winter csa share – week 11

winter csa share week 11

Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow 2015/2016 Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Chard
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Cauliflower! – Overwintering cauliflower is the best kind of cauliflower.  Started last July and transplanted last August into the field, these plants have made it through the long months of rain and cold this winter to head up into beautiful cauliflower.  Whew!
  • Red Maria Potatoes
  • Bok Choi
  • Flowering Cilantro
  • Giant Spinach! – Spinach wraps anyone?!
  • Leek Scapes – Scapes are the flowering stalks of allium plants including leeks, garlic, and onions.  If left alone the scapes would stiffen and eventually the flowers would open and develop seed.  If harvested now they’re a delicious tender treat that you’ll want to drizzle with olive oil immediately and toss on the grill. 
  • Pea Shoots – Toss the tips in salads or saute the shoots with other veggies for a pea pod flavor, a taste of spring!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – The smoothest, mildest, most delicious turnip around.  You don’t have to cook them, but you can if you want.  The greens are great sauteed!
  • Arugula Rapini – A spicy addition to this week’s greens line-up.
  • Salad Mix – Lettuce has returned!  A mix of three types of leaf lettuces and mizuna this week.
  • Dried Apples

april planting

As promised at the end of the newsletter two weeks ago, we’ve been very busy out in the field getting ground prepped, starts transplanted, and already trying to stay on top of the weeds and irrigation.  Our tractor finally came back to us good as new and its arrival felt like the firing of a starting gun, the race was on!  Thanks to some cooperating weather systems and long days we’ve just about caught up with our plan.

In the photos above you can see Jeff spreading lime in the field we were getting ready to plant into.  The lime is a suggested amendment per our soil test, and should help shift the ph in this field which we understand will help make other nutrients more accessible by plants.  Over three days last week we planted out multiple varieties of peas, spinach, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi,  broccoli, cabbage, kale, and chard.  Some of our old staple varieties and some new ones, like the Dazzling Blue Kale seen on the left in the kale photo above.  Thanks to lots of coffee, water, and beer we made it through the transplanting and now have 3/4 of an acre planted out with 8,000 plants in the ground.  And we’re still mostly smiling.

With our first big outdoor planting of the season in the ground, the next rounds are coming along in the propagation house.  This weekend we started the first of our basil, summer squash, cucumbers, and melons in the midst of a summery heatwave.  Summer doesn’t feel so far off this week.

strawberries

As Sunday evening turned to Sunday night we pushed through to get our strawberry plants in the ground.  One last planting for the week and one more task checked off the list before the start of a new week.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks for the last Winter CSA pick-up!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Three-Greens Soup with Spinach Gremolata

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion (about 7 ounces), thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 thinly sliced, 1 finely grated
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 bunch collard greens (8 ounces), center ribs and stems removed, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (12 ounces), center ribs and stems removed, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 5-ounces bag packaged spinach (not baby), stems removed (about 4 cups), divided
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thinly sliced garlic to pot. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes, collards, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer soup until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes.

Add Swiss chard to pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups spinach and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until spinach is wilted.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining 1 cup spinach; place in a small bowl. Add lemon zest, finely grated garlic clove, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to chopped spinach; toss to coat. Season spinach gremolata to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Season soup with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls. Mound spinach gremolata on top of soup in bowls. Garnish with pine nuts.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/three-greens-soup-with-spinach-gremolata-380600

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Minced Beef with Bok Choy and Fried Egg

2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Thai chile paste
2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces 90% lean ground beef
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried Thai chile or crushed red pepper
3 small baby bok choy, cut lengthwise into quarters (chop full size bok choy to cook evenly)
4 large eggs
2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add garlic; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add beef to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until beef is done. Stir in soy mixture; cook 30 seconds or until sauce thickens slightly. Place on a plate; keep warm. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and crushed red pepper to pan; cook for 10 seconds. Add bok choy; stir-fry 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place on plate with beef.

3. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Heat remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium heat; swirl to coat. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, into pan; cook 2 minutes. Cover pan, and cook 1 minute or until whites are set. Divide rice, beef, and bok choy among 4 bowls. Top each dish with 1 egg.

From MyRecipes.com via Cooking Light by Cheryl Slocum, http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/minced-beef-bok-choy-fried-egg

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Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup water

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Indian-Spiced-Cauliflower-and-Potatoes-109118

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winter csa share – week 9

winter csa share week 9

Welcome to the 9th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula Rapini
  • Garlic
  • Carrots – Remember, winter carrots are rough, but peel ‘em up and they’re tasty as ever.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Red Russian Kale Rapini
  • Collard Rapini
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Braising Mix – a mix of kales, chard, cabbage rapini, and mustards that will do well braised or for the more adventurous would make a lovely winter salad.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Spaghetti Winter Squash
  • Dry Bean Mix – Those of you that joined us last summer will remember these beans from summer shares.  Our extra green beans left to dry, now making up this colorful mix.  We’ve been enjoying them in burritos of late.

I imagine when you joined the Winter CSA, it was all winter squash and roots and hardy greens that you saw filling your shares.  Thanks to the mild winter we’ve been able to include  a diversity of other items, and this week is rapini madness!  The overwintered kale and cabbage and collards are all ready to go to flower but bunching up those tender, sweet bolts is oh so hard to avoid.  We’ve been eating rapini in stir frys, over eggs, in burritos, in pies, and of course straight out of the field!  We love rapini season to bits, and hope you do too.  Isn’t it fun to see and taste the differences between the arugula, kale, and collards?  Which is your favorite?

spring potluck

Many thanks to the few folks that made it to the farm this past Saturday for the Winter CSA potluck.  It was a small showing, but a great day for a farm visit.  The rain held off all day and the wind was just right for kites.  While we love to see a big crowd enjoying the farm, we really appreciated the opportunity to chat with those members that made it out.

Apologies again for forgetting to include a reminder two weeks ago in the newsletter.  Hopefully everyone received my belated email reminder last week.  We realize now that we scheduled it for the first weekend of spring break, which is a very hard thing to compete with indeed.

seeding

In the past two weeks, since we last met, we’ve been keeping busy filling up the propagation house, doing a little transplanting and seed sowing in the field and in high tunnels, and prepping the ground for transplanting into the fields.  It’s been a fantastic start to the growing season and for once we feel nearly right on track with things.

We’ve potted-up most of our tomatoes from 72-cell trays into 3-inch pots and moved them out of the propagation house and into a smaller greenhouse shack.  This gives the growing tomatoes enough room to size up properly and allows us to move the next successions of tomatoes and peppers to the limited space on the heat tables in the prop. house.  It’s a delicate dance this time of year trying to leave the heat-loving plants on bottom heat as long as possible.  The tomatoes are doing well and we’re already looking forward to the summer fruits.

I’ve been doing some research on cut flowers recently and am hoping to finalize a plan for successions of a few varieties of flowers soon.  The photo above is of calendula seeds, which don’t make for the best cut flowers but do have amazing seeds that look like they washed up on a beach to me.  I’d love to hear you favorite cut flower suggestions!

transplanter

We transplanted strawberries for the inaugural use of our new water wheel transplanter.  If you remember, we bought the transplanter late last year just after the new tractor arrived and we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet.  It worked like a dream and we now have over 1000 strawberry plants growing happily in very straight rows and with very even spacing.  Plus our backs were especially thankful.

For those interested, here’s a bit about how the transplanter works.  It’s pulled by the tractor down the beds.  As it moves along the bed, a wheel with triangular punches turns and makes holes at even intervals.  A tank on top of the transplanter holds water, and sometimes fertilizer, that flows into the wheel and thus into the holes the wheel makes.  The person riding on the back of the transplanter plants starts directly into the watery holes by hand. It’s a simple design that also allows for variability and customization along the way.

This week’s rain came just in time for us to focus on the CSA harvest, but soon the sun will return and we’ll be back in the field.  Spring is officially here and it’s time to get farming!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Squash and Root Vegetable Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives
  • 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Combine 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato in a large resealable plastic bag. Place 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root in a large bowl of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning; cover. Chill shredded vegetables overnight. Drain celery root. Transfer shredded vegetables to a large bowl. Add 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces (we love crisp, balanced Fuji). Add 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives. Add 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if desired. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Kay Chun, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/squash-and-root-vegetable-slaw-51124270

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Orange and Radish Salad

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flavor water*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 large radishes, preferably with leaves, reserving small leaves for garnish,
  • *available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets.

In a small bowl stir together lemon juice, orange-flower water, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt until sugar is dissolved.

With a serrated knife cut away orange peels and pith, discarding them, and cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange orange slices on a platter and pour lemon juice mixture over them. Let orange slices macerate 30 minutes.

Trim radishes and halve lengthwise. Cut radishes into thin half circles and scatter over orange slices. Garnish salad with radish leaves.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/orange-and-radish-salad-12479

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Spiced Squash Pancakes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 small jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash, patted dry
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, jalapenos, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in squash, eggs, and flour. Wipe out skillet, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium. In batches, add batter in 1/4 cupfuls to skillet and cook until pancakes are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer pancakes to oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.

From marthastewart.com via Everyday Food, http://www.marthastewart.com/873338/spiced-squash-pancakes#Spaghetti%20Squash%20Recipes|/275670/spaghetti-squash-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide|873338

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Summer CSA Sign-up Time!

csa 2013

Hello from Pitchfork & Crow!

The countdown to summer vegetables has begun…

We’ve finished up our planting plan for the upcoming year and packages of seeds are filling our mailbox.  It’s still early, but we’ll be sowing the first seeds of 2015 very soon!  In the coming weeks we’ll be pruning the fruit orchards and tilling the first ground for spring crops.  It’s time to get this season started!

It’s also time to think about the Summer CSA.  We’re officially accepting new CSA members for the 2015 summer season.  We’ve posted the details and a link to the sign-up form on the Summer CSA page here: https://pitchforkandcrow.com/community-supported-agriculture/.

These are the 2015 Summer CSA program basics:

  • 27 weeks – running from May 26th thru November 24th
  • $675 share price – Last year’s shares ranged from $25-$35 per week with an average share value of $28.
  • Two pick-up options! – Choose to pick-up either on Tuesday evenings at the Willamette Heritage Center near downtown Salem or Wednesday evenings at the farm in Lebanon.
  • Market-style pick-up – Vegetables will be displayed like a market booth with quantities listed rather than prices, letting you choose your vegetables.

You can find photos of past shares on our Flickr site!

We’re looking forward to a fun and exciting season full of a variety of seasonal organic produce!  We hope you’ll consider joining us for the Summer CSA season. Further details and sign-up form on the Summer CSA page!

Thanks for your support!

Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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csa share – week 15

csa share week 15

Welcome to the 15th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Jalapeno Peppers – We’re thinking it’s salsa week!
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers –  They look like they could be hot, but trust us, they’re only the best sweet pepper going!
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos – new to tomatillos?  We love them in salsa verde!  Check out the recipes down below for some inspiration.
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Blue Lake Pole Beans – Eat ’em up fresh, pod and all!

September has arrived, none too soon if you ask these farmers.  We’re already enjoying the cooler weather.  We know we have quite a few teachers, school admin. staff, and students in the CSA and we wish you all the best as the school year gets under way once again.  Although the summer break may be ending, luckily for all of us, the vegetables keep on coming.

crops in the summer

We’ve certainly been noticing the seasonal shift here on the farm.  The summer crops are here, and the fall crops aren’t far behind.  While we’re enjoying the plethora of the heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, we’ve got an eye on the storage crops that need to find a home in the barn soon.  The apples and pears all seem to be coming on early this year, and the potatoes are done growing and ready to be dug.  Even the powdery mildew that usually kills our squash in late fall has already made an appearance in force and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the winter squash and pumpkins ripen up before the mildew takes them out.  We’re thankful for the many crops that keep on producing through the heat, including the summer hardy salad mix we’ve got for you this week.  We chose these varieties for their heat tolerance, bolt resistance, and powdery mildew avoidance and they seem to be proving their worth!

As we’ve come expect, it’s been a steady race since March to get crops sown, transplanted, watered, weeded, harvested, and distributed.  Perhaps the heat over the last couple of months added to the pressure, but we’re glad to be headed into the fall with its cooler days and longer nights.  Work outdoors is just so much more pleasant at 80 degrees than at 90 degrees.

fall field

We’re at the point in the season where when we walk the length of the farm we see lists of work to be done.  But we’re also at the point in the season that we have to make priorities if we want crops to thrive heading into the decreased daylight of the fall and winter.  It may only be the beginning of September, but we know our growing days are numbered for this season.  Our succession sowing has slowed and we have only a handful of crops yet to be planted in the next couple of months including next year’s garlic crop in October.  Our focus has shifted to killing weeds, continued irrigation, and groundwork to begin establishing our fall cover crops.

tractor

We’ve already begun reflecting on this season, though we’re just a couple of weeks past the halfway point of the CSA.  We’re beginning to think ahead to next season and identify places where we can increase efficiency.  The old adage of “work smarter, not harder” is ringing in our ears as we try to make plans for our future in farming.  To that end, we’re attempting to secure funding for a new tractor, as seen above.  Our goal is to no longer have to rely solely on our ever-aging 1978 field work tractor while also increasing the number of tasks we can accomplish with our equipment.  With a newer, smaller-bodied tractor we can hopefully eventually use it to transplant starts and direct sow seed directly into beds in the field.  What a revelation!  Now to figure out how to afford the upgrade without breaking our budget, or our backs.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Charred Tomatillo Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 pound husked tomatillos
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact, 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise, 1 jalapeño, 1 pound husked tomatillos, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large bowl. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse with onion, stemmed jalapeño, tomatillos, 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice just until a chunky sauce forms; season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Charred-Tomatillo-Salsa-Verde-51175300

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Tomato and Tomatillo Gazpacho

  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion, divided
  • 1 fresh serrano chile, coarsely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Puree tomatillos, half of tomatoes, and half of onion with chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a blender until smooth.

Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

Stir in remaining tomatoes and onion, water, oil, and cilantro. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tomato-and-Tomatillo-Gazpacho-354967

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Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (from 1 large bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile with seeds, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 8-ounce halibut fillets, each about 1-inch thick
  • 2 cups green beans, halved
  • 2 cups stemmed shiitake or oyster mushrooms

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place first 5 ingredients, 3 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in processor; puree. Season sauce to taste with salt.

Place fish, beans, and mushrooms in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in bowl to blend. Pour over fish, beans, and mushrooms; toss beans and mushrooms to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fish is opaque in center and beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Divide fish, vegetables, and sauce between plates.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Halibut-and-Green-Beans-with-Asian-Cilantro-Sauce-234134

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