Weekly recipe roundup

Posted by Lisa on October 04, 2012
arugula, autumn, cilantro, eggplant, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, garlic, greens, kale, leeks, pork, radishes, recipes, weekly recipe roundup, winter squash / Comments Off on Weekly recipe roundup



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


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


David’s Spaghetti Squash at Tea & Cookies (Remember that our Small Wonder spaghetti squash serve 1-2 people – we suggest using one squash and halving the rest of the ingredients, or using two and keeping the other ingredients as written.)

Brazilian Collard Greens at Gourmet

Leeks Vinaigrette at Orangette

Frog Bottom Gumbo at Frog Bottom Farm

Shaved Turnip Salad with Arugula and Prosciutto from Melissa Clark at The New York Times


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.

Squash (or zucchini) fritters!

Posted by Lisa on July 03, 2012
eggs, garlic, onions, recipes, squash, summer, zucchini / 2 Comments

As we ate these outside at the picnic table last night, in a spell of blessed cool after a quick little thunderstorm, I realized it was the fifth time we’d eaten them in under two weeks. I think that means they’re a winner. I think that means y’all need the recipe.


There’s a very small amount of grating and chopping involved, but really these fritters could not be easier. You grate a summer squash or two – I’ve learned that yellow squash, zephyr, and pattypan work best for our family and for a certain particular two-year old right now, but zucchini fritters are particularly pretty. You squeeze the excess water out of the squash with a dishtowel or paper towels – this is the one picky step, but it only takes a minute, and having tried skipping this step, I think it’s worth doing. You chop an onion – mince it, if you’re living with the same two-year old. Then you mix it all up with some flour, some cornmeal, an egg, some cheese, some salt and pepper, and you shape them into patties, and then you pop them in the oven while you set the table.  Easy peasy!

A word on picky eaters: we have one. It’s been humbling. I thought because we have fields and countertops and a fridge and two freezers all full of delicious vegetables, that he’d take to them right away. And in his first six months of exploring solid foods, he did. But then he started having strong opinions, opinions like: white and brown foods like milk, yogurt, butter, bread, cheese, crackers, pasta, oatmeal, and eggs are really quite sufficient when it comes to one’s diet. And you know what? I want him to have opinions. I want him to be able to disagree with me. I want him to figure out what he loves and what he doesn’t love. I think he needs my guidance, but I also think he needs my patience and my trust … trust that he’ll survive toddlerhood just fine, trust that he is doing what most two-year olds since the dawn of two-year olds have done, trust that he is developing just as he should.

When I was pregnant I proclaimed I’d never “hide” vegetables in food, but I’m coming to realize it’s more complicated than that. In addition to all the independent toddler stuff going on, I think little people have a very acute sense of taste and texture. I think maybe we need to take it easy on them sometimes. And if that means choosing yellow squash over zucchini sometimes, or mincing the onions instead of chopping them – well, I can do that.

I’ll add that our son loves to help me make these. “Mama, I want to grate!” he says, and so he does, with some help. “Dad, I can break the egg,” he offers, and so he does, and pretty well at that! “Let me squoosh it up, Mama!” he demands, and so he does.


And so we make fritters. Sometimes he eats them. Sometimes he just licks the ketchup off his plate. “Like a dog!” he says.

You should make them too.

Baked Squash (or Zucchini) Fritters with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce
adapted just a bit from The Yellow House

Kid-friendly! Quick! And easy too to make gluten-free – the flour in this recipe just serves as a binder, so replace it with your favorite gluten-free flour and you should be good to go. One friend replaces the flour with masa harina – that sounds really good to us! Also, while parmesan is particularly tasty in these, feel free to use another kind of cheese. We used mozzarella the first time we made these because that’s what was in the fridge, and they were still very good.

These are great with ketchup (our son’s favorite), a fried egg (my favorite), tzatziki, or the quick garlicky yogurt sauce below.

2 cups grated summer squash or zucchini, pressed between layers of a clean dishtowel or paper towels to absorb some of the water
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or other flour – see note above)
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, toss the squash and onion with the flour, cornmeal, and cheese. Add the beaten egg and some salt and pepper, and mix until everything comes together. Use your hands if you like; it’s fun! It should have the consistency of meatloaf.

Using your hands, gently form the mixture into small balls (about 3 tablespoons of mixture for each fritter). Place them on the baking sheet and use your hand to flatten them into small patties about a half-inch thick.


Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. (If making the yogurt sauce below, make it now – this will give the flavors time to meld a bit.) Then broil for 2-3 minutes longer. The fritters should be a lovely golden color. Good warm or at room temperature. Serve with ketchup, fried eggs, tzatziki, or the garlicky yogurt sauce below.

Makes 6-8 fritters.

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

3/4 cup yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste, and add more salt if you think it needs it. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes if possible to allow the flavors to meld.


A soup for right now

Posted by Lisa on September 30, 2011
autumn, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes, recipes / Comments Off on A soup for right now

No, it’s not time to stoke the woodstove and dig up the scarves and wool socks just yet. But there’s no denying autumn’s gentle arrival. The first of the leaves are turning, the days are growing shorter, and it seems all of us who live and work here have outlasted the gnats and mosquitoes (a close battle till the bitter blessed end). Most days recently are real stunners: we wake and leap right into slippers as we put the coffee pot on, but as soon as the sun is up we’re down to shirtsleeves. But as the sun sinks below the horizon, it’s chilly again, and fast.  And when that happens, all I can think is: SOUP.

What a pleasure, then, that fall vegetables taste so good this way.


Hearty Potato Soup with Kale
adapted from Simply in Season

This hearty soup is just the thing for these early autumn nights.  Slurp it with a big hunk of crusty bread or alongside a fresh fall salad.  A mug of warmed cider is optional but highly recommended.  You can get most of what you need right out of your CSA share or off our market table, and you can find the rest at market too.  It’s a soup for right now.

As with most soups, you’ve got a lot of wiggle room here.  You could use spinach instead of kale – but we’re not growing spinach right now!  Use an onion or a leek.  Water, vegetable broth, and chicken broth all work great here.  Add more potatoes for a really thick soup.  Blend completely, before or after adding the kale, if you like a really smooth soup.  Add extra garlic if you want!  You get the idea.

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, or 1 leek, roots and toughest greens removed, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large potatoes or 4-5 smaller potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), diced
5 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth
1/2-3/4 lb kale, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
black pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter or warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, and then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.  Add the potatoes and enough water or broth to cover by an inch or so – probably about half the broth.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.  When the potatoes are almost done, warm the remaining water or stock in a separate pot.

Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until it thickens but some chunks of potato remain – or, ladle out about half the vegetables and set aside, pureé the rest of the vegetables and the cooking liquid in a blender or food processor, and then return everything to the pot. Add the kale and the remaining (and now warmed) water or stock and cook until the kale is soft.  Add salt and pepper.  Taste to see if you need to adjust any seasonings, and serve!


Our go-to braise

Our go-to braise

We’ll get right to it: this is a recipe every CSA member everywhere should have in their arsenal.  It’s easy, it works with just about any vegetable you find in your share these days (except the leafy stuff like lettuce and cooking greens), and it’s seriously delicious.

To braise means to cook in a small amount of liquid in a covered dish for a long time at a relatively low temperature. It’s a perfect cooking method for the tough roots, firm winter squashes, and strong-tasting cabbages you’re seeing in your CSA shares and on market tables everywhere right now. Braising tames even the most pungent vegetables into something earthy, tender, and sweet.

Here’s the basic idea: grab a couple casserole dishes.  Chop two or three or four kinds of vegetables very coarsely, arrange them in crowded single layers in the dishes, and douse with olive oil and/or broth and/or white wine and/or water.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper.  Cover tightly with foil and cook in a 325°F oven for about two hours, turning the vegetables about midway through the cooking. And that’s it!  (If you have time, uncover the dishes, turn the oven up to 400°F, and cook everything for another 15 minutes to brown the vegetables lightly. But if you’re ready to eat, you can certainly just dig right in.) This dish is a classic example of the whole being far, far greater than the sum of its humble parts.

Tonight’s version includes arrowhead cabbage, Sunshine kabocha squash (from our friends at Waterpenny Farm in Rappahannock County, since our winter squash fared so poorly this year), and rutabagas.  It, along with some gingerbread and whipped cream, will warm our bellies as we say our sad goodbyes to Shannon, who’s leaving us this week after two years on the Frog Bottom crew.

It’s also delicious with carrots (coming soon in the shares!) and onions.  We often add garlic — keep the cloves whole and unpeeled, and everyone can squeeze their own garlic from the peels when they eat (it’s fun!).  It’s very, very good with a poached egg on top.  And chicken is a perfect addition — just tuck some legs or wings in among the vegetables.  Or try it with sweet potatoes, beets, turnips…

Read the step-by-step instructions over at Orangette.

Last week in pictures: in which we pick a lot of tomatoes

Sun sugar harvest

Sun sugars!

Arlo loves sun sugars too!

Lulu tidies up her pasture.

Snipping garlic (and just off camera is a baby who thinks this is a hoot)

Our onion quality control guy

Cucumber and beet seedlings in the greenhouse

Planting peppers

Here's Katie in a tangle of tomato vines, pearl millet (a "green manure"), and yellow nutsedge (a terrible weed)

Farm hands!

Last week (or so) in pictures

Posted by Lisa on July 12, 2010
chickens, garlic, greenhouse, last week in pictures, potatoes, summer, the crew, the family, the farm / Comments Off on Last week (or so) in pictures

Our apologies for the light posting ’round these parts — and to anyone who’s had a hard time reaching us — over the last week or so.  Half this farm family was out of town for several days.  The other half, along with our wonderful crew, had their hands quite full under early July’s blazing sun: picking, washing, sorting, picking, loading, mowing, picking, irrigating, staking, picking, weeding, seeding … and picking.  All hands are back on deck, so check in here at the farm blog often for news and recipes and a couple new features as well!

And now, the last week (or maybe two) in pictures!

Katie and some stalks

Miles and lots and lots of garlic!

A fragile peace

Have you hugged your garlic farmer today?

Getting ready for fall carrots

Hitching up the plastic layer

Preparing potting mix

Watering the fall brassicas!

Summer in the barnyard

One potato, two potato...

Summer is here and we can prove it!

Posted by Lisa on June 25, 2010
garlic, summer, tomatoes / 3 Comments

Let us rejoice!  Summer is here!  How do we know?

Was it yesterday’s record high of 102° and the accompanying sweat in our eyes, grime behind our knees, and grumpy baby in our arms?

Is it the wild blackberries turning deep purple and plump along the edges of our fields?

Is it the hum of the fans, the buzz of the flies, the pleasant cracking and clinking of the ice in our sweet tea?

It is all these things — but mainly, we know it is summer because of this:


and especially



especially because of this:


The incredible edible garlic scape!

Sure, when they’re bunched they look like some wacky offspring of an octopus and … a Martian?  Tuck them (with some skillful maneuvering) into a mason jar and they make a striking centerpiece.  And I was half tempted to wear some as jewelry at our wedding a few years ago!  But behind their whimsical exterior lies a seriously delicious vegetable.  We’re talking about garlic scapes.

We’re pretty garlic crazy around here.  Rare is the evening that doesn’t begin with mincing a few cloves of garlic and tossing it into the cast iron skillet.  We hope the same will be true for you this summer too.  We grow a variety called Music, with beautiful purpley-white cloves and strong perfect flavor.

Sadly, we didn’t offer it last year.  We plant our garlic in the fall, and in the fall of 2008 we were still farming full-time on rented land in Northern Virginia, and we just weren’t able to get away long enough to plant garlic down here at Frog Bottom.  But we’re settled here now and we hope neither you nor we will ever have to go without garlic again!

While there are hundreds of garlic varieties, all of them are either softneck or hardneck.  Garlic from the grocery store is almost always softneck.  The cloves are small and grow in concentric circles.  Most softneck varieties have excellent shelf life, which makes life much easier for produce department managers.  But we think hardneck varieties just cannot be beat for flavor, and the kind we grow keeps quite well.

Hardneck garlic has one layer of large cloves which grow around a tough central stalk.  This stalk sends up a flower shoot in the spring: the scape!  We pluck these right off so the plant continues to put its energy into developing a large bulb.  And then we head right to the kitchen.

Garlic scapes have a pretty strong garlic flavor and can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic. Chop or mince them and throw them in a skillet with some olive oil or butter.  Cook until they begin to soften, and then add more vegetables and cook until the vegetables are tender — perhaps diced beets or roughly chopped chard from this week’s share??

Scapes are delicious in egg dishes like scrambled eggs and frittata.  Or try mixing sautéed scapes into ground beef or other ground meat for burgers or meatloaf.  They’re also great in stir-fry and soup!

We haven’t tried pickling scapes yet, but this recipe (scroll down once you click through) in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange summer newsletter has us itching to!

Perhaps our favorite thing to do with them?  Garlic scape pesto!  Garlic scapes and basil don’t grow at the same time, so you’ll have to either freeze the scapes and wait for basil season, or get creative.

Here’s how we did it last week:

In a food processor or strong blender, combine one bunch roughly chopped garlic scapes, a good squeeze of lemon juice, a couple pinches of salt, a good glug of olive oil, a small handful of pine nuts or any other nuts, and a good handful of something green and leafy — this would be an excellent use for your beet greens, which are delicious!  Chard works too.  Process until it gets to a consistency you like — the scapes can be a little tough so I prefer to process the pesto till it’s fairly smooth.  You might need to add more olive oil, or a little water, to thin it out.  Taste it and see if you want a bit more salt or lemon juice.  Pesto is a very forgiving sauce, so don’t be afraid to experiment!  Put it in a bowl and stir in a half cup to a cup of grated parmesan cheese.  Et voila!

(You can make this pesto without a food processor or blender.  Just mince those scapes as finely as you can!)

Pesto is so versatile and will keep for several days in your fridge or almost indefinitely in your freezer. In the last week and a half or so we have put it on pasta, stirred it into scrambled eggs while they were cooking, spread it on top of salmon before sliding it under the broiler, stirred it into sautéed vegetables, and used it as pizza sauce.  It would also be great stirred into soup, or any kind of egg, potato, or pasta salad.

Tell us about your garlic scape adventures!

Daily Farm Photo: winter’s promise

Posted by Lisa on December 01, 2009
daily farm photo, garlic, the farm / 1 Comment

Nearly everywhere we look these days, we see that the earth is preparing to rest.  Our frost-hardy crops are green and gorgeous still, but bare trees sway sleepily against a crisp early December sky.  The summer crops are all gone, either already plowed under or standing shriveled and forlorn after so many cold nights.  The chickens are molting and their egg production has dropped to almost nothing.  The goat is still giving lots of milk, but her coat is thick now, and every morning she gives a loud “MAAAAA!” as if to say, “Hey now!  What’s with all this rain and mud?  Give me August!”  Saddest of all, our crew have all gone home, to Rhode Island and DC and Oklahoma, where they’ve traded their rainboots for fireside slippers and are planning their next adventures.

But we know it’s all part of the cycle of a farm year.  We know it because the garlic told us so.

Remember this?

Now it looks like the picture above.  We’ll let it do its work underground all winter and early spring, while we huddle close by the wood stove with seed catalogs and hot cocoa and tax forms and our gorgeous, gorgeous new baby.