January 23, 2020

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices
This week’s blog post is a bit of a twist on our Spice It Up series. Rather than talking about one spice, we’re talking about one of our favorite blends, mulling spices.

History:

Originally a method for making bad wine more palatable, and ensuring that no alcohol went to waste, Ancient Greeks would add spices to their more questionable wine and heat it up to improve the taste. The Ancient Romans followed suit, heating their extra wine with spices as well to prevent waste. They also believed that drinking hot wine in the winter would help ward off illness. The Romans called their mixture “Conditum Paradoxum” and it featured honey, saffron and bay leaf.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that mulled wine really became popular. People believed that the added spices would make them healthier. In Germany, a mulled cider referred to as “wassail” became part of a drinking ritual that was intended to bring good luck and prosperity for the next season’s apple harvest. In old England, mulled wine and cider became closely associated with the holiday season. It is often referred to in Christmas carols today.

Flavor:

The exact combination can vary, but mulling spices generally refer to a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and occasionally dried fruit or brown sugar.

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices

Spice It Up:

If you don’t want to put together your own mixture of spices, we highly recommend this mulling spice blend from Little Apple Treats. As beautiful as it is delicious, it features dried heirloom rose petals from their California gardens, dried apples from their orchard, organic hibiscus blossoms and organic spices, including two types of cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, cloves and allspice. The combination is perfect for flavoring apple cider, mulled wine or a rose or herbal tea.

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices

Spiced Sangria

Although you may associate mulling spices with the holiday season, we think this blend makes the perfect year-round red sangria. One of our favorite parts of sangria is that there really are no steadfast rules. Try experimenting with seasonal produce and flavors - we recommend oranges and apples in the cool months and peaches and strawberries in the warm months. The only guideline we would advise you to follow is to give your sangria time to soak so that the wine can truly absorb all of the decadent flavors from the spice blend. Try using our recipe below as a guideline, and experiment with different flavors from there!

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices

Ingredients:
1 bottle of red wine (we recommend a Spanish wine like Grenache or Rioja)
2 oranges, sliced
1 apple, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 pear, thinly sliced
½ jar of Little Apple Treats mulling spices (or a 1 oz blend of your own mulling spice mixture)

Optional:
½ cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
Bubbles (sparkling water, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale would all work)

Wash and cut your produce and add the sliced fruit to a pitcher. Use a wooden spoon to lightly press down on the fruit, releasing some of the juices.

Add a half jar of mulling spices along with a 750 mL bottle of red wine into a pitcher. If using, add the brandy and/or orange juice now. Cover the pitcher with a lid or airtight seal and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Serve the sangria over ice, topping off each glass with a splash of sparkling water if desired.

Spice It Up: Mulling Spices

How To Add Farm Stand Products to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood. You can even get your whole office in on the fun with our office snack packs. Find more information about our office deliveries here.

January 16, 2020

Super Snacks for Superbowl

Superbowl Snacks
For all of the football fans out there, the Superbowl is just two weeks away and we're looking forward to a fierce and competitive game! And for those of you that don't care about football, you get to look forward to some fierce Superbowl snacking! We admit that one of our favorite parts of Superbowl Sunday is the delicious array of tailgate snacks and appetizers. If you are hosting or attending a viewing party this year, consider trying one of these fun recipes, and make sure to check out our selection of Superbowl favorites when you customize your box.

This vegetarian version of "wings" will knock your socks off! They are spicy and super tasty. The Greek yogurt dip is refreshing and is a delicious complement to the spiciness, and also cuts some of the heat. You can also try pairing them with this blue cheese dip if you want to save extra time in the kitchen!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Superbowl Snacks

Nothing says comfort food like macaroni and cheese, but with the New Years and many healthy resolutions in place, here is a produce-packed spin on this favorite cheesy classic. This recipe utilizes organic seasonal produce and California artisan-made pasta from Baia Pasta.

Black Bean and Roasted Tomato Chili with Quinoa

Superbowl Snacks

With endless possibilities and flavors to explore, chili is a great vehicle to try out new spices, peppers, and beans. We love this vegan version of the spicy stew, but if you don't feel like cooking you can also try this delicious ready-to-eat chili.

Leek and Mushroom Pizza

Superbowl Snacks

Mushrooms and leek is one of our favorite combinations on pizza. The sea salted-herb crust is so good we don’t know why we haven’t been doing this to all of our pizzas! You can skip a step by using our classic pizza dough and our organic heirloom tomato sauce.

Brie and Artichoke Dip

Superbowl Snacks

Brie and artichoke are a delightful combination in this addicting dip. Perfect for rosemary olive oil crackers or a freshly baked baguette! For an extra burst of flavor, dry drizzling a balsamic vinegar reduction over your toasted crostini slices.

Tomatillo Guacamole

Superbowl Snacks

A delicious and tangy alternative to traditional guacamole. Pair it with traditional tortilla chips, veggie sticks, or these delicious kettle papitas! You can also pair it with a slightly spicy medium roasted chipotle salsa.

How To Add Farm Stand Products to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood. You can even get your whole office in on the fun with our office snack packs. Find more information about our office deliveries here.

January 9, 2020

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Spice It Up: Turmeric

About

Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant that is a member of the ginger family. It’s native to Southeast Asia and India, but it can grow anywhere that has a warm and humid climate. Turmeric plants grow long leaves that emerge from rhizomes, which is more or less a root, that is hidden beneath the soil. When the rhizome is harvested, it is boiled, dried under sunlight for about a week, then polished. Dried rhizomes are about two to three inches in length, but are most commonly sold ground up into a powder that is found in the spice aisle. The name turmeric comes from the Latin word terra merita, which refers to the golden yellow color of ground turmeric.

Aside from its culinary uses, turmeric also has various cultural and religious meanings. In parts of India, turmeric is thought to protect against evil spirits. Buddhist robes have been dyed with turmeric for centuries, and the Hindu religion views turmeric as pure and sacred. Turmeric is often incorporated into Hindu wedding ceremonies to purify the minds and bodies of the bride and groom prior to the marriage ceremony.

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Potential health benefits

Although turmeric has recently been trending as a health-food in Western cultures, Turmeric has been used medicinally for nearly 4000 years. It has been particularly popular in both Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese herbal medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is mainly used as a remedy for breathing problems and also as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. In Chinese herbal culture, it’s used as an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, particularly for arthritis.

Today, turmeric is being studied for its suggested positive effect on cholesterol, stomach problems, skin irritation, arthritis, depression, and even cancer and liver disease. The main active ingredient, curcumin, is also being studied in clinical trials for its effects on Parkinsons and Alzheimer's disease. Although there is not enough scientific evidence yet to conclusively determine the healing effects of turmeric, it is generally considered safe to consume as a regular part of a healthy diet.

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Cooking with Turmeric

Turmeric has an earthy, bitter and light peppery flavor. Fresh turmeric is generally less potent and has a fresher, slightly more lemony citrus flavor. Either way, its bitter taste is best balanced out by other rich and creamy flavors such as butter, ghee, coconut milk or other fats. Be careful when cooking with turmeric because its color will certainly stain! In fact, the distinct hue is used to color most store-bought mustards.

The pungent, bitter flavor and pepperlike aroma of turmeric are most commonly featured in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is probably most popular for its use in curry. Today, India produces the vast majority of turmeric and also consumes 80% of it.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is not easily absorbed by the body. When you pair turmeric with black pepper, it increases your body’s ability to absorb and utilize turmeric and all of its healing properties.

Spice it up: easy ways to use turmeric

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Fresh Turmeric Golden Milk Tea

This comforting "tea" kind of tastes like a spicy Chai tea (though you can put in fewer spices if you want a more mild taste). Turmeric has been shown to have many health benefits, including helping with depression, insomnia and arthritis.

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Homemade Chicken Soup

In these winter months when it seems everyone is getting the flu or a cold, serve your family this delicious and healthy chicken soup. Add your favorite noodles if you'd like. Get our recipe for homemade Vegetable Broth.

Spice It Up: Turmeric

Refreshing Turmeric Tonic

We love drinking this turmeric tonic to prevent colds during the holiday season when everyone is sick and in close quarters. The turmeric and ginger give this tonic a slight kick that we love.

Spice It Up: Turmeric

How To Add Farm Stand Products to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood. You can even get your whole office in on the fun with our office snack packs. Find more information about our office deliveries here.