The Sunny Side – Week of 8/31/14

The Sunny Side – Week of 8/31/14

In Thursday’s box you will find:

  • Leeks
  • Potatoes (from Sandhill Family Farms – organic)
  • Red and/or Green Lettuce
  • White Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Curly Endive
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Kohlrabi

In Sunday’s box you will find:

  • Cucumber
  • Summer squash
  • Red and/or Green Lettuce
  • Red Cippolini Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Sweet Corn (from Didier Farms)
  • Purple and green basil (Sunday)
  • Kohlrabi

In the Field

Goodness, is it Labor Day already? August has really flown by. We’re doing the last of our seedling planting today, and completing another round of seeding (radishes, spinach, and the like). At this point in the season, weeds are less of a problem, so our main focus from here on out will be harvesting and beginning to put the fields to be for the fall. As we clear each field of harvest-able vegetables, we will do a rough till of the fields, spread fertility (manure or compost), and seed cover crops like rye and vetch which will smother weeds and fix nitrogen to add to the soil.

We’ve also been thinking about farm visits this week, since we know that many folks are interested in coming out to see what the farm looks like. We have decided to provide a few different opportunities for folks to come visit. The first opportunities will be two evening field walks, held on Monday, September 22nd and Monday, September 29th. We’ll meet at the Station Square parking lot (directly across Rt 137 from the Prairie Crossing Metra Station) at 5:30 pm and take a 1/2 mile walk through the prairie to our fields, where we’ll get a chance to visit the chickens and turkeys and see where your vegetables get grown. I’ll be sending out more detailed directions as these dates get closer.

The second opportunity for a farm visit will be a Fall Festival that we will be participating in, along with the other farms at Prairie Crossing. This event will take place on Saturday, October 18th, and will be a chance for folks to come out, say hi to us and to other local farmers, see the animals, and learn about local agriculture. More information will follow as we hammer out the details of this event. We hope that, if you are interested in visiting, you will be able to join us for at least one of these events!

In the Kitchen

Storage tips for this week:

  • Tomatoes can be stored on the counter until deep red and slightly soft to the touch.
  • Remove kohlrabi leaves from the bulb and store separately.
  • Store potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • To clean baby leeks, slice thinly and submerge in a bowl of cold water. Swish, pour off water, and repeat until the water is no longer dirty.
  • Sweet corn should go in the fridge – you can trim the ends and outer leaves off of the ears and give them a quick soak in water, if you want. The sooner you eat it, the better it will be!
  • Cooked greens like swiss chard and kale freeze very well. If you need to use up greens but won’t be able to eat them immediately, sautee or steam them for 3-4 minutes, cool, drain any liquid, then pack into small freezer bags and freeze. These frozen greens make a great addition to pasta sauce or soups in the winter.
  • Use basil within 4-5 days. To store, place in a glass of water like a bouquet.

Cooking tips for this week:

  • Curly endive, or frisse, has a characteristic bitter taste that mellows with cooking. It is often paired with white beans, or added sparingly to green salads. It is high in folate and vitamins K and A. Check out the recipes below for some cooking ideas.
  • Layer sliced tomatoes over a bed of well washed, whole lettuce leaves, and sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt – instant salad!
  • Potatoes and leeks go together in a chilled soup called vichyssoise. Follow this link for a simple recipe!
  • The easiest way to enjoy kohlrabi is to peel, slice, salt, and eat. If you cut up the kohlrabi, make sure you eat it all that day, as it has a tendency to become bitter if cut and stored overnight.
  • You can also peel, steam, and mash kohlrabi, and even mix it with steamed, mashed potatoes!
  • Questions about cooking corn? This website is informative and tells you how to grill, boil, or microwave it.
  • Cippolini onions or white onion wedges are perfect for grilling (just skewer and grill until charred and soft), but you can also prepare them as a yummy side dish on the stove top or in the oven.


Curly Endive and Bean Soup


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced ham (optional)
  • 1 head curly endive, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-to 16-ounce can Great Northern beans, drained

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven. Add garlic and sauté until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add ham; stir 1 minute. Add endive, broth and beans; simmer until endive wilts and is tender but still bright green, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Greek Potatoes with Curly Endive


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 leeks, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1-1/4 lb. small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 oz. spinach
  • 6 oz curly endive leaves, torn
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  1. Put half the oil into a heavy saucepan and add the leeks and potatoes. Season, add a splash of water, cover and sweat for 20 minutes. Add a bit of water every so often and stir.
  2. Once the potatoes are almost tender, add the spinach, endive and remaining oil and turn gently. Add another splash of water, season, cover and cook until the leaves have wilted—about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs and lemon juice, put into a serving dish and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, if you want.
  4. Mix the garlic into the yogurt and serve with the vegetables.

Potato-Leek Soup

  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 large or 4 smaller leeks, sliced thinly and rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb potatoes, scrubbed, cubed, and peeled (if desired)
  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • 1/2 c. milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil. Add onions and leeks and sautee until soft and fragrant. Add potatoes and stock to pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, stir in milk, half-and-half, or cream, and season with salt and pepper.

Carrot Coins

  • 1 lb. carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/4 tbsp.dry dill
  • 1/2 c. broth or water


  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Melt butter in a heavy pan with a lid and add broth or water and salt and pepper to taste. Add carrots, stir, and cover, cooking over low/medium heat until carrots are tender. Add dill and serve! You can swap out the broth and dill for orange juice, brown sugar, and ground ginger and cinnamon for a more sweet/savory taste.

Potatoes, carrots, celery….how about a nice stew recipe? Follow this link for a rundown of how to make chicken stew.

More lettuce this week, which means more salads!

Fresh Corn and Basil Cornbread


  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and basil in large bowl. Blend cornmeal and next 4 ingredients in processor 5 seconds. Add 1/2 cup butter; blend until coarse meal forms. Add corn kernels. Using 8 on/off turns, blend until kernels are coarsely chopped. Stir dry ingredients into buttermilk mixture; transfer to pan.
  2. Bake cornbread until golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cold soups can make a hot summer evening tolerable. Check out this cucumber soup recipe, modified from the Chicago Tribune’s JeanMarie Brownson.

Cucumber Yogurt Soup

  • 3 medium cucumbers
  • 2 ribs celery plus 2 tbsp. celery leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, halved
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
  • ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • Salt, Pepper to taste

Peel, seed, and chop cucumbers into large chunks. Put all ingredients except basil and celery leaves into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and refrigerate until chilled. Before serving, blend 1 c. of soup with basil and celery leaves until smooth, mix with remaining soup, and serve.

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, or other seasonings, to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Wash kale leaves well and rip into small pieces (about 2-inch round), discarding the leaf’s tough mid-rib.
  3. Combine kale, salt and pepper, and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until all leaves are evenly coated.
  4. Arrange kale pieces in one layer on several large cookie sheets.
  5. Bake, stirring once or twice, for about 10 minutes, or until kale pieces are crunchy.

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