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:

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.

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)

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!