This weekend we got out into the country. On Saturday there was a hike to Lindeman Lake (don’t listen to your guidebook, it’s definitely not “easy”) and afterward, there was time to check out a few local farm markets. I was hoping we could find a flat or two of local strawberries, but since we were nearing the end of the afternoon, everywhere seemed to be sold out. Our first stop was Wisbey Veggies in Chilliwack where I walked out with 2 very full bags full of local farm fresh produce for $20. Beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, snow peas, new potatoes, carrots, raspberries, zucchinis and mushrooms…all locally grown, all so delicious. A few minutes away, we discovered a goat cheese dairy selling all kinds of goat cheese products from ice cream to yogurt to gouda! I walked away with cheese curds (not goat) and some goat cheese feta. I was already imagining all the menu possiblities.
On Sunday, after a big breakfast and a little garage sale snooping, we decided to head out to visit our CSA farm in Langley for their open house weekend. It’s a beautiful farm and we got a great tour from the very enthusiastic farmer, Stephen. We also got to pick out some seedlings to take home and harvest some of our own rhubarb and greens (kale, mustard, chard and arugula)! We even dug into the farm’s cooler and into a tub containing mouldy leeks. Stripping off the gooey outter layers revealed a perfectly good leek, so we took a few of those home too. I think it’s safe to say that when you harvest your own food, it tastes so much better and you get bragging rights which is always a good thing.
After looking through my haul on Sunday evening, I got to work. First I tackled the beets. I knew I wanted a beet and arugula salad topped with feta. Recalling a similar salad I made last summer, I decided to stick with a good thing but still make a few tweeks here and there. The beets were incredibly sweet and worked so well with the feta and the tangy dressing. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing. For the new potatoes, I took the simple road. Boiled, buttered and sprinkled with fresh herbs from my garden. The mint made this dish and made the potatoes sing. I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and as i gathered the beet greens, I decided to make use of the kale and chard as well, braising them simply with the leeks and a lemon. It was a farm fresh dinner from start to finish.
buttered new potatoes with mint & parsley
8 new potatoes
1 T fresh mint, chopped
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T unsalted butter
kosher salt & black pepper
Boil potatoes in water until tender. Drain. Coat with butter, fresh herbs and salt & pepper. Serve.
beet & arugula salad with goat cheese & pecans
8 baby beets, quartered or cut in half
1/4 c goat cheese feta
2 T pecans, chopped
1 T sour cherry jam
1/4 c olive oil
1 t dijon mustard
2 T cider vinegar
salt & pepper
Boil the beets until tender, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly so that removing the skin from the beets isn’t too painful. Further chop the larger pieces of beets, if necessary. Set aside. Mix the dressing by combining the jam, olive oil, mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper until thick. Adjust seasonings to taste. Scatter arugula on plate, then the beets, feta and pecans. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
braised greens with leeks & lemon
2 lbs of assorted greens (chard, kale, beet greens is what I used)
1 T olive oil
1/2 t red pepper flakes
3 leeks, sliced thinly
zest & juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
Rinse the greens very well to get rid of any dirt hidden within the leaves. Remove the tough ribs from the kale and discard. Chop the greens and set aside.
In a large pot, heat olive oil and saute the leeks and red chilies until fragrant. Add in the toughest leaves first (kale) and then the chard and then the beet greens. Reduce heat. What looks like a massive amount of greens will soon wilt into a very manageable amount. Add in the lemon juice and zest and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and stir about until all the leaves become wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Serve.