Cooking for the farm household can be quite a challenge. For several months of the year and for the third year in a row now, we invite willing folks to our farm and our table to share in the labors and the bounty of the harvest. I’m talking about our apprentices, of course, the hard-working individuals who help keep our Vegetable CSA going. Most evenings of the week consist of all of us gathered around, hovering over a plate of… whatever Eric or I come up with for dinner. Although last season, we were blessed with the culinary talents of Ms. McKenzie Fredenberg who never failed to bring an exotic flair to the meal. Alas, she’s moved on to a bright future, making dishes like tamales, panna cotta and “fat cakes” filled with rich chocolates absent from the household repertoire forever.
There are times, and I’m sure many can relate, that whipping up a fresh, new food idea becomes the dreaded homework due at the end of the day. The clock is ticking down and and all I can come up with is 1) leftovers, or 2) tacos. (It’s the old standby at our house.) Sometime in spring though, something happens. We start harvesting. Now, having more than last season’s root crops and a few grocery store supplements, idea start flooding in. Items from the fields start pairing themselves and the recipe books fly off the shelves. Now, instead of the essay due at the end of the day, cooking dinner starts to feel like sitting in art class, preparing a masterpiece. Admittedly, not every dinner turns out to be a masterpiece. But having fresh, seasonal veggies to work with sure makes it more fun.
Festive Red and Green Toasts
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 lb. cream cheese, at room temp.
1/2 lb. other soft blue cheese
2 bunches radish, trimmed and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking pan. Broil until lightly colored on both sides. Cool slightly and spread half the rounds with cream cheese and half with blue cheese. Arrange radish and celery atop the rounds and serve.
Chinese Radish Salad
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
2 T soy sauce
4 green onions (scallion), chopped fine
2 T cilantro
2 tsp. sesame oil
Toss ingredients together and serve or refrigerate.
10 oz frozen spinach (a big bunch)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c monteray jack cheese, shredded (I use Vermont sharp cheddar)
1 or 2 tomatoes, opt. (or try shredding a carrot into the mix)
1/2 c milk
Steam spinach in a pot or steamer until wilted. Add to cream cheese and stir to soften over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Continue stirring over med-low heat until it reaches your desired consistency. This is one of our favorites!