The Endive Blog
Through the years I’ve been called cheap by friends and family. Why? As a kid I used to roam nearby construction sites picking up nails dropped by carpenters. If they were bent I’d bring them home and straighten them out for future use. In the fall of each year I’d cajole my dad into driving through our neighborhood the night before garbage collection so we could gather (hundreds!) of bags of leaves for my garden, “rescuing” them from the garbage truck and a fateful end in the landfill. I just hated to see things wasted. Still do. Resources are precious. They should not be wasted - nor abused.
As I entered the world of farming back in the early 80’s this character trait did not retreat. Old equipment was salvaged and transformed into useable stuff. The access door to our first endive forcing room was sheathed in my dad’s old real estate signs (for sale by Joe Collins Realty!) Yeah, I was on the cheap side…
Today at California Endive Farms while I continually warn my staff about the trap of false economies, I also insist that we make prudent decisions about what we use and how we handle the waste we generate. We just recently decided to convert our retail red and white flow pack from a styrofoam tray to one made with waste palm fiber that is recyclable and compostable. So it’ll cost us a few pennies more per case, but it’s the right thing to do.
We recycle as much as we can here, including some 25 – 30 tons a day of chicory roots diverted to cattle feed. A few years back we ridded our facility of its despicable junk food vending machines. Now we purchase fruits and nuts for all of our employees to enjoy as snacks – at no charge to them. Recently we started composting any green waste generated from that produce. Three years ago our board of directors gave the green light to invest in a cold storage facility for our chicory roots. We avoided the temptation of the cheap and easy status quo and dared to ask the short yet provocative question “What if?”. The result is a structure using the Energy Mass Wall – and perhaps the most energy efficient cold storage building in America (www.energymasswall.com). Sometimes it pays big dividends to have a "cheap" perspective!
Is there a way to be sustainable when cooking with endive? Use it all! If, like me, you prefer not to include the solid core in your salad, add them to your soup stock. (Or feed them to your chickens or simply add them to your compost!)
Cream of Endive Soup with Rosemary Parmesan Crisps
A few months ago, we proudly announced a continued partnership with five fabulous food bloggers.We love the idea of partnering with food bloggers that feature our product in new and exciting ways!
Have a favorite endive recipe? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com - we’d love to hear from you!
Salads: Endive serves as a wonderful addition to any salad. The leaves can be used whole, cut across or julienned by itself in a true endive salad or mixed with other greens. The mild and slightly bitter flavor and the crunchy texture create a refreshing dish that livens up the usual salad routine.
Appetizers: Endive works perfectly as a vessel for a variety of appetizers. The leaves are sturdy enough to scoop up dips and have a great shape that allows them to hold most anything from blue cheese to quinoa salad. Not only do the leaves add a light, refreshing flavor to any snack or appetizer, but they have dramatically less calories and more nutrients than the usual cracker or slice of bread!
Braised: Endive becomes an entirely different, yet just as delicious, experience once cooked. Braised endive develops a silky texture that acts as a wonderful side dish to various meats.
Baked: Endive au gratin can also act as the entrée itself, with the mild endive wrapped in ham and sprinkled with gruyere cheese. Voila! A classic, yet simple, dish that will delight anyone’s palate!
Grilled: Because endive production continues throughout the year, endive can be enjoyed in light summer dishes as well. As the weather warms and you break out your grill, include endive in the usual repertoire of zucchini, peppers, onions and mushrooms. Brushed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, the endive develops a sweetness while maintaining a crunchy freshness—a perfect edition to a summer supper!
Soups: Endive cooks down nicely, so it can be a great addition to a variety of soups. The leaves can easily be chopped up and thrown into a hearty bean soup or blended into a creamy, comforting puree.
Endive Rice Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 cup uncooked Japanese rice
6 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 heads endive, roughly chopped and leaves separated
1. Heat the canola and toasted sesame oils in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and scallions and saute until fragrant.
2. Add the ginger and chili garlic sauce and cook for one minute.
3. Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Then add the rice. When the stock returns to a boil, cover the pot, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the soup cook until the rice is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
4. Add the endive and simmer the soup until the endive is tender and wilted, about 6 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, season with white pepper, and serve.
Recipe & photography provided by Rachael Hutchings of La Fuji Mama.
"I first met Deborah Madison in person in 1997 at the Annual Conference for the International Association of Culinary Professionals held that year in Portland, Oregon. Prior to that I had known her brother, Mike, a Davis farmer and neighbor, for many years. Deborah is an amazingly easy person to like. We quickly developed an appreciation for our respective links on the food chain and remain good friends." - Rich Collins, President California Endive Farms
We had the opportunity to ask Deborah a few questions regarding the inspiration for her new book, endive's role in Vegetable Literacy and the evolution of food taking place in America.
How you may know her: author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
1. What inspired you to write Vegetable Literacy?
I’m not really sure it was one event; it was an idea I had in mind for quite a few years. But what made it come to life was having a garden and growing vegetables—that really opened my eyes to so much about plants and how we see them.
2. What is your favorite aspect of cooking with vegetables?
Aside from picking them, smelling them, touching them, I love to watch their transformation. When you make a soup, for example, all these amazing colors emerge that the cook gets to see, then after a while they fade. But before they do they’re dazzling! Other vegetables get dingy looking, but then their flavor changes for the better. Visually, it’s quite exciting to work with vegetables in any form, from the raw to the cooked.
3. Where do you like to buy your vegetables?
First I like to get them from my garden, then from the farmers market, followed by the co-op. And of course, it’s great to trade vegetables with other gardeners who maybe grow what you can’t, or who have an excess.
4. You feature multiple recipes with endive. How easily does endive incorporate into recipes and pair with other ingredients?
You can do a lot with endive. Of course it makes a most refreshing salad and it is so easy to slice up. Whether served that way or cooked somehow, I love it with walnuts and blue cheese or Gruyere or aged Gouda. What it pairs well with are those very cheeses and nuts, but also apples and pears, beets and celery root, butter and olive oil. And of course, you can take it over the top with cream, Gruyere and ham.
5. You mention the cost of endive in comparison to chips and crackers. Do you have a favorite endive appetizer?
I love the endive and beet caviar appetizer that I did in my book, Local Flavors. That is a standby that I make often. It’s so pretty. Of course a crab salad would be very nice in an endive leaf as well.
6. What is your favorite way to prepare endive?
When it’s cold out, I love to sauté it, add a little cream, and have it on toast for dinner. (This is a very fast.) I also like to halve an endive lengthwise, brush it with olive oil, and slowly grill (or griddle it, indoors) until it’s tender and browned. A little lemon keeps the light color; the flavor becomes more complex and pronounced and a little sweet. I like it in a chopped salad with beets or with other chicories, like radicchio. When I have it, I just use it everyday.
7. Looking back thirty plus years at the evolution of food in America, what do you find most heartening? Of concern? A prediction or two for the future?
There’s a lot that is heartening. Good farmers and small farms. School gardens. That more people are cooking again and are open to vegetables and other foods; that more people are growing gardens; that people are growing older foods, especially wheat’s, that have been forgotten and trying to bring back fine milling, good dairy, farmstead cheeses and the like.
But on the other side, there’s the GMO problem, the infiltration of Monsanto into the USDA, which is absolutely a horrendous development, the question of modern wheat and what it’s doing to us, the prevalence and power of food manufacturers and the poor quality of their foods. It’s discouraging to me that the USDA makes it so hard for good people to do good things with food, from opening a slaughterhouse to making a dairy or processing salsa. Even tasting foods at a farmers market!
We seem to be going in opposite directions at great speed. Where we’ll end up? Who knows. But sometimes I fear that those of us who care about good food – not a fancy meal but a well-grown vegetable, a beautifully processed nut or plum, old but less glamorous looking varieties, especially of fruit, foods that nurture us and don’t harm us—will have to increasingly provide for ourselves and in some cases, become almost secretive. Think about it: today it’s easier to buy heroin or an automatic weapon than raw milk. I can’t imagine that will be true of endive, though. Long live endive!
Nothing could be simpler than this dish. It can go with any number of sauces, such as Tarragon Mayonnaise or Orange Zest or Salsa Verde with Chinese Celery. Or you can just top the sliced endives with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley, tarragon, or chervil. Goat cheese flavored with orange zest would also be good with the endives.
Select white endive chicons for this dish. Brush a ridged cast-iron griddle pan with olive oil and set over medium heat until hot. Meanwhile, slice the endives in halve lengthwise, drizzle with lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. (The lemon juice keeps the endives pearly white.)
When the pan is hot, place the chicon halves, cut side down, on the pan and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. To get a crisscross of grill marks, pick up the chicon halves, rotate them 45 degrees after 5 minutes, place them again on the hot pan, and leave for the remaining time. Then turn the halves over and cook them on the uncut side until the endives are tender when pierced with a pairing knife. Serve with any of the suggested sauces or herbs.
Check to see if Deborah is making a stop in your area for a talk or book signing: Deborah Madison Calendar.
To purchase a copy of Vegetable Literacy, click here: Vegetable Literacy on Amazon.
Kathryn Anible works as a personal chef in New York City. Kathryn’s food reflects her focus on simple, nutritious ingredients. This focus led Kathryn to write The Leafy Greens Cookbook, a how-to guide for incorporating healthy greens into your every day diet through simple and delicious meals. After spotting a feature on Kathryn in the New York Times in which she used endive in a healthy salad for the holiday season, we contacted her in hopes of learning more about her approach to food, and how endive fits into that approach!
Here are a few excerpts from our interview with Kathryn...
Q: Your recipes seem very approachable, but do you think less familiar vegetables often intimidate the average household cook?
A: Oh, yes! Most people like foods they can recognize, at least in my experience, especially with vegetables. The recipes in my cook book are meant to spark some interest and hopefully, to get a few people to try eating the greens they might otherwise toss out or ignore, like beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens or collards.
Q: When did you first discover endive?
A: In college, while attending Johnson and Wales. We learned about it in class, but I didn’t really develop an opinion about it until I worked a private catering event with some classmates. There was one dish, endive with smoked trout and horseradish sour cream, which was this crazy explosion of flavor! It was definitely my favorite thing that night, as I can’t remember anything from the rest of the menu.
Q: What is your favorite way to prepare endive?
A: For me, the simpler, the better. I love it grilled, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with a little parmesan or as an edible spoon filled with dip, cheese, nuts or berries. Yum!
We wish Kathryn luck with the release of The Leafy Greens Cookbook in May. We hope you all have the chance to check out more of her recipes and incorporate more unexpected vegetables in your every day diet. Of course, we also hope you continue to think of endive as a versatile and healthy product that can be incorporated in a variety of dishes!
Endive & Apple Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
Dash of salt
1/4 cup pecans
2 heads of endive, chopped
1 cup arugula
1 apple, sliced thin
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
1. To make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, juice and honey. Season with salt.
2. In a small sauté pan, toast the pecans over medium heat. Allow to cool.
3. Mix together the endive, arugula, apple and cherries (or cranberries) in a medium-size bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Top with the pecans and goat cheese (optional). Serves 4.
Recipe & photography contributed by Kathryn Anible, The Leafy Greens Cookbook.
California Endive Farms is proud to announce a continued partnership with five fabulous food bloggers. Over the course of the next six months, the five bloggers will feature endive in three separate recipes. We love the idea of partnering with food bloggers that feature our product in new and exciting ways. Let us provide you a brief introduction to each of our OnDivas before you make your way to their own sites!
Rachael Hutchins is the mastermind behind La Fuji Mama, a blog that celebrates experimenting with new and exciting flavors and products. Rachael’s experiences while living abroad in locations including Paris, Tokyo and Yokohama contribute to her worldly cuisine. She’s also dedicated to the idea of exposing the entire family, children included, to new flavors, which is an idea we love—the earlier the endive consumption begins, the better!
Dara Michalski of Cookin’ Canuck has recently shifted her approach to cooking in order to be more health conscious. As Dara says, “Healthy eating doesn’t need to equal boring food!” We are excited to see what delicious interpretations Dara comes up with endive, a food rich in vitamins and low in calories!
All Day I Dream About Food is the blog Carolyn Ketchum created to showcase the possibilities of low-carb, gluten-free food. Carolyn incorporates inventive flavors into dishes that won't ever make you feel guilty! Any diet should welcome the presence of our nutritious product, so we look forward to Carolyn’s creative incorporation of endive into her recipes!
Paula Jones created bellalimento, a blog that reflects her passion for Italian cooking and a farm to table approach. Not only does endive fit beautifully into her culinary style, but also has a unique path from the farm to the table. We love sharing our story and educating more people about endive and all of it's wonderful qualities.
Healthy Green Kitchen’s name is a clear reflection of the values of its author, Winnie Abramsom. Winnie’s approach to food incorporates home cooking, holistic nutrition and green living. She also promotes seasonal recipes, which is lucky for us because endive is always in season!
Here is one of the recipes from last year’s OnDiva campaign from Healthy Green Kitchen’s Winnie Abramson.
Endive, kale, and smoked salmon salad with avocado and pink grapefruit
1 head of California endive (I used red), ends trimmed off and chopped
1 big handful of Tuscan kale, chopped
1 pink grapefruit, segmented (chop the segments in half if they are large), plus 1-2 tablespoons of the juice that drains off when segmenting the grapefruit
1 perfectly ripe avocado, diced
3-4 ounces of naturally smoked wild smoked, chopped
1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium bowl, combine chopped endive, kale, grapefruit segments, grapefruit juice, avocado, smoked salmon, and red onion.
2. Drizzle avocado or olive oil over the salad and mix well. Grind fresh pepper over the salad before serving. Serves 1-2.
It’s that time of year again. No, not the time to struggle with your New Year’s resolutions or to find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift—it’s Super Bowl time! The sporting event so many Americans wait for each year is finally upon us, which means an abundance of finger food is also fast approaching.
Standard Super Bowl fare often includes chicken wings, spinach dips, or practically anything in fried form. This year, we’d like to suggest some simple alternatives that can be just as satisfying as the usual Super Bowl Sunday snacks, but a bit more on the healthier end of the spectrum.
Endive leaves act as a fantastic substitute for the usual chips, crackers, or breads that accompany the spread of dips that often make an appearance at a Super Bowl party. Even the rather bland and boring vegetable trays can be spruced up with an addition of some endive leaves--you and your guests don’t have to be stuck choosing between celery or carrots every time you want a lighter snack!
So, whether you set out some leaves as an alternative to chips with your dip, or you make a platter of appetizers, surprise your guests with something new this year! We have some great endive recipes that you and your guests will enjoy during the big game.
“Original Blue” Endive Boats
Point Reyes Original Blue cheese, crumbled
Walnut halves, toasted
1. Separate endive heads into single leaves.
2. Fan leaves out on platter.
3. Fill each leaf with about one tablespoon of cheese crumbles.
4. Place a walnut half on each spear, and drizzle with honey.
Recipe provided by the Giacomini Family of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.
Endive and Ricotta Appetizer
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons craisins
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 ½ cups ricotta
2 endive heads
Honey to drizzle (optional)
1. Into a small bowl add: almonds, craisins, oil and thyme. Season with salt/pepper.
2. Place a dollop of ricotta onto endive leaf. Top with approximately 1 teaspoon of nut mixture.
3. Drizzle with honey if desired.
Recipe & photography provided by Paula Jones of Bell’alimento.
One of our News Years resolutions is to celebrate food.
We invite you to join us in our resolution!
We rounded up a few simple, healthy endive recipes to kick-start our journey into the New Year.
Whole Foods Green Garbanzo Hummus (My favorite way to enjoy endive- dipped in hummus!)
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
In bottom photo: Mary (far left), Aaron (our older brother), Molly and Melanie (our older sister) in a chicory field in the summer of 1996.
When Molly Collins propositioned her younger sister, Mary, with the opportunity to work on California Endive Farms’ blog, Mary didn’t hesitate. Our father, Rich Collins, has long fostered a passion for food and agriculture, with an emphasis on the connection between the two. Growing up, an endive salad was, and continues to be, on our table most evenings (whether the children wanted it or not). Our dad instilled in us an appreciation for good food, an appreciation that spans far beyond the finished product’s taste, and into the food’s journey from the farm to the table.
Molly has taken a winding path that has finally led her back to the endive business. Graduating from Chico State University in 2011 with a degree in Sociology, Molly took a job in retail in order to live in San Francisco. After nearly a year (and a quick realization that retail requires a very special type of employee), a serendipitous moment found Richard in need of a new marketing assistant while Molly was searching for a new job. Starting at California Endive Farms in September 2012, Molly has brought a fresh and youthful approach as she explores her passion for simple, healthy food in the world of marketing.
Mary’s official title as “Blog Consultant” seems almost overly sophisticated to the University of Montana sophomore. As a Literature major, Mary enjoys the creative process of writing and the opportunity to flex her literary muscles while working on the blog. Over the summers, she has worked on the Collins’ family farm in Davis, CA, harvesting fruits and vegetables, making jam and pies, and selling goods at farmers’ markets throughout the local area. Mary’s excited for the blog’s opportunity to introduce her to the world of food writing, an occupation that she hopes will be in her professional future as she explores her interest in writing and her, dare we say, obsession with food
We’ve included the recipes for our favorite ways to eat endive. Molly loves the super simple appetizer snack of endive leaves dipped in hummus. If you’re looking to make your own creative dips, try our recipe for Four Light & Lively Dips.
Mary’s favorite recipe is the tried and true Salade d’Hiver, with the classic combination of pears, roasted walnuts and blue cheese dressed in a light vinaigrette. Mary’s younger taste buds did not always appreciate the combination, but dad’s insistence to include an endive salad with our childhood dinners seems to have finally paid off!
We hope you enjoy our blog and join us as we bring you our unique perspective on endive!
“I just saw one of your trucks on the road the other day!”
“One of them? That’s our only one!”
For the past thirty years, we have been delivering our endive to customers throughout Northern California. We are constantly told that people have seen one of our trucks, assuming we have multiple. In fact, not only do we have just one truck, we have primarily had one truck driver too.
Our President, Rich Collins (left) with our truck driver, Art Kamman (right).
Art Kamman has been our main driver since 1990! Most farms in Europe do not have dedicated individual truck drivers to deliver their endive so Art has probably handled more endive than any other truck driver in the world (Over the years, we estimate he has handled over 50 million pounds of endive!). After 23 years, Art plans to retire in the early months of 2013.
We recently changed our name from California Vegetable Specialties to California Endive Farms. With the new name came a beautiful new, shiny truck. Replete with highly visible and engaging graphics.
Our new truck also has a Cummins ISB engine, a 2010 Feds Emissions Escalator, a 2010 EPA Carb Emission Certification and a 2008 CARB EM certified clean idle system. Wow, that’s a whole bunch of truckie techno-babble. What does it mean? One very clean, efficient, low emissions truck, that’s what! Art tells us it is one smooth ride too!
For any of you who frequent the highways in California’s Bay Area and central valley, if you happen to see our new truck out on the road, know that it is the only dedicated endive delivery truck in America, proudly driven by our dedicated truck driver, Art Kamman.