Last Saturday, my family and I had the privilege of picking up our very first 'co-op style' produce share from Urban Acres and I must say....the experience was MARVELOUS. We decided beforehand to bring our camera and make a short video and we had such a blast!
Earlier in the week, I saw on their website that we were getting Texas figs in our share and I wasn't just a little giddy! You would have thought that Christmas was coming early or something by the squeals of excitement around here. That being said, you might naturally be wondering why there's not a fig related recipe for you today.
Well to explain why, I shall refer to a scene from one of my favorite movies, "Never Been Kissed". In this scene, Drew Barrymore's character Josie Gellar, looks down at her near empty, crumb filled pie pan and with shock in her voice says...."Somebody ate my whole pie!" It was, of course she who had eaten her whole pie, and so with a bashful grin and a happy stomach I must confess......
....somebody ate all my figs!
Lucky for you, my Urban Acres share was chocked full of other AMAZING fresh produce. My favorite this time around was the Texas grown arugula! This arugula was SO much tastier than the stuff I buy at the store. It was so wonderfully peppery that I decided to pair it with the bright summery flavors of a strawberry mango salsa on an herbed grain-free flatbread. I also added a little of my favorite cultured cashew cheese (recipe below) and some thinly sliced, roasted chicken breast. It was a HIT!
At the end of this post you can get a look at all the other things we made with our produce share, There's even some recipe links for you to check out.
So what's the big deal about co-ops?
Well first there's the fact that co-ops work with local farmers to bring you the best organic, local and seasonal produce that you can find in your area. (And I LOVE eating seasonal foods that you KNOW weren't picked 10 years ago...ok, I exagerate, and sprayed with 50 different pesticides for shipping longevity....there I go again!) But what I love most is the sense of community that co-ops bring to wherever they decide to hang their hat. There's a pulse and a rhythm to them that in subtle ways, reconnects us to everything that is right in front of us.
That, and it's hard to NOT feel connected to a group of people that you know are eating EXACTLY the same produce as you. Every time I'm whipping together a dish, I constantly wonder what the other members are making with these very same ingredients!
Enter Urban Acres: The first thing that impressed me about Urban Acres (besides the fact that they are not just a co-op, but also have an actual store in Dallas) was their website. That's right, not the produce, not the prices, and not even the drop off locations (priorities people!).
The website is setup in a blog layout where you can hear from other members, learn about local produce and best of all, you can scratch that itching question....What the heck is everyone else making with their share?! Well on their site, you can actually find out! and you're likely to get some great recipes while you're at it! To the point...The Urban Acres Website does a great job of informing, organizing, inspiring and CREATING COMMUNITY. Which I LOVE!
Now, on to the eating (I mean, that's what you came for right?)
For the flat bread:
1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almond flour (such as Honeyville)*
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ghee (or oil of choice)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 large egg (a chia egg works well too)
more ghee and coarse sea salt for topping
UsingBobs Redmill or Trader Joes AF for this recipe will result in a coarser, more breakable product. BR has a coarser grind and TJ is not 'blanched'. For best results I highly recommend Honeyville Almond flour for it's quality & low cost. If you are in Canada, try Nuts.com. Bobs Red Mill can also be reground (coffee grinder) and sifted for better results.
Cashew Cheese: Ingredients & recipe below (You could also sub w/ricotta or a goat cheese spread)
Toppings: Ingredient list and instructions below
*I cannot garuntee the out come of the flat bread if made with Bob's Redmill (coarse grind) or Trader Joes(brown skins included) almond flours. My recipes are based on fine ground BLANCHED almond flours, which you can purchase online through Honeyville or Nuts.com. These brands are also significantly cheaper than Bobs Redmill and are certified gluten free.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, rosemary and garlic powder
Add the tablespoon of oil, evenly rubbing it into the flour mixture with your fingers
Add the egg and the vinegar to the flour mixture, mixing till well combined. If though dough seems a bit sticky, don't worry. Knead it a little longer and let it rest for a minute or two.
Divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls (Of course you could also so just one large flat bread as well, I like mine really thin and find splitting the dough up makes this easier)
Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to at least 1/8 inch thick. Sometimes I even go thinner. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment paper. If you try to patch any tears, use oiled fingers. Using your fingers, gently spread some ghee or other oil on top of the rolled out dough. I'm pretty generous with my ghee! Work carefully, the dough is VERY fragile at this point.
Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt.
Note: It helps to start by pressing the dough into the shape you want with your hands first. I like mine oblong.
Usigng a fork, poke the dough, evenly all around, Try not to tear it. Bake each flat bread on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree over for about 10 minutes. Baking times will vary depending on individual ovens, so keep an eye on it. Almond flour can burn quickly. The 'bread' should be golden. Turn the cookie sheet half way through baking if you notice that it is not baking evenly.
Let cool completely before moving. Remember the flat bread can be quite fragile....that's what makes it taste so light and crispy. So be gentle, especially during assembly.
To assemble, carefully spread some of the cashew cheese (or even use ricotta or farmers cheese) evenly over the bread. Add the arugula, chicken and finally the salsa. Season with coarse salt and cracked pepper. Cut into wedges or squares and Serve.
For the Cashew Cheese
Cashew Cheese is just a 'cultured' nut paste really. It has a tangy taste like a cross between ricotta and cream cheese. The probiotic powder allows the cashew paste to culture, giving it that tangy taste. It also makes the nuts easy to digest and makes it a great source of good bacteria.
Make at least one day ahead of time.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 cup filtered water
the contents of 1-3 probiotic capsules (at least 10 billion organisms)
Place everything in a blender, blend till smooth (this make take awhile, depending on your blender)
Transfer to a bowl and set in a warm place, like an oven with the light on for at least 16 hours. This recipe makes more than needed, however it keeps for up to 5 days in sealed container and can be used for many other recipes like ranch dressing, tzatziki, dipping fruit and much more. Feel free to half the recipe.
For the toppings:
1 mango, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup strawberries, diced up
1/2 cup purple onion, diced
1/4 cup spring onion
juice of half a lime (or more to taste)
a handful of cilantro
Coarse salt and cracked pepper to taste
1 roasted chicken breast
Combine prepared topping ingredients in a bowl. Stir till well combined. Thinly slice roasted chicken. Wash and pat dry the arugula.
Assemble and serve. Enjoy!
Here's a few other things that we made with the rest of our share: (Green lettering, indicates a link to a recipe)
Apple & Butternut Squash Hash (With potatoes instead of butternut squash)
Kale Chip Nachos (with curly Kale)
Almond butter stuffed celery sticks
Masala Fried Okra (Recipe coming soon)
Avocado, Guacamole (Obviously....it's Texas.)
Plums...went the way of the figs....straight into my mouth. :)