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Archive for July, 2010

We took advantage of the long 4th of July weekend and went up to my parents’ house in NY, aka “Camp Croton”- because going there is like “summer camp” for our city dog, Bailey, with all of the hiking, swimming, and playing he does, not to mention the treats (Dad…).  It’s also like “camp” for us humans too (for all of the same reasons) so the name has stuck! This time, in addition to hammocking (yes, it’s a verb), swimming, canoeing, and indulging in whatever delicious baked goods my mother decided to make that day, we took a day trip to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY and took a pesto making class! Stone Barns is a “farm” (which is a complete understatement) that also has an education center, hiking grounds, cooking classes, and a farmer’s market. Its mission is “to celebrate, teach and advance community-based food production and enjoyment, from farm to classroom to table.”  

The Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant is also on the property, which doesn’t have an actual menu but instead offers a 5 or 8 course dinner customized by the chef based on the table’s preferences and what is fresh and seasonal that day. We snuck a peek inside and it looked like they were setting up for a wedding that day! We opted for iced tea and scones at the less formal, but equally lovely (not mention more financially appropriate), Blue Hill Cafe. 🙂

But first, we met our group and learned how to make farm fresh pesto! 

 The first stop was the drying cellar where the garlic is stored. We selected a number of cloves- I had no idea how many varieties of garlic there are! We did a tasting but to be honest, I couldn’t really tell the difference. The type we used for the pesto was Music Garlic.

Next stop was the garden where we picked our fresh basil…

Then we headed into the kitchen/classroom where we split up into groups and were assigned tasks.

We got off easy- our job was slicing the bread!

The instructor put all of the ingredients into a blender and then  passed the pesto around for everyone to taste.

The product of our hard work! 🙂  

At the end of the class each person received a bulb of garlic to take home and plant, store, or eat!

On the way out we saw this sign posted on the wall and thought it was hysterical!

We hiked around the property afterwards and found these guys out in the pasture.

They didn’t look like they were moving anywhere (sorry, lea…).

They handed out recipe cards at the end of class which included a number of different pesto recipes. One that caught my attention when the instructor mentioned it was Kale Pesto. As luck would have it, we received a huge bunch of kale in our CSA delivery the next week. Naturally, we decided to make Kale Pesto! So we got ourselves a crusty loaf of bread, dusted off the blender, and employed our newly honed pesto making skills to make this electric GREEN Kale Pesto: 

Kale Pesto

  • ¼- ½ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • ½ -1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped (2-3 bunches)
  • 1 cup basil (1 large bunch)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients except oil to blender or food processor and blend until combined. Slowly drizzle in oil and continue to blend until you reach the desired consistency. *my note: all measurements are really just estimates and depend on your personal taste-if you like it spicy, add more garlic; if you like a more chunky pesto, use less oil; etc… I want to try it with walnuts next time!  

In addition to just slathering it on bread and devouring enjoying it, we also made a simple pesto pasta by tossing it with some cherry tomatoes (from our garden!) and spaghetti rigate. I mention the pasta type because this kind has little ridges in the spaghetti which really catch and hold onto the pesto! Delicious!

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Last week, we received a large bunch of leafy mustard greens in our CSA bag. I’ve never had mustard greens before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I rinsed the greens and took a bite- whoa! it was spicy! I didn’t expect that. So I did a little research and found this recipe for a bulgur salad with dates that seemed like a good way to compliment the bitter, spicy green. It was delicious! I will definitely make this again this summer. It’s an easy recipe to modify too- I made a number of changes including using buckwheat instead of bulgur (because it’s what I had in the pantry); I added chick peas (for more satiety/protein); and sprinkled freshly grated parm on top (just because!). I imagine this would work with kale or swiss chard too, but I think the mustard greens and the dates are a magic combo!  

   

Mustard Greens and Bulgar

from EatingWell (January/February 2008)  

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (I used buckwheat, but any grain would probably work)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 can chick peas, optional (I threw these in for extra protein)
  • 6 teaspoons walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I used evoo)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 12 cups thinly sliced mustard greens, (about 1 bunch), tough stems removed
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates (I used ½ cup because I love dates!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese  

Directions

Prepare bulgur or buckwheat according to package directions. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cool water; drain. Toast walnuts in a small pan over medium-low heat, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes (I did this is the toaster oven).

Place 5 teaspoons oil and shallots in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the shallots start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add mustard greens, dates and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the water evaporates (add another tablespoon of water if the pan is dry before the greens are tender), about 4 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt and the prepared bulgur or buckwheat; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, sprinkle with the walnuts and grated parm before serving.

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