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Chile and green apple pie from Chef Cheryl!

August 22, 2012
From our culinary friend, Cheryl….
“The basket this week was awesome!
I have been wanting to do a green chile apple pie like this for SO long, so I was delighted to have the opportunity. This might sound like a strange combination of flavors to some, but trust me, apples and chiles were made to be together! Roasting the chiles releases a smokey – sweet flavor into the pie that is balanced perfectly by the tangy apples. Adjust these spices however you’d like, but remember that you want them to complement the flavor of the pie, not overpower it. Some spices are much more potent than others, so play around a little with combinations to find your favorite one. The cheddar cheese was thrown in as a whim, but ended up really pulling it together. As always, you can leave this out or add more, if you’d like.
Bon appetit!”

Green Chile Apple Pie

  • 5-6 peeled and sliced apples (tart/sour variety)
  • 1/2 to 1 c roasted, peeled, and seeded chiles (any variety of green), chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 c sugar (or less)
  • 1/4 c brown or raw sugar
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 9″ pie crust (frozen or homemade)
  • 1/2 grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, diced in small pieces
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c pine nuts (optional)
Roast chiles. Combine apples and chiles in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, sugars, salt, cornstarch and spices. Gently toss to combine. Place crust in buttered pie plate. Spread grated cheese over bottom of crust. Fill with apple mixture. Pour any juice remaining in bowl over apples and drop squares of butter over it. In a medium bowl, combine streusel ingredients and blend with a pastry cutter or use your fingers. Sprinkle over apples. Set pie on preheated baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower heat to 375. Bake 30-45 minutes more, until apples are fork tender (can be pierced with a fork/skewer with little resistance.) Cover pie with foil if topping gets too brown. Let cool at least 4 hours before cutting.

Sicilian Eggplant Spread with Crostini

August 4, 2012

This recipe is adapted from Ivy Manning’s Farm to Table cookbook, one I particularly like because she bases her recipes on NW produce and producers. I thought it was time to start suggesting eggplant recipes because they’re coming on little by little… you may have already seen a handful of Millionaire eggplants, or a Black King or a beautiful Nubia in your CSA boxes. One of our members confided to me that he gives his eggplant to a co-worker before bringing his veggies home to his wife, who loves eggplant. He just can’t stomach it, he said. Horrifying, I know. (Are you reading this anonymous CSA member? Horrifying.). 

Well, for all of you eggplant haters, here’s a recipe to try before passing your eggplants along. Ivy swears that home grown eggplants are not bitter like the mass-produced specimens at the grocery store, and this recipe brings out the creamy, complex flavor of a well-grown eggplant! And it has chocolate in it. So it can’t be bad.

Sicilian Eggplant Spread with Crostini

  • 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp.
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp dried currants or raisins
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (why dry? use fresh).
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp sugar (skip it, I think. There’s plenty of sugar in the raisins or currants). 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • s/p
  • 1 loaf of awesome Bread Board bread, sliced 1/4″ thick. 

Preheat oven to 350 (for toasting the bread). 

Heat 1/2 c of oil in a large saute pan and add the onion, pine nuts, currants and oregano. Cook down until onions are translucent. 

Reduce heat and add garlic, eggplant, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. Cook and stir frequently until eggplant begins to brown around the edges (about 15 min). 

Add tomato sauce and vinegar, cover, and simmer until eggplant is tender (about 30 min). Season with s/p and let sit for an hour for the flavors to come together. 

Meanwhile, brush the bread slices with oil and season with s/p. Bake in a single layer for about 15 min, until they’re brown around the edges. 


I might also add that eggplant doesn’t need much to be delicious. Wendy Bennet at the Wine Country Cooking Studio says to just poke them with a fork and bake them whole at 425 degrees until they’re soft in the inside. That’s it. Just add a little salt and pepper and enjoy! If you haven’t already taken one of her classes, you should. I like to think that Jon and I are pretty good cooks, but we learned a LOT from her this week! 

Anyway, give eggplants a chance. 60 million Italians can’t be wrong.

Butterflied monkfish with sweet runner bean stew

August 4, 2012

In case you don’t know, I have a schoolgirl crush on Jamie Oliver. Not just because he’s a maverick (the good kind), but because he gardens and cooks and publishes the most gorgeous rustic cookbooks I’ve ever seen. I wish, I wish I had taken a photo of our rendition of Jamie’s runner bean stew last night. But I didn’t, and we didn’t use monkfish, we used Dover sole. And we didn’t use runner beans, we used those beautiful Goldmarie pole beans that are starting to overload the trellises at the ROCO site. And thanks to a little inside information (ie: blast email from Blane), I know that NW Seafood in Newberg is getting in some fresh ling cod tomorrow which would be amazing on this stew.

Anyway, here goes, you’ll have to trust me… this is delicious and light and spicy and tangy perfect. Jamie, sorry for the shameless plagiarism, but we revere you around here. (sigh, if only he’d read our humble little blog).

Butterflied (any flaky white) fish with summer green (or purple or yellow or streaked) bean stew.  

  • 1 lb green beans stems trimmed off (or not, I usually don’t bother).
  • olive oil
  • 4 oz jar of anchovies in oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 dried red chili, crumbled (or about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I went overboard with the pepper and LOVED it. Jon, not so much.)
  • 24 oz jar of tomato sauce (please, NO CANS… mind your BPA’s).
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 lbs of white fish, skinned and trimmed. Dover sole was delicious, ling cod would be great, and Jamie recommends monkfish.
  • bunch of parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • basil leaves for garnish.

Heat a large saucepan that can fit all of the ingredients in it and add 2 tbsp olive oil plus the oil from the jar of anchovies.

Chop 4 of the garlic cloves and add to oil with the anchovies and chili flakes until it all goes soft and falls apart.

Pour in the tomatoes, beans and rosemary sprigs.

Season with S/P and bring to a boil… then put a lid on it and simmer for 15 minutes. Season again if it needs it.

For the fish, if you’re using a thicker fish like monkfish or ling cod, lay the fish on a chopping board and slice them horizontally almost in half, so they open up like a book. Score the fish and put to the side. (If you’re using flounder or sole, no need to do this… it’s thin enough to cook through really fast).

To make the gremolata, chop the rest of the garlic with a pinch of salt. Then finely chop the parsley and finely grate the lemon zest. Mix these with the garlic, chop it all up together and use it to sprinkle on top of the whole dish at the end.

Heat a big pan, season the fish with s/p and rub with oil. Cook for 2 minutes on each side (don’t overcook it) until it’s cooked through.

Take beans off of the heat, remove rosemary springs and squeeze in the juice of the lemon you grated earlier. Place a pile of beans on each plate and top with fish. Then sprinkle on the gremolata and some chopped basil leaves. (don’t skip this step… it brings so much flavor to the whole thing!).

So super easy and delicious! Jaime says to pile it high on one big serving plate and go family style… if you make it, send us a picture!

“C” is for Community (and COOKIE!)

July 14, 2012

Just when I was at my wit’s end….

Not for lack of planning, this year, with the thousands and thousands of little seedling we started early to get a jump on the season, and the careful cultivation we did and all of the pre-CSA season work since February… June was such a major letdown. Cooler than normal temps, but still no precipitation to make up for it and hailstorms and unprecedented beetle pressure, we’re finally at the end of what was a really challenging spring… only to be met with a heat wave that just baked and bolted our small broccoli and cauliflower.  In short, it’s been a tough few months, and I’ve been worried.

But miracles happen. And I know by now that natural systems are FULL of miracles, something unexpected and beautiful ALWAYS happens when you leave mother nature alone to do her thing. But what moves me to tears are the human elements in our little CSA experiment. Because I forget how amazing our community really is.

So yesterday, after waking up with the roosters and rushing through harvesting and trying to beat the heat, and trying to get water on everything, and there weren’t enough beets to go around,  and trying to be where I’m supposed to be on time… there I was. At my wit’s end.

And one of our dear members showed up to pick up her box. (Right on time, even though I wasn’t). In one hand she held an iced latte, in the other, some fresh baked cookies. “I thought you could use this”, she said. I almost cried. Miracle.

Then, Linda, who rented us her greenhouse this spring called. “We have lots of marionberries in our backyard. If you think your members would like them, we’ll pick some for you”. Another miracle.

Then I came home from Portland to find 2 bottles of wine at my door. Another 2 miracles.

And it got me thinking about our little community and how we support each other, and then I saw this video about “Sacred Economics” and got emotional all over again:

Sacred Economics with Charles Eisenstein

I wish I wish we didn’t need money to make this project happen. But more and more I realize that the C in CSA is a built in by-product that is as big of a miracle as watching a seed sprout and grow. So thank you, dear members and friends. I am humbly grateful for all that you bring to this CSA.

Lamb Chops with Berry and Beet Reduction

July 11, 2012

Cheryl’s recipe of the week:


I was so excited to get gooseberries and marionberries this week, I could hardly stand it. It was nearly impossible not to scarf down all the berries as soon as they got to me, but I resisted. For your sake. And for the sake of this ridiculously yummy sauce. I’ve never worked much with gooseberry, but it added a beautiful sour balance to the sweetness of the marionberries and beets in the sauce.

We have a mixed bag of ingredients here, all lending a beautiful element to the finished dish. Also, remember, you are welcome to change it up, just keep in mind that as you do, the flavor and texture may change. And this sauce would be just as lovely over a piece of flaky white fish, a pork tenderloin or chops, or on it’s own over the grain of your choice!
Start with 2-3 small onions and 2-3 cloves garlic and sweat them in the olive oil. What we’re doing here is setting the aromatic flavor base for the sauce. You’ll want to keep a small pot of chicken or vegetable stock warm on the stove for the purpose of deglazing the pan (scraping up all those yummy bits of goodness that want to harden to it). So, as the onions and garlic start to sizzle and smell delish, use just enough stock to keep it wet and scrape up the bits on the bottom as you go along.
At this point we’re going to sear the meat. Season both sides of the chops with s & p, and add to really hot pan. We’re going to just give both sides a good sear, and finish the meat in the oven. When one side is nice and browned, flip to do the other side. Remove the chops from the pan and place into a 350-375 F oven for about 10 minutes. You want the internal temp of the meat to read 145 F before you let it rest and serve it.
Once the chops are gone, add the thinly shaved beets and potatoes (I used both white and purple potatoes), and continue to add stock as the moisture evaporates. We’re trying to reduce and concentrate all of these great flavors, but we don’t want the sauce to burn on the pan. Remember too, if you are one who loves to season as you go, the flavors are going to be very concentrated at the end, so it may be advisable to hold off on the s & p until the end.
When you have enough stock in there for everything to soak up, cover the pan for a few minutes to let it do its magic. Keep stirring periodically and adding stock as needed. When the potatoes and beets have become tender and the sauce is fairly concentrated, add the marionberries and gooseberries. They will add more moisture as they’re heated, and the berries and beets will give this sauce a deep red color. Continue reducing until the berries have mostly broken down (or keep them as whole as you’d like them! They will still add their flavor), and taste as you go. I added a little lemon juice for some acid and to thin it out a little at the end.
Remember those greens from the tops of the beets? Give them a rough chop, saute them in a pan with some olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper for about 6 minutes, or until they reach your desired texture, and they make a fresh side for this. (You can also add some of the kale from this weeks basket in with the beet greens and make a larger dish.)
When the meat is done, let it rest for a few minutes for those juices to absorb. Place a scoop (or gigantic, heaping, overflowing spoonful) of the sauce over each chop, pair with some of the green saute, and dinner is ready.
*Note: this dish was incredibly simply to make, and took less than an hour, start to finish. I only wish I had more berries to make it again.

Lamb Chops with Berry Beet Reduction:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 medium sized potatoes, thinly shaved
  • 2 small beets, thinly shaved
  • 1/4 c boysenberries
  • 1/4 c gooseberries
  • Chicken stock, as needed, to taste
  • 3 lamb shoulder chops
  • juice of half a lemon, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until slightly tender. Add stock to deglaze pan.
  3. Sear meat in pan, browning both sides evenly. Remove meat and place on sheet in oven for approx. 10 minutes*
  4. Add 2 tbsp more stock to pan, and add potatoes and beets. Let cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring periodically, for about 4 minutes. Check for consistency (you want it to start getting thick), and add more stock as needed.
  5.  Reduce heat slightly, and add marionberries and gooseberries together, stirring again.
  6. Let sauce continue to reduce until desired thickness is achieved.
  7. Take meat from oven, check temperature to read 145 degrees F, and let rest a few minutes. Serve meat with sauce over top, and side of your choice.

Cherry and fennel salad!

June 28, 2012

This is from our friend Angela Suell! Thanks Angela! Anyone else have a good cherry recipe to share? You’ll be getting more in the next few weeks… different varieties. The ones you got this week were Chelans, from our friends in the Gorge.

This recipe is perfect as a starter for two. It’s summery, not bad to look at, and very, very easy! The combinations of tart cherry, aromatic fennel and orange mint work best with a more mellow vinaigrette. Remember, there are so many lovely flavors going on in the salad to begin with, so go lighter on the dressing. If you choose, you can add the orange mint to your vinaigrette recipe, but know that will cut the life of your dressing. Also know the amount of dressing you need may vary depending upon the degree of cherry ripeness. More ripe = More juice = Less vinaigrette. I recommend a champagne vinaigrette, but feel free to use any vinegar you have around the kitchen. This can be served alone, or atop your favorite greens!

Cherry and fennel salad

  • 2 fennel bulbs sliced thinly into strips
  • 1 cup pitted and halved cherries
  • 2 Tbsp provolone cheese, cubed (or feta, or goat, or whatever you prefer. If using a soft cheese, I recommend just topping the salad with it)
  • A few orange mint leaves, chopped or sliced (careful, it’s a strong mint, taste as you go!)
  • 1- 2 Tbsp prepared vinaigrette from Cheryl’s Perfect Salad Dressing recipe
  • Pepper (optional)

Mix fennel, cherries, mint and cheese. Slowly add dressing, stopping as soon as ingredients are lightly coated, but not swimming in the dressing. I sprinkled with a little coarse black pepper to spice it up a bit. Enjoy!

Solstice has passed and light is intense.

June 24, 2012

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