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.

Saturday dinner, October 4

I had dinner at my daughter, Victoria's, this evening. My daughter, Tracy, and her partner Kenny were visiting from Chicago. Victoria & Mike served excellent grilled wild salmon; corn, black bean, tomato salad; green salad and focaccia. I brought over a couple of Festival squash that I got in my CSA box. Victoria baked them. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the squash and they were incredibly bitter and inedible. The farm thought they might have cross pollinated with gourds.

I brought over apple crisp for dessert:

Apple Crisp with Granola Topping.
The recipe was adapted from a food and wine website recipe.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups granola
3 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, tart crisp varieties work well. I used a mixture of apples from my Future Fruit box
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9 x 13" baking pan. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of the flour with the brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse in the butter. Pulse in the granola. Transfer the topping to a bowl.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, then spread in the baking dish. Sprinkle on the topping and bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve. Good served with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Friday night dinner

Arthur works every other Friday from 11:30 PM until 11:30 PM on Saturday night. I usually try to prepare something that he can stop in, pick up and take with him. Tonight I made Mixed Vegetable Curry from the cookbook Six Spices by Neeta Saluja and a brown/wild rice combination. I won't post the entire recipe because its rather complicated. I used a combination of green beans, yellow summer squash, carrots and potatoes. The seasonings are onions, garlic, fresh ginger, Indian red chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cilantro. Its intensely flavored and very tasty. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in somewhat simplified Indian cookery.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday night dinner

I made a recipe that our CSA farm, Harmony Valley Farm, posted in one of their newsletters:

Tofu Broccoli Cashew Peanut Madness
(originally appeared in MACSAC’s A-Z Cookbook)

1 Tbsp butter or oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce, divided
½-¾ cup peanut butter, preferably crunchy
1 cup or more water
2-3 tsp lemon or lime juice
¼ teaspoon cumin or more to taste
Cayenne to taste
1 medium head broccoli, peeled and chopped
Hot, cooked brown rice (I used a combination of long grain brown & wild rices)
Handful of roasted cashews, chopped

Heat butter or oil in skillet; add onion and garlic; sauté until soft. Add tofu and 1 Tbsp tamari; sauté until brown. Remove from pan. In same pan, mix peanut butter, lemon juice, remaining tablespoon tamari, cumin, and cayenne. Thin with 1 cup water to obtain gravy like texture. Stir in tofu mixture. Steam broccoli. Serve sauce over broccoli and brown rice, topped with cashews.

I also had some leftover sauteed baby white turnips, radishes and turnip greens. I reheated the vegetables in a little oil. Then I added 4 beaten eggs with some soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. It made a nice addition to the meal.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday night dinner

I mentioned I was going to a CHEW meeting before I went home last night. I did some shopping at Willy Street Co-op Its a great resource. I purchased a couple of deli items for my lunch, Curry Cashew Chicken Salad and Caribbean Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad. I'd really like to get the recipe for the sweet potato salad. The presenters at the meeting were Joe and Ruby Cabibbo who run Cabibbo's Bakery. Their main products are biscotti and other Sicilian breads. They had lots of good samples at the meeting.

When I got home I roasted the last of the corn on the cob that we got at the farmers' market. I roasted it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You just put it on the oven rack without husking. Its very tasty and super easy to do.

I finally made the Turkey Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
(adapted from a recipe from an American Institute for Cancer Research newsletter)

2 cups (8oz.) diced cooked turkey breast
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange sections, drained
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise dressing
1 Tbsp. mustard (not yellow hot dog type)
I had some cranberry mustard that was perfect for the salad but a Dijon or honey mustard would work well too
1/2 tsp. salt
Ground black pepper
Salad Greens or torn lettuce leaves

Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the greens. Place greens or lettuce on a platter and top with the salad. Its a delicious salad and a good way to use some of your lettuce as a main dish.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Last night I made a tasty chicken stew with lots of vegetables for dinner. The name of the game is use those veggies!

Chicken Fricassee with Green Peppers and Tomatoes
(adapted from LifeScript website)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine (white would be fine too)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes with their juice
12 ounces hot, cooked pasta of your choice I made Trader Joe's multi grain rotini with flax

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil heats, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on all sides. As the chicken pieces finish browning, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the wine, letting it boil rapidly for a minute and then stir to remove any browned bits that may be stuck to the pan. Add to the chicken.
3. Turn the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil and the onion and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Remove from skillet and return chicken, wine and tomatoes with their juice to the skillet and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Add the green and red peppers, onions, carrot, and celery. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers slowly and place a lid, slightly ajar, over the skillet. Cook until the chicken is completely tender, about 15 minutes. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust the salt and pepper.
6. Serve the chicken fricassee in warm bowls over the hot pasta.

I tried another recipe from The Cornbread Gospels, Durgin-Park Style Cornbread. This is a Northern-style cornbread with more flour than cornmeal and also sweeter than Southern cornbread. I brought it in to work for our Wednesday lunch bunch potluck. Today we had soups for lunch along with bread and my cornbread. Jim E. tried it and liked this version too. I think I prefer the Southern cornbread. So many more cornbread recipes to try.

Tonight I'm planning to make the Turkey Salad with Cranberries and Pecans. First I'm going to a CHEW (Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin) meeting. Before that I have to get to the post office and the library. The CHEW meeting is at Willy Street Co-op, so I'll have a chance to do a little shopping before or after the meeting. The program is going be done by Cabibbo's Bakery who are bakers of Sicilian products.