

Vegans/Vegetarians:  Just lose the bacon and add 1 T olive oil to the mix.  Still fantastic!

Here's another recipe to add to your plate: Irish Colcannon

Asian Chicken with Bok Choy and Celery

1 T olive or coconut oil
1 T sesame oil
1/2" of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced
3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 lb ground chicken

5-6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bunch of bok choy, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T soy sauce
lettuce leaves (optional)

In a large skillet heat the oils over medium heat.  Add ginger root and garlic cloves and stir fry until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and ground chicken and continue to stir fry until chicken is no longer pink and is just starting to brown.  Add chopped celery, stir fry for another 2 minutes, then add boy choy and cook until soft.   Add the cilantro and soy sauce, stir to combine.

Serve as lettuce wraps, or alongside some brown rice with stir fried vegetables and top with a variety of sauces - stir fry sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce, etc.  to taste.  You can also julienne some carrots, additional celery as "condiments" on the lettuce wraps along with bean sprouts, water chestnuts and/or bamboo shoots.

And the Oscar® goes to....Collard Greens!!

Kale has been stealing the show for the past few years, it's high time we recognize collard greens for their contribution to the "Green Party".  A staple in the Southern U.S. for decades, this sturdy member of the Brassica family is world renowned - grown and served in Brazil, Portugal, Africa, Spain, Bosnia and India to name a few.  It's old school, even the ancient Greeks grew both collard greens and kale.

Not to dis my Southern relatives, but there is more to collard greens than just ham hocks, turkey legs and bacon.  Believe me, I grew up eating that variety and it has it's place, but traditionally they were always overcooked which leads to more bitterness and the need for massive amounts of hot sauce.  Again, not bad, just different and I happen to believe that less is more when it comes to cooking vegetables, as in more retained nutrition. These guys don't need hours and hours of cooking and any traditional recipe (in my opinion) could be made better by cooking/steaming a maximum of 10 minutes.  The key is to chop them in a consistent manner - thickness and size (thin/small) - so that they cook rapidly and uniformly.

I love to add Indian dishes to meals.  Spices like curry and tumeric are part of my weekly regime with their distinct flavors and health advantages.  This is a super simple recipe for Saag which is a leaf-based dish eaten in South Asia with bread such as naan, or rice. Saag can be made from any chopped green, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients such as paneer cheese.  If you are vegan, you can substitute coconut oil for the butter, you still get the richness.

1/2 c. butter
2 tsp. cumin seed
2 T tumeric
1 serrano chili, seeded and diced
2-4 minced garlic cloves
1 T minced fresh ginger
8-10 cups of chopped mixed greens (Collards, Kale, Spinach, Beet Greens, Chard, Turnip Greens, have fun!)
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander

In a large skillet or dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat, add cumin seed, tumeric, serrano, garlic, ginger and turmeric and stir for about 2-3 minutes.

Gradually add the chopped greens and stir until they are starting wilt. Add remaining spices, combine thoroughly and lower heat to low. Put a lid on it and let it steam for about 10 minutes.

Serve that at your party on Sunday and get nominated to repeat next year!

Check out all the action here: http://oscar.go.com/

Watergate Soup

Celery root, leek, onion, potato and carrot soup just wasn't doing it for me.  I remembered a vague conversation about a restaurant at the famed Watergate Hotel (young people - Google it!) that served many interesting and delicious dishes with celeriac aka celery root.  Watergate Soup just sounded much more intriguing.

This recipe was leaked to us by our customer, May, at the  Santa Clarita Farmers' Market.  It came to me through my son (who often works the market on Sundays).  Mom, we have to make this incredible soup it has 1 celery root, 5 cups of water, 1 cup of chicken broth, carrots, potatoes, onion, 3 leeks, 2 bay leaves, marjoram and nutmeg.  How could something so ridiculously simple be that good I wondered?  I waited patiently for celery root to hit the deck again so I could make the soup, and it was delicious.  At the end of the sampling my son questioned me - you did use fresh marjoram didn't you?  My guilty look was met with a frowny head shake - has to be fresh mom, seriously, May told me that was the secret!  Really, that would have been good to know about an hour ago!

I knew I had to cook the soup in the spirit in which May passed it on to my son.  So off to the Farmers' Market for fresh marjoram.  This is the exact recipe I used today - I think May would be proud.  I puree all my soups, I prefer them that way, but tasted equally good out of the gate.
   I hope you enjoy it,   thank you May!

2 T olive oil
1 medium sweet onion chopped
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 celery root, coarsely chopped (reserve some top leaves for garnish if desired)
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped (all of the white, light green and some of the dark green)
1 large or 2 small potatoes, chopped
1 bunch of yellow carrots, chopped
5 cups of water
1 cup of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 T fresh marjoram, finely chopped (or if prefer, about 1 teaspoon of dried)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (might want more of that, but I like it subtle)

Heat the olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and leeks and saute until soft.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until celery root is soft - about 35-40 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and puree in blender or with a stick blender.  Serve with a few of the celery root leaves chopped up.

Super Box

It's here - the grandaddy of all sporting events.  Even folks that don't watch football watch the Super Bowl, everyone wants in on the big game.  Don't leave the MVPs (Most Valuable Produce) in your box out of the fun - there are plenty of ingredients this week to help you create the perfect game plan whether you're home or away!

Bronco Buffalo Cauliflower

Wing fanatics may scoff and laugh at this, let 'em, more for the rest of us!  If you are good with dairy and gluten, you can use regular milk and a buttermilk baking mix of your choice.  This works with broccoli or Romanesca as well.

1 head of cauliflower, separated into bite sized pieces
1/2 c of water
1/2 c of coconut milk
1 c of Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix
2 tsp of garlic powder
3/4 c of Frank's Hot Sauce (no substitution here folks...)
2 T butter
2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet or baking pan with olive or coconut oil.  Mix together the water, coconut milk, baking mix and garlic powder.  Dip the cauliflower pieces in the batter and place on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.  In a medium saucepan melt the butter and add Franks and brown sugar. 

When cauliflower is done, add to hot sauce in sauce pan and coat each piece thoroughly.  Serve with carrot sticks and your favorite ranch dressing.

Manning's Mizuna Madness Pizza
Mizuna or Arugula paired with Prosciutto is the perfect combo of savory and spice, one bite and you'll be calling all the right plays.

1 ball of prepared whole wheat pizza dough (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy)
4-6 slices of Prosciutto
3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan, Mozzarella or Manchego cheese
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1-2 T olive oil
1-2 cups of coarsely chopped Arugula or Mizuna

Roll out the dough in a circle or square and place on stone or cookie sheet.  Brush the dough with olive oil.  Spread the pizza sauce on the top and put 1/2 of the cheese on top of the sauce.  Cover cheese layer with slices of Prosciutto and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until the crust is starting to brown.  Spread with chopped Arugula or Mizuna and serve.

Seahawk Sausage and Fennel Pizza with Skittles®

Okay, kidding about the Skittles, I wouldn't recommend them on the pizza, but rather on the side.  Even without them, this pizza has a rainbow of flavors.

1 ball of prepared whole wheat or white pizza dough (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Fresh & Easy)
4 T olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced thin
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1/2 lb of bulk chicken sausage
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan, Mozzarella or Manchego cheese
Dash of sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Heat 2 T of olive oil in a skillet, add fennel, onion and garlic.  Season with salt and red pepper flakes and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes over medium heat until onions and fennel start to turn a golden brown, set aside.  Add chicken sausage to skillet and brown.  Roll out the dough in a circle or square and place on stone or cookie sheet.  Brush the dough with remaining olive oil.  Spread the cheese over the dough.  Sprinkle the browned chicken sausage over the cheese and top with the fennel and onions. Bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until the crust is starting to brown.  Garnish with chopped Italian parsley or cilantro.

Russell's Radical Radish Dip
Radishes and butter have a long standing relationship, but we are not having tea party here!  You can serve this with raw vegetables, crackers or the ultimate hail Mary - a sliced sourdough baguette.

1 package cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
1 c finely chopped radishes
1/2 c finely chopped leeks
2 T finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp (or to taste) Grizzly Joes or Lawry's seasoned salt

Cream together the butter, cream cheese and seasoned salt.  Stir in remaining ingredients and chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Previous Posts to check out:

Butternut Squash Onion Pizza
Party Artichokes with Three Dips

Cilantro Chimichurri

If you are not familiar with Chimichurri, it is a delicious and easy to make sauce for vegetables, meat, fish or even served with a French baguette.

Chimichurri originated in Argentina and is generally made from parsley,  garlic, onion, olive oil, oregano, and either vinegar, lime or lemon juice. Additional flavorings such as thyme, basil, cilantro and red pepper may be added.

This version is made with cilantro instead of parsley, but you can switch it up depending on what is in your box.  This is a weekly staple in my kitchen.

2 cups of firmly packed cilantro
1/4 cups fresh oregano leaves (or you can substitute 1-2 T of dried oregano)
3-5 cloves of garlic (to taste)
2 T chopped onion, red or white
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 T fresh lime or lemon juice
Red pepper flakes and sea salt (to taste)

In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped.  Add the cilantro and oregano and continue pulsing until finely chopped.

Transfer the herb mixture to a separate bowl and add the olive oil, citrus juice and stir carefully.  Don't add to food processor, it will not be the right texture and consistency.  Season with red pepper flakes and other seasoning as desired.

Roasted Romulanesca and Shrimp

If this is your first time seeing Romanesca you might think it beamed here with the Kohlrabi and the Patty Pan Squash in some alien vessel - a Romulan Star Ship of sorts.  Yes, I could definitely see the Romulans sitting down to a plate of Romanesca!

Honestly it hails from Italy, and is a member of the brassica family in the same group with broccoli, cauliflower making it an edible flower but with more striking and unusual fractal patterns in the flower head.

You can use it as you would broccoli or cauliflower but the flavor is generally the sweeter of the three when picked at its prime and roasted it seems to intensify the flavor.  I replaced broccoli with Romanesca in this recipe and it exceeded our expectations.  Very easy and went great with some brown basmati rice.  If you are a vegetarian, just eliminate the shrimp and cut the olive oil down to 2 tablespoons.

1 – 2 lbs of Romanesca, cut into bite-size florets
1.5 lbs of large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chili powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
dash of sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss Romanesca with 2 tablespoons olive oil, coriander, cumin, chili powder and 2 cloves of minced garlic. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 garlic clove, lemon zest, Sriracha sauce, and sea salt and pepper.

Spread Romanesca on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and combine with Romanesca. Roast for 10 minutes, then toss, and roast for another 10 minutes or until shrimp are just opaque and Romanesca is tender and starting to brown.  Toss with lemon juice before serving.