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No, seriously I am ready. Bring it. None of this ‘Oh, here’s a little break in the clouds for you’ or ‘How about a couple hours of sunshine?’ I want spring, now. I’m dieing here and even though I’ll be escaping to California for the weekend – cousin’s wedding – I may return excited yet even more disappointed than ever.

Because more rain at this point is not what we need. We need barbecue weather. We need picnic weather. We need sun. And our crops do to. Although spring has finally sprung in California, bringing with it a true spring like bloom of new veggies, our wet soil has hindered spring planting.

Take solace though – even if it’s not spring outside, thanks to our southern partner farms who are enjoying just a bit more sunshine than us, it is beginning to look like spring in the box. I’m not even changing anything this week, no substitutions and just taking what I get.

Here’s what my box is looking like –

Tomatoes
Klamath Pearl Potatoes
Snow Peas
Red Onions
Baby Spinach
Arugula (Greens)
Romaine Lettuce
Green Kale
Cara Cara Oranges
Kiwi
Mangos
Braeburn Apples

I’m willing to give tomatoes a try, the one I got in my last box is still sitting on my south-facing windowsill, and the Klamath Pearls I can’t wait for. This particular potato is only grown in the rich loamy soil of the Oregon-California border. Soil filled with the minerals from the eruption of Mt. Mazama and the prehistoric Lake Modoc.

These little pots are not to be missed. They are especially good roasted, just boil them first for about 12-13 minutes, toss roughly in coarse sea salt and roast on high, about 450 degrees. It’ll be the best roaster you’ve had, guaranteed.

The snow peas are wonderful just steamed and tossed with a little honey and mint. Or mixed, Sechuan-style, with sesame oil, sesame seeds and some ginger-chili paste. Yum.

Arugula is my favorite spring topping for pizza, or pizza bread, or just made into a salad with shallots, balsamic vinegar, pears and goat cheese. The Fromage Blanc from Mt. Townsend Creamery is awesome in this dish.

The romaine is an excuse to try out the original Caesar recipe in the member recipes section. Drizzled over a quarter of broiled or grilled romaine is a delicacy.

Leche de Mango for dessert, or maybe kiwi sorbet, I’ll let you decide. I’m going to do some research this weekend and explore the depths of my Grandmother’s culinary legacy while I’m down south. Hopefully I’ll come back with a jewel for us all. Until then, have a great weekend. Eat healthy and be well.

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I love my hash browns, have I mentioned that? Being from Idaho must have something to do with it, that or all the Sundays my family spent at local Greasy Spoons. If it’s breakfast or even lunch for that matter, don’t give me a plate of ‘home fries’ or ‘country potatoes’, I want my hash browns. And you can bet that come Sunday at our house my cast iron skillet will be hot, bacon will be cooking in the oven and grated potatoes will be frying away merrily.

I’ve tried many different ways of cooking them. I’ve tried grating them into water, water with sugar (said to help even browning), into a towel to squeeze out the excess moisture and best of all, using baked potatoes from the night before. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but makes a pretty decent hash brown. I mean what does a good hash brown need to be? A crispy pile of starch with a fluffy interior, a nice bed to lie down a couple of poached, over-easy or sunny eggs, that’s it.

My favorite is the baked potato. And if I have the time, or happened to have the foresight to make a few extra, they make the fluffiest, lightest and wonderfully crisp browns of all. You can cook them in the microwave and then grate them, which works alright, but its not quite the same. But what if you don’t have the time to bake a potato?

My second favorite then is this recipe, or to be more specific this method. And it just so happens that this method also works well for incorporating other wonderful root vegetables, like beets, carrots or parsnips, or shredded squash of any type, winter or summer. One flip, put on the cover to steam them in their own moisture, and there you have it.

Parsnips are one of the best winter veggies. Full of nutritious vitamins and minerals that our body craves this time of year and with a light carrot-ish flavor, at once earthy and clean. You can actually make hash browns solely from parsnips, but I prefer the softer fluffy starch of the potato mixed in. So, give this recipe a try next time your looking for a great addition to your eggs and bacon, or use the parsnip variation as a bed for an entree for dinner.

2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and grated
8 ounces parsnips, peeled and grated
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons flour
5-6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (optional)
Parsley, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a clean dish towel or paper towel squeeze the grated potato to release as much moisture as possible, place in a medium-sized bowl. repeat the process with the parsnips. Add egg and flour and mix in thoroughly. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large caste iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Place a layer of hash browns down in portions, three or four and press lightly with a spatula to form a layer or patty. Season with salt and pepper. The center of the pan will inevitably be hotter than the outside, by placing the browns down in portions it allows you to rotate them so they cook evenly.

Cook the shredded portions for two minute, then rotate and cook for another two minutes. At this point they should be fairly sturdy, as the starch will hold them together. Lift up an edge and check to be sure, then flip and cover with a lid. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with grated cheese, add parsley or chives. Serve hot.