Mother Knows Best: Shareholder Puja
Shareholders join Farm Share for many different reasons. This week, we are highlighting Shareholder Puja Khare. She, like many of you, was a bit nervous starting Farm Share but gained the confidence she needed with a little help from her mom and Corbin Hill. Puja moved from Pennsylvania to New York in February of 2016. And while a new job was the reason for her move, Puja decided to use this opportunity to re-evaluate her health. She knew her current lifestyle needed some major adjustments, but could never maintain the lifestyles and diets she was reading about. Puja recalled, “There was a lot of noise out there on what I should and shouldn't eat. I realized, for me, instead of cutting things out or sticking to a strict diet, I had to increase the amount of good food I was eating.”
New to the city, Puja was hit with the sticker-shock of high food prices in NYC. Through her employer, Puja began to learn about different fresh produce options available around the city. She liked the idea of supporting local farmers, so she researched different CSA programs. Since money was tight, she was drawn to Corbin Hill Food Project’s flexible payment plan. She liked the idea of being able to pay weekly or suspend her account if needed.
At the start, Puja had a tough time figuring out what to do with all her produce. She explained, “I did what most girls do in situations like these, I called my mom. She was born and raised in India and is a phenomenal cook. Most of the time, I give her the name of a vegetable, and she gives me a recipe from memory.”
Her mother’s guidance, along with exposure to different vegetables, helped Puja become quite clever and inventive in the kitchen. One week, she received Italian plums and confidently whipped up a delightful plum chutney that she uses on fish, turkey, and even eggs.
Puja picks up her weekly share at the Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem (also known as the Friend of Corbin Hill location) and mentioned how she enjoys the sense of community she feels each week. In a city as intimidating as New York, programs like Corbin Hill Food Project are an important way to connect people and make the city seem just a little smaller.
Farm Share has also helped Puja realize that she doesn’t have to spend lots of money to eat good food. All you need is a few stocked spices and meats, produce from Corbin Hill, and maybe a phone call to your mom.
Beets are an extremely versatile veggie. They can be eaten raw in a crisp summer salad, roasted, pickled or juiced! Their sweet, rich flavor comes alive when roasted, steamed, or boiled! This week, you might receive red or golden beets from S&SO in Goshen, NY, or you may receive Chioggia beets, candy stripe beets, from R&R produce in Goshen, NY. No matter the beet, the following recipe will be absolutely delicious!
⅓ cup pine nuts
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions sliced thin (about 4 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 bunches golden or red beets with greens; peel beets peeled and cut into 8 wedges; chop greens into 1-inch-wide strips
12 oz farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
*Note: If using red beets, the pasta will turn pink.
Cook time: approximately 1 hr.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
1. Heat heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 mins. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Add 2 tbsp oil and onions to the same skillet and saute until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 mins. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to saute until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes longer.
3. While the onions are cooking, cook beets in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 mins. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to a medium bowl. Return water to boil.
4. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
5. After onions are caramelized, add garlic and stir 2 mins. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining 2 tbsp oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 mins.
6. Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in ⅓ cup parmesan cheese. Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve, use additional cheese if desired.