The CSA Project: Swiss Chard and Tatsoi Frittata

Swiss Chard and Tatsoi Frittata

Swiss Chard and Tatsoi Frittata

Got extra greens? Frittata is a great way to go. I had on hand Tatsoi, which  is similar to spinach in taste, and chard.

I like to make my frittatas in a cast iron skillet so they can go into the oven, but if you don’t have one you can use any skillet and just put a lid on it after adding the eggs.

What you’re gonna need

  • Any combination of greens, about 4 cups.  (Remember, they cook down a lot)
  • ½ an onion chopped
  • 6 eggs, scrambled
  • A couple tablespoons of Olive oil and butter for sautéing
  • Any kind of cheese you have on hand (I used some smoked mozzarella and parmesan)

What you’re gonna do

  • Heat up your olive oil and butter and sauté your onion with a little salt
  • Add your greens and cook down
  • Add eggs and move around the pan
  • Dot the top with your cheese and put into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the eggs have set.
  • Cut and serve in wedges

The CSA Project: Bok Choy Kimchi

Bok Choy Kimchi

Bok Choy does not keep that long.  If you don’t eat it rather quickly it gets limp and unappetizing.  We decided rather than try to cook it all we would preserve it. (We were also able to incorporate our leeks and a jar of pickled hot peppers from last year.)  Based on a recipe from Doris and Jilly Cook we tried making Bok Choy Kimchi.  This is how we did it.

What you’re gonna need

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds of Bok Choy chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2-3 leeks chopped the same
  • 1-2  tablespoons fresh ginger chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of paprika
  • Hot peppers to taste
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 ½ tablespoons of kosher or pickling salt

What you’re gonna do

  • Dissolve your salt in water
  • Put the vegetables in a bowl and cover with brine
  • Weight them down so they stay submerged
  • Let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours
  • Drain the vegetables, reserving the brine
  • Mix all the remaining ingredients and put them in a large jar or a crock
  • Put the lid on and put in cool dark place
  • Taste test it after 3-4 days — we had it in our basement  for a week — and see if it is to your liking
  • When it’s “done” store in the refrigerator where it will keep for months.

The CSA Project: First Summer Pick Up

Summer's First Haul

Summer's First Haul

Friday was the first regular pick up at the Pennypack Farm CSA.  This means every other Friday I will get 10 units of fresh produce.  The size of the unit depends on how much of the veggie there is for that week.  It could be, for instance, 4 pounds of rutabagas, a bunch of kale or a quart of strawberries.  It varies as the year goes on.  But hey, that’s the challenge.

Today’s haul consisted of the following.

  • Bok choy
  • Baby bok choy
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Leeks
  • Tatsoi
  • Garlic scapes
  • Strawberries

That’s a lot of food folks. I will have to be creative.  Recipes and strategies to follow…. Stay tuned….


Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Resotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

The nice thing about risotto is that you can add almost any veggie that happens to be in season and it will work.  In the spring, for example, there are asparagus and peas.  I still had a butternut squash sitting around from late winter, so I decided to try that.   Results were delicious.

What you’re gonna need

  • 1 small (about 2 lb.) butternut squash
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • About a tablespoon of fresh herbs (I used sage and parsley)
  • ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine

What you’re gonna do

  • Cut squash in half and remove seeds
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven until soft (about 30 minutes)
  • Warm stock in a separate pan
  • sauté your onion and garlic in olive oil until soft
  • Add white wine and cook for a few minutes
  • Add rice and stir to coat
  • Add stock one ladle at a time stirring constantly. (Wait until liquid is absorbed before adding more.)  This is where you need patience and maybe someone to take over stirring once in a while.
  • When the rice is cooked (this could take 30-40 minutes) add your chopped squash, herbs and cheese.  Stir and serve!

The CSA Project: Spinach Pesto

Spinach pesto.

Spinach pesto

Spinach is a very versatile vegetable.  You can eat it raw, or sautéed, or you can throw it into soups, stews and sauces for an extra nutritional punch.

My favorite use for spinach is making pesto.  Pesto can be used in so many ways.  You can mix it with your favorite pasta, use it as a base for pizza, spoon it over grilled meat or seafood. We love it with scallops.  I plan on making a lot of it this summer and freezing it for a taste of spring next winter.

Freezing pesto

The best way to freeze pesto is to simply spoon it into an ice cube tray, and then stick it into the freezer. Pop out the frozen cubes and drop them into a Ziploc bag.  Take them out as you need them, a little goes a long way.  I don’t recommend microwaving them to defrost them (it’s a texture thing). Let them sit out until they come to room temperature, or throw them into your hot pasta.

Pesto recipe

What you’re gonna need

  • 1 cup of tightly packed basil (you know, more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • About 3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted walnuts (put ‘em in a dry pan over low heat until they become fragrant, about 5 minutes)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, depending on your preference (see below)

What you’re gonna do

  • Pack your food processor or blender with all your ingredients.
  • Pulse for a few seconds and then begin to drizzle olive oil until you get the consistency you want.

Done! In the time it takes to cook the pasta you have dinner ready.


The CSA Project: Mid April

Scallions, spinach, beets, carrots,and  Swiss chard.

Scallions, spinach, beets, carrots,and Swiss chard

Coming soon: Spinach Pesto!


The CSA Project: Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Chili

Don’t expect this dish to smell or taste much like chili made with meat — the sweetness of the squash plays differently with the chili powder than ground meat does — but man does it smell and taste delicious!  If you like a smokier flavor, add some cumin to the mix.  For a meatier texture, serve it over brown rice. It’s chili so, you know, adjust accordingly.

Make this in your dutch oven or slow cooker.

What you’re gonna need

  • 2 pounds of squash, approx., peeled and chopped (sweet potatoes will also work, or a combination of the two)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Chili powder to taste, about 1-2 tablespoons
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Hot peppers to taste, about three small, depending on the pepper and your tolerance for heat
  • 1½ cups of water or vegetable stock
  • One 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of beans (I used cannellini, but you can use whatever you have)

What you’re gonna do

  • Sauté onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes
  • Add chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds
  • Add squash and stir to coat with chili powder
  • At this point you can transfer the mixture to a slow cooker; I chose to leave mine in my dutch oven
  • Add tomatoes, stock and beans
  • Season with salt and cook for 3-4 hours, or in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low
  • Garnish with the green part of the green onions

The CSA Project: Sometimes Just a Salad

Spring greens, scallions, chopped carrots, and a sliced beet.

Sometimes all you need is a nice fresh salad. Chopped carrots, scallions, and a beet from the CSA, augmented with spring greens from the co-op.  Roast that  beet and slice it  over the  top, a splash of oil and vinegar, and you have a very good lunch.

Coming soon, Hot Squash!


The CSA Project: Flowering Kale with Pasta

Flowering Kale

Flowering Kale

Flowering kale is what they called it at the CSA, but don’t bother Googling it. You’ll end up with the ornamental variety.

It reminds me a bit in looks and flavor (I took a nibble) of broccoli rabe. So that’s where I went with it, and it paid off. I love throwing together broccoli rabe and pasta, and I took the flowering kale in that direction. The result was very similar in flavor, though a bit milder.

What you’re gonna need

  • One bunch of your flowering kale (if you don’t have this particular type you could use regular kale sliced thinly)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pasta (I used spaghetti, but pretty much any sort would do)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Olive oil, a couple of tablespoons

What you’re gonna do

  • Put a large pot of water on to boil
  • Cook your pasta according to directions
  • Put a few tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a skillet and add your garlic
  • Sauté until garlic turns a light brown (be careful not to burn)
  • Remove the garlic
    (it was just there to add flavor)
  • When your pasta is done remove it to a colander and add the kale to the boiling water
  • When the kale turns bright green (after a minute or two) drain it
  • Add the pasta and the kale to the oil in the skillet
  • Add some more crushed garlic to taste and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Flowering Kale with Pasta


The CSA Project: Early April

Butternut squash, scallions, beets, carrots, and flowering kale.

This week’s  pickup:  butternut squash, scallions, beets, carrots and kale that has started to flower.  The flowering kale reminds a little of broccoli rabe, and that is probably how I will treat it.  Looking for some interesting things to do with the rest.

Be back shortly…