Archive | June, 2012

Kernel Knowledge

28 Jun

Peaches, blueberries, parades, grilled chicken, sun-kissed cheeks, lemonade, fireworks, and corn — the perfect recipe for the 4th of July.

We hope our Farm Table readers survived the nasty storm that blew through Virginia earlier this week, and that you survive the sweltering heat we expect this weekend. We have two fabulous recipes for you to try with the corn that arrived in your box, just in time for Independence Day, or to distract you from the weather. Corn is one of the most versatile foods we consume, and so much has been done throughout history to use up the cob, silk, stalks, leaves, husks, and the corn kernels. We hope you enjoy the recipes below, and look forward to sharing a recipe in a future post for a corn, cheese, and potato chowder that you can save for a rainy day.

While celebrating the purpose of our upcoming holiday, please also remember our farmers, most of whom will likely be working on the 4th, while the rest of us enjoy a festive summer day eating the food they have labored over.

Thank you, indeed.

What are your food plans for the 4th of July? Do tell!

Curt’s Grilled Corn with Zested Lime

This lip-smacking recipe comes from my brother-in-law in Oregon, and is enough for 3-4 ears of corn. This recipe is so good I could eat all 4 ears in one sitting. The only change I would make is buying more corn and doubling the recipe!


  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt, Curt insists on a good quality salt (not your everyday Morton’s)
  • Pepper, freshly ground


  • After the ears are husked, soak them in water while you prep the remaining ingredients
  • Zest your lime, and juice it
  • Add fresh ground pepper to the lime juice
  • Add the lemon zest, chili powder, and salt to the juice
  • Stir well
  • Brush on the corn as you grill it

Excellent with an ice-cold microbrew, or for our teetotalers out there, freshly squeezed lemonade. 

Simple. Healthy. Delicious.

Black Bean & Corn Salad


  • 2 cups fresh or grilled corn, cut off of the cob (approximately 4 ears of corn)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 lime juiced (you can substitute 1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, if you prefer it over lime juice)
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional, but suggested: 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1-2 tsp of Tabasco sauce (or to taste)


  • Combine corn, black beans, bell pepper, and onion in a serving bowl
  • In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, minced garlic, salt and pepper
  • Drizzle lime juice mixture over the black bean and corn mixture and toss well
  • Chill and serve

You can amp this recipe up a few notches by adding  3 large tomatoes (diced), the tops of 3 scallions (chopped), Cotija or Feta cheese (approx 3 oz), and lay the black bean and corn mixture over a bed of greens. 

We sure hope to see you at our next Farm Table Event. You can RSVP HERE if you have not already. 

Seasonal Soup & Bread at D’Lish Bakery and Cafe

25 Jun

In case you missed our last Farm Table event, here is another chance to participate in your food community. 

Join us for an evening of light, seasonal fare at D’lish Bakery and Cafe in Chester this Friday, June 29th from 5:30-7:00pm. Members of The Farm Table will enjoy soup and bread prepared from local produce provided by The Farm Table, dished into fantastic creations by the chefs at D’lish. Cost is $5/person.

Any guests interested in joining The Farm Table will receive a discount on membership during the evening. 

You can view and RSVP to the EVITE HERE.

Be sure to check in later this week for some tasty and versatile recipes focusing on the amazing bounty of corn coming your way, just in time for the 4th of July!

Get to Know: The Farm Table Blogger and a Giveaway!

13 Jun

As part of our Get to Know series, we would like to introduce you to our Farm Table Blogger, Michele Schwartz:

I am originally from the Pacific Northwest (a proud Oregonian and OSU alumnus), and made my way to Richmond nearly two years ago after spending 6 years in the Sonoran Desert, where my husband completed his graduate work at the UA in Tucson before taking his current position at VCU. I spent 10 years serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and 6 of those years at The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault before taking on my new role as a stay-at-home Mom for our 4-year-old daughter, and 18-month-old son; we are eager to greet our newest family member, another son, this September. I have been blogging for 4 years, and joined The Farm Table at the beginning of this season.

I became a Farm Table member last year when a neighbor encouraged me to sign up. I was pleased with the variety of food that came each week, enjoyed the exposure to new produce, and the challenge of trying out seasonal recipes which have sparked my creativity, and improved the way we eat in our home. My husband is an avid gardener, so between what we receive in our box each week, and what he harvests from our garden, we enjoy the bounty it brings and our ability to share it with others. While I am not too keen on the actual gardening part of food production, (I like the idea of it, just not the actual humidity and mosquitos one must endure while putting in the work), I really enjoy cooking what comes out of the garden. 

We encourage our daughter to participate in the preparation of our food, and although as a 4-yea-old she insists she “doesn’t like” most of the food we pass around the table (regardless of whether or not she’s ever tried it!), we know that the exposure to whole foods, and family participation in preparing it will pay off in a big way someday. This is what we’ve enjoyed most about being members of The Farm Table.

Among many other favorite dishes, we enjoy our weekly homemade pizza night, Escabeche (my husband’s signature dish — a recipe we’ll share with you in the future), and our go-to recipe, Red Beans and Rice. In leaner times, when we were just “getting started,” this side was a staple in our home. We typically pair it with some kind of grilled sausage or chicken, a salad, and homemade corn bread. The lemon juice counteracts the chili powder, so don’t be afraid to try this recipe if you have an aversion to spicy food.

I especially like preparing Red Beans and Rice with Santa Cruz Chili Powder from Tumacacori, Arizona, a spice I found during our time living in Tucson. Used in many Mexican dishes, this Chili powder is bright orange in color, and offers a rich flavor to most dishes. A dear friend from the desert sent me a carton recently, along with an extra one to share with one lucky Farm Table member.

To enter to win this giveaway, please follow our blog by entering your email address under the “Follow The Tractor” heading on your right ,and then comment on this post to let me know you are following the blog by 9:00pm (EST) on June 17, 2012. The winner will be announced by June 24th and the Chili Powder will be added to your Farm Table delivered box.

Congratulations to Joi Lenczowski who was randomly chosen to win our blog giveaway. The Santa Cruz Chili Powder will be routed to your Farm Table delivered box. Thanks everyone for participating!

Tumacacori Red Beans & Rice


  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup medium or long grain white rice
  • 3 Tbs Chili Powder (I say more!)
  • 1 Tbs chopped Basil
  • 1 Tbs chopped Oregano (or substitute the Basil and Oregano with a few tsp of fresh Cilantro, but not too much as this will overpower the dish)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (1 can)
  • 1 can dark red Kidney Beans, rinsed and placed in a bowl
  • Half of a large lemon, juiced 


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium, add onions and saute until translucent.
  • Add garlic and rice, stirring often, careful not to burn the garlic and rice.
  • Add the Chili Powder. I suggest starting with 3 Tbs, but I prefer more – make the rice dirty! Add half of the basil and oregano.
  • Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer on medium/medium-low, until the rice has absorbed stock, about 20 minutes. Add water if the stock has cooked off and the rice seems under-cooked. It is important to keep the rice covered the entire time to allow the rice to cook properly, and not to cook it too hot, as this will burn the rice and leave you with a messy skillet.
  • While the rice is cooking, pour the lemon juice, remaining basil, and oregano over the kidney beans, allowing the beans to marinate in the juice.
  • Once the rice is cooked properly, pour the kidney bean mixture evenly over the rice, and cover for a few more minutes, then stir everything together, making sure the bottom of the skillet comes clean. Again, add a touch of water if you need to and cover if the rice is still a tad under-cooked.
  • Feel free to play with the measurement of the herbs and spices to make the dish to your liking. I generally eyeball the measurement, and go back and forth between using fresh and dry herbs. 

Enjoy and thank you for reading!

We look forward to introducing you to our Twitter and Pinterest account manager, along with more highlights of The Farm Table’s Neighborhood Coordinators. Stay tuned!

Something Sweet & Spicy

10 Jun

This recipe comes from The Farm Table blogger, Michele Schwartz:


I’ll admit it.

Even with all of my meal planning, menu-making, and attempts to prepare our food in a timely fashion, we had a serious pile of sweet potatoes to get used up. It was my husband, not I, that suggested we might need to tackle the bowl full of sweet potatoes last night, about 30 minutes before our mealtime, which I had vaguely planned out.

Our solution? Sweet potato fries.

This is one of the few vegetables I don’t have to convince our children to eat. They are sweet, nutritious, and delicious, and as long as my daughter can dip what she eats in ketchup (including her green beans), then we are good to go.

There are endless variations to how you can season your sweet potato fries —  it is really up to you and your taste buds.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

  • Peel the potatoes, and then cut them up into uniform pieces, lengthwise (at least 1 potato per person), place in a large Ziploc bag, or bowl.
  • Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and mix around.
  • You generally want to start with a base of salt and pepper (half a teaspoon per potato), and then add any combination of spices you prefer such as: cumin, cayenne, paprika, curry powder, chili powder, garlic, ground red pepper, Cajun seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or go with an Italian herb seasoning. Top off with a sprinkling of corn starch.
  • If your taste borders on the sweeter side, you can toss the fries in brown sugar, with a tad of cinnamon.
  • In our home, we prefer a simple mixed seasoning of salt, pepper, and cumin (half a teaspoon of each per potato), and then add a sprinkling of corn starch. 
  • Shake the bag or mix together in a bowl.
  • Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for at least 30minutes, turning them over with a spatula about 15 minutes in.
  • Cook a tad longer if they are not crunchy enough.

Now this is where we get into trouble in our house. While my daughter is a fan of ketchup, my husband and I enjoy the contrasting flavors of sweet and spicy, so we make a Sriracha dipping sauce, taking the nutritional value down a few notches due to the sour cream involved.

We are OK with that.

Here is a typical Sriracha Dipping Sauce, although we make half of the normal version, which prevents us from actually eating all of it!

Mix together:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (you can use low-fat, or substitute with Greek yogurt) 
  • 1 clove garlic (small), minced
  • 1/2 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed preferred, but whatever you have on hand works too
  • 1 tsp or more of Sriracha sauce, depends on how much kick you want
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

When we are in a hurry, sometimes we just mix the low-fat sour cream and Sriracha sauce and go with that, but the added benefit of the lime juice and minced garlic takes this dipping sauce from a condiment status to something very tasty and unique that is not ketchup. Try it, at least once.

If you like even more kick to your mealtime, you can add 1-2 tsp of Sriracha sauce to the olive oil, before mixing it in with the potatoes.

I hope you will try this and tell me what seasoning combinations you chose, and how it worked out for you!

Stay tuned: As part of our “Get to Know” series, I will post a tad more about myself and offer an extra spicy giveaway to one Farm Table member.

Buried Treasure

3 Jun

We hope you will join us today at Echo Lake Park for The Farm Table Ice Cream Social, 3pm until dusk.  Please bring your favorite ice cream, we will provide toppings. There will also be some hand cranks available so people can make ice cream at the park.  Anyone who has a hand crank ice cream maker is welcome to bring them. See you there!