FMG41416

Farmers Market Box 4-14-16

This weeks local produce and featured farms:
Dried Red Hidasta BeansMilliken Family Farm
StrawberriesBe Wise Ranch
CeleryBe Wise Ranch
Chicory Treviso – Coleman Family Farm
Red Russian KaleBlack Sheep Produce
LeeksTutti Frutti Farms
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – The Garden Of….
Sugar Snap Peas Kong Thao Farm
Red Forno BeetsBlack Sheep Produce
Tango TangerinesPolito Family Farm

Organic Juicing Bag:
Red Beets – Lakeside Oragnic Gardens
Fennel – Cal Organics
Carrots – Cal Organics
Romaine Lettuce – Lakeside Organic Gardens
Green Kale – Babe Farms

Farmer’s Choice:
Fava Beans – Coastal Farm
Pakistan Mulberries – Forbidden Fruit Orchards
Oro Blanco GrapefruitKoral’s Tropical Fruit Farm

Feature:

Lyon Artichokes – Life’s A Choke Farm

Check out our YouTube Video highlighting all the produce in this weeks FMB:

Click here to Watch Video on YouTube

Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #specialtyproduceFMB or share them with the FMB community on our facebook page http://facebook.com/specialtyproduce!

When it’s about food…#specialtyproduce

Click the links above & search for products on our website with recipes attached

Below are some great recipes for you to try out with the produce from your box/bag. Let us know on our Facebook Page or through twitter if you tried any of them with the hastag #SpecialtyProduceFMB!

Juice Recipes
Courtesy of Drew Canole of Fitlife.tv

Green Delight
1 Fennel
1 Green Kale
1 Roman Lettuce
1/2 lemon

Beetlisouse
1 Red Beets
1 Fennel
1 Roman Lettuce

Fantastic Kale
1 Carrot
A Bunch of Green Kale
1 Fennel
1 Cucumber

Specialty Produce Recipe Suggestions
courtesy of Diane Phillips (Cucina Divina)

Celery, Pecorino and Walnut Salad
Serves 4 to 6

One large head of celery
1 cup pecorino cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (see note)
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove any outer stalks of celery that are damaged, or very tough. Remove any tough strings for the celery stalks, and discard.
2. Chop the celery into 1/2-inch slices, including the leaves, and put into a mixing bowl.
3. Add the cheese and walnuts, and toss with the olive oil. Depending on how much celery you have, you may need up to a cup of oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve.
4. Note about the cheese: If you can’t find a good pecorino cheese, I would recommend Parmigiano Reggiano as a substitute.

Celery Parmigiana

Quick Marinara
Makes about 3 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped sweet yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes with their juice
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

1. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil, over medium heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Use immediately, or cool, cover and refrigerated for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

For the Celery
2 bunches celery
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
8-ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Remove the tough outer stalks of celery, cut the root end and clean the celery. Cut into 4-inch pieces.
2. Bring the broth to a boil in large skillet, and simmer the celery for 5 minutes. It should still hold its shape and be al dente.
3. Drain thoroughly, pat dry, and set aside to cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon some of the marinara into the bottom of the pan for a thin layer.
5. Lay the celery into the pan, top with a thick layer of the sauce, and the mozzarella. Sprinkle with the Pecorino, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the sauce is bubbling.
6. Allow the parmigiana to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Red Beans and Rice
Serves 6
In New Orleans, this traditional dish is made on washday, simmering on the stove until the beans are tender. Although the traditional accompaniment is long grain rice, is also delicious spooned over polenta.

1 cup red beans, soaked overnight in cold water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound polish sausage, or Andouille sausage, cut into small dice
1 leek, finely chopped using the white and tender green part
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (plus more if needed)
3 cups cooked long grain rice
2 scallions, finely chopped for garnish

1. Rinse and drain the beans, and set aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil and saute the sausage to render the fat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, and saute the leek, garlic, cayenne, celery, carrots and thyme, until the leek is softened, about 2 minutes, stirring so that the cayenne doesn’t burn.
3. Add the beans, and toss in the vegetable mixture. Add the broth, and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer, partially covered for 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender, and the sauce is thickened.
5. Sometimes you may need additional broth so make sure to add more if your beans are sticking. Serve the red beans over the rice, garnish with scallions and serve with an assortment of hot sauces.


Forno Beet Strawberry Compote

Makes about 4 cups
I am currently at the American Academy in Rome studying their sustainable food project, and this is a compote that they make which is perfect to serve over yogurt, or plain cake, this compote can be frozen for up to 6 months.

One bunch Forno beets, scrubbed, and tops removed (save the tops to saute with garlic and olive oil)
1 1/2 cups hulled strawberries
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Put the beets on the baking sheet, cover and bake for 30 minutes (small beets) 40 minutes (medium beets) or 60 minutes for large beets.
2. Cool the beets, slip the skins off the beets, and coarsely chop into a Dutch oven.
3. Add the strawberries honey and juice bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the berries have given off some of their juice.
4. Cool slightly, using an immersion blender, puree the beets and berries. Adjust the taste using more honey or juice. Serve cold.

Treviso Tangerine Salad
Serves 4

One head Treviso, washed, spun dry and chopped
1 leek, finely chopped, using the white part only
2 tangerines, peeled, and separated into segments (if large, chop the segments)
1/4 cup tangerine or orange juice
2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Arrange the Treviso, leek and tangerines onto a platter.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil.
3. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the salad. Serve immediately.

Pasta with Purple Kale
Serves 2 to 4

One pound farfalle pasta, cooked 3 minutes short of al dente, saving some pasta water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, finely chopped, using the white and tender green parts
One bunch purple kale, tough stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
Salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the pancetta until crisp. Add the garlic and leek and cook another 2 minutes, until the leek begins to soften. Add the kale, and toss to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the broth, cover, and steam for 4 minutes, turning the kale until it is tender. Add the cream, bring to a boil, and taste for seasoning.
3. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and toss the pasta with the vegetables. Add 1 cup of the cheese, and toss again. Serve the pasta garnished with the remaining cheese.
4. Note: If you can’t find Asiago, Parmigiano Reggiano is a good substitute.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce with Sliced Strawberries and Toasted Almonds
Serves 4

One head red oak lettuce, washed, spun dry and separated into leaves
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 thin slices red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup toasted almonds (toast on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes)

1. Lay several of the leaves onto salad plates, top with some of the berries, and onion.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and oil, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salads, top with toasted almonds and serve.

Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Sugar Snap Peas
Serves 6

Vary the vegetables in the delicious salad, and add protein of your choice, whether it is leftover cooked chicken, pork or seafood.

1 pound linguine, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente, drained and cooled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed
3 scallions (white and tender green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 medium-size carrots cut into matchsticks (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. In a blender or food processor, process together the sesame oil, the vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and brown sugar until smooth. Taste for soy sauce and sugar.
2. Microwave the peas on High or plunge into boiling water for 1 minute. Shock in ice water, pat dry. Add the peas, scallions, carrots, 2 tablespoons of the peanuts, and 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds to the linguine. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
3. Do-Ahead: At this point, cover and refrigerate the salad and remaining dressing for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
4. One hour before serving, remove the salad from the refrigerator and toss with more dressing if needed.
5. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons of peanuts.

Farmers’ Choice:

Mulberry Oro Blanco Sangria

Serves 6 to 8

Serves 6
1 750 mL bottle Riesling
1 cup Oro Blanco grapefruit juice
1/2 cup simple syrup**
1 cups mulberries
1 grapefruit, cut into thin slices
1 750mL bottle Prosecco (or a dry champagne)

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the Riesling, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, mulberries and grapefruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
2. When ready to serve, put a slice of grapefruit into a wine glass, along with a few slices of strawberries. Pour some of the Sangria base into a wine glass, top off with Prosecco, and serve cold.
3. To Make Simple Syrup: Bring 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar to boil, and stir until the sugar is melted. Cool the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
4. For the Virgin version: Use white grape juice instead of Riesling, and sparkling water instead of Prosecco. It’s not bad 

Cacio Pepe with Fava Beans
Serves 6

1 pound fava beans, shelled
One pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 finely chopped mint for garnish

1. Bring 8 quarts of salted water to a boil in a pasta pentola.
2. Shell the fava beans and blanch in the water for 2 minutes. Drain, when cool enough to handle, slip off the tough outer skin of the beans. Discard skins and reserve beans on the side.
3. Add the pasta to the water and cook 3 minutes short of al dente.
4. In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil, add the fava beans, and toss in the butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. When the pasta is ready, drain it and toss it into the skillet adding 1 cup of Pecorino and some of the pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Sprinkle in the mint, and toss again.
6. Taste for seasoning and correct with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta garnished with the remaining grated cheese.

Feature:

Stuffed Lyon Artichokes
Serves 4

2 Lyon artichokes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup grated pecorino cheese
1⁄3 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Fill a large bowl with 8 cups cold water and add the lemon juice.
2. Cut the stems off the artichokes, and peel them until you reach the tender inside. Put into the lemon water.
3. Remove the tough outer leaves of the artichoke (the lower part of the leaves will begin to look lighter than the outside leaves) Cut 1/3 off the top of the artichoke. Put the artichoke into the water.
4. In a food processor, process the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic until the mixture begins to come together, the garlic and parsley are chopped.
5. Remove the artichoke from the water, and pat dry.
6. Separating the leaves, push some of the bread crumb mixture between the artichoke leaves. Continue to stuff the other artichoke.
7. In a small Dutch oven pour some of the lemon water into the bottom of the pan—it should be about 1-inch deep.
8. Sit the artichokes into the lemon water with the breading side up and add the peeled stems to the water.
9. Drizzle the artichokes with the olive oil, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer the artichokes for 35 to 45 minutes, until the tip of a paring knife slips easily into the heart of the artichoke.
10. Remove from the pan, and allow to rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes. The artichokes can be served warm or at room temperature.

Carciofi Alla Romano
Serves 4 to 6
Today at the American Academy, we made these, and they were so delicious. I think I cleaned 40 large purple artichokes, but you can make these with any artichoke.

2 Lyon artichokes
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
6 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs mint
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1. Fill a large bowl with 4 cups water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
2. Remove the tough outer leaves of the artichoke, and cut off the top 1/3 of the artichoke.
3. Using a knife, slice down the stem of the artichoke to remove the tough outer covering. Then using a swivel peeler, trim up the bottom of the artichoke, and down the stem. Then cut the artichoke into quarters, including the stem. Put into the lemon water. Repeat with the second artichoke.
4. In a large round pan, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil and the garlic. Heat the mixture until the garlic begins to look translucent. Arrange the artichokes in the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and arrange the parsley and mint springs on top. Cover and pan, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Remove from the pan, discard the parsley and mint sprigs and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon some of the pan juices over the artichokes, and sprinkle with mint and parsley.

Recipes provided by:
Diane Phillips www.dianephillips.com and www.cucinadivina.blogspot.com

Follow me on:
Facebook: Diane Phillips’ Blog of Cooking, Travel and Commentary
Twitter: @dianphillips
Pinterest: Diane Phillips

Download our FREE app HERE

Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #specialtyproduceFMB or share them with the FMB community on our facebook page http://facebook.com/specialtyproduce!

When it’s about food…#specialtyproduce

If you haven’t joined yet, you can order a bag for next week on our FMB page!

FMB4616

Farmers’ Market Box 4-7-2016

This weeks local produce and featured farms:
CilantroBe Wise Ranch
Rosemary Kong Thao Farm
Red Oak LettuceBlack Sheep Produce
Macadamia Nuts – Russell Family Farm
Cara Cara OrangesKen’s Top Notch Produce
Red RadishesBlack Sheep Produce
Natural Flame Raisins – Peacock Family Farms
Chiogga BeetsBe Wise Ranch
Green Kohlrabi Kong Thao Farm
Hon Shimeji ( Brown Beech) Mushrooms – Hotko Kinoko

Organic Juicing Bag:
Chinotto Oranges – 3 Nuts Farm
Fennel – Cal Organics
Carrots – Cal Organics
Celery – Foxy Organics
Green Kale – Babe Farms

Farmer’s Choice:
Rainbow Carrots – The Garden Of….
Persian Mint – Coleman Family Farm
Sugar Snap PeasBlack Sheep Produce

Feature:

Dried Apricot – Burkart Family Farm

Check out our YouTube Video highlighting all the produce in this weeks FMB:

Click here to Watch Video on YouTube

Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #specialtyproduceFMB or share them with the FMB community on our facebook page http://facebook.com/specialtyproduce!

When it’s about food…#specialtyproduce

Click the links above & search for products on our website with recipes attached

Below are some great recipes for you to try out with the produce from your box/bag. Let us know on our Facebook Page or through twitter if you tried any of them with the hastag #SpecialtyProduceFMB!

Juice Recipes
Courtesy of Drew Canole of Fitlife.tv

Chinotto Desire
1 handful of green kale
2 stalks of celery
1 chinotto orange

Fennel Delight
2 carrot
1 handful of green kale
1 bunches fennel
1 cucumber

Savory Red
1 bunches fennel
2 celery stalk
1 chinotto orange
1 beet

Specialty Produce Recipe Suggestions
courtesy of Diane Phillips (Cucina Divina)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 36

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 cups rolled oats, quick cooking or old-fashioned
1 cup flame raisins, chopped if large
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, line baking sheets with parchment, silicone, or aluminum foil
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until smooth, and the butter is incorporated.
3. Beat in the egg, and yolk, beating until smooth.
4. Add the baking soda, flour, rolled oats, raisins, and nuts, beating until the flour is just incorporated.
5. Using a portion scoop, scoop onto the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, reversing the baking sheets half way through the cooking time.
6. The cookies should be a pale brown color. Remove from the oven allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, and remove to cooling racks. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.
7. Cook’s note: the batter can be frozen into balls, then baked frozen for 15 to 20 minutes.

Curried Red Radish, Kohlrabi Slaw
Serves 4

One bunch red radishes, scrubbed, and cut into julienne
One Kohlrabi, peeled, and cut into julienne
2 scallions, finely chopped using the white and tender green parts
2 Cara Cara Oranges, peel and pith removed, cut into segments, then chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
Grated zest of one orange
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. In a bowl, combine the radish, Kohlrabi, scallions, and oranges.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice, vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil and cilantro.
3. Pour over the slaw and toss to mix. Serve cold.

Roasted Beet Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 thin slices prosciutto, cut into thin strips
One head red leaf lettuce, washed, spun dry and separated into leaves
One bunch chiogga beets, scrubbed and tops removed (save the greens to saute in olive oil with a bit of garlic, salt and pepper)
2 cara cara oranges, peel and pith removed, cut into slices, then into half moons
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and saute the prosciutto until it begins to turn crisp. Drain on paper toweling, and reserve.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and place the beets on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tender. (they will show no resistance when pierced with the end of a sharp paring knife)
3. Remove the beets from the oven; allow to cool, peel the beets.
4. Slice the beets, when they are cool, about 1/2-inch thick. Arrange some of the beets, and oranges onto the red leaf lettuce.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the salads, and garnish with the prosciutto.
6. If you would prefer a vegetarian option, you can crumble goat cheese, or shave some Parmigiano Reggiano over the salad.

Creamy Brown Beech Mushroom Soup
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Brown beach mushrooms, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chopped chives for garnish

1. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil, and butter, saute the garlic and onion, for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, and saute until they begin to color stirring frequently.
2. Add the flour and cook the flour for 2 minutes.
3. Gradually add the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
4. Add the cream, taste for seasoning, and adjust using salt and pepper.
5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender.
6. Serve garnished with chopped chives.

Cilantro Pesto
Makes about 2 cups (can be frozen)
This is a great pesto to have on hand, you can coat chicken breasts with it, and quickly saute them, making a pan sauce with broth and heavy cream; try tossing this into cooked rice, or vegetables, too. Since this is more of a paste, if you would like to drizzle this over vegetables, grilled meats, etc., whisk in more oil.

2 cups cilantro leaves, washed and spun dry (if the stems are tender, throw them in!)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil+ more for sealing
1 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1. In the bowl of a food processor, process the cilantro, garlic, cumin, and pine nuts on and off until everything is broken up.
2. With the machine running, add the oil, first adding 1/2 cup, and checking the consistency—it’s should hold together pretty well.
3. Remove from the work bowl, and stir in the cheese. Store the pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Rosemary Dijon Lamb Racks
Serves 4 to 6
Spring lamb is delicious, this dish is simple to put together; serve it with roasted asparagus, and goat cheese mashed potatoes.

Two racks of lamb (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Pierce the fat on the top and bottom of the racks of lamb, and put into a zip-lock bag.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining ingredients, and process until almost smooth.
3. Pour into the bag, seal, and move the racks to coat them with the marinade.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or the gas grill for 10 minutes.
5. Roast the racks for 15 to 20 minutes, until they register 140 on an instant read meat thermometer.
6. Alternatively, if you are using the grill, using indirect heat, place the racks onto the grill, cover, and cook until the racks reach 140 on an instant read meat thermometer.
7. Let rest for 10 minutes, and then cut into chops. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Farmers’ Choice:

Sugar Snap and Rainbow Carrot Salad
Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 bunch rainbow carrots, scrubbed, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
One pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
12 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained on paper towels, and crumbled
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives for garnish

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and oil; sauté the shallot, stirring, until it begins to soften.
2. Add the carrots and toss in the butter and oil, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp/tender.
3. Add the peas and cook another 2 minutes, tossing them together with the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large salad bowl and let the peas cool.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and Dijon mustard. Pour over the salad, toss to coat, add the bacon, and toss again. Serve garnished with chopped chives, or scallions.

Persian Mint Lemonade
Serves 8

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup packed Persian mint leaves
1 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
6 cups water
Lemon or lime slices for garnish

1. In a saucepan combine the sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and mint leaves, bring to a boil, and turn off the heat. Allow the mint leaves to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the simple syrup into a jar, and let cool.
2. When ready to serve, combine 1 cup of simple syrup with the lemon juice, and 6 cups water in a large pitcher. Stir until blended, add ice, serve garnished with lemon slices, and mint if desired.
3. Cook’s Note: You can use any citrus juice you like in this, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, or mix a few together. For an alcoholic version, reduce the water to 4 cups and add 2 cups of Vodka.

Cucumber Mint Salsa
Makes about 3 cups
Delicious with lamb, and poultry, this is a refreshing salsa to serve on the side.

1 European cucumber, cut into ½-inch dice
2 green onions, chopped, using some of the green part
½ cup packed mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch cayenne

1. In a small glass bowl, stir together the cucumber, onion, mint, vinegar, oil, parsley, salt, sugar and cayenne.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Toss again, and serve cold.

Feature:

Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine with Dried Apricots
Serves 6

8 chicken thighs, skin and bones removed
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup dried apricots cut into quarters if large
½ cup dried plums (see savvy)
½ cup orange juice
1 ½ cups chicken broth
Grated zest of one orange
¼ cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups cooked couscous

1. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and cayenne. Heat the oil in large skillet, and brown the chicken a few pieces at a time.
2. Transfer the browned chicken to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker.
3. Add the onion, turmeric, garlic, cumin, and brown sugar to the skillet, and sauté until the onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
4. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the insert, and add the apricots, plums, orange juice, broth and orange juice.
5. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours on low until the chicken is tender, and the fruit is plump.
6. Stir in the cornstarch and cook another 30 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Serve the chicken and fruit with the sauce over a bed of couscous or rice.
7. Slow Cooker Savvy: To prevent the apricots from sticking to your knife, spray the knife with non-stick cooking spray.
8. More Dried Fruit Savvy: Dried plums are really prunes, but the prune people decided that prunes had gotten a bad rap and they now call them dried plums!

Praline Apricot Crumble Bars
Serves 6 to 8

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pound dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Amaretto di Saronno (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and sugar together, then pulse the butter with the flour and sugar, on and off 6 to 7 times until the mixture begins to come together, transfer to a bowl, and combine with the pecans. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
3. In a saucepan, combine the apricots with the water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the mixture has a jam-like consistency, this should take about 15 minutes. Add the Amaretto if using, and spread the mixture over the crust. Crumble the rest of the flour/pecan mixture over the top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow the bars to cool before cutting into squares.

Recipes provided by:
Diane Phillips www.dianephillips.com and www.cucinadivina.blogspot.com

Follow me on:
Facebook: Diane Phillips’ Blog of Cooking, Travel and Commentary
Twitter: @dianphillips
Pinterest: Diane Phillips

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