Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

  There are so many recipes that use celery.  Celery is fine - a little salty, a little stringy, but it adds a nice crunch.  Does anyone grow celery, though?  I don't.  I've never seen it at the farmer's market, or at the local section of the grocery store.  However, chard stems also have a nice crunch, they are not stringy, and they have a really nice flavor.  And of course, it's easy to grow chard in the cool weather garden, or find a beautiful variety at the farmer's market.

  Chicken Pot Pie

Preheat oven to 400.

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup milk

Mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Measure 1/2 of oil into a measuring cup, and add 1/4 cup milk.  Pour all at once into the flour mixture.  Stir with a fork until blended.  Roll out about 2/3 of the crust very thin and line a 2 quart casserole dish. Roll out the rest for the top crust.  Reserve for later.

Filling:
1 quart chicken stock
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 small summer squash (any variety) diced
4 large chard leaves with stems
2-4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the chard leaves and slice the stems like celery.  Cut the chard leaves into 1" pieces. Put 4 cups chicken stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Add onion, carrots, potatoes, squash, and chard stems into the stock. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender. Bring the stock mixture back to a boil.  Mix 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup flour until smooth.  Pour the flour mixture into the stock mixture, and stir until thickened.  Add the chicken, chard leaves, parsley, salt and pepper.  Pour the stock mixture into the prepared crust.  Put the top crust over the stock mixture.  Crimp the edges of the crust.  Poke holes into the crust so that the steam will escape.

Bake for 35 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Salad

I was looking for something interesting to do with lettuce.  I mean, you can't cook it.  You can't freeze it.  You are pretty much limited to salad.  I wanted to make something different.  Here's what I did:

Salad Ingredients:
16 baby carrots
16 thumb sized potatoes, poked with a knife or fork
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1" squares
2 pattypan squash cut into wedges (remove any hard seeds)
one bunch red leaf lettuce, torn into pieces

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried

Preheat the oven to 425.  Arrange the carrots, potatoes, pepper pieces and squash wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly brown and tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Toss the cooled vegetables in the dressing.

Arrange the lettuce in a serving bowl.  Arrange the vegetables on the lettuce.  Drizzle any remaining dressing over the salad.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

Sunburst Blueberry Muffins sounds a little weird, so I'm going with zucchini.  We pulled up the sunburst squash plants weeks ago, but the squash that we harvested hasn't yet withered.  It is just happily sitting in the pantry.  It's a little past the time where we can use it fresh, but it is working great in soups, pot pie, and muffins. The biggest difference between the sunburst and the zucchini is that the sunburst may harbor a few hard seeds, so either cut them out before you start, or take them out while you are grating.

Here's the recipe:

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 2/3 cups flour (mix unbleached and whole wheat to your preference)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, milk, and sugar.  Fold in the zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, and stir until just blended. Fold in the blueberries.
3. Divide the batter evenly to fill the muffin pan.
4. Bake 20 minutes or until the tops are brown and a tester comes out clean.

Okay, so the  blueberries were frozen rather than fresh. Like most farm people, we preserve what we can't sell or eat fresh.  But back in July, the zucchini, blueberries, and eggs were fresh from the farm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Greens are here - Sausage Kale Soup

The flat green kale is growing like weeds. Fortunately, it tastes better.

Sausage Kale Soup

1 lb sausage, sliced (any type you like, including vegetarian, but Portuguese is traditional)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4 cups water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 1 lb. bunch kale, stems removed, and chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage in a soup pot, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Drain off any fat.  Add the onion, and continue cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook for another minute.  Add the water and stock, and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, kale, (and red pepper flakes if using) and cook until tender, another 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Celebrate Columbus Day with Tuscan Bean Soup

Why not some Italian food? Columbus Day is as good an excuse as any. So:

Tuscan Bean Soup


6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (home made if you have it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon garlic
1 bunch chard, stems cut into 1" pieces and leaves coarsely chopped, or coarsely chopped Tuscan kale (or really any "winter" green, like spinach, mustard, escarole)
4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 pint home canned)
2 carrots, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil, if you can still get it. 1/2 tsp dried, otherwise.
1/4 cup orzo or broken spaghetti
2 cups cooked white beans, such as Cannellini beans (or one can drained)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil until soft.  Add garlic and saute for another minute.  Add the stock, chard stems (if using), tomatoes, carrots, and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Bring to a boil again. Add the pasta, chard leaves, beans, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil again.  Turn down the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.


Pesto Foccacia

1 recipe foccacia dough from whatever bread machine cookbook you have
pesto (made with basil, fresh from the farm)

Roll dough into a circle.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.  Brush with pesto.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Summer is coming to an end: Black Bean Stew

Now that summer is coming to an end, we are using the last of the summer vegetables.

Tonight we had a black bean stew.  Here's what we did.

1. Soak black beans over night.
2. Drain beans, add more water to cover the beans by 2".  Bring to a boil, then let simmer 2 hours or until tender.
3. In an cast iron skillet, brown 1 pound of sausage.  Chop one large onion, and one green pepper and one red pepper, and 2 stalks of celery, and 2 garlic cloves. Drain the sausage if necessary, and add the onion and sausage, and saute them until tender.
4. Add 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbs. dried, 1.5 Tbs. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, or 1.5 tsp. dried.
5. Drain the beans and add them to the vegetables and sausage.

Serve over rice.

We harvested carrots this morning.  I selected some baby carrots, and cooked them and served them with butter and parsley.  Baby carrots from the farm are much different than the ones from the store.  The ones from the store are all the same size and shape.  The ones from the farm are of different sizes and shapes.  Some are twisted.  But the ones at dinner were fresh and delicious.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

With some blue, indigo, and violet, I could have had a rainbow - Fresh vegetable crudite

Sunday lunch is often leftovers.  Not very exciting, I know.  But, looking around to find something fresh to add, I was taken by the colors I had available.  We are harvesting carrots, now, which provide a vibrant orange.  The sunburst squash are true to their name.  And the red and green peppers have been gorgeous.  Carrot sticks, pepper strips, and wedges of sunburst squash arranged on a plate, added texture, color, and flavor to the meal.  The leftover entre became the side dish, and the vegetables were the star.

Fresh Vegetable Crudite

Find one or more of the following fresh vegetables, and arrange them beautifully on a serving platter:
  • baby carrots or mature carrots cut into sticks
  • green, red, and/or orange pepper strips
  • summer squash, cut into wedges, slices, or sticks
  • cucumber, cut into slices or sticks
  • radishes, whole or sliced or cut into wedges
  • green onions
  • green beans
  • sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • turnips, cut into wedges or sticks, depending on the shape of your turnip
  • baby okra (yes, it's good raw)
You can serve with a dip, if that makes you happy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Really Easy Vegetable Shish Kabobs

My husband suggested that we have something on the grill for dinner.  Not being at the farm, I only had what I brought with me.  Fortunately, I packed onions, potatoes, red peppers, and sunburst squash.  So here's the recipe:

Easy Vegetable Shish Kabobs

1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 large red pepper, cut into 1" squares
6 small (about 1 1/2" round) potatoes, cut in half
4 small sunburst (or pattypan) squash, cut into quarters
8 oz. button mushrooms

Toss the vegetables in a bowl with a vinaigrette dressing of your choice.  Let them marinate for 30 minutes.  Skewer the vegetables in an attractive pattern.  Grill 3-4 minutes on each of 4 sides.

I wish I had brought some Japanese eggplant, too.  Next time.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple Pie!

The apple tree has only been producing for a month, and already I've made 3 apple pies. Here's what I did:

Apple Pie with Walnut Crumb Topping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Crust:
1 1/3 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 C sunflower oil and 3 Tbs. milk mixed together.

Mix the flour and salt.  Pour in the oil and milk.  Stir.  Roll out the crust and line a pie pan.  Pinch the edges to make a rim, and flute if desired.

Filling for a 9" pie:
6 C sliced apples
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1 t cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together, and pour into the pie crust.  Put this in the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes. While the pie is baking, mix the topping ingredients until crumbly:

1/4 C butter
1/2 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C walnuts

Take the pie from the oven, sprinkle on the topping, and put the pie back in the oven.  Bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is brown.

This makes less topping than most recipes, but I always like the apples to be the star of the show.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stuffed peppers

There were a lot of peppers sitting around, and I was inspired to make stuffed peppers.  I don't think I've had stuffed peppers since my mom made them when I was a child.  I looked at a lot of different recipes on the web.  It looks like there are 2 schools of thought on several issues.  There are those that cook the meat before they stuff the pepper, and those that cook the meat in the pepper.  There are those who blanch the pepper first, and those who let the pepper cook in the oven.  There are those who stuff the pepper standing upright, and those who cut the pepper in half and stuff  each half.  There are those who use cheese, and those who do not.  So many decisions. I experimented  with several options, and came up with a process I really like.

Nearly all of the recipes used canned tomatoes.  Why do they do that?  Peppers and tomatoes are in season at the same time.  It seems wrong to open a can of tomatoes when there are dozens of ripe tomatoes on the vine.

Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
 4 bell peppers (any color you like)
 1 medium onion, chopped
 3 large tomatoes (or you can use home-canned, in a pinch)
 1 stalk celery (or chard!), chopped
 1 # ground beef (or bison, or turkey,  or veggie crumbles, whatever your preference)
 1 cup rice, cooked
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1 Tbs.fresh basil, minced, or 1 tsp. dried

Method:.
1. Cut 4 peppers in half from top to bottom. Remove the stem, seeds, and the white membranes.
2. Drop the pepper halves in a pot of boiling water, and blanch them for 5 minutes. Remove peppers from hot water and place cut side up in an oblong casserole dish.
3. Saute the onion, celery, and tomatoes chopped, with 1 pound of ground beef.
4. When the vegetables are soft and the beef is cooked, add 1 cup cooked rice, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Fill the peppers with the beef and rice mixture.
6. Bake the peppers for 20 minutes at 375.

Here's a tip.  If you want to peel the tomatoes, you can drop them into the boiling water with the peppers for a minute.  Then the skins will come right off.

This recipe is one of the reasons we look forward to ripe peppers.



Sunday, September 5, 2010

Brunch - Bacon and Eggs with pink home fries

When we got home at around noon today, my husband mentioned that he wished there were someplace close by we could go for brunch.  There aren't any restaurants up here on the mountain.  So I went to work.


I had pulled up some All Red potatoes the other day, and I couldn't wait to try them.  I scrubbed them, then cut them into cubes, leaving the pretty red skin on, and boiled them for 10 minutes.  I thought maybe the pinkish color of the flesh might fade in the boiling water, but it didn't.  I heated some oil and a little butter on medium high heat, then drained the potatoes and added them to the oil.  My husband usually makes the home fries, and one of his tips is to not stir too frequently - let the potatoes sit in the hot oil and brown. I checked a few potato cubes to make sure they were brown before I started to stir. While the potatoes were cooking, I started a couple of strips of bacon in a skillet. When the bacon was almost done, I slid it to the side of the skillet, and broke some eggs in the middle. I covered this loosely, so the eggs would cook on top.  I put some toast in the toaster, and put out some orange juice and homemade blueberry preserves, and voila.  A traditional brunch, in half an hour.  (Well, maybe pink homefries break with tradition a little bit.)


The potatoes and the eggs came from the farm, of course, and the blueberries for the jam. The bread, oil, butter were purchased, as were the pectin and sugar to make the jam.  The bacon was a gift. I asked my husband how much he thought it would cost to have a breakfast like this at a restaurant.  He thought about $8.00/person would cover it, if you could even have gotten organic potatoes and blueberries and free range eggs at a restaurant.  I think I spent about $2.00 for this $16.00 brunch.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What to do with Sunburst squash? Pattypan Squash Stuffed with Spinach and Feta

  I'm always looking for new foods to try.  I frankly had never eaten a sunburst squash until I grew one.  I was a little confused by them at first.  They claimed to be a summer squash, like zucchini, but they looked more like an acorn squash.  Last night, I compromised, and stuffed a couple sunburst squashes.  Stuffing works great with both zucchini and acorn, so it was bound to be a winner.
     It was delicious, as well as beautiful.

Sunburst Squash Stuffed with Spinach and Feta

2 large pattypan squash 
1 small onion, finely diced
1 bunch spinach (or chard), chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup crumbled feta

1. Blanch squash in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and cool.
2. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each squash so it will stand. Cut a hole in the top of the squash and remove the insides.  Discard any hard seeds.
3. Saute onion, spinach in olive oil. Add any decent-looking squash innards (chopped). Saute
until the onion is cooked and the water has evaporated. Remove from heat.
4. Add egg and feta to the spinach mixture. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper if you would like. Stir well
5. Put the squash into a flat baking dish. Put stuffing into the hollow squash. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired.
6. Add 1/2 inch water into the dish.
7. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blueberries for breakfast

Three days in a row, we had blueberries for breakfast.

1. Blueberry melon parfait.  I layered blueberries, melon cubes, and vanilla yogurt in a tall glass.  It looked elegant, was delicious, and packed with all kinds of good things for your body.
2. Cottage cheese pancakes with blueberry syrup.  I like cottage cheese pancakes because they are packed with protein instead of simple carbohydrates to crank up the blood sugar.  The blueberry syrup was just blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in the blender.
3. Zucchini blueberry muffins.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is there a name for this? Pasta sauce with fresh vegetables

Friday night, I looked around at all the vegetables we'd picked, and I was inspired to make a pasta sauce.  It went about like this:

Chop one large onion and 2 cloves garlic, and saute in 2 Tablespoons olive oil until the onions start to turn transparent.  Add 2 chopped peppers, and add to the onions and garlic.Saute until the peppers start to turn soft.  Peel and slice 3 Japanese eggplant. Saute with the onions, garlic, peppers, until the eggplant starts to turn soft. Chop 3 Roma tomatoes, and add to the other vegetables. Chop 1/4 basil and stir in. While this is cooking start the pasta.

Boil a couple quarts of water in a sauce pan. When the water comes to a full boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  I used penne rigate, but you can use what you like. When the pasta is done, add the sauce and serve.

The smell was  wonderful as the sauce was cooking.  I kept thinking that someone else must have invented a recipe like this 100s of years ago, and that there is probably a fancy Italian name for this dish.  Anybody have any ideas?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomato Pie

Last week the Roanoke Times ran a recipe for Laurie Colwin's tomato pie. I just had to try it. It has a biscuit crust, tomatoes (from the greenhouse), scallions (from the greenhouse), cheese, a mix of mayo and lemon juice, more cheese, and more biscuit crust.  Yum!

Here's a link to the recipe: http://thegarden.typepad.com/a_bite_to_eat/laurie_colwin/

Here is how it came out:

I am pasting the recipe here, because I am afraid it will disappear from the web, and then tomato season will be a little less joyful.

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
Approximately 2/3 cup milk (less if it's a very humid day)

Filling:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 pounds fresh tomatoes
3-4 tablespoons chopped basil, chives or scallions or a mixture of all 4
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

In a bowl mix flour and baking powder together. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse oatmeal. Stir in milk a little at a time until dough forms a ball. Knead gently only until dough is completely blended. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it. 

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise with lemon juice. Blanch the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds and transfer immediately to a sink full of cool water. Peel and slice very thin. Cover the bottom of the crust with two layers of tomato slices. Sprinkle 1/3 of the herbs across tomatoes. Add another layer of tomato slices, sprinkle with 1/3 of the herbs and 1/2 the grated Cheddar. Drizzle with 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture. Layer the rest of the tomato slices on top and scatter remaining herbs over the last layer. Top with remaining Cheddar and mayonnaise mixture. 

Roll out the remaining dough, fit it over the filling, pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. Cut several steam holes in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is just bubbling.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Indian Ratatouille (Moosewood Recipe)

Here's the recipe Indian Ratatouille, from the New Moosewood Cookbook that we had last night for dinner.  Nearly everything came directly out of the greenhouse - eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil, zucchini.  Only the cheese and the other herbs and spices came from the grocery.

It's really nice when the recipe matches the garden.

Here's the recipe:

4 med cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
2 medium zucchini, cubed
2 medium bell peppers (I usually use red), seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (the original recipe uses canned, but I just can't do that in the summer)
black pepper
fresh minced parsley
grated parmesan


  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add eggplant, salt, and herbs. Stir. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally,  until the eggplant is soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, bell peppers, black pepper, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until everything is cooked through.
  4. Serve, topped with minced parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Blueberry muffins

We still have a few blueberries on the bushes. I made blueberry muffins for breakfast, using the recipe from Horn of the Moon.  I really like that recipe because it uses whole wheat flour and 2 eggs so it makes a substantial meal.  And of course the eggs are local because they come from our chickens.

Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Muffins


2 C whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 C unbleached flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C milk (or your favorite substitute)
1/2 C sunflower oil
1/2 C honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C blueberries



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs, then add milk, oil, honey, and vanilla. Beat well.
  • Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir.
  • Add blueberries.
  • Stir enough to moisten. Do not overmix.
  • Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. 
  • Fill tins 2/3 full
  • Bake 20 minutes.


This recipe is also delicious with ground cherries instead of blueberries. Use 1 C ground cherries and add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Put something local in your meal.

Adapting your favorite recipes to use local ingredients isn't hard.  Last night, I made tortellini soup.  The recipe called for canned tomatoes.  How could I use canned tomatoes, when we had hundreds of pounds of fresh? So I chopped up some Roma's and threw them in with the stock.  Instead of spinach imported from who knows where, I had some picked fresh from the farm, then frozen in my freezer.  It was delicious!