Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who Doesn't Like a Good Kitchen Gadget

I am going to deviate a bit from my normal way of posting and talk a bit about a little product we have carried  in the store for the past year that has hit the airways with a splash.  Who knew Appleton Farms’ Store would be ahead of the food gadget trends!  What gadget you ask?  The Spiralizer.  You know that little manual machine that makes what some call zoodles, zucchini noodles, spiralizer noodles etc., etc.

When I first demonstrated it last year during one of our CSA  pickups, only to sell out in less than 2 hours, I knew the zucchini noodle craze had finally hit Ipswich.  It had been something that I had been making for my family for over a year.  In the past 2 years of personally using it, I would love to pass on some ideas for not only using the machine for zucchini noodles but for what else it can do.
Instead of giving recipes, there are many all over the web, I will give you some ideas of what vegetables I’ve successfully spiralized and some ideas.  I’ll leave it to you to choose your toppings.

Paderno brand is the best and most proven by far.  There are many impostors on the market.  Make sure you get it from a reputable dealer and it is Paderno brand.  You won't be disappointed.

Toss it in a pan for 1-2 minutes to slightly soften. 

I prefer to heat up my favorite sauce and just toss it with raw zucchini. Pictured is the fettuccine blade.  A bit wider than the regular cut.

Sweet potatoes
Fry in a bit of oil.
Lightly toss in oil, bake.

Regular potatoes
Toss in a cast iron pan with oil, onions for great hash browns

Great raw with vinaigrette

Good topped with anything.  Alfredo is a favorite

Who doesn’t like curly carrots?

Toss in peppers onion sausages with a bit of sage.


If you’ve never had a raw, spiralized beet, you’d think it was cooked.  I’m not sure why, but you’d not know it was raw.

Our house favorite.  We love to make a chicken curry (or the one sold in the Farm Store) and toss it over raw parsnips.  My daughter’s #1 spiralized dish.

The Spiralizer is still carried in our Farm Store.  We now have 2 choices, a 3-blade and a 4-blade.
I highly recommend you give us a visit to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Peppers, Tomatoes and Cheese… Oh My!

After being made to eat stuffed peppers as a child, its something that I love to smell, but can’t bring myself to eat it.  Everyone has a food trauma story, mine is stuffed peppers (and baked beans!)
I decided to change up stuffed peppers to get over my stuffed pepper cringe.  They are like little pepper pizza boats.  How can you go wrong with that?  Pardon the lack of pictures for a couple weeks, the camera phone is dead.  Ahhhh technology.  I promise they look great.  I’m posting a picture of a Martha Stewart similar recipe.  Close but you get the idea for preparation. Just don't forget the all important cheese!

Cooking, Serving It!

Baked peppers and tomatoes
4 bell peppers any color, halved vertically and seeded
2 plum tomatoes or any kind of low moisture tomato sliced 1/4” rounds
½ cup favorite cheese.  I like to use feta, mozzarella or Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Fresh basil leaves chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place peppers, cut side up on a 9x13 pan, place a slice of tomato on top, scatter garlic slices.  Drizzle oil. Sprinkle with cheese, oregano, basil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until flesh is tender, about 35 minutes.

Freezing It!

Stay tuned for pepper preservation!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Watermelon and Arugula

A request from a member:

Arugula and watermelon are a pair that doesn’t sound like it would be good, but it is.  Adding Adobo and salt to summer sweet watermelon, then adding the peppery arugula makes your taste buds dance.  If you’ve never tried the combination, give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Cooking, Serving It!

Arugula-Watermelon-Feta Salad

Chopped Arugula
Watermelon, cubed or sliced
Crumbled feta cheese
1 Lime
Olive Oil
Adobo seasoning and black pepper
a few fresh basil leaves cut thin
Balsamic vinaigrette (I like using a blueberry balsamic)

Put bite sized pieces of arugula in a bowl with the watermelon on top. Squeeze a wedge of lime and drizzle olive oil on top, then sprinkle Adobo and pepper to taste. Toss lightly. Crumble feta cheese, and sprinkle on top with it along with basil.

Freezing It!

Freezing cubes of watermelon will allow you to enjoy watermelon in winter smoothies or even using the cubes as ice cube replacement in a glass of sparkling water or wine.

Dehydrating It!
If you’ve never tasted dehydrated watermelon, you’re in for an amazing treat. Dehydrating watermelon leaves the sweetness, a bit sticky, almost resembling fruit leather with a taste of a Jolly Rancher.  Oh my!!  Dehydrate at 135 for 24 hours or until its leather like.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tomato and Beans

Beans and Tomatoes, does it say summer any better?  Just like our strawberries, tomatoes any other time of year or any other place, just never taste the same. I may be partial to our produce because I see the care and dedication that each and every farmer puts into all the crops, but I have decided their taste is the best as well.  Tomatoes and green beans are tasty hot or cold.  So much so, the same recipe can be used as a salad with a marinate or heated just to warm which allows the feta to create a slight sweetness.

When you're in the pick-your-own fields this week, stop for a moment of gratitude for all the dedication that goes into the fields during the hot days of summer.

Cooking, Serving It!

Bean and Tomato Salad

1 lb. green beans (steamed or boiled)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
½ cup black beans (optional)
Feta cheese

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon assorted herbs – rosemary, oregano, basil

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
Cut green beans into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Dice red onion and halve cherry tomatoes.
Place in a bowl and gently toss in dressing.

Serving cold:
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to marinate.
When ready to serve, add feta and lightly toss.

Serving warm:

Sprinkle feta on top, bake in a 350F oven for approximately 20 minutes until warm and feta begins to get soft.

Freezing It!

Green beans can be frozen very easily.  Blanch 2-3 minutes, toss in ice water, drain, pat dry and freeze. There are some who say no blanching needed.  I blanch my vegetables for preservation as it stops the enzymes from changing the produce’s texture.  If I’m particularly lazy and time is at a minimum, I will some times not blanch.  There are some veggies that difference is minimal.  Green beans are one of them.  Especially if you’re going to be putting them in soups, casseroles and only freezing them for the short term.

Storing It!                        

Fresh green beans store great in plastic bags or reusable container in the crisper bin for a up to 7 days after picking. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week #9 - Everything Veggies

During the busy summer at the farm, more often my own recipes lack diversity as spending time at the farm is priority.  As I look in my fridge planning on just what would be quickest, a simple quickie salad seems best.  As much as our lettuce is spectacular, that kind of salad would need to be a bit heftier if is the main course.  A basic recipe that can be changed up depending on what is in my share that week is quick, easy and nutritious.  The recipe was originally in the Boston Globe many years ago.  I’ve tweaked and changed but want to give credit where credit is due.

Cooking, Serving  It!

Any vegetable that can be grated works great in this recipe! Change it each time.

Salt and pepper, to taste
½ small head any type cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
1 large carrot, grated
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into small cubes
6 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh herb – cilantro, parsley, basil etc.
1/8 cup dried fruit – cranberries, raisins, blueberries etc.
¼ cup seeds or nuts – walnuts, sunflower, pumpkin etc.

Use whatever you have on hand. Beets, celeriac, bok choy, kohlrabi etc.


Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoon vinegar
Pinch of sugar or a bit of honey
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime and orange juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
Toss dressing into salad.  Top with seeds or nuts.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week #8 - Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Have you heard? Swiss chard is the new kale! Looking at nutritional data, it packs a powerhouse of goodness.  Don’t throw your kale away just yet.  It is still a close second.  As far as people pleaser, I think chard has a bit user friendly flavor which may make it a bit more versatile.

Swiss chard chopped and added to fettuccine Alfredo. Yum.  Ghee, chopped chard and garlic is always a perfect side dish.  Swiss chard makes a great quiche with Appleton Farms’ eggs.

You still may see me with my kale fan t-shirt on.  I’m not giving it up just yet, but Swiss chard is in the house!

Cooking, Serving It!

Swiss Chard and Lentils

1 bunch Swiss chard
1 cup lentils
¼ Red Bell Pepper
¼ Yellow Bell Pepper
¼ onion
1 tsp stone ground mustard (or Dijon if you choose)
3 Tablespoons of your favorite smoky sweet barbecue sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey

Simmer lentils in water for 12 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Drain and chill in cold water. Slice the firm rib out of each chard leaf by cutting a V shape from about an inch from the edge of the leaf down along either side of the stem to remove. (these can be sautéed separately and added at the end to reduce waste) Lay each leaf on top of the other and then roll up and use a sharp knife to slice into strips about ¼ inch thin.
Prepare an ice bath by adding a cup or so of ice into a quart of water so that the chard can be immersed. In a large pot, bring water to boil and blanch chard for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove greens from water and place into ice bath and chill quickly. Drain and remove excess water by patting dry. Slice peppers into thin strips and combine mustard, bbq sauce, honey and blended oil to create dressing. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss together.

Freezing  It!

Blanch 30 seconds and immediately bath in ice water.  Lay flat, pat dry and freeze in a zip bag or vacuum seal.  Add to soups, stews, even hide in meatballs!

Dehydrating  It!             

Chard can be dehydrated as chips or powdered.  Using a dehydrator or oven, dehydrate at 95-100F for approx. 12 hours or until crisp.  If using oven, use lowest setting possible for a shorter amount of time, watching for desired crispness.

Storing It!                        

Fresh Swiss chard can be store in crisper in bin keeping greens damp.  Swiss chard can be wrapped with a dampened paper towel in a plastic bag to keep fresher longer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week #7 - Butter

Cooking, Serving It!

Appleton Farms Butter

2 pints Appleton Farms Heavy Cream
Salt (optional)

Use whatever appliance you have, hand beater, immersion blender, or high speed blender. 
Beat cream until it forms whipped cream; wipe down sides of bowl; continue beating (or blending) you’ll see the buttermilk separate from the cream.  It will look like curds. 
Drain.  Under cool water, rinse the curd like mixture gently, forming a solid mixture of butter as it is rinsed.
Place in a container and refrigerate.  Save buttermilk for making bread or pancakes!

Ghee is clarified butter which has the milk solids removed which makes a perfect oil for sautéing.

Place butter in pan over medium heat.  Simmer until it foams for a second time.  After second foam rises to top, you’ll see the milk fats brown a bit sinking to bottom.  Drain through a butter cloth. 

Freezing  It!                      

Storing butter in the freezer keeps your fresh, grass fed butter longer.  Store it in reusable sandwich sized containers.  I score the butter into stick sized so I can just break one of when needed and thaw.

Storing It!

Fresh butter can be store on the counter for short periods of time. Air is the enemy causing rancidity.  I recommend a French butter bell which stores the butter in water upside down.  The water disburses the air away from the butter making a seal. In the heat of the summer, I do store in refrigerator for longer shelf life.