Whole grain salad with root vegetables

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Grains and roots

Whole grain salad with root vegetables

If you love local greens but don’t like the inflated price tag that comes with them in the winter months, try mixing things up with sprouts, grains, kale and shredded winter roots. These nutrient-dense alternatives, with their deep earthy flavors and textures, can be used to make hearty and delicious salads. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but whole grain and root vegetable salads are a tasty way to keep eating healthy even when cold weather limits the availability of fresh veggies.

Cooking whole grains

Some grains, like barley or wheat, rye and spelt berries, can be simply cooked in boiling water for 45 minutes to an hour. This approach is easy in that you do not necessarily need to measure the grain or water. Other grains, like quinoa, bulgur, millet and brown rice, require specific amounts of water when being cooked. Most water to grain ratios are very similar to that of rice. Cook one cup of quinoa, bulgur, millet or brown rice with two cups of water. If you plan to cook more than one grain, cook each of the grains separately in their own pot.

Winter roots

Winter roots, like celeriac, black radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, carrots and cabbage, are sold by the following farms, markets and co-ops throughout the winter months:

Migliorelli Farm
Schoharie Valley Farms
The Berry Farm
The Chatham Co-op
The Honest Weight Co-op

Ellie’s 9 Mile Farm end-of-season Kimchi

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Ellie’s 9 Mile Farm end-of-season Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy, sour Korean vegetable condiment that is fermented with salt and seasonings. While most recipes today are packed into glass jars and kept in a cool dark area, historic renditions were often stored underground during the fermentation period. Early preparations of kimchi were simple, made only of cabbage and beef stock. Today there are hundreds of recipes, some prepared with a single ingredient such as Napa cabbage or radishes, while others feature a combination of different vegetables, including cabbage, daikon radishes, scallions, carrots, and cucumbers. European contact in the 1500’s lead Koreans to the discovery of the red chili which found its way into the preparation of kimchi and continues to be an essential ingredient in modern recipes. Other common seasonings include ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic, and Saeujeot – a salted brined shrimp.

Recently Ellie Markovitch visited 9 Mile Farm where she spent a few hours packing up bags of Bok Choy, Napa cabbage, Mustard leaves and peppers. The resulting end-of-season bounty was turned into a huge batch of kimchi.

“My mouth waters just thinking about those jars of kimchi in my fridge now. The next best thing to eating them, is sharing them. I posted a photo of my kimchi jars on Facebook to see if anyone would make a trade with me and now I am trading kimchi for jam, hot peppers, eggs, dried apples and pancake mix! I also got requests for the recipe.

My kimchi inspired recipe includes information from books – (wild fermentation), online recipes (fermentation on wheels), friends’ recipes, and lots of practice and tasting.  This recipe is fish-free and uses very little hot pepper, but you could add both if you like. I love having fermented veggies to incorporate into other recipes or to serve as a side dish for my family.”

Kale fried rice recipe and kale 101

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Kale fried rice recipe

Kale 101

Now is one of the best times to enjoy kale from the garden as its flavor will intensify and actually become sweeter after periodic exposure to frost. As other similarly hearty vegetables, like broccoli and chard, will succumb to the harsh winter elements, kale will be the “last of the Mohicans” to be standing in a snow covered garden, and regularly comes back in the spring. Kale is so hearty that farmer Frederick Wellington of Wellington Herbs and Spices says:

“Until we get 10 or so straight days of cold temperatures below zero, kale and collards can survive and still be harvested. Once the extreme cold weather sets in, the leaves will actually shatter like glass.  In the spring they are one of the few vegetables to re-leaf.  Eventually they go to seed but until so, the leaves can be harvested and are pretty tasty.”

Tips on growing Kale

Kale is a fairly low maintenance vegetable that will grow well in any soil and is largely unaffected by pests and diseases like club root, cabbage root fly and slugs that trouble its cabbage cousins. Extremely nutritious, kale is packed with fiber, antioxidants, beta carotene, calcium and vitamins – like K and C. Some “Super Food” proponents even believe that levels of sulforaphane that are present in kale and its fellow crucifers posses cancer fighting properties.  There are many ways to prepare kale, from oven dried chips to salads, to quiche and pie variations and stir fried as it is in the kale fried rice recipe below.

Some farms that still have kale:

Migliorelli Farm
Roxbury Farm
Schoharie Valley Farms
Hawthorne Valley Farm 
Hudson Valley Bounty producers who are growing kale

Kale, hearty and versatile

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Kale the hearty versatile vegetable

Winter or summer, kale is a hearty vegetable that can be prepared many ways.  It makes a perfect raw salad that marries well with any number of textural additions like nuts, dried fruit, shredded carrots and shaved cabbage.  When it is lightly steamed or blanched, kale is also flexible enough to be shaped as a wrapper that can be stuffed with rice, cooked meat and vegetables.

Here are two kale recipes that show the versatility that kale offers – Ellie Markovitch’s sprouted lentil and raw kale salad, and sea bream and kale spring rolls that are stuffed with marinated sea bream and match stick winter vegetables.  For the spring rolls, use medium sized kale leaves and slice your vegetables as thinly as possible.  Any root vegetable will make a delicious addition.  Look for Little Seed Gardens’ celery root, Schoharie Valley Farms’ turnips, kale, braising greens, cabbage, parsnips, scallions, and Migliorelli carrots and black radishes at the Berry Farm – who also happens to grow kale year round in their solar heated greenhouses.

Sprouted lentil and raw kale salad

1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 cups of sprouted lentils
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the kale, lentils and green onions. Toss the salad, mixing well. Refrigerate 4-8 hours.