October 29, 2010

Anniez Ethiopian Aleecha Vegetable Stew

1/2 cup olive oil
1- 10 oz bag shredded carrots, washed and drained
3 Tbsp minced garlic
3 yellow onions, slivered
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp ground turmeric
5 white potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 head cabbage, shredded

1. In skillet, heat oilve oil over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, onions and garlic about 5 minutes

2. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and potatoes and cook another 15-20 minutes.

3. Add cabbage; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are soft, about 20-30 minutes more.

Unstuffed Cabbage

12 oz ground turkey, chicken, beef or tofu crumbles
5 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with garlic & onions
1/2 raisins
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Coat large non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Over medium-high heat, brown meat or tofu, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add Cabbage; cover and cook 3 minutes, or until wilted.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Good with rice.

Woman's Day, September 18, 2001

October 17, 2010

Pattypan or Scalloped Squash

Mrs. Turner's Squash Skillet

½ cup Onion -- chopped
½ cup Pepper, Bell -- chopped
2 cup Squash, Patty Pan -- cubed
2 med Tomatoes -- quartered or smaller
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Pepper, Black
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Flour, Plain

Saute onion and green pepper in butter. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add squash and tomatoes and cook only until tender.

You can tell that this is a truly Southern recipe because sugar is added to vegetables. Sugar is added to everything here, EXCEPT the cornbread. Cornbread, by the way, is the perfect accompaniment to this squash dish. Anyway, if you feel uncomfortable adding sugar to vegetables, don't do it or add less, which is what I do. The squash will still be good.

Here are some other things I know about summer squash. You may substitute any summer squash in any summer squash recipe. There will be subtle taste and consistency issues, but the recipe will not fail or taste terrible. With that in mind here is one of my favorite summer squash recipes. It is good with the patty pan squash. I tried it last year. I copied it from Bay Tables which is a Junior League cookbook of my mother's. See, I'm still not giving any of my recipes. My mother must have been right about me.

Basil Couscous with Summer Squash

2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup couscous
1 cup zucchini -- 1/4" dice
1 cup squash, yellow -- 1/4" dice
1 cup basil -- slivered
1/4 cup Almonds -- toasted and sliced

Bring the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in salt and couscous. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Saute the zucchini and yellow squash in the remaining oil. Add vegetables, almonds, and basil to couscous and mix well. Serve immediately.
Or carve out centers of zucchini or squash and steam shells. Fill with couscous. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

from Twice Bloomed Wisteria

August 17, 2010

Scuppernong grapes- yummy sweet inside, with a tough, chewy hull.

A little trivia-

It’s North Carolina’s state fruit, it tastes delicious and it’s an emerging nutrition superstar. Native to North Carolina, scuppernong and other muscadine grapes are grown in the backyards of many Eastern North Carolina homes. They are among the richest sources of antioxidants found in nature. Muscadine grapes are a leading food source for a potent cancer-fighting substance called resveratrol. A theory about why resveratrol is protective in humans and animals is that our genes respond to plant defensive chemicals in a beneficial way. Plantings of native muscadine grapes, also known as scuppernongs, are relatively pest resistant and thrive in the hot, sandy conditions of the coastal region. The coastal climate necessitates resistance to disease, viruses, bacteria, pests and mold. The plant’s adaptation to these conditions has developed unique properties that have significant health benefits for those who consume the muscadine grape.

The scuppernong is a greenish, or bronze, variety of muscadine. At first it was simply called the Big White Grape. During the 17th and 18th centuries cuttings of the mother vine were placed into production around Scuppernong, a small town in North Carolina. The name Scuppernong originally comes from an Algonquin Indian name, Ascopo for the sweet bay tree. Ascupernung, meaning place of the Ascopo, appears on early maps of North Carolina as the name of a river in Washington County that runs into the Albemarle Sound. By 1800 the spelling of the river had become Scuppernong. Soon the name of the town and river came to be applied to the grapes grown in the area. In this roundabout fashion, ascopo, the Algonquin word for sweet bay tree became scuppernong, the word for a variety of wild grape.

Here's the best way to enjoy these delicious grapes:
Pinch the grape between your fingers, with a firm grip and hold the scuppernong with the blossom end inside your mouth, (the indented side), a little more than halfway in. Push down with your top and bottom teeth. This will pop the pulp out of the skin. Enjoy the sweet, juicy fruit and throw away the seeds and the hull.

August 16, 2010

Chicken and Shiitake Alfredo

1 share (4 oz) Shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 cup chopped sweet red bell pepper
8 ounces boned and skinned chicken breasts (cutlets), thinly sliced
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup frozen green peas
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces capellini (angel hair) pasta, freshly cooked and drained

Remove stems from Shiitake mushrooms (use in stews, to flavor broths, etc.); cut each cap in half, then into 4 to 6 slices; set aside. In a large skillet melt butter. Add red pepper; cook and stir until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and reserved mushrooms; cook and stir until chicken is tender, about 3 minutes. Add cream, peas, salt and black pepper; boil, uncovered, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon over pasta; serve immediately.
Yield: 2 to 3 portions about 5 cups
Shiitake and Wine Sauce

1 share (4 oz) Shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Remove stems from Shiitake mushrooms (use in stews, to flavor broths, etc.); slice caps; set aside. In a small saucepan melt butter. Add onion; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in vermouth, cream, tarragon, salt and black pepper; bring to a boil; boil until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over chicken, fish, veal, and vegetables or in baked potatoes.
Yield: 1 Cup

August 15, 2010

Spinach & Shiitake Salad with Citrus Dressing

1 share (4 oz) Shiitake mushrooms
6 cups lightly-packed trimmed spinach leaves, torn into in bite-sized pieces
1 cup chopped field or Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Trim stem ends of Shiitake Mushrooms; cut mushrooms into thin slices, through the caps and stems. In a large serving bowl place mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes; set aside. In a small bowl whisk together grapefruit juice, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Just before serving pour over vegetables, tossing gently.
Yield: 4 portions

August 14, 2010

"We’ve really enjoyed our produce this year from our Produce Box. The chiles went into some yummy chile rellenos and I’ve found new ways to use eggplant.I wanted to pass on an easy recipe I found for the corn and bell peppers. This is great served with chips. You could probably use it on salad, too. The recipe instructions are for using a grill, but I use the broiler in my oven instead. That seems to work fine.

Thanks and have a great weekend!"

Elizabeth B, at SAS

Smoky Corn Salsa
2 red or green bell peppers (use hot peppers for more spice), quartered, seeded
3 ears of fresh corn, husked
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare grill or turn on broiler. Brush bell peppers, corn, and green onions with some olive oil. Grill vegetables untill well charred in spots, turning occasionally with tongs and removing pieces as they brown. 5 minutes for green onion. 10 to 15 minutes for peppers and corn. Cool slightly. Cut bell peppers and green onions into 1/3-inch pieces. Cut corn off cob.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cumin; saute until garlic begins to sizzle but does not brown, about 30 seconds. Pour into large bowl; mix in lime juice and hot sauce. Mix in vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely; mix in cilantro.

Serve with chips or on salad.

Wow, Elizabeth- this sounds yummy & easy! ~ Laurie

“Here is a fabulous recipe that we had tonight... yummy and light! I had corn left from last week and a plethora of Roma tomatoes which I used. I also was able to use cilantro from my backyard.” Andrea P, in Raleigh

1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 cup sour cream
3 ears white corn on the cob
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 cup black beans
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons diced roasted red bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves, divided
6 ounces Jack cheese, shredded
6 ounces Cheddar, shredded
8 medium flour tortillas (I used the Habanero Lime from Trader Joe's)
5 tablespoons, sliced scallions

Preheat grill to high. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix diced chipotle, lime juice and sour cream, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Over medium flame or on a grill pan, roast corn. Let cool and cut kernels off cob.
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, jalapenos, red onions, and black beans. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, corn kernels and roasted bell pepper. Stir and saute for 3 minutes and add salt, pepper, cumin and 3 tablespoons of cilantro. Remove the pan from heat and let rest.
Evenly distribute mixture, the remaining cilantro and cheeses among 4 tortillas. Top with remaining tortillas.
Place tortillas on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes, until cheeses have melted and the quesadillas are warmed through. Cut each into 6 pieces.

Serve with chipotle sour cream garnished with scallions.

Andrea! Sounds delish! Can't wait to try it. :) ~ Laurie

August 04, 2010

From my friend, Dani F, in Cary, a sabra:

Israeli Eggplant Salad

1 medium eggplant
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 Tbsp mayo
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Cut eggplant lengthwise. Roast, cut side down, at 400 F, for about 30 minutes. Drain eggplant is sieve for 2-3 minutes. Chop eggplant. Combine eggplant with next 3 ingredients and mix gently. Season to taste with garlic powder, salt & pepper. Enjoy!

August 02, 2010

Marshall says freeze jalapenos and other hot (or sweet) peppers whole. Pop, unwashed, into a plastic bag and freeze. When ready to use, wash, cut and seed while frozen. You’ll find the peppers are easy to mince and less of the oils get onto your skin. Use in salsas, chili or any dish that needs a little ‘heat’.

Here’s one of Marshall’s favorite ways to enjoy sweet peppers:

“Cut the tops off Key Largo or bell peppers and seed. Stuff peppers with cooked rice, cooked burger and Manwich. Freeze stuffed peppers. Cook and enjoy all winter.” Yum, Marshall! :)

Key Largo peppers are a type of banana pepper. They are also called Cubanelle or Italian sweet peppers. Bell peppers come in lots of interesting colors: green, yellow, orange, red and chocolate brown. If left to on the plant, all peppers will turn red. For all peppers, green ones are just less ripe than red ones.
Storage tips:

Keep tomatoes at room temperature, on a plate. Never store them in a plastic bag. If you want to speed the ripening process, put them in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent. Once ripe, tomatoes will last 2-3 days. Keep cut tomatoes fresh in the fridge by storing unwrapped, with cut-side down, in a small bowl or plate. Freeze tomatoes whole. Skins slip off before they are fully defrosted (about 10 mins) Enjoy cooked in sauces, pastas, chili ans stews.


Refrigerate eggplants in a plastic bag in the veggie drawer. Eggplants will last four to five days. After that, they become bitter.

Bell peppers

Refrigerate peppers, unwashed in the veggie drawer. Keep them dry, as moisture will cause them to rot. Red and yellow peppers will last 4-5 days; green, about a week.


Ripen at room temperature, stem end down. A sweet flowery smell means they are ripe and should be refrigerated unwashed. They will last in the fridge 3-5 days generally. White peaches ripen more quickly. Eat within a day.


Two little tips to share
.. Last year I froze my tomatoes by just popping them in a freezer bag. When I got ready to use them for cooking soups, stews and sauces, I took as many as I needed out of the freezer. Before they defrost completely (and this is only about 10 minutes) the skins just slip right off you can cut off the core and they are ready to use. Also did you know that you can cube and roast butternut squash without peeling it? Wash the outside and the skin is actually edible... we have been enjoying it roasted with a bit of olive oil, and any combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, powdered ginger and allspice... Yum

Debbie O, in Raleigh
Great ideas, Debbie! Thanks! :)
Roasted Garlic

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
3 Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
4 Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can handle it without burning yourself. Using a small knife, cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

Delish on slices of good crusty artisan bread or mixed into pasta, rice, soups and stews. Yum! 
Hi, all-

I've taken over writing parts of, plus compiling and editing, The Produce Box newsletter for the 2010 season. I love my new responsibilities; however, they detract somewhat from my time with this blog. Some things may overlap; some things will be specific to this blog. I am behind in photos, but I hope to catch up soon. All of my photos reflect actual Produce from my Boxes. :)

Thanks so much for your continued support of my blog. As always, your feedback is important and invaluable. Please comment! :)

Thanks, Laurie
Start to finish: 10 minutes' preparation, 30 minutes to roast.
• 4 cups chopped red cabbage (in 1-inch pieces)
• 4 cups chopped green cabbage (in 1-inch pieces)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper

• 1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees F
For the cabbage: Core and chop all cabbages and mix together in a large roasting pan. Drizzle oil, salt and pepper over cabbage, and toss to mix well.
Roast for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring once halfway through. Cabbage is done when still crisp-tender and edges begin to caramelize. Remove from oven, and drizzle with Simple Balsamic Reduction to taste, if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
For the reduction: In a small pot, combine vinegar, sugar and garlic. Bring to a moderate boil, and boil 5 minutes to reduce mixture by half.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened (about as thick as pancake syrup). Remove and discard garlic, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.)
Makes about ¾ cup.

From Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross' Desperation Dinners

July 25, 2010

Jalapeno Guacamole Chicken


2 jalapeno peppers
2 chicken breasts
4 slices cheddar cheese
1 avocado
1 tomato
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the chicken breasts in half, length-wise; season with taco seasoning.

Prepare the guacamole by peeling and mashing the avocado. Chop 1 jalapeno pepper and the tomato; add to the avocado mash. Add cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Heat a frying pan on high heat. Add seasoned chicken breasts and sear, about 1-2 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle, about 5-6 minutes each.

Slice remaining jalapeno pepper into rings and cover chicken breasts. Top jalapeno peppers with cheddar cheese. Cover pan and heat until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings

Note: Seeding peppers will reduce their heat. Wear gloves when cutting peppers if your skin is sensitive.

Quick tip: Easily remove an avocado pit by sharply striking pit with the cutting edge of a chef knife, slightly embedding the knife blade. Twist the knife right or left and remove pit. Scoop out fruit with a spoon. (Surprise! Avocado is a fruit. :) )
This refreshing soup was contributed by Eileen M, in Apex. Thanks, Eileen! 

Mexican Butternut Squash Soup
2 tsp olive oil
2 c. peeled cubed butternut squash
2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 c. chopped celery
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chili peppers
4 c. canned vegetable broth
1 can (15.5 oz) white hominy or whole-kernel corn, drained
¼ c. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro


1. Heat oil; add squash and next 6 ingredients. Sauté 3 minutes

2. Add veggie broth and hominy and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 mins or till veggies are tender

3. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings
Note: may substitute water for veggie broth to reduce sodium intake.
Butternut squash! It's my favorite winter squash. Very yummy and close in taste to sweet potato, only milder, it can be roasted whole, halved, or skinned and chunked. The 'Roasting Eggplant' methods apply well to butternut, but the squash will need more time to roast. Add 10-20 minutes for each method, but check often. If the squash are small, the eggplant time frames may apply. After roasting, squash may be diced or pureed, and added to pasta, rice, etc.

Raw peeled squash can also be diced and cooked in soups and stews. Or try baking it: halve squash and remove seeds with a spoon. Place cut side up on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F, for 30-60 minutes (depending on size). Add small pats of butter or margarine, sprinkle on cinnamon and brown sugar and add cranberries, raisins and chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired. Bake till sugar and butter melt, about 5 more minutes. A very yummy side dish! :) This is also a great method for Acorn squash.

July 18, 2010

Cucumber Tomato Salsa

1 cup seeded 1/4" diced cucumbers
1 cup seeded 1/4" diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon seeded minced hot jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup scallions
Lemon juice; to taste

Mix the ingredients together right before serving. Makes 2 cups.

Also a great topping for broiled or grilled fish or poultry.

© 1995-2010 CDKitchen, Inc.

June 27, 2010

This recipe comes from member Christine B. It is not only de-lightfully easy- it's absolutely de-licious! Thanks Christine! My family LOVES this recipe! Hey, Bloggers- What does your family think of it?

Greek Boats

4 large purple eggplants
2 large field tomatoes, petite diced
Olive oil
Oregano, to taste (fresh or dried)
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Feta cheese, crumbled

Cut eggplants in half, length-wise. Place, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until soft and skin begins to collapse. Cool long enough to handle easily and scoop insides into a bowl; set aside. Reserve the skins.

While eggplant is roasting, dice tomatoes. Mix in salt, pepper and oregano. Coat bottom of fry or saute' pan with olive oil. Add tomatoes and garlic. Saute' over medium heat, until tomatoes are soft and herbs and spices are fragrant. Set aside.

Place tomatoes and scooped eggplant in mixing bowl. Combine. Fill eggplant shells with mixture. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and broil until feta cheese browns slightly, about 5 mins. Eat immediately and hope for seconds! :)

Quick tip- cut fresh herbs with with kitchen shears

Laurie says: Greek Boats are really yummy with a cool cucumber and tomato salad, stuffed peppers, sauteed summer squash & zucchini and The Bread Shop's sourdough bread. Try it!

Roasting Eggplant

When possible, try roasting veggies in the morning hours, allowing for a cooler kitchen at dinner time. Here are some basic tips for roasting eggplant:

Roast at 400 degrees F

Whole: cut slits in skin with knife. Place in roasting pan and roast for 45-60 minutes, until eggplant begins to collapse. Cool and scoop out insides. Good in baba ganoush.

: cut eggplants in half. Place cut side down in roasting pan or on baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until eggplant begins to collapse. Cool and scoop out insides. Good for Greek Boats.

: cut eggplant into 1-2 inch cubes. Place in zip lock bag with a small amount of olive, grape seed or canola oil. Toss to coat. Pour into roasting pan. Roast 15-25 minutes, until soft and color deepens. Good with pasta or rice.

June 22, 2010

Yum! The field tomatoes, eggplant and peppers- hot and sweet- are in season. Time to snip some herbs, (I hope you were fortunate enough to get an herb box at the beginning of the season), and get cooking! :)

Ratatouille blends the flavors of many of these early summer veggies and herbs. Ratatouille is French for stirred stew. It's simple to make, open to interpretation, delicious and comforting, yet light to eat. The base of ratatouille is tomatoes. Other ingredients may include green peppers, eggplants, zucchini, garlic and onions. Here is a basic frame for a ratatouille, based on ingredients in this week's boxes. However, I hope you will leap to the adventurous and have fun experimenting and adding your own creative twist to this yummy dish. I like to make mine in a stock pot. This allows me to make a double batch and freeze half for a later meal. Here's my double batch (serves 8-10):


3-4 large tomatoes
1 large eggplant
2-4 zucchini, depending on size
4-6 yellow squash, depending on size
1 large onion
2-6 cloves of garlic, depending on size (and to taste)
2-4 green peppers, depending on size, seeded and pith removed
Fresh herbs, to taste: oregano, basil, thyme, parsley (or use dried)
Salt & black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil

Add oil to bottom of stock pot. Set heat to medium. Chop veggies, adding to pot as you chop: tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic, eggplant, green pepper. Add herbs and spices. Lower heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently and lowering heat as needed. Continue cooking until veggies are soft and flavors are blended, about 30-45 minutes. Serve over cubed boiled potatoes, cooked wide egg noodles, cooked brown or Basmati rice, or with lots of crusty bread- to soak up those yummy juices. Mmm-mmm! Happy eating!

June 18, 2010

Peppers, tomatoes & eggplant- oh, my!

Quick tip: Spattering of hot oil during sauteing occurs when water and oil meet. Drying veggies thoroughly before adding to the pan, reduces spattering significantly.

I notice the grape tomatoes are a little fragile this week, and need to be eaten sooner, than later. Here's a great way to enjoy them:

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

A great side dish or light lunch, (with a little feta cheese sprinkled on top), these can be served warm or at room-temperature.

1 or 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh thyme
Olive oil

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a 10- or 12-inch saute or fry pan. Add the washed and dried whole tomatoes. Strip the thyme leaves from the stems and add to the pan. Saute over medium heat, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 5 minutes.

Delicious with grilled meats and corn-on-the-cob. :)
Bok choy, sometimes called pak choy or Chinese cabbage, is a staple in many Asian restaurant stir fry dishes. Slice it thin on the bias and add to your own stir fry with other fresh Produce Box veggies, like zucchini and yellow squash. Or try this quick, crisp salad:

Printed from COOKS.COM

□ 1 head Bok Choy, cut and chop leaves and stalk
□ 2 to 3 green onions, chop, including some of stem
□ 1/2 c. sesame seeds
□ 1 c. sliced almonds
□ 2 Tbsp sugar
□ 2 pkgs Ramen noodles (discard seasonings packet), crush before opening
□ 1/2 cup butter


Mix in pint jar. 1/2 c. sugar 1/4 c. red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. soy sauce

In heavy skillet, brown sesame seeds, almonds, noodles and sugar in butter. Let cool. Prepare bok choy and onions in large salad bowl. Stir in cooked noodle mixture. Pour dressing over and mix before serving.
One of our Produce Box members, Shannon E writes:

I made this recipe this week. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. My 3 yo and I liked it, my 5 yo and husband did not. Although my husband said he is just not a big kale fan. My 5 yo liked the kale chips we made from the newsletter recipe.

Kale-Goat Cheese Frittata

2 cups coarsely torn fresh kale
1 medium onion (I used your fresh spring onions), chopped
2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs
4 egg whites (I cheated and just used 8 eggs)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup drained oil-packed dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (I just chopped up the delicious hothouse tomato that came in our box)
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I used more because I love goat cheese)

Preheat broiler. In 10" ovenproof skillet, cook and stir kale and onion until onion is tender (1bout 10 min)
In another bowl, whisk eggs and salt and pepper.
Pour eggs over kale and cook over med-low heat. As the egg mixture sets, run a spatula around the edge so that the uncooked egg flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting the edges until eggs are almost set but are still glossy and moist.
Sprinkle egg mixture with tomatoes and goat cheese.
Broil 4-5 minutes until eggs are set.
Cut into wedges to serve.

We are loving our produce!

May 28, 2010


What are those white root veggies in my box anyway? They're turnips, a member of the radish family. Thinly sliced and eaten raw, they have a strong peppery bite and are great in salads. Cooked, the flavor mellows and sweetens, with none of the peppery taste.

Turnips can be used in place of white potatoes in most recipes. They are fabulous in stews and soups, or mashed, like potatoes. Turnips freeze well without becoming mealy, like white potatoes can. Give them a try today. Yummy!


Roasted beets can be eaten warm, room-temperature or chilled; drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sea salt; or sliced or cubed into salads. This recipe includes an easy, clean way to roast beets. Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Salad With Bacon

A simple but tasty salad, for an everyday meal or special dinner. This is a great way to enjoy fresh beets.

• 3 to 4 medium beets, with greens and stems
• 1 tablespoon olive oil or Canola oil
• 3 to 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
• 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
• ***Dressing***
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
• dash salt
• dash freshly ground black pepper

Cut stems and greens from the beet roots.
Chop the beet greens and stems and put in a colander; rinse thoroughly and set aside.
Heat oven to 400°.
Trim what's left of stem ends off beets and discard; trim root ends. Scrub beets well. Drizzle beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub over the beets. Wrap each beet in foil, leaving just a little opening at the top of each package for steam to escape.
Place wrapped beets on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until beets are very tender.
When beets are cool enough to handle, rub skin off and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Steam greens over simmering water or in microwave until just wilted; arrange on a serving dish. Top greens and stems with the diced beets, then sprinkle with chopped red onion and bacon.
In a small cup or bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, and salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
Serves 4.


Refreshing iced tea, lamb dishes, Middle Eastern cooking, Mint Juleps and mojitos- just a few of the many foods and drinks that highlight spearmint. Try julienning a few leaves into a fresh tossed green, cucumber or fruit salad. Delish!

Spearmint is an antifungal and antioxidant, same as its mint family cousins. Easy to grow, it is invasive in the garden, spreading by both runners and roots. Planting in pots set into the ground help prevent root spread. Spearmint likes our springs and falls best and dies back some in the heat of mid July through August. It winters over well and begins pushing up shoots again in March. If you'd like to give spearmint a try, I have plenty to share. Just send me an email: :)

Try some in this Greek yogurt dip:


1- 32 oz tub plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4-6 cucumbers (or 1-2 English), shredded and drained
1 Tbsp lemon juice
5-15 leave spearmint, minced (to taste)

Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Pour yogurt into sieve; cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge overnight.

Discard liquid from yogurt. In a medium mixing bowl, gently combine drained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and mint. Cover bowl and allow flavors to blend for several hours. Serve chilled.

Use as a condiment with grilled kabobs or as an appetizer, with crudite such as cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and pepper strips, plus toasted pita chips and/or wedges of fresh pita.

Quick tip: Shred cucumbers using a food processor and shredding wheel. Drain shredded cucumbers for about 10 minutes, in a colander set over a bowl. Discard liquid.

May 20, 2010

Herbs- Cilantro

Cilantro is a member of the parsley family and is also known as Chinese parsley. The leaf is an herb- cilantro, while the seed is a spice- coriander. It is widely used in Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisine and is the distinctive flavor in many a salsa. Its flavor is pronounced enough that you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it.

Cilantro and coriander are natural digestive aids. Both stimulate the appetite and speed up digestion. Cilantro is another herb with antibacterial properties. And even if you hate it, you've got to love this: when combined with violet water, cilantro is said to cure hangovers!

Want to try the yummy recipes that include cilantro, but don't particularly like its strong flavor? Try this: substitute the same amount of fresh parsley, chopped; then sprinkle a little ground coriander over the parsley. Viola! Toned-down cilantro.

Cilantro does not like the summer heat. It will bolt- flower- early. If you are growing the potted cilantro from the Farm's herb box, no worries. Keep your cilantro growing throughout the summer by saving the seeds and resowing some every two weeks.

May 17, 2010

Herbs- Basil

Basil is also part of the mint family. Basil is an antibacterial, high in flavonoids, stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence. It pairs well with tomatoes, olive oil and garlic; it is delicious in green salads; and it's widely used in Mediterranean and Asian cooking. The Produce Box herb box contains sweet basil, most often used in Italian cooking. Here's another Italian favorite from my childhood:

Mozzarella with Tomato & Basil

1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
1-2 ripe tomatoes, beefsteak, heirloom or Roma, sliced
Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Forming rings, alternate slices of cheese and tomatoes on a plate. Tuck basil leaves in between slices. Drizzle your choice of olive oil (extra virgin or lighter) over slices. Serve with salt, fresh ground black pepper and crusty French or Italian bread. Delicious as a light lunch, salad or appetizer.

May 16, 2010

Herbs - Oregano

Oregano is a member of the mint family. Oregano winters over well in NC, both in the ground and in pots. Mediterranean oregano, which was in the herb box, is the distinctive flavoring in Italian and Greek dishes, as well as vinaigrette dressings; Mexican oregano is earthier in taste. Oregano is an antibacterial and an antioxidant. Enjoy it often, in Mediterranean, egg or cheese dishes. Fresh oregano has a milder taste than dried oregano. Dry oregano (and other herbs) like this: wash, dry and spread leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until just dry, in a 250 F oven, checking every 10-20 minutes. Crush and store in an air-tight container. I like to get the benefits of the fresh herb too, so I add both fresh and dried when I'm cooking.

Herbs- Nature's pharmacy

Herbs- those lovely little plants that look so pretty and taste so good are also good for you! Herbs are the leaves of specific plants, as opposed to spices which are the bark, seeds, pods or roots of specific plants. Many herbs have antibacterial and/or antioxidant properties.

Quick Tip
: For a kitchen herb garden, transplant herbs in to a window box or small pots that fit on your kitchen sill. Or use a small strawberry pot and plant one herb in each of the side openings. Plant the oregano on top. A strawberry pot can be kept outside a kitchen door, or on an apartment patio or balcony. Perfect for snipping for cooking!

Quick tip
: Most herbs can be dried by spreading washed and dried leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet, and baking overnight in a 250 F oven; or by washing, chopping and freezing in baggies or ice cube trays, for use later.

Let's look at some herbs now:

Scrumptious Strawberries

The strawberry season is too short, but oh, so sweet!

Quick Tip: Strawberries are fragile. Immediately remove them from the cardboard or plastic containers and lay flat on a paper towel. If you can't prepare them immediately, store them in a single, flat layer, in a covered container in the fridge.

Strawberries are great sliced eaten out of hand, dipped in chocolate or powdered sugar, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, in smoothies, milk shakes or pies, sliced into cereals or green salads, as a side to an omelet or French toast, or frozen for later use.

Frozen Strawberries

Wash and hull (remove green leaves) from berries. Spread in single layer on cookie sheet. Freeze for one hour. Seal in freezer bags. Eat frozen or defrosted. Blend frozen into smoothies or milk shakes.


Wash, hull and quarter or slice berries. Pack into quart freezers bags. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, if desired. Freeze. Defrost and add to hot cereal or as topping for ice cream.

Green Salad with Strawberries

Mixed greens, torn into bite-size pieces (Bibb, red leaf, Romaine)
Feta or Bleu cheese
Almonds, walnuts or pine nuts
Balsamic vinaigrette

Place greens in a large salad bowl. Top with sliced berries, crumbled feta or Bleu cheese. Sprinkle nuts on top. Toss gently with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

May 15, 2010

Laurie's Black Beans, Spinach & New Potatoes

2 cups (or 1-14 oz can) cooked black beans (also called turtle beans)
3-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 bunch spinach, triple washed
6-8 new red potatoes, cut in to 1/2-inch cubes
2-3 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup potato water
salt & pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup potato water. Meanwhile, add spinach and garlic to large skillet. Add 2 Tbsp oil and 1/4 cup of potato water. Cook on med-high till spinach wilts, stirring frequently. Lower heat to low. Add beans and potatoes. Add more oil and/or water, as needed to prevent sticking. Cook 5-7 minutes more, or until garlic is fully cooked. Add salt & pepper and serve immediately. Round out the meal with a green salad and bread. The Bread Shop's The Big Sky Three Seed bread is very good with this meal.

These two spinach recipes are childhood favorites my mom and grandmother made for my family:

Wilted Spinach with Garlic

1-2 bunches spinach, triple washed
3-6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt & pepper

Add spinach to a large stock pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook till spinach wilts and garlic is soft, about 6-10 minutes. Serve as a side or over pasta or rice.

Note: Collards and broccoli rabe (rapini) can also be cooked this way. Cut to bite-size, before cooking.

Spinach Salad

1-2 bunches spinach, triple washed
1/4 cup water
Lemon juice, to taste
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper, to taste

Add spinach to large pot (or microwave dish). Cook until wilted. Drain well. Mix spinach with remaining ingredients. Chill well. Very good with fish, seafood or chicken.

Greens!- lettuces, spinach, collards, kale & cabbage

Greens are cool weather veggies. Lettuces are usually eaten raw in salads, as wraps in place of bread, or on sandwiches. Some, like escarole and arugula, can be cooked. Some, like the cabbage, collards and kale will store well in the freezer. The past two weeks have given us two types of cabbage in the boxes: the tight-leafed kind is most common; the other is Jersey or 'pointy head' cabbage. It is a little more tender and sweeter than the other.

Quick Tip: Wash, dry and cut the cabbage, collards and kale into strips about 1/4 inch wide (chiffonade or julienne. Pack in freezer bags and use in stir fry, sautes and soups.

Caraway Cabbage

1 head cabbage, chiffonade
1 spring onion, chopped (white & green parts)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 Tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
2 Tbsp canola or olive oil (or one of each)
1/4 cup water
salt & pepper, to taste

Add oil to large skillet. Add onion and cabbage and cook on med-high until both beginning to soften. Add vinegar, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and water. Cook 5-12 minutes more, to desired doneness. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

Unstuffed Cabbage

(The slight sweetness of the raisins and spices make this a kid-pleaser. Laurie)

12 oz ground turkey, chicken or lean beef
5 cups coarsely shredded cabbage (about 1 lb)
2- 14.4 oz cans diced tomatoes with garlic & onion
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Coat large non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Over med-high heat, cook turkey or chicken about 4 mins (beef, a bit longer till brown). breaking up with spoon or spatula. Add cabbage; cover and cook until wilted.

Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 mons to blend flavors. Good with rice. (Woman's Day. Sept 18, 2001)

One of our Produce Box members, Shannon E writes:

I made this recipe this week. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. My 3 yo and I liked it, my 5 yo and husband did not. Although my husband said he is just not a big kale fan. My 5 yo liked the kale chips we made from the newsletter recipe.

Kale-Goat Cheese Frittata

2 cups coarsely torn fresh kale
1 medium onion (I used your fresh spring onions), chopped
2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs
4 egg whites (I cheated and just used 8 eggs)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup drained oil-packed dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (I just chopped up the delicious hothouse tomato that came in our box)
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I used more because I love goat cheese)

Preheat broiler. In 10" ovenproof skillet, cook and stir kale and onion until onion is tender (1bout 10 min)
In another bowl, whisk eggs and salt and pepper.
Pour eggs over kale and cook over med-low heat. As the egg mixture sets, run a spatula around the edge so that the uncooked egg flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting the edges until eggs are almost set but are still glossy and moist.
Sprinkle egg mixture with tomatoes and goat cheese.
Broil 4-5 minutes until eggs are set.
Cut into wedges to serve.

We are loving our produce!

May 02, 2010

Yummy NC peanuts!

Several boxes the last two weeks had raw peanuts, both in the shell and shelled. Here's a fool-proof way to roast them. Do this just before bedtime:

Roasted Peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Spread peanuts-in-the-shell in a single layer on cookie sheet.
3. Place in preheated oven and TURN IT OFF!
4. Leave peanuts in oven overnight. They will be ready-to-eat and perfectly delicious, by morning.

Note: Salted Peanuts in Shell: Soak in salted water for several hours. Allow to dry completely (12-36 hours) before roasting, or peanuts will steam instead.

Shelled Peanuts
1. Follow steps 1 & 2.
2. Set timer for 10 minutes. Stir peanuts. Shake pan to distribute.
3. Return to oven for 5-15 minutes more.
4. Cool 10 minutes.

If you prefer salted peanuts, toss with a 1-2 Tbsp canola or peanut oil, plus salt to taste. Allow to cool completely, before placing in storage containers.

Store peanuts in airtight glass or plastic containers. Package the peanuts in freezer-safe containers/bags for long-term storage. When frozen, they will last indefinitely. Enjoy! :)

May 01, 2010

New Direction

Hey, all! My original intention was to record the meals my family enjoyed with items from The Produce Box, but things are so busy I'm shifting gears. I plan to focus on quick, easy ideas for items in the weekly boxes, as well as tips for preparation, information about produce items and ideas for getting kids involved. So, here we go!

About spring onions- scallions, green onions, spring onions and yellow onions are all the same plant, just at different stages of growth.

Scallions are the earliest onion; the white bulb is the same width as the green part. Use all of the green and white parts in salads, sautes, stir-fry. Green onion bulbs are slightly wider than the green part. Use the same as scallions. Spring onions have a bulb 1-3 inches wide and can be substituted for leeks. Cut off any tough or brown green parts and peel off any white part that does not cut through easily with a sharp knife. Use in hash browns, sautes, stir fry, salads, stews. Searching for leek recipes will yield a vast array of uses for onions at this stage.

White, 'ugly' or Beta sweet potatoes are more perishable than their red (orange) cousins, but are also sweeter. They are delicious wrapped in foil and baked at 350 F for an hour; diced and cooked in hash browns or stir fry; as well as the previously mentioned baked steak fries. Try a stir fry of diced potatoes, chopped spring onions and asparagus. Serve over cooked brown or Basmati rice or pasta. Yum!

No Boil Lasagna

No Boil Lasagna

2-lbs part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8-oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parsley chopped, or 1 tbsp dried
salt & pepper to taste
2 jars pasta sauce, or 6-8 cups homemade
1 box lasagna noodles
1 cup roasted asparagus, cut into-inch pieces

Blend together ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt & pepper.

1. Ladle enough sauce in bottom of 13x9 baking dish to cover bottom.
2. Cover bottom of pan with one layer of uncooked noodles, overlapping edges just slightly and breaking pieces to fit pan.
3. Ladle some sauce onto noodles and spread to cover.
4. Spread 1/2 the ricotta mixture over noodles.
5. Sprinkle asparagus over cheese.
6. Ladle some sauce on top.
7. Sprinkle 3-oz mozzarella over top.

Repeat steps 1-7. Finish with a layer of noddles, sauce and mozzarella. There should be sauce left over, for serving.

Gently pour water inside edges of pan, until level reaches top layer of noodles. Cover dish with foil and bake in 350 degree F oven for 60-90 minutes, until water in absorbed, noodles are cooked and cheeses are hot.
Serve remaining sauce with lasagna.

Note: Substitute other favorite roasted veggies, mushrooms, or browned, chopped meat (beef, turkey, chicken) to vary the lasagna.

April 26, 2010

April 22 Produce Boxes

What’s in the April 22 boxes? Asparagus! plus strawberries, hydroponic baby Bibb lettuce, Romaine lettuce, NC peanuts, spring onions, red or white (Beta) sweet potatoes, red radishes, cabbage and pots of herbs- thyme, dill, oregano, basil and cilantro, (for a kitchen herb garden)

Here are some tips and quick, easy recipes for these delicious, fresh, whole foods:

So what’s for dinner? Create a fresh salad with the lettuces, one spring onion, chopped and some strawberries, quartered. Toss in some Feta cheese and a handful of chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds and toss with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Wash, dry and cut a few sweet potatoes into steak fries. Toss lightly with canola or olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper or Cajun Seasoning*. Place on foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degree F for 20 mins or so.

I love this recipe. It’s quick and easy and roasting brings out the mellow and nutty flavors of this wonderful veggie. When preparing asparagus, no need to cut or trim the ends. Asparagus snaps at the place on the stalk where woody meets tender. Roasted Asparagus can served as a side, added to salads or sandwiches or tossed into pastas, like my No Boil Lasagna- tomorrow’s easy recipe. :)

Roasted Asparagus


1 bunch asparagus

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (yes- that’s 500!)

Wash and dry asparagus (lay an entire bunch out flat on a dish towel and roll the towel up). Snap off woody ends.

Lay asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over stalks. Gently roll then in your hands to cover with oil.

Spread out flat, trying to have each one make contact with the baking sheet.

Roast for 4-5 mins. Toss gently. If very thin, taste for doneness. If asparagus needs more time, toss gently, lay out flat and return to oven for 1-3 more mins.

When done, sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. Delicious hot, cold or room-temp. So good!

*Cajun Seasoning

1 ½ cups salt

3 Tbsp black pepper

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tbsp dried parsley

4 Tbsp ground cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp chili powder

Blend all ingredients well. Store in a tightly sealed container. Or divide into small glass jars and share with friends. A little goes a long way. J