Fresh Spinach Dip

1 May

 

Harvest Hill Farm Member Event

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Harvest Hill Farm Member Event this past Saturday. It was a wonderful way to get out in the country, enjoy a piece of the farm life, nosh on some great food, and watch the pigs do what they do best…eat!

The Farm Table prides itself on the community you have helped to build over the last few years, and we look forward to being able to get together over the course of the 2013 season to celebrate good farming, good food, and  good people. 

If you were unable to make it out to the farm last weekend, then you missed out on the fresh spinach dip that Richmond Area Manager, Patty Loyde brought. We’d like to introduce you to Patty, and share her spinach dip recipe using Farm Table ingredients:

Patty Loyde, Farm Table Area Manager

Originally a product of the suburbs in both New Jersey, where she grew up, and Henrico County, where she lived after graduating from the University of Richmond, Patty Loyde and her husband John are now Fan dwellers in the city of Richmond – and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Patty started as a Neighborhood Coordinator in the summer of 2012 for the Fan,and has now added the positions of Central Richmond Area Manager and Bookkeeper, aka Chief Number Cruncher, to her duties this year.

Patty loves to travel and watch movies, plays tennis year-round, tends her small city garden, and cooks from scratch, when not checking out the local Fan restaurant scene (Olio, Fresca, and Mint are some of her favorites). She attempts to eat a diet of unprocessed food whenever possible, striving for progress, not perfection. The  Farm Table makes that goal so much easier!

Fresh Spinach Dip, The Farm Table

Fresh Spinach Dip, By Patty Loyde (Print Full Recipe Here)

I made this spinach dip for the Harvest Hill Farm Member Event and served it with tortilla scoops. I love that I was able to use the spinach, onions
and garlic from that week’s box and that I didn’t need to use the package of highly processed soup mix I usually do to make it. It turned out just as good, if not better than the ole’ standby, often served in a bread bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded or finely diced carrot
  • ½ cup finely diced spring onions, white and light green parts
  • ¼ cup finely diced spring garlic, white and light green parts
  • 1 full bag of spinach
  • salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup diced spring onions, dark green parts
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, if you prefer
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip or mayo, if you prefer
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Finish with: salt & pepper and onion & garlic powders, to taste

Directions:

  • Clean and dry the spinach well.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the carrots, onions, garlic, salt and pepper until softened. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Using the same pan, sauté the spinach in a little more salt and pepper, tossing occasionally, until all the spinach is wilted. You may need to do it in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
  • Transfer the cooked spinach to a strainer and remove as much liquid as you can by pressing with a spoon or ladle. Place on a few layers of paper towels, top with more paper towels and press to remove additional liquid.
  • Finely chop the spinach and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Stir well and chill for at least 2 hours to combine flavors.
  • After being chilled, finish with salt & pepper and onion & garlic powders to taste. If you’re serving with salty chips, the dip won’t need as much salt.

Yucatecan Chicken Tacos with Sweet Potatoes and Onions

15 Apr

When I finished college, I quickly loaded up my books, hauled them to our nearest used bookstore, and traded them in for this gem of a cookbook, determined to learn a few key recipes that we could share with others. My husband and I found several recipes that we loved, but learned quickly that not everyone enjoyed spicy food as much as us — namely our children.

I recently mastered a garlic-spice marinade that we have grilled with, and love it for marinating shredded chicken for our tacos.  Experimenting one night, I decided to try it with onions and sweet potatoes, hoping to add a little more filling to our chicken tacos. I know it sounds odd, but the combination of flavors has soon become a family favorite, and one that my children eat happily. The inclusion of apple cider vinegar, paired with garlic, cinnamon, cloves, and the sweetness of the potatoes, is the perfect combination of flavors.

I have been working on this recipe for the 2013 Farm Table season, and was thrilled to see the addition of sweet potatoes in our first box! Please try this kid-friendly, healthy alternative that you can use to fill tacos, burritos, or to top a tostada with. 

You can click HERE for the full recipe to print off. Recipe inspired from Chef Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday. Serves 4-6 people.

Preparing the marinade:

The Farm Table garlic

You will need 1 head of garlic, broken into individual cloves (10-12 cloves). Cut a slit into each side of the clove, place in a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap, and microwave for a good 30 seconds.

Garlic-Spice Marinade

While the garlic cloves cool, measure out 1/3 cup olive oil, 6 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/4-1/2 tsp sugar, a dash of ground cloves, and salt to taste. After you’ve slipped the cloves out of their paper husk, throw everything into your food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour the marinade over already cooked/cooled, shredded chicken (2-3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts), and either set aside, or allow it to marinade in a zip-top bag overnight in the fridge.

Garlic-spice marinade

Preparing the taco filling:

While the marinade works its magic on the shredded chicken, grab 2 sweet potatoes, slice lengthwise, and dice into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Slice 1 small onion (white or yellow) lengthwise, into strips. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet on medium-high, add the sweet potatoes, onions, and 1 tsp oregano, stirring to make sure they are evenly coated with the olive oil. Add more if you need to, but be sure not to add too much — you don’t want a greasy mess. Allow the sweet potatoes to caramelize  and cover the skillet to help soften the potatoes (about 10-12 minutes), stirring often to prevent from burning.

The Farm Table Sweet Potatoes

Once the sweet potatoes have softened and have browned, add the marinated chicken to the skillet. I suggest adding a little water to deglaze the pan, about 1/8-1/4 cup. The water should burn off. Once the chicken has heated through, place in a serving dish and offer it with an assortment of soft or hard tacos, tortillas for burritos, or to place over a tostada with black beans. Add your favorite toppings — avocados/guacamole, diced radishes, Monteray jack cheese, and hot sauce are among our favorites.

Yucatecan Chicken and Sweet Potato Tacos

I highly recommend serving the chicken and sweet potatoes with this Tomatillo Salsa (you can omit the jalapeño if you are not a fan of heat. Do yourself a favor by doubling the recipe!). To cut down on your time in the kitchen you can purchase store-bought tomatillo salsa, but it is really easy to make the night before. If you do make it at home, be sure to roast your tomatillos.

Tomatillo Salsa

The Farm Table Tomatillos

Cut them in half, line a skillet with aluminum foil and place tomatillos cut side down on med-high heat. After a few minutes, flip them over and cook until they are blotchy, turning black, and starting to soften. Use your own recipe, or follow this simple and delicious recipe HERE, although I skip adding the water, preferring a chunkier salsa to go with this meal.

Trust me, you want to eat this!

 

Spring Pop-Up Market at Hardywood

7 Apr

The Farm Table 2013 Spring Produce

The countdown has begun for fresh, seasonal food straight from the farmer to your doorstep! If you are getting impatient for The Farm Table’s anticipated April 18th start date, and you missed out on our last Spring Pop-Up Market join us for another fun evening at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for our 2nd Spring Pop-Up MarketWith the weather forecast showing temps in the 80’s, join us while we celebrate the beginning of the new season,  renew your membership, or become a new member. 

The Farm Table Spring Pop-Up Market

The Farm Table Pop-up Market at Hardywood
Wednesday, April 10 at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from 4-9 pm. 2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA 23220. Click here for directions.

We will have eggs, honey, greens, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pastries, bread, Amish sweet butter, Harvest Hill Farm meat, and Quail Cove Farm cheese available, while you enjoy your choice of Hardywood’s excellent selection of craft brews in a laid back venue.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Hardywood Park Craft Brews

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
If you missed out on The Hardywood Community Hopping Project for 2013, be sure to check back next year to get in on the local action while you grow hops for their RVA IPA. Some of The Farm Table staff and members got in on the action this year — we will keep you updated on how the hops grow in our backyards!
Hops for RVA IPA
The Farm Table Pop-up Market at Hardywood 
 
Join us Wednesday, April 10 at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from 4-9 pm. 
 
Hardywood Park is located at 2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA 23220.

Local Meets Local

20 Mar

The Farm Table kicks off the 2013 season with a “one night only” Spring Market at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, tomorrow, March 21st from 4pm-9pm.

We’ll be selling fresh local produce, breads, pastries, honey, and more.

Shop while you enjoy some of Hardywood Park’s fantastic local brews.

Renew your membership, or bring a friend to sign up at a discounted rate.

Be There!

IMG_4903
Follow us on Twitter @TheFarmTable and @Hardywood

The Farm Table Spring Market
4:00-9:00PM
Hardywood Park is located at 2408 Ownby Lane, Richmond VA 23220.

Spring Forward

10 Mar

You set your clocks one hour ahead.

You’ve changed the battery in your fire alarm.

With the sun shining this weekend, you realize all that stuff you thought was clean, isn’t.

Time to plan a little kitchen spring cleaning, and to prepare for the 2013 Farm Table season.

The Farm Table Produce

We’ve made it easy on you with these handy checklists you can print off.

The Farm Table Harvest Preparation Checklist

The Farm Table Spring Clean Your Kitchen Checklist

Pick a day, before our (tentatively) scheduled begin date, April 4th, and get yourself ready for a season of delicious, healthy, and local food.

Stay tuned for more details on our Farm Table membership event on March 21st.

New Beginnings

21 Feb

Signs of new life waiting to take over the 2013 season.

The 2013 season is almost here!

Home Garden

We can almost taste it.

Happy Holidays: Free Printables & Last Minute DIY Gifts

22 Dec

Spending some extended time with the little people in your life this holiday season? We put together another assortment of seasonal activities that you can easily print, prep, and have ready for when you need to entertain them! Some of the activities can serve as last-minute gifts for an acquaintance, friend, neighbor, babysitter, or someone who makes your life a tad easier and more joyful. Have fun!

Farm Table Kids' Crafts

Printables:

Virginia apples

Last Minute DIY Activities & Gifts:

As The Farm Table winds down this year, we want to say how much we’ve appreciated our members, readers, and bloggers for their support during our second season, and our very first year blogging . We are especially thankful to the wonderful farmers who have grown such amazing food, and introduced many of us to some new seasonal pleasures (can you say watermelon radish?!).

We look forward to the 2013 season, and many exciting things to come in the New Year.

Until then: Eat well. Rest well. Be Well.

A Progressive Party, Rosedale Style

19 Dec
Spiked lemons and oranges

Vodka Spiked Lemons and Oranges

My family and I live on the North side of Richmond. Rosedale, to be exact. Our block is a modest neighborhood with wonderful neighbors who help take care of one another, and it seems that one household after another is having a baby (maybe it’s the water?).

We have a lot of young children in our neighborhood. Kids naturally want to play with other kids, and that forces us sometimes anti-social adults to interact with one another. With the neighborhood tots at the center of it all, we have formed a tight-knit community to be proud of. We look after each other’s children, celebrate their birthdays, check in on each other’s pets, and borrow a cup of sugar from each other from time to time.

I think that is something to celebrate. 

A couple of weekends ago we held our 2nd-annual progressive party. If you are not familiar with a traditional progressive party, you move from one house to the next, progressing through each course of a meal — appetizers, main course, dessert — you get the picture.

Instead of progressing through each course of a meal, we asked our hosts to pair an appetizer with a drink, and then we moved from one house to the next. The destination? A backyard campfire with desserts , and drinks.

Progressive Party

Neighbors who were not interested in hosting, brought something to share at the end, potluck style. Some of us co-hosted, and we spent about 30-45 minutes at each house. The more houses involved, the less time you generally spend at each house, but you make it what you want, and flexibility is key. In the end, it all works out.

I thought you might enjoy a recipe one of our neighbors came up with, along with links to some of the many other delicious food and drinks we enjoyed together, if not for a future progressive party, maybe for your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Rosedale’s Mini-Tostadas

Ingredients:

  • Meat: duck, chicken or pork all work well — you get to decide.
  • Spicy Red Mole Sauce (makes approx 3 quarts): 4 tomatoes, 1 jalapeño pepper, 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 red bell pepper, 1/2 Habanero pepper (leave Habanero out for a milder sauce). 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp. white sesame seeds, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 quart chicken or veggie stock, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 star anise pod, 1tbsp chile powder, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 bunch cilantro, sour cream, 1 wheel Mexican chocolate.
  • Round tostadas (small round tortilla chips work perfectly)
  • Sour Cream (light works well)
  • Cilantro, pulled from the stem

Directions:

  • Roast meat and the pull into bite sized pieces after it is cooked.
  • To make the Spicy Red Mole Sauce: Chop peppers, onion, tomatoes. Roast in oven at 375 until they begin to brown, about 1/2 hour. Mix all other ingredients together with stock, let simmer. Add roasted veggies. Simmer until chocolate is dissolved. Purée mixture. Add 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped. Add cooked pulled meat into sauce.
  • Lay out round tostadas, place small amount of sauce covered meat on each.
  • Top with a small dollop of sour cream and 1 cilantro leaf.

Here are links to some of the other tasty treats we enjoyed:

Want to arrange your own progressive party, or celebrate the New Year? Do it. It’s easy and oh so worth it to celebrate the good people in your life.

Oh, and The Farm Table wants you to be safe, so if you have to travel, please designate a driver and come up with a special non-alcoholic beverage for your teetotaling guest. 

Happy Holidays!

Blue Bee Cider

16 Dec

Blue Bee Cider

The Farm Table had the opportunity last year to meet Courtney Mailey of Blue Bee Cider, at the 2012 Richmond Earth Day Festival. We’ve enjoyed following the progress of this local business ever since.

Courtney, author of the Cider Apprentice Blog, started blogging about her experiences as an apprentice cidermaker at Albemarle CiderWorks in 2011. Since then, she has started her own urban cidery housed in Richmond’s Old Manchester District.

Courtney Mailey of Blue Bee Cider

This Brite Tank was made in Oregon and shipped to RVA

The Brite Tank was built in Oregon and shipped to RVA

Expelling the juice from the apples

Pressing the apples

I had the pleasure of joining Courtney and her in December during a pressing, and came away from the visit appreciating the making of Blue Bee Cider even more. Courtney’s father, Mel, a sweet and gracious man, who is clearly committed to the success of Blue Bee Cider, gave me a tour and run down on the process of making cider

Blue Bee Cider

Apples just waiting for the magic to happen

Apples just waiting for the magic to happen

Courtney, who was in constant motion during my visit, displayed an impressive combination of dedicated work ethic, good humor, and expertise. Her staff were at ease, and fully engaged in the process of making cider — they all seemed to be having fun, despite a few setbacks when the equipment jammed, or hoses came lose. Courtney, who kept her cool, got everything back on track with a quick sleight of hand.

Courtney Mailey Blue Bee Cider

I lingered a little longer than I intended to — it was satisfying to watch someone in the process of their craft, and Courtney, a true artisan, practices her craft with a relaxed confidence that is exciting to watch.

Courtney, in the process of training staff on identifying the parts of the apple that should be cut out, was giving a tutorial on "stink bugs" and the markings they leave on apples.

Courtney, in the process of training staff on identifying the parts of the apple that should be cut out, was giving a tutorial on the markings left by “stink bugs”.

Courtney with her father, Mel, and staff, tightening a hose that transfers expressed juice into a highly sterile and sealed off bag that is "boxed" for a few weeks before filtering it.

Courtney with her father, Mel, and staff, tightening a hose that pumps extracted juice into a highly sterile and impermeable plastic bag where the juice is “boxed” prior to fermenting it.

Blue Bee Cider

Every part of the apple is used. What's left of the apple goes back to the farmer to feed the goats.

Blue Bee puts every part of the apple to good use. Russell Bell of Ringer Farms shovels what’s left of the apple into a trailer, which goes back to the farm to feed the goats.

The name, Blue Bee Cider came from Courtney’s appreciation for the Blue Orchard Bee, native to Virginia. Blue Orchard Bees are not very social, and do not make honey, but are extremely efficient pollinators of apple blossoms.  Courtney, who noted how hardworking and solitary this type of bee was, decided to brand her budding business after them.

Courtney, whose work is not solitary, but certainly determined, is bottling up her sense of good humor, and the delicious bounty of Virginia for the rest of us to enjoy.

We can certainly raise a glass to that!

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Courtney and her staff  have planted an urban orchard outside her urban cidery, with hopes that it may produce fruit for a future batch of cider.

You can follow Blue Bee Cider on Facebook and Twitter, where Courtney has chronicled the process of opening her cidery. She and her staff have started pressing, and selling the raw juice at her tasting room at 212 W. 6th Street, behind Scoot Richmond. The first two hard ciders will be available in the Spring of 2013, and a third in the Fall of 2013.

We hope to see you there this spring when Blue Bee Cider opens for hard cider tastings and tours.

Red Wine-Braised Leeks and Mushrooms

28 Nov

As promised, I tried out one of Terry Hope Romero’s recipes from Vegan Eats World as part of The Farm Table’s cook book review and blog give away. This dish was a wonderful addition to our Thanksgiving meal last week, and topped our mashed potatoes, which we usually don with butter or gravy. What a fancy  and welcome upgrade!

Red Wine-Braised Leeks and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound leeks, preferably thinner leeks no wider than 2 inches in diameter
  • 10 oz cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and tough ends of stems sliced off
  • 3 Tbs of olive oil
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbs non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
  • A few twists of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Trim away most of the green stalks on the leeks, leaving about an inch near the white part. Slice away the tip of root end, and slice each leek in half lengthwise.  Firmly hold the leek so that it doesn’t fall apart, and rinse under cool running water to remove any grit or dirt. Place leeks on a cutting board and slice each piece into sections about 2 1/2 inches long — hold the pieces together to prevent the leaves from separating too much. If the leeks fall apart while cooking, don’t worry, but for the prettiest presentation try to keep them together.

Slice the mushrooms into quarters. Over medium-high heat, sear the mushrooms in 1 Tbs of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until both sides are browned and mushrooms look juicy  (about 4 minutes). Remove from the pan and transfer to an over-proof dish. Sprinkle the mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt, cover with foil, and put in an oven set at 250 degrees to keep warm.

Heat the remaining olive oil and place the leeks cut side down in the oil. Brown the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes, carefully lifting them up to check and see if the undersides are seared and the edges of the leaves are browned. Pour the wine, sprinkle with marjoram and salt, and tuck the thyme sprigs into the wine. Increase the heat and bring the wine to an active simmer and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

If serving on top of white bean puree, potatoes, or pasta, mound the individual servings (about 1 cup) of hot puree in serving dishes. Divide the mushrooms on top of the servings of puree. Uncover the pan and using tongs, carefully lift the leeks and arrange on top of mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the juices in the pan to a rapid simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and swirl the margarine into the juices. Use a wire whisk to continuously stir the sauce until smooth and lightly thickened. Drizzle a little bit of the sauce over each serving of leeks and mushrooms and serve immediately.

From the book Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2012.www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

This dish was easy to make, delicious, and we were able to used left-over wine that was just a tad past its prime — perfect for this recipe. I encourage you to consider making it for your next holiday meal, or even better, add it to your meal plan this week. With Country Fresh Cremini Mushrooms coming in your Farm Table Garden Box this week, there is no reason not to.

I have been very pleased with the recipes I’ve tried from Vegan Eats World and Viva Vegan! over the past few weeks, and would like to thank Terry Hope Romero and Da Capo Press for allowing me to give vegan cuisine a try. I will definitely add recipes from both books to our meal rotation.

If you want to try out vegan cooking yourself, you have until 9:00pm EST tonight (11/28/12) to enter our blog give away. Details are HERE.