In the winter while local farms are under a blanket of snow, Liberty Heights Fresh reaches out to find regional (defined as in a day's driving distance) farms, mostly in California, to offer the vibrant variety of produce and products you enjoy.
Cauliflower, Coke Farms, San Juan Bautista, CA
Cauliflower gets its name from the Latin “caulis” (cabbage) and flower. A member of the nutrition packed Brassica family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc.) cauliflower is rich in fiber, folate, vitamin C, B vitamins and valuable cancer fighting phytochemicals. Most often a pretty creamy white color, it can also be found in shades of orange, purple, and green. Store cauliflower in a bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Rainbow Chard, Coke Farms, San Juan Bautista, CA
While all chard leaves are green, the stems and ribs can vary from pale white to bright orange to fuchsia or deep red. Chard was given the name “Swiss Chard” to distinguish it from several varieties of spinach in early French seed catalogues. Considered to be one of the more healthful and nutrient dense vegetables, chard is ideal for steaming or sautéing, or added to soups or pastas. The crisp stems should be removed and cooked separately. In season in late spring and early winter, chard is rich in Vitamins A, C & K plus fiber, iron and protein. Wrap loosely in damp towels and store for two to three days in the refrigerator.
Morro Blood Oranges, Deer Creek Heights Ranch, Porterville, CA
Every winter we look forward to the arrival of blood oranges! Smaller and less acidic than a traditional navel, yet with a refreshing sweet-tart flavor, blood oranges are delicious in cocktails, salad dressings, sorbet or simply peeled and enjoyed in their natural state. With a bright orange skin hued with patched of deep burgundy, the blood orange’s vibrant flesh is due to the presence of anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in berries and red potatoes, but not found in any other citrus fruits.
As with all citrus, blood oranges are full of vitamin C and fiber. In season from November to April, store for one week at room temperature or for three weeks in the fridge.
Acorn Squash, Lilly's, CA
Acorn Squash is sometimes also known as “pepper “or “Des Moines” squash. With a dark green color, large acorn-like shape, distinctive yellow-orange eye and sweet bright golden flesh, acorn squash is an easy vitamin filled addition to your winter diet. Although in season throughout the winter, biologically it is actually a summer squash, close relative to the zucchini and yellow squash. Store acorn squash in a cool dark place for up to a month.
For a quick, crowd-pleasing side, slice in the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, butter the cut side, and bake skin side up in a 350 oven until tender (30 – 45 minutes.) The seeds also make a tasty snack after a quick toasting and a dusting of salt.
Red Onion, Lilly's, CA
Red onions are a deep red or purple color with a translucent white inside marked with colorful red rings. Red onion adds snap to salsas, sliced thin in salads, sliced thick and grilled, or as the off-season substitute for topping hamburgers (instead of mealy out of season tomatoes.) Store red onions in a cool dark place for up to a month.
Vegetarian: Dozen Eggs, Clifford Family Farm, Provo, UT
Fruit: Minneola Tangerines, Rucker Homestead, Mecca, California.
White Bean Soup
A hearty and nutritious soup for lunch or dinner. Feel free to add additional vegetables to taste. This soup is best when made a day or two before serving to allow the flavors to develop. Add water as needed if the broth becomes too thick. Serves 4-6 as an entrée, serve with toasted crusty bread.
- 1 lb. Zursun dried Cannellini beans or other white beans (navy, Great Northern, etc.)
- 1 red onion
- 1 fennel bulb
- ½ lb. Chard or other bitter green (collard, beet greens, kale, etc.)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons LHF California extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ lb. sliced pancetta or La Quercia bacon or Christiansen Family Farm’s Berkshire house-cured smoked belly bacon.
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (for garnish) + 1 large rind from the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 cups More than Gourmet chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- Kosher salt & freshly-ground black pepper
Rinse the beans and remove by hand any stray pebbles. Soak overnight (8+ hours) at room temperature or quick cook (boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and let rest, covered for 2 hours.)
Chop the onion.
Remove the fennel stalk, discard. Chop the bulb.
Remove the garlic clove skin. Finely chop the cloves.
Remove any tough stems and ribs from the chard. Cut into bite sized pieces.
Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, reserving the rind.
Coarsely chop the bacon/pancetta.
Drain the beans and rinse well.
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, sauté the pancetta/bacon in the extra virgin olive oil over moderate heat until browned, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a towel to drain.
In the same pot, sauté the onion and fennel until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic, and cook for 1 more minute. Add in the beans, chicken stock, water, cheese rind, and bay leaf, and simmer over medium-low heat for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Cook as long as need to ensure the beans are soft – add more water as needed.
Remove the bay leaf and cheese rind. Add the chopped greens. Simmer for 8-12 minutes until the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Either serve immediately garnished with the chopped bacon and cheese, or reserve the garnishes and store chilled in the fridge for several days.
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
An elegant entertaining dessert with the show-stopping blood oranges center stage! Serves 10.
- 3 blood oranges
- 3 tablespoons Mulini Moretti coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
- ¾ cup + 6 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 stick Strauss Creamery unsalted butter, at room temp (divided in 2 & 6 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon high quality pure vanilla extract
- 2 large Clifford Farms eggs
- 6 tablespoons Rosehill whole milk
Slice off ends of the oranges. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice into attractive rounds, about 1/16 - 1/8 inch thick. Remove any seeds.
Separate the eggs yolks & whites.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix 3 tablespoons water with 6 tablespoons sugar in a 10 inch ovenproof skillet with deep (2 ½ inch) sides.
Over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Then raise the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil, but do not stir. Occasionally brush down the sides with a damp pastry brush. The mixture should develop into a light golden brown syrup in about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter to make a caramel.
Arrange orange slices in circles on top of the caramel in the skillet, overlapping as needed.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, polenta, baking powder, and kosher salt) in a medium bowl.
Using a standing or hand-held mixture, beat ¾ cup sugar, 6 tablespoons butter and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, beating to combine after each.
Add the flour mixture in batches and then the milk, alternating between each two times, stirring after each until just mixed. (Add flour, then mix, add milk, then mix, flour, mix, milk, mix, flour, mix.) Set the batter aside.
Using clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Gently fold egg whites into batter in 3 batches.
Spread batter evenly over orange slices. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out without batter or crumbs. Cool cake in skillet for 10 minutes.
To loosen, run a small knife around the edge of the cake. Carefully place serving platter on top of skillet. Holding firmly together, turn the skillet upside down to allow the cake to fall out. Rearrange any orange slices as needed.
Cool to room temp before serving. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Roasted Winter Vegetables
Nothing-but-ordinary roasted vegetables made extraordinary with the addition of a lively balsamic & lemon vinaigrette. Add any other root or winter vegetables to suit your taste or clear out your pantry. Serve alongside simple steaks or really great with eggs! Serves 10.
- 12 beets
- 3 sweet potatoes or yams
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 lb. Brussels sprouts
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 large intact head of garlic
- 7 tablespoons (separated into 3 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon) LHF California extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup La Veccia Dispensa Nobili Sapori or other very high quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced lemon peel
- Kosher salt & freshly-ground black pepper
Remove the beet greens if any. Save for another use. Wearing rubber gloves, peel and halve or quarter the beets.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces.
Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Cut crosswise into ½ inch thick slices. Do not peel.
Trim the Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise.
Trim off the top of the head of garlic. Do not peel.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water and the beets to boil. Cook until the beets begin to soften, about 12 – 16 minutes. Drain. Wrap the beets very loosely in a foil pouch (leave top open.)
Place the sweet potatoes, squash slices, and Brussels sprouts in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped rosemary, toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle the garlic head with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap loosely in foil. Place both the wrapped garlic and beets into the roasting pan.
Roast the vegetable mixture in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes, turning the unwrapped vegetables occasionally. They should be fork tender and beginning to develop color. Remove from the oven.
Briskly whisk the balsamic, lemon rind, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to make the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the beets and garlic head from the foil. Gently separate the garlic cloves and squeeze to remove the cooked garlic (will be messy!). Combine all of the vegetables and garlic in a large bowl, top with the dressing and gently toss to combine. Serve right away.
To prepare the day before, roast the vegetables but leave the individual components unmixed until just before serving.
Roasted Cauliflower & Radicchio Salad
Roasting the cauliflower and nuts brings out their sweetness and serves as a nice complement to the bitter greens. Serve as an elegant and colorful side salad. Excellent paired with salmon or other full flavored fish. Serves 8-10.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 1 head romaine or other sturdy green
- 1 head radicchio
- 1 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley
- ¾ cup nuts (Oregon hazelnuts, Marcona almonds, pecans, etc.)
- ¼ cup + 5 tablespoons LHF California extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Banyuls white wine vinegar or Cattani white balsamic vinegar
- 1 shallot
- Kosher salt & freshly-ground pepper to taste
Cut cauliflower into 1 inch florets
Finely chop shallot
Wash and dry Romaine. Remove core and cut into ¼ inch wide strips.
Wash and dry radicchio. Remove radicchio core. Cut crosswise into ¼ inch strips.
Wash and dry parsley. Remove stems and discard, reserving just the picked leaves.
Toast the nuts (Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the nuts until fragrant and lightly browned – about 5 -8 minutes.) Coarsely chop when cooled.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Mix the cauliflower with ¼ cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a baking dish and roast for about 25 – 35 minutes, turning once, until fork tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven.
Whisk the vinegar, shallot and salt and pepper to taste. While briskly whisking the mixture, add the 5 tablespoons olive oil in a slow stream to form an emulsified vinaigrette.
Mix the roasted cauliflower with the lettuces and toss with the vinaigrette to evenly coat. Toss in the toasted nuts, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Tunesian Couscous with Acorn Squash & Rainbow Chard
A delightful & colorful vegetarian entree. Serves 4
- 1 cup Les Moulins Mahjoub M'Hamsa couscous
- 4 tablespoons Strauss Creamery unsalted butter (divided into 1 & 1 & 2 tablespoons)
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 bunch Rainbow Chard or other full flavored green (kale, collard greens, beet greens, etc. )
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup More than Gourmet vegetable stock dilluted with 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon LHF California extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt & freshly-ground pepper
Peel the acorn squash and cut in half. Remove the seeds and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Dice the onion.
Wash the chard well and trim any tough stems and ribs from the chard.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the garlic clove very thinly.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Toss the chopped squash with the melted butter to lightly coat, and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer squash to baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 25 - 35 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times during cooking.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the greens (cook for about 2 - 3 minutes until just wilted, then remove with tongs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.) When cooled, remove the greens from the ice bath. Tear or cut into bite-sized pieces.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the couscous and gently toss to coat. Toast in the skillet for about 3-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the onion until translucent, about 3 - 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Raise the heat to high and stir in the white wine, stirring constantly, until the wine is almost evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.
Mix in the couscous and 1 cup of the warm stock. Lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the couscous has softened. Add more warm stock as needed to keep the couscous mixture wet.
Gently stir in the greens, squash, remaining butter, and grated cheese. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.