Carrot Greens

When you come home from the Farmer’s Market, the CSA, or your own garden with a bunch of fresh carrots, don’t discard the carrot greens. They are delicious and nutritious and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Here are some ways to use carrot greens:

  1. Add them to a stir-fry
  2. Roast them with other vegetables
  3. Make carrot greens pesto
  4. Add them to a green salad
  5. Use them in place of lettuce in sandwich
  6. Make a carrot greens omelet
  7. Make a carrot greens pizza

Here’s a recipe that uses both the carrots and their greens.

Spicy Carrots and Greens

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp each turmeric, coriander, cumin
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced, and their greens

Sauté the garlic and onions with a small amount of oil in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Mix in the spices and cook another minute or two. Add the carrots, stir to coat with the spices, and cook until they are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the greens and cook until the carrots and greens are as tender as you like them. You can add small amounts of water while cooking if needed to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice or the grain of your choice.

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Bee Balm Bread

bee balm flower

Bee balm is an unusually pretty garden flower, attractive to bees and hummingbirds, as well as to gardeners. It has a delightful fragrance reminiscent of oregano and mint. I dry some bee balm every summer to make a fragrant tea to enjoy all winter long. It is not only tasty but is also supposed to be antimicrobial and soothing to the nerves.

Bee balm is also used in cooking. It can be used to flavor meat, tossed into salads, and added to biscuit and muffin recipes. Today I added it to a whole wheat bread recipe. It came out sooooooooo tasty. Here are the ingredients I used.:

  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 cup bee balm petals and leaves
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white bread flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 1/2 t yeast

Here are the ingredients in the pan:

be balm bread

I made the bread in my bread machine. You can do the same, following the manufacturer’s instructions for your machine, or you can follow your usual procedure for making bread by hand, or you can just use your favorite whole wheat bread recipe adding 1 cup of bee balm petals and leaves to a two-loaf recipe.  However you make it, it is sure to come out delicious, especially when you eat it fresh out of the oven with butter.

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Savory Sautéed Apples

This is another great year for apples. Not only are there free apples everywhere, literally just for the picking, but they are also showing up in my CSA basket. So I figured it’s time to move beyond apples for breakfast and dessert and make some into a main dish for dinner. Here’s what we had the other night:


Savory Sautéed Apples

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large apples, cored and sliced
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 t dried thyme or rosemary
  • sausage, bacon, or ham (optional)

Sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Add the apples, balsamic vinegar, and thyme/rosemary. Continue cooking until the apples are tender, about 5-10 minutes. If you want, during the last few minutes of cooking add two small sliced sausages (I use garlic sausage), 4 strips of cooked, crumbled bacon, or 1 cup of diced ham. Serve with the grain of your choice.

Local analysis:

Local – apples and onions (from CSA), garlic and rosemary  (from my garden)

Non local – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sausage



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Stinging Nettle Pancakes

Here’s a fun recipe to try if you have a good supply of stinging nettles available.


Stinging Nettle Pancakes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 3-4 cups loosely packed stinging nettles

Whisk together the milk, eggs, and salt. Stir in the flour and then the melted butter. Steam the nettles for 4-5 minutes in boiling water. Remove from pot and reserve the cooking water. Run the nettles under cold water until cool enough to handle, then drain, squeeze out the excess water, and chop. Add the chopped nettles to the batter.

These can be cooked like regular pancakes on a griddle, or cook like crepes, one at a time in a small frying pan.  Serve with butter, jam, applesauce, or anything else you like, and mugs of nettle tea (the cooking water you reserved).

If you still have some nettles leftover after making these pancakes, check out more ideas for cooking with nettles here and here. Or, make more pancakes!

Local Analysis of last night’s pancakes

Local: stinging nettles (picked near my house), eggs, milk, and butter (from local farms via co-op)

Non-local: flour, salt





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Crabapple Sauce Bread

Crabapple trees are abundant in my neighborhood, and I’ve written in the past about using the fruit to make crabapple sauce. You can use crabapple sauce in baking in the same way you would use applesauce. I always make a large batch and freeze it in half-pint containers. Then I can enjoy eating and baking with it all year round.

Here’s a recipe for a tasty quick bread using crabapple sauce. Of course, you could use applesauce instead if that is what you have available.


Crabapple Sauce Bread

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each nutmeg, allspice, cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 c olive oil (or other oil)
  • 1/4 c plain yogurt
  • 1 c crabapple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Beat in the oil, yogurt, crabapple sauce, and vanilla. Fold in the flour and nuts. Bake in a greased bread pan at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely

Local analysis of the loaf I made last week

Local – crabapple sauce (from my freezer, made last fall from fruit from neighborhood trees), eggs (from local farm via co-op), yogurt (homemade from milk from local farm via co-op)

Non Local – flours, baking soda, spices, salt, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, walnuts






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Tomato/Tomatillo Soup

Summertime, with bees busily buzzing in the herb garden and tomatoes ripening in the sunshine, seems so far away on an icy February day. Fortunately, while summer was still here, I stocked my freezer and shelves with garden products, and the other day I used some of them to make a tasty tomato/tomatillo soup.


Here are the tomatillos, still frosty from the freezer.

Tomato/Tomatillo Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups diced tomatillos (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 3 cups diced red tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 4 cups broth
  • 2 t oregano
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • salt to taste

Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about five minutes. Stir in the tomatillos, tomatoes, corn, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, covered, 20- 30 minutes. Add the beans and rice and cook a few more minutes until they are heated through. Add more water as needed (or the cooking water from the beans) and salt taste.

Local analysis of this week’s soup:

Local – garlic, oregano (from my garden), tomatillos (from neighbor’s garden via my freezer), corn (from farmer’s market via my freezer), broth (homemade from vegetable scraps)

Non local – canned tomatoes, cumin, beans, rice, salt

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Baking with Red Clover

Red clover grows in abundance around here. It is, after all, the state flower. I harvest the blossoms in the summer and dry them for winter use. Combined with peppermint and lemon balm they make a tasty tea.

I read somewhere recently that you can use red clover in baking, substituting it for up to 25% of your flour, so I decided to give it a try in a loaf of whole wheat bread.


Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 1 5/8 cups water
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white bread flour
  • 3/4 cup dried clover blossoms
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 1/2 t yeast

I made this bread in my bread machine. If you want to do the same, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you prefer to make bread by hand, you can just follow your usual steps.

The red clover added a nice, light texture to the bread and probably also some vitamins and minerals. It also gave it a higher percentage of local ingredients (always my goal, of course).  I think the bread was quite tasty (even though the red clover did not seem to make any difference to the flavor) and I plan to make it again. I’m also thinking about what else I could bake with red clover. I might try biscuits next.

Local analysis:

  • Local – red clover blossoms (wild harvested near my house), maple syrup and butter (from local farms), water
  • Non local – flour, salt, yeast


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Green Tomatoes with Fresh Baby Ginger and Turmeric

Fresh baby ginger and turmeric are harvested while the roots are still young and tender and before the skin has formed. The flavor is much milder than that of the mature root. They can be used to flavor rice, stir fries, soups, and many other dishes. You may find  fresh baby ginger or turmeric at your local farmer’s market or in your CSA basket. Recently, I have been lucky enough to find both in my CSA basket. This week’s basket contained some green tomatoes, as well. So the obvious thing to do was to cook them all together.


Green Tomatoes with Fresh Baby Ginger and Turmeric

  • 1 leek (or large onion), thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T minced fresh baby ginger*
  • 3 T minced fresh baby turmeric*
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 medium green tomatoes, quartered and thinly sliced
  • salt to taste


Saute the onion in a small amount of oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and turmeric and cook 5 minutes more. Add the green pepper and green tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally . Add salt to taste. You can add a small amount of water to keep the tomatoes from sticking to the pan if needed. Serve with rice or the grain of your choice.

*If fresh baby ginger and turmeric are not available, you can use the mature root, but since the flavor is stronger, reduce the amount by about half. Alternatively, you can use ground dry ginger and turmeric, 1 teaspoon of each.

Local analysis of the dish I made last night:

Local – everything from the CSA except the salt and oil!


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Autumn Vegetable Hash

This recipe combines cold-weather vegetables – kale, winter squash, potatoes – with warming spices to make a dish that’s perfect for celebrating autumn.


Autumn Vegetable Hash

  • 2 cups peeled and cubed winter squash (any kind)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed (and peeled if you like)
  • 4 cups sliced or shredded kale, stems removed
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Steam the vegetables in a steamer basket until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, sauté onions, garlic, and spices in a small amount of oil until onions are translucent. Add the steamed vegetables and combine. That’s it! Can be served with fried eggs and/or sausage if you like. For a different kind of flavor, substitute rosemary and thyme for the spices.

Local analysis of the hash I made last night:

Local – all vegetables (from the CSA)

Non local – spices, salt, oil


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Simply Salad

One of the delights of spring and summer is fresh green salads. A tossed green salad is very easy to make using whatever fresh greens, herbs, and vegetables you have on hand.


There are lots of different greens that can be used to form the basis of a green salad, and if you are a CSA subscriber, you may often find yourself experimenting with new-to-you greens. In addition to the many varieties of lettuce that are available, other common salad greens include

  • spinach
  • beet greens
  • baby kale
  • radicchio
  • arugula
  • chicory
  • endive
  • cabbage (napa and savoy cabbage are tender even when raw)

Use any one green or a combination, depending on what you have on hand. A bit of grated carrot in your salad will sweeten up bitter or spicy greens such as kale or arugula. I sometimes add bok choy to salad. The leaf makes a decent salad green and the chopped up stem adds some crunchy interest.

Wild greens I commonly use include

These are good in early spring before the plant sends up its flower stalk. After that, the leaves become tough and, in the case of dandelion, bitter. There are many other wild greens but these are the two I have experience with. As with any wild food, be 100% sure of identification before harvesting and eating. And wash them well!

You can add texture and flavor by adding other vegetables, chopped, sliced, or grated, as you prefer. Good salad vegetables include

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • radishes
  • broccoli florets
  • cauliflower florets
  • zucchini (I especially like this grated)
  • sweet peppers
  • red cabbage
  • red onion

You can add some heft to your salad with grated cheese, sliced hardboiled eggs, or nuts and seeds. Such additions can turn a salad into a main course.  On the other hand, I find these things can distract from the delicate flavors and textures of fresh vegetables and herbs. As always, experiment to find the combinations you like best.

Fresh herbs add depth to your salad. Just snip them up with scissors. Quantity may depend on how much you have available, though as guideline, about 1/4 cup of any one herb would be a decent amount for a regular size salad bowl. Much more might make the flavor too intense. But, again,  you should experiment with quantities and combinations to find what suits your taste.

My favorite salad herbs include


If your salad vegetables are truly fresh, meaning they were recently harvested from your garden or a local farm rather than from a vegetable producer hundreds or thousands of miles away, they will need very little dressing up. There really is no need to smother the natural flavors of fresh vegetables and herbs in lots of oily dressing. If you are a salad dressing fan, I would suggest adding only a small amount, a few teaspoons per serving perhaps, just enough to enhance the taste of the vegetables but not overpower them.  I usually find , however, that a splash of vinegar or lemon juice is enough to brighten things up. You could also add a bit of olive oil if you like it.


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