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.

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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)

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

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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.

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Step 2. Chop all your veggies.

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

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

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

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

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Step 7. Add the spinach and stir. .

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

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Step 9. Serve and enjoy.

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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.

 

 

Meet the Ladies ~ Dolly

February 10th, 2014

Our ladies have been quite a troopers these past few days. They kept close to each other to keep warm. We saw them all bundled up together in the Farmstead coop through these cold winter nights.

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The ladies in the coop

You have been reading about our ladies the last few weeks and today, you will learn to love the last lady of the coop, Dolly…

Dolly

Dolly is a Barred Rock, and is the oldest of our coop flock. Her coloring is a speckled black and white. She is our grand dame, the alpha hen, who loves to push the others around. Dolly is the first to emerge at feeding time from the safety of the coop. She always comes out clucking to find what goodies have been spread out in the run for sampling and is always the first to claim a piece of pear.

Dolly

Dolly

Dolly has been very vocal since arriving to the Baileys many years ago. After many days of listening her clucking away, she got named after the most popular country singer of our time, Dolly Parton. She didn’t disappoint the crowed visiting the coop the other day. She delighted both young and old with her “music”.

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Visitors at the coop

It’s always a joy to see young children connect to these lovely ladies. The purpose of the coop and its residents to educate the community about the lives of farm animals. Come visit and say hello to Dolly and her sisters next time you visit the Farmstead in Oak Cliff.

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.

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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.

salad

Brigitt

Chinese Cabbage Salad

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Food.com

Chinese Cabbage and Parsley Salad

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Trans-planted.com

 Chinese Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

For other recipe inspirations, please follow us on Pinterest.

Meet the Ladies ~ Winnie

February 4th, 2014

Another cold week to pull through for our ladies at the Farmstead. We are so thankful for Anita, our Urban Acres grounds keeper, for her dedication to keep these lovely ladies comfortable under these insanely frigid conditions. Anita prepares the coop for the night not only by covering the run with a tarp but also heating a brick in her oven that she later wraps in a blanket and puts in the coop for the ladies to stay warm.

Let’s meet the third “sister” in the group, Winnie…

Winnie

Winnie, just like Penny, came to us from Peace and Love Farms and is still young. She is an Araucana, has a noble gray color and a long neck. Naming Winnie was easy; she got her name after the Baileys’ daughter’s favorite cartoon character ~ Winnie the Pooh. After watching many episodes of the “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff”, naming her came naturally.

Winnie

Winnie

Winnie is shy of people, especially strangers. When it comes to feeding time, she is the last one to emerge after the greens (chard, bok choy or tatsoi), scratch, and pears have been spread out in the run. She lays green eggs and was the first lady to lay eggs in her new home – producing 4 eggs in one week.

Winnie's green egg

Winnie’s green egg

Please, be patient around Winnie when visiting the coop. Although, she will surely warm up to you after a few visits.

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.

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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…

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Finecooking.com

Celery Root, Celery Heart, and Celery Leaf Salad

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Verses from my kitchen

Celery Leaf Pesto

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elanaspantry.com

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.