Author Archive

Homemade Pesto

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Wondering what to do with all that luscious and lovely basil in your basket? How about whipping up a batch of fresh pesto. Not only does it taste wonderful on everything it touches but it freezes beautifully. Just spoon any leftovers into ice cube trays. Freeze until firm, then seal tightly in a sip lock bag. Your pesto should stay nice and tasty for up to six months.


Homemade Pesto
From the kitchen of Chef Tse

Makes about 1 cup

4 cups basil, packed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan in a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are well chopped. With processor running, slowly pour in oil until desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, tossed with fresh vegetables, in vinaigrette or spread on toasted baguette slices.

Creamy Carrot Soup

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

It’s hard not to eat the carrots raw that we’ve been getting in our share. They’re so tender and sweet that I often eat a few on my way home from the farm. They also take prominent roles in fresh salads and quick stir-fries.

But if you want to try something new, check out my recipe for Carrot and Ginger Soup below. Not only is it healthy because there’s no cream, but it has a secret ingredient – orange juice. The acidity in the juice brightens the carrot flavor but doesn’t make the soup sweet. If it’s just way too hot to eat a warm soup, refrigerate it and serve it cold. Or you can even freeze it for up to 3 months.


Carrot and Ginger Soup
From the kitchen of Chef Tse

Serves 6

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups or more chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup peeled minced ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
6 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and ginger and sauté until transparent. Add chicken stock and carrots. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Working in small batches, puree soup in a blender. Return soup to pot and set over medium heat. Add orange juice and season with salt and pepper. Thin with a little more chicken stock if soup is too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into six bowls and top with yogurt or sour cream (or even crème fraîche if you’re feeling indulgent). Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and serve.

Fresh Corn

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Nothing says summer like fresh corn, and now we get to enjoy it our farm shares. Last week after I got home from picking up my bounty, I peeled back the tender husks and actually ate a whole cob raw. That’s right – raw. The tender kernels popped delicately between my teeth, prompting me to close my eyes and just enjoy the moment.

Unlike corn that’s been sitting on the grocery shelf, our corn was picked just hours before. This means the naturally occurring sugars are still present and haven’t had time to turn to starch. I strongly recommend eating your corn within a day or two. After that, the delicate flavors fade and become dull.

Of course there are a thousand and one ways to eat corn – from raw, to steamed, to roasted. But my personal favorite is grilled. I really enjoy the flavors of chili, lime and cilantro, so just after the corn comes off the grill, I brush it lightly with a compound butter and immediately dig in. The intense flavors of the chipotle chile, cilantro and lime enhance rather than cover the great taste of the corn. If you’re not a big fan of spice, simply omit the chile and instead add a generous pinch of smoked paprika.


Grilled Corn with Chipotle Lime Butter

From the kitchen of Chef Tse

Serves 8

8 medium ears corn with husks
1 lime
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 chipotle chile, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce (from chipotle chile)
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper

Using a knife or scissors, cut off the tassel from tip of corn. Remove all but innermost layer of husk around corn. Kernels should be covered but almost visible through the husk. Soak in cold water one hour.

Prepare grill for medium high heat. Zest lime and place in a small bowl. Cut lime into 8 wedges and set aside. To lime zest add butter, chile, adobo sauce and cilantro. Mix until well combined. Set aside.

Grill corn until husks begin to blacken, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn corn one quarter turn and grill another 2 minutes. Repeat on remaining two sides. Remove from grill and let cool on serving platter 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove husks and any remaining corn silk. Brush each ear lightly with 1/2 teaspoon chipotle butter. Reserve remaining butter for another use. Squeeze 1 lime wedge over each ear and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Fun with Fennel

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Last week received tender, young fennel bulbs and fronds in our baskets. And if my sources are correct, we’ll be getting more in the coming weeks. Fennel is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with both culinary and medicinal uses, and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe.

The bulb, fronds and seeds are widely used in a number of dishes around the world, but I’ve noticed here in the US, we’re not as familiar with it. In fact, when I served it at my last dinner party, one of the guests looked down at the plate and asked, “What is that?” But after one bite, she was hooked.

I’ve included my favorite recipe for braised fennel below. My husband and I make big batches, eating some and freezing the rest. If you can’t find preserved lemon (check for it at places like New Seasons and Sur La Table), then use fresh lemon juice and lemon peel.

Braised Fennel with Preserved Lemon
Serves 12

8 medium fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon butter
Syrup from preserved lemons
2 preserved lemons, cut into quarters and finely sliced
Salt and pepper

Cut fennel in quarters and remove core but keep leaves in tact. Cut pieces in half to make 8 wedges. In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, add fennel, butter, syrup and lemons. Add enough water to almost cover fennel. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Cook 20 minutes until fennel is fork tender and liquid has almost evaporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Other than braising it, I love to eat fennel raw. Try slicing it very thin with a sharp knife or mandolin and adding it to salads for a fresh, crunchy texture. Personally I love to make a salad of shaved fennel, orange segments and dry cured back olives tossed with a little orange vinaigrette (orange zest, fresh squeezed orange juice, good olive oil, salt and pepper).

Happy fennel eating!