Last Post of 2013

Wow! It always amazes me when we get to the end of another CSA season.  The season flies by filled with delicious produce and then we are plunged into Michigan winter.  Hopefully you have some yummy veggies canned or in the freezer to remind you of the summer’s bounty.  A soup pulled out of the freezer in January will bring a smile to my face as I remember the yummy produce from the harvest.   Here is another soup that we really enjoy.  It is a little spicy so you could tone down the curry if you so desired.  I love the velvety texture of butternut squash pureed in a soup.  I hope you enjoyed the recipes throughout the summer.  Sorry I didn’t get in as many pictures as I had hoped for.  It always drove me nuts when I realized we had eaten a dish the night before that I needed a picture of.  Alas.  I will probably start taking pictures of everything I cook now.  It did make me laugh when I’d be taking a picture and one of my kids would be unimpressed with the presentation and alter it accordingly for me.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
3.5 Tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons curry powder
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut
1 cup apple juice
Fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped onion
2 butternut squash, cut into chunks
3 cups chicken broth
.5 teaspoons salt
In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add onions and curry powder.  Cook covered 20 minutes over low heat.  Pour in broth.  Add squash and apple chunks.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer until squash and apples are tender about 20-25 minutes.  Transfer chunks to blender.    Add some liquid (.5 cups) and process until smooth.  Return soup to pan.  Add juice and remaining reserved liquid until you reach desired consistency.  Keep warm over low heat.

Here is a wonderful side dish that uses the butternut squash in a different way.  This is great as a Thanksgiving side.

Wild Rice with Butternut Squash, Leeks and Corn (from Bon Appetit)
1.5 cups wild rice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3.5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 Tablespoons butter
1.5 cups finely chopped leeks (white part only)
1.5 cups corn
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Rinse rice in strainer under cold water; drain. Bring 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons coarse salt to boil in large saucepan. Add rice; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until rice grains begin to split and are tender but still slightly chewy, about 45 minutes. Drain. Spread on rimmed baking sheet to cool. Transfer to bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil rimmed baking sheet. Toss squash cubes and 3 tablespoons oil in medium bowl. Spread squash in single layer on prepared sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast just until tender but firm enough to hold shape, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer squash to bowl. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and 3/4 cup water; simmer until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Add corn; simmer 2 minutes longer. Add rice and butternut squash; simmer until heated through and liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Posted in butternut squash, leeks, onions, parsley, White Onion, winter squash | Leave a comment

Some closing thoughts…

Hello All,
What an amazing season of produce and hands on learning!  I was in absolute glee over this years share.  Thank you to Groundswell and their hard working staff for making it happen. Hats off to you! 

This 2013 Groundswell CSA blog page was my first opportunity to blog, and I have to say, wow….what a learning curve! I had taken an oath to myself promising to take all my own photos  and to not use any old standby recipes, but to try all new dishes.  I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, although a few old favorites still made their way on to the page. Thank you for coming along for the ride!  I hope you found a few new favorites for your recipe book, along the way.
 To close out the year, I have included two new recipes that I have just lobbed on to and hope you will give them a run too! 

Cheers and best wishes to you!

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Grated Carrot Salad with Dates and Nuts
serves 3 as a side dish

Dressing
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 medium size carrots, grated in food processor
1/4+ cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, walnuts or almonds, chopped
1 Tbs shredded mint

  • Using a dry skillet on low heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the seeds to a bowl.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients, add the cumin seeds and set aside.
  • Mix the carrots, dates, pistachios and mint together in a bowl. Pour on the dressing and toss till fully coated.

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Cranberry/Cilantro Salsa
serves 4 as an appetizer

1 (12 oz.) bag of frozen cranberries
1 bunch of cilantro
2 scallions, thinly sliced
pinch of salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup maple syrup

corn tortillas and sour cream for serving

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and just pulse a few times until the berries are cut up to your liking.  Enjoy!  (I am sure not as much sour cream is needed as shown in my photo, but it is soooo tasty! Really balances the acidity of the berries.)
  • I made this numerous times over the last two weeks and noticed that if you over pulse, it goes from a salsa to a puree, which I didn’t enjoy.   Although,…the puree would be fabulous with leftover turkey for sandwiches, (think Thanksgiving!).
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Final thoughts

It’s been a great year for exploring vegetables in our family. Here are a few more tidbits we’ve learned.

1. The best way to cook brussel sprouts is to caramelize some onions, put a little maple syrup on them, dice and crisp up some bacon, and toss it all with the sprouts and a bit of garlic. Put it in the oven (350) for 10 minutes to cook through. This makes a great side dish!

2. Our favorite soup recipe is standard chicken noodle (or rice, or quinoa). We always make a pot of soup after we have cooked a whole chicken (the rotisserie chickens from the supermarket work too) earlier in the week. It’s a favorite Sunday meal. We take the remains of the chicken and put it in a soup pot with a few bay leaves and lots of water. Boil for 3-4 hours, adding water as needed. Remove chicken from stock, pick the meat off the bones and return to pot. Add an onion, some carrots, celery, some diced kale, and whatever seasonings fit your tastes (we like Costco’s no salt seasoning). Add noodles, rice or quinoa about 30 mins before serving.

3. Cut up green peppers and spread peanut butter on them for a quick, healthy, and surprisingly scrumptious snack!

That’s all for me on the blog this year. I hope you have found some ideas along the way to incorporate into your family’s menu! It’s been a pleasure to write, and thank you for reading!

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Fall Food

As the fall weather really sets in, there is a real comfort in cooking. The pace of life seems to naturally slow down as the weather changes. My family’s eating habits shift as well to very savory, slow-cooked meals.

This year has been a great growing year for my family and our CSA relationship. Although I am still learning to use everything each week, we have added many new recipes to our family’s meal lineup. A change is happening in my son’s eating habits as well, as when the CSA season started, I believe he survived on air. But now he tries most of the food that we give him. He has helped prepare many dishes in the kitchen, and he eats a wide variety of vegetables (lately he’s developed a vendetta against peas though).

Pumpkin is a vegetable that we dove into last year. Up until that point neither my husband nor I had ever actually cooked a pumpkin. Sure, we carved many, but they were decorative, not edible (except of course, the seeds, which I will touch on later). `

Check out this link if you have questions about turning a whole pumpkin into a much better version than the canned stuff: http://chefinyou.com/2009/10/pumpkin-puree-recipe/

Harvest Pumpkin Soup

original source: http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/09/harvest-pumpkin-soup/

Rich and creamy Harvest Pumpkin Soup is sure to warm you up when the air turns crisp.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed
2 cups water
1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin purée
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Blue cheese crumbles
Toasted walnuts
Pumpkin seeds

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the broth, water, pumpkin and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the flavors have melded.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before working in batches to purée the soup in a blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the soup to a clean pot. Stir in the half-and-half. (additional broth may be added as necessary to adjust the soup’s consistency) Heat the soup gently over low heat until hot (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Nutritional Information per serving (1 cup): 140 calories; 7 grams of fat; 4 grams of saturated fat; 3 grams of protein; 18 grams of carbohydrates; 4 grams of fiber;15 milligrams of cholesterol; 300 milligrams of sodium.

Source: adapted from USA Today originally from Soups, Stews & Chilis

Pumpkin can be turned into ravioli as well (and pasta for that matter)…

Easy Pumpkin Ravioli

Take a small pumpkin and made a puree out of it. On the stovetop add heavy whipping cream to taste (1/2 package or so) and whatever spices you prefer (we like curried spices in this dish, but sweet spices like nutmeg and maple syrup would be tasty too). Make the ravioli out of wonton wrappers, flash boil and saute. The result is delicious!

My husband brews beer for a living, and recently, he brewed a beer in collaboration with other local brewers centered around the theme of pumpkin. Besides using the pumpkin itself, my husband engineered this pumpkin seed recipe to put into the brew. He was hard pressed to get the seeds to the brewery before Gus and I ate them all. They are deliciously sweet and a bit savory! (The seeds that escaped our mandibles ended up ground and put into beer, which I am anxious to try!)

Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds
Coat with 2tbsp maple syrup
Smoke
Remove from smoker
Coat with 2tbsp maple plus a pinch of salt
Spread on greased cookie sheet
Bake at 350* till golden and caramelly, stirring occasionally

We have had so much eggplant this year, and using it has been a great adventure in our house. It  has been the vegetable that we have had the most surprising luck with (neither my husband or I were big eggplant fans to begin with). We found this crockpot recipe that turned out a nice little dish to eat with Naan bread. Albeit, I would recommend this as a side rather than a main course.

Punjambi Eggplant and Potatoes

Original source: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2011/07/recipe-for-slow-cooker-punjabi-eggplant-with-potatoes.html

Slightly adapted from The Indian Slow Cooker, this recipe serves 8 (can be halved).

Ingredients

2 medium eggplants, stem end removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice (approx. 10-12 cups)
1 large Idaho or Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ginger paste (or grated fresh ginger root)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground red chile pepper
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Directions

Combine eggplant, potato, onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño peppers, cumin, ground chile pepper, garam masala, turmeric and oil in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Stir as best you can to distribute the spices and oil. (The smaller cooker will be frighteningly full, but don’t worry; the eggplant will cook down.) Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour.

After the first two hours of cooking, stir well. There should be a nice amount of moisture in the cooker, and the eggplant should have collapsed a bit. If there is plenty of liquid in the pot, continue cooking on LOW for 30 minutes, uncovered. If there’s not much liquid, cook on LOW for 30 minutes with the cover on.

Add the salt and cilantro, to taste. (Salt added during the cooking will draw more moisture out of the eggplant, so it’s best added at the end.)

Finally we come to a dish that my husband “invented” last year that has been a great way of using up vegetables in a delectably different way. The idea stemmed from my husband’s interest in learning how to make a decent risotto (a dish which takes a bit of care and patience to execute well). Rather than using rice to make a risotto, we decided to go a different route.

Root-sotto

Cube any root vegetables that you have on hand (sweet potatoes, celeriac, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, even squash works). We also add dried mushrooms (fancy varieties) to the mix.

Place all the vegetables in a saute pan on the stove and cook it while adding chicken (or vegetable, both are tasty) stock to the vegetables. We tend to use between one and 2 quarts depending on the amount of vegetables that we begin with. The idea is to keep adding stock until the vegetables are all cooked to tender. But the result is a sort of “hash”.

Once you are nearly done cooking the dish, stir in a cheese (we prefer aged white cheddar or bleu). Serve.

Thanks for reading this season! Cheers!

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Quick and Tasty Fall Dishes

It is harvest time and I am preserving every fresh vegetable I can get my hands on!   In my world, that means canning and freezing.  With a preservation frenzy in full swing, there is not a lot of time for fixing big elaborate dinners in my kitchen.  I am more likely to prepare a few salads/dishes that can be made on the weekend and then quickly pulled out and served during the week.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This Apple Fennel salad is magnificent!  Lots of great flavors and don’t forget the goat cheese at the end!

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Apple and Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese
(serves 4)

Dressing
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt

2 fennel bulbs, stems removed and bulbs thinly sliced
2 apples (galas are my favorite for this, but any sweet red apple will do) cored and chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or almonds
3-4 sprigs of mint, rinsed, leaves removed and sliced thin
4 oz of goat cheese, crumbled

  • Whisk all dressing ingredients together and adjust to your taste. Set aside.
  • Place the fennel, apples, jalapeno, dates, nuts and mint in a bowl and toss. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss until well coated.
  • Place in fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
  • Toss salad again before serving and top with crumbled goat cheese. Enjoy!

Who doesn’t enjoy a big ole’ pot of sweet and tangy baked beans on an autumn afternoon? We do! What if you could get a healthy dose of greens in there too? This is our favorite recipe for baked beans with the addition of kale.   The best part is it makes a super easy leftover for a second dinner; just reheat on low in a saucepan (w/lid) with a little water to keep it from sticking to the bottom…dinner is served!

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Kale/Swiss Chard and BBQ Baked Beans
adapted from Great American Recipes
(serves 6)

8 slices of bacon (certainly can be omitted if you are not a meat eater)
2 cups onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans
15-20 leaves of kale/swiss chard, destemmed and chopped fine

Sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

  • Place all sauce ingredients into a medium size bowl and whisk till smooth. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and move racks far enough down to accommodate a large baking pot with lid, such as a dutch oven or Le crueset pot.
  • On the stove top, preheat large dutch oven or Le crueset to medium high, lay in bacon strips and cook, turning occasionally, till crisp. Remove and place on paper towel, leaving bacon fat in the pot. Add the onions and garlic, sautéing for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Meanwhile, place the beans in a colander and rinse thoroughly, drain and then add to the onion/garlic mixture. Chop the bacon and also add.  Then add the kale and stir to mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour the sauce on top, mix to fully coat and put the lid on the pot. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until the top begins to look carmelized and darker in color. Don’t let it burn! Remove and serve with tortilla chips for dipping, keeping in mind that it will be screaming hot for another 30 minutes so do be careful!

What to do with all the eggplant, right? Here is a simple and absolutely delicious combination, using eggplant and those beautiful red peppers. If you are really trying to eat seasonally you will notice there are some windows of opportunity for certain combinations of veggies that you simply cannot wait to arrive. We have been enjoying this dish for years and anxiously await the season!

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Roasted Eggplant Spread
adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa’s Cookbook
serves 4, as an appetizer

1 medium eggplant, not peeled (I used 3 of the skinner purple ones last week and it was the perfect amount)
2 small red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs tomato paste (open a small can, scoop out the 1 Tbs and put the rest on a wax paper and into the freezer

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut the eggplant, bell pepper and onion into 1-inch cubes.
    Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.
  • Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. It should still be chunky but in small enough pieces to spread on crackers or pita bread.
  • Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper). Serve with your favorite pita chips, tortilla chips, or crackers.

Most nights I give my son a choice between two vegetables, one that I want him to try and one that I know he doesn’t like, (a Mama has to have a few tricks!).  Either way it is beneficial, because he usually ends up liking a new one or at least we get a second shot at a prior rejected veggie. One night, my son declared he would try the cauliflower, chosen over mushrooms, (okay, I was really desperate to get him to try the cauliflower).  But he promised, “Mama, I know I won’t like it.” After eating a second helping, I gently reminded him of the Green Eggs and Ham story (Dr. Suess), with Sam, who swore he wouldn’t like those green eggs and ham….until he finally tried them!

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon/ Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
(serves 4)

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1″ florets
4 tsp of olive oil, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
2 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs of water
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

  • Place oven rack in top position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp olive oil, and season with salt. Spread on large cookie sheet, and bake on top rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender and slightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic in oil 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in tahini, lemon juice, 5 Tbs water and salt. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Divide cauliflower among plates. Whisk sauce, then spoon over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parsley and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Funny thing about Swiss Chard/Kale…it looks like a whole big pile of green stuff, until you cook it and it transforms into a tiny little pile of green stuff!  If this recipe looks familiar, that would be because I posted the same combination for pizza in the beginning of the season. I am including it again, but in a sandwich format, because it works so well with the weekly kale/swiss chard pickup and has turned out to be one of our favorites, especially with my 4-year-old!

In order to make 2 sandwiches each for 3 people (6 sandwiches total), you need 20 leaves of greens, so I stock-pile and after two weeks of pickup I am ready to make them. Yes, greens can be left unwashed (for some reason they last longer this way) and wrapped in a ziplock bag, for 2 weeks.

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Swiss Chard, Cheddar and BBQ sauce on Sourdough
(serves 3, two sandwiches each)

- 20 leaves of swiss chard, stems removed, chopped fine
– salt
– 1 Tbs bacon fat or olive oil
- 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce (you can use your favorite, but if you don’t have a favorite you can use mine (listed below this recipe).   I am sure once you try it, you will be hooked.  This is the kind of Q-sauce that makes an old shoe edible!
- cheddar cheese, sliced (enough for your preference, I do two slices per sandwich)
– good sourdough bread, thickly sliced and buttered on one side (I use Nantucket Bakery or Wealthy Street Bakery for sourdough, but in a pinch you can get garlic bread loaves at Costco that work pretty good too)

  • Heat a large iron skillet to medium and add the bacon fat or olive oil. Heat to medium, add the finely chopped swiss chard/kale and mix to thoroughly coat with the oil. Cook for about 4 minutes, occasionally stirring so it doesn’t burn or stick to the skillet.
  • Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan with BBQ sauce, and turn on low. 
  • Remove the kale from the skillet and scrape into the saucepan with the BBQ sauce. Stir and heat for a minute, until warm and bubbly, but not boiling. Turn off the burner and move the BBQ/kale mixture to the side.
  • Clean out the same skillet, heat to medium and butter well. Place four slices of bread in the skillet, butter side down.
  • Layer on the cheese and put a lid on the skillet for just a minute or two, until the cheese melts. The lid helps the cheese melt, but you have to make sure your skillet is not up too high which would cause the bottom of the bread to burn.  When the cheese is melted, use a metal spatula to remove each piece of bread to a plate.
  • Place the matching pieces of bread into the skillet, butter side down. Spread a heaping spoonful of the BBQ/Kale mixture on top of each piece of bread.   Place the corresponding cheese/bread slice on top, making it a complete sandwich.
  • This method of constructing the sandwich helps you avoid trying to flip the sandwiches, which is tricky once you add the BBQ/Kale mixture.
  • Allow the underside of the bread to cook till browned, remove and serve. These will be screaming hot, so don’t dive in until they have cooled a few minutes. Enjoy!

BBQ Sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (you can buy these at Meijer in the International aisle.

  • Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat until bubbly on sides of the saucepan. Remove, cool, store in a mason jar in fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy the last couple weeks of the summer CSA pickup.  If you wish to continue on with your veggies, don’t forget to sign up for the Winter CSA, which runs from November thru mid December! 
Lisa McLean

Posted in cauliflower, chard, eggplant, fennel, garlic, gluten free, kale, parsley, sweet peppers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Soup Weather with a little hope for some Indian Summer

Despite absolutely glorious weather for the last 2 weeks, today definitely feels like winter may be right around the corner. This weather makes me want nice thick, homemade soup for lunch/dinner and to store some in the freezer so that when I don’t have as many wonderful fresh vegetables available to me, I can pull out a homemade batch of soup. Both of the following soups can be prepared and then frozen for a later meal. For the pumpkin soup, you could substitute butternut squash, buttercup squash or calabaza for the pumpkin if necessary.
Pumpkin Pear Soup
1 pie pumpkin, about 2.5 pounds, baked and chopped (see below for instructions)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cans (or about 40 ounces) chicken/vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
To prepare the pumpkin or which ever squash is being used, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into quarters. Put on baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool and then peel. Now you can chop it up for the recipe.
Cook carrots, celery, onion and pears in butter in a large pot for 10 minutes. Add the broth, nutmeg, cinnamon, syrup, salt and pepper and pumpkin. Simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree with a stick blender or in a blender (if you use a blender and it is still hot, remember to take out the insert in the top and hold a clean dish towel over the opening to allow steam to escape). Return to pan. (If you are going to freeze the soup, this is the time. When you are ready to serve it, heat the soup up and continue the recipe.) Pour 1/2 cup of cream into soup. Beat the rest in a bowl. Stir the cardamom into the whipped cream. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Dollop with whipped cream.
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Split Pea Soup with Ham (The New Basics Cookbook)
1 pound dried green split peas
5 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks (I prefer the ham bone to the ham hocks)
2 ribs celery, leaves included, diced
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon leaves
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
1 leek (white part only), rinsed and sliced
1 cup slivered fresh spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the split peas in a strainer and then combine them with the stock and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Add the ham bone, celery, 1 Tablespoon of the parsley and the tarragon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, onion and leek. Cook until the vegetables are wilted, 10 minutes. Add them to the soup pot, along with the spinach. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat. Remove the ham bone and shred the meat from the bone, removing any excess fat. Return the meat to the soup. Add the sherry, pepper and remaining 2 Tablespoons parsley. Heat through and serve immediately.

Another favorite cold weather dish around here is pot pies. Actually I could probably serve this at any point in the year and it would be a hit but I enjoy it more in fall or winter. This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classic Cookbook. When I was growing up I know I always preferred pot pies that had crust around the whole pie and not just on the top so, rather than do the biscuit topping the original recipe calls for, I use a pie crust and line 4 small oven safe baking dishes. I then pour in the contents and wrap the pie around over the top. I can safely say that it isn’t a work of art but it is gobbled up around here and that is all that I am looking for. You can use any number of different vegetables in the pot pie depending on what you have. I almost always throw in carrots and sometimes green beans. My kids will eat things in a pot pie that they might not eat plain (i.e. sweet potatoes). Last night when I made it, I didn’t have mushrooms so just beefed up the other amounts of vegetables and it worked out just fine.
Homespun Pot Pie (adapted from Moosewood New Classic Cookbook)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 to 5 cups sliced or halved mushrooms
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups peeled and chopped parsnips
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups water or stock
3 Tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omit this salt)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line four small baking dishes with pie crust. I think you could make as many as six because I always have a fair amount of leftover filling that I use in the following days.
Warm the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, thyme, mushrooms and mustard. Cook until the mushrooms start to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, black pepper and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Stir the dissolved cornstarch mixture into the simmering vegetables, stirring constantly. When the liquid starts to thicken, mix in the peas, corn, soy sauce and salt(if using). Pour the vegetables into the prepared baking dishes. Wrap the pie crust over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they start to bubble and the crust is golden.

Sometimes (and some weeks more often than sometimes) I just don’t have my act together and am trying to throw something together at the last minute. This summer I embraced the frittata for dinner when that happened.  I don’t know that there is any one recipe I used so the following recipe is just an example.  A frittata is a good vehicle for extra greens, potatoes, onions, herbs, peppers, zucchini and probably many other vegetables.  I’d cut the following frittata into wedges and serve it with salad or some fresh fruit.  Both of my kids like most things when cooked into a frittata.

Frittata
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 small new potatoes, quartered
1 small onion, chopped
Handful or two of spinach
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt
Pepper
Heat olive oil in a 12″ oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and onions and saute until tender.  Add spinach and cook until just wilted.  Whisk the eggs, milk, chives and salt and pepper to taste.  Lower the heat to medium low and add the egg mixture to the skillet.  Stir quickly to get everything mixed together.  Cook until the bottom is just set and sides are starting to pull away, about 5 minutes.  The top will not be completely cooked yet.  Place the skillet under the broiler and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the frittata is puffed and set.  Serve immediately with cherry tomatoes sprinkled over the top.

This recipe isn’t very cold weather oriented but maybe we’ll have a few more nice warm days and some fish on the grill will sound good to you.  The original recipe called for packaged slaw.  I always thought I didn’t like coleslaw but then when I made it myself once, I realized how delicious it could be.  I’m sure you can cut it thin enough for slaw but I have a bargain mandolin so use that and it works wonderfully.  We usually put our fish and slaw in tortillas.  My son will eat a mountain of these.

Whitefish with Vegetable Slaw (adapted from The New Grilling Book)
1 pound mahi mahi or tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
1 fresh jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/3 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup shredded jicama or kohlrabi
Rinse fish. Pat dry.  Place fish in shallow dish.  For dressing, in a small bowl combine lime juice, cilantro, oil, honey, jalepeno, garlic and salt.  Divide mixture in half.  Stir lime peel into one portion of dressing.  Pour dressing with lime peel over fish to marinade.  Marinade about 30 minutes at room temperature.
For slaw, combine cabbages, carrots, jicama and/or kohlrabi.  Pour remaining dressing over slaw and toss to coat.  Chill until time to serve.
Preheat grill.  Grill fish directly over medium coals until fish flakes easily (about 4-6 minutes per half inch of fish).    Serve fish with slaw.
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Posted in cabbage, carrots, celery, chives, cilantro, freezing, garlic, hot peppers, kohlrabi, leeks, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tarragon, thyme, tomato, White Onion, winter squash | Leave a comment

The onset of comfort foods

As October approaches, my kitchen becomes a place of comfort. Throughout the fall and winter we cook dishes that take a long time to cook, and I love how the warmth from a simmering soup on the stove can fog up the windows throughout our house. 

This first recipe is a favorite in my house. There is a Chinese restaurant in Alpena that serves this soup, and somehow my mother got her hands on the recipe. Once word got out on Facebook that I had a recipe for this soup I was bombarded with requests from hometown friends who had moved away to share it. Trust me, it is delicious!

Russian Soup

Double this for a HUGE pot.

  • 2-3 lbs stew beef
  • 1 1/2 Qt H2O
  • Med onion chopped
  • 2 t Worchestershire sauce
  • 6 cubes beef bullion
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1-3 sliced carrots
  • 1/2-1 head cabbage (med)
  • 3/4 c. Western salad dressing
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 4t soy sauce
  • 1/8 t white pepper
  • 2 cubed potatoes

Bring everything but potatoes and cabbage to boil, add potatoes. Simmer 2-3 hours. Add cabbage 30-45 min before serving

Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Original post:http://elisebakes.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/lentil-soup-with-mustard-greens/

Yield: 8-10 servings / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 9 cups water or stock
  • 4 cups mustard greens, stemmed and torn
  1. Heat olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (~5 minuties).
  2. Add water and the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Beet and Fennel Soup with Kefir

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-and-Fennel-Soup-with-Kefir-362869

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 large (2 1/2-to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup unflavored kefir
  • Additional unflavored kefir
  • Fennel fronds (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to same saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup unflavored kefir and season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rewarm soup.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with additional unflavored kefir; garnish with fennel fronds.

My husband hates cauliflower. I made this dish one evening before he got home and he raved and raved about how delicious it was. This is  a great Indian side dish, and a good

Indian Cauliflower Mash, or Aloo Gobi Mash
Original post: http://www.spiciefoodie.com/2011/04/24/vegan-indian-cauliflower-mash-or-aloo-gobi-mash-2/

  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into large florets
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • small piece of fresh ginger, ginger and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped
  • 11/2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • extra chile powder, optional *
  • salt & ground black to taste
  • finely chopped chives, chiles and/or fresh cilantro to top, optional

 Boil the cauliflower and potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil and cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chile and saute for another 3 minutes. Place the boiled cauliflower and potatoes into the pan. Add the remaining spices to the pan. Use a potato masher and mash until the vegetables have broken up into a thick mash. I left a few chunks of both the potatoes and cauliflower for a chunky texture. Stir to combine all ingredients well, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Since I included a recipe that won my husband over, this is a great way to get my kid to eat squash. We froze this in individual servings for a quick kid-lunch.

Dreamy “Mac & Cheese” Spaghetti Squash

Original Source: http://joandsue.blogspot.com/2013/01/dreamy-mac-cheese-spaghetti-squash.html

 

  • 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk (1%)
  • 1/4 cup Tex Mex blend shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked
  • 1 slice green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp frozen peas
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded

 

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together flour and salt & pepper. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Tex-Mex cheese until melted and smooth.

 

That’s it for this week. Cheers!

Posted in Preserving! | 3 Comments