Great Taste: seasonal recipes from our live broadcast!

Last Tuesday, Kris and I had the pleasure of sharing our passion for food, farming, and nourishment in KRUU FM's "Great Taste" radio show, hosted by Steve Boss in front of a live audience in the beautiful Green Building Supply demo kitchen. What a rewarding, invigorating experience!

The hour-long broadcast flowed effortlessly. Steve's questions and direction were thoughtful and engaging--Kris and I were both pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge that we were each able to speak to in the moment, and the enthusiastic support and interest that we were met with both during and after the show.


To recap, here's the little promo blurb:

Great Taste-Sheila and Kris.jpg
Kris Johnson and Sheila Higgins are a driven duo committed to the growth and resilience of the local food movement through regenerative farming practices, naturally nourishing recipes, and spending their Saturdays as vendors at the Fairfield Farmers Market.
Kris is a 4th generation Iowa farmer in his first solo season in Fairfield. His operation, Johnson's Produce, utilizes greenhouse growing space in the heart of Fairfield's industrial area that recycles waste-heat from the adjacent Schaus-Vorhies Paint factory in an innovative, sustainable system. He grows a variety of leafy greens, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, and strawberries for Farmer's Market. Sheila is a self-taught cook and baker who has treated Fairfield to thoughtful desserts through The Gardens Seasonal Kitchen, Earth & Water Tea House, and Organic Matters Cafe over the past few years. She is currently working towards her Master's degree in Nutrition for Wellness, and has joined Kris for the outdoor Market season with a weekly offering of freshly-baked organic treats. 
Join Kris and Sheila for an evening of fresh, from-scratch recipes, stealth-health desserts, and lively conversation about the importance of local food. On the menu: Chilled Sorrel Soup, Autumn Arugula Salad, and Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Coconut Cream and Fresh Strawberries.

THANK YOU, so much, to everyone who came out to the show! As promised, I'll share some of our recipes below so that you can enjoy these great tastes from your own kitchen. Cheers! 

Chilled Sorrel Soup

With coconut, avocado & fresh ginger

This improvised dish was our "amuse-bouche" of the evening. Smooth and creamy, bright and full of flavor, traditional thai flavors come together with fresh sour sorrel greens to create a unforgettable bite sure to whet your appetite. While this recipe is a breeze to whip up in a blender, the true magic happens with a few hours of chill-time in the fridge--so be sure to plan ahead! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch fresh sorrel leaves (about 460 g), stems removed
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped (about a thumb-sized knob)
  • *1 1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • *1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste

*adjust salt/tamari balance to suit your taste. This recipe can be made easily with or without soy sauce, but you'll likely need to modify the amount of salt you add, accordingly! 

Instructions:

Finely mince garlic and let rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature on the cutting board before cooking (why? see explanation below). Lightly oil a small cast-iron or nonstick pan and place over low to medium heat. Dice shallot using a sharp knife, add to pan, and cover. Once garlic has sat for 5-10 minutes, add it to the shallot pan and cook, uncovered, until fragrant: about 3-4 minutes; shallots should be translucent but not browned or crispy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down a bit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Remove any large stems from sorrel leaves (discard in the compost pile!) and toss into a large blender (a high-powered model like Vitamix or Blendtec is ideal, but we've had success with our Goodwill-brand as well as our Kitchen-aid food processor). Grate/chop fresh ginger and add to the blender. Pour about half the can coconut milk over the sorrel and ginger, pulse the blender a few times, and use a spatula to scrape down any large leaves that have stuck to the sides. Scoop in the avocado, and add in the rest of the coconut milk, soy sauce, salt and pepper seasonings, and *not hot* cooked shallot and garlic (if these ingredients are too warm, they will force the sorrel leaves to wilt and loose their vibrant green color, but it's not the end of the world). Blend to perfection, pausing to scrape down the sides of your blender as necessary.

Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge 6-8 hours, or overnight (this gives a wonderfully luscious, creamy texture the soup and really helps bring the flavors together. Trust us, it's worth the wait!)

Serve with a topping of chopped sorrel leaves, snow pea shoots, or your microgreen of choice. 

**RECIPE NOTE: some brands of canned coconut milk tend to separate into the substituent fat and watery layers more readily than others (even at room temperature), which can sometimes give your soup a slightly curdled appearance about halfway through this recipe. Is your soup looking like chunky gloop? Have no fear! the addition of an avocado will help pull the consistency back together. If you're still having trouble, add a bit more avocado. 

*Why "rest" garlic?

The healing properties of garlic can be maximized by chopping, pressing, or crushing raw garlic and then letting it rest for about 10 minutes before cooking. Recent scientific research sheds some important light on the best practices you can incorporate into your normal cooking routine to enhance garlic's natural health-promoting effects. What's the secret? Science! Let's talk chemistry....

The cell structure of whole, fresh garlic separates two important compounds: sulfur-based alliin and an enzyme by the name of alliinase. When a clove of garlic is chopped or crushed, its cells are broken apart and allinase is free to catalyze the dehydration reaction that transforms alliin into allicin, an organosulfide compound responsible for a wide range of health benefits as well as the distinct garlic smell and "bite". In fact, some researchers have nicknamed the compound "Allicin Wonderland" for its striking results in disease prevention and treatment studies. 

Here's the catch: the reaction that forms allicin doesn't happen the very second your knife touches the clove, so hang tight while science does its thing. Once formed, allicin can be deactivated by heating...but as long as you keep your cook time to 5-10 minutes, nutrient loss should be pretty minimal. (the 45+ minute range indicates significant loss)

BOTTOM LINE: chop your garlic and carry on with your meal prep while it rests. Your patience will reward you manifold with an added boost of natural, preventative medicine in the form of the flavorful food that you eat. (And if you feel like slow-roasting your garlic for a special dish every once in awhile, that's cool too!)  

Autumn Arugula Salad with Nutritious Honey Vinaigrette

Here, our market-favorite Salad Mix of spicy arugula greens, hearty mizuna lettuce, and tender tatsoi is paired with a one-jar, oh-so-easy, nutrient-dense vinaigrette and a topping of crunchy sliced almonds, sweet seasonal pears, and course sea salt. This is our big-batch recipe, so invite some friends over for a meal and bookmark this for your next holiday potluck!

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh Spicy Salad Mix from Johnson's Produce ;)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 large pear, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp raw honey (or a touch more if you like things a little sweeter)
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Seal and shake until thoroughly combined. Seriously. That's it. 

Place salad greens in a large serving bowl, and slowly pour the dressing around the edges. With clean hands, gently mix the greens together and add more dressing as necessary--again, working from the edges first. (Great tip from Steve! This will help the greens from becoming over-dressed and soggy) Add the sliced almonds and pears, a dash of course salt, and grind or two of pepper. 

Optional additions: We think that roasted potatoes and/or a cup of cooked quinoa would be great in this salad for a heartier, warm variation!