garden patch farms and some lovely veg

29 Oct

Went to an absolutely amazing farm last Saturday – Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen, IL. This place is everything I would ever want in a farm visit. Is it weird to say a farm was dreamy? Because it was.

Garden Patch Farms has pumpkins (yay! We all know my love for pumpkin), gourds and all of the lovely things for Fall, but they also do seasonal things like strawberries, peaches, plums, apples…. you name it, they have it. The BEST part? You get to go out into the fields and pick your own crops! I handpicked kale, swiss chard, turnips, dill, and hot peppers. I then also was able to pick up apples, purple cauliflower, carrots, pickles, fresh eggs from the chickens and other yummy produce from the Farm Market that is adorable! It looks like a little barn and not only has produce, but honey, jams, jellies and sauces. It’s precious. There also are beautiful large mum plants right now that would look amazing on a front porch or deck for the holidays. You also get to talk to Farmer Earl, his grandson, Tony, and anyone else that works on the farm while you’re there. Which makes the experience that much more rich. (Below, at the end of the post is a link to their site.)

The best part was that the food was amazing when I cooked it up at home. As most of you know, food really is the cure to my spirit and imagine having fresh food and being able to pick my own!? I need to live on a farm……no, but seriously. If I could go outside and grab whatever I wanted to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, I’d be in heaven. That’s what this farm is, heaven. I’ve never been to another farm where you can go and pick your own veggies, and fruits when in season. All of the other pumpkin farms I have been to are super cheesy with the corn mazes and fees to get in and all of that jazz. This is an amazingly simple, fresh, adorable and wonderful place. Next time I go back I may just try and pitch a tent and live in the corn field. Think anyone would notice!!?? HAHA!

From all of this lovely produce, I made a couple things. From the carved pumpkins picked up, I used the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds that turned out awesome. For those of you that don’t know the benefits of pumpkin seeds, they are an amazing source of fiber, vitamin E and zinc. They are a great snack by themselves or are awesome sprinkled in oatmeal, on top of pumpkin bread before it bakes, added into pumpkin seed brittle….the possibilities are endless.

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS WITH TRUFFLE SALT PAPRIKA AND PEPPER

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pumpkin seeds, or whatever you have from your pumpkin you carved and cleaned out
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon truffle salt
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground

First, blast some music. This is fun. Get your dance on while you’re cooking. As in, Luke’s Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It).” You know you want to. It’s so much more fun to cook with music. Ok, I know that 1 tablespoon of truffle salt sounds like a lot, and that stuff is seriously expensive, but it’s worth it and a lot of the truffle flavor cooks off when you bake the seeds. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Rinse your seeds and make sure almost all of the pulp is off of them. The easiest way is to dump them all in a colander so you can rinse them and pull the pulp off at once. Some pulp isn’t bad because it adds flavor.

Once they are rinsed, do NOT pat them dry. They will stick to whatever towel you use and then water will dry off in the oven anyways. Add the oil and give them a good stir on a big sheet pan. Next add your truffle salt, paprika and pepper and mix them all together so they are all coated evenly. Pop those puppies in the oven and bake for about a half hour. Keep an eye on them, because they could either roast quickly, or slowly. It depends on your oven. You want them to be crispy and golden brown.

NOTE: Savory doesn’t have to be the way you go. You could add cinnamon and sugar, or any other herb combinations. Truffle salt just seemed like an amazing idea to me!

Next I cooked up some swiss chard. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve ever eaten swiss chard?!? I’m such a kale fanatic, but when I saw these beautiful leaves growing on the farm, I had to grab them and figure out what to do with them! They actually turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

SWISS CHARD WITH PINE NUTS AND CURRANTS

  • 10 large leaves of swiss chard, stems cut from the chard and put aside
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Take your currants and put them in a bowl with the hot water. This will help them plump up. Wash and strip your swiss chard of the stems. Chiffonade the leaves by placing them all on top of each other, rolling them like a cigar and chopping them into 1 inch sections. Then, chop the rolled section in half the other way, to split it in half and make more manageable pieces. Next dice the stems into 1/4 inches. They’ll remind you of celery. Turn your large skillet onto medium/high and add your oil. Heat it up, add the stems and garlic. Cook until you can smell the garlic. Add your pine nuts and toast them until golden brown.

Next add your swiss chard and currants. Constantly mix to cook the chard until al dente and heat up the currants and add the balsamic. This should take about 5 minutes or less, depending on how you like your greens. I like mine with some bite, others like them mushier, but mushy sounds pretty yucky if you ask me. After you are done cooking it all together, serve it up and ENJOY! But, please remember, this is not a save and reheat dish, so chow down and get your greens in!

ROASTED TURNIPS AND CARROTS

  • 5 turnips, peeled
  • 8 large carrots, peeled (these were super thick amazingly awesome carrots from the farm)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

So the best part about this is I used the same pan as the pumpkin seeds, unwashed. I thought the little bits of truffle salt left over would be amazing on these!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops and bottoms off your turnips. Then chop into 1 inch cubes. Do the same with your carrots. Put them on the sheet pan and cover with oil. Mix around so they are fully covered. Next add your salt and pepper and do the same, mix them around. Make sure they are in an even layer and pop in the oven for about 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. You want a nice brown crust and the veg to be cooked through. Once cooked, turn your broiler on high to get a crispy crust on the veggies. Broil them until a nice crunchy brown color is on top. Salt and pepper more if needed and serve!

http://www.gardenpatchfarms.com/

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