Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Rapini isn’t for the Faint of Heart

February 20th, 2014

Urban Acres yet again challenges the culinary taste of its members. The co-op style shares will be full of the bitter tasting Rapini Greens. The exciting part of being a member of a co-op style share program is learning about produce we usually wouldn’t purchase. And even though these lovely greens are sharp while crisp, they are deliciously sweet when blanched.


My Father’s Farm

Rapini Greens are descendants of wild mustard plants and have been a favorite of Italian cooks for centuries. But why are people so fascinated with this “biting” green? First of, it’s full of vitamins and cancer fighting compounds; secondly, when prepared right, it will be a taste you’ll want to re-visit over and over again.

The Basics ~ blanching

As mentioned earlier, you need to blanch this green to achieve its sweet tasting flavor.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
2. Add enough salt so it tastes as salty as the ocean.
3. Meanwhile rinse the Rapini.
4. Put the Rapini in the boiling water for about 2-minutes.
5. Lift out and rinse under cold running water.
6. Drain and squeeze the water out of the Rapini.

The Recipe ~ by Viola Buitoni

I learned about Viola while living in Washington, DC in the 1990s. I was looking for dishes that resembled my mother’s cooking, from my partially Italian ancestry, when I stumbled upon Viola’s small, Italian fine foods shop on Madison Ave. in New York City. Her dishes were mouth watering, and I’m thrilled to share Viola’s recipe with you. ~ Barbara Bailey

Sautéed Rapini With Potatoes (Rapi e Patate)


2 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 bunch rapini, about 1½ pounds
1 tablespoon sea salt
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 large cloves garlic, left whole


1. In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. They should be fully tender but not falling apart when cooked. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin from the potatoes, cut them lengthwise into quarters, and then cut crosswise into medium-thin slices. Set aside and let them cool.

2. Detach the stems from the tops of the vegetable. Using a small, sharp knife, peel the skin from the thicker lower stalks of the rapini (most of the bottom portion of the stalk) and cut them crosswise into approximate 2-inch lengths.

3. Blanch the greens – see above. Reserve a little of the cooking liquid and set it aside separately.

4. In a nonstick skillet large enough to accommodate the potatoes and the greens, warm the olive oil over low heat and add the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until the garlic is nicely softened but not colored, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a side dish. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the cooked potatoes. Sauté until they are golden and crispy all over, about 12 minutes, then transfer to another side dish. Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat, return the rapini and the garlic cloves to the pan. Sauté until the greens are nicely coated with the olive oil and the garlic and heated through, about 3 minutes; if they appear a little dry, add a little of the reserved cooking water as needed. Return the potatoes to the skillet and toss all together. Adjust for seasoning and serve immediately.


Viola Buotini

This mouth watering dish will definitely bring a new appreciation for this vegetable. Enjoy!

Roses are Red and Your Dinner is Too

February 14th, 2014

The past few weeks people have been thinking about the big day – V day – the flowers, the chocolate, the expectations. Well, the day is here and what could be a better way than to celebrate it in true Urban Acres fashion, by cooking up some vegetables. So don’t let anybody fool you to think that the only way to enjoy this day is by buying flowers and eating chocolate. Those things can definitely brighten up someone’s life but how about using some of the produce from the Urban Acres co-op style bins to make this day memorable. Enjoy the enclosed recipe and celebrate your love of healthy living.

V-Day Mix 

Serving size depends on the amount of produce you use. Five handfuls of spinach is pictured.

 Step 1. Gather the ingredients.

photo 1-5

Step 2. Chop all your veggies.

photo 2-6

Step 3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of grape seed oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

photo 3-4

Step 4. Throw in the chopped up potato, kohlrabi, and beets. Stir for about 5 minutes and salt, salt, salt.

photo 4-2

Step 5. Throw in the celery and apples. Salt and stir for about 3 minutes.

photo 1-6

Step 6. Throw in the pine seeds. Keep stirring, you don’t want your seeds to burn.

photo 3-5

Step 7. Add the spinach and stir. .

photo 4-3

Step 8. The spinach will be wilted in a couple of minutes. 

photo 5-4

Step 9. Serve and enjoy.

photo 2-8

# # #

This dish will satisfy all of your senses: the glowing red color, the taste of sweet apples, the smell of roasted pine nuts, the warmth of the spinach, and the sound of humming agreement. The perfect celebration.



Welcome to the Group, Beka Santoh!

February 6th, 2014

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the Urban Acres produce family, Beka Santoh. Beka, a type of Chinese Cabbage, is very popular in Japan and we hope it will also be popular with the residents of the DFW area. It is exciting to introduce a never before talked about vegetable.


Urban Acres

The Urban Acres shares will be full with this soft textured, light green vegetable. Beka Santoh has a very mild and delicate flavor and therefore it is often used in salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

It is always recommended to prepare produce without cooking to save all of its nutritional value. Try these fresh salad ideas as side dishes or entrees for your cooking needs.



Chinese Cabbage Salad


Chinese Cabbage and Parsley Salad


 Chinese Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

For other recipe inspirations, please follow us on Pinterest.

Don’t Toss the Leaves!

January 31st, 2014

Celery is always a member favorite in the Urban Acres co-op style shares. Many people love the crunchy sound and juice taste of celery. Celery can be substituted for crackers and used with humus and babaganush. Many people even spread nut butter on the stalk for a carb free protein treat. This week, celery will have more leaves and will look like a little bush in the shares.

celery with tops-1536x939

Gundermann Acres, TX

Now, you might be tempted to cut the leaves and toss them but stop before you do. The leaves actually contain more vitamin C, calcium, and potassium than the stalk. The best way to save the nutritional value of the leaves is to chop them up and sprinkle them on salads. Leaves can also be used to add flavor to hot dishes and they make a beautiful garnish.

Here are some great recipes using celery leaves…


Celery Root, Celery Heart, and Celery Leaf Salad

pesto-jar-2 copy

Verses from my kitchen

Celery Leaf Pesto


Chicken Stock

Storage Tips:

How to keep greens fresh:

  • Do not, we repeat, DO NOT store greens on the counter top unrefrigerated, or just throw them on a shelf in the fridge!  They will surely wilt and go bad quickly.
  • DO place celery in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Freezer ziplock bags work the best for this purpose.
  • Here is a plastic-free way to store greens in the fridge crisper drawer, lined with dish towels.

Ya’ll, It’s Kohlrabi Time

January 24th, 2014

It’s lovely to see Kohlrabi in the Urban Acres shares this weekend. People have been raving about the nutritional value of this great vegetable in Europe, where they have been extremely popular for centuries. This veggie won popularity because of its hardiness to tolerate frost and because of its longevity after being picked.

Iovine Brothers

Iovine Brothers

Kohlrabi looks like a root growing above ground. Some people even compared it to a UFO before. There must be some truth to the name seeing this vegetable somewhat levitating above ground.

DIY Network

DIY Network

Kohlrabi has a tennis ball size swollen stem above ground. Its outer layer is very hardy to protect it from the elements and this is why it is recommended to peel with a vegetable peeler before preparing.

Popular ways to prepare this veggie

Slice it thin and eat it raw: you can sprinkle with oil and sea salt, or toss it in salads.carrot kohlrabi salad

Shredded Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad

Roast it: the sweetness of this vegetable releases in the oven therefore it is a huge crowd pleaser. Try it as fries instead of potatoes.

kohlrabi home friesKohlrabi Home Fries

In a Soup: the most popular way to eat this veggie in Eastern Europe. Please, enjoy Urban Acres team member, Barbara’s recipe handed down for generations.

Hungarian Kohlrabi Soup




  • 2 heads of kohlrabi
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • salt


  1. Clean the kohlrabi of its outer layer and chop it into small pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot, salt and sauté kohlrabi until soft.
  3. Sprinkle with flour and keep cooking for a few minutes.
  4. Add water to have the consistency of a soup.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add chopped parsley.
  7. Mix in sour cream right before serving.


Let us know which preparation method was your favorite.

Gluten Free, Please!

January 15th, 2014

More and more people are visiting the Farmstead looking for answers to their health-related questions, and our staff is eager to educate about non-GMO products, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and low-pasteurized milk. Most of us don’t think about food making us sick, but sadly more and more people live with food-related allergies. We asked one of the Urban Acres staffers, Barbara Bailey, a few questions on her experience living with a gluten allergy.

Barbara, tell us how you realized that you have a gluten allergy.

Barbara Bailey

Barbara Bailey

I’ve lived my life extremely healthy, eating organic, non-GMO products, since the birth of my son. I’ve always tried to eat small portions to keep my body fit and trim. But while eating small portions, I did feel bloated and sick to my stomach at times. Two years ago I decided to go on a one-month cleanse – I was comfortable with the doctor led program. After the cleanse, the first thing I wanted to eat was the freshly toasted bagel my son was holding in his hands. Eating the bagel, I was savoring the salty taste of fresh smelling bread, but sadly my stomach didn’t agree with my taste buds. Within minutes, I knew something was going wrong. The memories of that first night after the cleanse helped me say no to bread, as I knew it, for the rest of my life.

What is celiac disease?

It is a genetic digestive disease resulting from not being able to tolerate gluten. The gluten is the name of specific types of protein in certain crops, such as wheat, barley, rye. A person’s immune system with this disease destroys the lining of the small intestine, causing poor absorption of nutrients. It is a genetic disease and can manifest itself anytime in a person’s life.

Were you diagnosed with celiac?

The actual diagnosis is done by a blood test. Since I was on a gluten-free diet due to my cleanse, the blood test was inconclusive. The only way the doctor was able to get a proper diagnosis was if I went back to eating products with gluten in them. I refused to make myself feel sick on purpose. Sadly, 1 in 133 Americans have this disease, and they do not even know it.

Can celiac be treated?

The only treatment is to eat a gluten-free diet.

What is a gluten-free diet? And do you miss eating old favorites?

A gluten-free diet is when you eliminate all sources of gluten. Eating out on a gluten-free diet can be a challenge at times, although thankfully there are more and more restaurants that try to cater to people with gluten intolerance. And if all else fails, you can always eat salad sprinkled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt. I used to miss bread but after two years of living without it, I am happier baking my own “stomach happy” version. Thankfully my baking skills improved tremendously since following Elana Amsterdam’s blog.  Here’s one of my favorite recipes…


Barbara’s homemade bread

Elana’s Bread 2.0

  * * *

Thanks, Barbara. Check out our past blog posts under Gluten-Free Challenge for more recipes and Dallas restaurant suggestions.