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?
Yes.
Why?
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. www.sardinemadison.com/ 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 MealsMatter.org)

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 3000.com 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
Topping
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. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysspanishpaprika.html

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 Allrecipes.com)
"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
Pepper
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! http://thayerinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2008/10/saturday-october-24.html

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.