Monday, June 21, 2010

Featherlight Buttermilk Pancakes


This recipe for pancakes is absolutely delicious. It has nothing as far as being healthy or local to commend it, but the pancakes are a wonderful treat for a weekend breakfast morning. The recipe did say to serve them with real maple syrup and I think that is essential. The season is over now for maple syrup. I bought some a few weeks ago at the farmers' market when the farmer said it would be the last time he would be there until next season.

The secret to making these amazing pancakes is the lumpy batter. So whatever you do, do not overmix the batter! You can make additions to them of fruit or nuts, but they are good even just plain.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pure maple syrup, warm

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in another large bowl. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until batter is just blended but still lumpy (do not overmix).
Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter on griddle over medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle, spacing 2 inches apart. Cook until bubbles break on surface, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over. Cook until bottoms are golden, 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to skillet as needed.
Serve pancakes immediately with butter and warm maple syrup.

Adapted from cooking.com

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Frittata with goat cheese and asparagus

Asparagus season is over, so I'm sorry I didn't post this recipe sooner. Its worth keeping in mind for next asparagus season though. Its quick, easy, delicious and uses lots of local foods. I highly recommend using Dreamfarm goat cheese if you live in Dane County Wisconsin. Its super mild and creamy and perfect on top of this frittata. I happened to have peppercorn flavor, but plain or any of the other flavors would also work well. We had this dish for a Saturday breakfast but it would also be good as a supper dish.

2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, sliced
3-4 garlic scapes chopped, if available
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3/4 - 1 pound asparagus, chopped
8 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
3 ounces goat cheese, in blobs
1/2 cup smoked trout, broken into small pieces (optional but a nice addition)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots and garlic scapes until wilted, 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms from skillet with slotted spoon. Add asparagus to the skillet, adding more butter if necessary. Cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Remove asparagus. Heat broiler. Mix eggs, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Return skillet to stove over low heat. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter; pour in the beaten eggs. Arrange the cooked vegetables & smoked fish (is using) over the eggs. Cover; cook until the eggs are almost set, 10-12 minutes. Make sure that you don't overcook them. Dollop the goat cheese over top; broil until cheese is lightly browned, 2 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Adapted from a recipe in the Chicago Tribune

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

This is great recipe to use two fruits (rhubarb and strawberries) you may find in your CSA box at this time of the year, especially in southern Wisconsin. It is supposed to be a diabetic friendly recipe--perhaps because it doesn't call for much sugar. I just tried it because it sounded good--and it is!

Filling
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups coarsely chopped (3/4-inch pieces) rhubarb
2 cups sliced strawberries

Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut in bits
2/3 cup low fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add rhubarb and strawberries; toss to mix. Spread mixture in an 8-cup greased shallow glass or ceramic baking dish (do not use metal); bake covered for 15 minutes.

Topping: In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is size of small peas or process briefly in a food processor. With fork, stir in buttermilk until mixture is moistened and soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls in 6 evenly spaced mounds on hot fruit. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is golden, biscuits are cooked through and rhubarb is tender when tested with a fork.

This is good served with ice cream or whipped cream. We didn't have either one and just had it as is. I think a dollop of vanilla yogurt would also be good.

Adapted from fabulous foods.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole

I am posting this recipe at my husband's request. He's hoping that if I post it, I might make it again sometime. Most of the time I don't make a recipe more than once.

I made this particular recipe for our gourmet dining club Hawaiian dinner last Saturday. It was a dinner with wonderful foods, beverage and good company. We usually meet about 4 times a year and take turns hosting the dinner. When its our turn, we pick the theme and the recipes. Members select the dishes they want to prepare. Usually each of us makes about 3 different dishes which makes for a wonderful array of food. For this dinner, I made baked coconut shrimp, mango bread, chicken and long rice (a Chinese chicken & noodle recipe) and the sweet potatoes.

8 medium sized sweet potatoes or less if they are large
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter (sliced into thin pieces)
1 16 ounce can of drained crushed pineapple
3/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup pecan pieces

You can either steam the potatoes or cook them in the microwave which is what I did. Cook until tender, cool and then peel. Cut the potatoes into 1" cubes.
In a casserole dish that has been either buttered or sprayed with a non-stick coating, layer the potatoes in the following way:
1/3 of the potatoes
1/3 of the brown sugar
1/3 of the butter
half of the pineapple
Repeat the layers
After the last layer of pineapple, add the last layer of potatoes, the pecan pieces, and the last of the butter and brown sugar.
Pour the coconut milk over the top of the last layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 oven.

The coconut milk makes the casserole richer in flavor and texture than your basic sweet potato casserole.

Adapted from grouprecipes.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Agretti Pizza with Goat Cheese


I got a bunch of agretii in our spring share CSA box. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Its appearance is quite different than most other greens. "Rather rare, Italian Agretti is an inherently salty green heirloom herb that delivers a succulent texture and a pleasantly acidic tart taste when it is harvested fresh and young. Measuring anywhere from eight to twelve inches in length and appropriately named, agretti means "little sour one". This entire plant is harvested in bunches when young and enjoyed fresh or cooked."
I found a recipe for pizza with agretti that I decided to try.
This is a light pizza with no sauce and only goat cheese. You should use fresh dough for the crust and good olive oil. Bake a quick pizza crust from scratch or purchase the dough (which is what I did) and brush it lightly with olive oil when it comes out of the oven. I put my dough in a large oiled deep dish pizza pan (12") and baked it for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
Sprinkle the crust generously with chopped fresh herbs. I used fresh rosemary. Saute minced garlic or green garlic and 1-2 bunches of agretti in a little olive oil. When its done cooking (which is when its wilted and somewhat tender) squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto it and stir it in. Spread agretti evenly over crust, then put lots of small rounds or dollops of soft goat cheese all over the pizza. I also added some slices of fully-cooked chicken spinach feta sausages (2 links). Bake at 350 until goat cheese has softened a bit and the pizza is smelling delicious. This took 10-12 minutes.
We voted this a great success with a green that we had never tried before!
Adapted from a recipe for Mariquita Farms.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Salmon with Apples & Sorrel

I've never thought of combining apples and salmon in one dish, but it turned out to be a great combination along with the sorrel. I would have used even more sorrel because it really cooks down, but I only had one bunch.

1-1 1/4# salmon fillet
salt & pepper
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 granny smith apples, peeled & diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced--use some of the green parts too
1 bunch sorrel, sliced

Season salmon with salt & pepper and lemon juice. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to a frying pan over medium to high heat depending on how thick the salmon fillet is. Saute until golden brown. My salmon fillet was very thick so I covered the pan for part of the time to help it cook more quickly. Be sure not to overcook the salmon.
In a separate pan, add the remaining butter and saute the apples and onions until tender. Add the sorrel for the final minute or two.
Serve the salmon on top of a bed of the sauteed apples and sorrel. It makes an attractive presentation. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture, but it was 10:00 PM and we were quite hungry.

Adapted from receipezaar.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cinnamon-Topped Rhubarb Muffins


All I can say is YUM! This recipe is a combination of a couple of recipes I found on the web. I tried adding some lemon verbena to the muffins because I was taking the muffins to an herb society board meeting. I guess I would have needed to add a lot more because I didn't taste the lemon verbena at all. Basic recommendation--skip it and stick to the recipe.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb (a little more is OK)
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces
TOPPING:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Combine egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups about 3/4 full. To make it easier to peel the liners off, spray the paper cups with pan spray. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over each muffin. Bake at 375 degrees F for 16-18 minutes or until muffins test done.
Adapted from allrecipes.com & rhubarbinfo.com

Arugula Salad with Pears & Beets

This salad has a nice contrast of colors and flavors.

1/2 jar of pickled beets or you could start with fresh beets and cook them. Beets aren't in season right now, at least in Wisconsin. Besides I happened to have a jar of pickled beets in the refrigerator.
Bunch of arugula
If it looks as though you won't have enough arugula, add some salad greens--preferably local
2 pears, peeled and sliced--I know pears are not in season in Wisconsin now either. I got a couple of pears at Whole Foods and felt slightly guilty for a very short time
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese--yes it was local!
1/4 cup cups toasted pecans

For dressing you can either use some raspberry vinegar & olive oil or Annie's Raspberry Vinaigrette

Adapted from hormel.com

Potato Swiss Chard Soup

This soup is excellent and a great way to use a bunch of Swiss chard. We've been getting quite a bit of Swiss chard in our spring greens CSA share. We like it, but I know quite a few people who don't. This soup just might convince them otherwise.

1 large leek, sliced (you can use an onion if a leek isn't available)
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cup potatoes, cubed (only peel if they aren't organic)
2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
1 bay leaf
5 cups chicken broth
4 cups chopped Swiss chard (approximately 1 bunch), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 links of Italian sausage, cooked and sliced (optional)

In a soup pot, saute leeks or onions, celery and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrot, bay leaf and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add Swiss chard, parsley, thyme and cook an additional 10 minutes. Add black pepper. Remove from heat. Puree using an immersion blender if available or in a food processor. Add the sausage, if using and check to see if any salt is needed.

Adapted from nikibone.com

Spring Greens & Roasted Chicken


This salad is delicious and super quick and easy if you're in a hurry to get dinner ready. It tastes as good as it looks!
1 2-1/4-pound purchased roasted chicken, chilled (Whole Foods-Madison has their roast chicken's on sale on Tuesdays)
5-ounces spring greens (about 8 cups) or a mixture of greens & lettuce
2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
2-3 ounces Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup roasted cashews
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (I used Annie's)
If you have time you could cook one of Jen Ehr's wonderful chickens to use in the salad. In case you don't though, Whole Foods already roasted chicken is quite tasty. This is pretty much a local foods production especially if you used a chicken from one of the local farms. My greens and strawberries were both from my Jen Ehr CSA box and the cheese from the Madison Westside farmers' market.
Adapted from a Better Homes & Garden Recipe (bhg.com)