Saturday, August 7, 2021

Asian Slaw with Pac Choi

We can't seem to grow a decent cabbage in the greenhouses.  It's an embarrassment. However, we can grow pac choi. Pac choi has a few advantages over cabbage - crunchy texture, bright green leaves, no hard core in the middle. 

However,  if you have a cabbage on hand and find yourself without pac choi,  you can substitute one for the other and have a perfectly delicious slaw.

Most recipes for Asian Slaw use ramen noodles with the flavor packets.  The list of ingredients on the flavor packet is pretty terrifying, so I make the slaw without it.

Fresh Asian Slaw with Pac Choi

1 # pac choi (the full sized stuff, not the baby), sliced thin (food processors make this so easy)
1 carrot, sliced thin
5 scallions, sliced
1 C microgreens, pea shoots, or bean sprouts

2/3 C oil (whatever type you like)
1/3 C cane sugar 
1/3 C rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp tamari

1 packet ramen (any flavor because you are throwing it out)
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/2 C sunflower kernels (optional)

1. Toss the salad ingredients
2. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a pint mason jar and shake well.
3. Preheat the oven to 450. Break up the ramen. Toast the ramen, almonds, and sunflower seeds in the oven for 5 minutes or so, stirring half way, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool.

Now all your ingredients are ready.  Just before serving, toss everything together.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Texas Hash

Okay, this isn't exactly a meal loaded with fresh produce. But my husband has been craving his mother's cooking since she passed away last year.

Here's her Texas Hash recipe.

Texas Hash

Sauté until yellow:

3 large onions, sliced

3 Tbs fat


1 lb ground beef

until brown.

Stir in and mix

2 C cooked tomatoes

1/2 C washed uncooked rice


2 C uncooked noodles

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Pour into greased 2 qt baking dish. Cover and bake, removing cover last 15 minutes.

Temp 350.

Bake 1 hour.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Curry with Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Carrot

We had a lot of butternut squash in 2019. And they lasted a long time. This is what one of them looked like in July of 2020.

With only 4 plants, we got nearly 40 squash, not counting the ones I gave away.  I was trying to think of something interesting to make with butternut, and my husband suggested curry.

I love curry.  It's food you can play with! I am a huge fan of condiments. When I was growing up, my midwestern, farm-raised mother would make curry sometimes. I think she got the recipe out of a magazine. The recipe suggested all sorts of condiments, and we pretty much had them all: chopped cashews, sliced bananas, chopped apples, raisins, chutney, pickles, coconut. Such a variety of flavors and textures.

When my husband and I took a class on Indian cooking, the instructor said that in India, a balanced meal is one that contains all the flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami.  You can see that the condiments balanced the meal.

I didn't have a recipe for butternut curry, but that very day, on PBS, one of the cooking shows showed how to make curry with butternut squash, sweet potato (which we also grew too much of), and carrots.

They made the curry much like I have been making curries for the last 20+ years. I tried to write the recipe down as they made it, but of course they cooked faster than I could write, and I couldn't record the show, so I couldn't blame the show if it didn't turn out. (Also, I failed to write down the name of the show, so I couldn't blame them if I wanted to.)

Fortunately, the recipe turned out just fine. I've made it several times since then. In this picture, you can see that I used white sweet potatoes, which I liked for this recipe because they aren't quite as sweet as the orange ones, and there was plenty of sweetness coming from the butternut.

Curry with Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Carrot

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 C coconut oil

2 Tbs curry powder

2 Tbs flour

2 C vegetable broth

1 C coconut milk


1. Parboil the butternut, sweet potato and carrot for 10 minutes.

2. Saute the onion, and garlic in the coconut oil, for 5 - 7 minutes until the onions sweat

3. Add curry powder and flour to the onion. Blend over medium heat for 1 minute.

4. Add the vegetable broth. Stir into the curry powder and flour to make a sauce.  Stir over medium heat until it thickens.

5. Drain the butternut, sweet potato and carrots, and add to the sauce. Simmer 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.

6. Add the coconut milk.

Serve over rice, with lots of condiments!

Grammy's Potato Salad

 My mother-in-law, Gertrude (who her 20 grandchildren called Grammy), was famous for her potato salad. Everyone loved it at summer parties. And everyone else was afraid to make it. As my sister-in-law, Mary, said, "Some people have a knack for potato salad. Some people don't." 

Gertrude was not big on writing recipes down.  When I wanted to learn how she made something, I followed her around the kitchen with a pen and paper.

Put since my mother-in-law passed away last year, I've been trying to replicate this simple recipe. This is the recipe, written by Gertrude, and expanded slightly by me for clarity, although it still takes a little creativity to understand. (And she didn't mention the eggs, which were apparently obvious.)

Grammy's Potato Salad

5 pounds new potatoes

1/2 - 3/4 C onion, chopped

3-4 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 jar mayonnaise

salt and pepper

hard-cooked eggs, sliced

1. Boil the potatoes with skins on.

2. Cool to handle, peel and cut up

3. Place in a bowl and mix in onions, celery, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

4. Decorate with sliced hard-cooked eggs

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Spiced Tomato Preserves

My mother used to make spiced tomato preserves in the summer, when the garden was overflowing with ripe, red tomatoes. The preserves were tangy and sweet, with hints of cinnamon and cloves. My mother no longer has the recipe, and I can't find it on the internet. I've looked everywhere. (You'd be surprised what falls between the internet's couch cushions....)

So I am making up a recipe based on my memories and the several recipes I've found that seem close, but not quite.

This tastes just like I remember.

Spiced Tomato Preserves
3 cups granulated cane sugar
3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 lemon, sliced fine, then chopped coarsely
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1.75 ounces powdered pectin

Prepare 1/2 pint canning jars and lids according to directions.

Measure out your granulated sugar and set aside.

Put the chopped tomatoes in saucepan and heat slowly to a simmer, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add the lemon, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pectin. Stir well.

Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar all at once. Stir constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil that can't be stirred down, boil hard for one minute. (Yes, still stirring constantly. Black, burnt flakes from the bottom of the pot will ruin your beautiful preserves.)

Remove from heat. 

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Put the lids on and place in water bath. Process for 10 minutes (15 for altitude adjustment).

This made 4 1/2 pint jars.

My favorite way to eat tomato preserves is on top of a cracker with some goat cheese or brie.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Laurie's Grandma's Tsimmes

Laurie's Grandmother's Tsimmes

2-3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 decent sized
carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup of pitted prunes
½ of a can of pineapple chunks
1/3 of a cup (approximately) of frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon of
cooking oil (expeller-pressed is better for you)
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Cook carrots and sweet potatoes in boiling salted water, covered, until tender but still firm. (You can also steam them in the microwave – I used the same casserole dish that I cooked the whole recipe in. Add a little bit of water and check for doneness at three-minute intervals, stirring so they cook evenly.)
Put carrots and sweet potatoes into a baking or casserole dish. Add prunes, orange juice concentrate, pineapple chunks and cinnamon. Stir very gently. Dot the top of the dish with butter, then drizzle over some honey (the amount you use is to your preference) and some canola oil (ditto.)
Bake, covered, in a preheated oven at 350° for about 30 minutes. Bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes. Or as Grandma used to say, cook until done.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Vegetarian Chili with Home Grown Vegetables

I usually think of chili as something that pretty much comes from the pantry. My recipe used to be 1 onion, 1 garlic, 1 pepper, 1 pound ground meat or protein of some sort, 1 can beans, one can chopped tomatoes, 1 Tbs. chili powder. Everything (with the possible exception of the "meat") came out of the pantry. It was very quick and easy, but of course, nothing was home grown.

Here's how I make chili now:

Vegetarian Chili with Home Grown Vegetables

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • garlic or 1 elephant garlic, chopped
  • sweet bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 3 cups dried beans, cooked (I use a mix of whatever is handy. Black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, cow peas, navy beans all work, and it's nice to have a different colors. I cook the beans in the pressure cooker.) If you don't have dried beans on hand, you can use 3 cans of beans instead.
  • 1 cup barley (or rice), cooked (again, I use the pressure cooker to speed things up)
  • a couple of jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • 1 pound red tomatoes, blended, or 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and cumin and cook until the vegetables are soft. If you are very brave, you can add the jalapeno peppers at this point. Otherwise wait until the end, and add them a little bit at a time and taste frequently until you have the chili as spicy as you like.

Add the rest of the ingredients.  Heat to a simmer. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and more jalapenos, if you would like. Let the flavors blend for 20 minutes or throw into the crock pot for a couple of hours on low.

Serve over brown rice, or baked potatoes, if that sounds delicious to you. Garnish with salsa, sour cream, chopped chives, cilantro, grated cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.