Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank you, Rain.

So far, we have had a pretty wet beginning to the season... boys and girls, have we needed it!  We are continually tracking and dodging storms while some other farms around us have received golf ball size hail.  It has been a blessing to not have to battle with that.  With non-stop wildlife interaction, long and dedicated hours, pure heart and soul we love to bring you healthy food that only your local region can really offer.



The asparagus is still growing beautifully and tastes perfect.  Our veggies and our farmers are doing a fine job and we have a lot of gorgeousness in your CSA boxes this week.  You have kale, bok choi, spinach, asparagus, radishes, mint and the ever potential of a surprise.

Here is a recipe which includes your asparagus, spinach and mint:

Ontario Parmesan Spinach Salad and Grilled Asparagus Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon  honey mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.  Snap ends off asparagus and peel with vegetable peeler.  Place on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over asparagus.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  With hands mix asparagus, olive oil, and seasoning together making sure that asparagus is coated.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes until tender.   Set aside a few minutes to cool, cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, honey mustard, garlic, mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Place spinach, asparagus, and red onion in large serving bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese over top. 


http://butterybooks.com/salads/ontario-parmesan-spinach-salad-and-grilled-asparagus-recipe/

P. S.

This recipe was inspired by Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, in case you are a fan. :)

And thank you for being a member or for stopping by to see us at the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids farmer's markets!  We appreciate being your farmers.

Kindly,
Echo Team

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May in Full Swing

It is hard to believe that May is coming to a close already!  We have plenty to offer our CSA members this week:  Spring lettuce mix, leeks, green onions, spinach, asparagus and radishes that are super crisp and tender.  We are also often bringing something Asian your way and in terms of greens, one specialty this week is our Tokyo Bekana lettuce head bouquets.  This is like a lettuce head with the delicacy of a tender leaf but is considered a cabbage.  It can be used many ways and is a fun subject for foodie creativity in the kitchen.  Bright and light, almost lime green, with a curl about as slight as its mild peppery cabbage flavor, Tokyo can be used in stir fry, raw salad, on pizza and in soups!

As many of our members and market shoppers have been asking about spinach, this week's feature recipe highlights this familiar yet versatile green, which will be in your weekly box:

(We recommend adding some raw, thinly sliced radish from the CSA box, as a lovely side component.)



http://www.highgroundorganics.com/recipes/lemony-creamed-spinach/

INGREDIENTS:
1 bunch of spinach, large stems removed and then washed
2-3 shallots, peeled and finely diced, or ½ medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 juicy lemon, preferably Meyer, cut in half
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste
½ pint heavy cream
Butter or grapeseed (or other neutral flavored) oil as needed, whichever you prefer

METHOD:
Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add just barely enough oil or butter to film the bottom.
When this is hot, add the spinach and turn in the butter to coat, and sauté until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.
Use tongs to remove the spinach to a strainer and allow to drain. As soon as feasible, squeeze to remove extra moisture. Use you hands or roll the spinach in paper towels.
While the spinach drains, add a little butter or oil to the pan, heat it up, then add the shallots. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, and then add the thyme. Toss to mix.
Add the cream to the pan and bring to a boil. Be careful it does not boil over-if it looks like it wants to, move the pan off the heat. Lower the heat so the cream simmers vigorously. Squeeze some of the juice from one half the lemon into the cream, catching the seeds in a strainer or your hand. Give a gentle stir and taste. If it seems to need more lemon, add a little at a time until you get the flavor you want.
While the cream reduces, chop the spinach finely. If you have some, squeeze some lemon juice onto the spinach.
When the cream is starting to thicken, add the spinach into the pan, and stir gently to mix it into the sauce. Continue cooking until the cream is thickened and coating the spinach lightly.
Taste for seasoning, and for lemon. The flavor should be bright, but not really tart. If it is not lemony enough, squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish and stir to amalgamate.
The final dish should be sweet and earthy at the same time, with a clean note from the spinach. Try to avoid reducing the cream too much or it will seem cloying.
Serve hot.

Serves: 4

It is a continual honor to be your farmer!  Thank you for your support and community.  It has been really exciting to see our community growing in the Cedar Rapids area now too.

If you have a question about our CSA, as a member or possibly future member, please do not hesitate to email us at:

echocsa@gmail.com

Kindly and ceaselessly,
Your Echo Team
Tokyo Bekana is distinguished for being an extremely loose head and lightweight cabbage, more lettuce-like than cabbage-like in flavor and texture. At harvest age, its tender yet crisp ruffled and expanded lime green leaves are supported by narrow white petioles. Tokyo Bekana cabbage is succulent with mild pepper nuances and a melting quality unique to all cabbage varieties. - See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Toyko_Bekana_Cabbage_6677.php#sthash.JNMpSC2s.dpuf

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer 2014 CSA Begins Now!!!

We have been busy bees this spring and are ready to hit markets, with the Summer CSA beginning this week! The asparagus has kept us on our toes daily, several lettuce and garden greens bursting to life, the spring garlic is super delicate and delicious.  Time to come and get it.

After a couple days of radical weather patterns, heavy rains, gnarly winds and a whole lot of human, animal and plant spirit...

We are ready to bring you a full spectrum of local food that is free of chemical control, by our own hands and hearts to yours.

If you have participated in our CSA before, it is that time of year again.  You know what you can expect from this summer's share of what we grow and we look forward to working with you again. We appreciate being your farmer.  For those of you who have not participated and are interested, let us explain a bit about how the CSA works.  Community Supported Agriculture gives city residents direct access and participation with their local farmer.  We want to be your farmer.  It is really very simple to sign up.  Just click on CSA Sign-Up, to get started.  This will provide you with your own share of the farm's production all summer long, with weekly farm pickings packed full of fresh, local produce!

We have pick up sites at the Iowa City Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmer's Market and NewBo City Market on Saturdays.  Bring bags for a "buffet style" of picking out what you want for the week.

Box drop offs are at Tim's/Kirkwood School for Children in Iowa City and Chad's in Coralville on Thursdays after 5pm.  Make sure to bring your bags if you would rather not carry a box or bother with returning it.

Of course, if you have any questions we want you to feel free to contact us so we can get your Summer CSA moving along smoothly.

In the meantime, what you can generally anticipate from this week's CSA:

Braising Mix (rotating blend of cooking greens... purples, greens, yellows, reds...)
Salad Mix (rotating blend of raw salad greens... more purples, greens, yellows and reds)
Green Onions
Spring Garlic
Asparagus
Radishes
Cilantro

Life Force packed good food, as fresh as you can get it.

This week, consider a light spring recipe:

Kale is still "IN," by the way!  What a super food, grown in your own heart land.  Always paired well, raw or cooked, with citrus.


Compliments of:   http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/05/kale-citrus-salad/

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale, Leaves Torn Off The Stalks
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Sliced Very Thin
  • 3 whole Tangerines Or Clementines (or 1 Orange), Peeled And Cut Into Chunks
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese/chevre
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, Pressed Or Grated
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Sour Cream Or Plain Greek Yogurt

Preparation Instructions

Grab bunches of the kale leaves and use a sharp knife to thinly slice them. Keep going until you have a big pile of finely shredded kale.
To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a small mason jar. Shake vigorously until all combined, then add the sour cream or yogurt and shake again until it's nice and creamy.
Toss the kale in half the dressing for a minute or so, then add the jalapeno slices and citrus pieces. Toss again until combined. Add a little more dressing if it needs it (extra dressing can be stored in the fridge and used for any salad.)
At the last minute, break the goat cheese into chunks with a fork and toss it into the salad. Serve!
(Note: because they kale holds up well, the salad can be tossed 15 minutes before serving.)


If you have a recipe that you have rocked with our produce, please share it!  We really want to know how locals are working with the bounty and may share what you are doing on our blog/newsletter!

Thank you so much for participating in what keeps us all sustainably healthy and connected.

~Echo Team

P. S.

If you would like to follow our blog via email and have not yet done so, sign up on our homepage:

http://echollectivecsa.blogspot.com/