Morgan’s Post: Black Bean Vegetable Loaf

As the holidays come closer, gatherings with family and friends are becoming more and more common. Often times, you may be asked to bring a dish to a party, and this black bean and vegetable loaf is an easy recipe that will have them coming back for seconds. This is a great alternative to your average meatloaf and you can modify and change the flavors very easily just by switching which herbs or seasonings you use. Also, because this is so filling you will probably have leftovers! A couple ideas that I have used in the past include “meatloaf” sandwiches or you could even mash the loaf up with tomato sauce and add to pasta for a heartier cold-weather meal.

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup black beans
  • 1 cup of shitake mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small orange pepper
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • Oil of your choosing
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon of each: paprika, sage, thyme, cumin, chili powder, and pepper

Directions

  1. Set the oven to 400 °F. 
  2. Put a skillet or pan on medium heat on the stove top.
  3. Place oil in the skillet and heat.
  4. Chop onion, garlic, celery, orange pepper, and mushrooms (don’t have to be perfect cuts they will be going into the food processor.
  5. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and heat till translucent.
  6. Add the celery and orange pepper and heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the mushrooms and heat till tender.
  8. Make an empty circle in the middle of the skillet or pan and add all the dry spices (paprika, sage, thyme, cumin, chili powder, and pepper).
  9. Heat for 30 seconds and then mix in with the other ingredients.
  10. Take the skillet off the heat and let cool.
  11. In a food processor add the black beans and vegetable and herb mix.
  12. Process until smooth.
  13. Add bread crumbs, rice, BBQ sauce, and ketchup.
  14. Process until well incorporate or the texture resembles ground meat.
  15. Oil or butter the pan you are using for your loaf.
  16. Add the mixture to the loaf pan.
  17. Cook for 25 minutes covered and then 25 minutes uncovered or until firm

 

Enjoy!

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Brooke’s Post: It Starts with the Soil!

It’s never too early (or too late!) to consider soil health in your garden! Here’s the basics of soil fertility and how to naturally improve it

If you are starting your own garden plot, an important first step will be evaluating the chemistry of your soil.  By testing the acidity (PH) and the nutrient content of your soil, you can determine how well the soil will support crops and what you might need to add to increase soil fertility.  You will want to purchase a soil testing kit from your local garden store.  After taking several soil samples, you will have a good sense of the makeup of your soil.  Next, you should consider what plants you wish to grow, and research what kind of soil environment these plants grow best in. Tip: UNH Cooperative Extension also operates a fee-based soil testing service

Soil pH:

PH is measured on a scale from 3.5 to 9.0, where 3.5 is the most acidic and 9.0 is the most alkaline (also known as “sweet”).  A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.  Acidity has both positive and negative effects on plant growth.  Soil acidity determines the availability of nutrients in soil, as well as the ability of plants to take up these nutrients. Acid in soil helps to break down nutrients into plant available forms and enhances the breakdown of organic matter by microbes.  However, too much acidity will hinder uptake of macronutrients by plants.  On the other hand, alkaline soils hinder the ability of plants to absorb micronutrients.  For these reasons, most plants grow best in neutral or slightly acidic soils, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.  However, every plant has different needs!  For example, blueberries, peppers, and asparagus thrive in ranges from 4.5-5.0, 5.5-7.0, and 6.0-8.0, respectively.

Natural ways to control pH in soil:

To reduce acidity (increase pH) of soil, you can add lime in the form of ground limestone or wood ash.  To reduce alkalinity (decrease pH), you can add mined/elemental sulfur or coffee grounds.

Soil Nutrient Levels:

You should test your soil to determine the existing nutrient levels. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are the macronutrients most important to plant growth and health.  Additionally, micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron are needed in small amounts to enable various plant functions.

Organic fertilizers:

Applying compost to the soil can make a huge difference in soil fertility.  Organic matter in compost introduces a variety of nutrients to the soil and improves water retention.  Compost should be tilled into soil two or three weeks before planting.  If you don’t already have one, start a compost pile at your home!  Plants such as peas and beans are nitrogen fixers.  This means that they are able to convert inorganic forms of nitrogen into plant-available ones.  Planting nitrogen fixers on your plot can improve nitrogen content in the soil for the following year.  Animal manure and coffee grounds will also add nitrogen to the soil. Kelp meal is a good option for increasing potassium, and phosphorous can be added with fish bone meal, chicken and pig manure, or rock phosphate.  Be careful not to over fertilize, as too much of a nutrient can also be damaging to plants.

 

Sources: http://www.dummies.com/home-garden/gardening/how-to-test-your-soil/;  http://homeguides.sfgate.com/ph-affect-plants-49986.html,  http://www.offthegridnews.com/survival-gardening-2/25-fruits-and-vegetables-to-grow-in-acidic-soil/,  http://homeguides.sfgate.com/vegetables-prefer-acidic-soil-51176.html,  http://www.gardenguides.com/104323-nutrient-requirements-vegetables-garden.htmlhttp://www.gardenguides.com/126238-vegetable-fertilizer-requirements.html

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Morgan’s Post: Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos

These buffalo cauliflower bites are an amazing dupe for buffalo chicken bites and can be adapted to many different recipes or just eaten as an appetizer on their own. In the past I have also made them with teriyaki sauce or barbeque sauce instead of buffalo and they were just as good. Whether you are looking for a unique treat to bring to holiday parties or just a dinner idea for the evening you have to give this a try! If you are looking for a healthier alternative, these can also be baked rather than fried.

 

Ingredients

 Cauliflower bites

  • 1 large Cauliflower (or 1 bag frozen cauliflower)
  • Panko Bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • Almond milk
  • Oil to fry (I used canola oil)

Buffalo sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter (I used the vegan butter Earth Balance)
  • 3 Tablespoons of a hot sauce of your choice
  • 1 Tablespoon Veganaise (egg-free mayonnaise)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic

Tacos

  • Tortillas
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • Lettuce
  • Nutritional yeast or cheese substitute
  • (Dairy free) ranch dressing

Directions

Cauliflower bites

  1. Place a frying pan on the stove top half full of an oil of your choosing.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets (small chicken wing or bite size) or take out of the freezer bag.
  3. If using fresh cauliflower wash off and place on a plate.
  4. Pour the almond milk and flour into separate bowls.
  5. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate.
  6. Dip the cauliflower into the flour and then into the almond milk.
  7. Take the cauliflower out of the almond milk and roll it around in the plate with the bread crumbs to get them completely covered.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the remaining cauliflower.
  9. Heat the oil, to test if ready a great tip is to use the end of a wooden spoon. If bubbles appear around the spoon, the oil is ready.
  10. Fry the cauliflower in batches, flip once one side is golden brown.
  11. Place the fried cauliflower on a plate with paper towels or dish towel to absorb oil.
  12. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  13. Toss in the buffalo sauce.

Buffalo sauce

  1. Melt one tablespoon of butter and pour in a bowl.
  2. Pour the 3 tablespoons of hot sauce, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Veganaise into the bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Add the spices and mix well.

Tacos

  1. Lay out 2 tortillas.
  2. Place your desired amount of lettuce, onion and tomato on the tortilla.
  3. Top with buffalo cauliflower bites.
  4. Sprinkle nutritional yeast or cheese.
  5. Drizzle dressing over the top.
  6. Enjoy!
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Brooke’s Post: Carrot Orzotto

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes!  It tastes like mac ‘n’ cheese, but is just a little less salty and a little more sweet. 

This recipe is also incredibly easy and fast–the only part that takes any labor is slicing up the carrots.  I highly recommend you give this one a try if you are in the mood for something creamy and comforting, but also healthy!

 

 

Carrot Orzotto

Makes 4 cups (serves 4)

  •  2 cups carrot juice
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups orzo pasta (dry)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (you can grate them or cut them into matchsticks)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice
  • feta cheese (optional)
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine carrot juice and broth in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low, keeping covered.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add orzo to the skillet and stir slowly until orzo is golden.
  4. Stir carrots into orzo.
  5. Add 1 cup of broth mixture to the skillet and stir until absorbed.  Continue adding broth mixture, 1 cup at a time until all has been absorbed and orzo is tender.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add ½ cup of water.  Stir for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in salt and lemon juice.
  8. Top with pepper to taste and feta cheese, if you desire.
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Morgan’s Post: Healthy Halloween Treats

While walking around the market this past Saturday and seeing all the cute kiddos dressed up in their Halloween best, I thought it was only fitting to devote a blog post to them. I decided to attempt making kid-friendly and healthy (except for candy corn and chocolate chips) Halloween treats. I thought of two cute ideas that could be used as party favors or just as little snacks. The first snack are apple faces. These are super easy and you can make them look completely different by adding different fruits, veggies, or even cereals. A cute idea could be to use the mini chocolate chips as teeth. The second snack is my favorite hummus with a little extra something. This could even work for a Halloween party, and it is completely versatile, you can add whatever spices you like. 

Apple Faces

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • Peanut butter
  • Candy corn
  • Grapes
  • Mini chocolate chips (I used dairy-free)

Directions

  1. Slice the apple into small wedges.
  2. Spread the peanut butter onto one wedge and place the other on top.
  3. Put a candy corn sticking out of the opening.
  4. Slice grapes into little circles.
  5. Before placing the grapes on the apples push a mini chocolate chip into the grape with the pointy portion facing into the grape.
  6. Place the grapes on top of the apples.
  7. Enjoy!

Scary Hummus

Ingredients

  • Hummus
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (olive oil works great for this)
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin

Toppings

  • 1 Celery stock
  • 1 Pepper
  • Baby carrots (for the mouth, amount depending on how many individual little bowls you are making.)
  • Olives (I used Kalamata, but others would work just as well).

Directions

  1. Place the chickpeas, minced garlic, lemon juice, oil, and water into food processor and blend till smooth.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and any other preferred spices.
  3. Process again until the spices are well incorporated.
  4. Now the fun part- the toppings.
  5. Slice celery and pepper into thin strips (this will be the hair).
  6. Place the “hair” sticking out of the top of the bowl, alternating between pepper and celery.
  7. Place the baby carrot (s) where you would like the mouth.
  8. Slice the olives in half and place where you would prefer the eyes to be.
  9. Dig in!

 

Happy Halloween!

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Volunteering at the Winter Farmers Markets

volunteers

 

We need your help!

Volunteers at the winter markets help vendors unload, help at the merchandise table, and help at the entrance greeting and counting customers.  Which best suits you?

We have a total of 12 markets (the first being earlier AND in Exeter this year!!) and you can view available shifts and sign up through the links below.

November 11 Exeter
November 18 Rollinsford
December 2 Rollinsford
December 9 Exeter
December 16 Rollinsford
January 13 Exeter
January 27 Rollinsford
February 10 Exeter
February 24 Rollinsford
March 10 Exeter
March 24 Rollinsford
April 7 Exeter

Thanks for ALL your help and we look forward to seeing you at the first market in Exeter on November 11th!

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Brooke’s Post: Zucchini, Apple and Carrot in One Delicious Recipe!

The following recipe comes from the cookbook Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman.

I was very excited to discover this recipe at the beginning of the summer, because it’s a great way to make use of three things we have growing in our yard and garden: zucchini, carrots and apples.  I’ve now made this recipe three times and I’m in love with it!  It’s nice and moist and has lots of rich flavor!  The recipe produces 1 loaf of bread or 12 muffins.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Apple and Carrot

Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

  • ¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • ¾ cup grated apple (about 1)
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease 8½ x 4 ½-inch loaf pan or muffin tin.
  2. Blend oil, yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla in a food processor or blender.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir wet ingredients into dry.  Fold in zucchini, apple, carrot, and nuts.  Pour into prepared pan or tin.
  4. For loaf: bake 50-60 minutes.  For muffins: bake 20-25 minutes.
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Morgan’s Post: My Take on Shepherd’s Pie

Growing up, shepherd’s pie was one of those weekly meals that my family always looked forward to. I would always steal some mashed potatoes from the pot before they ended up in the casserole dish. I was looking to recreate this comfort food but with a twist. My mom never used celeriac, but because it is in season and looked intriguing I figured I would give it a try. If you were wondering, celeriac is the root of celery and can be treated like a potato. The celeriac tastes like a less starchy potato mixed with celery and parsley. The taste is rather strong by itself in my opinion, but pairs well with mashed potatoes. Feel free to edit this recipe to make it your own.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 3 medium celeriac (celery root)
  • 1 1/3 cup of corn
  • 1 quart of mushrooms (I used a mixed package)
  • ½ large onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter or butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1 small clove
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Optional:

  • 1 sausage, vegan or otherwise (I added this to give the bottom a meatier texture and taste)

Directions

  1. Peel the celeriac (it was much easier to use a knife by cutting the top and bottom off and slicing off the sides).
  2. You can choose to peel the potatoes, but I left the peels on for more texture.
  3. Wash the potato and celeriac making sure to get visible dirt off.
  4. Place two pots of water, one with the sliced potatoes and one with the sliced celeriac, on the stove top and bring to a boil.
  5. Open the package of mushrooms and wash.
  6. Slice the mushrooms an onion into bite size pieces.
  7. Place a pan on the stove top and warm up the olive oil.
  8. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and simmer until the onions are translucent.
  9. Add the mushrooms to the onion and garlic mixture and cook until tender.
  10. Set the oven to 350 °F.
  11. If you are using (vegan) sausage slice the sausage into bite size pieces and put in with the mushrooms.
  12. Place the mushroom, sausage, and onion mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish completely covering the bottom.
  13. Poor the corn over the mixture and flatten out into one layer.
  14. Cook the potatoes and celeriac until fork tender (the celeriac took a little longer).
  15. Drain the potatoes and celeriac.
  16. Place the celeriac, potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper in a bowl and using a potato masher mash until smooth and well incorporated.
  17. Layer the potato and celeriac mix on the top and flatten and press down lightly, make sure to cover the corn completely.
  18. Place the casserole dish into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to be golden brown on the sides.
  19. Take out of the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
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Brooke’s Post: Why We Should Support Local Agriculture

One of the many things that excites me about the production and consumption of local food is the positive impact it can have on the environment.  Perhaps the most obvious benefit of purchasing food from local farms is that the food does not need to be transported great distances to reach consumers.  Therefore, buying locally reduces the use of fossil fuels for transportation.  However, the way in which food is produced (the specific methods implemented by a farm) is also very significant in determining the environmental impact of that production.  Most of the food we purchase in our supermarkets today is produced on industrial farms.  Industrial farms are characterized by the practice of monoculture and the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to crops.  These practices are incredibly damaging to the surrounding environment.

Monoculture is the growth of a single crop in the same location over a long period of time.  This is poor practice because it depletes the soil of specific nutrients demanded by the chosen crop, and also damages the soil structure, causing increased soil erosion.  Once the soil has been depleted of its nutrients, fertilizers must be added to fuel further crop growth.  Industrial farms add synthetic fertilizers to crops.  Synthetic fertilizers are man-made compounds that are a quick but problematic fix to the issue of nutrient depletion.  Synthetic fertilizers are highly concentrated with macronutrients and often contain more nutrients than the plants are able to absorb at a given time.  Thus, the nutrients are leached out of the soils and into surrounding bodies of water.  Leaching fertilizer from industrial farms contaminates drinking water and pollutes ponds, lakes, and the ocean.  The introduction of nutrients also spurs excessive algal growth (algal blooms) and then oxygen depletion (dead zones) in the aquatic ecosystem.  On the other hand, organic fertilizers minimize leeching and improve soil health by introducing microorganisms and organic matter.  Organic fertilizers include compost, manure and seaweed—they are made up of plant and animal residues.   Microorganisms in the soil convert organic compounds into nutrients that can be taken up by plants.  This slow release of nutrients is what minimizes nutrient leeching by organic fertilizers.

The best way to reduce your environmental footprint (from food consumption) is to support farms implementing sustainable practices such as crop rotation and organic fertilizer application.  From my own experience, being sustainable is a priority for many or most small-scale family farms.  Foods in the supermarket may appear cheaper than food from farm stands and farmers markets, however this does not take into account the environmental cost of the food produced via industrial agriculture.  It is extremely important for the health of the environment that we support local farmers using sustainable practices rather than the industrial farms that currently dominate the food industry.

Sources: http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/food-agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture#.WeUxChNSxo4http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/hidden-costs-of-industrial.html#.WeU2lBNSxo4;http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/09/04/how-green-is-local-food/http://www.enviroingenuity.com/articles/synthetic-vs-organic-fertilizers.html

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Morgan’s Post: Carrot Bacon

In the search for a replacement for bacon and sandwich meat, I stumbled upon the idea of carrot bacon. This recipe is very easy and can be modified to create any flavor you are looking for. The carrot bacon is slightly sweet but also crispy and savory. This recipe is what I use to make veggie reubens, but I think it would also be tasty in a faux BLT as well.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Set the oven to 400 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper.
  3. Wash the carrots and peel.
  4. Cut the tops off the carrots and using a mandoline slice the carrots into thin strips resembling bacon. If you do not have a mandoline, it is a little bit more difficult but you can cut the carrots into strips.
  5. In a bowl combine the carrots and all other ingredients and mix together until well incorporated and the strips are completely covered in the ingredients.
  6. In a single layer, line the baking sheet with the “bacon” strips.
  7. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until they reach your desired crispiness.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!
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