Cooking with Farm Fresh Ingredients: Bitter Greens and Focaccia

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Last week we posted about our visit to the amazing Rogowski Farm in the Black Dirt Region of Orange County. While visiting the farm we wanted to pay attention to what was being harvested and what we’d make with these ingredients. The tomatoes and onions were an easy one for us, but the bitter greens… that’s a different story. We both lived in Maryland and in the southern part of Maryland the cuisine is pretty similar to the south. There’s lots of kale and bitter greens. When I was a kid I never liked kale, and despite it’s popularity in the culinary world, I still don’t like it. It’s not something I get excited about. I’ve actually only had kale once and liked it, and that’s when our friend Tiz brought a kale salad for Thanksgiving one year. It was actually really good, so maybe we’ll have to ask Tiz what magic wand she waved over the salad! Because we never get bitter greens I asked Cheryl how she prepares them, and she said, “Garlic and olive oil!” Cheryl was totally right. We prepared them that way, and boy were they good. The garlic took the edge off the bitterness and the olive oil added body to the dish. We put the recipe below as if you’re preparing a side dish, but if you have left overs or want to include a green in brunch, we love to serve these on toast with a soft boiled egg, sea salt and pepper. Also, you learn how to make garlic chips in the recipe, which is a great kitchen trick cause they look pretty fancy.

For the tomatoes and onions, we got out an old favorite and modified the toppings. Our old favorite is focaccia, and we make it when we have a big crowd or want a quick dinner. (Don’t forget, you can always put an egg on this too!) If you’ve never cooked with yeast, this recipe is really easy, and a great introduction before you dive into bread. When we were putting this recipe together, I asked William to take notes for me cause I just throw everything in the mixer, kneed, and let it rest. I never thought about the actual steps! Try it out and let me know how it turns out. If you have kids, I think this will be a winner, cause it just like pizza and they can even customize their toppings.

If you’d like to see more farm fresh recipes, check out Cheryl’s website. She puts together recipes for the CSA participants. We love CSA’s because they force you to try new things and expand your culinary world through ingredients.

Bitter Greens with Olive Oil and Garlic Chips Recipe

Makes a perfect side dish, or serve over toast with an egg on top


  • 1 bunch bitter greens
  • 5 or 6 table spoons to olive oil, more or less depending on pan size, see note below
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin


  1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. You want to olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and come about 1/4 up the sides. Once oil is warmed add garlic and allow to fry until golden brown. Garlic burns easily, so this will only take a a minute or two. Keep a close eye on it.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic from pan and set aside on a paper towel.
  3. Add bitter greens to remaining olive oil, which is now infused with garlic! Cook until greens have wilted, then about 4 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Sprinkle garlic chips on top to serve.

Focaccia with Tomatoes and Onions Recipe

When preparing Focaccia it’s best to think of this recipe as two parts. Part one is preparing the dough for the first rise, the second part is placing the dough in the pan and cooking up the toppings. After step five is where the directions divide. If you’d like to have this for lunch, make the dough after breakfast, and complete the recipe right before lunch. This recipe reheats well in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.



2 tablespoons rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 to 4 cups flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
cornmeal for pan


2 large onions, sliced
3 large tomatoes, or a variety of small tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Olive Oil
Sea salt (I love flakey grey sea salt)

  1. Place yeast, warm water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir with a spoon by hand to combine and allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes. Yeast should show it’s active by creating a foam.
  2. With the dough hook on your stand mixer and add 2 cups of flour, allow to combine, then add half the olive oil, then another cup of flour, then the remaining olive oil, allowing to combine between each addition. In 1/3 cup warm water, dissolve the kosher salt, add to dough combing well. You’ve added a total of three cups of flour, you will need to check the texture of your dough and add more in small increments, like 1/4 cup or less. Avoid over mixing your dough or it will be tough. Add enough of the remaining flour so your dough is slightly lumpy and slightly sticky.
  3. Kneed dough on a floured surface about 10 times, dough should become smooth, but not tough.
  4. In a large bowl, coat the inside with a few table spoons of olive oil and place your dough in the bowl, making sure the dough ball is lightly coated in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place.*
  5. All dough to rise for one hour.
  6. Your dough should have almost doubled in size, remove from bowl and save your plastic wrap. Sprinkle a handful of cornmeal on a cookie sheet and stretch/press dough into cookie sheet, edge to edge. Use your finger tips to make dents in the dough so it’s not nice and smooth, this will catch the olive oil and toppings goodness.
  7. Cover with your plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place while you prepare the toppings. This should sit for at least 10 minutes for the second rise. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Prepare your toppings. I like to sauté the onions and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. They can be slightly undercooked. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on the dough, adding the cooked onion and garlic. If you hoard good olive oil, use it now to drizzle on the top, then sprinkle sea salt.
  9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

* If your house is freezing like ours, I turn on the oven to 200 degrees for a few minutes, then turn it off, and place the bowl in the warm oven which helps the dough rise.

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