Last farmers market ever

Posted by Lisa on April 25, 2013
farmers markets, Richmond, spring / No Comments

hear ye hear ye

Many of you (hopefully most of you!!) know that we’ve been at Richmond farmers markets throughout the winter season, selling our pork and eggs and occasional vegetables. We Moussallis moved up to New York about a month and a half ago, but our longtime crew member and even longer time friend Joseph has been staying at Frog Bottom and selling at market in our stead while the farm is on the market.

In good news for all, the summer market season is just around the corner. Over the next several weeks market tables everywhere will be creaking with the ever-increasing weight of turnips, cooking and salad greens, scallions, green garlic, peas, rhubarb, radishes, asparagus, maybe the first strawberries and peas and summer squash. Most chickens, done with their main winter work of staying warm, are turning again to egg laying, so you’re probably seeing more of those cartons on market tables too. And as more of you shed your winter woolens and head outdoors with a spring in your step, more vendors will be there to meet you.

But it also means it’s time for us to really and truly say farewell. This Saturday marks our very last Virginia farmers market ever. You’ll find us from 10 to noon at the South of the James Market, in the parking lot of the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, 3411 Semmes Avenue at Forest Hill Avenue. Joseph will have spinach, fresh oregano and sage, fresh eggs, and pork.

We’ve got some specials lined up: 10% off any pork purchases over $25, $1 off sausage and eggs when you buy them together, and/or 2 dozen of the finest eggs in Richmond for $8.

The farm is still on the market and so every little bit truly does help. We hope you can make it!

In related news: since we won’t be at market anymore, we’ve got a whole lot of hens looking for homes. We’re thrilled that the Richmond City Council just voted to allow backyard chickens! Chickens are quite a delight, not too much work, and they give you delicious food (almost) every day! We’ll be writing up a longer post soon about our chickens, but if you’re interested in buying some, give us a call at (434) 248-5525 or send us an email at info (at) frogbottomfarm (dot) com.

Weekly recipe roundup (Thanksgiving edition)

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Hi friends!

These days, it can require quite a lot of awareness and intention to eat fresh foods that were grown near us. But not so when it comes to holidays! Somehow seasonal foods still play a giant role for almost all of us as we gather with family and friends. Corn on the cob and big watermelon slices are at the center of our Fourth of July celebrations, for example – and those foods really do grow in July in much of the United States.

Thanksgiving is the most delicious example of this, of course. Here are loads of ideas for your table this Thursday (and in the days after). Wherever you are and whomever you’re sitting with, we wish you all full bellies and warm hearts.

Arugula

Arugula Fig Salad with Blue Cheese and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette at White on Rice Couple

Arugula also plays a supporting role in many of the other recipes linked here!

 

Broccoli

Broccoli Apple Soup at Food52

Spicy Roasted Broccoli with Almonds at My New Roots :: Try this with other flavors too, if you don’t like spicy foods – lemon juice, lemon zest, and lots of garlic, for example.

Broccoli Crunch at 101 Cookbooks

 

Cabbage

Raw Kale, Cabbage, and Carrot Chopped Salad with Maple Sesame Vinaigrette at Gourmande in the Kitchen :: We made this last week and it really is delicious. It’s quite substantial but not heavy, and so would balance nicely with the typically rich dishes on the Thanksgiving table. Our only suggestion is to maybe double the vinaigrette recipe and add it to taste.

Braised Cabbage with Apples and Caraway Seeds at Orangette :: Hands down one of our favorite Thanksgiving sides. Works with red or green cabbage.

Roasted Cabbage with Bacon at The Kitchn

 

Carrots

Carrot Souffle at Simply Recipes

Crisp, Chewy Parmesan-Roasted Carrots by Francis Lam at Gilt Taste

 

Greens

Herbed Cream Collards at VegNews :: Vegan!

Beer Braised Collard Greens at Budget Bytes

Sauteed Red Russian Kale with Apples and Butter at Frog Bottom Farm :: Easy peasy and deeeelicious!

Barley and Kale Salad with Golden Beets and Feta at Bon Appétit

 

Leeks

Honey-Glazed Leeks at Food.com

Leeks with Cream and Tarragon at Orangette

 

Lettuce (and other light salad-y things)

7 Salads to Lighten Up Your Thanksgiving Feast at Food52 :: Includes salads with lettuce, kale, arugula, celery, Brussels sprouts, and fennel.

5 Favorite Fall Salads at Food Network

Sauteed Dates with Ricotta and Lettuce at Sweet Amandine :: I’ve wanted to try this for close to a year!

 

Potatoes

Southern Living’s Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes at My Recipes

Crash Hot Potatoes at The Pioneer Woman :: These are crazy good.

Simple Fondant Potatoes at The New York Times

 

Sweet Potatoes

Brown Butter-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Arugula and Bacon at Food52

Sweet Potato Rolls at The Washington Post :: We’ve made these the last 4 or 5 Thanksgivings. Delicious.

Herbed Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits with Honey Butter at A Sweet Spoonful

Sweet Potato Pie at The Washington Post

 

Turnips

Mashed Turnips and Apples at Getting Stitched on the Farm

Turnip Puff at Kitchen Parade

Honey-Thyme Roasted Turnips, Carrots, and Mushrooms at Foodie Tots

 

Winter Squash

Remember, most winter squash – butternut, kabocha, hubbard — can be used interchangeably in these recipes.

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette at Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan at Oh She Glows :: Vegan!

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Cider, and Vanilla Bean at Seattlest :: I made this soup the first year I ever hosted Thanksgiving. Really fantastic.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Candied Bacon at Suburban Sous

Slow Cooker Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk at Frog Bottom Farm

From Scratch Pumpkin Pie at Grist :: Use any winter squash for this!

 

General

Five Thanksgiving Menus from the Food52 Community at Food52

Real Food Thanksgiving Recipes at Cheeseslave

Veganizing Thanksgiving at Food52 :: Everything looks delicious. Don’t miss the recipe for Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples!

Vegan Holiday Recipes + Tips for Navigating the Holidays as a Vegan at Oh She Glows

Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2012 at The New York Times :: Thanks to CSA member Gabriella for this one! Dozens of amazing-looking recipes, and links to similar feasts in 2011 and 2010 as well. Gabriella especially recommends the squash and spinach lasagna, which she made with a Frog Bottom kabocha.

Clara’s First Thanksgiving at Food52 :: Good ideas for including new eaters in the celebration.

A month of Thanksgiving videos at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef :: Gorgeous videos, joyful encouragement, and loads of recipes for all kinds of eaters – including dinner rolls, cornbread, stuffing, and gravy, in addition to some fantastic-looking vegetable dishes. (Also – have you seen their Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking iPad App? VERY cool. And word has it there’s a holiday baking app coming soon.)

Top 10 Side Dishes at Dinner: A Love Story

 

Leftovers

Turkey Cranberry Monte Cristo at Paula Deen

Leftover Turkey Pho at Healthy Green Kitchen :: In case you wondered what’s happening here at the farm on Friday – this is it. We’ll use leeks in the place of the green onions and our Hakurei turnips in  place of the daikon.

A Radical Rethinking of Thanksgiving Leftovers by Mark Bittman at The New York Times

One Turkey, Four Meals at Simple Bites

Reveal the Appeal of Potato Peels by Sheri Castle at Gilt Taste :: We actually got to meet Sheri last week at a cooking class. She is as fun as she is wise in the kitchen, and we can’t wait to share some more of her inspired cooking ideas with you in coming weeks. In the meantime, head on over to Gilt Taste and use up those potato peels!

Thanksgiving Thrift: The Holiday as a Model for Sustainable Cooking by Tamar Adler at The New York Times :: We get it right on Thanksgiving, Adler says. What about the rest of the year? “As we try to juggle food choices, tight budgets and busy schedules — and the constant question of what to make for dinner — we could do nothing smarter than approach all our meals as we do Thanksgiving: expecting each and every thing we cook to feed us well tomorrow and the day after, envisioning an efficient unraveling of future meals from previous ones, always having something to start with.”

 

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Eat well. Be merry. Give thanks.

 

Thanksgiving
Tim Nolan

Thanks for the Italian chestnuts—with their
tough shells—the smooth chocolaty
skin of them—thanks for the boiling water—

itself a miracle and a mystery—
thanks for the seasoned sauce pan
and the old wooden spoon—and all

the neglected instruments in the drawer—
the garlic crusher—the bent paring knife—
the apple slicer that creates six

perfect wedges out of the crisp Haralson—
thanks for the humming radio—thanks
for the program on the radio

about the guy who was a cross-dresser—
but his wife forgave him—and he
ended up almost dying from leukemia—

(and you could tell his wife loved him
entirely—it was in her deliberate voice)—
thanks for the brined turkey—

the size of a big baby—thanks—
for the departed head of the turkey—
the present neck—the giblets

(whatever they are)—wrapped up as
small gifts inside the cavern of the ribs—
thanks—thanks—thanks—for the candles

lit on the table—the dried twigs—
the autumn leaves in the blue Chinese vase—
thanks—for the faces—our faces—in this low light.

 

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Weekly recipe roundup

 

carrot harvesters

The weekly recipe roundup certainly fell by the wayside over the last couple weeks, as we sorted out details of our big move. But we’re back! Here’s some tasty inspiration to see you through the weekend. We’ll try to post a special Thanksgiving edition of the roundup early next week, hopefully Monday.

Massaged Kale Salad, Three Ways at Frog Bottom Farm :: If you haven’t tried a raw kale salad before, or if you find kale to be bitter – do try this! This stuff is good. We’ve been waiting to remind you about this recipe until we had our first frosts because the kale is so much sweeter once the weather turns. Did you know kale (and other brassicas) use their sugars as a kind of antifreeze to protect themselves in cold weather? But they only produce that extra sugar when they need it. Isn’t nature awesome?

Fermented Ginger Carrots at 6512 and Growing :: Pickles! They’re not just a summertime thing. I can’t wait to try making these with Arlo.

Spareribs with Coffee-Molasses Marinade at The Splendid Table :: Our freezers are fully restocked as of about 4:30 this afternoon. Come stock up!

Butternut Squash 5-Spice Liqueur at Food52 :: Don’t mind if I do.

Hearty Potato Soup with Kale at Frog Bottom Farm :: A soup for right now.

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Leaving Frog Bottom

Posted by Lisa on November 14, 2012
autumn, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, Richmond, the family, the farm / 12 Comments

Big news tonight. After many many months of number crunching, brainstorming, research, heartache, hope, and deliberation, we have decided to leave Frog Bottom. Ali has accepted a farm manager position at Keith’s Farm, a certified organic vegetable operation about 65 miles west of New York City. He and the crew will tend to vegetables on about the same acreage as we do here at Frog Bottom and sell them at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC.

We considered all kinds of changes in hopes of keeping our farm: more pigs, more chickens, a bigger CSA, a smaller CSA and more markets, renting land for beef cattle, even starting a micro-dairy. But in the end, the smaller changes to our model didn’t seem big enough, and the bigger changes seemed too risky. Our vision for our family has always been to earn a living wage from full time farming, without supplementing with off-farm income, and we just couldn’t find a way to do that here.

This was a very, very difficult decision for us to make. When we bought our farm, we certainly intended to be here for the long haul. It probably goes without saying that we love this land – its gentle hills, the Eastern red cedars and black locusts and sycamores and wild persimmons of our windbreaks, the tiny south creek and the bigger west creek, the hawks and woodpeckers and cardinals that keep watch as we hoe carrots, plants beets, pick cucumbers, squoosh potato beetles, wash eggs, scratch a pig snout, wipe sweat from our eyes.

We also love this part of Virginia. With its warm summers and mild winters, it has a fantastic climate for growing vegetables. It is strange indeed to think of a summer without homegrown okra or a fall without homegrown sweet potatoes – things that don’t grow well up north. But we’ll adjust to that, we hope – we hear we’ll be able to grow greens all year long in New York, and at least half this farm family is excited about parsnips.

What is stranger and much sadder to think about is farming without y’all. It has been our honor and delight to get to know our market customers and colleagues and our CSA hosts and members over the last four years. You taught us how to make a mean caponata, and you joined us for a crazy pickling party when the cucumbers threatened to take us over last year, and you made us pickled eggs and hot sauce. You told your friends about us. You wrote about us on your blogs, and you invited us on your radio programs, and you shared our food with your neighbors. You welcomed us into your schools, your churches, your driveways, your front yards. You watched us grow from an earnest family of two to a young family of three. Every Wednesday and every Saturday, you made us love our work all over again.

There are some really wonderful things happening around local, seasonal foods in Central Virginia. Please support them as much as you are able.

A few more details, and then some photos from what has been one of the most pleasant, stunning falls in our recent memory.

We’re here through the winter — at least through March, and probably into April. Come find us every other Wednesday 4pm-7pm at the Farmers Market at St. Stephen’s, every other Saturday 10-noon at the South of the James winter market at the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, and at the special pre-Thanksgiving Carytown holiday market this Sunday, November 18, from 11 to 3. We anticipate having carrots, sweet potatoes, several kinds of greens, occasional other vegetables, pork, and eggs. We’ll have all the exact dates up on our farmers market page soon.

For sustainably grown produce from small family farms in the Richmond area, we recommend without reservation our friends at Tomten Farm, Crumptown Farm, and Broadfork Farm.

Finally, if you’re ever in New York City on a Saturday between late May and Christmas, please come on over to Union Square and say hi to Ali. It will make his day.

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I really really REALLY love kabocha squash.

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Weekly recipe roundup

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Reed digging sweet potatoes

Oh my word, people. We grew two kinds of butternut squash this year – the smaller ones you’ve been seeing in your CSA shares and at market in recent weeks, and a bigger variety. A MUCH BIGGER VARIETY. We are unsure what to do with this unexpected bounty – cut them into more manageable chunks and wrap them before getting them to you? Just pass them along with a bunch of recipes, bidding you the best of luck? Hmm. We’ll see.

In other (fantastic) news, we’ve started digging sweet potatoes! The first ones will be in CSA shares this week. They’re good now, but their sweetness will intensify if you cure them a few more days at home.  Just leave them in a box, covered with paper or heavy cloth, in the warmest place in your house, for up to a week.  After that, we suggest keeping them in a cool, dark location, ideally not the fridge.  Try wrapping them in some newspaper and putting them in a reasonably well ventilated cabinet or pantry closet.

Enough talk – onto the cooking! Here’s this week’s culinary inspiration:

Cinnamon Spiced Butternut Squash at Beauty That Moves :: My friend Heather’s approach to food seems to echo her approach to life in general – encouraging and nourishing with a focus on simplicity. This butternut squash recipe is perfect for this gorgeous autumn we’re having.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup: A Raw/Cooked Comparison at Choosing Raw :: So intriguing!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls at Smitten Kitchen :: Because we love you. (Try our butternut or kabocha for these.)

Lacinato Kale and Ricotta Tart at Bona Fide Farm Food :: This looks so good. You could try it with any of our kale varieties. Collards would probably be tasty too.

Apple & Sweet Potato Latkes with Poached Egg and Sweet Mustard Sauce at Tasty Kitchen :: These sound fussier than they really are. We’ve eaten them for breakfast and dinner and they’re very, very good. Arlo even likes them sometimes!

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Weekly recipe roundup

Turnips, harvested by Reed into bunch-sized piles.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Three Ways at Cucina Nicolina :: Mmm! The variation with wild rice and mushrooms looks especially good to me on this rainy autumn evening.

Beets and Kale with Creamy Tofu Dressing at Whole Living :: Our fall beets, so beloved to us that they’re in our logo, completely failed this year. We’re not sure what happened. Still, you should be able to get some at market to complete this delicious salad.

Nariyal wale Shalgam (Turnips in Coconut and Mustard Seed Curry) at The Splendid Table :: I can’t wait to try this! Indian cooking is something I know so little about – I’d love some inspiration and pointers from those of you who know more. Our sweet juicy hakurei turnips would be perfect for this dish.

Collards on Toast at tend :: Simple and filling. Just our speed. There are also some great thoughts on cities, farms, and gratitude here.

Winter Squash Muffins at From Scratch Club :: Yes, please!

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Slow Cooker Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk

Posted by Lisa on October 15, 2012
autumn, onions, recipes, soup, winter squash / 2 Comments

Here’s a recipe we’ve been handing out at market and CSA pickups for a few weeks now. It is remarkably good.

I initially posted this recipe over at Southside Kitchen Collective last fall. SKC is a kind of side project of mine, a collaborative website (with some offline elements too!) intended to provide encouragement and resources for cooking from scratch and having fun in the kitchen with your family. I’m looking for more contributors, so be in touch if it looks like something you’d like to be a part of!

This soup is really very good.

And after the initial effort and swearing required to peel your winter squash, it’s really no trouble at all – maybe twenty minutes of your time while your baby naps or your toddler hides the dog’s food under the living room couch and in your rain boots. Ahem.

I’m going to confess: my crockpot, a wedding gift, gathered dust for a few years after we got married. I wanted to use it, really I did … but I just didn’t know quite how to integrate it into my cooking.  I was 30 when I got married.  By that point I felt pretty confident in the kitchen, and I just didn’t understand what it could do that I couldn’t do.  Well … I have a two-year old now, and I get it.  Also, I love it. LOVE it.

And it’s not just for soups and roasts! It’s my favorite way to cook a pot of beans, and did you know you can make jam in a slow cooker too?  Tales for another time.

For now let’s talk about the soup: it’s warm, it’s gorgeous, it’s a little spicy, and it’ll fill you right up. Really quite the thing for these chilly October nights.

Slow Cooker Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

You can use almost any kind of winter squash here.  Butternut is a classic, and we’ve also made it with a deep orange kabocha (that’s the squash in the photo at the top of this post). We really like the little kick this soup gets from the Asian chili sauce, but you can certainly leave it out if you like.  Finally, our curry powder is fairly salty and we like the soup as is, but if you have a low- or no-salt curry powder, you’ll probably need to add more salt. Taste before serving and add additional salt as needed.

1 winter squash, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1-4 cloves garlic (depending on your feelings about garlic!), minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar or whole cane sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (like Sriracha) (optional)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours. When the squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it’s smooth and velvety.  You can also puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful!  Or you can use a potato masher; the soup won’t be quite as smooth but will still taste delicious.  Ladle the soup into big bowls, top with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream or a squeeze of lime juice, and serve with lots of bread!

Variations:
For a nice protein boost, add a cup of dry lentils at the beginning — very tasty!

This soup also comes together beautifully on the stovetop. It requires more tending but cooks up in about an hour. Saute the onion and garlic in some coconut oil or olive oil until soft, and then add the curry powder and continue to saute for about a minute, until nice and fragrant. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until the squash is soft. Then use your immersion blender to proceed as above.

Click here to print, email, or text this recipe.

When the weather starts to turn, do you crave soup too? Leave your favorite recipe, or a link to a favorite recipe, in the comments!

Weekly recipe roundup

butternuts

Butternut Squash and Dumplings at HOMEGROWN.org :: Such a neat idea!

Winter Squash-Tofu Bake at Amy Cooks and Brad Does the Dishes :: Try this with our kabocha or butternut squash and some kale. CSA member Amy notes that if you’re not a tofu fan, this would also be good with chicken or some Frog Bottom pork.

Sneaky Collards + Buttermilk Skillet Corn Bread at Frog Bottom Farm :: In case you missed our post earlier this week! Really, really, really good.

Collard Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits at The Yellow House :: Try these with collards, kale, or our braising mix.

Black-Eyed Peas and Leeks at 101 Cookbooks :: Beans are soaking for this now. Yum.

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.

Sneaky collards + buttermilk skillet corn bread

Well, fall is most certainly here. Winter squash, collards, kale, braising mix, and arugula have made it into our CSA shares, and sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cabbage aren’t far behind. We’re wearing sweaters to market and feeling extra grateful for the local coffee roasters just a few tents down. All we want to cook is soups and braises and chicken and dumplings. We built our first fire of the season in the wood stove last night. Sometimes we can even convince our nearly 3-year old son to wear shoes.

There’s another thing we look forward to all year: sneaky collards. They’re so-called because they have a wonderful spicy smokiness, but it comes entirely from chiles, smoked paprika, garlic, and a bit of vinegar — there’s no pork at all in this dish. As the first frost draws nearer and nearer, and we dig through the closets to find our lined flannel work shirts and winter hats, it seems like a great time to dig back through the farm blog archives to share the recipe again. Enjoy!

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Any time (my dad) gets to eat greens — of any kind — two days in a row, he considers himself extremely lucky, and he is not alone. In 1984, at the annual Collard Festival in Ayden, N.C., a man named C. Mort Horst set a world record by eating seven and a half pounds of collard greens in 30 minutes. (However, it was reported that he kept them down just long enough to claim his prize.) A year later, a woman named Colleen Bunting contributed to an anthology devoted to collards called ”Leaves of Greens: The Collard Poems.” In one the poems, she addresses (a common) prejudice: “Some say collards don’t smell so nice,/ But eat them once, and you’ll eat them twice.”

– from Green Party by Julia Reed, New York Times

Some of you grew up with these broad-leaved beauties, but I’m sure there are others among you who have arrived home with your shares in recent weeks and thought, “Ummm … this is as big as my head.  What on earth is it?”

These are collard greens, and they’re delicious, and they’re good for far more than playing peek-a-boo with your baby — although I highly recommend that as well.

You’ve probably been told to eat your greens and they certainly are nutritional powerhouses.  Collards are probably the best vegetable source of calcium, on par with milk cup for cup.  They’re also very high in Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, niacin, and protein.

So, short of gnawing on the raw leaves, how do you get all that good stuff in your body?

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Traditionally, collard greens are simmered for a looooong time with a ham hock or a hunk of slab bacon or salt pork until they’re silky soft.  They’re quite good like this, although the sour smell of this long cooking is unpleasant to some people.

They’re quite versatile though.  You can chiffonade them and sauté them with garlic in olive oil.  This takes less than five minutes and the greens taste bright and fresh. These short-cut collard greens resemble traditional collards, but you microwave the greens for about 5 minutes first, which cuts the cooking time significantly, and you add chopped bacon at the end instead of cooking the greens with the pork.  Of course, simmering collards in a pork-based stock gives them great flavor; mushroom stock is a great vegetarian option.  And if you’re open to trying them raw, how about collard wraps? This recipe is a great jumping-off point — you could fill collard wraps with all kinds of things!  If raw collards are too strong for you, you can blanch the greens for a minute or two first to mellow the flavor.  And of course, hoppin’ John and collard greens is a traditional Southern New Year’s Day meal for good luck!

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Our very favorite way to eat collards comes from the quite irresistible The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners, via our friend Eunice. Eunice is a tireless cook with an impeccable palate and I am doing all I can do bring her to the farm for a week next year as a chef-in-residence.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  A gal can dream.  But right now, what we’ve got are her delicious collards.

Sneaky collards.

They’re so called because they have a wonderful spicy smoky flavor, but they’re cooked without pork. They’ve got no animal products in them at all, actually, so this is a great vegan dish.  Don’t let that deter the meat-lovers among you, though.  This is a fine, fine meal.  In fact, we’re having it for dinner tonight, so I’d better give you the recipe right now so that I can get cookin’!

We love to spoon a heap of sneaky collards over a big wedge of custard corn bread in a soup bowl. It’s fall in a bowl. We’re ready.

Sneaky Collards
adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

8 cups water
3 dried chiles or 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 3/4 pounds collard greens, ribbed, washed, and cut into 1-inch ribbons
1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
1 large tomato, cored and quartered, or 1 large can whole tomatoes (1 can diced tomatoes works in a pinch!)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton) or Hungarian paprika
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a very large stockpot, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add the chiles and 1 Tbsp salt, and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock has a nice salty spiciness, about 10 minutes.

Add a few handfuls of greens to the pot. They will float on the surface, so stir them frequently, submerging with the spoon, until they have turned a bright kelly green, 3 to 5 minutes. They will become floppy and more compact, so you can add more handfuls of greens. Continue adding handfuls of greens, stirring and submerging them until all the collards are in the pot (6 to 10 minutes). Turn the heat down to the gentlest simmer and note your time at this point.

While the greens simmer, place the onion and tomato in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over them, add 1 tsp salt, the paprika, and the pepper, and toss to coat. Transfer the vegetables to a medium cast iron skillet (a cookie sheet or casserole dish works too) and add the garlic. Place the skillet under a hot broiler, about 3 inches from the flame or heating element, until the vegetables are nicely charred, 6 to 8 minutes. Set them on the stovetop to cool.

When the garlic is cool enough to touch, peel the cloves and discard the charred skins. Transfer the broiled onion, tomato, and garlic to a blender or food processor and blend at high speed until the mixture is completely smooth, about 3 minutes. You should have close to 1 1/2 cups of purée.

With a ladle, remove most of the stock from the collards pot and discard or save for soup. (Traditionally, you dip corn bread into this pot liquor left over after the greens are done.  It’s delicious for sure, and has lots of the vitamins and minerals that leach out of the greens when you cook them for a long time.)  Add the purée and continue to simmer the greens, for a total of 1 hour from the point at which you noted the time. The greens will be a very dark matte green and completely tender, bathed in pale red gravy.

Cut a generous wedge of buttermilk skillet corn bread and put it in the bottom of a soup bowl.  Ladle the collards on top.  Sometimes we also add an egg over easy.  Dig in!

Buttermilk Skillet Corn Bread
adapted ever so slightly from our trusty Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

You can make this corn bread without the cream if you like, and it’s still delicious.  But the cream, added just before you slide the skillet into the oven, magically transforms into a custardy layer just under the surface.  Vegan folks might like to give this recipe a spin.

3 tbsp butter
1 cup flour
1 cup stone-ground yellow or white cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp sugar or honey
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk plus 2 or so Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, left to sit for about 10 minutes to curdle)
1 cup cream

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Put the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (a cake pan or a deep dish pie pan will work if you don’t have a cast iron skillet) and place in the oven while you get everything else together.  Sift the dry ingredients in one bowl and mix the eggs, sugar, and buttermilk in another. Remove the pan from the oven, brush the butter over the sides, then (carefully — the skillet is still hot!) pour the rest into the wet ingredients.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and stir long enough to make a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into the hot pan.  Gently pour the cream over the batter — don’t stir!  Gently slide the skillet back into the oven and bake until lightly browned and springy to the touch, 50-60 minutes.

Leftovers make an excellent breakfast!  We’re particularly partial to eating it with a fried egg and maple syrup on top.  Try it!

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Weekly recipe roundup

kabocha

 

11 Quick and Easy Ways to Cook with Kale at Bon Appétit

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Leeks and Cilantro Leaves at The New York Times

Slow Cooker Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk at Southside Kitchen Collective

Arugula Walnut Pesto at For Me, For You

Pork Chops with Kale at Dinner: A Love Story

Roasted Radishes with Balsamic Vinegar from White on Rice Couple

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Our Weekly Recipe Roundup is a quick weekly list of recipes featuring produce we’re growing right now. We hope it helps! We’d love to know what’s happening in your kitchens this week too.