Sunday, March 27, 2011

Additional Recipes For The Week

Five minute Bok Choy
  • 1 medium bunch bok choy
  • 1 medium clove garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 TBS dried sunflower seeds
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: chicken and shiitake mushrooms
  1. Cut the leafy portion of the bok choy into 1/4-inch slices to ensure they cook al denté. Cut the stems into 3/4-inch slices because if they are cut too thin, they will become watery. Let stems and leaves sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting benefits.
  2. Chop or press garlic and let them sit for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
  4. When broth begins to steam, add stems and cook uncovered for 1 minute. Add leaves, cover, and continue cooking for 3 more minutes.
  5. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sunflower seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sauteed Collard Greens and Bok Choy

6 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
4 cups thinly sliced collard greens
4 cups very thinly sliced bok choy

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then crumble into small pieces.
Combine the oil and butter in a small saucepan, add the garlic, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown, taking care not to let it burn. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside; reserve the oil.
In another small saucepan, bring the coconut milk and soy sauce to a boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in the mustard and bacon.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the collard greens and bok choy, and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens start to wilt. Stir in the coconut-milk mixture, and cook until the greens are tender and the sauce has thickened. Add reserved garlic.

Potato Pancakes

1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed dry
1/4 lb. butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, diced and boiled
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper 
2 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower oil


Using a food processor, combine mashed potatoes, crookneck squash, eggs, flour, salt, black pepper and chives until a dough ball forms.

Heat sunflower oil in a frying pan. Divide dough into 16 balls. Roll out balls until ¼ inch thick. Fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve hot with a light salad and garlic bread.

Special Event At University Of Sports

The energy was high from the start as vendors began setting up for the day.

Our lovely veggie box and honey jars

Promoting our organic boxes at the Health & Lifestyle Expo
at University of Sports.

Similar to last weeks event held at Club One, we were at the University of Sport: Health, Fitness and Sports Club this past Saturday. The Health and Lifestyle expo consisted of many different vendors with the same goal in mind: to keep you healthy whether it be through body, mind or spirit. Inside the basketball area of the gym each business set up their own station and eagerly waited for guests to stop by and talk. There was plenty to see from anti-aging creams to massages to a bouncy house for the kids.

Valley End Farm was promoting our organic veggie boxes and providing all who signed up with a chance to win a free box. There was music, laughter and great conversations that filled the air. Chances to win prizes happened every half an hour and kept all anicipating the next one when their name was not called.

We had our face painters back for another rainy day and it proved to be a great success. Children ran to and from the boucy house to the face painting station to get whatever their heart desired painted onto their cheeks and hands. We were so happy to be a part of another great event especially since this particular one benefited the American Cancer Society.

Nutrition Fact For The Week: Bok Choy

                                                                 Bok Choy Nutrition              
This delicious vegetable belongs to the cabbage family. It's popular in asian cuisine, and like its numerous names, has multiple uses. Bok choy is low calories high vitamins. It's delicious in stir fries or sauteed by itself. It's so delicious we had to make it the star of the week for this week's nutrition fact post.

Besides being used in stir fries, Bok Choy is also in soups and spring rolls. Along with the green leaves the thick stems attached are also edible.
Bok Choy is known for its high source of vitamins especially vitamins C, A and K. Its has folate, B6 and other B vitamins. Though it isn't considered a complete protein, this cabbage member has all but two amino acids. From one serving of Bok Choy you'll recieve 7% of your daily calcium intake and all essential minerals. Bok Choy is known for its somewhat spicy and bitter taste which is a characteristic of most of the cabbage family. However, researchers have been studying the sulfuric compounds that gives it that distinct flavor and attributing that to Bok Choy's ability to prevent cancer. Though researchers are still studying the effects of Bok Choy there is no doubt that eating this healthy leaf is a good thing.

Bok Choy is one of the most nutrient dense food and can be enjoyed cooked or served raw. Check out this recipe that is sure to have you wanting more after its gone:

Braised Bok Choy

8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional
1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).
Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.
Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.
Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.
*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nutrition Fact For The Week: Pinto Beans

This week we look at the pinto bean—with its great source of fiber, this bean is a great side dish for any meal. Just one cup offers, over fifty percent of your daily intake of fiber. Combining pinto beans with whole grain foods, such as brown rice, provides for a fat free meal that contains plenty of protein. Called pinto, meaning “painting,” it is a beautiful bean that aids in lowering cholesterol, keeps sugar levels from rising after meals and tastes really good.
Like any source of fiber, pinto beans are very helpful in digestion. When fiber combines with bile it increases production in the large intestine and prevents constipation. Foods high in fiber like the pinto bean have also been capable of preventing such digestive disorders as the irritable bowel syndrome.

Pinto beans are great sources of folate and manganese, vitamin B1 and rich with the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper. With all this good stuff found in them as well as a variety of ways to eat them, pinto beans can easily be included in any kind of diet.

Plenty of great nutrients found in one cup!

There have been studies done that suggest that eating high fibrous foods are a good way to prevent heart disease. So eating pinto beans would help regulate your digestive tract, act as a means to keep your heart healthy and keeps your sugar levels steady after meals. But that’s not all. The high amount of potassium and low amount of sodium keep blood pressure from rising and protect your body against atherosclerosis. While the pinto bean is stabilizing blood sugar levels, energy is being burned at a slow, steady pace, giving you more power throughout the day. Since there is more energy being stored for longer, it can help replenish iron—a very good thing to have for menstruating women.

The dried pinto beans found in this week’s veggie boxes can be prepared with ease and ready to serve at anytime of the day. You can either pre-soak the beans, which reduces some of the sugars, or rinsing them in a strainer. Boil the beans for two minutes and then let them stand for two hours. Now to cook the beans place them in a pot with three cups of water (or broth) for every cup of beans. Boil, then reduce and cover. It’s as easy as that and this is just one way to cook them there are many more!

This information was found on the World's Healthiest Foods website

Additional Recipes For The Week

Traditional Swiss Chard and Beans
   1/2 large onion, diced
   garlic, minced, to taste
   2 tablespoons olive oil
   1 large bunch red (Swiss) chard, chopped
   1 (15 ounce) can white or navy beans, drained
   salt and pepper, to taste


1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add chard.

2. Add the beans. Heat up until chard becomes soft but not mushy.

3. Salt and pepper to your taste.

 Pinto Bean Hummus

1  398 ml. Can of organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 minced garlic cloves, roughly chopped
handful of Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
2 big Tblsp. Tahini
juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
1 rounded tsp. fresh  minced Rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Just put everything into the food processor – slowly drizzle in olive oil until you get the right consistency.  This was on the thick side – which I liked, but if you want it thinner, just add in more olive oil.

Mashed potatoes and Butternut Squash
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
  • Ground nutmeg
Bring 1 inch of water to boil in large pot. Set steamer rack in pot. Place potatoes, squash and garlic on rack. Cover pot and steam vegetables until tender, adding more water to pot if necessary, about 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add margarine and mash vegetables until fairly smooth. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Reheat uncovered in 350°F oven for 30 minutes.)

Special Event At Club One

Our colorful booth with a bean bag toss game and ants on a long snacks for any passerbys.

Our face painters hard at work creating paintings for the children who came to
 sign up for summer camp and swimming lessons.

This past Saturday Valley End Farm was at Club One painting faces, playing games and selling our delicious organic produce. With the rain bellowing outside, many vendors lined the hall of the exquisitely decorated gym located in Petaluma to promote their businesses. We were one of the vendors, offering delicious snacks like ants on a log and veggie straws and playing games with the little ones that searched for fun things to do.
The event began at ten and offered gym attendees the chance to sign their children up for swimming lessons and summer camp. There was a multitude of things to do and we were happy to be a part of the action.
Across from our booth, which was painting kittens, butterflies and flowers on little girls and dinosaurs, cars and basketballs on little boys, was complimentary food for all who attended. There was plenty of conversation, good food and activities lining the walls as the weather aided in keeping everyone inside where it was warm and dry. Children roamed the hall looking for things to do while patient parents tried to converse with the different vendors.
Our face painting area was a hit as children lined up to have their favorite animal, sport or fruit painted onto their cheek. Children won prizes for the bean bag toss game; all the while parents had time to explore our veggies and sign up for our weekly boxes. Kids loved the celery sticks, flowing with peanut butter and sprinkled with raisins to create our ants on a log and we loved them too! It was a fantastic day, albeit a cold one, to be at Club One with families and friends.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Additional Recipes For The Week

3- Minute swiss chard (Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes)

1 lb. Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium clove Chopped Garlic
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
6 kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tsp. tamari soy sauce

  1. Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out its health-promoting properties.
  2. Use a large pot (3 quart) with lots of water. Make sure water is at a rapid boil before adding Swiss chard.
  3. Cut off tough, bottom part of Swiss chard stems.
  4. Add the chopped leaves to the boiling water. Do not cover. Cook for 3 minutes; begin timing as soon as you drop the Swiss chard into the boiling water.
  5. Place in colander and press out excess water.
  6. Transfer to serving dish and toss with rest of ingredients while it is still hot.
  7. Using a knife and fork, cut Swiss chard into small pieces for better flavor.
Still haven't used the celery root? Here's a great celery root, carrot and beet salad. Don't shy away from the beet remember they are from the chenopod family along with its brother, Swiss chard... that means they’re really good for you!

For vinaigrette
3 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
For salad
1 1/2 cups matchstick-size strips peeled celery root
1 1/2 cups matchstick-size strips peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups matchstick-size strips peeled beets
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
Toasted hazelnuts (optional)
Crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Low-fat Broccoli Mushroom Leek Quiche


       1 pie shell (store-bought or homemade)
       1 tbsp. olive oil
       1 leek
       8 mushrooms
       2 cloves of garlic, minced
       1 broccoli crown
       2 stems of fresh rosemary
       3 eggs
       1 1/4 cups skim milk
       1/2 tsp. salt
       1/2 tsp. pepper
Shredded Swiss, cheddar, and Monterrey Jack cheese (optional)

  1. If you're using a frozen pie shell, remove it from the freezer. I used one made by Wholly Wholesome. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place a pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. While that's heating up, slice the leeks and add them to the pan.
  3. Slice the mushrooms and mix them in with the leeks. Add the garlic and stir often. Don't cover the pan because you want the water to evaporate. Allow to cook for five minutes.
  4. Cut up the broccoli crown in small pieces and add that to the pan. Cook for another five minutes, then add the fresh rosemary. Mix well and cook for one more minute and then remove from the heat.
  5. In a separate bowl, crack the three eggs and scramble them slightly. Add the milk, salt, and pepper and stir well.
  6. Pour the vegetable mixture into the pie shell.
  7. Place the pie shell on a foil covered cookie sheet. Then carefully pour in the egg mixture. If you want to, sprinkle some cheese on the top. Since this quiche contains no cream, it takes longer to cook, so bake for 40 minutes. You'll know it's ready when you poke a knife in the quiche and it comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. It tastes great out of the oven, but even better the next day, just warm it up in the microwave.
Toasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    1 medium sized sweet potato, cubed finely
    salt and pepper, to taste
    6-7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 small red onion, finely chopped
    2 roma tomatoes, chopped
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans

      1. In a pan, add some olive oil, and let the pan heat up, add the sweet potatoes, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Let the potatoes roast, flipping them over occasionally.
      2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, in another pan heat up some more olive oil. Add red onions and let simmer for a few minutes. Then add black beans, and tomatoes, and let the whole concoction simmer for ten minutes or longer.
      3. When potatoes are finished cooking, and black beans have simmered for a while, combine everything together, and serve!
Serve on tortillas with a dollop of sour cream. Serve as enchiladas and top with shredded vegan cheeses. Or just eat plain, it is delicious either way!

Nutrition Fact For The Week: Swiss Chard


Did you know that swiss chard can help control your blood sugar levels? Or that it is the second most nutritious vegetable? One of the veggie's in this week's box is swiss chard and not only does it taste good in a variety of meals but it is also very good for you.  

One cup of swiss chard provides your body with
all these nutrients.
Vegetables are a great source of phytonutrients, chemical compounds believed to benefit our health, and each vegetable is said to have a unique amount of phytonutrient content. Swiss chard has thirteen different polyphenol antioxidants, which is a type of phytonutrient and contains a cardioprotective flavonoid, the same stuff found in broccoli and kale. What also makes swiss chard so good for you is the syringic acid, and though the name might not sound like the best thing to be including in your diet, this very stuff is what gives the chard its ability to control blood sugar. The syringic acid reacts with the enzyme, alpha-glucosidase, which allows for a smaller amount of carbs to be broken down into simple sugars and as a result keeps your blood sugar at a steady level. So basically swiss chard = good for you. But that's not all.

Another phytonutrient found in swiss chard is betalains that are high in antioxidant pigments (the same stuff in beets). The reddish-purple and yellowish pigments are both found in the stem of th chard so now its doubly good for you. Like the syringic acid, betalain pigments doesn't sound like something that would benefit your health but it does. These pigments found in chard provide you with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Though the latter is something we all don't enjoy talking about we can agree that when that part isn't working right it can make for a miserable day. But enough of that, let's talk about this vegetable's second place ranking because of its nutritional value.

Swiss chard, which is second to spinach, belongs to the chenopod family. This family four of beets, spinach, chard and quinoa tops the chart and has many unique health benefits that aren't found in other food groups. So just to recap on swiss chard's phnomenal record of keeping us healthy, we know that the syringic acid aids with blood sugar levels because it slows the breakdown of carbs into sugars. The pigments provide us with antioxidants. It's filled with vitamins, minerals, lots of fiber and has a great supply of calcium to keep bones strong. With all the benefits to including swiss chard in your diet and of course the spectacularly colorful stems, its hard to believe anyone can say no to any meal with this veggie in it.

There are a variety of ways to cook, prepare and eat swiss chard. According to the World's Healthiest Foods, a nonprofit website goal oriented in creating a healthier world, the healthiest way to eat chard is by boiling the leaves in order to free the acids and sweeten the taste.

This information was found on The World's Healthiest Foods website (

We will have some more great ways to enjoy chard in our next post that will incorporate some of last week's veggies that might not have gotten eaten yet. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Farmer's Dinner Is A Huge Success

The guests traveled from table to table trying local cheeses, mushrooms, pâtés and wines. 

Our Sonoma State interns with Executive Chef of the Doubletree Hotel Don Nolan.

Beautiful mushrooms from Sebastopol

Delicious pork belly and garlic sausage with maitake mushrooms and baby purple sprouting broccoli served family style.

On Friday March fourth we had our first Farmer’s Dinner with the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park. The dinner was held at the Doubletree’s restaurant Bacchus and was a success from the start. At 6:30 the event began with wine tasting and other delicious appetizers. Guests mingled with the crowd and chatted with the farmers as well. It was all about promoting local foods and wines at the dinner and the ability to converse with the farmers made it a relaxing start to the night.

We had Gourmet Mushrooms from Sebastopol, uniquely grown in a variety of jars. Also from Sebastopol there was Redwood Hill Creamery that showcased their delectable cheeses with the accompaniment of honey straight from the comb. Our very own baby purple top turnips allowed people to try this delicious root vegetable with some Dijon mustard and black salt. Next to the turnips there was broccoli raab in all its glory. Great pinot gris and pinot noirs from Macmurray Ranch had everyone rushing over for another refill. Even better than the wines, cheeses, pâtés and mushrooms was the hospitality that the farmers and Executive Chef of the Doubletree Don Nolan had for everyone present. Conversations overflowed from table to table and Chef Nolan was constantly floating through the room chatting with the guests. As 6:30 turned into seven guests moved into the dining room for the main event.

The first course arrived within minutes of being seated in the charming Bacchus restaurant. Valley End Farm’s very own mizuna salad was topped with almond wood smoked duck from Reichart Farm, raw goat feta, almond kumquat and finished with a drizzle of ginger balsamic dressing. The presentation was phenomenal and the taste of each element provided for a party in your mouth feeling. In between courses, there were epi loaves from Full Circle Bakery and olive oil for dipping. Following the salad, the main dish was a duck cassoulet. The plate was filled with pork belly and deliciously glazed garlic sausage. The meat was joined with sides that ranged from Rancho Gordo heirloom beans to red mustard greens, baby purple sprouting broccoli and tasty maitake mushrooms. The best part of the dinner was the way it was served. The food was presented on plates that centered the table; this family style way of dining provided a greater connection to those that shared the table with you.

Of course we can’t forget about dessert and when it comes to dessert there is no contest that each person wants his or her own plate. An individual plate of fresh strawberry rhubarb cobbler and a beautiful scoop of gelato hit the spot. The combination of warm strawberries and rhubarb with the coolness of vanilla gelato was an appropriate way to end the evening. There was a perfect amount of food presented and allowed you to leave the restaurant without having to let loose a few notches on your belt.

It was a wonderful evening. Showcasing all local foods and wines is a great way to get the community together and provide a direct connection from the farmer to the foodie. Chef Nolan provided a superb dinner with all the different foods that we and other local farms provided. With bellies that left full and satisfied, it’s easy to admit that we can’t wait for the next dinner coming in April.

Our Next Dinner
On April fool’s day we will be having another Farmer’s Dinner that will provide more chances to meet the farmers and taste the foods of the local community. These Farmer’s Dinners will be happening every first Friday of the month so mark them on your calendar! RSVP the Doubletree Hotel at (707) 586-4679 and feel free to leave us any comments, whether good or bad, about the dinner.

This Week's Recipes

Not a soup person? Still unsure about what to do with that celery root? Here are a few recipes that places this root at the center of your meal.

Apple and Celery Root Salad

1¼ - 1½ lb celery root (celeriac)
1 tart cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup freshly made mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper

Take a large mixing bowl and mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, parsley, salt and few grindings of pepper. Slowly stir in the apple slices, cover the bowl and keep it aside. With a sharp knife, gently peel the celery root and slice crosswise into 1/8 inch pieces. Put the slices into lightly salted boiling water to cover them completely and cook uncovered over moderate heat until tender, for 20 - 25 minutes. Drain and dry the celery root slices with paper towels. Add the slices to the dressing, stir gently and serve. In case you have to use a celery root substitute, you can go for a celery seed substitute, which works equally well.

Potato, Green Bean and Celery Root Puree

1 lb baking potatoes, peeled & cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb green beans, trimmed & cut
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
1 lb celery root

In a large saucepan, put the potatoes and celery root with 2 inches of cold water. Bring it to boil and add green beans to it. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the vegetables until tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables to the pan, and over high heat cook the vegetables for about a minute, shaking constantly to evaporate the excess moisture. Be careful not to burn the vegetables. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a food processor or blender, add 5 tbsp butter and salt to taste. Once the mixture is smooth, pour the mixture in a buttered casserole dish and top with the remaining 1 tbsp butter. In a preheated oven, bake the puree for 20 - 25 minutes at 400 °F and serve hot.

Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples

2 medium celery roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 quarts faux chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup thick Cashew Cream
1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple, very finely diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Sea salt
Chive oil

Take a large stockpot and keep over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for a minute or so. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, then put the celery root, celery, and onion and cook for 6 - 10 minutes, stir in between until soft but not brown. Now add the stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 - 35 minutes. Pour the cashew cream and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender, blend on high and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the soup in to serving bowls and add a spoonful of the diced apple to the center of each serving. Drizzle the chive oil around the apple for flavor, and serve.

Celery Root Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish

2 celery roots, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp grated fresh or prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon salt and kosher salt
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil

Take a medium saucepan and put the celery root and potatoes in it. Cover with cold water, add a tsp salt and bring it a boil. Allow it simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until the celery root and potatoes become tender. Drain the water from the vegetables and transfer them into a large mixing bowl. Add the cream, butter and horseradish and stir well until the cream is absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Flavor with kosher salt and pepper, garnish with chopped chives and before serving drizzle with a healthy dose of olive oil.