Fish with Green Garlic Spread

Springtime means different things to different folks, but here at Sage Mountain Farm it means the arrival of green garlic.  Green garlic is sought after by chefs and foodies alike for its flavor, aroma and all out Spring-greenie-ness!  Green garlic, also known as spring garlic or young garlic is just that…the immature garlic plant harvested before a head with distinct cloves has formed below the soil.  Green garlic can be used anywhere you would normally use mature garlic.  Just be sure to “taste it as you make it” because green garlic has a more mild flavor than mature garlic, so you may have to adjust your usual quantity.  Farmer Phil says that he usually likes to reserve one for stir fry, then suggests you try this recipe for Green Garlic Paste.

Green Garlic Paste is delicate and grassy, mild and aromatic, and divinely green!  Guaranteed to beautify your Spring table with its looks and taste.  In this recipe, I have used only four ingredients.  It is simple and versatile, everything that you could want from an ingredient that embodies Spring.  When you are making this you will be surrounded with a wonderful garlicky aroma, it is mouth-watering!

Green Garlic Paste

4 green garlic plants

¼ c olive oil

Plenty of salt and pepper to taste!

Instructions

Trim the green garlic as follows; get rid of any tips that are wilted or yellow, trim off the roots and set aside (these are some of the most flavorful bits!), slice off the hard bottom of the white bulb and toss, then cut up the entire plant into one inch pieces.

Sage Mountain Farm
Organic Confetti!

Place the roots and the cut pieces into your food processor and pulse until you have a garlicky green confetti!  (I know you might be tempted to throw this in the air and shout surprise, or include it in a greeting card, but I assure you it is much better as food, so try to resist!)  Next, run your food processor and add the olive oil in a thin stream through the feed chute.

Sage Mountain Farm
Smooth and Green…

Scrape down the sides often until you have a guacamole like paste.  Now smell, really inhale it and let it fill your mind with Spring…so delicious.  A little bit of garlic Zen for your day.  Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.

For the fish:

I set my oven at 375 and placed my fish fillets in a glass dish lined with foil.  Use enough foil so that the edges can be used to create a steaming packet.

Sage Mountain Farm
Go ahead, slather it on! I was being a bit conservative..you can go wild!
Sage Mountain Farm
Fold over your foil to hold in the steam.

Season your fish fillets with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  Then slather on the Green Garlic Spread!  Bake for about a half an hour, depending on the thickness of your fillets.

I used this Green Garlic Paste to dress up some fish fillets.  It could easily be used for chicken or even potatoes.  It has a mild flavor and really would pair with anything that could use a delicate garlic flavor.  Let your taste guide you and use your imagination, or take my word for it and try it on fish this week!

Advertisements

Cimmaron Cherry Smoothie

Cimmaron is a red Romaine variety.

Cimmaron lettuce is beautiful and unusual with its garnet color and its long slender leaves.  I read that this type of Romaine lettuce has been around since the 1700’s!  It has a great mild taste and the color is spectacular.  I usually grab another lettuce first though.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe because I think green = lettuce and so subconsciously I just grab the green stuff more often?  Whatever the reason, the Cimmaron is usually left in my crisper, alone and aloof, like a princess in a tower (sigh).  Well, the color of this royal beauty was what inspired me to pair it with cherries for a great way to drink your greens(reds, lol!) in the morning, or anytime!

According to an article on cherries over at Livestrong.com, cherries can help you sleep better, they can prevent disease and they can keep you healthy and fit.  They have a good amount of fiber per cup and they are high in Vitamin C and Potassium.  The health benefits though, for me anyway, are second to the taste.  I love the sweet/tart combination of flavors that cherries have perfected!  All in one tiny jewel colored package!

For this smoothie I opted to use water as my liquid of choice for two reasons…#1 Water is zero calorie.  #2 Water is free, hey practicality has its place, right?!  Some people prefer to add apple juice to their smoothies for more sweetness.  Others prefer any number of milks, plant or animal based, for creaminess and flavor.  Whatever liquid you add will change the flavor, but like I have said before…”Taste it as you make it”.  I did.  When testing this idea out, I started with only one banana.  It wasn’t sweet enough so I added another, bingo!  Just sweet enough to drink lettuce for breakfast without being dessert-like, which I don’t’ prefer first thing in the morning.

Sage Mountain Farm
Have you tried lettuce in a smoothie?

Ingredients

1 bunch/head Sage Mountain Farm Organic Cimmaron Lettuce

2 frozen overripe bananas

1c frozen cherries

2c water (or other liquid)

Blend and enjoy!  Makes 5 cups of smoothie!

As always, I would be thrilled to get your feedback on this (or any other recipe).  Just leave me a comment below!  Do you drink green smoothies?  Have you ever tried lettuce in one?  Let’s have a conversation!

Juicing Celery

Sage Mountain Farm
Gather the goods..then juice ’em!

During this past January we had some very cold (for California, sorry East Coast!) overnight temps at the farm and I think that this stressed our celery.  When you open your CSA box and see celery listed on the packing slip you may or may not recognize it.  While celery should be long and tall, our celery turned out short and thin, possibly due to the stresses of winter weather.

No worries, when life gives you lemons…make celery juice!

The celery has a great flavor and loads of nutritional benefits.  Just Google the health benefits of celery and you will be amazed at all of the nutrients packed into this low calorie vegetable.  Most notably, celery is touted to lower blood-pressure.  So really, you can de-stress with our stressed-out celery, lol!

This juice turns out a lovely shade of light green, just perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day you want the “luck-o-the-Irish”!  It is tangy and spicy from the ginger and lemon with a touch of sweetness from the apple.  It is refreshing, I love it!  I used the recipe called Fresh Apple-Celery Juice with Ginger and Parsley from Food & Wine and I tweaked it to take advantage of what I had on hand.

Sage Mountain Celery Juice

Sage Mountain Farm
Tangy and spicy with a touch of sweetness!

1 whole bunch of organic Sage Mountain juicing celery, ends trimmed

4 small gala apples, cut for your juicer (gala was what I had on hand, you could use any variety)

1 bunch organic parsley

2 inches of fresh ginger, let sit on counter to thaw for 5-10 minutes (if you’ve been listening to me and are storing it frozen)

3 T of lemon juice

Instructions

Follow the instructions for your juicer and juice the first four ingredients.  Once complete, stir in the lemon juice and enjoy!

If you don’t like juicing or don’t have a juicer, our celery is also perfect for use in soups.  The leaves and stalks can be chopped and used in a variety soups.  Basic vegetable, a chicken noodle, or even cream of celery could be made using this fresh organic (if ugly-duckling like) celery!

Let me know if you tried the juice down in the comments, I would love to know!

Kumquat Salad

Sage  Mountain Farm
Tart and Citrusy!

Today I wanted to share with you a salad that I created “on the fly” to go with last night’s dinner.  It was zesty and fresh tasting, I loved it!  I used things that I had on hand and created a citrusy salad that was a great accompaniment to our meal and used several different items from my CSA box!

The star of the recipe is the kumquat, a small relative of the orange that grows on a shrub and is packed with vitamin C.  Kumquats can be eaten as is, they can be used as a cocktail garnish, a flavor addition for green or black tea, or sliced into salads (which I did with this recipe here).

Also from our fabulous Sage Mountain Farm CSA box I used the gourmet salad mix and green garlic.  I really like Sage Mountain Farm’s gourmet salad mix.  It is my favorite of our salad mixes.  The flavor is mild; it is a neutral background for many flavor profiles.  The best part of the gourmet salad mix is the texture, smooth and buttery, almost velvety in your mouth.  Can you tell I eat a lot of salad?  It is not, as one of my favorite comics Jim Gaffigan says, just a “bag of yard work”.  Salad can be a stand-alone meal or a complementary starter or side dish.  It is a great way to eat your greens!

Kumquat Salad

1 bag organic gourmet salad mix (or any lettuce, for that matter)

1 green garlic, thinly sliced from the white end up to the light green

½ C sliced kumquats

½ C dried cranberries

2 T of a citrus vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)

Shavings of fresh parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Chop the salad mix roughly, most of the lettuces included in the gourmet mix could be eaten without chopping but some are larger that would be polite to put up to your mouth in a single bite (at least, on front of other people anyway!).  Next, slice the green garlic and the kumquats.  Place these into a small bowl with the dried cranberries and mix together.  Sprinkle this yummy trifecta all over top of the chopped salad and then get out your cheese (if you are choosing to add it).  Shave the cheese over the salad bowl until you reach your desired amount.  In this salad I would say that the cheese should be an occasional taste, here and there, to give a salty-savory balance to this sweet-tart salad, so a little should be enough.  Finally, add to the salad the citrus vinegar.  “Taste it as you make it” applies here too, you know what your taste preferences are.  Trust yourself!  Gently incorporate all of the ingredients and distribute the dressing.  Try to lift from the bottom, so that all of the goodies don’t get left under the greens.

I hope that you enjoy this salad, let me know in the comments below!

Lentil Sloppy Joes

This may just surprise you.  It’s comforting and tasty.  It’s full of fiber and flavor.  It uses up greens in a way that you might not have thought of before!  I want to continue our series of greens recipes today with this original recipe for a lentil mixture that can be enjoyed on its own as a meal, as a side dish or most excitingly as filling for a Sloppy Joe-type of sandwich.  One of my favorite ways to get protein into my diet is beans and greens.  Beans and greens have so much to offer- protein, fiber, vitamins galore!  I can’t say enough about the humble combo of beans and greens!

Sage Mountain Farm
Beans and Greens, a power packed duo!

To make this recipe I used an electric slow cooker, a fairly big one.  If you don’t have one, use a large saucepan or soup pot on your stove top and cook until your lentils are tender.  Cooking times vary between slow cookers, but lentils, like all beans, are fairly forgiving when it comes to cook times, just as long as they are not undercooked.

Ingredients:

1 lb of lentils (Use the most common green-brown ones or the French lentils because the red and yellow ones fall apart and are better for sauces and soups.)

4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

½ of an onion, chopped

4c vegetable broth

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1c of water

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 c nutritional yeast (optional)

1 T fresh parsley, chopped finely

Sage Mountain Farm
Chop finely

Chopped greens (I used one bag but this recipe could definitely accommodate probably twice that depending on your taste)

Instructions:

Place the first six ingredients into your electric slow cooker.  I like to give the ingredients a quick stir just to make sure that nothing is clumped up.  It isn’t necessary, but I do it anyway.  Set your slow cooker on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours (or bring to a boil on the stovetop and then lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender).  At the end of this cooking time, when your lentils are tender, add the rest of the ingredients and turn the slow cooker to high for about an hour.

Remember to “taste it as you make it” and to chop your greens small so they blend in with the texture of the lentils.  This is a kid-friendly meal and when served as Sloppy Joes you can choose to add a slice of cheese to each sandwich as well.  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

Before winter is over and winter squash is “sooooo last season” (insert valley girl accent here, lol!) I have a couple of recipes to share with you that will give you some new things to do with the winter squash that is still around.  This one is specifically for that silly, stringy, spaghetti squash.  When I first heard of spaghetti squash, no doubt similar to all of you, I thought that it would be a great replacement for pasta.  Roast spaghetti squash, top with red sauce, eat.  Well, it was okay, but the kids wanted their pasta back.  It wasn’t enough of a novelty to convince them that it was “just like spaghetti”.  I needed something that used spaghetti squash as its own ingredient, not a substitute for pasta.

If the pasta substitute works in your home, great!  If not, or if you are looking for something “Southwesterny delicious” (sings in head like Lucky Charms theme ‘magically delicious’), then follow along for something super great!  You can use your organic spaghetti squash and your organic cilantro from Sage Mountain Farm in this incredible meal.  This recipe is originally posted here on Whole Foods website.

Sage Mountain Farm
Use a fork to rake up individual strands of squash.

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands, leaving the shell intact for stuffing.

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through.

Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center.

Sage Mountain Farm
Mixin’ up the Fillin’

I made a few changes when I cooked it myself.  I omit the olive oil and just “water sauté” instead, just a personal preference (I like to reduce the amount of added fats and oils in the foods that I cook).  I also roasted the spaghetti squash whole.  It works great either way, just personal preference again.  One more thing, I didn’t leave the shells intact and refill them with the mixture.

Sage Mountain Farm
Servin’ it up, Nacho Style!

Since I serve this for many people as a nacho topping, it seemed more appropriate to leave the mixture loose and just toss the shells.  My family enjoys this quite a bit served with tortilla chips, but I also think it would be excellent served in soft, warm corn tortillas!  By the way, the leftovers reheat great, so it’s a wonderful healthy meal to take-along!

Fresh Ginger Storage Tip

A long time ago I bought some fresh ginger at the store to make a ginger tea.  Boiling water poured over a few small slices of fresh ginger, let steep, voila!  Ginger Tea!

Then I had a knobby ginger root to store, so I put it in the fridge.  Life has a way of moving along and then you forget about little things like the knobby ginger root that is waiting ever so patiently for you to use it again.  As it turns out, the fridge and/or the counter are not great places to store fresh ginger unless you are going to be using it all up fairly quickly.

Sage Mountain Farm
Keep fresh ginger in the freezer.

The best place, in my experience, to keep fresh ginger is in the freezer.

I place the ginger root in a plastic freezer bag and store it in the door of my freezer so I always have fresh ginger available for tea or for my Citrus Ginger Sauce!

Sage Mountain Farm
Use the back of a spoon to “peel” ginger.

Oh, I almost forgot…another tip (it’s a twofer!), when peeling the papery covering off of fresh ginger, use the back of a spoon and scrape.

Citrus Ginger Sauce

Here it comes, are you ready?  This recipe today is an original recipe that I have come to rely on at least twice a week.  This is the first recipe in a series that will make it easy for you to eat your greens.  Greens alone are a humble powerhouse of nutrition, but not the poster veg for glamour like say, asparagus or artichokes.  This sauce is the little black dress that will boost your greens to the next level!

Citrus Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

1 whole (large) orange, peeled

3T soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic

½ inch of fresh ginger

1 T honey

Instructions:

Place all of the ingredients in your blender.  Blend until the orange, ginger and garlic are fully broken down and incorporated.  Easy peasy!  Now since oranges are not all the same size and not everyone’s tastes are the same, I would encourage you to taste your sauce.  You can adjust it as necessary by adding more soy sauce or more honey.  This template works for me (as written) almost every time.

Now, how can this sauce be used for greens?  Here’s how I do it.  First I chop my organic greens into bite size pieces.

Sage Mountain Farm
Slice greens horizontally

This step is important, especially if you are feeding these greens to a kid or someone who is reluctant to eat greens.  I find that it usually isn’t the flavor of greens that puts people off, it’s the texture of cooked greens that does.  Chopping them into bite size, or smaller, pieces gives the greens a more acceptable texture for most people.

Sage Mountain Farm
Chop your strips into bite sized pieces

Next, I rinse them under cold water.  No need to dry them or drain them completely, just shake ‘em off and toss into your pan.  Into the pan you should now add your sauce and an equal amount of water.  How much sauce and water depends on how much greens you are preparing.  On a typical weeknight I will use one bag of greens to half of the prepared sauce and about a cup of water (this is really just a guide, but it’s what I do).  Give your greens a little stir so that the sauce and water are nicely spread throughout the chopped greens.  Put the lid on your pan and wait until things are steaming and boiling, then turn the heat down low and let the magic happen!  For thicker greens, such as kale, collards, and broccoli greens, expect to cook for about 10 minutes.  For more delicate greens, such as spinach, mesclun or spicy salad mix, you should test them around four to five minutes.  Again, this is all up to your taste.  You can use whatever greens you have on hand with this sauce.  I have even used it for broccoli florets.  The sky’s the limit!  It’s a tasty way to enjoy just about any veggie.  To serve you can use these as a side dish as is, or over some rice (we like ‘em with pineapple chunks) as a main dish!

If I have one piece of advice it’s “taste it as you make it”.  The first time you taste your food should not be as everyone else is sitting down to the table and starting dinner.  Don’t fret, food is fun!  You can’t go wrong if you start with a good template and taste as you go.