Happy Solstice, let's have some cake!

FoodLove's newsletter for 6/23/16 View this email in your browser ( Share ( Tweet ( Pin ( Forward (

** It's all about the strawberries, FoodLover!

Saturday morning was PYO heaven! The Chief Taster and her visiting mom very happily picked/ate our share of peas while I spent practically no time at all in the strawberry field filling our share for the week. Seriously. I have never seen so many ripe, gorgeous berries on every single plant. I didn't even have to walk down to the far end of the patch. Two steps out of the car and 10 minutes later my quarts were full!

So, what to do with yet another batch of berries? Cocktails and cake, of course! The cocktail I mentioned last week got made again (and again!) as well as a new cake recipe that unintentionally tasted strikingly similar to Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries. Think yummy memories of childhood minus the all the artificial colors, flavors and other nasties. This cake was pure nature, baby! Check out recipes for both below this week's CSA rundown.

Week three CSA: Salanova Lettuce Garlic scapes Zucchini Interchangeable with summer squash. I’ll talk more about this later in the season because even if you don’t have a CSA you’ll probably have a gardener in your life who tries to unload some overgrown zucchini later in the summer when it starts to take over their garden! Lacinato kale I love kale, all kinds, but this is my go-to variety because it's the easiest to prepare. Its leaves are flatter and smoother than green or red curly kale and the Chief Taster loves a chiffonaded ( kale salad so lacinato kale is the best choice for that. A quick search on kale varieties brought up some very conflicting opinions so I will throw mine into the mix: don’t take anything you read about kale as absolute truth (good advice for all foods, really). No one variety is always more bitter vs. sweet or always better cooked vs. raw. Lacinato is considered the sweetest, most tender kale but I’ve gotten some tough, bitter bunches and I’ve also gotten lots of curly kale that was tender and delicious raw. All veggies will vary depending on where they’re grown, the time of year, and how you prepare them. Radishes Thinly sliced into a green salad is nice but kind of boring, right? There are so many other delicious ways to use radishes and if you’re put off by their bite, pair them with cheese (a couple of the recipes below suggest ricotta or burratta, both sound so yummy!) or do as the French and serve them raw with some unsalted butter ( . Check out some of these recipes: Cucumber It’s the first pickling cukes of the year!!! These are the best, most crunchy, wonderful little treats, nothing like an English cucumber or a slicing cuke. More on those varieties here ( . Besides eating them as is or with a little salt & pepper I still love them the way my mother made them every summer of my childhood: sliced and mixed with sour cream, garlic and salt. Feel free to sub yogurt for the sour cream and/or toss in some herbs. You can’t mess this one up! Salad mix The mix tastes different every time: sometimes sweeter, sometimes peppery, more delicate, more crunchy, but always so darn good. I like to really taste these so they usually get dressed in no more than lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Thanks, FoodLover, for reading. Head on over to our blog ( to join the conversation and please share ( with all the FoodLovers you know! Cocktail: strawberry honey elderflower

A quick note about my cocktail recipes: all ingredients are given in parts as opposed to ounces or tablespoons. Why do I do this? Well, it makes more sense to me because I think of ingredients in terms of how they balance each other but it also makes it super easy to multiply any recipe. The part I tend to use for a single drink is one ounce. Want to make four drinks? Use four ounces for each part but then make it in a pitcher because it won't fit in a cocktail shaker!

2 parts Barr Hill gin ( 1 part St. Germain liqueur ( 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 part honey simple syrup 3-4 fresh local strawberries

Muddle strawberries in cocktail shaker until well mashed. Add all other ingredients, shake well. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass if you're feeling fancy or pour the whole shebang into your favorite tumbler for a drink that stays cold longer and gets a little diluted towards the end, which is kind of nice on a warm evening sitting outside.

Honey simple syrup: mix equal parts honey ( local, raw ( is the most flavorful) and warm water. Stir until completely combined. Chill before using. One ounce each honey and water will give you enough for two cocktails and any extra can be stored in the fridge for next time!

Mocktail version: leave out the liquor, use six berries, add two ounces seltzer water. If you have it, add some orange blossom water.

So, what's this thing called? "Retirement" in honor of a friend and reader who recently retired from her teaching career and who is one of our favorite people to have cocktails with. Cheers!

Cake: strawberry pistachio with rosewater glaze

Dry ingredients: 3 cups flour 3/4 cup ground pistachios 1 Tbs baking soda 1/2 tsp salt Wet ingredients: 3/4 cup oil 3/4 cups puréed strawberries (purée 1 cup and reserve 1/4 cup for glaze) 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 eggs Add-in: 2 cups chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a bundt pan. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl. Add all wet ingredients to bowl of standing mixer (or large mixing bowl if using hand mixer). Beat on low 2 minutes. Slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Beat on low 1 minute. Add chopped strawberries, mix until incorporated. Scrape into bundt pan. Bake for one hour or until skewer (or toothpick or piece of spaghetti) inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 mins. Carefully turn out onto plate. Allow to cool before glazing.

Glaze: strawberry rosewater 1/4 cup strawberry purée 2 cups confectioners sugar 4 drops rosewater (use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you don't have it) Garnish: 1/4 cup shelled pistachios 2 cups whole strawberries

Whisk glaze ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle back and forth or in circles over cake until gone. Top with garnishes and enjoy! Hi! I'm Tonianne, food evangelist and creator of FoodLove. That's me happy as can be, cooking for friends on a camping trip, and sharing wonderful conversation about – yup, you guessed it! – food. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the conversation, too. PHOTO CREDIT: D. SHEA

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The CSA veggies have arrived!


The CSA veggies have arrived!

Check out these gorgeous veggies!

Our first CSA pick-up was yesterday and as promised I'm "sharing my share" with you! Curious what eating local and in-season looks like in Western Mass? Subscribe here to follow my CSA each week of the growing season. You'll also find recipes, links, and fun veggie-centric info.

Here's a quick refresher on what CSAs are all about:

What's CSA stand for?
Community Supported Agriculture
What's it mean?
You buy a share in a farm and receive a portion of the harvest each week.
What's the benefit?
So many! You'll be eating the freshest veggies you can buy. You'll get exposed to a diversity of veggies you might not otherwise choose to buy. You'll be supporting your neighbors, your community, and the environment. You'll save money over the cost of the same veggies bought at a store. You'll be eating delicious, healthy food all season!
What farm do we belong to?
Red Fire in Granby (they're great, all organic, with lots of pick up locations in the Valley and Boston)

Here's what we received in our regular size share for week one:

Napa cabbage
Use it just like green or red cabbage in stir fries, cole slaw, salads, or if you feel adventurous try your hand at kimchi!
Purple kohlrabi
I'm guessing of all the veggies here kohlrabi might be the least familiar so I'll talk a little more about it below.
Salanova lettuce
A lovely variety with tiny leaves that tastes much like green or red lettuce.
Green curly kale
Perfect for a massaged kale salad or tossed into a stir fry.
Green garlic

This is garlic before it grows into a whole head. Chop it like scallions and use anywhere you'd use garlic.
Popeye's favorite but nothing like that horrible mushy canned stuff he ate! Use in salads, stir fries or smoothies. 
Fresh herbs are such a great way to bring bright flavor to your meals! Dill is especially good with fish or chicken and terrific stirred into yogurt or sour cream for a quick dressing or tzatziki sauce.

We also get an egg share from happy chickens who get to roam outside in the grass and eat bugs, yum! And every member has the option to pick extra crops each week. This week's PYO (pick your own) was snow, snap and shell peas, strawberries, and herbs. I didn't leave myself enough time to pick everything so I opted for just the strawberries because their season seems to be a little bit shorter than the peas and because I didn't need any herbs this week. I also happen to have rhubarb growing in my yard and what's better with rhubarb than strawberries?

So, how does this add up price-wise? Well, this is probably the smallest share we'll receive all season, which is very common for the early season shares. But even at this size if you were to buy all these organic veggies at a grocery store or market you'd be spending in the neighborhood of $30. At $625 for 20 weeks that's almost exactly what we pay. 

But wait! The shares just keep getting bigger every week and by late August and September we're taking home double and triple what you see here not including all the PYO options. This share more than pays for itself, but as far as we're concerned buying local, knowing our farmers, and feeling connected to our community is how we experience the real benefit of belonging to a CSA!

Purple kohlrabi

What is this crazy looking thing?
 It’s a member of the cabbage family and has a flavor similar to broccoli stems but much sweeter and a texture close to an apple when young or a turnip when older. Kohlrabi comes in both the purple and green varieties at our farm, usually with the leaves still attached.

How to prep: remove the leaves and peel the bulb.

What to do with the leaves: if small and tender, use them in a salad. If bigger or tougher, use as you would kale. You can eat the stems but check for toughness, sometimes they are super fibrous. If they’re nice and crisp, just chop small and toss into a salad or stir fry.

What to do with the bulb: eat it raw or cooked. A friend from the Midwest was appalled when I mentioned roasting my kohlrabi (SO good and nutty!) because he had grown up with it sliced thin and eaten cold from the fridge with salt and pepper on hot summer days. It is good like that, and its tasty in salads shredded, cubed or sliced thin. It’s also great roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil or steamed and made into a lovely pureed soup. Kohlrabi has a fairly neutral flavor so you can toss it into just about anything you’re making. Try adding it to your next batch of mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes. Enjoy!




The FoodLove blog is up!

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