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.