Ben’s (Organic) Produce Report

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Outrageous Deals:
Seedless watermelon 49¢ lb!
Personal seedless watermelons $2.19 ea!!
Celery root 99¢ lb

I was only able to lock in 50 cases (550 melons!), and I don’t think we will make it through the week on those. If we can’t get more, we will switch to slightly larger personal melons for $2.99 each. The really small ones are just over 3lb each, the $2.99 ones are closer to 4lb. 

More Wild Deals (Yes, they are all organic):
Ataulfo mangoes $1.29 ea
Navel oranges $1.49 lb
Red, green, and romaine lettuce $1.79 ea
WASHINGTON Asparagus $6.99 lb
(not super cheap, I know, but the first NW grown)
California green beans $3.29 lb
    (much nicer than the Mexican ones we had been getting)
Broccolette $2.29 ea
Broccoli $2.49 lb
Celery 79¢ lb
Cucumbers 99¢ lb
English cukes $1.99 ea
Roma tomatoes $1.19 lbLocal Produce!

Things are starting to roll along locally; we should see some radishes, braising mix, and arugula from Blue Heron soon. We have cauliflower from Hedlin, and we should see some fiddlehead ferns soon. More local produce is on its way!

Earth Day 2014

The Indian in the Cupboard: Palak Paneer

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If South Indian cuisine is the Washington fare of India (fresh, light, lots of fish and seafood), then North Indian food is down-home Texas (rich, creamy and heavy). Most Indian restaurants you’ll find will be North Indian and boast menus of buttery, starchy goodness. Butter chicken, tikka masala, jalfrezi, biryani, roti, naan – it’s all enough to drive a girl mad with food-lust. But, of course, there is one North Indian dish that shines on a pedestal of deliciousness in my heart, far above the rest: Palak Paneer. Creamy, sweetly spiced spinach surrounds chunks of soft paneer (a mildly flavored Indian cheese). Its dangerously delicious flavor is capable of sending anyone into a proper comfort-food coma. But I like to live dangerously, so let’s cook.

Ingredients
2-7 oz. Packages of Paneer (cubed)
2 Bunches of Spinach (blanched and finely chopped)
5 Tbsps. Olive Oil (vegetable oil or ghee would also work)
½ Large Jalapeno (finely chopped)
1 ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
½ tsp. Cayenne
Salt
1 Clove of Garlic (minced)
½” – 1 ½” Piece of Fresh Ginger (peeled and minced)
1 Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Medium Tomatoes (large dice)
¾ tsp. Garam Masala
Pinch of Asafoetida
Pinch of Red Chili Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1 Curry Leaf
1 Heaping tsp. Coriander (ground)
1 Scant tsp. Cumin (ground)
2-3 Tbsps. Heavy Cream or Yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Mix 1 tsp. turmeric, cayenne, salt and 3 Tbsps. oil in a large bowl. Drop in cubes of paneer and gently toss. Set aside.

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    Fried Paneer!

  2. Rinse spinach well. Boil about 6 cups of water in a large saucepan with ½ tsp. of salt. When water is boiling, turn off heat, and drop in spinach leaves. Cover pot with lid and leave for 2-3 minutes. Extract spinach from boiling water, using a colander, and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. Leave in ice water for a minute or two, then drain the leaves.
  3. At this point, it may be easiest to toss your spinach into a food processor and blend into a coarse puree. I, however, live sans food processor and thusly get to do it the old fashioned way! Huzzah! – Finely chop the aforementioned spinach by hand, using only your sharpest kitchen knife and the will to laugh in the face of modern technologies.
  4. We’re ready to cook! Heat a large frying pan on medium high. Carefully add marinated paneer to hot pan. Toss cubes until all sides are a light, golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Add about 2 Tbsps. of olive oil (or ghee) to your pan. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Sauté ingredients until they are a deep, golden brown. With a cup of water at the ready, add the remaining spices. Splash mixture with water, as needed, to keep spices from burning. A thick paste will form. Keep it moving for a few minutes, until spices permeate the air with a distinct, strong aroma.
  6. Add spinach to pan with ½ cup water. Add tomatoes. Simmer for 4-8 minutes, adding water as needed to keep mixture moist.
  7. Slowly add cream, stirring constantly, and salt to taste. Cover and let simmer for about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve over basmati rice, with naan, paratha or roti. Enjoy!

*For all my vegan buddies out there, replace paneer with 1 package of extra firm tofu and cream with canned coconut milk. The substitutions will totally still work with the recipe. Yay!

The (Organic) Produce Report

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Outrageous Deals:
(Yes, we realize these look too good to be true.)
Fair Trade, Organic Honeydew melon 69¢ lb!
California-grown Asparagus $3.49 lb!

Even More Wild Deals (Yes, they are all organic):
Bosc pears 79¢ lb
Seedless watermelon 79¢ lb
Cucumbers $1.29 lb
Bunched carrots (Ralph’s for now!) $2.29 ea
Purple cabbage $1.29 lb
Large red potatoes 99¢ lb
3-count bagged Romaine hearts $2.49 ea
Red and rainbow chard $1.69 bunch

Local Produce!
Local rhubarb is on its way! John from Living Rain Farm should be in with rhubarb on Wednesday. Ralph’s is bringing collard greens and green kale, and will have green, red, and Lacinato kale raab later this week as well. Nettles are coming from Well Fed Farm in Bow.


Weekly Produce Feature: Snow Peas!
(Organic, from Mexico, $6.79/lb)
All hail the Snow Pea! Shelled peas have a tendency, I think, to be considered a “fun” vegetable, with more attention given to the delight of crunching into a pea pod, shelling them, or the excitement of their appearance in a stir fry. The good news, dear Co-opers, is that this fun-filled legume is also a nutritional powerhouse. Snow peas are very high in fiber, a great source of vitamin K, manganese, Vitamin B1, and copper. They have a unique set of phytonutrients called saponins. Recently discovered and not well understood, some researchers think saponins may interact with other phytonutrients in peas to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Even though green peas are an extremely low-fat food (with approximately one-third gram of total fat per cup), the type of fat and fat-soluble nutrients they contain is impressive: there are approximately 30 mg of omega-3 ALA and 130mg of essential omega-6 fatty acid in one cup of snow peas. This very small, but high-quality, fat content helps provide us with important fat-soluble nutrients from this legume, including sizable amounts of beta-carotene and small but valuable amounts of vitamin E.

Green peas also stand out as an environmentally friendly food. Agricultural research has shown that pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. First, peas belong to a category of crops called “nitrogen fixing” crops. With the help of bacteria in the soil, peas and other pulse crops (also called “grain legumes”, and include pinto beans, kidney beans, and lentils) are able to take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process increases nitrogen available in the soil without the need for added fertilizer.

The recipe for this week is from our friends at Co+op (the cooperative of food co-ops throughout the country), with minor adjustments. Join us this Saturday, April 5, 11am-2pm, for Ginger-Miso Tofu with Snow Peas. Recipes will be available all week in the Produce Department.

The (Organic) Produce Report: March 24-30

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Outrageous Deals:
Cucumbers 99¢ lb from Mexico
Small Bosc Pears 55¢ lb! Grown in Washington, just out of cold storage! These may not last all week, but we will try to stock up a lot of them.

Wild Weekly Specials:
Red and green cabbage $1.49 lb
Celery 99¢ lb
Baby artichokes $2.29 lb
Mixed mini sweet peppers $1.99/ 1 pint
Blood oranges $2.99 lb
Small heirloom tomatoes $2.99 lb
Rio Star grapefruit $1.49 lb

What’s New & Local:
Spring is in the air, and local production is ramping up! Ralph’s is now bringing Lacinato kale raab, collard raab, bunched spinach, green kale, red and green dandelion greens, along with the leeks and fingerling potatoes.  We will see lots of varieties of raab — just trim the end of the stem off and chop the rest up! Raw, steamed, braised, sauteed, stir-fried, even juiced, raab is tasty, sweet, and very nutrient-dense.  Local asparagus and rhubarb aren’t too far off; we have nice US grown stuff to get us through in the meantime.  Rhubarb should be here Monday, $4.69 lb to start with.  Mexican melons are starting up this week.

A word on baby artichokes: Trim the outer leaves off the top and sides until you are left with what looks like an artichoke heart from a jar. Then, steam as you would any artichoke, until the stem is tender. When they are this small, there is no “choke”, so you can eat them whole. Toss with salad dressing, add to a saute towards the end, or just pack them in oil and vinegar and keep in the fridge!
Read more The (Organic) Produce Report: March 24-30 …