Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday dinner, December 28

This is an easy recipe to use some of your acorn or festival squash. It was posted in a Harmony Valley Farm newsletter.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn or festival squash
6-8 ounces bulk turkey sausage (I used spicy Italian)
1 small onion, chopped
½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1# can chopped tomatoes
1# can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste
¾ cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese

--Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil.
--Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut side
down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
--Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. Add turkey
sausage, red pepper and onion and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, and the peppers and onions are tender. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10-12 minutes.
--When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Fill the squash
halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake
until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8-10 minutes.

Recipes using beets

Russian Cabbage Borscht
(adapted from Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced beets
4 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
3-4 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh dill weed (or dry if fresh isn't available)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
sour cream, for topping

Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt; cook until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a soup pot.

Add potatoes and beets to the other ingredients. Season with black pepper and dill weed. Stir in cider vinegar, honey, and tomato puree. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream and extra dill weed.

Note: This soup is even better the second day after making it.

Russian Salad
(adapted from Reader's Digest Super Salads)

1# beets
1# potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup frozen peas
6 tablespoons chopped kosher pickles
1 small red onion, finely chopped
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Boil beets until tender. This can take quite a long time depending on their size. Drain, cool and peel. Cut into chunks.
Boil potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add peas for the last minute or two. Drain.
Combine beets, potatoes and peas in a bowl. Add pickles and onions. Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar and mustard together and dress salad.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Couple of Tasty Vegetable Purees

The first recipe is from a Harmony Valley Farms newsletter.

Parsnip, Potato & Squash Puree with Nutmeg

8-10 oz potatoes, peeled (about 2 large or 4 medium)
1 small-medium festival squash
4-6 medium parsnips (about 6-8 oz)
1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 Tbsp butter

First, roast the squash whole. Lately this is how I've been handling winter squash that I'm going to puree. I roast them in a 400 degree oven until tender. Then cut in half and scrape out the seeds. For more details on this method, check out this blog:
Cut potatoes and parsnips into 1-inch pieces. Combine vegetables in a saucepan with garlic, salt, and enough water to almost cover. Simmer, partly covered, until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour contents of pan into a colander to drain. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cooked squash. Using a potato masher, make a fairly smooth puree. Scoop puree back into pan. Beat in a little reserved cooking liquid, smoothing and fluffing with a whisk over low heat. Add more liquid as necessary for desired consistency. When heated through, whisk in butter. Season with salt as needed and a pinch of nutmeg.

Potato Parsnip Casserole
(adapted from The Daily Recipe)

1# parsnips, peeled and chopped
1# potatoes, chopped (peel if you wish)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (original recipe called for Swiss) I just used what I had available.
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon or more butter
1/4 cup freshly parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place parsnips and potatoes in pot of boiling water. You can also steam the vegetables if you prefer. Cook until tender--about 10-12 minutes. Drain and mash well. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for 20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Celeriac Soup

We liked this soup using celeriac and potatoes.

Creamy Celeriac Soup
(adapted from Farmer John's cookbook)

3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, sliced
1 large celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 or 2 large potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped
4 cups either chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/4 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1/2 cup cream or half and half
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Note: I didn't have enough celeriac so I added some chopped celery which worked out fine.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the leeks; cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the celeriac, potatoes, broth and almonds; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are completely tender.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or a food processor. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary.

Sweet Potatoes

This is a tasty and very easy recipe for using some of your sweet potatoes. It actually has some meat (chicken) in it too.

Coconut Curried Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
(adapted from a Spice Islands recipe)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound chicken breast tenders
2 large shallots, finely sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
2-1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (more if you like it spicier)
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1-2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (1/2-inch piece size)
1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk (lite works fine)
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or more--we really like cilantro)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until center is no longer pink. Remove chicken and cover. Add remaining oil to pot. Saute shallots and red onion for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in curry powder, crushed red pepper and sea salt. Add sweet potatoes and coconut milk, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 minutes.While sweet potatoes are simmering, dice cooked chicken. Add chicken to sweet potatoes; simmer an additional 5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Top with green onion and cilantro; serve immediately.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monday, December 15

My friend from work shared this recipe from her former CSA (Blue Moon Community Farm) with me. Its a very simple recipe. Arthur gave it a strong thumbs up.

Turnip Risotto

3 slices bacon
1 small-medium onion
1-2 turnips (about 1/2 #--the gold turnip that I got from HVF was just the right size)
3 1/2-4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups Arborio rice
1-2 cups spinach, if available and desired.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in a heavy saucepan until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Chop onion. Peel turnips and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Bring broth to a simmer and keep warm. Chop spinach coarsely if using.

Saute onion in reserved bacon fat until the onion begins to soften. Stir in turnips and rice and saute, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly until the broth is absorbed. Continue simmering the rice and adding the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time. Let each addition be absorbed before adding more broth, until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente. About 5 minutes before its done, add the spinach. It just needs to cook long enough to wilt. It will take at least 20 minutes, perhaps longer. Taste for seasonings.

Crumble bacon. Serve risotto sprinkled with bacon and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8

Tonight I made a stir fry that helped to use a number of our vegetables including some daikon. We are not normally daikon fans but the ones that we got in our share from HVF farm were much smaller and milder than those that we've received in the past. In other words a big improvement.

Gingered Vegetable Stir-Fry
(adapted from Epicurious)

3 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound carrots (about 3 medium), cut into julienne strips
1/2 pound daikon (an Asian radish), cut into julienne strips (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound Napa or Savor cabbage, sliced thin (about 4 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

In a bowl stir together broth, Sherry, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until combined well. Cut mushroom caps into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until hot. Add oil and heat until it just begins to smoke. Stir-fry carrots 3 minutes. Add daikon and stir-fry vegetables 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, cabbage, garlic, and ginger root and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender. Add sesame oil. Stir broth mixture and add to vegetables. Stir-fry vegetables 1 minute or until the vegetables are as tender as your prefer.

I served this dish with Lundberg Farms brown jasmine rice and some tamari.

I'm sure you could substitute all sorts of other vegetables, but this worked out because I had all of the ones in the original recipe except for the shitake mushrooms which I was able to buy at the farmers' market.

We also had quite a few apples from our fruit CSA with Future Fruit. We decided to make apple crisp. I posted a recipe for it earlier but this one is MUCH better.

Apple Crisp with Dried Cranberries & Pecans
(adapted from

For the Topping:
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
For Filling:
8 apples, about 2 1/2 pounds total weight (I used a mixture of varieties)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking pan.
FOR THE TOPPING:Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes or alternately toast them in your microwave. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter. Cut the mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Add the pecans. Set aside.
FOR THE FILLING:Peel and core the apples, then cut lengthwise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place in a bowl, immediately add the lemon juice and dried cranberries and toss to coat with the juice. Pour the filling into the prepared dish, leveling the surface. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit, pressing down on it lightly. Bake until the topping is golden brown and bubbling, 40-45 minutes, covering the top with aluminum foil if the crust begins to overbrown. Make sure the apples are tender before removing from the oven. I covered the crisp at the end and cooked it about 10-15 minutes longer.
Transfer to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Great served with ice-cream or freshly whipped heavy cream with vanilla.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7

More vegetables for breakfast:

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
(adapted from Cooking Light)

3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided (I used 2 ounces of cheddar in the pudding and 2 ounces of Parmesan on top)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
8 ounces (1-inch) cubed day-old bread (about 9 cups)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Arrange squash in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, 1/2 cup cheese of your choice, pepper, nutmeg, eggs, and egg whites in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in squash and onion mixture. Add bread, and stir gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish (9 inch square) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until pudding is set and lightly browned.

I bought some bison yesterday at the farmers' market for our cats and also bought some stew meat for us so that I could try this interesting sounding stew. It uses lots of vegetables.

Bison Cranberry Stew
(adapted from

2 tbsp canola oil
2 lbs. bison stew meat, cut in one inch cubes or smaller
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium to large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. paprika (I used Penzey's smoked paprika)
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
8 carrots, scraped & cut in thick slices
4 potatoes (about 4 cups) scrubbed and cut in large chunks
1 1/4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3 stalks celery, cut in large slices
1/2 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Put canola oil in a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven.
Over medium high heat brown bison cubes dusted in flour.
Once bison cubes are browned, add 2 1/2 cups water, salt and pepper to Dutch oven.
Bring contents to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Add onion, garlic, wine, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cloves and bay leaves to Dutch oven.
Cover and continue to simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
Add carrots, potatoes, cranberries and celery.
Top-up casserole dish with additional water to cover contents (usually another 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups).
Add maple syrup.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until carrots are fork tender.
Adjust seasonings — more salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce may be required.
Using a separate bowl, make thickener by gradually stirring 1 cup water into flour.
Increase heat so that stew maintains a moderate boil.
Stir the stew continuously while blending in half of the thickener.
After two minutes, add more thickener and continue to cook and stir until desired consistency is reached. (Note: You may not have to use all of the thickener.)
Remove bay leaves and serve.
Don't be surprised when you find the cranberries have disappeared, but they give the gravy a great flavor.
Re-heats well.

Saturday, December 6

I made these yummy pancakes for breakfast. Got to get your veggies in even at breakfast time if you need to use your produce from a CSA share.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
(adapted from Food)

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
handful of coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Add pecans if using. If the batter seems too thick add more milk as needed although it is quite a thick batter. Drop by 1/4 cup measure onto hot greased griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides. Serve with pure maple syrup for a great breakfast.


I've lost track of which days I made what but this is a good recipe for kale that I want to post. Arthur said its even better the next day. I didn't get to find out--he ate all the leftovers which is a good sign.

Sweet and Savory Kale
(adapted from

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (balsamic vinegar would probably be good too)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale (exact amount doesn't matter)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes or until the kale is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Arthur and I went to my brother and sister-in-law's get-away weekend farm in Missouri for Thanksgiving. We had a pleasant drive there on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I hoped to help with a lot of the cooking on Wednesday. They were having the roof on their house and studio redone by one of their Amish neighbors who ran out of shingles. This meant my brother and I needed to make a trip to Menard's in St. Joseph for more shingles. Unfortunately its a 90 minute trip each way. Cut down a lot on our cooking time.

I did however make two of the dishes that were served and both of them were big hits so I thought I'd share the recipes. Both of them used produce from our CSA farm.

The first one is a great sweet potato recipe which is delicious and also very easy:
Bourbon-Walnut Sweet Potato Mash
(adapted from Epicurious)

4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes or yams or whatever kind you have
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.
Heat cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot cream mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper. Saute nuts in some butter until very slightly browned. Top potatoes with nuts.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm in microwave.

This is a great pie. Everyone at dinner loved it. You really can't tell the difference between pumpkin and squash when its in pie with all the spices.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie
(adapted from

1 9 inch unbaked pie shell (I made a 1/2 butter, 1/2 lard pie crust)
2 cup cooked and pureed pumpkin (I used a kabocha squash from our CSA farm)
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor combine the pumpkin (or squash), brown sugar, granulated sugar, CINNAMON, GINGER, salt, VANILLA, eggs, and milk. Mix until well blended. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Meanwhile mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping on the pie and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool before slicing. Excellent served with real whipped cream flavored with vanilla.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20

This soup is fabulous!

Potato, Onion and Blue Cheese Soup
(adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook: The real dirt on vegetables)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium to large clove of garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, (about 1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1 inch chunks (no need to peel)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (the smoked blue cheese from the HVF cheese share is perfect for this soup)
salt & a sprinkle of white pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions, cook, stirring, until the onions are limp but not brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds.
Add the potatoes and stir until well coated with butter; cook for 5 minutes, stirring them a few times.
Add 2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes.
Add the half-and-half and the cream; gently heat but do not boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of blue cheese.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup or puree in a food processor in batches. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18

Ah the occasional challenges of cooking with a voracious eater in the house. So here's the story. I committed to making a Carrot Mushroom Loaf for potluck lunch at work on Wednesday. I knew that I would be going to book club on Tuesday evening. So, I started preparing the ingredients on Monday evening; thinking (incorrectly as it turned out) that this would give me a head start. I chopped and sauteed the onions, garlic, mushrooms and herbs. Then I prepared and added the bread crumbs to the mixture. I made a sweet potato, apple, corn, veggie burger casserole for dinner. It was OK but not worth posting. Arthur eyed the mushroom, bread crumb, onion mixture in the pan. I said no, that's the beginning of another dish that I'm taking to work.

I went to book club on Tuesday. It was a really fun meeting because every November we pick the books for next year. Each person proposes 2-3 books and describes them to the group. Then we vote for 10 of them. The books getting the most votes will be the books we read in 2009. We don't meet in December. I'll post the list of what we're reading soon.

I had shredded the carrots for the loaf before I left. I thought this will be quick to finish putting the loaf together and popping it into the oven when I get home. Then I'd make a cashew sauce to accompany the loaf. I got home to finish my project about 10:30 PM. I went to the frig to get out the original mixture. There appeared to be about 1/3 of what I put away the night before left in the dish.
OH NO, Arthur struck!!
I paged him at work.
Did you eat my bread crumbs?
I was in a hurry and forgot you said not to eat it.

Do I give up or start again? I start again at almost 11:00 PM. Now I don't have many mushrooms left. Luckily, this is not the sort of dish that require accurate measurements. I'll post the original recipe which was first published in Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. These are not the measurements that I used. Who knows what I used.

Carrot Mushroom 'Loaf'
Its not really a loaf because you bake the mixture in a 9x13 pan and cut it into squares.
2 cups minced onions
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb or 1 1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. carrots (about 6 cups)
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (hint: toast some whole wheat bread and chop into cubes)
black pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup packed cheddar, grated (or whatever kind of cheese you have)
Optional ingredients, 2-3 mini red peppers (I had some left from one of my CSA boxes) which you can saute with the onions
Extra bread crumbs, herbs or sesame seeds for toppings (if desired)

Lightly oil a 9x 13 inch baking pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, saute onions in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, herbs, garlic and continue to saute for 10 more minutes.
In a food processor, chop the bread for the bread crumbs. Put the crumbs in a large bowl. Without cleaning the food processor, shred the carrots. Food processors make quick work of this step! Add the carrots to the large bowl.
Use the food processor again to grate the cheese.
Combine the carrots, cheese and eggs. Add the sauteed mushroom mixture and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan and sprinkle with your choice of toppings if desired.
Cover pan with foil or lid. Bake for 45 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve hot or warm.

I brought it to work (where it was very well received) and served it with Ginger-Cashew Sauce.

Ginger-Cashew Sauce
1 cup raw cashews (4 oz.)
1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
3 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canned light coconut milk
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or more to taste

In food processor, place cashews and pulse on and off until ground; set aside. In medium saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add scallions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Stir in ground cashews, soy sauce, coconut milk and hot sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes, adding up to 1/3 cup water or broth if mixture seems too thick.

One of the other members of our lunch bunch brought in dish of mashed potatoes, smashed with their skins--delicious and perfect with the loaf and the sauce.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16

I had a large head of escarole that I need to use. Its lovely to look at but a bit on the bitter side served raw. My friend, Lora, gave a recipe that incorporated escarole and that she thought was excellent. She got the recipe from Blue Moon Community Farm, her CSA farm from last year.
Escarole Celeriac Dressing
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 medium leeks, washed well and sliced
2 or more portabello mushrooms, chopped
3 T. olive oil
Saute above ingredients until tender.
1 head escarole, blanched, drained and chopped
1/2 t. salt
Pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups bread cubes
Mix all and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
I baked the dressing in a 9 x 13" pan and put chicken breasts on top of the dressing to bake at the same time. Rub a little olive oil or butter on them and season.
Next time I would add about 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage and thyme to the dressing. It turned out very well. Arthur said it was delicious. And voila the escarole is all gone!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15

I took a bit of a break from cooking--nice once in awhile. Thursday, November 13, the Women Who Dine (myself and 3 friends) had dinner at Sardine here in Madison. We shared seared scallops with potato purée and mushroom sherry cream sauce as an appetizer. Then I had a delicious cream of mushroom soup. For my entree I had: Roasted Arctic char over crispy potato purée, wilted spinach and horseradish cream sauce. Char is similar to a very mild salmon. For dessert a couple of us shared chocolate pot de creme; plus we had a couple of bottles of a nice Argentine wine. Great meal.

Friday, Arthur stopped by to pick up some leftovers and go to his second job. He'll be home Saturday around 11 PM.

I made some great soup which we had with some bread I bought at the indoor farmers' market on Saturday morning.

Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup With Crumbled Stilton
(adapted from

2 Ripe pears, quartered and cored
2 pounds Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (I didn't have enough butternut, so I used 1 butternut and 1 delicata squash)
2 Medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 Large leek, pale green and white parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and washed thoroughly
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups Vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup Crumbled Stilton or other blue-veined cheese (I used some lovely smoked blue cheese from my HVF CSA cheese share)
1 tablespoon Thinly sliced fresh chives or scallion greens

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place half the vegetables and broth in a large pot and puree with an immersion blender. Puree until as smooth as you prefer. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring, until hot, about 10 minutes.
Garnish with the cheese and chives or green onions.

I also made an some apple crisp which was not one of my favorite versions. Arthur however really loved it, so I'm going to post it.

Donna's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp
Donna from Channel says: Of all the apple crisps you have tried, this may become your favorite. I don't agree but you might.

5 medium peeled apples, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Place apple slices in bottom of baking pan. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle on top of apples. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir to mix Add egg and stir with a fork until mealy. Crumble mixture on top of apples. Combine melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the top of the crumble mixture. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until brown on top and apples are tender.

I made a mistake and combined the butter with the flour/egg mixture and had to drop clumps on top of the apples. Maybe it would have been better the other way, but as I say Arthur said it was delicious!

Of course, it could help that I get lovely apples from my fruit CSA with Future Fruit.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12

Last night a friend and I met at Swagat Indian Restaurant for dinner and then went to the public library for a planning session. We're planning a Mardi Gras dinner for the Madison Herb Society in March. We met to coordinate the menu which I really enjoy. It should be a great dinner. Arthur was on his own for dinner.

For dinner on Wednesday I made Cheddar Polenta with Sauteed Greens and Garlic-Roasted Portabello Mushrooms which was a recipe in the cheese newsletter from Harmony Valley Farm.

4 medium portobello mushrooms
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
4 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces) (other cheeses can be used)
1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs cut away, leaves cut in 3x1-inch strips (other greens can be substituted) I used some brussels sprouts leaves that came in one of my boxes--I didn't even know you could eat them!
1 8-ounce bag fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil a glass baking dish. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely; place in prepared baking dish. Using small spoon, scrape away dark gills from underside of mushrooms and discard. Cut each mushroom cap into 8 wedges; add to baking dish with chopped mushroom stems. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.
Sprinkle with 1 minced garlic clove, parsley, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake until tender, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the polenta. I cooked mine in the microwave because that way I know it won't burn or stick. It can also be cooked on top of the stove. Combine 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt and add the polenta. Cook until polenta thickens and begins to pull away from sides of pan, whisking often, about 25 minutes. Whisk in butter, then cheese. Season with pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet and add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté 30 seconds. Add Swiss chard or other green and saute until almost tender. I added some broth. Add spinach and sauté until it barely wilts, about 4 minutes or less. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon polenta onto plates. Top with greens and portobello mushrooms.

This is very satisfying dish for a chilly fall night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10

I got some flowering kale in my CSA box from HVF last week. It was so beautiful I sort of hated to chop it up and eat it. I've seen it growing in people's gardens but I didn't realize that it was actually edible.

I used another recipe from the Passionate Vegetarian which utilized both the kale and some of my sweet potatoes.

Parky's Southern Braised Kale with Sweet Potatoes
(a slightly adapted version)
You could serve it over brown rice or with some corn bread.

3 large sweet potatoes (or about 1-1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3-4 red & orange mini peppers or 1 full size red pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, (seeds in if you want it hot--I removed mine--this wasn't a spicy night), minced
1 bunch flowering kale or whatever kind you have (remove stems because they're often tough)
1/2-1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 orange
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tomato chopped (I would probably leave this out the next time)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the sweet potatoes however you like. I microwaved mine. Cool and peel.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet and saute the onion, peppers and jalapeno until tender but not brown. Add the kale and broth and cook for about 5 minutes. Top with the sliced sweet potatoes. Cover the skillet and braise until the kale is as tender as you wish. Mine only took about 5-10 minutes.
Grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice. Uncover the kale dish and add 1-2 teaspoon grated orange rind, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Top with tomatoes (if you wish) and salt and pepper.

This recipe turned out very well and I would recommend trying it. I think part of the reason it was so good is that the kale I had was young and tender. If your kale is tougher you would probably need to cook it longer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, November 9

Yesterday was the Madison Herb Society herb fair. I made a couple of items to take to be sold at the treat table, Sage Cornbread and some savory cranberry herb muffins. This cornbread was made in an iron skillet and it turned out too dark and you couldn't see the sage leaves. The muffins were fine. Afterwards Arthur and I were invited to the Vice President's house for supper. I brought some Tomato Confit Cheddar from our HVF cheese share with crackers and wine. Lauri served a wonderful caramelized onion tart and Gary made a very nice acorn squash soup.

This evening I decided to deal with the Beauty Heart Radishes that we got in our box yesterday. We don't really like radishes very well. I saw the following recipe and decided to try it.

Creamed Radishes with Pimenton
(adapted from a Veggie Venture)

1 pound of grated radishes (I used our Beauty Heart radishes)
Peel the radishes depending on what kind you use.
Cook until tender in water in a covered pot (about 10-15 minutes).
1/2 teaspoon Pimenton

Make a white sauce using
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Start the white sauce by heating a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt. Add the flour and stir in until all the lumps are gone, stirring the whole time, about 1 minute. Slowly-slowly-few-drops-by-few-drops to start, add the milk, stirring the whole while. Continue to add the milk and cook until thickened. Add the radishes, then the pimenton and salt.
The radishes prepared this way are very mild and lose a lot of their peppery quality.

Note: Pimenton is smoked Spanish paprika. I buy mine at Penzey's here in Madison. You can also order from them online.

I also make Broccoli and Noodles Parmesan
(adapted from CD Kitchen)

1 pound broccoli
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaf
1 cup shredded Colby or Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. wide egg noodles, cooked *

Cut broccoli into bite-size pieces and steam until tender.
In same saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, cook onion and garlic until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in soup and basil; mix well.
Add cheeses a little at a time, stirring until melted. Stir in sour cream, broccoli and cooked noodles.
Pour into 2-qt casserole. Cover; bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

This is a nice broccoli casserole and not too much trouble.

A good addition that I made to this casserole was 1/2# of shitake mushrooms that I purchased at the farmers market.  I sautéed the mushrooms with the onions an garlic; then just followed the recipe.

* The last time I made this I used Bionature organic egg pasta.  Its available as tagliatelle or  pappardelle.  One is just a bit thinner than the other.  They are both delicious.  I found them available at Whole Foods and Woodman's in the Madison area.

Friday, November 7

One of my favorite winter squash has become delicata squash. The delicata squash is actually an heirloom variety, a fairly recent reentry into the culinary world. It was originally introduced by the Peter Henderson Company of New York City in 1894, and was popular through the 1920s. Then it fell into obscurity for about seventy-five years, possibly because of its thinner, more tender skin, which isn’t suited to transportation over thousands of miles and storage over months. Like other heirloom varieties, it is valued for its taste, not its transportability. I use this squash before the harder shell varieties such as kabocha, acorn or butternut because it does not keep as long.

Delicata Delish
(adapted from
"Delicious baked delicata squash is stuffed with and served over a fragrant mixture of quinoa, shallots, and pine nuts. This recipe is a great way to use the squash and shallots in your farm share delivery!"

1 large or 2 medium delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water or broth
2 shallots, chopped (I didn't have shallots, so I substitued 2 small red onions from HVF)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 package of Boca breakfast links (soy sausages), sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish. Fill dish with about 1/4 inch water. Place pats of butter on each half, and season with salt and pepper. Cover dish, and bake squash 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until very tender. (Mine took at least 45 minutes)
Place quinoa in a pot with 2 cups or broth water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. This can also be cooked easily in a microwave.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots (or onions), garlic, and sausage if using and cook until tender. Stir in pine nuts, and cook until golden. Gently mix into the pot with the cooked quinoa.
Fill the baked squash with the filling. Serve each stuffed squash quarter on a bed of the remaining quinoa mixture.

This was indeed delicious and an easy complete dish.

Thursday, November 6

Let's hear it for Brussels sprouts. An interesting tidbit on the correct spelling:
You say Brussel, I say Brussels. While some say "Brussel sprouts" and others say "Brussels sprouts" the correct spelling is actually "Brussels sprouts", since they are named after the capital of Belgium - Brussels.

Brussels Sprouts and Leeks and Clonbo Cheese
(a recipe from Harmony Valley Farm using their Brussels sprouts and cheese)

½-3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 medium leek, sliced thin
2 tbsps butter
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4-6 tbsps grated Clonbo cheese *
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Steam Brussels sprouts over boiling water for 15 minutes, or until tender.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a sauté pan and sweat leeks until tender.
Add remaining butter and allow it to become golden brown.
Add sprouts and cook over low heat for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg. Transfer to a warm serving dish, sprinkle with the Clonboo and serve.

The dish was delicious and there were no leftovers. If Clonbo cheese is not available, another cheese of your choice could be substituted. 

 When I recently made this dish again I used an aged cow's milk cheese produced by Dream Farm.  It is available locally in the Madison area.  We bought ours at the Westside Farmers Market.  It is difficult for me to use in cooking because Arthur has a tendency to devour it!

* This cheese is a raw cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk, cured with Celtic sea salt and then aged over 60 days to develop its natural rind. It has a slightly nutty flavor that becomes more robust and pungent with age.

Wednesday, November 5

Last night I went to a potluck in our building complex and didn't cook anything when I got home. Tonight its back to preparing something for dinner (no leftovers to be found).

Spinach, Tomato Couscous Skillet Supper
(another recipe from the Passionate Vegetarian)
Again this is good but not "to die for."

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced vertically into thin crescents
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 package of fresh, preferably baby spinach (8 oz. or whatever you have)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous (white couscous would also work)
2 cups of water or broth (I used chicken broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tomato, chopped
2-4 ounces cheese, the original recipe called for feta, but I used Italian flavored DreamFarm goat cheese because this is what I had.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet and saute onion until it becomes translucent. Lower heat and add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, including stems and toss with the onions and garlic. Cover and steam for about 3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
Add the couscous and stir for 2 minutes. Add the broth, salt and pepper. Cook until the couscous has absorbed the liquid. Stir in the tomato.
Cover tightly, transfer to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.

Friday, October 31

This was a good soup for Halloween-Carrot Red Pepper Soup because its bright orange.
(recipe adaped from the Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 pound carrots (no need to peel), remove ends and cut in chunks
1-2 red or yellow peppers, I used a combination of the mini peppers from HVF, (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons curry powder (the original recipe called for 3 T), I think I'd use less next time, its a bit overwhelming
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth, you can add more if you think its too thick
2-4 tablespoon honey, or to taste
Salt to taste
Chopped cilanto
Plain yogurt or sour cream for a dollop in the finished soup

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot. Add the onion and ginger and saute until the onion softens. Add the carrots and peppers and stir fry for another 5 minutes.
Add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Pour the broth over the vegetables, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes for until the carrots are tender. Add the honey and stir in.
Use immersion blender and puree the soup to the degree that you prefer or use a food processor or blender. Serve and top with cilantro and yogurt.

This soup was not one of our favorites. I think I used too much curry powder. I prefer the Autumn Harvest Soup that I posted on October 24. It doesn't use as many carrots but it is a really fabulous soup!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3

I have a potluck to go to in our building complex for the Green Committee on Tuesday evening to hopefully celebrate the elelcton results. Obviously they are not getting away without sharing some of our vegetables. I found a reduced-fat version of carrot cake on the America's Test Kitchen website that uses ONE POUND of carrots! Yes!

Light Carrot Cake
(adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

Vegetable cooking spray
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars together in a medium bowl until they turn thick and creamy, 1 to 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and slowly whip in the oil until thoroughly combined and emulsified, 30 to 60 seconds. Sift half the flour mixture over the batter and gently mix in. Repeat once more with the remaining flour mixture and continue to whisk the batter gently until most of the lumps are gone (do not overmix). Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the carrots and nuts.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking (do not overbake). Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before frosting (if desired) and serving.

Light Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, softened but still cool
4 tablespoons whipped butter (or reduced fat margarine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (6 ounces)

Mix the cream cheese and vanilla together in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Frost the cooled cake. I left my cake in the pan. Decorate with a few whole nuts if desired.

The cake was very popular at the potluck. I brought the rest of the cake to work on Wednesday for lunch bunch. They couldn't believe it had so many carrots and so little oil.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1

This morning I made a trip to the Westside Farmers' Market in Madison to buy meat for the stew I wanted to make with my sweet potatoes from my CSA box. Of course, I had to buy other food as well. Its hard not to buy lots of lovely vegetables, but I know I'll be getting all sorts of good things in my box from HVF. This is a picture of our produce this week. Leeks, potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli, baby beets, sweet potatoes, Delicata squash, Kabocha squach and flowering kale (its in the upper right of the picture and is beautiful).
Cuban-Style Pork and Sweet Potato Stew
1# or a little more sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 pound lean pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, with green chiles
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 medium scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
Place potato, pork, tomatoes, garlic, orange juice, scallions, salt, cumin and pepper in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low setting for 7 hours.
Stir in cilantro; cover slow cooker and cook for 5 minutes more.
Can't get much easier than this stew. Its a great fall dish.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30

This is one of my favorite times of the year for food. I read that in a food writer's column and I would have to agree. I just love all the winter squash, wonderful varieties of potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, cranberries, apples, pears, etc. I'm looking forward to going to the Westside farmers' market Saturday morning and checking out all the great food. Its such a temptation to buy lots of food, but since I'll be picking up my CSA box from Harmony Valley Farms, I'll have to keep my purchases to a minimum.

We also belong to a fruit CSA and get locally grown certified organic apples and pears from Future Fruit in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. I'll be picking up a box of fruit too. I definitley think an apple crisp will be on the menu this weekend.

Time to cook our Kabocha Squash tonight. I decided to try this super simple recipe:

Kabocha Squash With Sage and Leeks
(adapted from RecipeZaar)

1 kabocha squash
2-4 tablespoons butter
8 leaves fresh sage, chopped into ribbons
1-2 leeks, sliced (mine were very small, more like the size of green onions so I used 2)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare squash by washing, poking 2-4 holes into center with sharp knife.
Bake whole squash in oven for 60-90 minutes, until soft.
When squash is done, cut in half, remove seeds and fibers, and scrape flesh from skin into a bowl, mash but do not puree squash.
Melt butter in a large skillet.
Add sage leaves and fry until crisp 1-2 minutes.
Add leek and salt and continue heating 2-5 minutes until leeks are soft and translucent.
Now add squash to skillet and mix until all butter is incorporated.

Arthur said it was some of the best squash he had ever had. I'm sure it helped that it was a very good squash in the first place.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday night dinner, October 29

Time for more greens. Spinach tonight. We got spinach, potatoes and leeks in our CSA box this week. The makings of a tasty soup.

Potato, Leek, Spinach Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large (14 ounces) leeks, coarsely chopped
2 large (1 pound) potatoes, coarsely chopped (I used Mountain Rose Potatoes, which are red, inside and outside--very pretty as potatoes go)
1 ounce garlic
5 cups chicken stock, more as needed to thin the soup
8-10 oz. spinach (other tender greens, such as saute greens can also be used)
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sweat the coarsely chopped leeks for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and continue to sweat 2 or 3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Pour in 5 cups stock, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 20-25 minutes.
Add the spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until spinach is wilted. With an immersion blender puree until the desired consistency. This can also be done in a blender or food processor. Stir in sour cream. Add more broth if too thick.

This was a substantial filling soup; good for a chilly evening.

Tuesday supper, October 28

I wanted to get started on using the greens from our farm. They are the most perishable items and need to be consumed sooner than later. Veggies like squash, onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic will all keep very nicely for a long while.

I made a new recipe tonight: Fresh Greens Enchiladas
(adapted from a recipe on Care2 by Annie Bond)

Sauce: For the sauce I used Salsa Verde that I made with a kit from our farm. The kit has tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. You just need to peel and cook the tomatillos in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain the tomatillos and blend in a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the heat by using more or less of the jalapeno with or without the seeds. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you like. I don't completely puree the mixture. I also add more cilantro than comes in the kit. Add salt and pepper to taste. As it sits it gets thicker but can be thinned with a little water if necessary.

8 Tumaro's Multigrain Tortillas (they can be purchased at most of our local grocery stores--otherwise substitute what is available, corn would be fine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups or more shredded seasonal greens–collards, kale, chard, turnip greens, or spinach I used the saute greens from our box which have a great flavor.
1/2 cup feta or queso blanco cheese (or substitute your favorite: I used DreamFarm Rosebud goat cheese)

Topping: 1/4 cup cheese, same type as above or what you have available

Preheat oven to 350F.
Make the Filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add greens. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until just wilted.
Heat the tortillas, either in a dry pan or in the microwave between paper towels.
Fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the greens and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up and place in a 9-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Pour sauce evenly over the filled enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese topping.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm with more Salsa Verde if desired.

Monday night, October 27

Tonight I went to my Asian cooking class at MATC. Chef Ng was discussing purchasing "safe" food and changes that will eventually be made to the US food laws. I suggested purchasing locally was one way to avoid many of these foods containing dangerous substances. I haven't received any food from my CSA farm or meat suppliers with melamine lately!

We made sushi rolls with sushi rice, pickled and fresh vegetables. They were OK. I think I'll continue to get my sushi at Sushi Muramoto (Hilldale Shopping Center, Madison) or Takara Japanese Restaurant.

Supper tonight for Arthur consisted of vegetarian meatballs (out of a package), jarred spaghetti sauce and spaghetti. I guess this happens to all of us once in awhile.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday, October 26

Breakfast today was one of my favorite pancake recipes.

Carrot Breakfast Pancakes
(adapted from RecipeZaar)

1-3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
¼ cup butter
4 medium carrots
1¼ cups unbleached flour
1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Put milk in blender or food processor; add eggs and butter.
Blend. Add carrots and blend well, until carrots are completely chopped with no visible pieces.
Pour into a bowl and add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices until thoroughly combined.
If you think the batter is too thin add a little more flour.
Spray frying pan or griddle with cooking spray or oil lightly.
Pour batter into pan using ¼ cup measure and cook until bubbles appear on top; turn and cook until golden brown on the other side.
Serve with maple syrup.
Sometimes I add a few pecans to the batter. Again this is optional.
These pancakes are similar to pumpkin pancakes, but they are a good way to help use carrots.

I traded my friend, Lora, a cauliflower for some beets. I decided it was time to make a batch of pickled beets.

Pickled Beets
(from Simply Recipes)

1 bunch (4 or 5) beets
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper

Steam or boil around 1 hour or until done. (Alternatively, you can roast them by wrapping them whole in foil and cooking them in a 350°F oven for about an hour.) A fork easily inserted into the beet will tell you if the beets are done or not.
Drain the beets, rinsing them in cold water. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Slice the beets.
Make the vinaigrette by combining the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard. Whisk ingredients together with a fork. The dry mustard will help to emulsify the vinaigrette. Adjust to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and vinaigrette in a bowl and allow to marinate for a half hour at room temperature.

This is a very simple recipe and the beets turn out neither too sweet nor too sour. Arthur gave it thumbs up.

I also made some Broccoli and Shrimp Chowder
(adapted from Weight Watchers)

2 medium potatoes, diced
4 cups broccoli, florets & stems
1 medium onion, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled & chopped in large pieces
1 cup milk
1/2 cup-1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine potato, broccoli, onion, broth and thyme in a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil, partially cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender, leaving a few chunks.
Add remaining ingredients to pot; simmer until hot, about 3 minutes. (Do not allow to boil.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday, October 24

Today we went to visit our friends Janine, Raj and 2 of their sons who live on a farm in New Glarus, Wisconsin. They have goats for milk, goats for wool, sheep, 2 pigs, a turkey, chickens and ducks. Janine is a great cook and planned a wonderful menu:

Tex Mex Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, homemade tortillas, black beans, coleslaw and pumpkin crunch for dessert. Pumpkin crunch is a truly decadent dessert.

I brought Autumn Harvest Soup. This is adapted from a combination of several different recipes from A Veggie Venture, Recipe Zaar, and Meals Matter.

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (1 box organic)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
2 apples, chopped (3 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 red pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and diced (3 cups)
1 stick celery, diced
1 large Yukon gold potato, diced
1/4 cup currants (these were great, don't skip them, raisins would work too)
1 tablespoon curry
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
1/2 -1 cup half and half (fat free is OK) to thin the soup if its too thick to desired consistency
Garnish with fresh chopped parley (optional, I forgot)
Sour cream

Saute the onions, celery and red pepper in the oil or butter until the onion is softened and translucent. Do not brown. Stir in the curry powder, then add the carrots, apples, potatoes and bay leaf. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add broth, currants and thyme. Bring soup to a boil, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Use immersion blender to puree as much as desired. We like our soup with a few chunks so I don't totally puree it. Add some 1/2 and 1/2 or coconut milk if the soup is too thick. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Serve garnished with dollops of sour cream.

This soup is excellent. There were 6 of us for lunch. This was the first course and there wasn't a drop left.

I also brought Cauliflower Cheese Pie
(adapted from Recipe Zaar and Food Network)

Potato Crust:
2 cups shredded potatoes
1/4 cup grated onion
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped (I actually used a small head of purple cauliflower and some romanesco from our farm)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Combine the grated potatoes, onions, salt and egg.
Pat it into a well-oiled 9-inch pie pan, building up the sides of the crust with lightly floured fingers.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, until browned.
After 30 minutes, brush the crust with a little oil to crisp it and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Saute onions and garlic in butter & oil for 5 minutes; add the basil and cauliflower and cook, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spread 1/2 the cheese into the baked crust, then the saute, then the rest of the cheese.
Beat the eggs and the milk together and pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until set.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, October 24

This morning I made breakfast before I went to work which is very unusual for me. I rarely give myself enough time.

I made an omelet using the baby bok choy from our CSA box. I only got 2 so I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.

Start with a large frying pan. Heat a little olive oil.
Stir fry the following:
2 small red onions, chopped (yellow would be fine too)
2 mini red or yellow peppers, seeded
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 small head of baby bok choy
stir fry the stems first and add the chopped leaves at the end
a little toasted sesame oil
Add 5 eggs, beaten and let set before stirring so that you can fold in half
a few chopped fresh herbs if available (not essential)
salt and pepper to taste

I served the omelet with some of the fruit cocktail scones that I made last night and hot coffee.

For supper I made Broccoli, Walnut and Bulgur Salad. I doubled the recipe and it was too much, but I wanted to use at least 2 cups of broccoli. It turns out it would have been OK to use 2 cups of broccoli and leave the other measurements the same.

1 cup Bulgur (preferably fine grind)
2 tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Fresh mint, chopped (optional)
2 Green onions (scallion) finely chopped
2 cups Broccoli, cooked and finely chopped
1/4-1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
2 Firm tomatoes, preferably organic, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese (I substituted some firm goat cheese from Diana Murphy at Dream Farm)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black pepper

Cook the bulgur according to package instructions. Put the bulgur in a bowl and add in all the other ingredients. Mix well, cover and chill for at least for a few hours if you have time. Otherwise its fine to eat immediately.

Thursday dinner, October 23

Tonight I made the stuffed squash that I intended to make last night and then made a menu change.

Nut-stuffed Delicata Squash
(adapted from Sunset on the My Recipes site)

3 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (I substituted cashews)
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped pine nuts (I substituted pecans)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
About 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 delicata squash (about 2 lbs. total), halved lengthwise and seeded

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Stir in nut mixture.
3. Bake squash without filling cut side down for 1/2 hour.
4. Divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 45 minutes. Note I covered the squash for at least 1/2 hour with foil and then baked uncovered for another 15 minutes. Be sure to test to make sure the squash is tender before uncovering the filling to brown.

This makes a great vegetarian dish. The nut stuffing is delicious.

I also make Fruit Cocktail Granola Scones

These are OK but I probably wouldn't make them again. The dough is kind of sticky and hard to work with.

Note added later: Arthur loves these scones because they are moister than most and definitely recommends them.

2 cups All-purpose flour
1/3 cup Granulated sugar -- divided
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Butter
1 cup Granola
16 ounce can fruit cocktail in juice -- drained
2 Eggs -- beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; grease a baking sheet.
Combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in the granola.
Stir in the fruit cocktail and eggs; blend just until moistened.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 7-inch circle with a lightly floured rolling pin; place on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely.

Wednesday dinner, October 22

Decided tonight I needed to review the veggie situation in the frig and find out what needed to be used first. I found some broccoli which was more than I planned for. I found a recipe for a vegetable stew with onions, carrots, squash and broccoli with coconut milk.

Coconut-Squash Vegetable Stew
(recipe adapted from Vegetable Love cookbook)

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 cups of onions, diced (I used red ones just because I happened to have a lot)
2 good sized carrots, sliced (1/2-1 cup) (I used more because the carrots from the farm are rather small)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks (probably any winter squash would work)-Original recipe called for 6 cups. I didn't have that much
4 small white turnips (the original recipe didn't call for them, but they needed to be used)
5 cups chopped broccoli
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup broth (whatever you have available)
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon celery seeds
Salt & Pepper to taste

Melt the butter and saute the onions. Add the carrots, broccoli, squash & turnips. Cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the broth and coconut milk. Add the spices. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and increase the heat to thicken the sauce. Add salt & pepper.

Can be served over rice. I didn't make any rice, but it was OK without it. Unusual seasongs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday dinner, October 21

Tonight book club was at our place. Since things are never too tidy I didn't have time to make dessert. I took care of the beverages and had apple cider and hazelnut decaf coffee. Lora made a delicious pumpkin cheesecake with a pecan crust. Very welcome indeed!

After they all left a I made a batch of basil pesto with basil that I brought home from Tracy's in Chicago. I didn't use Parmesan in this batch. My basil is coming to the end. It hasn't been bitten by frost yet, but the leaves are looking sad.

We had some green tomatoes from the farm that I needed to use so for supper I made Fried Green Tomato "BLT"s. I had a recipe from the farm but it seemed a bit complicated and made a huge amount. I used a recipe I found on the Kitchen Guy's website.

This was for 2 large sandwiches:
3 or 4 green tomatoes sliced thick (you don't need this many for the sandwiches but you might as well make what you've got)
fresh basil leaves
4 slices of bacon
Sliced mozzarella cheese
1 cup cornmeal
1-2 eggs or Egg Beaters
1/2 cup flour
Canola oil for frying the tomatoes
Rolls or whole grain bread that is substantial and won't fall apart
Mayonnaise with hot sauce added or thick buttermilk ranch dressing with hot sauce added
Lettuce, Romaine or Leaf

Fry the bacon slices.
Dredge the tomatoes in flour, then the beaten egg and finally the cornmeal. Heat the oil and fry tomatoes until crispy and golden. They should be crisp on the outside and tender inside.

Spread the rolls or bread with the mayonnaise or spicy dressing. Next the bacon, then a layer of basil and lettuce, then cheese, next slices of fried green tomatoes and another layer of basil leaves. Top with the another slice of bread spread with more dressing.

Enjoy. These sandwiches sound a little odd but they're very good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday dinner, October 20

Tonight I went to a Asian cooking class at MATC downtown with a new instructor, Chef Ng. We didn't participate for the most part but watched him prepare a Vietnamese dish of noodles, stir fried vegetables, and beef in a sauce. It was quite good, but he doesn't believe in recipes so it would be next to impossible to duplicate the recipe. But since I'm a senior citizen it costs me next to nothing to take the class. I got to take a little bit home for Arthur but I knew it wouldn't be enough for him.

I prepared Pasta with Uncooked Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Sauce
(adapted from a Food Network recipe)

3/4-1# ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped coarse
1/4 pound mozzarella, diced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound dried shaped-pasta of choice, I used macaroni

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, mozzarella, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and let the sauce stand, covered at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. If you don't have time to do this, its still very tasty. Just before serving, in a kettle of boiling salted water cook the pasta until it is al dente, drain it well, and add to the sauce. Toss the pasta well with the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

This is a very easy dish to make when you have fresh tomatoes available. Arthur loved it and there were no leftovers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday dinner, October 19

Saturday we were in Chicago for the christening of Arthur's twin niece, Stacy and nephew, William. It was at a large Greek Orthodox church in Glenview followed by a reception at country club in Wilmette. The club was right on the lake and we had a lovely view from the windows.

I went out to dinner with Tracy and Kenny to a good sushi restaurant on Saturday night.

Sunday we met Paul, Jenny, Jake and Roberta for brunch at Rose's Wheat Free Bakery & Cafe in Evanston. Jake doesn't tolerate glueten or casein well, so this is a great choice because he can have almost anything on the menu. I had a very tasty vegetable quiche and fried potatoes with good coffee.

By Sunday evening we were back home. I made:

Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Potatoes, and Onions
(adapted from

1 lb potato, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 green bell pepper, cored,seeded,and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cored,seeded,and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb Italian pork sausage, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 425.
Spread the vegetables in a single layer in a large shallow roasting pans; do not crowd them or they will not brown.
Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir well.
Roast the vegetables, stirring once or twice, for 15 minutes.
Place the sausages on top of the vegetables.
Bake for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the sausages and vegetables are cooked through.

My batch only took another 15 minutes.

You can use whatever color peppers you have. The amounts are also not important. I had a small fennel which I sliced and roasted along with the other vegetables.

Friday dinner, October 18

We planned to drive into Chicago on Friday night, so I wanted to make something simple and still use some of our veggies. I made:

Garlic-Tarragon Eggs on Salad Greens
(adapted from Care2)

This deliciously sophisticated herbed version of deviled eggs makes a lovely salad served on a bed of fresh mesclun greens.

8 large eggs
12 cloves mild garlic, peeled or less if the cloves are very large
3 teaspoons drained capers
4 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Baby salad greens or torn leaf lettuce

1. Place the eggs and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer 10-12 minutes.
2. Take the eggs out of the saucepan and immerse them in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Remove the garlic from the saucepan and set aside to cool.
3. Drain the eggs, remove the shells, then slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl or in a food processor. Add the garlic, capers, and mayonnaise. Blend with a mixer or food processor at medium-low speed until the ingredients form a chunky mixture.
4. Add the tarragon, basil, and vinegar, and pulse or stir by hand 1 minute, or until the ingredients are evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Fill the egg white halves and place on bed of greens. Sprinkle with paprika.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday dinner, October 16

I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work and picked up some wild caught salmon that was on sale for dinner tonight.

Sesame Salmon Fillets and Bok Choy
(adapted from Recipezaar)

1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 # salmon fillets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 or more cups thinly sliced baby bok choy
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

In shallow dish, combine sesame seeds, grated ginger, peppercorns and salt.
In another dish, lightly beat egg.
Dip each salmon fillet into egg, letting excess drip off.
Gently press into sesame mixture, turning to coat.
In large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook salmon, turning once, for 4 to 8 minutes or until golden. Depending on how thick the fillets are, it may take a bit longer.
Transfer to plate.
Add bok choy, red pepper, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil to pan; cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until bok choy is wilted.
Arrange salmon over bok choy and serve with rice.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some of my favorite recipe websites

These are some of the websites I refer to on regular basis to get ideas for how to use my CSA produce:

Cook’s Thesaurus is a cooking encyclopedia that covers thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools. Entries include pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions.

A Veggie Venture

American Institute for Cancer Research Recipe Corner

Co-op Recipes by Ingredient

Fruits and Veggies Matter

Harmony Valley Farms(this is our CSA this year)

Just Vegetable Recipes

Recipe*Zaar Vegetable Recipes

Recipes from Debbie’s Kitchen Online, Live Earth Farm CSA (including pictures of the vegetables)


Vegetable recipes4you

Vegetarian Recipes around the world (searchable by ingredient)

Wednesday dinner, October 15

After a couple of nights of leftovers from our dining extravaganza, it was time to cook and get busy trying to use the produce from our CSA box.

Greek Style Spinach Omelet
(adapted from Weight Watchers)

8 cups spinach (baby leaves) or chopped if large leaves
4-5 medium scallion(s) (trimmed, sliced)
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill (minced)
8 large egg(s)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
Chopped fresh tomatoes

Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray or little olive oil. Add spinach, scallion and dill; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until greens are limp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat eggs, salt and pepper together in a small bowl and pour over greens; cook until eggs are set, about 5 minutes. Spoon yogurt down center of omelet; fold over and serve with tomatoes on top.

I served the omelet with whole wheat toast.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday dinner, October 12

I am overstocked at the moment with sweet peppers from the farm so I made Mexican Pepper Casserole to use up some of them. It would also make a good brunch dish.

Mexican Pepper Casserole
(from Astray recipes)

About 3 cups of Red and green bell peppers
1½ cup Thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Coriander
½ teaspoon Dry mustard
¼ teaspoon Black pepper
¼ teaspoon Red pepper
2 tablespoons Flour
6 ounces Colby cheese; thinly sliced (or whatever cheese you have available)
4 large Eggs
1½ cup Sour cream, lite is fine
Paprika, smoked paprika is tasty if you have it available

Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice the peppers in thin strips. Heat butter and olive oil together in a heavy skillet. Saute onions and garlic with salt and spices. When onions are translucent, add peppers. Saute over low heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour. Mix well and saute until there is no extra liquid. Butter a deep casserole. Spread in half the saute, topped with half the sliced cheese. Repeat these layers. Pour custard over and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 40-45 minutes, uncover for last 15 minutes.

Saturday dinner, October 11

Tonight was the night of our gourmet group dinner. Jim E. was the host and the theme was soul food.

Lora made: Down Home Green Beans and Potatoes, Chicken 'N Dressing, Chocolate Coconut Pecan Pie
Mollie made: Country Pinto Beans, Scalloped Potatoes, Blackberry Cobbler
Victoria made: Bourbon Pork Roast, 3 Bean Casserole, Pickled Black-Eyed Peas, Cucumber Salad
Frankie made: Banana Pudding
Edith made: Kentucky Country Ham Salad, Southern Fried Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes, White River Cornbread (Arkansas style cornbread recipe from The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon)
Jim provided great wine to accompany our dinner as well as sliced tomatoes & onions & hot pepper sauce.

The ham salad was made with candied apples and pecans, salad greens, watercress, ham, Port Salut cheese and a dressing with balsamic vinegar and sour cream.

The recipe I used for fried green tomatoes can be found on the Food Network site: I served the tomatoes with a Buttermilk Ranch dressing from a Penzey's mix that I added hot sauce to.

I used a recipe from the Food & Wine site for Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken.
I did make a few changes. I didn't use any zest in the brine because I didn't have any. I cheated and used bottled lemon juice. I used breasts, thighs and drumsticks and only let them brine for a couple of hours which is all the time I had. Otherwise I followed the directions. Be sure to have two thermometers, one to check the temperature of the oil (I used peanut oil in one pan and trans-fat free Crisco in the other) and another thermometer to check to make sure the chicken is cooked through. I also recommend using two pans to speed up the process. What's the difference your stove top is a mess anyway. It makes truly fabulous fried chicken. The dinner guests really loved it!

The dining extravaganza was another great success as they always are. Mollie is hosting the next dinner in January with a French theme.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday dinner, October 8

Tonight I went to a cooking class taught by Marge Snyder, president of the Madison Herb Society in her home. The title of the class was Cooking with Herbs. There were ten of us in the class.

First we toured her garden and then had some Honeyed Feta Cheese with herbs & Bread while Marge talked about herbs and making your own blends.

Then we were off to the kitchen to make Herbed New Potatoes, Oven Roasted Vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, parsnips and brussel sprouts), Baked Tomatoes (this is what I worked on), Spice & Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin and Quick Fruit Turnovers.

Baked Tomatoes

4 tomatoes
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs or 1 1/2 tablespoon dried
1-2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a shallow pan with aluminum foil.
Halve tomatoes and remove the seeds. Lightly salt and drain upside down on paper towels for 5-10 minutes.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil and saute shallots and garlic until soft. Add crumbs and saute until golden. Remove from heat and add herbs, cheese and seasonings. Mixture should not be dry-- add more oil to bind if necessary. Spoon mixture into tomatoes, press gently. Can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered in plastic.
Place in prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through and skins start to shrivel. Don't overcook or tomatoes will collapse.
Herbs to choose from: basil, dill, thyme, savory, tarragon, Italian herb blend, Herbes de Provence

Tuesday dinner, October 7

I had to make cookies for lunch bunch tomorrow. I'm still dealing with quite a bit of leftover granola from when we volunteered with Bike the Barns. So I decided granola cookies were the way to go.

(adapted from The Recipe Link website)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix well and set aside. In large bowl, beat together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy; blend in egg, milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in cereal. If the dough doesn't seem firm enough add a bit more flour. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
OK so this took care of lunch bunch on Wednesday but not our dinner.

I bought raspberries on sale so I decided to try a Raspberry Patch Cream Pie. This was a recipe a cut out of a Taste of Home magazine. It was not a total success, but this was probably my fault.

Raspberry Patch Cream Pie

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (I used organic light)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cup cold water
1/4 cup raspberry gelatin powder
3 cups or more fresh raspberries

Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9" pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack. This is where I went awry. I used a different cookie for the crumbs. When I baked the crust it all sank to the bottom and made a very hard crust in the bottom.

For filling, combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla. Carefully spread over the cooled crust.

For topping, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until mix until smooth. Bring to a boil either on top of stove or in the microwave. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. It really doesn't get very thick at all but this is OK. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin powder. Cool to room temperature and chill in the frig until slightly thickened.

Arrange raspberries over filling. Spoon somewhat thickened gelatin mixture over berries. Refrigerate until set. This will take at least a couple of hours.
Note: the picture is from The Taste of Home website. My pie didn't have any globs of stuff on top; plus as I mentioned it had a very sad crust.
For our main dish, I made Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas. They were very good and I'd recommend them.
Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas
(adapted from Grains, Rice and Beans cookbook)
Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1# can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups) and then mashed
8 oz. bag of spinach steamed lightly, then cooled and chopped
Pinch of five spice powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Whole Wheat Tortillas 10-12
Heat oil, saute onion, garlic and jalapeno until tender. Add the mashed beans and saute briefly. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked and chopped spinach. Season with five spice powder, salt and pepper. Place 5 of the tortillas on a flat work surface. Divide the bean mixture among the tortillas. Spread the mixture to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with another tortilla. Make up another quesadilla if you have leftover filling. Fry the quesadillas in additional olive oil until lightly brown on both sides. Serve plain or with tomatillo sauce or salsa.

Monday night, October 6

Tonight I had an herb society board meeting after work. I was tired by the time I got home and so I made grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Very simple but with good Hook's cheddar cheese, fresh farm tomatoes and whole wheat bread, it was quite a nice meal.

Sunday dinner, October 5

We had dinner at a event sponsored by Slow Food Madison. It was pouring rain but they had canopies up which really helped. These are the details from the Slow Food's website:

CELEBRATE AUTUMN once again at picturesque CRAWFORD FARM with SLOW FOOD MADISON Members and Supporters SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2008 guest chef Tracey Vowell returns to prepare an all-inclusive family-style meal featuring goat slow-cooked in the wood fired pit.

In addition to the Basque-Inspired Pit-Roasted Goat served with Pan Juices flavored with Tomato, Onion, Paprika, Thyme & Rosemary, we will have as starters
Fried Almonds Tossed with Sea Salt & Lemon Juice
and Mixed Olives Marinated in Red Wine with Fresh Thyme & Savory, Lemon, Garlic & Onions
Cabbage Soup with Tomato, Carrot, Garlic, Chives & Cilantro,
Dutch Oven Bread with Wisconsin Sweet Butter,
Slow-Braised Mushroom Stew with Fire-roasted Mild Green Chile, Red Wine, Bay Leaves & Oregano
Potato Salad with Butler Farms Farmstead Sheep's Milk Feta, Piquillo Peppers, Carrots & Onions,
Pit-Baked White Beans Simmered with Garlic, Oregano & Chorizo,
a Salad of Fall Greens with Lemon Pickled Onions, Toasted Shagbark Hickory Nuts & Carr Valley Artisan River Bend Goat's Milk Cheese,
finishing with Zurrakapote with Natillas, Fruit Compote with Basque-Style Crème Anglaise Flavored with Cinnamon.

The goat was delicious and tasted just like lamb. I wasn't a big fan of the dessert. The fruit compote reminded me somewhat of mincemeat pie filling. We brought along a bottle of wine and so did Kenny. They also provided apple cider and beer.

The rain stopped but then the wind picked up and it was very chilly. We all wished we had winter coats and gloves.

Needless to say we didn't need any more food on Sunday.