Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Carrot Raisin Salad

OK, this one is so easy that I couldn't even find a recipe for it!  It's one of my favorite childhood recipes.  My mom used to make it in the fall.  I had some carrots left over from Christmas dinner; I had tried a new salad recipe that was terribly disappointing, but at least it allowed me to make this recipe again!

Carrots, grated
Enough mayonnaise to moisten

That's it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Watermelon Rind Pickles

I had made these Watermelon Rind pickles last August, but didn't want to post the recipe until I was sure they tasted like what I remembered.  Well, I served them this evening for Christmas dinner, and my brother and younger sister both said they tasted just like they remembered - hooray!  Somehow we lost the recipe somewhere along the way, but my sister had copied down the ingredients, minus the directions, so I was able to use her ingredient list plus some directions I found on line.

Source:  Mother

1/4 c. pickling or non-iodized salt
8 c. cold water
4 qts. 1" cubes pared watermelon rind*
1 piece ginger root
3 sticks cinnamon, broken
2 T. whole cloves
8 c. cider vinegar (5-6% acidity)
9 c. sugar

In a glass bowl, stir together water and salt until salt has dissolved.  Add watermelon rinds and any additional water needed to cover them.  Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, drain watermelon rinds from the salted water and place in a large saucepan.  Cover with fresh water, then place over high heat and bring to a boil.  Boil rinds for 30 min., then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth.  Place into a large saucepan along with the vinegar and sugar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and let stand for 15 min.  Stir in the drained watermelon rind, then return to the stove over high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the rind is transparent and syrup is slightly thickened, 45-50 min.  Remove and discard spices after 50 min. 

Ladle into hot sterilized 1 pt. jars, leaving 1/2" head space.  Wipe jar rims.  Seal jars with lids and rings.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 min. 

Yield:  7 pints

*Note - a 14 lb. round watermelon yielded exactly 4 qts. of cubed rind.
Also, I had quite a bit of syrup left over, so I'll try the recipe again next summer and make the appropriate adjustments to the recipe.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spicy Broccoli

The last of the year's broccoli went into this recipe.  So sad to see the broccoli season come to an end....

Source:  Adapted from Everyday Food magazine, December 2011

1 t. olive oil
1/2 T. soy sauce
1/2 T. rice vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/8 t. red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets

In small bowl, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and red-pepper flakes.
Set steamer basket in a saucepan with 2" simmering water.  Add broccoli, cover, and steam until crisp-tender, 4 minutes.
Toss broccoli with soy sauce mixture.

Serves 2.

Note: The broccoli is intended to be accompanied with glazed salmon and brown rice, and works great for leftovers.  Here's the link to the original recipe:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broccoli Chowder with Corn and Bacon

Even without the bacon, this recipe is still yummy!!

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, Sept. 2008

4 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn kernels
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 c. whole milk
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8-10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Increase heat to medium.  Cook onion, stirring until it begins to soften, 6-8 minutes.
Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.  Add broth and potato; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add broccoli, corn, thyme and milk; cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve topped with bacon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Black Bean Bake

Since I didn't have any fresh jalapeno peppers, cherry tomatoes or cilantro on hand from the garden, I decided not to make the Jalapeno-Olive Relish to go along with the recipe this time.  I'll keep it in mind for early next fall!

Source:  adapted from bhg.com

1 lb. ground beef
2 c. 1/2 " pieces of peeled pumpkin or winter squash
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen whole kernel corn
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
1 t. sea salt (or more, to taste)
1 8-1/2-oz. pkg. corn muffin mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. pumpkin puree, or canned pumpkin
Jalapeno-Olive Relish (optional, see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 deg.  In a large skillet, cook ground beef, pumpkin and onion over medium heat until meat is browned and onion tender, breaking up ground beef with spoon; drain fat if necessary.  Stir in black bean, corn, chiles and salt.  Transfer mixture to a 2-1/2 qt. baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together corn muffin mix, egg, milk and pumpkin puree until just combined.  Spoon over beef mixture.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cornbread topping comes out clean.  Serve with Jalapeno-Olive Relish, if desired.

Jalapeno-Olive Relish

1/4 c. halved pitted green olives
1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1-2 T. snipped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine above ingredients.

Serves 6.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Green & White Bean Salad with Roast Chicken

My seed package describes these pepperoncini peppers as "mildly hot".  I beg to differ!!   So, adjust the amount of pepperoncini called for in this recipe according to your heat tolerance!

Source:  adapted from Everyday Food magazine, May 2011

Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 T. white-wine vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (15.5 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. thinly sliced pepperoncini

In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cool water to stop the cooking, and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add green beans, cannellini beans, onion, tuna and pepperoncini, and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Waldorf Salad

I love this salad, not only for the fond memories it evokes, but also for the wonderful crunch and flavors of fall.  I remember making this at home when I was a child; the recipe is from that dear Betty Crocker's Boys and Girls Cook Book.  My edition was published in 1965.  :)

1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 T. milk
2 apples, cut, cored and diced (unpeeled)
1 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. walnuts

Whisk together mayonnaise and milk in serving bowl.  Add apples, celery and walnuts.  Toss.

Yield:  4 servings

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sausage & Lentil Soup

The word "sausage" may strike fear in your heart, but don't despair!  If your little piggy was raised by a conscientious farmer and ate what pigs were always meant to eat, then sausage is not nearly as unhealthy for you as you may have been programmed to think.  Still, there's no need to eat any more meat than necessary, so I reduced the amount of sausage this recipe originally called for by half without sacrificing the flavor.

Source:  Adapted from K. Keener

Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes:
1 c. lentils
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. water
1 bay leaf
1 t. salt

Add to cooked lentils:
1/2 lb. sausage, browned
16 oz. canned tomatoes
1/2 c. water
1/4 t. oregano
1/2 - 1 t. sea salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until lentils and celery are tender.

(The soup is very thick, so you may wish to add more water or broth to thin to desired consistency.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Broccoli with Parmesan and Walnuts

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, October 2011  

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 - 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
coarse salt
ground pepper
2 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add broccoli and cook until broccoli begins to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is crisp-tender and garlic begins to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving bowl.  Toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan and walnuts.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fried Eggs with Greens and Mushrooms

OK, not the easiest recipe to get a good photo of since the cast iron skillet and the greens are both dark, but it was actually quite beautiful.  Maybe I was swayed by the fact that I was using my mom's skillet; for some reason, I find using it very comforting - always makes me think of those yummy potato cakes out of leftover mashed potatoes that I simply cannot figure out how to make like she did.  (This recipe actually calls for a cast iron skillet!)  Anyway, this is a nice main dish recipe if you're trying to incorporate more cooked greens in your diet and you like one-dish meals.

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine

Sage-Chile Butter:
4 T. unsalted butter
1 T. small sage leaves
1/4 t. crushed red-pepper flakes

Eggs and Greens:
2 T. olive oil
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
coarse sea salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 c. cooking greens (I used Swiss chard), cut into 3/4"-wide ribbons
2 T. water
2 T. unsalted butter
4 large eggs
finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Sage-Chile Butter:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add sage and red-pepper flakes.  Simmer until sage is crisp, about 3 min.

Eggs and Greens:
Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat.  Swirl in oil.  Cook mushrooms with 1/2 t. salt until golden and tender, 4-5 min.  Stir in garlic, then greens and water.  Cook, stirring, until greens wilt.  Add butter, stir until melted.
Push greens to make 4 wells.  Crack 1 egg into each.  Season with salt.  Cook for 4 min.  Let stand until whites are set, but yolks are still runny, about 4 min.  Drizzle with sage-chile butter.  Garnish with cheese.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Julia's Apple Crisp

Yummy with fresh whipped cream!!

Source:  Julia H.

4 c. sliced, pared apples (Jonathan, Melrose or Winesap)
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. uncooked quick oats
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/3 c. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 8x8x2" pan.  Places apples in pan.  Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake 30 min. or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm and, if desired, with light cream or ice cream.

Serves 6

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Green Tomato Crisp

What does one do with all the green tomatoes that are left at the end of the season??  I know some people wrap them in newspaper and allow them to slowly ripen, but I've never been thrilled with the flavor of tomatoes once the weather starts turning cooler, much less picking them green and allowing them to ripen.  My mom always made Green Tomato Relish, but I don't eat hot dogs or hamburgers very often anymore and wasn't sure I would use enough to make it worth the effort.  So, I thought I'd try this Green Tomato Crisp recipe.  I have to admit, I do prefer the flavor of traditional Apple Crisp over this recipe, but it did feel good to be able to use up some of those  green tomatoes.
Source:  cooks.com

4 c. peeled, sliced green tomatoes
1-1/2 T. vinegar
1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt

Combine and place mixture into a greased 8x8" baking dish.  Mix together and spoon on top:

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. soft butter

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 min. or until golden brown and tomatoes are tender.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cajun Pork with Spicy Beans

I waited all summer for the red peppers to ripen so I could make this recipe - it was worth the wait!  Feel free to substitute chicken for the pork. 
Source:  adapted from foodnetwork.com
2 t. Cajun spice mix (see recipe below)
4 boneless pork chops (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
1 T. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 can (19 oz.) black beans, drained (do not rinse)
1 can (8 oz.) corn, drained
2 T. barbeque sauce
Sprinkle 1 t. spice mix on both sides of chops.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chops; cook 3 minutes.  Turn over.  Add onion and pepper around meat; cover and cook 7 minutes or until pork is almost cooked in center.
Stir in remaining 1 t. spice mixture; cook 1 minute.  Add black beans, corn and barbecue sauce; simmer 2-3 min. or until heated through.  Serve with brown rice or mashed potatoes.
Cajun Spice Mix
source:  adapted from allrecipes.com
2 t. sea salt
2 t. garlic powder
2-1/2 t. paprika
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. onion powder
1 t. cayenne pepper
1-1/4 t. dried oregano
1-1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix together; store in airtight container.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers

Ooooh, these are good!  One of my sewing customers shared this healthier version of Jalapeno Poppers with me.  I didn't grow any jalapenos this year, but I'm certainly going to grow some next year after trying these!  Thankfully I was able to pick up a few at Root's this week before the season was over.

Source:  J. Lerch

jalapeno peppers
ricotta cheese
green onions, sliced
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese

Slice peppers in half; remove seeds and membranes.  Cook in boiling water for 3 min; drain.  Mix together ricotta, green onions, cheddar cheese, oregano and garlic.  Stuff peppers with cheese mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan.  Heat in oven until bubbly.

*Note:  Be sure to remove all seeds and membranes unless you like to torture yourself!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sausage with Peppers and Onions

It's not often that you come across a recipe that specifically calls for Cubanelle peppers (also called Italian frying peppers), especially one so easy!  I love Cubanelles; they have a nice mild flavor and are also yummy simply sauteed.

Source:  adapted from marthastewart.com

5 medium Cubanelle peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 large red onions, each cut into 6 wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 t. chopped fresh oregano
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. hot sausage, cut on the diagonal into 2" pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Gently toss peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, oil and sausages in a large bowl.  Transfer to an 11x17" rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, gently tossing about halfway through, until sausages are cooked through and vegetables are tender, 50-55 minutes.

Serves 4

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomato Cobbler

I made this for our "Sustainable Living Feast" this afternoon.  Since it makes 6-8 servings, it was perfect for serving to a larger group.  It's also a great way to use up those grape or cherry tomatoes that are abundant at this time of the year!
The farm down the road where I get my raw milk sells Gruyere cheese, so that makes this recipe a nice option for me.

Source:  adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

For the filling:
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. crushed red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 t. coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the biscuit topping:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
coarse sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. grated Gruyere cheese (2 1/4 oz.), plus 1 T. for sprinkling
1 1/2 c. heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Make the filling:  Heat oil  in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Let cool.

Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour and red-pepper flakes with sea salt and some pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the biscuit topping:  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 t. salt in a bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form.  Stir in cheese, then add cream, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms.  (Dough will be slightly sticky.) 

Transfer tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish (2 inches deep).  Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 c. each) over top around edges of baking dish, leaving center open.  Brush dough with cream, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese.  Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack.  Let cool for 20 minutes.

Serves 6-8

My note:  be sure to use a deep enough baking dish - mine bubbled over!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hearty Minestrone

Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

I have had more requests for this recipe than any other recipe in my collection. It is delicious! I often make a number of large batches when tomatoes and zucchini are plentiful from my garden, then freeze it for quick entertaining in the winter. 

1 lb. bulk Sweet Italian sausage*
2 c. sliced celery
1 c. chopped onion
6 c. chopped zucchini
1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1½ c. chopped green pepper
1½ t. Italian seasoning
1½ t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. sugar
½ t. dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced or ¼ t. garlic powder
2 c. chopped Swiss chard (optional)
1 (16-oz.) can chicken broth (optional)

In a large saucepan, brown the sausage. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain, reserving 1 T. of drippings. Sauté celery and onion in drippings for 5 min. Add sausage and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 min. or until the vegetables are tender. Add Swiss chard, if desired and heat.  Add 1 16-oz. can of chicken broth if a less hearty soup is desired.

*Note: I use sweet Italian sausage. Do not substitute – this is the secret to the great flavor in this recipe!!
Yield: 9 servings

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sesame Broccoli

Source: Adapted from Everyday Food magazine, June 2009

1 lb. broccoli florets
2 T. olive oil
1 T. soy sauce
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. sesame seeds, toasted

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss broccoli with olive oil.  Roast at 450 degrees until browned, about 20 minutes.  Toss with soy sauce, lemon juice and sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Watermelon Summer Salad

How's this for the unexpected?!  Yumm!!!

Source:  Clare F., allrecipes.com

3/4 c. halved, thinly sliced red onion
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 qts. seeded, cubed watermelon
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. pitted black olive halves
1 c. chopped fresh mint
2 T. olive oil

Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice.  The acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw onion.  Let stand 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, black olives, onions with lime juice, and mint.  Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend.

Optional:  Serve in hollowed out watermelon shell.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta and Herbs

I was searching for a recipe for stuffed squash blossoms on line, and came across the fantastic blog bell'alimento, featuring Italian-inspired recipes with absolutely fabulous photography.  Be sure to take a look the photos of her squash blossoms - so inspiring....  The reason they are such a delicacy is that blossoms are very perishable; they shouldn't be picked until just before using.  So, just another reason to grow your own food!  :) 
My adventurous eight-year-old nephew loved these.  I'm so grateful that he's an emerging foodie and can celebrate the joy of eating with me!

Source: bell'alimento.com

 6 medium squash blossoms - washed, cleaned and trimmed
2 c. Ricotta, room temperature
1 T. flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped fine
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c. flour, or enough to dredge
vegetable or olive oil - enough to fry
salt & pepper

Place a few inches of oil (enough to submerge blossoms) into a deep-sided pot or fry machine and heat to 350 degrees.

Place the Ricotta and herbs into a small bowl and mix well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer into a pastry bag or zip lock bag and set aside.

Set up your dredging station by placing the beaten eggs into a small bowl and the flour into a separate bowl.  Set aside.

Wash and clean the squash blossoms and gently pat them dry.  GENTLY pull back the tops of the blossoms, insert the pastry bag and GENTLY squeeze enough of the Ricotta mixture in to fill the blossom without bursting it.  GENTLY twist the tops of the blossoms to seal.  Continue until all blossoms are filled.

Dredge the blossoms into the egg mixture and then coat with the flour.  Tap off any excess flour.  Continue until all blossoms are dredged.

Place blossoms into the heated oil and cook until golden (this will only take a few minutes).  When golden, transfer blossoms to a plated lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.  Season them lightly with salt while they're still warm. 

Best when eaten warm.


Pizza Frittata

If it wasn't for the egg base, you'd think you were eating pizza!  Yumm....

Source:  Adapted from Everyday Food magazine, Oct. 2004

1 T. plus 4 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
6 large eggs
coarse sea salt
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz.), divided
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 c. (14.5 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice, or 2 c. fresh tomatoes, cut
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 10" ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat 2 t. oil over medium heat.  Cook onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until soft, about 5 min.  Cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, 3/4 t. sea salt, and 2 T. water.  Stir in onion, mushrooms and 3/4 c. mozzarella.

In skillet, heat 1 T. oil over medium heat.  Add egg mixture; reduce heat to low, and cook until beginning to set around the edges, about 3 min.  Transfer to oven; bake until set, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 t. oil in a large skillet over low heat.  Cook garlic until soft, 2 min.  Add tomatoes, basil and 1/4 t. sea salt; simmer, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon, 5 minutes.

Spoon sauce over frittata; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. cheese.  Return to oven; cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Skillet Sausage & Cabbage

Probably one of the things I miss the most after switching to healthy eating is sausage.  I LOVE sausage....  But, I just discovered that the farmer down the road sells pork products from pigs that are fed things I can sleep at night over, so I have been happy to make some of my previous recipes that call for pork again.  :)  This is one of my favorite cabbage recipes.  In this case, I used half the amount of sausage that the recipe called for to keep my meat consumption down as well as save some money.  The flavor in this recipe is best with kielbasa, but I managed nicely with some simple pork sausage plus garlic for seasoning.

Source:  Southern Living, January 2001

1 (16-oz.) pkg kielbasa sausage, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
6 c. coarsely  chopped cabbage
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. caraway seeds
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Saute sausage in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until browned; drain on paper towels.
Add onion and bell pepper to skillet; saute 2-3 min.  Add cabbage and cook, stirring often, 8 min.  Add sausage, broth and remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 min. or until cabbage is tender.  Serve immediately.
Yield:  4 servings

Zucchini Fritters

Pretty and healthful!

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine

2 medium zucchini (about 8 oz. each), trimmed
1 medium onion
1/2 c. (1 oz.) grated Pecorino Romano cheese 
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 t. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 t. coarse sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
plain yogurt and apricot jam, for serving

Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grated, then squeeze dry in a clean paper towel-lined kitchen towel.  Repeat with onion.

Mix together zucchini, onion and cheese, flour and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in eggs just before frying.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, coat skillet with 1-2 T. oil.  Scoop mounds (2 T. each) of the zucchini mixture into skillet; flatten slightly using a spatula.  Cook until golden brown and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side.

Transfer fritters to paper-towel lined plates to drain.  Serve with dollops of plain yogurt and apricot jam.

Yield:  approximately 20 fritters

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

Gardening friends were kind enough to share some of their extra home-grown cantaloupes with me, thus the opportunity to try out some more cantaloupe recipes!  In place of the sour cream, I used my homemade yogurt that had been strained overnight in a coffee filter, resulting in a product very similar to sour cream.  Since I used dairy products from grass-fed cows, this was yummy and healthy!

Source:  Tea Cozy Cooking cookbook

3 c. cubed, peeled and de-seeded cantaloupe
1/2 c. sour cream, plus dollop for garnish
1 1-1/2 c. heavy cream (to thin to desired consistency)
1 T. sugar, or to taste
1/2 t. cinnamon, or to taste
garnish:  fresh mint springs

Combine all ingredients and puree in food processor, blender or with hand-held blender until smooth.  Cover and chill.  Serve soup when thoroughly chilled.  Garnish with dollop of sour cream and a spring of fresh mint.

Yields:  4 1/2 cups

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roasted Squash with Walnut-Parsley Pesto

I think I prefer my favorite parsley pesto recipe I discovered several years ago over this recipe, but it was still very good.  The lemon flavor complements the squash nicely, and the walnuts are much more economical  (not to mention local!) than pricey pine nuts.

Source:  Adapted from Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2011

Walnut-Parsley Pesto

1 c. tightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1/2 oz. (1/4 c.) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
ground pepper

In a food processor, pulse parsley, walnuts, garlic, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice until combined, about 10 seconds.  With machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until a paste forms.  Season pesto with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Roasted Squash

2 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 3/4" wedges

Place squash on rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

Bruschetta with Tomato Topping

Absolutely fabulous with freshly baked French bread!

Source:  adapted from Gooseberry Patch Celebrate Winter Cookbook

8-oz. loaf French bread (baguette)
olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/8 t. pepper
2 T. olive oil
1/3 c. purple onion, chopped
3 T. fresh basil or oregano, chopped
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Cut bread into 1/2"-thick slices; brush both sides lightly with olive oil.  Place in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a 425 degree oven about 5 minutes, or until crisp and light brown, turning once.   Rub with cut garlic.

Combine all remaining ingredients except cheese to make tomato topping.  Spread each slice with tomato topping and sprinkle with cheese.  Return to oven and bake 2-3 minutes longer, or until cheese melts.

Roasted Tomato Sauce (for pizza)

Can't wait to make some pizza and try it out.  I like the fact that you don't have to peel the tomatoes, thus saving time and labor as well as getting the nutritional benefit of the skins!

Source:  Adapted from Country Living Magazine, September 2011

2 1/2 lbs. plum tomatoes, quartered
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t. coarse sea salt
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2 t. fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9x13" baking pan, toss together tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, oil, salt and crushed red pepper.  Roast for 1 hour.  Remove pan from oven and fold basil and oregano into vegetables.  Cook for 30 minutes more.  Cool slightly.

In a food processor, blend vegetables until pureed.  Use immediately, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze or can.

Yields:  3 cups

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Does it get any easier or more healthful than this?!

Source:  marthastewart.com

1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 lb. (about 2 c.) chopped cantaloupe (from a 1 1/2 lb. cantaloupe)

Combine yogurt and cantaloupe in a blender; blend until smooth.  Chill in an airtight container, and use within one day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2011

2 medium zucchini
2 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced small
1/4 t. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 t. while vinegar
5 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into 1" pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  Halve zucchini lenghwise and scrape out seeds.  Place cut side up, on sheet and season with coarse sea salt and ground pepper.  In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, oregano and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  Top zucchini with tomato mixture.  Bake until zucchini is tender, about 20 minuted.

Heat broiler with rack in top position.  Top zucchini with mozzarella.  Broil until cheese is brown and bubbling, 1-2 min.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grains & Fruit Summer Salad

This salad is a bit unusual, but I couldn't resist trying it since it called for cantaloupe and yellow cherry tomatoes, both of which I had on hand, as well as plenty of basil.  I substituted red onion for the green onions.  I skipped the blueberries since fresh ones are no longer in season in our area.  The zucchini works nicely raw as long as it is cut into very, very thin slices or ribbons.

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens magazine, June 2011

1 c. lightly packed fresh basil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 c. cooked grains (quinoa, wild rice, and/or brown rice)
1/2 c. sliced green onions
4 c. mixed salad greens (torn Bibb lettuce and/or spring mix)
2 c. blueberries
1 c. cantaloupe cubes
1 c. yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in narrow ribbons
1/2 c. walnut pieces, toasted
4 oz. smoked salmon, flaked (optional)
1/3 c. snipped or shredded fresh herbs (dill, basil and/or mint)

For basil dressing, in a blender or small food processor combine the 1 c. basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed; set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together cooked grains and green onions.  Stir in about 2 T. of the basil dressing to coat.

For the salad, line a large bowl with greens.  Top greens with grains mixture, blueberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, zucchini, walnuts, and salmon.  Drizzle with half the remaining basil dressing; toss gently.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs.  Pass remaining dressing. 

Makes 8 side-dish or 4 main-dish servings.

Peaches + Basil + Red Onion

I saved the very last peach from my neighbor's bounty for this lovely recipe.

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine, June 2011

3 peaches, sliced 1/2" thick
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 c. fresh basil, leaves torn if large
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Toss first 6 ingredients together.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Serves 4

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zucchini Mock Crabcakes

These freeze nicely.  I usually make a bunch when zucchini is plentiful, then freeze them individually for later use.

Source:  Chambersburg Brethren in Christ Church Cookbook

2 c. shredded zucchini
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 c. dry bread crumbs
1 t. Old Bay seasoning (or less, to taste)
1/4 t. pepper
1 T. mayonnaise

Mix ingredients well.  Form into cakes.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet; cook until light brown and set.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bean, Red Onion, and Parsley Salad

This salad is so easy I had to read to recipe twice to believe it, and it's just as delicious.  It uses cannellini beans - I do believe I am in love with them!  They are the perfect bean for so many recipes - salads, soups, hummus - you name it.  Maybe it's because they make me dream of Italy.... To top it off, I found them dirt cheap at the food outlet I frequent.  I grabbed a bunch of cans, but now I'm wishing I had bought the entire shelf!

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, March 2010

2 cans (14.5 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
4 t. red-wine vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine above ingredients.

Serves 4

That's it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dublin Potato Salad

Made with freshly-dug Yukon Gold potatoes, green onions and a freshly-picked head of cabbage, it just doesn't get any better than this!!

Source:  Mother
2 T. vinegar
1 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed
3 medium-large potatoes
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 c. finely shredded cabbage
1 12-oz. can corned beef, chilled and cubed*
1/4 c. finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. salt

Combine vinegar, celery seed and mustard seed; set aside. Meanwhile, pare (optional) and cook potatoes in enough boiling, salted water to cover for 30-40 minutes until done. Drain and cube. While potato cubes are still warm, drizzle with vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle with sugar and the first 1/2 t. salt; chill thoroughly. Before serving, add cabbage, corned beef, pickle and onion. Combine mayonnaise, milk and the second 1/2 t. salt. Pour over corned beef mixture; toss lightly.

* Note - roasted chicken breast works nicely as a substitute for the corned beef. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mandarin Orange Salad

From: OPL Co-worker

This recipe is always a hit! The candied almonds add wonderful flavor and crunch; the dressing adds the final touch.  I especially like to use green leaf lettuce from the garden - the oranges are so pretty among the bright greens.

 green leaf lettuce
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained

Candied Almonds:
1 c. sliced almonds
4 T. brown sugar

½ c. oil
¼ c. vinegar
¼ c. sugar or agave nectar
1 t. salt

Candied Almonds:
 In medium skillet, stir almonds and sugar continuously over medium heat until brown and coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store extras in sealed container for later use.

 Mix oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in jar or salad dressing bottle; shake until blended.

Toss lettuce, oranges, and almonds. Just before serving, add dressing and toss.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quinoa with Asparagus and Preserved Lemon Dressing

This recipe is way more effort than I normally undertake, but it seemed fitting for the final recipe of the 2011 asparagus season - #18!  Plus, I was intrigued by the preserved lemon dressing - had never heard of such a thing, so wanted to give it a try.  I'm not sure why I couldn't get the dressing to emulsify (maybe because I used the blender instead of the food processor as instructed??), but the flavor was delicious none the less.

Source:  adapted from marthastewart.com

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2" pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
Preserved Lemon Dressing (see below)

Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2-4 minutes.
Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add onion and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.  Add quinoa, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until all water has evaporated, approximately 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.
Transfer quinoa to a serving platter.  Add asparagus and toss to combine.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with pine nuts and basil.  Garnish with chopped preserved lemons.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield:  6 servings

Preserved Lemon Dressing

1 lemon from Preserved Lemons (see below)
7-8 T. olive oil
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Rinse lemon in water, drain and cut in half.  Removed seeds and flesh from half of the lemon and chop rind into little pieces; set aside.
Remove seeds from remaining lemon half and add to the bowl of a food processor along with olive oil, cumin, coriander, and pepper; process until pureed.  If dressing seems too thick, add water to reach desired consistency.  Stir in preserved rind.

Preserved Lemons

8 lemons plus more as needed
juice of 4 lemons plus more as needed
coarse sea salt
1/2 c. olive oil

Leaving one end in tact, cut lemons lengthwise into quarters.  Using your fingers, stuff about 2 T. salt inside each lemon, close them, and transfer to an 8-cup, sterilized, wide-mouth jar.
Measure lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, add to jar along with half that amount of water, making sure liquid almost covers lemons.  Add more freshly squeezed lemon juice, if necessary.
Loosely cover jar and let stand, at room temperature, for 2 days, shaking the bottle each day.
If there is room, add more cut lemons with salt and add to jar, covering with more lemon juice, if necessary, and olive oil. 
To use lemons, rinse with water. Remove seeds and pith and discard.  Use peel as desired.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese

This is the perfect potato salad for goat cheese lovers!

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine, April 2010

2 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into 3/4" pieces
coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T. white-wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese (1/2 c.)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 T. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan; season with salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 T. cooking liquid.  Let potatoes cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and reserved cooking liquid.  Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified.
Transfer potatoes to a bowl, and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Gently stir in goat cheese, celery, shallot, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Roasted New Potatoes

Be prepared for heavenly smells....

Souce:  simplyrecipes.com

1 1/2 lb. new potatoes (red or yellow), cut in half or quarters
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 t. fresh rosemary
1/4 t. sea salt
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place potatoes in bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add olive oil, rosemary and garlic.  Toss until potatoes are well coated.
Spread potatoes in a single layer on rimmed cookie sheet.  Roast for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through and browned.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

My fellow gardening neighbors were heading out of town for a few days, so they rang the door bell this morning and handed over some sugar peas from their garden that needed to be consumed.  I planted sugar SNAP peas this year, but no sugar peas, so this was quite the treat!  This recipe is perfect for spring veggies, including these baby carrots:

Actually, the carrots never got a chance to grow up since I needed to pull them to make space for the yellow squash plant that is starting to sprawl into the carrots' territory! 

Source:  Adapted from allrecipes.com

2 T. cornstarch
1 c. chicken stock
1 T. soy sauce
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
5 c. cut-up vegetables (such as broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, celery, red or green peppers and green onions)
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 c. hot cooked brown rice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix cornstarch, chicken stock and soy sauce.
In a large non-stick skillet, stir-fry chicken in hot oil until browned.  Remove chicken.
Add vegetables, ginger and garlic powder and stir-fry until crisp-tender.
Stir stock mixture and add.  Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens.  Return chicken to skillet and heat through.  Serve over rice.

Yield:  4 Servings

My Notes:
For the veggies, I used broccoli, baby carrots and green onions from my garden, some local mushrooms, and my neighbor's sugar peas - so very cool!  :)
For the chicken, I simply used a roasted chicken breast from the freezer.
And, the chicken stock was home canned.  :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Strawberries and Fresh Mint

This is fabulous too, not to mention absolutely beautiful!! 

adapted from eating-made-easy.com

thinly sliced baguette
goat cheese, at room temperature
fresh strawberries, sliced
fresh mint leaves
agave nectar or honey

Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Let cool, then spread a little goat cheese on each slice, top with a few strawberry slices and place on a platter.  Drizzle with agave nectar or honey, then place a mint leaf on each crostini and serve.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

This is fabulous!!
Be sure to plant some basil early in the season so you can enjoy it in this recipe. 

Source:  adapted from shutterbean.com

25-30 crostini (see below)
1 pt. strawberries, hulled and quartered or cut smaller, depending on size
5-6 basil leaves, sliced thin
sea salt

Place strawberries in a bowl with vinaigrette and let sit for 10 minutes.  Spread 1 T. goat cheese on each crostini, top with a few basil shreds, then place a spoonful of strawberries on top.  Sprinkle salt on top of each crostini and serve.

(Makes 20-25 small crostini, depending on how thin you cut the bread)

1 baguette, cut into 1/2" thick slices
2-3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bread slices on large rimmed baking sheet; brush both sides of slices with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, then bake until pale golden, about 10-15 min. 

*Note:  Be sure to use Chef Tim's Balsamic Vinaigrette - it's the secret to the fabulous flavor!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mother's Classic Spinach Salad

I love mushrooms, so this is the perfect spinach salad for me!
Source:  Mother
3/4 c. oil
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. dried onion
1/3 c. ketchup
1/4 c. vinegar
Add ingredients to a pint jar and shake until blended.
1 bag raw fresh spinach
1 pt. fresh mushrooms
1/2 lb. bacon, fried crispy, then crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped.
Toss salad ingredients.  Add dressing just before serving.
Serves 6-8

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick Strawberry Jam

I LOVE strawberry freezer jam, both the color and the flavor, but have been wanting to get away from all the sugar and the who-knows-what's-in-them ingredients in the traditional pectin mixes, so I was delighted to come across this recipe.  (Do you really want to know just how much sugar is in the Sure-Jell version??)  It doesn't yield a whole lot because it doesn't have the sugar volume.  Also, it has a distinct lemon flavor and it's darker in color since it's cooked,  but it certainly results in a lot less distress when consumed when you consider the wholesome ingredients.  :)

1 qt. strawberries, hulled
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, process strawberries until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover surface, about 9-10 minutes.  Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. 
To store, seal jar and refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze.

(I honestly don't remember if this is the picture of this version of the jam or if it's the Sure-Jell version - I made 3 different versions on the same day and lost track!!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strawberry Romaine Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Source:  tasteofhome.com

1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. slivered almonds
1 bunch romaine lettuce, torn
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 c. halved fresh strawberries

1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
1 T. sour cream
1 T. milk
2-1/4 t. cider vinegar
1-1/2 t. poppy seeds

In a small heavy skilled over medium-low heat, cook and stir the sugar until melted and caramel in color, about 10 minutes.  Stir in almonds until coated.  Spread on foil to cool; break into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, onion and strawberries.  Combine the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salad and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with coated almonds.

Serves 10.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Source:  adapted from tasteofhome.com

1/4 c. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey or agave nectar
2 c. cut fresh asparagus (1" pieces)
2 c. sliced fresh strawberries

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil and honey; mix well.  Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2-4 minutes; drain and cool.  Arrange asparagus and strawberries on individual plates; drizzle with dressing.

Yield:  8 servings

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Steamed Asparagus with Warm Goat Cheese

Well, my goat cheese disk doesn't look anything like the picture on Martha Stewart's website (maybe the goat cheese was too creamy, or maybe I didn't freeze it long enough, maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe I shouldn't have substituted regular bread crumbs for the panko?), but the flavor definitely wasn't compromised.  How yummy!  It was especially delightful knowing that the goat cheese came from Dove Song Dairy. a local farm; I just discovered them!  Their products can be purchased at Root's Market via the Fertile Valley Dairy Farm stand.  (I purchase my eggs from Fertile Valley since they are free range and are not fed any GMO soy.)

5 oz. fresh goat cheese log
1/4 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 T. olive oil
lemon wedges

Slice a 5-oz. fresh goat cheese log into 4 disks; dredge in flour, then in panko.  Freeze for 15 minutes.
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add cheese disks; cook until browned, about 1 minute per side.  Season asparagus with salt, and serve with cheese disks and lemon wedges.