Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet & Sour Braised Red Cabbage with Apples & Onions

This was adapted from a recipe of Wolfgang Puck's that I found in the Chicago Tribune a number of years ago. Finding myself with a red cabbage from our CSA farm I decided to try the recipe.  Arthur really liked it a lot and said I should post it. He's probably hoping that I'll make it again next season with a red cabbage.  I divided the recipe in half and it still makes a lot. 

2 tablespoons oil
1 small to medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 apples, preferably tart, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup each red wine and orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds red cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced.  I found this easy to do in food processor.

Heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until translucent.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar; cook until it is melted and starts to caramelize.  Add the apples and stir to combine with the onions and sugar.  Add the vinegar.  Stir in the wine, orange juice, cinnamon stick and ginger.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer briskly 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cabbage and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  If there is too much liquid at the end, uncover the pan and let some of liquid cook off.  This can also be cooked in a 350 degree oven instead of on top of the stove.  Check to make sure the cabbage is very tender and if not continue to cook.  The dish can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Sweet Potato Pear Soup

This is a great soup that uses local seasonal ingredients (mostly) and is easy as well as delicious.

1 tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 - 1 cup chopped celery
3 cups (about) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups (about) ripe pears, cored and cubed (no need to peel) I used pears from Future Fruit
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
1/4-1/2 cup dry sherry or vermouth (optional but tasty)
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
Thin slices of pear as a garnish for the soup
Chopped fresh parsley if you have any

Heat the oil and saute the onions and celery until tender but not brown (about 10 minutes). Add the sweet potatoes, pears, broth, sherry, cinnamon stick, orange zest, thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-35 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and pears are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Using either an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Check seasonings.

Serve the soup with thin slices of pear and some yogurt or sour cream. You can sprinkle with chopped parsley if you wish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cranberry, Orange Walnut Scones

I went to a tea party Sunday afternoon and brought these scones.  I think they may be some of the best that I've every made.  Naturally I tweaked the original recipe.

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter (has to be butter)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1-2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in your food processor, except for the sugar.  Add the butter.  Pulse on and off until butter is the size of peas.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Put the cranberries and sugar in the processor and pulse on and off until coarsely chopped. Add the chopped cranberries, walnuts and orange zest to the dry ingredients.  Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together.  Gather into a ball and knead 6-8 times.  Add a bit of flour if it is too sticky.  Cut into 2 pieces.  Flatter each piece into a circle about 7 inches in diameter.  Cut each circle into 8 wedges using a pizza cutter dipped in flour or a sharp knife.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.  You can paint the scones with a little cream or beaten egg and sprinkle with baker's sugar as a little extra if you choose.  Remove the scones to wire racks to cool.

The original recipe had a recipe for orange butter which I didn't make, but sounded good.
3/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of chopped cranberries
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Let it come to room temperature so it is easy to spread.

Adapted from

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

This is another excellent recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes.  I highly recommend you check out Elise Bauer's blog.  This recipe is a good way to use zucchini with a little different twist, which is the addition of rosemary and lemon to the bread.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary (not the dried rosemary)
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)

1 Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two small loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rosemary.
3 Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter and oil. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.
4 Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each addition.
5 Divide batter into two loaf pans. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Test after 40 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean.
6 Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pans to cool on a rack.

Adapted from Simply

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

My sister originally made her Thanksgiving mashed potatoes using this recipe and it has become a family favorite in both parts of the country.  We typically spend Thanksgiving with one of my adult children and their families.  I am almost always asked to bring this recipe for Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes.  You can obviously make a smaller quantity, but we all like to have some to take home as leftovers to go with the turkey.

5 lbs. of peeled potatoes, cut in chunks
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup green onions (scallions), chopped fine including some of the green tops
1/2 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.  As the potatoes are cooking, saute green onions, celery and parsley in the butter in a medium skillet until tender.  Drain potatoes and return pan to low heat.  Mash potatoes and add the cream cheese and sour cream.  Add butter and cooked vegetables.  If you want the potatoes especially fluffy, use an electric mixer to finish combining all the ingredients.  Spoon into a large buttered casserole.  Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until heated through and the top is golden. 

You can also make them the day before and reheat before serving.  They will need to be heated for a longer period of time at 350 degrees. 

Adapted from Miriam B. Loo's Holiday Cookbook (Current)

Another family favorite is Edith's Cranberry Apple Pie or as my daughter-in-law, Jenny, says her second most favorite pie (her first is cherry). 

Pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie.  This is one that I like a lot.  This recipe is taken from an online article by by Jean Sutherland with Lynn Siprelle, entitled Making the Perfect Pie Crust.  It is worth reading the entire article, but I'm going to enter the recipe here just in case the article ever disappears.

Deluxe Butter Double Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

Chill your fat and water!
Cut your fat into small pieces and add to your measured flour, salt and sugar. Cut the fat in quickly, either with a pastry cutter or by pulsing in a food processor. Your mixture should resemble coarse meal.  They should be no larger than pea-sized.
Slowly add the water--just drizzle it in--and watch closely as you work it in with the edge of a spatula or continue pulsing. It should still look dry. Grab some with your hand and squeeze. Did it hold together? Than you have enough water. If it didn't, or you're not sure, add a little more and mix quickly. Test again.

Divide the dough in half to make single crust amounts. Wrap the dough up by placing a portion of it on a piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap, instead of your hands, push the dough into a flat disk. Refrigerate this for an hour or more.
By making a flat disk at this point you make it a little easier to roll out. Sometimes dough gets too hard in the refrigerator. If this happens, let it warm up a little (15 or 20 minutes) on the counter before you roll it out.

Pie Filling
4 cups of tart apples, pared, cored and sliced
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (or cinnamon & nutmeg)
2 tablespoons butter

Note you can use a couple of pears in with the apples.  I tried this and it works well. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Prepare pasty.  In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour and spice.  Add apples and cranberries, mix well to coat the fruit.  Turn into pastry lined pie pan.  I use a 9" deep dish Pyrex pan.  Dot with butter.  Cover with top crust.  Cut slits in crust, seal and flute edges; or prepare lattice crust.  (I make the lattice crust but it isn't necessary.)  Brush the top crust with either beaten egg or cream and sprinkle  with coarse sugar (if available).  I also use a pie shield so I don' t have to worry about the edges of the crust getting overdone.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees on the lowest shelf of the oven.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees.  Put the pie on middle shelf and continue baking until apples are tender--about 40-45 minutes.  Cool before slicing.

Watermelon & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese

This is definitely out of season here in Wisconsin, but it was such a wonderful and easy salad that I don't want to lose it.  MACSAC (Madison Area CSA Coalition) is working on a new cookbook.  I submitted this recipe for consideration, but I've decided to put it on my blog just in case it isn't selected. 

2/3 bunch of arugula or about 4 oz.
2-3 cups of watermelon chunks (try to remove as many of the seeds as possible)
2 oz. goat cheese (I used a lovely cheese made by DreamFarm.  The flavor was apricot lavender and is offered seasonally)
1/4 cup pecan pieces
2 tablespoons or to taste of Annie's Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing

Tear the arugula and place on a large plate or platter.  Top with the watermelon chunks, goat cheese and pecans.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Adapted from SOS

Fried Green Tomatoes

I discovered after visiting Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah that I love fried green tomatoes.  They are actually quite easy to make yourself and are a good use for tomatoes that don't ripen before frost sets in.  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes  Its a wonderful food blog with excellent recipes.  You might want to check out this recipe on her blog to see a yummy picture of what the tomatoes should look like when they are finished.

3 firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
1 egg
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning (if using), buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the buttermilk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain. These are fantastic with Frank's Hot Sauce.

Chipotle Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Who knew that plain old grilled cheese sandwiches could be so tasty!

4 slices bread
2 teaspoons chipotle chili (or more if you like your food quite spicy)
5 ounces shredded or sliced cheese--any variety you prefer.  I used Monterey Jack
1 tomato, sliced
A few thin slices of red onion
Coarsely chopped cilantro--as much as you like
Soft butter to brown the sandwiches

Spread each piece of bread with a thin coating of pureed chilies.  Cover bottom slice with a layer of cheese, tomato and onion slices and as much cilantro as you like.  Top with second slice of bread and butter it.  Place sandwich, butter side down in skillet.  Spread top piece of bread with butter and cook sandwich slowly.  Covering pan will help melt the cheese by the time bread is crisped and golden.

Adapted from
4 slices bread white or wheat
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pureed*
5 ounces cheese shredded or thinly sliced
1 each tomato ripe, sliced
1 each red onion thinly sliced
1 x cilantro leaves coarsely chopped*
1 x butter soft*
Snipped from:
4 slices bread white or wheat
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pureed*
5 ounces cheese shredded or thinly sliced
1 each tomato ripe, sliced
1 each red onion thinly sliced
1 x cilantro leaves coarsely chopped*
1 x butter soft*
Snipped from:

Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes

This recipe is out of season now, but save it for next summer when you are inundated with zucchini or summer squash.  Besides being a good way to use up zucchini, it is another way to serve vegetables for breakfast.  I find this somewhat challenging, but am always on the lookout for possibilites.  Vegetables are good for you any time of the day, plus if you have a CSA share you need to find as many ways and as many meals as possible to use up the "bounty in your box." 

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup chopped chives or scallions; about 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil*
1 teaspoon dried oregano*
4 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Cheddar, Monterey Jack or other cheese (or a combination--whatever you have on hand will work fine)
*Substitute fresh herbs if available, just use a little more.
1) Preheat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat; if you have an electric griddle, set the heat to 375°F.
2) Beat the eggs with the oil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined.
3) Add the herbs, scallions, zucchini, and cheese, stirring to combine.
4) Stir in the flour.
5) Grease the hot griddle lightly. Drop the batter in 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle. If necessary, spread the cakes to about 3 1/2" to 4" diameter.
6) Cook the cakes for 3 minutes, or until they're brown on the bottom, and bubbles have appeared on their tops. The top surface will appear somewhat dry and set.
7) Flip the cakes, and cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until they're as moist/cooked as you like when you break one open.
8) Repeat until you've used all of the batter.
9) Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.
10) They are good leftover too, so make the whole batch.
Adapted from King Arthur

Friday, November 25, 2011

Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek & Potato Gratin

This is  a wonderful dish incorporating a number of winter/fall type vegetables.  It takes some time to prepare but the results make it worthwhile.

For the topping:

1-1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt
3 oz. (3/4 cup) grated sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
For the gratin:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1/2 tsp. for the dish
2 cups sliced leeks (white and light green parts of 3 medium leeks), thoroughly washed Kosher salt
2/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. apple cider
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. heavy cream
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 crisp, firm apples, (about 14 oz. total), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
12 oz. butternut squash or other winter squash
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (12 oz. total) or whatever kind of potatoes you have

Make the topping:

Combine the crumbs, melted butter, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix in the Cheddar and thyme.

Prepare the gratin:

Heat the oven to 350°F. Rub a shallow 2-quart dish with 1/2 tsp. of the butter.
Melt the 2 Tbs. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until well softened and lightly browned (the pan will be dry), 10 to 15 minutes. Add 2/3 cup of the cider and simmer for 2 minutes to reduce it slightly. Add 1/2 cup of the cream, the chopped thyme, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and stir well; set aside.
Cook the apples: In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Turn the heat to medium high, add the apple slices, and cook, gently flipping and stirring, until most of the slices are browned and limp but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. cream and 3 Tbs. cider. Stir and let the liquids reduce slightly for a few seconds; remove from the heat.

Assemble and bake the gratin:

Peel the squash, cut it into quarters lengthwise, and cut them across into thin slices. Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and cut them across into thin slices. In a large bowl, combine the squash slices, the potato slices, the leek mixture, the apple mixture (scrape the pans well), and a scant 2 tsp. salt. Using a rubber spatula, mix gently but thoroughly. Scrape the mixture into the prepared gratin dish, smoothing and pressing until evenly distributed. Cover with the breadcrumb topping.
Bake until the crust is deep golden brown, and the crust is dark brown around the edges, about 1 hour. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Fine

Friday, November 11, 2011

Root Vegetable and Mushroom Casserole with Rosemary Biscuit Topping

This is a recipe I found on the Blue Moon Community Farm website.  Most of us that belong to CSA farms typically find ourselves with lots of root vegetables at this time of the year.  Roasted root vegetables are great, but I'm always looking for other ideas as well.  This isn't a recipe that can be prepared very quickly unless you spread it out over two nights.  I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe and can report that it is delicous.  Really what takes the most time is prepping the vegetables. 


•6 cups water or chicken browth
•2 tablespoons chicken bouillon base (if you used water)
•7 Cups Root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter radishes, rutabaga, carrots, winter squash, parsnips)
•1 ounces dried mushrooms, rinsed
•3 tablespoons butter
•2 cups chopped onions (really!)  I'm sure you could also use a combination of onions & leeks
1/2 # coarsley sliced fresh mushrooms
•4 large garlic cloves, chopped
•1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or a pinch dried)
•1/2 cup all purpose flour
•1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
•2 tablespoons cooking Sherry
•1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (or 1 Tb dried)

•2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
•1 tablespoon baking powder
•2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (or ½ tsp dried)
•1 teaspoon salt
•6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
•1 1/3 cups (or more) chilled buttermilk

•Bring 6 cups water and bouillon base to boil in large pot over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve bouillon. Add root vegetables and dreid mushrooms. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain into a colander over a bowl, reserving both broth and vegetables. If your pieces of dried mushrooms are too large, cut them up.
•Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Mix in fresh mushrooms, garlic and rosemary; stir 2 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. The mixture will be very thick. Gradually whisk in reserved broth. Cook until sauce is thick and reduced to 4 cups, whisking often, about 10-15 minutes. Add cream and sherry.  Mix in reserved vegetables and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to buttered 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

While the sauce is cooking (before adding vegetables) you can make up the biscuit dough and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
•Pulse first 4 ingredients in food processor to blend. Add butter. Pulse on and off until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk.  Process only until dough starts to come together and is completely moistened. Add more buttermilk if dough is too dry.  Mine did not need anymore.
•Drop biscuit dough atop hot filling by heaping tablespoonfuls; sprinkle with pepper. Bake uncovered until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

The combination of vegetables I used was potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, white turnips and some small radishes. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Fresh Mint

I'm working my way through a very large head of Savoy cabbage.  Arthur is not a fan of cabbage salad or coleslaw but voted this one to be delicious and worth making again as well as posting it.

2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped or shredded *
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup very thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup cilantro
4 cups finely shredded green, savoy, or napa cabbage
¾ cup shredded carrots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts (optional)

*I often buy a whole roast chicken at Whole Foods or Willy Street Coop to use for recipes like this.  Whole Foods puts theirs on sale on Tuesday for $2.00 less than it usually is. 

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl, and stir to dissolve the sugar and mix everything well. Add the onion and toss to coat. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes, until you are ready to complete the dish. 

Coarsely chop the mint and cilantro. Add the shredded chicken, cabbage, carrots, mint, and cilantro to the bowl of onions and seasonings and toss to coat everything well. Mound the salad on a serving plate and top with chopped peanuts. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple Pancakes

During the fall here in Wisconsin, apples are in abundance.  We belong to a fruit CSA and get wonderful organic apples and pears.  I like to try to incorporate my CSA produce into breakfasts as well as dinners. 

One of the problems that I have found with apple pancakes is that the apples don't cook and remain crunchy.  In this recipe you grate the apples which takes care of the problem.  The pancakes are good served with apple butter or maple syrup.  They are also tasty with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded apple (no need to peel)
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the butter, egg, milk and apple.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture.  Stir just until combined--a few lumps are OK.

Heat a griddle and oil or spray it.  Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Brown on both sides. 

Chicken & Peppers in a Tangy Sauce

Its time to catch up and post some of the recipes I tried during the CSA season and didn't have a chance to enter.  I only post recipes that I have tried, adapted and enjoyed.  You are spared the ones that didn't work.

This was a good recipe to use sweet peppers which we got a lot of this season.

1 large onion (about 1 cup), coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large red or yellow peppers, diced
1 small hot pepper, minced
1# - 1 1/2# boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1# can diced tomatoes (you can substituted 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes if available)
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1# can navy beans or canellini beans
salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil.  Brown the chicken.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  Add a bit more oil if needed.  Saute onions and peppers.  Add the garlic and hot pepper.  Next add the diced tomatoes, orange juice, maple syrup, raisins and oregano.  Cook the mixture 2-3 minutes. Put the chicken and any juices back into the pan.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans.  Add them to the mixture and cook for an additional 15 minutes, covered.  Remove the lid if the dish is too "soupy."

Serve with rice or couscous.

Adapted from SOS Cuisine

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Italian Pepper & Egg Sandwiches

From:  Almost Italian; Recipes and Stories from the ‘Little Italy’ Communities Across America:
Italian-Americans have long enjoyed pepper and egg sandwiches on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In Chicago’s Italian-American community, pepper and egg sandwiches enliven meatless Fridays throughout the entire Lenten period. Not quite a fritatta, a pepper and egg sandwich is the combination of garlic, bell peppers, and onion, sautéed in olive oil until the peppers are wilted. Beaten eggs are added, and the whole mixture cooked until the eggs are done. The peppers and eggs are served inside French or Italian bread or rolls.

I am not a big fan of green peppers, but when they arrive in your CSA box you need to find a way to use them.  This is one of the staples that I make every season.  They are good to eat and simple to make.

1 or 2 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1 Medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large green pepper, thinly sliced
4 eggs, beaten
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 Loaf Italian bread
Heat a pan over medium heat then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and sauté for a minute or two. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the peppers and onions have softened.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the beaten eggs. Stir to combine with the onions and peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are set.

Slice the bread lengthwise without cutting all the way through. When the eggs are done, gently slide them onto the bread to make a sandwich and cut the loaf into four portions.

Wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10-12 minutes.  The "resting time" permits the flavors to meld.  It also allows the hot eggs to soften the crusty bread.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Creamy Cucumber Soup

This is another recipe we borrowed from Blue Moon Community Farm.  It is a wonderful way to use a bunch of cucumbers.  A challenge many of us are dealing with at this time of the year (August). In this recipe the cucumbers are cooked which is rather unusual, but its yummy and easy.  Try it!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly slice cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Heat oil, add garlic and onion.  Cook until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add lemon juice and cook for 1 minute.  Add 3 3/4 cups of cucumber slices, broth, salt and pepper and cayenne.  Bring soup to a simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the cucumbers are soft.

Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor.  Add the avocado and parsley.  Blend on low speed until smooth.  You could also use an immersion blender.  Stir in yogurt, but don't cook after doing so.  Top the soup with the remaining cucumber and serve with additional parsley if you wish.  It is good warm or cold. 

I think the avocado is essential to help give the soup a creamy texture and richness.

Fennel & Sausage Risotto

This is a delicious recipe for risotto which is one of our favorite dishes.  Plus it uses fennel which is a bit unusual to find in risotto.

1 pound bulk Italian sausage, if you can't buy it in bulk remove the casings
1 large fennel or 2-3 small ones, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 quart chicken broth
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Brown sausage.  I find a potato masher helps to break up the clumps of meat.  Add the fennel.  Cook until softened and slightly browned.  Add a little olive oil if needed.

Bring the chicken broth to a simmer and keep warm.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onion, cooking until softened.  Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute to coat with the oil.  Add the wine to the rice and cook until the wine is absorbed.  Add 1 cup of broth to the rice and stir until broth is nearly absorbed.  Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time.  It is not necessary to stir constantly but watch it closely and give it a stir now and then so you will know when to add more broth.  The rice is done when it is al dente and the sauce is thick and creamy, about 20-25 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the sausage and fennel along with the cheese, butter and parsley. 

Adapted from Blue Moon Community Farm

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pasta with Summer Squash & Ricotta

Mario Batali is promoting once a week meatless meals.  I liked the recipe but felt it needed a bit of tweaking.  Since I decided to add chicken sausages, I no longer had a meatless meal, but it was a tasty easy one and helped use a lot of our summer squash.

2 cups fresh ricotta
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2-1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana, plus extra for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons pasta water, more if needed
2 pounds summer squash or zucchini, or a combination, cut lengthwise in half and
sliced into 1⁄3-inch-thick half-moons
sea salt
1 pound penne or other pasta, whole wheat pasta works fine in this dish
6 tablespoons or more to taste coarsely chopped fresh mint
Coarsely ground black pepper
Optional, but a good addition:  1# fully cooked chicken sausages, any flavor you like, sliced.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain the pasta. Meanwhile, whisk the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a small bowl. Add the Parmigiana, whisking until it is evenly incorporated. Whisk in 1/4-1/3 cup of the pasta water until it has a somewhat saucelike consistency.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until just tender and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sliced sausage if using and heat until warm.  Remove from the heat.
Add the pasta to the squash, stirring and tossing over medium heat to mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to steam together for 2 minutes.  Add the ricotta mixture. Stir in the mint, season with pepper and salt, if necessary and transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Serve with additional grated Parmigiana on the side.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Veggies Runneth Over!

We picked up our CSA box of vegetables on this lovely Saturday morning.  After our heat last week, it was wonderful to be able to go outside and not feel like you were walking into an oven.  Next we went to the Westside farmers' market in Madison.  Its a great place to be able to fill in some of the gaps in your "box."  I purchased candy onions as well as another interesting variety (forgot the name) from Blue Moon Community Farm. Kristen has an excellent website with some wonderful recipes.  A friend is a member of her CSA and has shared her recipes over the years.  Now Kristen has many of them posted so you can all try and enjoy them.  We stopped to buy tomatoes from Real Food farms from Athens Wisconsin.  They are a certified organic farm that is able to offer tomatoes earlier than many other farmers because they practice "tunnel farming" or hoop houses.  If you're interested in learning more about it, check out this interesting article:  The farm grows as many 50 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  Visit their stand if you have a chance when you are at the Westside Market. 

I'll discuss more of our favorite vendors in another post, but I couldn't finish without telling you about Honeybee Bakery.  Mary specializes in organic whole grains, farm fresh dairy, and seasonally available fruits in her tasty treats.   This morning we bought a loaf of sourdough seeded bread, a cheddar biscuit, and a shortbread apricot bar. My daughter-in-law's absolute favorite treat of Mary's is her lemon shortbread cookies filled with lemon curd.  They sell out quickly. 

In our box today we got 5 ears of corn-on-the-cob.  You can be sure that we had that for supper.  It was very sweet and tender.  Next I made a great salad with lettuce from our farm, some thinly sliced red onion, blueberries, goat cheese feta and toasted pecans with Annie's Pomegranate Vinaigrette.  Our next course was Parsnip, Potato Fish Chowder.  I've posted this recipe earlier.

This was a very bountiful box. We also got zucchini and summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, a Sweetheart cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, fresh garlic, carrots, a Cippolini onion and some celery. In my opinion, Wisconsin farmers should skip the celery.  There are a too many leaves and some tough skinny stalks.  I have not become a convert.  All the other vegetables look perfect.  My next project is to plan what I'll make with everything. I'll post recipes for the dishes that are new, turn out well and want to share. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Peanut Noodle Salad

This is a yummy salad made with sugar snap peas from our farm and some peanut butter from yum butter.  Read more about it below.

6 ounces soba noodles (I guess spaghetti would be OK too)
8 ounces sugar snap peas
1/2 cup halved thinly sliced cucumbers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup Asian Jazz Peanut Butter (see below) * or plain peanut butter
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cook soba noodles in salted water for about 3 minutes, then add the sugar snap peas and cook for another 3 minutes. Check the noodles to see if they are as cooked as your prefer. Drain and rinse under cold water. Let drain in a colander while making the dressing.

Combine the peanut butter, water, vinegar, hoisin sauce, honey and sesame oil and whisk together until smooth.
 Place the noodles, peas, cucumbers, and green onions in a bowl and pour the dressing over. Toss until coated. Top with chopped cilantro and fresh basil if available. Otherwise just eat the salad as is.

* Asian Jazz Peanut Butter is one of the interesting varieties of peanut butter made by yumbutter, a product made locally in the Madison Wisconsin area.  You can also buy it online.  Its made with organic peanuts and tastes great.  Check out Adrian's website:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken with Red Cabbage

Arthur is not a big fan of cabbage, but we have been getting quite a bit of cabbage in our boxes the last few weeks.  He told me I should post this recipe because "This is cabbage I like."  I liked it because it is very easy which is nice if you're making dinner after working all day.

1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced--I used 1/2 head of my good sized red cabbage.  I sliced mine using a food processor.  I watched a cooking class on using your CSA vegetables a couple of weeks ago at Willy Street Co-op West.  She used a Mandoline.  This article reviews and rates them  The one she used didn't appear to have a safety guard and I thought with my luck I'd slice my fingers instead of the veggies.
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 pound (4 pieces) boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup white wine
black pepper
Chopped parsley

Put the sliced onions, oil and garlic in a saute pan.  Cook until the onions are tender and golden.  Add the sliced cabbage, stir to coat well.  Sprinkle with the salt and simmer cabbage for 40 minutes.  Turn from time to time.  Cabbage will be considerably reduced in volume.

Either spray another skillet with olive oil pan spray or use another tablespoon of olive oil.  Heat the pan and add the chicken.  Brown well on both sides.  Transfer the chicken to the pan with the cabbage.  Add wine and some pepper.  Cover the pan and continue cooking for 40 minutes.  The chicken will be very tender and the cabbage will be cooked down and will also be very tender and tasty.    You can sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve (optional).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rhubarb Bread

Anyone who follows my blog, will get the idea that we really like rhubarb.  We do!  I think it is so versatile.  It keeps quite well, it can be frozen, combines well with other fruit, and so on.  This recipe is for an easy quick bread.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cup canola or safflower oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups chopped uncooked rhubarb (if you don't have quite enough rhubarb you could add some strawberries or whatever other fruit you might have available)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8 1/2 X 4" loaf pans. 
Combine brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and beat well.  I blended mixture in my food processor.  Mix the flour with the baking soda and salt.  Add to liquid mixture and blend.  Don't over mix.  Fold in rhubarb and nuts.  Divide batter between the two pans.

Combine sugar, orange peel and butter and blend well with a fork.  Sprinkle over the batter.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Let cool in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto racks.  Cool a bit before slicing.  However, it is very tasty when still warm but a bit fragile.

Adapted from a Bon Appetit magazine from 1984

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I tried a number of recipes for broccoli soup that I haven't liked very well.  This one is quite good and I guess I'll use it until I find one that I like even better. 

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth (1 box, preferably low sodium)
1 bay leaf
1 large potato or a few small ones that weigh 8-12 ounces, peeled if necessary, otherwise just chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon thyme (dried)  fresh is good if you have it available
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), use the stems; peel the stalks and cut into slices.  Cut off the flowerets and reserve.
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (fat free is OK)
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Hungarian paprika for garnish (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the chicken broth and heat to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook covered for about 10 minutes.  Add the broccoli stalks and stems.  Simmer for about 7 minutes or until they are almost tender.  Next add the flowerets and simmer 5 minutes or until they are just barely tender.  Remove a few of the flowerets and set aside. 
Puree bathes of soup or use an immersion blender.  Return puree to the pot and add the 1/2 and 1/2, green onions, salt and pepper.  Reheat the soup if necessary.  If it is too thick add a bit more 1/2 and 1/2 until it is the consistency your prefer.  Add the reserved broccoli flowerets, dust with paprika and serve. 

Adapted from a very old recipe in the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Burgundy Salad with Poached Egg

According to the original recipe this is classic salad from Burgundy, France.  It can be served as a lunch dish since it includes eggs.  Its quite different but we liked it and I have made it twice.  These days with all the lettuce and greens from our CSA farm I continue to try recipes that turn them into meals rather than a little side salad. 

Garlic Croutons
4 slices bread rubbed with olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle with garlic salt or granulated garlic (from Penzey's).  Bake 10 minutes at 325 degrees.  Turn the bread over and bake for another 10 minutes.  Cut into squares.  You could also use purchased croutons.

The original recipe called for making a mustard vinaigrette dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and parsley.  I didn't do this. I used some balsamic vinaigrette I happened to have in the frig.  You could also use a bottled dressing of your choice.

Take several slices of bacon, dice and cook until crispy.  I used about 4 although the original recipe called for 7 ounces which I thought was too much.  Remove the bacon.  Add about 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and saute in the bacon drippings.  Add to the bacon.

Poach as many eggs as you would like to top the salad with.  I made two for Arthur's salad and one for mine. 

Assemble the salad as follows:

Place salad greens or lettuce on plates.  Top with some finely chopped red onion.  Next top the salads with mushroom bacon mixture.  If the mixture has cooled off, rewarm briefly in the microwave.  Next top with with the garlic croutons.  Lay 1-2 poached eggs on top of the croutons and drizzle with desired dressing.  Add slices of tomato to the salads and serve.

Adapted from Whats Cooking America

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Swiss Chard and Polenta

This is a quick easy dish to prepare for supper which is quite satisfying.  Adding the cheese and eggs to the polenta supplies more protein and makes for a richer tasting dish.  The chard on top provides a nice contrast as far as flavor and color.

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 oz. cheese (I used fresh creamy goat cheese with garlic from DreamFarm)
1 bunch Swiss chard
3-4 garlic scapes, or green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (you could substitute 1/2-1 teaspoon dry herbs, basil or oregano)
salt and pepper

To make the polenta:  Bring the broth to a boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until tender.  You can also make this in a microwave to eliminate the chance of the polenta sticking or burning.  Pour into a greased 8 or 9 inch baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven until puffed and brown on top or for about 20 minutes.

Saute garlic scapes for 2-3 minutes.  Add the chard stems and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.  Add the chopped chard leaves, cover and steam until wilted.  Season with salt, pepper and the herbs of your choice.

Serve over the polenta.

Adapted from a Vermont Valley CSA recipe

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

I made this yummy coffee cake for my book last week. Its very moist and is delicious served warm.  If you want to be truly decadent serve with softly whipped heavy cream to which you can add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  No cool whip please!

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla 2-1/2 cups flour
3 cups diced rhubarb, fresh
Streusel Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat well with electric mixer.
Add buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat well.
Add flour and mix just until blended. Stir in rhubarb.
Spoon into baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  Cut butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of batter.

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until lightly brown and set in the middle.

The way I managed to serve the cake warm was by mixing all the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients the night before.  Keep them separate.  I stored the liquid in the frig along with the cut up rhubarb and the prepared streusel topping. I also prepared the pan. When I got home from work, I preheated the oven and quickly combined everything and popped the cake into the hot oven.  While it was baking, I had plenty of time to whip the cream.

Adapted from Donna's Recipes, Channel 3000

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Green Salad with Strawberry Dressing

The amounts are not important in this salad, but it's a lovely salad when you start gettng local strawberries and lettuce or salad greens. 

A large bowl of lettuce or salad greens
1-2 cups of sliced strawberries
1/2 cup or more of crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans

The dressing:
1/3 cup mashed strawberries
3 tablespoons balsamic vingegar (I used some raspberry balsamic which was perfect in this dressing)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil or more if you prefer
salt and pepper

Whisk together ingredients and pour over the salad.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Fabian's Seafood from Galveston Texas comes to Madison about once a month.  They sell their shrimp from a truck parked in the Steve's Liquor parking lot on University Avenue.  I usually try to get some of their shrimp and for a real treat lump crabmeat when they are in town.  This time I just purchased a pound of extra-large shrimp which I cooked with the broccoli from our CSA farm.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large cookie sheet toss together 1-2 pounds of broccoli cut into florets of medium size with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of hot chili poweder (optional).  If you use the stem, which I like to do, be sure to peel it first and then slice the stems.  I made the mistake of not peeling the stems and they were a bit on the tough side.  Spread in a thin layer and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.  Stir and roast for 5 more minutes. 
Take the shrimp (1#), which have been shelled and deveined, and combine with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon, salt and pepper.  Add the shrimp to the broccoli and combine.  Roast 5 minutes and test the shrimp for doneness.  Serve it with rice or Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's which features Israeli couscous, along with red and green orzo, split dried garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. It's a great combination and cooks in 10 minutes.

Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet & the New York Times

Swiss Chard Fritatta with Bacon, Potatoes and Feta

I have a friend who belongs to a CSA who has a family that is not partial to (as in won't eat) Swiss Chard.  Their disdain is our gain.  I've posted quite a number of different recipes using chard, but I'm always open to new ones.  This dish would make a great breakfast/brunch dish although we had it for supper with some garlic bread. 

4 slices bacon
1/2 small onion or 1 whole shallot, sliced
1 potato, chopped in small pieces, about 1 cup (no need to peel)
1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and thinly sliced, stems finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh savory (optional)
Salt & pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
5 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons half and half, milk or water
Pinch Cayenne
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cook the bacon until brown and crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and transfer it to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve.  Pour off all but about 1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease.  Otherwise, pour it all out and substitute olive oil. 

Cook the onion, potato and chard stems in the hot fat until the pototoes are tender. I found it worked well to cover the pan. Add the garlic and Swiss chard, in batches if necessary.  When the chard is wilted, add the pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes or until the greens are tender. Beat the eggs with the salt, pepper,pinch of cayenne and 1/2 & 1/2 or milk.
Set the oven rack to the second highest position and preheat the broiler.
Crumble and sprinkle the reserved bacon and feta cheese into the greens and pour the eggs evenly over all. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 2 minutes, covered. Uncover and transfer the pan to the broiler and broil until the eggs are set and the top is browned. Watch carefully. Remove and cut into wedges.  It is good hot or at room temperature.

Note:  I used the savory because it came in our box of CSA veggies.

Adapted from Meredith & Carla's blog.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Mint Gremolata

Now that fresh asparagus is available at the farmers' market as well as the mint, this is a good recipe to try.  Its especially good if you're a fan of risotto as we are.  I don't have much mint & parsley available in the pots on my deck yet, but friends with gardens donated some. 

The recipe calls for you to enhance the broth with simmering vegetable trimmings in it.  I'm sure you could just pour some chicken broth out of a box and have it taste just fine.  I did go ahead and simmer the vegetables while preparing the ones I was going to use in the risotto.  Be careful not to overcook the asparagus when you saute it prior to adding to the risotto.  Also be sure to add a good Parmesan cheese when making this dish.  It does matter.

Spring Vegetable Risotto, Serves 6


¼ cup minced fresh parsley, stems reserved
¼ cup minced fresh mint leaves, stems reserved
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


1 pound asparagus, reserve tough end of stems
2 medium leeks (cut in ½ lengthwise, wash well and sliced thin—about 4 cups) reserve dark green leaves
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter {divided}
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine or less
salt and pepper
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 oz)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Additional grated cheese for sprinkling on top of the risotto , if desired

For the Gremolata: Combine ingredients in small bowl and set aside.

For the Risotto: Snap the tough ends off the asparagus & place them in a stockpot. Add the chicken broth, the dark green parts of the leeks , stems from mint & parsley & water. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer & cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Drain the stock, discard the vegetables & transfer the liquid back to the stockpot. Cover & keep warm over low heat.

Slice the asparagus into 1/2" pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter, in a large saucepan. Add the asparagus & cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Transfer to a bowl & set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, in the same pan, over medium heat & add the leeks, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, until the leeks are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the rice & cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine & cook until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes.

Add 3 cups of the warm stock. Reduce the heat & simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. Continue this process, adding the stock, a 1/2 cup at a time & simmering until the liquid is absorbed, until the rice is tender or to your taste.

Add the peas, 1 tablespoon butter & lemon juice. Gradually stir in the Parmesan. Gently fold in the asparagus. Check for seasoning. Sprinkle each serving with gremolata and additional cheese if desired.

Note: You may not need all of the broth.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Picture compliments of The Parsley Thief

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, Capers & Salmon

If you are ever fortunate enough to have leftover grilled salmon, this is the recipe for you.  We had a dinner party with a Pacific Northwest Cuisine as the theme.  One of the guests grilled wild salmon on cedar planks.  Fabulous!  There was some leftover and this the recipe I used it in.

1/2 pound pasta (the original recipe called for whole wheat spaghetti which I didn't have--I substituted imported Italian rotini)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1# cooked salmon (use the amount you have available)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Lightly saute the garlic and spinach in the olive oil.  Then add to the pasta with salt & pepper. Toss to combine.

Add the salmon, basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss lightly to combine.

Adapted from

A very good cherry pie

I've posted one cherry pie recipe but this one is also very good and uses less cherries.

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

  • 20 ounces frozen pitted sour cherries (without sugar)

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 

  • 1 egg yolk or heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Make pastry and refrigerate.

    Drain cherries, reserving 1 cup liquid. In a saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in cherry liquid and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Mixture will thicken.

    When mixture is thickened, add butter, almond extract and cherries. Cover and refrigerate.

    On lightly covered surface, roll out half of the pastry into an 11 inch circle. Put into 9 inch somewhat shallow pie dish. Roll other half of pastry into another 11 inch circle. With a knife or pastry wheel, cut eight 1/2 inch strips.

    Pour cooled cherry filling into pie dish. Place pastry strips horizontally, then vertically, across the top of the pie.  Weave into a lattice crust.  You can also cut out the top crust with cookie cutters and place the pie crust "cookies" on top of the pie. Brush lightly with egg yolk or heavy cream and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 350 and bake 20-30 minutes.  I always use a pie sheld so that edges of the crust do not get overcooked.  When the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, the pie is done.  Cool before serving.

    This is a link to all the great ways that other cooks have decorated their pies:

    Adapted from

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Wild Rice Pancakes with Wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese

    This is recipe of Mollie Katzen's that I adapted.  I thought they were delicious and quite easy to make especially if you have the wild rice already cooked which I did.  I made them for supper one night with a big salad and they were all consumed.  Mollie said they are very good leftover and that they reheat well.  I can't testify to that. 

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    12 wild mushrooms, I used 1/4 # of oyster mushrooms from the farmers market.  I'm sure white mushroom would also be fine.
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    4 large eggs
    1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    4 scallions, minced
    1 cup cooked wild rice.  I cooked my wild rice in my rice cooker.  I made extra and froze the rest.
    1 cup (about 5 ounces) goat cheese.  I used Dream Farm goat cheese (also available at the Westside farmers market in Madison) and just stirred it into the batter.  Any flavor would work well.  I think I had one of the herb flavors.
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    Nonstick spray for the pan
    A little unsalted butter for the pan (optional)

    Optional Toppings
    Sour cream or yogurt
    Minced chives

    1.Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the mushrooms, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and sauté 5 minutes longer. Stir in the garlic and lemon juice and remove the pan from the heat without cooking the mixture any further.

    2.Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the flour and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. When this mixture is uniform, stir in the cooked mushrooms, including all their juices. Add the scallions, wild rice, goat cheese, and black pepper, and stir until well combined.

    3.Spray frying pan lightly with nonstick spray, and if you like, melt in a little butter. When the cooking surface is hot, use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop batter onto the hot pan, and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.

    4.Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with the topping(s) of your choice.
    Adapted from Mollie

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    African Chicken Stew

    This is a great recipe that I adapted by adding more vegetables.  I've also made it in a slow cooker, which is what the original recipe called for, and in a pan on top of the stove.  Both work well.  It just depends on what is more convenient for you. 

    1 tablespoon oil
    1# boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
    1 medium size onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
    3 carrots, thickly sliced
    1 very large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    1 can (2 cups) chicken broth
    1/2 cup chunky peanut butter, smooth would be fine too
    2 tablespoons tomato sauce
    1 cup (or more) frozen corn
    Salt & pepper to taste

    Note the second time I made the stew, I used some leftover peanut sauce I made for a Thai dish, plus some peanut butter.  It just makes the dish a bit spicier. 

    Heat the oil and lightly brown the chicken.  Transfer to a crockpot.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the onion, jalapeno, and carrots.  Cook for a minute or two, then transfer to the crock pot.  Stir in the sweet potatoes, broth, peanut butter and tomato sauce. 

    Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours or until the vegetables are very tender.  Season with salt & pepper, add the corn and cook just enough to make sure it is warm

    If doing it on the stove top, basically follow the same directions but don't put in a crockpot.  When making it on the stove, I added the peanut butter at the end.  This will really help to thicken the stew.  Again, add the corn at the end.  The original recipe didn't call for corn, but I thought it was a good addition.

    Adapted from Flat Belly Diet Cookbook

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Spinach Lasagna

    This is a super easy recipe because its made with the no-boil lasagna noodles and raw spinach.  I was lucky enough to have a quart of my homemade tomato sauce from last summer in the freezer, but a jar of good commercial spaghetti sauce would also be fine. 
    1 lb bulk Italian sausage
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1 quart homemade tomato sauce or 1 32 oz jar pasta sauce
    8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (2 cups)
    4 cups coarsey chopped fresh spinach
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    8 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles
    1/3 cup water
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    In large skillet or stock pot, brown and crumble sausage and onion; drain if necessary.  I used Italian sausage from Jordandal Farms which is very lean and there is no need to drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Simmer 10 minutes (to heat through), stirring occasionally.
    In medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, spinach, ricotta cheese, eggs and garlic powder; stir until well blended.
    In 13-by-9-inch baking dish, put in about 1/2 cup of the sauce, then layer 1/2 of the uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/2 of the meat sauce mixture, all of the spinach mixture, remaining half of noodles and meat sauce. Pour the 1/3 cup of water over lasagna. Cover snugly with foil.
    Bake covered at 350 F for 45 minutes.
    Remove foil from lasagna; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
    Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and noodles are tender.
    Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    Adapted from

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    All-American Potato Salad

    Some people feel that potato salad is seasonal and only to be served during the warm weather months.  I, however, love potato salad any time of the year.  I'm a fan of all kinds of potato salad.  I just tried this one yesterday to take to my daughter's for supper to go with Italian beef sandwiches.  It is very good and I would make it again.

    I made 1/2 of the original recipe which still easily served 6 people with leftovers.  I have posted the 1/2 recipe amounts.

    2 1/4 pounds red-skinned potatoes
    3 tablespoons canola oil
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    10 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
    3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
    1/2 cups finely chopped green onions
    1 small yellow onion finely chopped
    1 cup finely chopped celery
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
    1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives

    Cut potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add hot potatoes and gently toss until most of dressing is absorbed.
    Stir mayonnaise, pickle juice and mustard in another large bowl to blend. Add all remaining ingredients except for the eggs.  Add to reserved potato mixture after the potatoes are cooled; toss to coat. Add the eggs last so they don't get too broken up.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

    Adapted from

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Fruit Salad wth Honey-Yogurt Sauce

    I was asked to bring a fruit salad to a friend's when we went for supper one evening.  I found this recipe and thought it was delicious.  Obviously its very adaptable to the fruit you like or have available. 

    1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt (I used our favorite Sugar River Dairy)*
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind (adds a lot to the sauce)
    3 cups cubed fresh pineapple (I guess the pineapple chunks canned in juice would work OK as well)
    1 1/2 cups apples, peeled and cut into chunks
    1 cup orange sections
    1 cup kiwi, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 cup strawberries, halved
    1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
    1 medium banana, sliced
    1/4 cup slivered toasted almonds

    Combine yogurt, honey and lime.

    Combine pineapple, apples, oranges, kiwi, strawberries and coconut in a large bowl.  Just before serving, stir in banana.  Top with yogurt sauce and sprinkle with almonds. 

    Some choopped mint would also be a nice addition, but I was making this in the winter and didn't have any mint available.

    * Sugar River Dairy brand is a local brand produced in Wisconsin and only available locally.  According to the owners they don't want to get any larger in order to cover a wider area of distribution.

    Celriac Risotto & Pesto

    I noticed that I have a number of different risottos posted.  For Arthur and me its definitely one of the comfort foods.  This version is good to make with your fall storage celery root, that ugly but tasty vegetable. 

    1 good sized celery root which when cut up measures around 2 cups. 
    1 1/2 cup leeks, well-cleaned and sliced
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 1/2 cups arborio rice
    4 cups chicken broth, more if needed
    1/2 cup white wine (optional)
    1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

    Peel celery root and cut into slices to make about 2 cups.  Melt butter and stir in celery root and leeks.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, but not brown, stirring often.  Mix in rice; stir for 1 minute.  Add broth, starting with 3 cups and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until rice is tender but still al dente.  Stir and add more broth if needed.  Add wine if using.  Mix in 3/4 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.
    Stir in pre-made pesto to taste.  I used about 1/2 cup.  Serve with additional cheese sprinkled on top.

    You can also make a pesto with the celeriac tops and 1/4 cup olive oil if your celeriac happens to come with its green top (looks like celery).  Most celeriac have had the tops removed.  I guess you could also try making a pesto out of some regular celery including the leaves. 

    Adapted from

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Sweet Potato Burritos

    This is a good recipe to make now in the winter season.  The indoor farmers' market in Madison has sweet potatoes available from Don's Produce.  Gitt Organics now offers packages of homemade whole wheat and white tortillas at the market as well.  They are perfect for this recipe.

    1 1/2# of sweet potatoes
    3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (Penzey's is good)
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 cup corn kernels (defrost frozen)
    1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
    6 whole wheat tortillas
    Optional fillings:
    1/2 cup chopped green or ripe olives (I used about 1/4 cup stuffed green olives)
    3/4-1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican type cheese (actually almost any cheese will work fine)
    1 cup chopped tomatoes (I put these on top of the cooked burritos
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I mixed this with the tomatoes)

    Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes until tender.  400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes or the microwave for 15 minutes.  Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly.  Scoop out the insides of the potatoes and mash with the spices and lime juice.  Stir in the beans and corn. Add salt to taste.  Spoon the mixture into the tortillas along with any optional fillings.  Roll up and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through.  Top with the tomatoes and cilantro.

    Adapted from a recipe in Penzey's catalogue

    Beet & Kohlrabi Latkes with Horseradish Sour Cream

    This is recipe that appeared in our local newspaper, The Isthmus.  It was one of the prize winners in a local Food for Thought Recipe Contest sponsored by REAP.  The recipe was created by Claire Taylor of Madison, Wisconsin.

    Its a tasty way to use kohlrabi, a vegetable that you will probably find in your CSA box if you belong to a farm. 

    1 medium sized kohlrabi
    1 large or 2 smaller beets (either red or golden work well)
    1 small onion
    1 egg, beaten
    2-3 tablespoons flour
    salt and pepper
    oil for cooking the latkes

    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
    1 scallion, chopped
    pinch of salt

    Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl.
    Peel kohlrabi, beets and onion.  Coarsely grate the vegetables.  Place in strainer and press out excess liquid (I didn't really have any).  Mix the vegetables with the egg, flour and salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the skillet and press it out flat.  Fry until cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side.  Serve with the sauce. 
    The recipe can be doubled easily.  The latkes reheat nicely and I was pleased that I had doubled the recipe.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Tilapia with Apple/Celery Remoulade

    A remoulade is a condiment similar to tartar sauce.  What is not typical is the use of an apple in the sauce.  One does not usually think of fish and apples.  However this sauce served with the tilapia which is a very mild, easily acquired, sustainable fish, works well and is a tasty change from the typical toppings served with fish.

    2 tablespoon country Dijon mustard
    1/4 cup mayonnaise (light is OK, just not far free)
    1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon capers

    Put the apples and celery in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a couple of times to combine.

    1 1/2 lbs. tilapia fillets
    Dust the fish with flour on both sides to aid in browning.
    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil (not olive) in a pan.  Add the fish and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, probably about 2-3 minutes per side.  Do not overcook the fish.
    Serve with the remoulade on the side.

    Adapted from Nutrition Action Healthletter

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Beet Salad

    I have already posted a beet salad recipe but this one is a little different, extremeley easy and delicious.

    1# beets, red or golden
    1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
    1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp. sunflower-seed oil
    2 oz. goat cheese
    coarse ground black pepper
    Salad greens

    Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap beets in foil.  Roast until tender, about 1 hour.  Cool slightly; remove foil.  Rub off or peel skins; cut into thin wedges.  Toss with nuts and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add oil; toss.  Spoon over salad greens.  Crumble goat cheese on top.

    Note:  In the Madison WI area Driftless Organics and Cherokee Bison make some great sunflower seed oil that they sell at the farmers market.

    Adapted from

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Celery Root and Apple Soup with Caramelized Apples

    This is a delicious seasonal winter soup that can be made easily with produce available in the fall and winter, celery root, potatoes and apples.  We topped ours with a dollop of sour cream but that's optional. 

    2 tablespoons butter
    2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 1 2/3 cups)
    4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)
    2 celery roots, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 large apple, preferably tart, peeled, cored and chopped
    2 small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
    3 tablespoons cream or fat-free 1/2 & 1/2
    1/2 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and salt

    Caramelized apples
    2 teaspoons each unsalted butter and sugar
    1 or 2 tart apples, cored, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice

    Heat butter in soup pan, add onions, cover and cook until onions start to soften.  Add broth, celery roots, apple and potatoes.  Heat to boil.  Simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

    Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  If you don't have one, you can also use a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth. Add cream, sugar, nutmeg and salt.

    For caramelized apples, melt butter in non stick skillet.  Stir in apples and sugar.  Cook stirring often until tender and golden. 

    Serve soup topped with apples and sour cream if desired. 

    Adapted from Chicago Tribune

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Potato Turnip Patties

    When you read this recipe you might not think it sounds too appealing, but I just made them for supper and Arthur loved them and said I needed to post the recipe.  The amounts of the vegetables aren't important.  If you are still dealing with some fall or winter storage vegetables, as I am, this is a good way to use some of them. 

    2 cups mashed potatoes
    1 cup mashed turnips
    1/2-1 cup mashed carrots
    Cook the vegetables together and mash when tender.
    In the meantime, saute until tender:
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    Combine with the mashed vegetables
    Blend together:
    1 7 can or packet of tuna, in water
    1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is OK)
    2 eggs
    6 tablespoons flour
    1 cup unsweetened flake cereal (the original recipe called for corn flakes; I used toasted oat flakes)
    Salt & pepper to taste
    Optional: some additional herb or seasoning of your choice, about 1 teaspoon

    Mix together well.  If the mixture seems too soft add a little more cereal to absorb excess moisture.  Then drop mixture in large spoonfuls into a skillet or griddle sprayed or oiled with canola oil.  Flatten slightly.  Saute until until golden brown on both sides.  Be careful when turning the patties so that they don't fall apart.

    Adapted from

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Potato Arugula Salad

    This recipe is not at all seasonal but I just found it lurking among my papers and wanted to save it for next season's greens.  We like potato salad with clear French dressing and the addition of arugula gives the salad a nice lift.

    1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed
    3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    2 gloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped

    Cook potatoes in salted water for 10-15 minutes under tender, but not falling apart.  Drain.  Transfer to a bowl and add the combined vinegar & oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  When thoroughly cool, add the arugula and toss lightly.