Monday, May 23, 2011

Cooking Demo With Chef Chris

Here is a video of Chef Chris Ludwick at the cooking demo that was held on May 7. Stay tuned for more events witht the chef!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Cooking Demo With Chef Chris of Grapevine Catering

Chef Chris was great in front of the guests.

Chicken marinaded in basil

A light arugula salad with oranges and beets

A beautifully colored beet salad

On Saturday, May 7, Valley End Farm hosted Chef Chris Ludwick of Grapevine Catering as he demoed easy and delicious recipes using our vegetables. Chef Chris easily swayed the audience and presented a friendly atmosphere. We held the demo out on our feilds and the colors on that day were striking--a bright blue sky with some scattered clouds, green hills as far as the eyes can see and Chef Chris's white tablecloths that billowed in the wind.

The food that Chef Chris presented to all present had us salivating in our seats as we awaited for a taste of what he was cooking. First up was a light salad that included arugula and other mixed herbs and sliced oranger. It was a perfect way to get our palates ready for an accumulation of tastes. Next up was a basil marinaded chicken topped with some greens for that added touch of perfection. While Chris was outside talking to the crowd and demoing how to cook the food, his Sous Chef was doing the cooking in the kitchen. After Chris would present his dish for all eyes to see, our interns would go into the kitchen and come out with plates of exactly what Chef Chris had cooked.

Beets were next on the list and Chef Chris wanted this beautiful, colorful veggie to be the star of the show. First a beet salad that showcased the different colors of the beet, then the grand finale: chocolate beet cupcakes. These cupcakes were perfectly moist with just a hint of the beets unique taste.

Chef Chris stayed after to answer any questions that the guests had. None left empty handed as Chef Chris had come with copies of all the recipes he used. As our guests left, they took one last cup full of the Chef's lime and orange citrus drink. It was a great refresher after so many uniquely cooked foods.

We were so happy that Chef Chris and his Sous Chef could come and cook at our farm and you can be sure that we will continue to collaborate with them in the future!

In The Kitchen At Our Third Farm Dinner

Chef Don rearranging the appetizer table
Beautiful Goat Cheese from Laura Chenel's

The wine table was a hit!

The past two farm dinners we have had in collaboration with the Doubletree Hotel have gone off without a problem. Appetizers at begin at 6:30 PM, dinner at 7:00. In March, with the weather being so cold we were seated inside the beautiful Bacchus restaurant. As March turned to April and the weather turned warmer we were able to meet the farmers outside under an exquisite patio filled with draped flowers. Our third farm dinner held on May 6 proved to be something entirely different, at least for some of the interns working at Valley End Farm.
While appetizers and conversations filled the patio area of the Bacchus restaurant, the kitchen was busily preparing for and delicious meal. Two events were happening at the Bacchus—our farm dinner and another large gathering. Executive Chef Don Nolan and Sous Chef Michael Mikelski organized the kitchen in order to get both dinners together in an orderly fashion. Kori and Aly, our interns, got hands on experience at how a high end kitchen worked.
Kori and Aly did small jobs from peeling the multi colored baby carrots to picking the basil leaves off the stems. Though they were not difficult jobs to do and were a bit monotonous at best, there is always someone in the kitchen who has to get this job done. Kori and Aly were happy to help do these tasks so Chef Don could work on creating the delicious grits for the farm dinner.
After peeling carrots, our interns were sent to be a part of a plating team to get ready for the larger dinner party happening alongside our dinner. Over 200 people were present at that party. Down the line the plate went, filling with varieties of protein, mashed potatoes, broccolettes and bell peppers. Preparing for a party of 200 along with the farm dinner seems like a chaotic experience but the atmosphere in the kitchen was calm and collected. It seemed as if each person in the kitchen had been working with the other for years.
When dinner was ready, everyone joined in the dining area of the Bacchus to enjoy another beautifully cooked dinner. Sugar snap peas, bread and a light salad started out the night. Drizzled with carmelized onions and crumbled gorgonzola, the salad had everyone munching happily. Our main course consisted of fried chicken, homemade grits topped with green onions and an assortment of vegetables. It was a deliciously home cooked meal that had us comfortable and in a state of sublime. To finish off the night, Chef Don presented a wonderful strawberry soufflé with a basil crème to accompany. Easily the favorite dish of the night, it has us sighing in contentment.
Check out the next farm dinner next month! RSVP the Doubletree Hotel at (707) 586-4679.    

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nutrition Fact For The Week: Corn

Corn. What a perfect way to get ready for the summer months to come. Not only is it a beautiful vegetable that can make a perfect side dish to any main course meal but it can be eaten in a variety of ways. Straight on the cob or off its delicious in salsas, salads or on its own. There's corn bread and corn flakes and cornmeal. With such a variety offered to us its a wonderful addition to your diet.

There is a lot of healthy nutrients that lie in an ear of corn. Not only is there plenty of fiber but it is good for you for its immense amount of folate.
Folate is a B-vitamin that prevents birth defects also helps to lower levels of homocysteine. This is an amino acid that is important to the metabolic process. Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels which can be the cause of a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease.Folate-rich diets are also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. A cup of corn is all that is needed.

Eating this multi-colored veggie helps with lung health. Corn is a good souce of Thiamin with aids in maintaining your memory. A couple ears of corn added to your diet and things will only be looking up. 

Additional Recipes For The Week

Beef and Potato


1 refrigerated pie crust
3/4 pound deli-sliced roast beef
1 can (8 1/2-ounce size) mixed vegetables (drained)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
non-stick cooking spray
1 package (20-ounce size) refrigerated mashed potatoes
1 jar (12-ounce size) beef gravy


Preheat oven to 425F.
Remove pie crust from box; microwave, in plastic, on HIGH 20 seconds to soften.
Slice roast beef into bite-size pieces; place in microwave-safe bowl. Stir in vegetables and 1/4 cup cheese. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes to heat.
Meanwhile, press pie crust firmly into pie plate allowing extra to drape over edge. Pinch together any cracks or tears, then coat with cooking spray.
Place potatoes on top of beef mixture and microwave on HIGH 2 minutes to heat. Stir potatoes into beef mixture; then spread over pie crust.
Trim excess pastry and decoratively pinch edge of crust. Or fold extra pastry toward center, free-form style. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
Place gravy in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until hot. Serve gravy with pie

Waldorf Salad


1 orange
2 cups diced, unpeeled apple
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup whipped topping
salad greens or lettuce


Zest orange for the 1 teaspoon grated orange peel; peel and section orange over a bowl to catch any juices. Cut each orange section in half; reserve 1 tablespoon of the collected orange juice. In a bowl combine diced apple, orange peel, raisins, celery, walnuts, and orange pieces. In a separate bowl, blend together mayonnaise, sugar, and reserved orange juice. Fold in whipped topping and gently stir into apple Waldorf salad mixture. Arrange salad greens on serving plates and top with Waldorf salad. Waldorf salad serves 6.

Turnip Salsa


1 small or medium turnip or jicama; scrubbed clean with outer skin peeled and discarded; Cut and discard stem/end pieces; grated
1 pinch of crushed red pepper; to taste
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro; minced
A drizzle of olive oil
A dash of white balsamic vinegar
1 Cubanelle/Italian pepper; diced
The juice one lime

Monday, May 9, 2011

Additional Recipes For The Week

Sauteed Beets


1 bunch beets withgreens

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.

Spinach salad with strawberries and pecans

8 ounces fresh torn spinach or baby spinach
1 1/2 to 2 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces, lightly toasted
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional

1/4 cup Canola oil or other salad oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
dash dry mustard

Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using.
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar; shake until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.

Fruit Salad


6 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1/2 pound seedless green grapes
1/2 pound seedless red grapes
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar, or less, to taste

juice of one lime
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger


Combine chopped and sliced fruits in a large serving bowl; toss gently. Sprinkle with sugar. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl or 1 cup measure. Pour dressing mixture over fruit and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill the fruit salad thoroughly before serving.

Nutrition Fact For The Week: Strawberries

Still good for you! Strawberry, yogurt cone! Delicious
This week we are going to do something a little different. Once you picked up your box and opened it what was the first thing that your eyes fell on. The strawberries. Beautifully red and delicious the strawberries are a great add to this week's veggie box. Instead of doing another nutrition fact on a vegetable perhaps unknown to you let's look at strawberries.

What can we say about them. They have a beautiful shape, color and delicious taste. They make great sauces, yummy ice cream, delicious pies and are perfectly good by themselves. To style up a dish, strawberries go great in salads and are delectable in a fruit salad. You just can't go wrong with this sweet fruit.

Perhaps you have also noticed that you bought a batch of strawberries on Monday and now it is Thursday and they are already going bad! Strawberries are very perishable and in a recent study showed that in two days time they can lose much of their vitamin C and antioxidants. This might not be a problem in the summer time when they are in abundance and come pretty cheap but when buying strawberries you have to eat them fast! Of course strawberries don't go bad in two days you can still eat them depending on how fresh you bought them after a week, but when they are being stored depending on the humidity they can decrease in nutrient value.

For a long time this ruby red fruit has been studied as blood sugar regulator. But recently there has been a connection made scientists in relation to strawberries, blood sugar levels and and table sugar. We all know that too much sugar in your diet is bad. It leads to spikes in blood sugar levels and when eating too much of it over a long period of time can lead to type 2 diabetes and other unwanted problems. What is interesting about the strawberry is that blood sugar spikes are reduced as you eat them! One cup can reduce those levels and it really isn't hard to eat a cup of this sweet fruit.

With the combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, strawberries help with cardiovascular support and prevent cardiovascular diseases. They improved regulation of blood sugar, decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes and prevent certain types of cancer like breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer. Wow. And you thought they only tasted good.