NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 11/7/2011 5:42pm by Amy Philson.

Hello Everyone! 

This is a reminder that we are having out Winter Market Kick-off event this Wednesday, November 9, 2011.  This is an exciting event you wont want to miss, as it will be run as a "farmers market" with our own NWPAGC growers!  Several of our growers will be present selling their products!  We will have a variety of items ranging from fresh veggies, cider, herbs, body care products, corn wreaths, cheeses and more!  Here is a list of the things that Patty Wilson, from Springfield Acres will have with her at the event!

 

a variety of heirloom dried beans

blueberry jam

raspberry jam

currant jam

blackberry jam

chestnuts

fresh collards

fresh kale

fresh swiss chard

 

fresh and dried herbs:

coriander seeds

fennel seeds

dried lemon verbena

 

fresh cider-half gallons (not frozen)

 

bath and body:

rosemary lip balm

mint lip balm

coco peppermint lip balm

hand cream

coco butter body cream

calendula shampoo bar

gourmet bath bar

There will be *small* samples of some of the body products available as well!

Posted 11/2/2011 4:31pm by Amy Philson.
We now have gift certificates available!  We have two amounts available, $10.00 and $20.00.  They make great gifts!  Please email Sarah at marditheaw@att.net if you are interested in purchasing! 
Posted 11/2/2011 5:15am by Amy Philson.

The turkeys are coming!  The local, naturally-raised, pastured turkeys are coming!

NWPAGC will offer both fresh and frozen turkeys, available in our webstore soon.

Fresh Thanksgiving turkeys will be sold in the webstore as "under 10 lbs"  or "over 10 lbs". Pick up your pre-ordered fresh turkey at the Winter Market in Slippery Rock on Wednesday, November 23.

Stay tuned for detailed product and ordering information,  we will send out an email announcement when the "Turkey Depaerment" opens for business later this week.

Thank you.

Thanksgiving Countdown:  22 Days

Posted 11/1/2011 4:49pm by Amy Philson.

Hello CSAers!

  Just a reminder that Wednesday, Novemeber 2, 2011 is the LAST CSA pickup for our CSA season!  It is also Chicken CSA day, Cheese CSA day and Mushroom CSA day!  So come and pick up your local goodies!!!! 

Our Winter Market kicks off Novemeber 9th, with a farmers market style gathering in Slippery Rock at the United Methodist Church on Maple and 108.  Stop by and say hi!

Now a letter from the President of the NWPAGC:

THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING LOCAL FOODS AND LOCAL FARMS

 

In these tough economic times, it seems like more and more people are “getting it”; coming to the realization that ‘investing’ in the local food system is a wise choice—and that this choice ensures  high-yielding ‘returns’  of  higher levels of nutrition, health, and community involvement. The food is fresh, not transported from California  or Chile. You know who grew your beef or your beets. You can even see photos of your beefs or beets on our website. You know that it is safe to feed these foods to your family, no food scares or recalls here.  No poisons.  No hormones.  No irradiation.

 

So, thank you for choosing local foods and farms, and our CSA, again this year.

 

It was a very tough year for the growers, starting off with 2 solid months of soaking rains in March and April---did you know that there were only five non-rain days TOTAL in March and April combined?  We sure did, because we could not get into the fields to plant, and if we did, the seed frequently washed away.  Carrot, beet, bean and pea seeds washed away or rotted, the onions and potatoes were planted 4 – 6 weeks late, and the broccoli just melted. Hence the delay in the start date for the CSA,  but you were all very kind about the delay and we thank you for your flexibility.

July:  wowee zowee we got socked again, but this time with a killer heat wave + drought that burned up the tender, young plantings of fall crops (broccoli again, cauliflower, beets)  As I said, a tough year, the worst in a decade. The  good weather months this season were the frost-free months of May and October,  allowing for early May tomato plantings and extended harvest of crops late into October.

 

We also thank you for your feedback—the good and the not so good-- as it helps us to do a better job of  providing you with what you really want. (which is our goal) So, based on what you have told us so far, the Board is actively addressing the following for 2012:

 

**  consistently including the most popular vegetables in all shares, Small and Full alike.

      ( weekly lettuce, carrots, green beans, tomatoes in season. Especially lettuce.)

 

**  no mustard, please!  Ok, we heard that. No mustard unless you want mustard.

 

**   where’s the cilantro?  We heard that too, and will pointedly grow lots more.

 

**    “The apple situation”: during a season with wild swings of weather, we were thrilled that the local apples came through in mega-bushels due to the frost-free May. We understand that they are nothing like supermarket apples; but when you peel the bumpy skin, you find inside the complex, rich, spicy flavor of old-fashioned apple-ness. Putting together a CSA share in any given week is a fine balancing act of what we, the growers, have and what you, the eaters, want. ‘The apples’  are a prime example of the paradox of local sustainable agriculture. Everyone wants it, but sometimes everyone doesn’t like it.  And that is my apple homily. Thank you Bender Family Farm, for your apples!  Thank you, CSA members, for baking those pies and cobblers!

 

** Full Shares will once again receive 2 Choice Items per week.

 

**  The Exchange Box will be more visible at all drop-offs.

 

**  Farmers will be scheduled to visit all drop-offs regularly for Meet and Greet.

 

**   At least one Farmer-Grower Event will take place at one of the farms. Maybe more.

 

**  Major  changes with the Butler drop-off.    (location and coordination)

 

**  We will send out a survey to ask which vegetables, herbs, fruits you like and which you do not.  We will also ask (again) for comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

Our thanks go also to our tireless Site Coordinators who made everything run smoothly every Wednesday. We appreciate your willingness to shoulder the extra duties.

 

And last but not least,  our boundless gratitude to Manager Sarah Lawlor Johnston who started this job 2 weeks before  the CSA season, yet fearlessly jumped into the endless phone calls, emails, driving, invoices, checks, and computer work to make the whole CSA run for 22 weeks.  Imagine several hundred pats on the back and cheers for you right now, Sarah, because you did it and you did it well! THANKS

 

Not much time to rest, Winter Market starts next Wednesday, Nov 9th-  join us at the United Methodist Church  in Slp Rk at 4:30 for this Farmers market-style event to kick off the new season. Our growers will be there in person with their products.

 

To all of our CSA customers:  thank you for joining with us this year to create a remarkable local food system.  It is hard work, but it works.

 

Thank you choosing local food and local farms.

 

Lori Sands

President, NWPAGC 

on  behalf of the  NWPAGC Board members.

Posted 10/26/2011 4:01pm by Amy Philson.

Irish Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage (from food.com)

Ingredients

    • 3 lbs peeled yukon gold potatoes or 3 lbs red potatoes, halved
    • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
    • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 chicken bouillon cubes
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup light sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large stockpot; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Drain.
  3. Return potato mixture to pan. Add cream cheese, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper; mash with a potato masher. Spoon potato mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  4. Note: This can be made a day ahead; just cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat in oven or microwave.

Spicy Red Cabbage (from mayoclinic.com)

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds red cabbage, cored, quartered and shredded
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 tart apple, cored, peeled and chopped
    • 1 cup pitted prunes
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Ground nutmeg, to taste
    • 1/2 cup water

Directions

In a large pot, add all of the ingredients. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Add water as necessary to prevent the cabbage from drying out. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve either warm or cold.

 

Butternut Squash with Potato Gratin (from finecooking.com)

1 butternut squash (about 2 lb.), peeled
2 Idaho potatoes (about 1-1/4 lb. total), peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs combined with 2 Tbs. melted butter


Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch (2-qt.) glass or ceramic baking dish. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Slice the squash and potatoes about 1/8 inch thick (use a mandoline if you have one). Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of squash (overlapping slightly), season lightly with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a little of the Parmigiano, and drizzle with a little of the cream. Cover with a layer of potato slices, season with salt, pepper, Parmigiano, and cream. Repeat with the remaining squash and potatoes until the dish is full, ending with a top layer of squash, seasoned and topped with any remaining cheese and cream. (You may have extra squash.) Press down lightly to distribute the cream and compact the layers. The last layer of squash should be just sitting in the cream, but not covered by it. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the vegetables feel tender when poked with a thin, sharp knife (check the middle layer), about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

For a gratin, alternate layers of squash and potato, drizzling cream and sprinkling Parmigiano in between.

Press gently on the completed layers to distribute the cream evenly.

Combine the walnuts and buttered breadcrumbs. Remove the gratin from the oven, sprinkle with the breadcrumb-nut mixture, and bake until the top is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes before serving so that liquids will set and tighten the gratin. Cut into 9 squares and serve.

Roasted Green Beans with a Dill Vinaigrette (from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  •  
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Combine the green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the coarse salt; toss to coat.
  3. Roast the green beans in the preheated oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  4. Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, dill, and pepper together in a bowl; drizzle over the roasted green beans to serve.

Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Tomatoes and Chickpeas (from nytimes.com)

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise then cut in 1/2-inch slices

Salt to taste

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, grated or peeled, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of mint and parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and oil it with olive oil. Lay the eggplant slices on top. Salt lightly and brush with olive oil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until the eggplant is lightly browned and soft to the touch (the surface will be dry). Remove from the heat, and fold over the foil to make a packet around the eggplant slices. Allow them to soften and steam inside the foil for 15 minutes while you proceed with Step 2.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy lidded casserole or skillet. Add the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, salt to taste, sugar and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell very fragrant.

3. Add the eggplant, molasses and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should be thick and the eggplant should be very tender, melting into the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle on the parsley and/or mint, and serve. Alternately, allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: This dish keeps for three or four days in the refrigerator and tastes even better the day after you make it. Reheat gently in a skillet, or serve at room temperature.

 Roasted Eggplant (from bonapettit.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
  • 12 elephant garlic cloves or 24 large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

·         ingredient info

Elephant garlic, available at melissas.com, is a close relative of the leek and grows in heads about the size of a small grapefruit. The large cloves are very mild in flavor.

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 500°. Using a two-pronged fork, pierce eggplants at least 6 times per side (make sure to penetrate at least halfway through). Place eggplants and garlic in a large cast-iron skillet or other large heavy ovenproof skillet, pour oil over, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt.
  • Roast eggplants in oven until tender, charred, and slightly deflated, basting twice with skillet juices, 15-20 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes, then cut each in half lengthwise. Place eggplant halves and garlic cloves on a platter. Whisk honey into juices in skillet, then spoon mixture over eggplant and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Posted 10/19/2011 4:10pm by Amy Philson.

Sauteed Red Cabbage (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar, eyeball it
  • 2 rounded tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sauteing it until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and turn the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

 

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 2-pound red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Method

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, toss to coat evenly. Add vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, simmer until cabbage is tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8.

Kohlrabi Purée

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

Serves up to six

 

Look for kohlrabi bulbs that are about 2½ inches in diameter. Any larger and the skin may toughen and need to be peeled, and the insides can be woody. Freshly picked kohlrabi will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. You'll need both the bulb and the leaves for this recipe.

 

I've adapted the recipe slightly, mostly because I'm not the type of person who ever has 3 Tablespoons of chicken stock or 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice hanging around in the fridge. The mushrooms do add a nice flavor, but I've left them out before, and the purée still tasted delicious.

 

4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces cultivated mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas), quartered

3 Tablespoons cream (or milk, chicken stock, olive oil, or water)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peeling them if the skins seem tough. Rinse the leaves (discarding any that are yellow) pat them dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. But the bulbs into 1-inch chunks.

2. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.

4. Add the mushrooms and the reserved kohlrabi leaves to the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.

5. Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the mushroom mixture and the cream (or whatever substitute you're using). Purée until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Recipe source: FarmgirlFare.com

 

ROASTED KOHLRABI (from kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com)

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4 (smallish servings since roasted vegetables shrink so much)


1 1/2 pounds fresh kohlrabi, ends trimmed, thick green skin sliced off with a knife, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic (garlic is optional, to my taste)
Salt
Good vinegar

Set oven to 450F. Toss the diced kohlrabi with olive oil, garlic and salt in a bowl. (The kohlrabi can be tossed with oil and seasonings right on the pan but uses more oil.) Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and put into oven (it needn't be fully preheated) and roast for 30 - 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes after about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a good vinegar (probably at the table so the kohlrabi doesn't get squishy).

 

Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe (from summertomato.com)

Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 delicata squash, depending on size (~1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean the delicata squash by running under warm water and scrubbing away dirt with your hands. If there are any hard spots on the squash, you can scrape them off with a butter knife.

With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise. This should be easy and not require any crazy hacking. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (you can save these and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish). Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.

Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan and coat in 2 tbsp olive oil. Too much oil can make the squash soggy. Salt gently. It’s okay if the pieces are a little crowded, but try to maximize the surface area of the squash touching the pan. The browning only occurs where the squash and pan meet.

Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Using a spatula (I use tongs for most veggies, but delicata squash are easily squished and hold up better if you don’t pinch them) turn the squash in the pan so that the light sides are now touching the pan and the brown sides are facing upward.

Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt.

Serve as a side dish with the rest of your dinner.

Miso Harissa Delicata Squash (from 101cookbooks.com)

1/2 pound / 8 oz / 230 g small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried

3/4 pound / 12 oz / 340 g delicata squash
1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
scant 1/4 cup / 50 ml white miso
scant 1 tablespoon harissa paste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 ounce / 45 g kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped

4 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 ounces / 45g Marcona almonds, toasted pepitas, or other toasted nuts

Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C degrees. If the potatoes aren't tiny, slice them into pieces no larger than your thumb. Cut the delicata squash in half length-wise, and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch wide half-moons. You can leave the peel on these squash.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, miso, harissa. Place the potatoes and squash in a large bowl with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the miso-harissa oil. Use your hands to toss well, then turn everything out onto a baking sheet. Bake until everything is baked through and browned, about 25-30 minutes. Toss once or twice along the way after things start to brown a bit. Keep an eye on things though, you can go from browned to burned in a flash.

In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-harissa oil. Taste, it should be intensely flavorful, but if yours is too spicy or salty, you can dilute it with a bit more olive oil or lemon juice. Stir the kale into the leftover dressing and set aside.

Place the warm roasted vegetables in a bowl and toss with the kale mixture, radishes, and almonds.

Serves 2 to 4.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 30 min

 

Kale Grattin with Pancetta (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 pounds kale, stems stripped and chopped, about 6 cups
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the broiler but place the oven rack on the second shelf down from the heat source.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a deep skillet or pot, add the kale and salt and cook 5 to 6 minutes; drain and dry the greens.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and pancetta. Crisp the pancetta and add the cream and garlic. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper then reduce 7 to 8 minutes to about 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Add cooked greens to cream and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to shallow casserole.

Toss with breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Season the crumbs with salt and pepper and combine with cheese. Place the casserole on the second shelf under broiler and brown breadcrumbs and cheese for 5 minutes.

 

Massaged Kale Salad (from Foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons

Directions

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

 

Sausage, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Soup (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 (1.22-pound) package lean hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups chopped Swiss chard, stems removed
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Mini cornbread muffins, optional

Directions

In a large Dutch oven, cook the sausage, onions, and garlic over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned and crumbly, about 6 minutes. Drain, if necessary. Stir in the broth, Swiss chard, and beans. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until Swiss chard is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with mini cornbread muffins, if desired.

 

Swiss Chard and Sweet Pea Manicotti (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 12 manicotti or cannelloni pasta shells
  •  
  • Filling
  • 1 head (about 12 ounces) red or white Swiss chard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  •  
  • Fontina Fonduta Sauce
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups (6 ounces) fontina cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) mozzarella, shredded
  • Special Equipment: a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (recommended: Ateco #7)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish liberally with butter.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

For the Filling:

Using kitchen scissors or a knife, remove the leaves from the stems of the chard. Discard the stems. Chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chard and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Place the ricotta cheese, peas, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cooled chard mixture and blend until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry bag and fill each manicotti shell with the filling. Place the stuffed manicotti in the prepared baking dish.

For the Fontina Fonduta Sauce:

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk and cream to a simmer, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the fontina cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil.

Pour the sauce over the stuffed manicotti and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Posted 10/10/2011 3:36pm by Amy Philson.

Northwest PA Growers Co-op

 

October 2011

 

 

Fourth newsletter of the season!


Mother Earth News Fair!

The second annual Mother Earth News Fair was held at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs PA, September 24 and 25th .  There were over booths of crafts, food vendors, informational booths and more!  The entire resort was packed with booths inside and out with people enjoying the festivities.  There were also informational speakers presenting lectures about things from saving seeds, to hunting, to food preservation, and don’t forget about chicken whispering! There was also a stream of key note speakers who packed the Mother Earth News tent to the seams!  Joel Salatin spoke on our commercial food system and its backwards ways, getting hoots and hollers of support from the crowd.  It was a speech that was not to be missed by many at the fair!  The well-known Ed Begley Jr. was also there, letting people know that even the littlest thing like using compact fluorescent light bulbs can help change our energy consumption.  Both speakers were wonderful and really spoke to the different groups of people who flocked to the fair!  It was a weekend full of information and education! 


Featured Farm: Bushel and A Peck, Mercer PA!

An Interview with Amy and Eric Philson:

How long have you been farming?  When and why did you create Bushel and A Peck?  

We have been “officially” farming for three years, but we have always had a garden and have raised chickens and dairy goats for ourselves in the past.  We decided to grow things for sale because we wanted an endeavor that our entire family can be a part of.

Tell us something about your family life.

We are Eric and Amy, married for 22 years.  Eric is a stone mason by trade and is currently fabricating and installing granite countertops.  We have seven children:  Lee is almost 20, Joel is 16, Gwendolyn is 12, Emma is almost 9, Isobel is 6, Elisha is 4, and Eleanor is 22 months.  We homeschool our children, which includes learning how to work on a farm.  For us, education is a way of life, not an activity to fit into our daily schedule.

 

 


What kinds of animals do you raise? What do you use them for?
Right now, the only animals we have are our laying hens, a hive of honeybees and two cats.  We move our chickens to new grass every two days, resulting in rich, nutritious eggs and less grass to mow.  We raise pastured meat chickens, but we don’t currently have any.  We butcher our own chickens, with all of us taking on different jobs in the process.  Gwen’s favorite job is evisceration (degutting), so she’s our expert in that area.  At one point, we had 8 hives of bees, but we lost all but one in the past couple of years.  We plan to expand our hives again next year.  We have hopes of acquiring other animals, such as beef and dairy cows and sheep, but we haven’t made it that far yet.


 What do you grow in your gardens? 

We grow lots of vegetables and herbs…carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce, kale, melons, squashes…and basil, thyme, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, etc.  This year we planted about 1500 asparagus plants, so we hope to have lots of asparagus to share in the coming years.  And we finally started our own blueberry and raspberry patches after wishing for several years.

This year we stopped using plastic mulch to plant in, and we’re transitioning to no-till farming.  This is healthier for the soil and uses fewer non-renewable resources.  However, it does produce more weeds, so we’ve been busy all summer trying to keep ahead.


In the last few years, we have been learning a great deal about nutrition and the huge effect that healthy soil has on the nutrition in plants.  We’ve begun fermenting foods and also learning about wild edible plants (I can’t believe all the “weeds” that we used to pull up are actually some of the most nutritious foods!).  Like I said, when education is a way of life, there’s no end to what we can learn.

Besides growing, we also have a passion for good bread.  We make all of our own bread, and we also sell some through the co-op.  The soaked whole grain bread that I make is my family’s everyday bread.  We grind our flour fresh using a stone grinder.  I soak the grains for 12 hours before making the bread because this reduces phytates.  All grains contain phytates, which inhibit the absorption of nutrients in our digestive tracts.  When phytates are reduced, our bodies can absorb nutrients from the grains instead of just passing them through our systems.  The end result is similar to sprouted grains and sourdough, but through a different process. 

 


Since this is a family farm, what do the kids do to help?

The kids do everything to help!  They help in sowing seed in the late winter/early spring, preparing the gardens, planting, weeding (which some of them complain about), harvesting (please, mom, not beans again!), caring for chickens, collecting eggs, butchering, and anything else that needs done.  Like I said, this is a family endeavor, so everyone has to help out.

 

Do you have a favorite recipe that is easy to make for those busy evenings when you have had a full day with the kids and on the farm?

Since we try to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods at all costs, there really aren’t many quick meals.  Real food takes more time to make, but there are ways to get dinner on the table quickly when I need to.  I usually have various kinds of dried beans cooked and frozen to use for quick meals.  I often cook a few chickens and freeze some of the meat and chicken stock for a future meal.  And we can lots of foods like spaghetti sauce.  I bake our bread 8 loaves at a time, so I usually have some bread in the freezer.  And for a really quick meal, we have an omelet with garden produce in it.

For a quick lunch that my entire family loves, I make black bean dip from beans that I have in the freezer.  I serve it with fresh veggies and/or tortilla chips.  It’s similar to hummus, but with different flavors.

Black Bean Dip

4 c. black beans, cooked (I think this is equivalent to 2 cans for those who buy canned beans)

½ c. water

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cumin

1 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

½ tsp. Garlic powder

½ tsp. Onion powder

Put everything in a food processor and blend.  Simple and delicious.


Do you have any short term or long term goals for your farm?

 We have lots of goals for our farm, way more than we can possibly accomplish.  We are working on becoming more and more self-sufficient, making more of what we use and doing without what we don’t need.  We want to raise livestock both for ourselves and to sell.  We want to build a bake oven and expand our offerings of bread.  We want to share with others the things we’re learning about nutrition and disease.  Most of all, we want to teach our children how to work and how to care for the land that God has given us.


Upcoming Event at Jennings Environmental Center!

Fall Mushroom Walk

Sunday, October 16, 2:00 p.m.

Like fruits and vegetables, many of Pennsylvania’s mushrooms emerge and grow seasonally.  Join mushroom enthusiast Ron Donlan for a brief indoor introduction followed by an outdoor walk to search for and identify fall favorites.  Beginners or veterans of past mushroom programs (ages 12 and up) are welcome.  There is no fee for this program, but participation will be limited in order to keep the group to a manageable size.  Pre-registration is requested by Wednesday, October 12, either online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp or by calling 724-794-6011.


Another Upcoming Event!

Western PA Regional

Shared Commercial Kitchen Roundtable

 

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture in collaboration with :

 

October 29, 2011 10:00am-4:00pm Slippery Rock University

 

Location:

Slippery Rock University

Russell Wright Alumni House

and Conference Center

1 Morrow Way

Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Cost: $15.00

(Lunch Included)

Registration:

On-line at

www.pasafarming.org/roundtable

Or contact Leah Smith at leah@pasafarming.org

412-365-2985

 

Through sharing presentations and discussion, gain a broader perspective on the development of shared commercial kitchens in the region and connect with others to coordinate and collaborate efforts. Learn more about what shared commercial kitchens are and some of the best management practices for the sustainability of shared commercial kitchens.

 Shared Commercial Kitchen Roundtable Agenda

10:00-10:30 Introductions

10:30-11:30 Winifred McGee, Penn State Extension, Lebanon County Understanding the Context for Shared Commercial Kitchen Development and Some Best Practices and Lessons Learned

11:30-12:15 Jim Converse and Pat Rosenthal, Youngstown, OH Northeast Ohio Food Hub, Shared Use Commercial Kitchen Incubator: Survey Research for Planning and Development

12:15-1:15 Lunch

1:15-2:00 Maggie Horne, SBDC Gannon University, Mercer County Regional Food Venture of Munnel Run Farm: Creating a Feasibility Plan and Business Plan

2:00-2:45 Joe Bute, Hollymead Capital Partners, LLC Republic Enterprise Center in Fayette County: Developing a Financing Strategy

2:45-4:00 Open Roundtable Discussion, Facilitated by Professor John Golden, Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, Slippery Rock University

 

More Opportunities to Network and Learn!

Penn State Extension Food for Profit Friday, October 28 9:00 am-4:00pm Slippery Rock University University Union

Local Food and Farming Meet & Greet Friday, October 28 5:00pm-8:00pm North Country Brewing, Slippery Rock, PA

 

New Manager Hours

The manager, Sarah Johnston, will be instilling "manager hours" in which she will be answering phone calls and emails.  Weekdays, she will be answering emails and calls from 5pm to 9pm.  Please be paitient if she does not get to your email right away, but your concerns or questions will be responded to as quickly as possible.  

 

Winter Market Kick-Off Event to Happen November 9, 2011

The Winter Market starts Novemeber 9, 2011, which is the Wednesday after the Summer CSA ends November 2, 2011.  Sign up now to enjoy the winter season with the NWPAGC!  Just navigate to our webpage and go to the "CSA & Winter Market" tab along the top.  All the information you need is in that tab - just print out the form, sign it and send a check to the manager, Sarah Johnston at the address listed.  You won't want to be left out of this winter season's goodies! 

The kick-off event will be a farmer's market style event, where our farmers will set up a table with their products on it. You will be able to meet the farmers, see the product and visit with other customers!  This will be an event you won't want to miss!

Posted 9/28/2011 4:23pm by Amy Philson.

Butternut Squash:

 How to Store: This hardy squash can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.

 

Butternut Squash Soup (from marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 3/4 pounds small butternut squash, prepared and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Sour cream, (optional)
  • Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes.
  2. Puree soup in two batches. When blending hot foods, allow the heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover with a dish towel. Stir in juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve hot, with sour cream, pepper, and pumpkin seeds, if desired.


Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash (from marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  3. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.


Acorn Squash:

How to Store: The squash's sturdy exterior allows it to be stored at room temperature for up to one month, or longer if kept in a cool, dark place.


Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Butter (from marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), unpeeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange on sheet, cut side down, and roast until easily pierced with a paring knife, 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately pour into a small bowl; stir in cinnamon. Place squash on a serving platter; top with cinnamon butter.


Wild Rice Stuffed Squash (from marthastewart.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 box (6 ounces) wild-rice blend (seasoning packet discarded)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add shallot, garlic, and sage; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and 1 3/4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, without stirring, about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove rice from heat, and stir in cherries and pecans; season stuffing with salt and pepper. Season the inside of each squash half with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, mound stuffing into halves, and serve.

 

Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 5 packed cups (5 ounces) arugula
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  •  

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, beans, red onion, and capers.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in the oil until smooth and combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Serve.


Baked Potatoes with Sausage and Arugula (from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
  • 1/2 pound sweet or spicy Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato-basil or marinara sauce
  • 3 cups baby arugula or spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 baked russet potatoes, 8 to 10 ounces each (see Cook's Note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the sausage and break up the meat into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and arugula. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the arugula has wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until the mixture forms a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut a slit in the top of each baked potato and gently squeeze the ends to form an opening in the top. Spoon the sausage sauce into each potato. Garnish with parsley.

Cook's Note: To bake the potatoes: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a fork, prick the skins of the potatoes all over. Wrap each potato in foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. To cook the potatoes in a microwave: Using a fork, prick the skins of the potatoes all over. Place 2 potatoes at a time on a dinner plate. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and microwave until soft, 6 to 8 more minutes.

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lenthwise
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges or 4 or 5 slices
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups or more of vegetable broth*
  • 4 cups of finely chopped kale
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz can of Great Northern white beans, drained

If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F (reduce heat by 25°F if using convection oven). Brush rimmed baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil. Arrange carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion, and garlic on sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables until they are brown and tender, stirring occassionally, about 45 minutes.

2 Cut squash and carrots into 1/2 inch pieces; set aside. Peel garlic cloves; place in food processor. Add tomatoes and onion; puree until almost smooth. Pour 1/2 cup broth onto the baking sheet; scrape up any browned bits. Transfer broth and vegetable puree to large pot. Add 5 1/2 cups broth, kale, thyme and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 30 minutes.

3 Add carrots, beans, and squash to soup. Simmer 8 minutes to blend flavors, adding more broth to thin soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Can be made a day ahead. Serves six.


Kale Sauté Recipe (from hubpages.com)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup butter

2 heads of kale

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter. While the oil and butter are heated, remove the kale leaves from their stems. Cut the leaves horizontally into strips about 2 inches wide. When the butter is completely melted, stir in the chopped kale leaves. Add the nutmeg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring constantly for five minutes.


Green Cabbage and Apple Saute (from food.com)

  • 3 lbs head green cabbage, halved cored and coarsely shredded (12 cups)
  • 1 cup riesling wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled halved, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the wine, lemon juice and sugar. Let marinate for 1 hour, tossing often.

In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and its marinade and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the apples and toss well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Winter Cabbage Salad (from tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring the first six ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onions and peppers. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yield: 16-20 servings.
Posted 9/21/2011 4:14pm by Amy Philson.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES (from cooks.com)

 

6 large Russet potatoes
1/4 lb. grated cheddar
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chives, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
paprika, for sprinkling
olive oil
coarse salt

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

 

Scrub and wash potatoes very well using a vegetable brush. Dry with a paper towel and rub with olive oil; sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.

Bake potatoes in oven for about an hour, or until fork tender. Allow potatoes to cool until they can be handled but are still hot; about 10 minutes.

Using a melon baller or a sharp spoon, cut an oblong hole in the top of the potato. (You may need a clean dish towel or mitts to handle the potatoes.) Try to preserve the cut out top. Using the spoon, scoop out as much of the potato pulp as you can, leaving the side walls intact.

Return the shells to the hot oven for another 10 minutes to crisp. Meanwhile, mash the potato pulp using a potato masher, adding butter, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, cream, yogurt or sour cream, cheddar (save a little cheese for the top) and other seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Spoon the mixture into the potato shells until heaping full and return them to the oven. Sprinkle tops with cheese and paprika.

Bake in 425°F oven (on top rack) until tops are golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

 

 

Classic Potato Gratin (from finecooking.com)

 

2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups whipping or heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).

Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don't break up the slices).

When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don't want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Don't worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit. Before serving, let the potatoes cool until they're very warm but not hot (at least 15 minutes) or serve them at room temperature.

Pasta with Tuna, Arugula, and Hot Pepper Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried fettuccine, spaghetti or linguine (use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, or more to taste, finely minced
  • Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound baby arugula

Method

1 Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and boil until al dente.

2 While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant and sizzling. Add tuna and shred it into fine flakes with a fork. Season with salt. Keep warm over low heat.


3 Just before the pasta is ready, set aside 1 cup of boiling water. Drain pasta and return it to the warm pot set over moderate heat. Depending on the size of your pot and skillet, either add the arugula and the tuna mixture to the pasta in the pasta pot, or add the drained pasta to the skillet with the tuna mixture and add the arugula. Toss vigorously with tongs, moistening with some of the reserved pasta water. The arugula will wilt in the heat of the pasta. Divide among warm bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Arugula Pesto Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

1 Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels on in a skillet over medium high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in places, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins.

2 Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown, or heat in a microwave on high heat for a minute or two until you get that roasted flavor. In our microwave it takes 2 minutes.

3a Food processor method (the fast way): Combine the arugula, salt, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

3b Mortar and pestle method: Combine the nuts, salt and garlic in a mortar. With the pestle, grind until smooth. Add the cheese and olive oil, grind again until smooth. Finely chop the arugula and add it to the mortar. Grind up with the other ingredients until smooth.

Because the pesto is so dependent on the individual ingredients, and the strength of the ingredients depends on the season or variety, test it and add more of the ingredients to taste.

Serve with pasta, over freshly roasted potatoes, or as a sauce for pizza.

Yield: Makes 1 heaping cup.

 

Caponata, Eggplant Relish Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

Our version of caponata is diced fine, like a relish. Serve it on toasted or grilled bread, or with pasta or polenta.

Ingredients

  • 1 globe eggplant - about 1 lb, diced
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4-6 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp small capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil

Method

1 Toss the diced eggplant with about 2 tablespoons salt and put into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate that just about fits the bowl and weigh it down with a heavy can. Let this sit for 1 hour. Drain the eggplant, rinse with fresh water and pat dry with paper towels.

2 Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3 Wipe the pan with a paper towel, turn the heat to high and add the remaining olive oil. Let this heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add the eggplant and spread it out in as thin a layer as you can in the skillet. Let this sizzle for 1-2 minutes before stirring, then let it sit for a full minute before stirring again. Cook like this for 5-6 minutes.

4 Add the onion-celery mixture, the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, capers and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Add the vinegar, sugar and tomato paste and stir once more. Cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is very soft, about 8 minutes.

5 Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Caponata can be refrigerated, covered, up to 5 days.

Yield: Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs plum tomatoes (about 12), tough stem point removed, and tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs of eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Method

1 Preheat oven to 425°F, with racks on top and bottom of the oven. On one rimmed baking sheet, toss together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer, with the tomatoes cut sides down.

2 On another rimmed baking sheet, toss together the eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, remaining 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place both sheets in oven (tomato mixture on the top rack). Roast until tender, about 45 minutes, tossing the mixtures halfway through.

3 Using tongs, peel off and discard the tomato skins. Purée tomato mixture (including the juices) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large pot. Stir in the eggplant mixture; thin with 3 to 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve, sprinkled with cilantro; garnish with toasted bread if desired.

Yield: Serves 6.

 

Blanching Green Beans (from greenbeansnmore.com)

The freshest of green beans deserve the simplest presentation. A lot of people prefer their green beans just blanched and served with salt, pepper and butter. This is the best way to enjoy the taste of very fresh green beans. Some recipes, such as cold salads that use green beans call for blanched greens beans.

Definition of blanch: This term means to plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables, lets you easily peel fruits, and slip the skins off nuts. The food does not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved. Courtesy of busycooks.about.com:

 

Green Bean and Mushroom Medley (from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 carrots, cut into thick strips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Directions

  1. Place green beans and carrots in 1 inch of boiling water. Cover, and cook until tender but still firm. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until almost tender. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, carrots, salt, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Posted 9/21/2011 7:59am by Amy Philson.

Check out these upcoming fall programs offered by Jennings Environmental Education Center:

(Call 724-794-6011 for more registrations or more information.)

 

Ohio River Watershed Celebration; Networking Cruise

Thursday, September 22, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Spend the afternoon sailing Pittsburgh's three rivers aboard the Gateway Clipper’s largest boat, the “Majestic”.  This FREE cruise is a regional celebration of environmental accomplishments occurring within the Ohio River Watershed and is open to the public.  Jennings is proud to be a partner and supporter of this informative and entertaining event, which attracted over 800 people last year!  The cruise is designed for adults over the age of 18 who want to learn more about the Ohio River Watershed via displays, presentations and interaction with conservation and watershed related groups, businesses and individuals.


National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 24, 9:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Jennings is looking for interested folks willing to spend a fall day pitching in at the park to celebrate the 16th annual National Public Lands Day. Volunteers will work on several projects related to trail construction and maintenance, painting and staining. Participants must be age 12 or older and must pre-register for the program no later than September 16, either online via the DCNR Calendar of Events (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp) or by contacting the Center at 724-794-6011. As a special thank you, lunch will be provided and each participant will receive a commemorative T-shirt!

 

Wood Duck Workshop

Wednesday, September 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m

Habitat loss is a leading cause of the decline of certain animal species.  Bring the family and take part in “giving back” to wildlife.  An informal pizza dinner will be provided, while participants learn about wood ducks, take a short walk to view their habitat and then construct a nest box to take home or to donate. Program cost is $20 per each box that an individual or family wishes to build; dinner for everyone is included.  Pre-registration required by September 25.  Register either online via the DCNR Calendar of Events (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp) or by contacting the Center at 724-794-6011.

 

Wings over Water

Saturday, October 9, 9:00 a.m. – ~2:00 p.m.

Recreational kayaking can be an enjoyable experience. Jennings will be hosting our first of many seasonal kayaking trips along a tranquil reach of Slippery Rock Creek. While kayaking, participants will have opportunities to enjoy the many species of birds that inhabit the area. All necessary equipment and a creek-side hot lunch will be provided during this four hour paddle. Program cost is $10 and space is limited. Registration begins September 27th at 9:00am, and space is very limited. If interested contact the Center at 724-794-6011.

 

Fall Mushroom Walk

Sunday, October 16, 2:00 p.m.

Like fruits and vegetables, many of Pennsylvania’s mushrooms emerge and grow seasonally.  Join mushroom enthusiast Ron Donlan for a brief indoor introduction followed by an outdoor walk to search for and identify fall favorites.  Beginners or veterans of past mushroom programs (ages 12 and up) are welcome.  There is no fee for this program, but participation will be limited in order to keep the group to a manageable size.  Pre-registration is requested by Wednesday, October 12, either online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp or by calling 724-794-6011.


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