by Rita Calvert, a chef and worksharer at Clagett Farm
Number One item: It's great to be back in touch with ya'll after what seemed like a long drawn-out winter. We were really just waiting to get back to the farm for some good "Farm chit chat"!
Mother Nature's Little Secret
We bet you didn't realize that those spicy somewhat bitter greens such as the “spicy mix” containing peppery arugula or watercress pack a whollop of nutrition. It has been said by an Indian chef that Americans need to be converted to the "bitter" taste. So load up and blend these greens with milder ones.
Tips & Tidbits
I overhead a mom saying she spreads peanut butter on just the stems of bok choy to feed her 6 & 7 year old children. The bok choy is finished before they realize it’s not celery.
Chesapeake Spring Salad
Since local is important, as well as organic, I will attempt to bring you recipes with suggestions and sources for locally and sustainably-produced products.
6 cups Clagett Farm romaine and salad greens
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup “Chesapeake Honey” Walnuts (see below)
Chapel Country Creamery Cave Aged Chapelle Cheese, shaved
Herbes de Clagett Vinaigrette (see below)
“Chesapeake Honey” Walnuts
2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup local honey
sprinkle sea salt
Place the walnuts on a greased microwave safe plate. Drizzle with honey and toss. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, tossing every minute to coat. Spread warm nuts on wax paper in a single layer to cool.
Herbes de Clagett Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peeled fresh garlic
8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons chopped lemon zest
4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the Vinaigrette: in a small food processor, combine all ingredients and blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute until emulsified.
Half of the black beans in this spicy soup are pureed with tomatoes, the other half are simmered with carrots, onion and other veggies.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
6 leaves bok choy, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable stock
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup salsa (your choice of spiciness)
Locally Grown Toppings
thinly sliced garlic chives
grated cheddar cheese
chopped fresh radish
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, 1 can of the beans.
Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining can of beans; add to pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Finally, add salsa and black pepper. Serve with your choice of toppings.
Farm and Sea Salad
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1/4 cup finely diced celery
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely scallion salt & black pepper to taste
1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/3 cup chopped radish
Sunflower Seed Dressing
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
4 ounces silken tofu
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil a little water to thin if necessary
Mix tuna, celery, walnuts, parsley, onion, salt and pepper.
Blend dressing ingredients in blender adding oil a little at a time at end (to incorporate.) Blend well to make sure sunflower seeds are ground.
Mix desired amount of dressing with tuna mixture.
Serve on bed of chopped romaine lettuce with chopped radish.
Enchiladas with Greens
One Straw Farm is an organic “outreach” place with one fiesty “Lady Joan Norman” as half of the farmer team. Rumor has it that her Swiss Chard Burritos are incredible. Here is the base recipe for using your choice of greens. Also use corn or flour tortillas as you prefer.
1 bunch greens- chard, collards, kale or a mixture of the greens
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Chapel Creamery (Easton) cheddar cheese
corn or flour tortillas
salsa of choice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Sauté the greens in oil and garlic.
Make a cheese sauce with milk, cheese, flour and butter. Mix cheese sauce into greens. Place the mixture into a tortilla, roll and place onto a greased baking dish. Cover with salsa and bake @ 375 for 20 min.
Spring Greens & Herb Risotto
This makes a generous amount of pesto, so use half and freeze the rest for the next time you make risotto.
For the spinach & herb pesto
3/4 cup densely packed stemmed spinach leaves
1/4 cup mixed flat-leaf parsley, thyme and tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chicken stock, as needed
For the risotto
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock; more if needed
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Prepare the spinach and herb pesto -- Put the spinach and herbs in a food processor or a blender. Process, adding a little stock to loosen if needed, until well combined. The pesto should resemble a very thick soup. Set aside.
Make the risotto -- Bring the stock to a boil; reduce to a simmer. In a medium, heavy-gauge saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 min. It should not color. Add the onion, stirring constantly, and cook until translucent, 1 to 2 min. Stir in the wine.
When almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 1 min., add just enough hot stock to cover the rice. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally. When the stock is almost gone, again add enough stock to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt. Check the risotto every 3 or 4 min., giving an occasional stir to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan, adding just enough stock to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.
Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 20 min. total cooking time. Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Stir in half of the herb pesto (freeze the rest for another time) and the cheese. Stir vigorously for a few seconds. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Add more stock to loosen the risotto if you like, and more salt to taste, if needed. Serve immediately.
Photos and Recipes~Rita Calvert 2007