Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mandarin Orange, Gorgonzola and Almond Delight Salad

This recipe doesn't use strictly all local ingredients. However, even now at the end of February I was able to get several of the ingredients at the winter farmers market. Its a delicious salad with a super easy but tasty dressing.

large bowl of mixed salad greens (we have a vendor at the winter farmers market with a very nice salad mix)
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, juice reserved
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese (from another vendor at the market)
small red onion, sliced (left from our CSA produce)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower seed oil from Cherokee Bison)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons reserved mandarin orange juice, oil, and vinegar.
In a large salad bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, mandarin oranges, mixed salad greens, onion and Gorgonzola cheese. Just before serving, pour dressing on salad, and toss to coat.

Adapted from

Friday, February 26, 2010

Biscuit Topped Chicken Stew

January 2011:  This is an update to my earlier recipe.  This time the biscuits were perfect, but the gravy for the stew could have been a little thicker.
Note:  On the topic of the vegetables, use about 2# of whatever root vegetables you have available.  This time I used sweet potatoes, a celeriac, the last of my unloved winter radishes, plus carrots. 
Gravy:  I didn't use wine this time because I wasn't going to open a bottle of wine for 1/4 cup.  I would start with 2 cups of chicken broth.  You can always add more if it seems to need it.  I would use 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch and see if the gravy has the consistency you want. 

I am adding my new biscuit recipe for baking on top of the stew.  They came out perfect with baking them for 20 minutes and then adding the cheese.  I think 5 minutes to melt the cheese might be enough.

I hesitated to post this recipe because it was not a success, but it has the potential to be very good. Since I want to try it again I decided to post it so I remember it for next year. The stew part was fine, the biscuits were way too soft and goopy. It called for too much buttermilk. I should have known better when I made the dough--but no, I put it on top of the stew. It turned into a sort of biscuit pie crust. I think dumplings would also work well.

We like stew that is heavy with vegetables with a small amount of meat or poultry for flavor. This stew is very adaptable. You can use more or less vegetables, plus adding any you want to use up. For instance I had one large sunchoke in my frig--into the pot. I also had about 1/4 of a red pepper--same thing.

Biscuit-Topped Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 carrots , sliced
2-3 ribs celery , sliced
1 clove garlic , peeled and minced
1 large chopped onion
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 tsp. plus 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth (add more if needed)
2 sprigs thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves)
1 bay leaf
2-3 sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 turnips (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I actually substituted beauty heart radishes--this is a another good way to get rid of some)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (more if needed to make a soft dough)
2/3 cup grated Cheddar

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and add chicken, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper and wine. Stir in broth, thyme, bay leaf, sweet potato, and turnip; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup water, then stir into simmering stew. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make biscuit batter, in a large bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and cut into the flours with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk; stir just until a moist dough forms.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface and with floured hands knead the dough for 6 to 8 times.  Roll or pat the dough until it is 1/2" thick.  Cut out the biscuits with a 2 1/2" round biscuit cutter (or whatever you have). Roll out leftover dough and cut out to make additional biscuits.  Place the stew in a 9 X 13" pan and top it with the biscuits.  Place in the oven and bake until biscuits are just golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle cheese over biscuits. Return to oven; bake until cheese is bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve each portion of stew with two biscuits.

Substitute rutabagas or parsnips for sweet potatoes or turnips.
Add 1 cup frozen peas (highly recommended)
For an Indian flavor, add curry powder, turmeric, and garam masala to taste, then stir in a spoonful of spicy mango chutney toward the end of cooking.

Adapted from
Biscuits from

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Red Lentil & Squash Soup

The original recipe called for pumpkin and lentils. But I have this huge squash that I need to use, so I substituted 1/4 of the squash for the can of pumpkin. I cooked the squash in the microwave until it was tender, scooped out the flesh and pureed it in the food processor.
This is a very healthy low-fat soup.

1 large onion (about 1 cup) chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1-2 beauty heart radishes, peeled and chopped (this is another addition of mine since I have quite a few radishes I'm trying to use up)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 -7 cups or more chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 pound red lentils, rinsed
1# cooked winter squash, whatever variety you have available
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (original recipe called for parsley, but I happened to have dill)
Sour cream to dollop on top (optional)

Heat olive oil and saute the onion, celery and radish (if using) until tender but not browned. Stir in garlic and saute for another minute.
Add the broth and the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes for until lentils are tender. Add more broth if it looks too thick. Add the pureed squash and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through. You can also thin out the soup with water. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the dill.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Beef" Stew with "Butternut" Squash

I made this great stew yesterday for supper. Of course, I made changes to the original recipe. I used bison which I purchased from Cherokee Bison Farm instead of beef. They are at the Dane County farmers market every Saturday including the winter market. Bison is extremely lean and at least in the stew you can't tell the difference between beef and bison. The original recipe called for butternut squash. We bought a wonderful squash at the winter farmers market from one of the newer vendors. Its over 6#! I have no idea what the variety is. I used about 1/4 of the squash in the stew.

Aromatic Bison Stew with Winter Squash

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound bison stew meat, cut into cubes (you could use beef instead)
2 tablespoons flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 pound butternut squash or whatever winter squash you have available, peeled and cut into
1 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups--more is OK)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I used a can with roasted garlic)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth (from box of organic broth)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1-2 tablespoons mined fresh parsley
whole wheat or regular couscous

Heat oil in a 4-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle meat with flour. Add meat to hot oil and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate, leaving juices in saucepan. Add onion; cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Return beef to pot; stir in tomatoes, sauce, broth, cumin, cinnamon and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer for about 1/2 hour. Next add the squash and cook until beef and squash are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Check to see if any salt is needed. Divide couscous and stew among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with almonds and parsley.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Apple-Carrot Muffins, Reduced Fat

These tasty muffins have a fresh apple flavor and aren't too sweet. They're also a great muffin to make in the fall or winter when both carrots and apples are abundant.

1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup coarsely grated apples
2 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons canola or sunflower seed oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey or molasses (I used honey)
1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts--pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray one 12 cup muffin pan.
Place the raisins in a small bowl, add the water and set aside to soak.
Combine the dry ingredients. Add the lemon zest, apples and carrots, then toss gently with a rubber spatula until just mixed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, vanilla, oil, brown sugar, honey and juice. Add this mixture, along with the nuts (if using), raisins and water, to the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated; be careful not to over mix. Immediately scoop or spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
Place the muffin pan on the center rack in the oven and bake for 13 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and test done with a cake tester. Let the muffins rest in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing.

Rutabaga Bisque

Do you still have a rutabaga lurking in your frig from your fall/winter storage share? I did and actually still have more to use. This is a good recipe to use some of that rutabaga.

Smoked Paprika and Rutabaga Bisque

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 4 1/4 cups)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups half-and-half (fat-free works just fine)
2 1/2 teaspoons high-quality smoked paprika (Penzey's has a great smoked paprika)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (you can use more if you like it especially spicy)
Salt to taste

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and season generously with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add rutabaga and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until rutabaga is tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Add half-and-half, paprika, and white pepper and stir to combine.
Purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and white pepper as needed. My soup was sufficiently spicy with 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon. Sprinkle soup with a bit of additional paprika.
Recipe adapted from Chowhound

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cherry Pie

I am posting this recipe for cherry pie because it is my daughter-in-law, Jenny's, absolute favorite kind of pie. I've found it hard to find a good recipe for cherry pie using fresh or frozen cherries. I buy 5# pounds of frozen Door County pie cherries at the end of the season. These are the best cherries to use for pie if you can find them in your area. Be sure to buy them without sugar so that you can control the amount you want.

Prize Winning Cherry Pie

1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Grenadine syrup
2 pounds frozen cherries, thawed
1/2 teaspoon Almond extract
2 tablespoons Butter
Pastry for double-crust 9-inch (recipe below)
2 teaspoons Milk
Baking sugar or Raw sugar crystals

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan; stir mixture to remove lumps. Stir grenadine syrup into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Add cherries; simmer until liquid is thickened and transparent (about 4 minutes), stirring gently once or twice. Add almond extract and butter, stirring until butter melts; cool.

Roll out half of pastry to 1/8" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in a 9" deep-dish pie plate; trim off excess pastry along edges. Pour cooled cherry mixture into pastry shell. Roll remaining pastry to 1/8" thickness; transfer to top of pie. You could also cut the rolled out pastry into strips and top pie with a lattice top crust.

Trim off excess pastry along edges. Fold edges under and flute. Cut slits in top crust for steam to escape unless you have made a lattice crust. This is a link to a video on how to make a lattice crust. Of course you won't be using a Pillsbury crust (or maybe you will) but either way its useful to watch how its done. Brush top of pastry shell lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edge of crust with a pie shield. Bake at 400ºF for 55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pie before serving. Yield: one 9-inch pie.

NOTE: Two pounds fresh cherries, pitted, may be substituted for frozen cherries.

Adapted from That's My Home

This is a recipe for a pie crust that I liked a lot when I made it. It was easy and turned out to be everything you'd like in a pie crust.

Pie Dough in a Food Processor

2 1/2 cups flour, chilled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
1/3 cup ice water

Begin with well-chilled ingredients and measure carefully. Fit the food processor with the metal blade. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of the processor and blend for 5 seconds.

Add the butter and shortening to the dry mixture. Pulse 3-4 times and then leave the processor on for 5-10 seconds. The mixture should resemble coarse meal. With the motor running, add the ice water through the funnel. Process until the dough begins to come together and hold its shape when pressed.

Remove the dough from the bowl. It should feel cohesive, cool and moist, but not overly sticky. The crumbs should adhere to the ball of dough, leaving the bowl clean. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. (This allows the gluten in the dough to relax, the moisture to permeate the dough, and for the fat to firm up.)

Tips: If the dough is too crumbly, add a few drops of ice water.
Be careful not to over process the dough; take it out as soon as it begins to form a clump.
Butter adds flavor to the pastry, while the shortening will lighten it.
Pastry dough can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen.