Sunday, December 22, 2013

Moroccan Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers

In my previous post I mentioned the cookbook, Fresh Food Nation.  This is a another recipe that I tried and liked.  It called for preserved lemons which I just happened to have in my refrigerator.  I think you could substitute a little grated lemon peel. 

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 oz. mild fresh chilies, such as Anaheim, banana or Poblano peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise. You could also add jalapeno for a bit more heat or just use sweet peppers if you prefer. 
1-2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron (not essential)
Kosher salt to taste
1 medium chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons preserved lemon, chopped
1/2 cup stuffed green olives
1 1/2-2# potatoes cut into chunks, only peel if necessary.  You can use less potatoes if you prefer.

In a large deep skillet, lightly brown the chicken in the olive oil.  Add the chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, saffron, bay leaf, preserved lemon and olives.  Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes, 1/2-1 cup water and cook for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.  If the stew appears to have too much liquid, remove cover and cook a bit longer.  Check for seasonings and serve.

This is a very flavorful stew without being over spicy.  Served with a green salad and some pita or naan to sop up the tasty pan juices it makes a very easy and satisfying one dish meal.

Sweet Potato Cornbread with Pecans

This is a recipe that I adapted from the cookbook, Fresh Food Nation: Simple, Seasonal Recipes from America's Farmers, by Martha Holmberg in 2013.  "Fresh Food Nation is at the intersection of a big need and a big trend. The need is for recipes, techniques, and inspiration for fresh produce, especially vegetables. The trend is the growing desire to eat local and connect with the source of our food--not just because locally grown food is fresher and tastier, but because it offers emotional, environmental, and food safety benefits. CSAs (community-supported agriculture organizations)are the latest wave in the rising tide of eating local." 

I borrowed the book from our public library because I'm always on the lookout for good recipes to use the vegetables from our CSA share.  I've liked most of the recipes that I've tried.  I particularly liked this recipe because it combines a couple of my favorites: cornbread and pecans.  Plus it was a good way to use some of the sweet potatoes from our winter farm share.  You could also substitute pumpkin or winter squash for the sweet potatoes.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or a blend of other flours
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sunflower oil* (you could substitute canola oil)
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (probably 3 sweet potatoes depending on their size)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the dry ingredients including 1/2 the pecans if using.  In another bowl blend eggs, brown sugar and oil.  Add the sweet potatoes.  If you object to lumps you may want to combine these ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 

Add the dry ingredients to the sweet potato mixture and just stir just until combined.  Don't over mix. 

Heat a 9" or 10" cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan in the oven.  Place the butter in the pan until melted.  Scrape the batter into the hot pan; smooth the top and sprinkle remaining pecans over the top of the batter.  Place in the oven. 

Bake until the cornbread pulls away from the pan and center tests baked through.  This will take 35-45 minutes. 

Remove from oven.  It can be removed from the pan, but I didn't bother.  Cut into wedges and serve warm with butter.  Yum!

Store leftovers in the frig.  It reheats well for breakfast the next morning or snacks.

*Driftless Organics which happens to be our CSA farm also makes excellent sunflower oil.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes

This is a recipe for some wonderful cornmeal pancakes that I saw made on a Cook's Country TV show.  I love cornmeal in anything but they commented that some people don't like it because of the grittiness.  Arthur has some of those feelings, but he loved these pancakes.  I also wanted to post the recipe because usually after the season is over the recipes are no longer available.  I know because I've tried saving them before without success.

1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1. Whisk together 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and cornmeal. Stir in butter and microwave for 90 seconds stirring once during the cooking.  Stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs and remaining buttermilk together and whisk into cornmeal mixture.
3. Whisk cornmeal/egg mixture into flour mixture and let sit for 10 minutes before making the pancakes. 
4. Grease a nonstick skillet or griddle with vegetable oil or pan spray and heat over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup amounts of batter onto skillet and cook for two minutes per side, until pancakes are golden and set. You can keep the pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while finishing the rest of the batter.
5. Serve with butter and/or syrup.

Sweet Potato Chili

This is the first of a couple of sweet potato recipes that I want to post.  We've been getting some great sweet potatoes in our winter CSA share.  This recipe is from our CSA website (Driftless Organics) and is excellent because it makes a great complete meal with some good cornbread.

2 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped (can be frozen)
1 green pepper, chopped (can be frozen)
1 tsp. each cumin & coriander seed
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder (optional, but good)
¼ tsp. each mace and cinnamon
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 can (15 oz.) black beans with liquid
1 can (15 oz.) red, kidney, or pinto beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes with liquid OR 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
1 cup water, tomato juice, or chicken broth
Sour cream and cilantro for garnish
In soup pot, heat oil and add onions. Sauté until golden; add jalapenos and garlic.  Saute for a couple of minutes; add red/green peppers and spices.  Saute for another few minutes; add remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Add more liquid if it gets too thick.  Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

This is a copycat recipe for the soup served at Olive Garden where it is described as a soup of spicy sausage, fresh kale and russet potatoes in a creamy broth.  I made a few adaptations to the many recipes that I found online.  It is a delicious soup which could probably be made a bit more healthy but that's up to you if you decide to try it.

1# bulk Italian sausage
2 slices bacon
1 cup yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth (4 cups)
4 cups potatoes (no need to peel) cut into large cubes
4 cups chopped kale
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (or substitute 1/2 and 1/2--it just won't be quite as rich)
Garnish: shredded Parmesan cheese

Roughly chop the kale.  First remove the stems which are very tough and don't get tender.  I know because I tried cooking kale one time without doing this.  I have not repeated that experiment.

Brown the sausage.  Remove to drain.  Brown chopped bacon add the onions and cook until tender.  Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking.

If you have a lot of extra grease drain it off.  I use bacon produced by a local farmer and it does not have a lot of excess fat.

Pour in chicken broth.  Add the potatoes, kale and sausage.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender which will be 20-30 minutes.  Pour in the heavy cream and heat.  Test for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with the Parmesan cheese.

This soup reheats beautifully--still yummy the next day.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thai Green Curry with Red Kuri Squash

We got one of these lovely red squashes in one of our CSA boxes from Driftless Organics.  They grow lots of great squash which I'm very pleased about since winter squash is one of my favorite vegetables.  There are a lot of varieties and the red kuri is one of the prettiest and very tasty as well. 

I found this recipe for a Thai Green Curry and decided it was a worthy use of my squash.  If you go to the original website you can see pictures of the curry.  I'm not sure mine was quite as pretty but I think it tasted just as good.  I'm sure you could substitute other varieties of winter squash such as butternut with good results.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup of sliced onions, red or yellow
1 Anaheim pepper, cut into thin slices (flash-frozen bell peppers would also work well)
5-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2-in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tbsp. green curry paste (less or more depending on the spiciness of your paste)
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 (14 oz.) can of coconut milk
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
4 c. red kuri squash, cut into 1-in cubes (this was about 1/2 of my squash)
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. water
salt to taste
1-1 1/2 c. vegetable (I used 1/2 of a package of frozen stir fry vegetables, but broccoli, green beans, etc. would also work well)
1/2 c. fresh chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, pepper, garlic, ginger and sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the curry paste and curry powder and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in your coconut milk, soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, squash and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer, covered for around 15 minutes or until squash is tender but still holds its shape.
Add your additional veggies and simmer for 5 more minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Serve over brown rice, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I found a number of recipes that attempted to mimic the biscuits that are served at Red Lobster restaurants.  This was originally posted on, but I made a number of adaptations.  I was very pleased with the results and would have happily eaten all the biscuits myself.  Arthur is not a biscuit fan but admitted these were very good.  They are in no way healthy, but they make a tasty occasional treat.

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup cold milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Topping ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the butter into the baking mix.  Add the milk, cheese and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder.  You should have a stiff dough that you can roll out.  Lightly flour a surface, roll out the dough 1" thick and cut into biscuits.  Place the biscuits on an ungreased pan.
To make the topping melt the butter and add the seasonings.  Brush the unbaked biscuits with the topping. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or lightly golden brown.  Eat the biscuits while they are warm.

Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour Cream

We had Thanksgiving yesterday with one of my daughter's and her family.  They requested that I bring mashed potatoes with leeks and said I had made the dish before. I didn't remember making it but I did a bit of searching and found what sounded like a very good recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.

4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and preferably organic
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and light green portions, finely chopped and rinsed well
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1⁄2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper or to taste
Cut the potatoes into large, uniform chunks. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover partially and cook the potatoes, stirring once or twice, until they are very tender, about 30-40 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender, 12-15 minutes.

Return the potatoes to the saucepan and place the pan over low heat to dry off the excess moisture. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes thoroughly. Stir in the leeks and butter. Add the sour cream and stir well. Add the 1/2 and 1/2, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper and stir vigorously until light and fluffy. You can also finish the potatoes using a hand mixer.

You can easily make half of the recipe, but the potatoes reheat well.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Sausage

I've posted recipes for stuffed delicata squash previously but I just made this one this week and we thought it was delicious.  Leftovers heat up well for lunch too.  I love this squash!  It is so sweet and tender.  It doesn't keep as well as some of the harder shelled squash so be sure to use it sooner than later.

4 delicata squash, halved and seeded
l large onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-4 stalks of celery, finely diced
2 large carrots, finely diced
1# of bulk Italian sausage
1 cup soft whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place halved and seeded squash cut side down in a large roasting pan.  Cover with foil and roast until tender.  It can take from 40-60 minutes.  While the squash is baking, brown the sausage.  Make sure it is broken up into small pieces.  I use my potato masher as it cooks to break up the sausage.  Remove the meat to a bowl.  Drain off excess fat if your sausage isn't lean.  Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté until tender.  Combine with the sausage.  Add the breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley to the mixture.  Add salt & pepper as needed.  After the squash is cooked, you can either stuff the squash with the filling or scoop out the squash and combine it with the filling before stuffing the squash shells.  I was getting hungry so I just stuffed the squash halves as is.  Return to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes so the stuffing browns a bit.

This recipe can easily be cut in half if you don't have 4 squash.  The other option would be to make all the filling and freeze what you didn't use until you get more squash.

Adapted from Generation Y Foodie

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

I may have mentioned before when you have a full CSA share you need to expand your thinking on when to eat vegetables.  They're not just for dinner.  I try to think of ways to incorporate vegetables into our weekend breakfasts.  We got sweet potatoes in our last box.  I found this recipe and adapted it for one of our breakfasts.

1/2 cup of diced onion
1/2 cup of sweet peppers
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 pork sausage breakfast links, cut into pieces
2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
2 cups of spinach or any other tender greens that are available.  I used the tops from our hakuri turnips.
3-4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese (whatever you have available)
avocado to garnish, if available.  I didn't have any.

The quantities are very flexible for this dish.  These are just guidelines.  You can also add mushrooms if you wish.

Use a large skillet, heat and add about 2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil (Driftless Organics offers very good oil).  Sauté the onions, peppers, and sausage pieces until tender.  More oil can be added if needed. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté until tender.  Add the greens and stir into the other ingredients until they are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.  Make wells in the mixture and beak an egg into each well.  Cover the pan until the egg yolks are cooked to your liking.  Just before the eggs are finished sprinkle with cheese so that it has a chance to melt.

If by any chance, you have made some of the Roasted Pepper Spread (last recipe), a little of this on top of the hash is very tasty.

This could easily be made into a vegetarian breakfast by eliminating the sausage and if necessary the eggs.  Although I think the eggs in particular add a lot to the dish.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

We went to a pizza party at our CSA farm, Driftless Organics, in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago.  They have a guy come with his portable wood fired pizza oven that looks like a little igloo and make pizzas to order.  The members bring salads and desserts.  At this point, my refrigerator was somewhat overrun with peppers.  I found a recipe online for Roasted Red Pepper Spread.  Naturally I tinkered with it.  I only decided to make half the recipe which called for 6# of peppers.

The quantities for this recipe are quite flexible.

3# of sweet peppers, whatever varieties you have available.  The cute little mini peppers don't work very well.  The skins are too thin.
2 oz. of hot peppers.  I used 1/2 of a habanero pepper which was way too much and produced a very hot spread.  It would probably be better to use 1 or 2 jalapenos.  If using hotter peppers just add a small quantity at a time.
1/2# of tomatoes.  Plum tomatoes are ideal, but use what you have.
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons of thinly sliced fresh basil (I forgot to add it to mine)
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Cut the peppers in half.  Remove the stem and seeds.  Place on a foil lined cookie sheet cut side down.  Drizzle all the vegetables with olive or sunflower seed oil.  Also roast the tomatoes which have been cut in 1/2 cut side down, the onions and the garlic in a 400 degree oven until the vegetables are tender and the skin browned, 15-20 minutes. Don't let the garlic get too brown or it will taste rather burned.  When the vegetables are tender remove them and place in a bowl and cover.  Let them sit until cook enough to handle. 

When the peppers and tomatoes have cooled, remove as much of the skin as you can.  Don't worry if some is left.  Put the tomatoes and peppers in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  If you have a really strong blender you may not need to remove the tomato skins.  Add the onions and garlic and chop.  They do not need to be pureed. 

Add all the ingredients to a stainless steel pan and cook until it is as thick as you want it.  The spread should be thick enough to mound on a spoon.  Be sure to stir and not let it scorch on the bottom.  Taste the mixture to see if it is seasoned as you want.

You can store it in the refrigerator or freeze if you have more than you will use in a week or two.

It is very good served with crackers and cream cheese.  Its also tasty on eggs and tortillas for breakfast.

Adapted from Foodie with Family.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Broccoli, Quinoa & Broccoli Pesto

I found this recipe for using broccoli on the Blue Moon Community Farm website.  Kristen, who is the farmer, has a lot of good recipes for using produce.  This dish is so healthy I feel better just thinking about it.  It also tastes good!

In case you are not familiar with quinoa.  Quinoa has been called a superfood.  Protein content is very high for a cereal/grain product. Quinoa's protein content per 100 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet. Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. A nice plus is that is also very mild in flavor and mixes with other ingredients well.

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa*
  • 5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 big pinches salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2
  • Optional toppings: slivered basil, sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese

    1. Heat the quinoa and set aside.
    2. Steam the broccoli lightly. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer. Set aside.
    3. To make the broccoli pesto puree two cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.
    4. Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about 1/2 of the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add more of the pesto a bit at a time, or you might want a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.
    *To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. 

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Turkey & Zucchini Burgers

    At this time of the year in Wisconsin, we see a lot of zucchini and summer squash.   I never mind getting the squash in my CSA box or from my friends, because it is so versatile.  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes, a great food blog with tons of excellent recipes + pictures (unlike mine).  According to Elise Bauer, "The shredded zucchini added to the mix makes these turkey burgers incredibly moist. Both turkey and zucchini can be a little dull flavor-wise, but you when boost them with herbs and spices like mint, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and cayenne, they are anything but dull."

  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • Just under 2 cups, lightly packed, coarsely grated zucchini
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, onion greens included
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (tender stems included)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    Sour cream sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
    Make the sour cream sauce by placing all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stirring until combined. Chill until ready to use.
    In a large bowl place the grated zucchini, sliced green onions, chopped mint, cilantro, and garlic, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir to combine. Mix in the ground turkey until the zucchini mixture is well distributed through the ground turkey.
    Form 3 to 4 inch wide patties, placing them on a baking sheet. Work with the patties carefully since they are very moist.
    Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium. Working in batches, place the patties in the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then flip the patties over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. You want them to brown and to gently cook all the way through.
    Once the first batch of patties are done, remove to a paper towel-lined plate while you cook the second batch. Or you can keep the patties warm in a 200°F oven.
    Serve with the sour cream sauce.
    Adapted from Simply

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Cucumber & Blueberry Salad with Feta

    This is a very good and rather unusual summer salad.  The ingredients for it are plentiful now in the summer months.

    3 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly (1/2 moon shape) (about 4 cups)
    1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries
    Salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cup any vinaigrette dressing you like, a balsamic is a good choice
    3-4 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
    1 cup or less (about 1/4#) crumbled feta cheese.  I used goat feta cheese from DreamFarm.

    Combine cucumbers and blueberries.  Season with salt & pepper.
    Add dressing, mint, and feta.  Toss gently to combine

    You could serve this over a bed of salad greens if you like.

    Adapted from a Wegman's recipe. 

    Cucumber & Blueberry Salad with Feta

    This is a very good and rather unusual summer salad.  The ingredients for it are plentiful now in the summer months.

    3 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly (1/2 moon shape) (about 4 cups)
    1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries
    Salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cup any vinaigrette dressing you like, a balsamic is a good choice
    3-4 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
    1 cup or less (about 1/4#) crumbled feta cheese.  I used goat feta cheese from DreamFarm.

    Combine cucumbers and blueberries.  Season with salt & pepper.
    Add dressing, mint, and feta.  Toss gently to combine

    You could serve this over a bed of salad greens if you like.

    Adapted from a Wegman's recipe. 

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Chorizo & Roasted Pepper Sausage Gravy over Herbed Biscuits

    This isn't a summer produce recipe.  In fact I made it in the cold weather, but I really thought it made a great weekend breakfast and don't want to lose it.  Biscuits are one of my favorites.  I also discovered I love sausage gravy over biscuits.  Definitely not something I grew up with.  It isn't always easy to get good sausage gravy and biscuits in northern  restaurants.  This recipe steps it up a notch and adds herbs to the biscuits and chorizo to the sausage gravy.  If you aren't able to get chorizo, Italian sausage also works well in this recipe.

    Herbed breakfast biscuits (12)
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    ½ cup whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose flour)
    2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    2 to 3 teaspoons sugar, to taste
    ½ teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
    3 tablespoons trans fat-free vegetable shortening, very cold
    3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or chives (or a combination)
    ¾ cup whole milk or half-and-half, very cold

     Milk for brushing on top

    1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put flours, baking powder, sugar and salt into a food processor or into a large bowl. Pulse or stir to mix. Drop diced butter and shortening randomly over the flour mixture. Pulse or use two knives to cut the butter and shortening into the flours until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in herbs. Sprinkle the milk over the mixture. Pulse or stir until the mixture barely gathers into a ball.
    2. Remove from food processor and gently roll or press into an even 1/2-inch thick circle. Use a floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut into circles. Place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Very gently gather up the scraps; roll into a 1/2-inch thick piece and cut more biscuits.
    3. Brush the tops with milk; bake until tops are golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

    Chorizo and roasted pepper sausage gravy
    1 package (12 ounces) Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed (1# bulk Italian sausage also works well in this recipe)
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    3 cups whole milk or a combination of skim milk and 1/2 & 1/2
    6 tablespoons flour
    1/2 cup diced bottled roasted red bell pepper
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    Chopped fresh cilantro

    1. Crumble chorizo sausage into a cast-iron pan or nonstick skillet. Add onion. Cook until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer sausage and onion with a slotted spoon to a plate.
    2.  Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings. Mix 1/2 cup of the milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into pan drippings; stir in remaining milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in sausage, diced red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Heat to warm through, 1-2 minutes. Serve over biscuits; sprinkle generously with cilantro.

    Adapted from the Chicago Tribune

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Summer Squash Casserole

    At this time of the year you will probably consistently see either summer squash or zucchini in your CSA share.  I can never get too much of either one because it is so versatile.
    You can use zucchini or yellow summer squash to make this squash casserole.  It is a very basic casserole but to me it is really comfort food.

  • 2 pounds squash thickly sliced (7 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (about 1/2 of 8 ounce package)  I prefer Pepperidge Farm brand

    Cook squash with onion in boiling salt water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Combine soup and sour cream. Stir in shredded carrot. Fold in drained squash and onion. Melt butter; toss with stuffing mix. Spread half of the stuffing in a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish (about 1 1/2 to 2-quart size). Spoon vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining stuffing mixture. Bake at 350° until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    French Potato Salad

    We went to my son and daughter-in-law's for the July 4 weekend.  I was asked to bring potato salad, but my son doesn't like mayonnaise.  I found this recipe for French Potato Salad on the Food Network.  It was originally a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  I made a few adaptations. This is a great salad for picnics because you don't have to worrry about keeping it cold. It is good at room temperature.

    I love the variety of fresh herbs in this version.  I have an herb garden on my deck so at this time of the year fresh herbs are readily accessible.

    If I made this recipe again I would double the recipe.

    2# white or red potatoes or a mixture (if organic, no need to peel)
    2 tablespoons dry white wine
    2 tablespoons chicken stock
    3 tablespoons white wine or tarragon vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
    3/4 tsp. black pepper
    1/2 cup good olive oil
    1/4 cup green onions (white and green parts), chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
    2 tablespoons chiffonaded fresh basil

    Cut the potatoes in chunks and cook in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until just tender.  Drain potatoes.  Toss gently with white wine and chicken broth.  Allow to soak into potatoes before proceeding.

    Combine vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk in olive oil.  Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes.  Add the green onions, dill, parsley, basil and additional salt and pepper as needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This can be made the night before.

    Strawberry Bread

    Unfortunately we are coming to the end of the strawberry season.  It is so short, at least here in Wisconsin.  If you still have a few berries available this is a great recipe to use them.  I brought a sample to work today and the response was, "I must have that recipe!" 

    1 1/2 Cups fresh strawberries, sliced
    1 Cup granulated sugar, divided
    1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon from Penzeys if available)
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract 
    1/2 Cup melted butter (1 stick)
    1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional but good)

    Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour a standard glass (8x5”) loaf pan. Rinse, core and slice the strawberries, place in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 Cup sugar. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then add the vanilla and melted butter. Make sure the melted butter isn't too hot-just barely melted. Stir in the strawberries. Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the pecans (if using) and blend.  Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the bread from the pan.  It is delicious served warm.

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    Cottage Cheese Pancakes

    I found myself with some leftover cottage cheese in the frig.  I'm not a cottage cheese fan, but I like it in food where I don't have to deal with the strange consistency.  These pancakes sounded promising and they turned out to be very good, especially after I added some fresh strawberries to the batter.  I also added some coarsely chopped pecans, both are totally optional. I know that some people don't like "stuff" in their pancakes.  The cottage cheese also adds some protein to the pancakes.

    1 cup unbleached flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    4 eggs
    1 cup cottage cheese
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons oil (canola or sunflower seed)
    1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, milk and oil.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk just until blended.  At the this point you can add the strawberries and pecans if using.

    Spray a griddle with cooking spray or brush with oil.  Be sure the griddle is hot.  Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook until the top begins to form small bubbles.  Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on both sides.

    These pancakes are very tasty spread with a little butter and sprinkled with Penzeys vanilla sugar.

    Adapted from Whole Foods

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Oyster Stew

    This recipe does not adhere to my usual local produce and ingredients focus.  However, yesterday the Fabian Seafood truck came to Madison with their delicious, fresh shrimp, oysters, etc.  We decided to make oyster stew.  I used the recipe from Simply Recipes and made a few changes.  It is quick easy and lovely comfort food.

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 pint oysters with their liquor
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cream (can use all milk if you want)
  • Splash of hot sauce
  • Salt (if needed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced

  • 1 Strain the oyster juice through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl to remove any grit. Reserve the juices.
    2 Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Saute the celery and onions until tender.  Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for a few minutes, stirring often.
    3 Add the oyster juice from the drained oysters. The flour in the roux will absorb the liquid and turn into a paste. Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring to incorporate as you pour them in. Add a healthy splash or two of hot sauce, to taste. Heat the soup over low heat until it begins to thicken slightly. (Do not let the soup boil!) If you are working with large oysters, you may want to chop them into bite-sized pieces. Add the oysters and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters just begin to curl.  I did quarter my oysters since they were very large.
    4 Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

    Adapted from Simply (