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.

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

 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

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.