Real. Authentic. Tabbouleh Recipe

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As you may know, Jill is our "herbie" at the farm.  We consult once in a while about what herbs are available for the CSA.  When Jill mentioned parsley this week, I asked her if she could make sure to share a recipe for tabbouleh with me for the newsletter.  She did me much better than simply linking to the first Google result-- Here's a tabbouleh recipe from Jill's friend Alia's Palestinian Grandmother Alya Awdi.  Recipes like this are solid gold-- I love when people share traditional recipes that they've been making for years and likely don't even have written down!

As she forwarded the email, I am sharing a little more than just the recipe, because I think it's cute, and adds to the special-ness of this recipe!

J: Do you think that Sitto would share her tabbouleh recipe for next weeks TapRoot newsletter?

A: Sure! she was so stoked when I called and told her you wanted her recipe!
Here goes my best translation:
2-3 bunches parsley washed really well, chopped fine fine, soaked in water 5 mins set aside
4 tomatoes washed really well, chopped small 
1 small onion chopped small small
mix together
add  some salt,citric acid (can be bought at mid east centre) -lemon if you don't have it and a sprinkle of cumin- all to your taste.
Then add 1/2 cup bourgul (bulgur) fine, washed well but not cooked, add to mix 
finish with a big splash of olive oil 
eat and enjoy!! 

TapRoot Meat Share Week 11

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Welcome to the 11th week of the TapRoot Meat Share!

This week your share contains:

1 Whole Chicken from TapRoot Farms

1 2/pack Pork Chops from TapRoot Farms

1 Ham or Shoulder Steak OR Bacon from TapRoot Farms

1 pack Ground Beef from Longspell Point Farm OR 1 pack Ground Pork from TapRoot Farms

Cost breakdown of this week's share:

1 Whole Chicken @ $4.50/lb, average weight 2.7 lbs                $12.15

1 2/pack Pork Chops @ $6.25/lb, average weight 1.15 lbs         $7.19

1 Ham or Shoulder Steak @ $5.00/lb, average weight 1.10 lbs   $5.50

1 pack Ground Beef @ $6.50/lb, average weight 1 lb                $6.50

TOTAL COST                                                                        $31.34

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying this last week of August. I can't believe it's almost September already! As you can see in the list above, this week's meat share contains another one of our trusty whole chickens, as well as pork chops and steak from our own pigs, and a pound of ground beef from our friend Jeff at Longspell Point Farm. I hope you enjoy your share!

You'll also notice that the total cost of this week's share is below our $35.00 value meat share. We've had a number of weeks where the value has gone over $35.00, so we're making up the difference this week. 

Burger recipes!

So, for those of you who don't know, I actually follow a vegan diet, which means no meat, no dairy and no eggs. As such, I often canvas my TapRoot colleagues for recipe ideas since I never cook with meat myself. When asking Teri (who finds it HILARIOUS that I'm the meat share manager) for recipe advice this week, she suggested that she would share a burger recipe for the ground beef in the share if I would share a veggie burger recipe to coincide with veggies coming in the veggie box this week. And so, behold, we have both a BEEF and a BEET burger recipe for you to try out! If you try them, let us know what you think!

Teri's BEEF Burger Recipe Recommendation:

(From The Chronicle - click the link for lots of grilling tips and topping suggestions!)

These burgers are great as is, but if sodium restriction is not an issue in your diet, just add a sprinkling of salt into the raw meat for an added flavour punch.
1 lb (500 g) extra lean or lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup (50 ml) EACH finely chopped onion and mushrooms
½ cup (125 ml) dry bread crumbs
¼ cup (50 ml) Worcestershire sauce and evaporated milk
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste

1.Lightly combine all ingredients.
2.Gently form into six or seven 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick patties. Cover and chill for 1 hour or up to 1 day.
3.Cook patties over medium heat on lightly greased grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted sideways into centre of each patty reads at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 Celsius).
Per serving:(based on 6 servings made with extra lean beef, skim evaporated milk): 183 calories, 20 g protein, 7 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 250 mg sodium.

Jocelyn's BEET Burger Recipe Recommendation:

(From The Post Punk Kitchen)

Makes 4 big burgers.

1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice (see recipe notes above)
1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
1 cup shredded beets
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme, rubbed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (or finely crushed fennel seed)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs

Olive oil for the pan

Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, then set aside. Change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat.

Now transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Everything should be well incorporated, so get in there and take your time, it could take a minute or two.

Place the mixture in the fridge for a half hour to chill.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Now form the patties. Each patty will be a heaping 1/2 cup of mixture. To get perfectly shaped patties, use a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter or ring mold (I have pics of how to do it here.) Otherwise, just shape them into burgers with your hands.

Pour a very thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Do two at a time if you’re pan isn’t big enough. Drizzle in a little more oil or use a bottle of organic cooking spray as needed. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through.

Serve immediately. But they taste pretty great heated up as well, so if you want to cook them in advance, refrigerate, then gently heat in the pan later on, then that is cool, too.

Animal Update:

New chicks arrived at the farm this week which is always adorable and exciting! In other news, our sows have been happily munching away on new apples, and they and their piglets received some adoration from share members this weekend during our corn boil event. Fun!

As usual, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about your meat share, please feel free to email me at I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Cucumber and Red Onion Salad - Shared by Angela

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Passing on a quick recipe I tried last night with cucumber, there are lots of them right now...I can't take credit for it but it was tasty.  I did reduce the salt but other than that made as is.

Cucumber and Red Onion Salad


After much trial and error, we decided that we liked our cucumber best sliced thickly and on a diagonal. This kept it from getting soggy, and was pretty as well. But do that you like best. The longer you chill the more the flavors will meld, but the cucumbers will continue to soften. The cucumber will also release juice because of the salt in the dressing. But it’s no problem. just toss again with all the liquid right before serving.

3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces on a diagonal.

1/2 to 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon celery seed

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (you could also use lemon juice, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard

1 teaspoon sea salt

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1-In a medium size bowl combine your cucumber and red onion slices.

2- In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over cucumber and onion mixture and toss to coat. Chill for a few hours for flavors to meld. Mix right before serving and enjoy.

The Nourishing Gourmet


The Monday TapRoot Van Breakdown

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Hi folks, as I was driving back from the city yesterday I was thinking I should write a blog post about the day to give you a little insight as to what kind of things can happen and how we problem solve them on the farm.

Yesterday Jem and I and the Blue Team from Applewick's were making shares in the warehouse.  Meagan was right on schedule and left the farm at about 2:30.  At 2:58, my cell phone rang.  It was Meagan, saying the van had no power and she was pulled over on the side of the highway.  I immediately dropped what I was doing and gave Patricia a heads up and then called Andrew Bishop at Noggins to see what vehicles we could borrow.  Andrew is Patricia's dad, and he's an efficiency expert and great problem solver.  While I sorted that out, Meagan called our mechanic to see if they had any advice and then our wholesale delivery that we do on the way to reschedule it for the drive home (saving us some time on the way there).  Meagan was stuck at exit 11, only a couple kms away from Noggins, and so Andrew dropped whatever he was doing and headed over with the truck and trailer.

After popping in the office to send a quick email and facebook message to the Monday Hawthorn members, anticipating that we would likely be late for the CSA pickup, Patricia and I headed over at 3:10 to meet Meagan.  By the time we arrived, Andrew and the two guys he brought with him had nearly everything (shares, flowers, eggs, wholesale order, add ons) neatly loaded into the trailer.  We had to switch drivers as Meagan has never driven the Noggins trailer before, so I grabbed the list from Meagan and was moving on the road again at 3:29 pm.  As I found out, Hawthorn is exactly 61 minutes away from Exit 11, and I pulled up right on the nose of 4:30 pm, the start of the pickup!  I was stoked to unexpectedly get to see all the friendly faces at Hawthorn-- Not what I had planned for my Monday afternoon, but a great surprise nonetheless!

Thanks to the patient members, who braved the constant line up yesterday to pick up their shares.  There are 90 members at Hawthorn who pickup in a 1-hour window, which I realized yesterday is too many!  We will do our best to try to have Meagan arrive 15 minutes early from now on, but it's not always possible unfortunately. 

It ended up being a fuel filter needing replacement on the van.  Our van is serviced every 8-10 weeks as it uses a synthetic oil and thankfully only requires a service every 12,000 kms.  We put on over 1200 kms per week with deliveries alone.  On Friday, the van was 200 kms away from needing a service, which means it was only about 200 kms over by Monday and had a scheduled appointment for Friday-- As Patricia said: "It didn't want to wait until Friday!".  It's both annoying and a relief that it was such an easy fix-- Meagan and I do our best to keep the van running smoothly and making sure its regular maintenance is up-to-date, as it is a very critical piece of farm equipment.  The van is already zipping around the farm this morning, getting ready to go to the city this afternoon.

A big thank you to Andrew and crew at Noggins for their help yesterday!  Something I love about my job is that there are often moments that require quick problem solving, even on a day that seems to be running smoothly -- You never know what might pop up!  Great to see everyone yesterday, and I hope you have a great week!


Sunday Fridge Foraging

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I'm a little ashamed to admit that though we grow amazing, delicious, and wonderful veggies here at the farm, Jon and I don't always do the best at getting them into our bellies.  Due to a lot of the same issues that I'm sure some of you members experience, too-- We forget to pick up our share, we aren't home to cook, I can't eat most veggies raw and Jon can't eat most fruit raw-- so quickly grabbing a snack is a hurdle sometimes-- and various other excuses, often that I am too lazy to cook and we live right behind a chinese restaurant and a pizza place, and after a long day at 9 pm it's easier to pick up the phone than a pot.

At any rate, this weekend we had two shares worth of veggies in the fridge and I was determined to make lunch so that I would actually eat lunch.  I skip breakfast and lunch most days (I KNOW-- terrible, but I have some digestive issues I need to sort out, and right now I do better totally avoiding food rather than eating the wrong foods and getting a crippling stomachache-- the "wrong" foods for me appearing to be a long list of delicious vegetables that I love-- Poo!!). 

So, I roasted a smoked ham, I cooked up a bunch of potatoes, I cut my losses with the over mature beans and yellow broccoli which hit the compost, and the rest I turned into two pasta dishes which made enough meals for Jon and I to eat lunch for the week.  One is Salmontail River Sausages, zucchini, and corn, and the other is everything else that was in the fridge: Basil, bean, tomatoes, celery, fennel, jalapeno, parmesan, bacon.  Both delicious, but I do think I will avoid corn from now on, as it doesn't make my belly feel good.  :(

Paired with pasta (or rice would be great, too), these were an easy lunch solution for us this week, and minimal effort.  I didn't use a recipe, just my choice of what flavours I wanted together and bacon.  Lots of bacon.  (Not kidding: all of this was cooked in bacon fat.  Jon and I work hard enough that eating bacon fat is okay!)

We tried both flavours on Sunday night, topped with some arugula from our salad mix patch:

Members, I'd love to hear some of YOUR fridge forages and how you make things work.  I love picking up little tips to make life and managing the fridge easier-- I'm sure we all do!  What are your secrets?