Monday, June 24, 2013

Farm It Forward, Week 4

Here's a post written by Billie & Brittany, the folks leading the cooking classes for Farm It Forward. We're visiting the class this week & really looking forward to it. Enjoy! - Patricia

Farm it Forward Week 4

It was another delicious week in the teaching kitchen at Wake Cooperative Extension for our Farm it Forward class. Here’s a look at one share’s worth of beautiful produce from In Good Heart Farm.

We started off as we do every class by introducing each new or unfamiliar produce item and talking about its basic qualities and how best to approach chopping/slicing it. This week, we also did a demonstration on how to blanch and freeze vegetables for later use. (For all the information you could ever need on freezing, canning, and more, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s treasure trove of a website:

Each of our participating families then worked on one of four recipes selected and pre-tested by the instructors to highlight the week’s produce.

Pasta with greens and white beans. Kale and beet greens together with diced tomatoes, pasta, and cannellini beans. A very nutritious dish with a classic Italian flavor that works as a side or a meal in itself. Below: a mother and son cooking team adds chopped kale to the pan for this dish.

Kale slaw. Fresh kale, carrots, fennel bulb, and red cabbage all got shredded into a big bowl and dressed with a simple vinaigrette for a very light and tasty slaw that packs the whole rainbow into one bowl. Photo by 10-year-old Justyn.

Salmon burgers. Canned salmon is an often-overlooked option that we wanted to highlight in class because it gets you all the lean protein and much of the omega-3 fat of wild Alaskan salmon in a form that’s far less expensive than fresh or frozen. You can get it boneless and skinless, but after canning the bones are soft and quite edible, and add lots of extra calcium to the meal. We added grated carrots and squash, diced celery, and lemon zest and juice to the original salmon burger recipe to add color, flavor, and good veggie nutrition. We also made a quick herbed mayonnaise with fresh parsley and fennel fronds in the blender to spread on our burger buns for serving! Below: Making the salmon mixture into burgers for baking. Photo by 10-year-old Justyn.

Beet brownies. Our class is full of cake and cookie enthusiasts, and they love recipes for baked goods that use vegetables in unexpected ways. Adding a bunch of cooked mashed beets to brownie batter adds deep red-purple color, moisture, and sweet flavor, not to mention healthy vitamins and fiber. But in the end, you just taste chocolatey goodness! Below: Team kale slaw in the foreground and team beet brownies in the background, with instructors Brittany Crump (green sweater) and Kristin Larson (white sweater) assisting.

Bonus fridge pickles! Last week, we made a batch of fridge pickles with lovely cucumbers, carrots, and turnips from In Good Heart farm, and left them in the teaching kitchen fridge over the week to steep up and get tasty. We enjoyed them this week alongside our salmon burgers. The purple carrots turned the pickles and brine in some jars hot pink! Photo by 10-year-old Justyn.

Recipe: Salmon Burgers (adapted from this recipe:
Makes about 6 burgers

Freeze leftover burgers in Tupperware or freezer bags, separating patties with parchment or waxed paper so they won’t stick together.

1 large (13 ounce) or 2 small (6.5 ounce) cans of salmon, drained and flaked with a fork (skin and bones OK!)
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, or other – optional)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup of other vegetables, diced or grated (optional – try diced bell pepper or mushrooms, or grated squash and/or carrots.)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch crushed red chili pepper

Salmon burgers can either be pan fried or baked with excellent results!
  1. If baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and lightly grease a cookie sheet or other large baking pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Or, line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Flake or mash the drained salmon in a big bowl, then add the eggs, onion, herbs and spices, vegetables, breadcrumbs, and lemon zest and juice. Mix well to combine.
  3. Form the mixture into about 6 burger-sized patties with clean hands.
  4. To bake: space the patties out on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 18 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip each burger with a spatula. Put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes to brown on the other side.
  5. To pan fry: lightly oil a griddle or frying pan, and fry each burger over medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.