Tag Archives: spinach

Garden Tour: Late May 2013

5 Jun
by Deanne

It is time again to share our garden updates like we did last summer. Luke took photographs in Late May 2012, Late June 2012, Late July 2013, and Late August 2012.  Living in a northern landscape like Minnesota makes one truly celebrate the growing season.

Photo of raised bed-spinachAs a reminder, Steve built raised beds  outside our restaurant building during the summer of 2011.  We utilize our garden for what we call FarmerChef specials. 

Since Luke moved to Los Angeles earlier this year, we have been working with Amanda Petersen Photography.  We love the images Amanda has captured of our space.  You will know if a photo comes from her work if you see her  signature….we will be using many shots in our blog.  

Photo of lettuceOur little lettuce plants get going during our cool month of May.

photo of strawberry plantsThe strawberry blossoms are a good sign if we hope to have delicate sweet berries in June.

Eager little pea plants establishing themselves and claiming their space.Photo of pea plants

Photo of raised bed twoWe look forward to crisp radishes soon!

Photo of tomato plantsHow big will our tomatoes grow this year?

Photo credits:  Amanda Petersen Photography


FarmerChef Smoothie

4 Dec
by Deanne

Do you think it is still possible this time of year to eat food gathered locally?  We’ve discovered that once a FarmerChef  has the whole grow your own food, preserve your own food routine down, it is easy to incorporate the fruits of our labour into our life.  I was able to use spinach from our raised bed garden, yes it is near 50 degrees here in Minnesota, and strawberries from the freezer that we picked last summer.

Photo of Smoothie

This morning I used our basic recipe, which is really more of a framework for making smoothies. My mind is on no added sugar because I am working on a post for my business Solar’s Real Food blog about the latest research on sugar, especially fructose and the link with health.    (It really makes a person re-think how much sugar a person consumes during the first meal of the day.)

FarmerChef Smoothie

Veggie – add something green like spinach or kale: fresh or frozen

Fruit – berries, apples, bananas: canned or frozen fruit

Fat – seeds or oils like chia seeds or flax seed oil (for more on chia, check out this blogger)

Grains  – quinoa or oat bran

Liquid – juice or milk (can be dairy-free)

Protein – lentils or nutritional yeast

Probiotic – sauerkraut, kombucha or plain yogurt

This recipe works really well if you are on a rotation diet to deal with food intolerance.  I added chia seeds but didn’t include grains  and extra protein today.  I used almond milk (yes it does contain sugar) and took a probiotic supplement rather than include it in my smoothie.  The recipe is pretty flexible and good for those that prefer using what they have on hand rather than following detailed recipes.  The version I made was gluten-free and dairy-free.

If you try this basic framework for making a smoothie tell us what you ingredients you used to make your version. Did you find that is was possible to eliminate or cut back on added sugar?

Garden Tour: Late August 2012

2 Sep
by Deanne

Wow!   We can’t believe it is time to share another garden tour I am excited to get this posted today because it is Francine’s birthday and she loves to see what is happening in Minnesota.  While she is enjoying the historic places in England…she often mentions missing the Minnesota sunshine.  Happy birthday to my lovely daughter, Francine!

During August we were able to plant a few crops for the fall growing season.

Photo of Garden in Late AugustOur new plants include snow peas, lettuce, spinach, and turnips which we planted for the greens. Since this was a last minute decision, we bought the new seeds for ten cents at the local farm and garden store instead of the Henry Field’s seed catalog like we used when we did our winter planning. The seeds were left over from this spring but if they don’t work out, we don’t have a lot invested.  So far all are looking good.

However, we are still getting plenty of bounty from our summer crops!

Green Peppers + Tomatoes = Salsa

Photo of Tomatoes

We look forward to using our salsa in upcoming FarmerChef recipes when the growing season comes to an end.

Photo of pepper plant

Photo of yellow squash

We haven’t tried it yet, but we’ve read that it is possible to eat squash blossoms. 

Have you tried that before?

Photo of our fall spinach crop

Photo of new little sprouts

Do you plant new seeds for the fall growing season?

(Another BIG thanks to Luke for taking the photos.)

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

7 Jun
by Deanne

We were hoping to serve Coronation Chicken Salad as our Wednesday FarmerChef special, but instead we decided to make and serve a Spinach and Strawberry Salad after picking up some lovely (and tasty!) strawberries from the Mankato Farmers’ Market.  We also wanted to use some of the final cuttings of our spring spinach crop. (The remaining spinach is tucked away in the freezer, waiting until we’d like to use it in soup or quiche during the the hot summer months.)

This week it was neat to be inspired by fresh spinach and juicy strawberries…a FarmerChef is flexible and being a FarmerChef is fun!

Here’s how we made this salad.A photo of the salad

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Adapted from Taste of Home
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts fresh spinach
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower kernels
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Place spinach in bowl.

In a separate container make the dressing by mixing all of the ingredients together.

Then add the strawberries and onions to the dressing and mix together.  Then add mixed strawberries to the large bowl and lightly toss to coat the spinach.  Top with sunflower kernels.

*Note…As you can see from the photo, we mixed the salad all together. But next time we plan to serve the strawberries/dressing on a bed of spinach because we think it will look prettier.*

Have you ever made a savoury salad using strawberries?

A Quick and Crustless Quiche Recipe

17 May

A photo of the quiche and slawIt’s said that something can be as easy as pie (or maybe it’s as easy as pi {π}).  But pie isn’t very easy to make (or that easy to recite), but this quiche is quick and easy to make!   You could say it’s as easy as quiche.  ;)

We prepared it yesterday for our FarmerChef special. 

We used freshly harvested spinach from our garden and goat cheese from a local goat farmer.  But you could use any cheese or vegetable you have on hand.  We served it with a side of radish relish (recipe coming soon).

It was a treat to have quiche for lunch. And we’re delighted by the simplicity of the recipe we were able to develop.  There’s no crust to worry about preparing…the cheese simply becomes the crust!

Early in the Season Vegetable Quiche (Crustless)

(makes one quiche)
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 5 eggs (we used farm fresh eggs)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 2 cup spinach, blanched then diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese (we used fresh goat cheese from a local farmer)
 Dry ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper
A photo of the quicheDirections:

Put butter in a frying pan and slowly caramelize onions. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside once caramelized.

Wash spinach and boil a pot of water.  Once boiling, put the spinach in the boiling water for 30 seconds. (This is called blanching.)  Remove the spinach quickly (you don’t want it to cook)!  Immediately rinse the spinach in cold water.  Then squeeze water from the spinach. You will be left with a green spinach ball.  Now dice the blanched spinach and set aside.

In a large bowl mix eggs, cream, butter, scallions, blanched spinach and caramelized onions.

In a smaller bowl mix dry ingredients.  Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Crumble feta cheese in the bottom of a greased pie pan (we sprayed ours with pan release).

Pour the egg mixture (which has the dry ingredients mixed in) over the cheese. Spread lightly to make an even surface.

Bake at 350 F for 35 min.  The top of the quiche will be lightly browned.


Egg Drop Soup with Fresh Spinach

11 May

A photo of the spinach in our garden

What to do when you have lots of eggs and the first snips of spinach from the garden? 

You make egg drop soup topped with garden fresh spinach!

Luke put on the FarmerChef hat yesterday and created this quick and easy soup.

Egg Drop Soup with Fresh Spinach

(makes 8-10 servings)
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  •  1/4 tsp white pepper
  •  1/2 tsp sesame oil
  •  1 tsp soy sauce
  •  1 cup mushrooms, cut into strips
  •  6 green onions, sliced
  • 5 eggs,beaten
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, chiffonade (a cooking technique in which herbs or leaves are cut into long thin strips)
A photo of Egg Drop SoupDirections:

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth, white pepper, sesame oil and soy sauce to a boil.

When the broth is boiling, add the mushrooms and green onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat until the rolling boil returns to a simmer.

While stirring the broth with a fork or chopstick, slowly pour a steady stream of eggs into the broth. Continue to stir until the eggs are cooked. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You can add more soy sauce or sesame oil if you like.

When ready to serve, ladle into a bowl and top with the fresh spinach.

One day sunny, windy snow the next…

11 Jan

Yesterday was the last in a series of spring-like days here in Minnesota (at least for a few days).  The days have been so spring-like that tiny green spinach leaves could be found close to the soil, under the dead and dried out leaves.Photo from Jan 10And today it’s like the abominable snow monster moved into the neighborhood, began blowing up his air mattress and knocking on our doors, trying to introduce himself.

Oh Minnesota winter, you’re always full of surprises…not that I mind, riding my bicycle in January is always a treat. I just feel bad for our cool weather crops, they don’t know if they should grow or sleep.

What’s the winter weather like in your neck of the woods? Has he paid you a visit this winter?