It is time to rethink Pesto

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mortar pestle pestoMost of us equate pesto with basil, which is a bit like saying all gum is mint flavored. Pesto is simply a mixture of a green leafy vegetable, an oily nut, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. The word pesto is derived from the Italian word pestare, which means to pound or crush. Back in the day, pesto was made with muscle and a mortar and pestle. Today, food processors accomplish the pounding task in a jiffy.

With a bit of creativity, the wonders of pesto never cease.You can use it as: a spread on bread, meat, and vegetables; a dip; or as a sauce on pasta, rice, and vegetables.

As for your green leafy vegetable options, you can make pesto from kale (in the bag this week), mustard greens, spinach, arugula, parsley, and of course basil. As for the nuts, there is no need for pricey pine nuts. Walnuts, almonds or even pumpkin or sunflower seeds do the trick just fine. Nor do you need to get all fancy-pants with expensive olive oil or cheese, just use something decent.

Now on to the most marvelous things about non-basil pesto. It doesn’t turn brown when stored as basil pesto does, so make a batch and store it in the fridge. If you have a family member that likes pesto but wouldn’t be caught dead eating kale or mustard greens… they will never know the difference.

Basic Pesto Recipe
½ bunch of greens
4 cloves of garlic
½ cup of nuts or seeds
½ cup of parmesan cheese
½ cup of olive oil

Blend the garlic, seeds, and cheese together until smooth then add the greens and olive oil. All of the amounts above can be adjusted to taste. The amount of olive oil is the most variable depending on how you’d like to use it. Less olive oil is better for a spread and more is better for a sauce. Also, some recipes call for lemon or balsamic vinegar… give it a try!


This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Mustard Greens

mustard greensFear not the mustard green! They are freakishly healthy and as the name implies have a mustardy kick. Not a fan of the peppery flavor? Cooking them tones down the taste and you’ll find they are similar to spinach. More info

Mustard Green Pesto #1
Mustard Green Pesto #2 (sub mustard greens for arugula)
Lemon Garlic Sauteed Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens and Sweet Onion Saute
Butter-Blanched Mustard Greens with Mustard Oil
Lo Mein with Mustard Greens

The bizarre Romanesque broccoli

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romanesque broccoliThe special item of the week is the bizarre Romanesque broccoli (also known as Romanesque cauliflower). The Romanesque has a delicate nutty flavor and is crunchier than cauliflower. You can prepare Romanesque as you would broccoli or cauliflower; however, do not overcook. You want to keep it crunchy.

Pre-cooked Romanesque is a great addition to salads, vegetable trays, and pasta. Break the Romanesque into pieces. Place in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Do not overcook, the pieces should be firm. Drain and then quickly submerge the pieces in an ice bath. Remove from the ice bath and dry using paper towels.

Putting it Together: Romanesque and Swiss Chard Pasta
This recipe for spaghetti with cauliflower and garlicky Swiss chard can easily be modified to take advantage of your Romanesque. Just substitute the Romanesque for the cauliflower. The recipe also calls for olive oil, garlic, and parmesan, all of which we have available for purchase. We’d suggest substituting this week’s pasta – Rye Trumpets from Sfoglini – for plain old spaghetti.


This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Romanesque Broccoli

romanesque broccoliCan be served raw, lightly cooked, or cooked through,” said Mario Batali in a column for the Seattle Times. “I usually sauté it slowly with garlic and lemon zest, and punctuate with red pepper flakes for zing.” It’s also delicious steamed and lightly seasoned with olive oil and red wine vinegar. It’s actually an edible flower in the cauliflower/broccoli family.

Romanesco Gratin
Roasted Romanesco
Romanesco Potato Soup

Black Futsu – It’s what’s inside that counts.

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black futsuThe black futsu squash is pretty darn ugly. There is no getting around it. But, don’t let the warty, greenish-grey skin put you off, these are one of the best darn squashes around. They are incredibly sweet with a hazelnut taste, plus you can eat the skin…no peeling required.

The black futsu is an heirloom variety that is very difficult to find. We asked Sparrowbush Farm to grow them specially for you. We’d suggest grabbing them while you can!

To Prepare: Cut in half from top to bottom, scoop out the seeds, then cut each half into ½ inch wedges. Toss the wedges with oil. Coconut oil is perfect if you have it. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender.

Hello autumn! It is time for the grapiest grape around, the Concord grape. For those of you with kids raised on white and red grapes, you will now be able to explain with authority that Welch’s Concord grape juice is truly made from grapes. Fear not the seeds, they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and are very good for you…just swallow or chew.

This week’s under-appreciated vegetable is the noble collard green. We haven’t met a farmer yet that doesn’t love to eat them and grow them. They are incredibly healthy and have the wonderful attribute of absorbing other flavors. So, go ahead and sauté them with a bit of bacon.


This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Black Futsu Squash

black futsuYou can eat the skin! Its flesh is golden color and has the rich taste of hazelnuts, that is sweet and buttery roasted or light and fruity raw. Delicious julienned and quick-cured with salt in a winter slaw!

How to Roast Kabochas (or Futsus!)
Squash Soup
Baked Futsu
Roasted Black Futsu with Jasmine Kale
Black Futsu in Green Curry