By Mimi Booth at Cinnamon Bear Farm
We finally have a website and hope you enjoy our new signage too! It is our goal that customers don’t forget that we have a great selection of varieties that are grown for their flavor. All of us at Cinnamon Bear Farm have a passion for farming and hope it shows. We love to share recipes, but honestly don’t have time for an interactive blog with comments. If you have a chance, come to farmers market and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear them.
One of the great benefits of growing all of this food is that it goes into our homes also. It’s delicious and nourishing, but equally important, we are able to test the harvest and storage methods for our customers to provide produce at its peak. We are always learning, especially when growing produce that’s new to us. At the same time, we enjoy creating recipes for our friends at market and hope to supply preparation tips that will introduce people to the wider world of varieties that might not be seen in stores.
Microgreens are a whole new way of farming with these miniature bundles of nutrients. They stay in the seed flats in soil instead of planting in the ground and they’re ready in about 10 days. I like the spiciness of purple radish greens but sunflower greens are my favorite. It’s amazing to me that the nutty flavor is already in those tiny greens at two inches tall, packing a macro punch.
TIP: Don’t rinse them until you’re ready to use them or store them like lettuce. Rinse, spin dry, and wrap them in a thin dish towel (or paper towel) rolled snugly without smashing. As much as I hate plastic, if the the towel is now inserted in a plastic bag with the top open, it will hold in the minimal moisture, and last at least a week. The best container allows the contents to breath a little, yet hold some moisture in.
SKIP TO THE RECIPE BELOW OR CONTINUE READING FOR A SHORT BIT OF MICRO GREEN INFO.
Microgreens are harvested immediately after the first leaves have developed. They are not to be confused with sprouts or baby greens. They are in between those developmental stages, harvested at the perfect time for maximum quality, up to five times the nutritional value of mature greens. Wow! They’re tiny little power houses!
These little morsels have been showing up in fine dining restaurants in California for awhile, both as visual and flavor components. This specialty genre of greens is starting to catch on in other states in upscale markets. Regardless of the trends in cuisine, we simply love them.
At this point, you’re probably asking, “So where’s the recipe?” Well, the ways to use micro greens are so easy, that it’s a no brainer. Yes, you can go online and find recipes for micro green smoothies, pestos, and cook them, but for me, that sort of defeats the purpose of using their assets, of seeing the beautiful colors and experiencing the crisp textures. Here are some really easy suggestions, followed by one real recipe with a Quinoa Salad.
1. They really jazz up an ordinary sandwich such as a plain cheddar cheese.
2. Micro greens add wonderful color and texture to a green salad.
3. Soups just beg for garnishes like micro greens, especially cold soups
4. Go fancy and lay your meat, fish or other entree over a bed of micro greens.
5. Add a handful inside some pita bread with hummus.
QUINOA SALAD WITH MICRO GREENS
My version is a fusion of Greek and Inca ingredients. The flavoring for the dressing is similar to that for a Greek orzo pasta salad, but the salad is made with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a high protein ancient grain from the Andes.
Some people rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove the tiny bit of bitterness. I just buy the sprouted quinoa (Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op) and don’t bother with that step. Let’s face it; I don’t bother with that step anyway.
First prepare the quinoa. Boil 1 and 3/4 cups of water with 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in 1 cup of quinoa, turn the heat to medium low, and cover the pot. In about 20 minutes, remove the pot from the burner, take off the lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Scoop the quinoa into a bowl to cool enough to refrigerate. This can all be done ahead of time, as the quinoa should be cool before turning it into this salad so the other ingredients will stay crispy.
Ingredients:About 4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (this exact amount isn’t critical) 2 Tbs. finely minced fresh parsley 2 Tbs. finely minced fresh basil 1 Tbs. lemon zest 1 red pepper, chopped 1 lemon cucumber or 1/2 larger variety, chopped. Add your favorite raw vegetables here, substitute, or amend the quantities. In the spring, I used Hakurei turnips instead of cukes.
Dressing: 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup olive oil1 clove minced garlic 1/2 t. Salt (or to taste)Black pepper to taste
Hint: I prefer the above herbs minced extremely fine, so I add them to the dressing and run it through a blender. Sometimes, it’s tough to blend small quantities, so either use an immersion blender or double the recipe and save the remaining for other salads.
Garnish:1 cup of micro greens
Stir the crisp, raw vegetables into the quinoa. Adjust the taste of your dressing if needed. Add more or less, depending on the amount of quinoa used. The garnish of micro greens can be attractively sprinkled over the top of quinoa in a bowl, maybe a ring around the edges, or the quinoa salad can be spooned over a bed of micro greens for individual servings.
Variation: Trust your own creativity and personal tastes here. Try this with couscous, orzo pasta or other grains and add cherry tomatoes in season. In the photo, I added sliced olives (Kalamata, black, mixed etc.), minced chives, and feta cheese.