Sunday, October 31, 2010

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

Pumpkins aren't the only squash that yield tasty seeds for roasting - be sure to try butternut or acorn squash as well!


1 c. winter squash seeds
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, or use a non-stick baking sheet.
After removing the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash.  pat dry, and place in a small bowl.  Stir olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated.  Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until seeds start to pop.  (Pumpkin seeds may take a bit longer.)  Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet before serving.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mixed Bean Salad

My mother used to make a similar salad, but I think I prefer this updated version.

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, September 2010

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
2 T. cider vinegar
3 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced*
2 t. grainy mustard
1 can (15.5 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, oregano, shallot and mustard.  Add green beans, kidney beans and chickpeas.  Toss well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

*Note:  I substituted 1 small red onion and a clove of minced garlic for the shallot.  (I never have shallots on hand!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Roasted Potato Mix

This is such a simple recipe, but always gets rave reviews.  It's great for company or for just you!

Source:  Mary Beth W.

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 c. diced onion
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil

Melt butter and olive oil in 9x13" pan.  Toss with potatoes, onion, salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swiss Chard with Carmelized Onions and Walnuts

I'm not 100% sure I love this recipe, but I'm determined to come up with a good sauteed Swiss chard recipe, and this is getting close.  I like the fact that it uses the chard stems in addition to the leaves.  It is an odd combination of sweet and savory, but it works for some reason.  I prefer the addition of the chick peas - it keeps the chard flavor from being too overpowering.

Source:  Adapted from

2 T. walnuts
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 lb. or 10 large stalks), washed
2 T. golden raisins
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. sea salt
ground black pepper to taste

Toast the pine nuts in skillet until golden brown; set aside to cool.

In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat; add onions and cook until golden brown and very soft, stirring from time to time, about 10 minutes.

While onions are cooking, prepare chard:  pull leaves off stalks by folding leaf together along stalk and pull the stalk away like pulling a zipper.  Cut the stalks into 3/4" pieces; set aside.  Cut or tear leaves into 2" pieces.

Add chard stalks and raisins to onions and cook until stalks are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir occasionally while stalks are cooking.  Once tender, add chard leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Toss to coat the leaves with oil, and cook for about 5 minutes or until leaves are wilted and tender.  Season with salt and pepper; transfer to serving dish and top with pine nuts.

Note: if you would like to turn this from a side dish into a main dish, add 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas (drained) that have been sauteed in olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic, and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Just a warning: This may not be dish you will want to serve for company, to a picky eater, or to anyone who's not committed to the virtues of Swiss chard. But it's a great recipe to introduce you to chard and its magical qualities. You may need to tweak this recipe to suit your own palate, just as I did. However, hopefully it will inspire you to continue on the chard journey, just as it did me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stuffed Green Peppers Casserole

I still have a lots of  red and green cubanelle peppers in the garden, as well as some scroungy-looking tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter, so I decided to make a double batch of this casserole for the freezer.  It also allowed me to make use of some fresh basil and oregano before the frost hits.  It's basically a recipe for stuffed peppers that I turned into a casserole so I could feature cubanelle peppers in place of the bell peppers; the cubanelles don't lend themselves to being stuffed, but they work nicely in this recipe.  Cubanelle peppers are similar to sweet Italian frying peppers and have a wonderful flavor.  Plus, for whatever reason, I have no trouble growing them, unlike Bell peppers!
For the meat, I usually use a mixture of sausage and ground beef for the best flavor.  But, since I'm trying to avoid pork these days (unless I can get it from a reputable source at a reasonable price - not very likely!), I simply used grass-fed ground beef that I get from the farmer down the road.  It was still tasty!
Organic cheese is terribly expensive, so I used just a sprinkle of a non-organic brand.

Source:  Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

2 large green peppers, or the equivalent of cubanelle peppers (red or green), seeded and coarsely chopped
3/4 pound ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, or bulk pork sausage
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 8-oz. can tomatoes, chopped or 1 c. fresh tomatoes
1/3 c. brown rice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. fresh basil, chopped, or 1/4 t. dried basil
1 t. fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 c. water
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown meat with onion; drain fat if necessary.  Stir in undrained tomatoes, uncooked rice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, oregano, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until rice is tender, approximately 45 minutes.

While the meat and rice mixture is cooking, parboil peppers in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes; drain.

When rice is tender, stir in 1/4 c. cheese and peppers.  Place in an 8x8x2" baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese; let stand for 1-2 minutes.

Serves 4.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Here's another variation on a Tomato Bread Salad.  Again, I used some of my Rustic Italian Bread that I had in the freezer - it was the perfect texture for toasting in the oven; actually, it was the best part of the salad!!

Source:  Everyday Food, September 2010

2 c. crusty bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
5 t. olive oil, divided
sea salt
2 t. sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2" wedges
2 red bell peppers, roasted and cut into 1/2" strips
1 T. fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss bread with 2 t. olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.  Spread bread pieces in a single layer and bake until golden brown, about 7 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine 3 t. olive oil, vinegar, garlic and almonds.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, peppers, parsley and toasted bread; toss to combine.

Serves 4.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

I made these for breakfast this morning (minus the balsamic vinegar) - yum!  With all the rain we had yesterday (5"!), I thought I had better pick all my grape tomatoes before the skins split from absorbing too much water too quickly.  A number of them had already split, but they worked well in this recipe.

2 c. grape tomatoes, washed
1-2 t. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4-5 fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips
Balsamic vinegar, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub olive oil on a 9x9" baking dish.  Add tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast in oven for approximately 15 minutes until plump and just about to burst.  Remove from oven and drizzle with basil and balsamic vinegar (optional).