Monday, December 10, 2012

Maple-Thyme Roasted Carrots

2 T. olive oil
2 T. maple syrup
3 springs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
1/2 t. sea salt
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut in oblique shape

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix olive oil, maple syrup, thyme and salt together in a small bowl, then toss the carrots in the mixture.  Place carrots on a small baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 min.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sweet Potato, Sausage & Greens Soup

Yum, yum, yum!  I decided to try this recipe because I had an abundance of kale and sweet potatoes from the garden, but I never dreamed it would be so delicious.  I'm sure the Italian sausage I bought at Rooster St. Provisions was part of the secret to the fabulous flavor combo.  Yum!
1 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt & pepper
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 lb. sweet potatoes, unpeeled and diced medium
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. water
3/4 c. small pasta shells
4 c. packed roughly chopped mixed greens, such as kale and Swiss chard
Grated Parmesan. for serving
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes; season with sea salt and pepper.  Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes, broth and water and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 3 minutes less than package instructions.  Reduce to a simmer, add greens, and cook until pasta is tender and greens are wilted, 4 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan.
Serves 6.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sausages with Acorn Squash and Onions

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, December 2012

1 large acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
3 T. olive oil
sea salt and pepper
4 hot or sweet Italian sausages (3/4 lb. total)
1/2 c. grated aged Asiago cheese (2 oz.)
1 T. chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 c. dried cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash and onion with oil and arrange in an even layer; season with salt and pepper.  Add sausages to sheet.  Roast until vegetables are just tender, 15-18 minutes.  Heat broiler.  Sprinkle Asiago and sage over vegetables and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling and sausages are cooked through, 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with cherries to serve.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fresh Apple Pie

There's nothing like a classic Apple Pie, especially when paired with a flaky pie crust made with lard!

Source:  Betty Crocker's Cookbook. 1983 edition

1/2 c. sugar
3 T. flour
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
dash of salt
5 c. thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 5 medium)
1 T. butter

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
dash of salt
6 c. thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare pastry.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in apples.  Turn into pastry-lined pie plate; dot with butter.  Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute.  Cover edge with 3" strip of aluminum foil; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, 40-50 minutes.

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

There's nothing like this classic pumpkin pie recipe from the back of the Libby's pumpkin can.  And, when you substitute organic grass-fed cream for the evaporated milk, and use lard in your pie crust, this is about as good as it gets!!

Source:  Libby's Pumpkin can

1 9" unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 c. white sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs lightly in large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 min.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 40-50 min., or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pasta Fagioli

"Pasta Fagioli" simply means pasta and beans.  My garden is getting ready to say "farewell" for the season, but there was still plenty of celery and kale out there, waiting to be added to this yummy soup - perfect for a cool, fall evening.

Source:  adapted from recipe on the (AICR) American Institute for Cancer Research website
1 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium stalks celery, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t. sea salt
1 (15 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (8 oz.) can tomatoes, chopped
1 c. uncooked whole-wheat rotini pasta
2 c. fresh spinach, Swiss chard or kale, chopped*
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (or 2 t. dried)
2 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large saucepan. Cook onion, garlic, celery, Italian seasoning, red pepper and salt until onions are tender. Stir in broth, tomato sauce and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer approximately 20 minutes.

Add pasta and cook until tender according to package directions. Add spinach, beans and parsley. Stir gently for a few minutes until spinach wilts and mixture is heated through. Serve with grated cheese on top.

Makes 6 servings.

*Note - if using kale, you may want to cook it a bit longer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apple

Here's another Brussels sprouts recipe for all you Brussels sprouts fans out there!  And for those of you who aren't converts yet (including me!), this is a nice way to start learning to appreciate this cute little vegetable.  The bacon and apple give your tongue some other flavors to think about instead of having to focus on the strong flavor of the sprouts. 

I'd love to try this out on my nephew to see if it will pass his taste bud test!

Source:  marthastewart. com

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 pts. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved (less if you're not a fan!)
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/4" slices, each slice halved crosswise
2 t. red-wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange bacon pieces in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until browned, about 10 minutes. 

Add Brussels sprouts in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven; toss in apple.  Return to oven; roast until Brussels Sprouts are browned and tender and apple has softened, 10-15 minutes.

Toss vegetables with vinegar, and serve immediately.

Serves 8

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Roasted-Vegetable Salad with Poached Eggs

Source:  Everyday Food Magazine

3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large beet, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1/2" wedges
1 large sprig rosemary
3 T. olive oil, divided
sea salt and pepper
4 large eggs
1 head red leaf lettuce, trimmed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 T. lemon juice plus wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes, onion, carrots, beets, and rosemary with 2 T. oil; season with salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until golden and tender, about 30 min.

Meanwhile, in a straight-sided skillet, heat 2" water over medium until a few bubbles rise to the top.  Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and gently pour into skillet.  Cook, undisturbed, until whites are just set and yolks are still runny, 3-4 min.  With a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large bowl and toss with lettuce, lemon juice and remaining 1 T. oil; season with salt and pepper.  Divide among four plates; top with poached eggs, and serve with lemon wedges.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Lemon

Photo credit:

My nephew Ricky has it in his head that he should like Brussels sprouts, but unfortunately he has only been exposed to mushy, overcooked sprouts so far, definitely not something any adult, much less a nine-year old, would enjoy!  So, I am determined to give him the opportunity to try some tastier versions.  He wasn't sure he liked these, but he finished his plate, a sign to me that we were making progress.  :)

3 c. Brussels sprouts, halved
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 T. butter
1 T. lemon juice
Pinch of lemon zest
1/4 c. breadcrumbs, toasted
salt & pepper, to taste

Peel off any marked outer leaves of the sprouts and trim the bottoms; slice in half.  Boil for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water; this will stop the cooking and maintain the sprouts' vibrant color.

To toast the breadcrumbs, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, while giving the pan handle a few shakes to toast the breadcrumbs evenly.  Once they begin to turn golden, remove them from the heat and place in a bowl, as the heat from the pan will continue to toast them.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute the garlic in the butter.  Once the butter begins to bubble up and the garlic starts to jump a little, add the sprouts.  Cook about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown spots start to appear on the sprouts.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Add the toasted breadcrumbs into the skillet and toss gently.  Add more breadcrumbs on top before serving; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cream of Green Bean Soup

This recipe works great with fresh green beans that are a little on the mature side.

Source:  adapted from

1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. butter, melted
4 c. chicken broth
2 lbs. fresh green beans, cut into 2" pieces
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2-1 c. heavy cream
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. dried tarragon
1/4 t. pepper

Saute the onions and garlic in butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until tender.  Set aside.

Bring the chicken broth and green beans to a boil in a large saucepan.  After about 15 min., add potatoes.  Cook until tender.  Add the reserved onion and garlic mixture.  Stir well.

Transfer mixture into blender jar; cover and process until smooth.  Repeat with remaining mixture, if necessary.  Return pureed mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir in cream, and lemon juice and tarragon.  Cook until thoroughly heated.  Garnish with a dollop of cream and freshly ground black pepper.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

Source:  Ina Garten's Back to Basics

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 T. good olive oil
1 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears.  Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil.  Spread the potatoes in one layer.  Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes.  Bake for 15 min. and then turn with a spatula.  Bake for another 5-10 min., until lightly browned.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Caprese-Salad-Inspired Eggplant Rounds

I found this baby eggplant when I was cleaning out my garden over the weekend.  It was just the right size for some Caprese-Salad-Inspired Eggplant rounds - I simply used a slice of roasted eggplant on the bottom, then added slices of tomato and mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh basil and drizzled with my favorite Chef Tim's Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Or, you can layer ingredients on a platter and turn it into the Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad as directed in the recipe below.  (The frost last weekend ended my fresh basil for the season, but thankfully I had smipped a few stems and stuck them in a vase of water to hold me over as I finish up some of my fresh produce.)

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2009

6 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 lb. sliced tomatoes
1/4 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush two rimmed baking sheets with 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil each.  Arrange eggplant slices on sheets.  Brush tops with 2 T. oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until eggplant is golden and tender, about 20 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.

On a serving platter, layer eggplant and sliced mozzarella and tomatoes.  Top with basil leaves and drizzle with remaining 2 T. oil and balsamic vinegar.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chicken, Rice and Black-Bean Salad

Ooooh, this was yummy with a freshly roasted chicken, the last of the tomatoes and jalapeno peppers from the garden, and brown rice cooked using the method I just discovered that was featured in the September issue of the Martha Stewart Living magazine.  If I had closed my eyes, I would have thought I was at Chipotle's!!

Source:  adapted from Everyday Food magazine, June 2005

1 c. brown rice
1 cooked chicken (about 2 1/2 lbs.), shredded (about 4 c.)
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno chile (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired), minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. white-wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. ground cumin
sea salt & ground pepper

Cook rice according to package instructions or Martha Stewart's food editors' "Better Brown Rice" method.  Spread on a baking sheet; refrigerate until cool.

Place cooled rice in a large bowl; add chicken, beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, scallions and cilantro.  Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, cumin, sea salt and pepper and pour over ingredients in bowl.  Toss to combine.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Butternut Squash and Sage Pizza

I had this pizza at Julia and Alan's house for dinner this evening - yumm!!

Source:  Epicurean Mom

1 small onion, peeled and sliced
13 fresh sage leaves, chopped plus a few whole leaves for a garnish
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1" squares
1 t. fresh garlic, minced
3 1/2 T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lay diced butternut squash onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.  Bake for 10-15 min., or until just tender.  Let cool slightly.

Heat 1 1/2 T. olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until browning and caramelized, about 10-15 min.  Set aside.

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, pat out dough to form a 10" circle.  Make sure the sides are slightly thicker to form a crust.  Set aside until ready to assemble.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat, add chopped sage leaves.  Stirring constantly, cook until fragrant and starting to crisp, about 3 min.  Immediately take off heat and add 1 t. minced garlic, stir until well combined.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  If using a pizza stone, preheat the stone in the oven for about 20-25 min.

Pour sage mixture into a small cup, add 1 T. olive oil and spread over the pizza dough with a basting brush.  Generously sprinkle dough with salt and pepper.  Add the caramelized onions, mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese.  Evenly spread the butternut squash on top of the cheese and sprinkle with a few whole sage leaves.

Bake for 7-10 min., or until a golden brown.  Let cool for 5 min. before serving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roasted Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil

Easy and delicious!

1 eggplant, peeled, and cut into cubes
olive oil
1 red bell pepper
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
fresh basil, torn
sea salt and pepper

Toss eggplant with olive oil and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Rub pepper with olive oil and place on baking sheet, along with eggplant.

Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning pepper once.  Remove pepper from oven and place in a small bowl; cover with a plate.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Continue roasting the eggplant for 45 minutes total, or until tender (will depend on how mature your eggplant is).

While eggplant is roasting, remove skin from pepper, then cut open and remove stem and seeds.  Cut into chunks.

Remove eggplant from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Toss eggplant, red pepper, mozzarella and basil with vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper.

Yum, yum, yum!!

(For more detailed information on roasting peppers, click here.)
(And, if you'd like to try making your own raw milk mozzarella cheese, click here for directions!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heather's Fresh Tomato Sauce

This is fabulous for pizza sauce when making a simple, classic Pizza Margherita.  My neighbor Heather used this last summer on their pizzas, and I swear, it was the best pizza I have ever eaten!!

I made a number of batches as my tomatoes came in and stashed it away in the freezer for pizza this winter.

Source:  Heather Grove

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. beefsteak tomatoes (about 4 large), cored, peeled, and cut into 3/4" chunks
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
sea salt and pepper

Stir oil and garlic together in large skillet.  Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is sizzling and and fragrant, about 2 min.  Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 t. salt.  Bring to rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat if sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan, until thickened and chunky, 15-20 min.  Remove from heat.  Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Roasted Beet Salad Pizza

OK, I don't have an official recipe for this pizza, but it's basically this Roasted Beet salad turned into a pizza!  My neighbors Cory & Heather and I are in love with this salad, and we also LOVE pizza, so we compared notes and turned it into a pizza.

Here are the basic directions:

Brush pizza crush with olive oil.
Layer plenty of soft goat cheese and sliced roasted beets.
After baking, add spring greens or arugula (I prefer arugula), candied pecans or walnuts, and generously drizzle with dressing.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dilled Green Beans

My friend Cindy brought these Dilled Green Beans to book group last winter - they were so yummy!  In anticipation of making a batch of my own, I planted dill and green beans earlier in the spring, hoping they would mature at the same time so I could attempt my own batch.  They did!  :)

Source:  Cindy Cronce

3 lbs. whole green beans
1 1/2 t. cayenne pepper*
6 cloves garlic
6 dill heads
3 1/4 c. cider vinegar
3 1/4 c. water
6 T. salt**

Wash beans, cut off ends.  Pack lengthwise in clean, hot pint jars, leaving 1/4" of headroom (trim beans as necessary to fit into jars).  Add 1 clove garlic, 1 head of dill and 1/4 t. cayenne pepper to each jar.  Mix together water, vinegar and salt; bring to a boil and pour over the beans in the jars while still boiling hot.  Leave 1/4" head space.  Secure lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  

Allow to sit 2 weeks for flavors to develop.

*Note - if you prefer less "kick", use 1/8 t. cayenne pepper per jar instead of 1/4 t.
**I sometimes reduce the amount of salt to 2 t. per jar.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grilled Pizza with Cheesy Corn, Fresh Tomatoes, and Basil

This is a fun twist on pizza.  The corn, Parmesan and garlic puree gives it great flavor!

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine, August 2012

15 oz. store-bought pizza dough
1 1/3 c. corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 c.)
1 medium garlic clove, minced (3/4 t.)
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse sea salt
2 small tomatoes (5-6 oz. total), thinly sliced (7-9 slices)
4-6 oz. mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves

Let dough sit at room temperature (in package) 4 hours.

Puree corn, Parmesan, garlic, 2 T. oil, and 1/2 t. salt in food processor until smooth with small chunks.

Spread remaining oil on a baking sheet or pizza pan.  Place dough on pan, and stretch to an even thickness, turning to coat both sides with oil.  Let rest 1 hour, then restretch.

Preheat grill to medium.  Season dough with salt, and transfer to grill, making sure to keep dough flat and even.  Cover grill, and cook until dough is just charred on bottom, 5-6 minutes, checking frequently.

Flip dough.  Spread corn mixture on dough, and top with tomato slices.  Season with salt, and top with mozzarella.  Cover and grill, and cook until toppings are warmed through and mozzarella has melted, 5-6 minutes.  Top with basil and serve.

Serves 6.

Note - Instead of using the grill, I simply baked it in the oven.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Corn Cob Stock

I discovered Corn Cob Stock as a result of being distressed about how much money I had shelled out for organic corn for freezing ($6.00 a dozen!) and how little corn ended up in my freezer.  Then, I remembered I had read an article earlier in the summer in Martha Stewart Living magazine about making stock from corn cobs.  Suddenly $24.00 for 4 dozen ears of corn plus nine quarts of home-made stock didn't feel so scandalous, especially stock that tastes heavenly!

I did have to think - if I had only spent $2.00 a dozen for the corn, I wouldn't have valued it enough to seek out another use for the cobs.  It was a great reminder of how important it is to revere the food God creates and provides for us.

(I searched on line and found a number of recipes for stock.  This recipe is adapted from

8 corn cobs, kernels removed
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, pared and coarsely chopped (optional)
6-8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns
water to cover cobs, approximately 4 qts.
2 T. sea salt, or to taste

Place cobs in a large stock pot with the onions, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. 

As soon as water boils, lower the heat, add sea salt and simmer for about 40 minutes.  (This is a delicate stock and should not be simmered for a long period of time.)

Strain the stock into another large pot.  Add additional salt to taste, if necessary.  Freeze or pressure can for later use.

(Note:  Since discovering this recipe, I've been throwing any leftover corn cobs in a ziplock freezer bag and stowing them in the freezer in case I want to make some more stock at a later date.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kristy's Bread & Butter Pickles

I hate to admit this, but these are very similar to my mom's, but just a bit better.

Source:  Kristy Yoder

30 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
4-8 medium onions, sliced into thin rings
2 large red or green peppers, cut into fine strips or finely chopped (optional)
1/2 c. salt

Place cucumbers, onions and peppers into a large bowl. 
Dissolve salt in ice water and pour over cucumbers.  Let stand for 3 hours.  Drain.

4 1/2 c. sugar
4 1/2 c. vinegar
2 T. mustard seed
1 t. turmeric
2 t. mixed pickling spice

Bring syrup ingredients to a boil.  Add drained cucumbers, heat to boiling point, but don't boil.  Pack into sterilized jars.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 min.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elma's Bread & Butter Pickles

These are good....  A little sweeter than my mom's version, but I love them.

Source:  Elma Umholtz

6 lbs. sliced cucumbers
1 1/2 c. onions
2 garlic cloves
2 qts. crushed ice
1/3 c. salt

Cover and let stand for 3 hours.

4 1/2 c. sugar
3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. turmeric
1 1/2 t. celery seed
2 T. mustard seed

Boil syrup.  Pour over drained cucumbers.  Pack into pint jars.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 min.

Yield:  10 pints

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Smashed Potatoes

Photo credit:

 I love these, especially with freshly dug Yukon Gold potatoes from my garden!!  Small new potatoes are perfect for this recipe.

Source:  Everyday Food magazine &

1 1/2 pounds small potatoes
Coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large pot, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water; reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a baking sheet. Let cool 5 minutes, then lightly crush each potato with the heel of your hand. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast until golden brown and crisp, about 35 minutes, turning once.

Note:  My friend Julia also makes these, but then tosses them in approximately 1/4 c. malt vinegar before serving.  Yum!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sausage, Arugula, and Parsley Pizza

Source:  adapted from Country Living magazine

6 oz. sweet Italian sausage
1 T. plus 1 t. extra-virgin olive oil
1 recipe Peter Reinhart's All-Purpose Pizza Dough (or your own favorite pizza dough)
3 whole peeled canned tomatoes, crushed
1 T. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
coarse sea salt
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Garnish:  flat-leaf parsley leaves and arugula, tossed with 1 t. olive oil and 1/2 t. vinegar, plus Parmesan shavings

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Remove sausage from casings.  Crumble and saute over high heat until browned and cooked through.

Combine tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, 1 T. oil, 1/4 t. salt and red pepper.  Spread over dough.  Scatter mozzarella and sausage on top.
Bake as directed according to Peter Reinhart's dough recipe.
Garnish with parsley, arugula and Parmesan.

Peter Reinhart's Pizza Margherita

This is simple, classic pizza at its best!! Peter Reinhart is a genius!

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens magazine, February 2012

Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
basil leaves
olive oil

Simply top each pizza with 1/4 - 1/2 c. pizza sauce, 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 T. grated Parmesan cheese and a few basil fresh leaves brushed with olive oil.  Bake as directed in Pizza Dough recipe above.


Peter Reinhart's All-Purpose Pizza Sauce

"Many people don't realize how easy it is to make your own [sauce] and how good it is.  Resist the urge to use too much; the sauce should just kiss the dough."
- Peter Reinhart

Source:  adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, February 2012

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes*
1 1/2 t. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. granulated garlic or garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
1/2 t. dried basil (or 1 1/2 t. fresh basil, finely chopped)
1/4 t. dried oregano (or 3/4 t. fresh, finely chopped)
1/4 t. dried thyme (or 3/4 t. fresh, finely chopped)
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 t. salt
1/4 to 1/2 c. water

In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients except salt and water.  Taste sauce and whisk in 1/4 c. water and enough salt to taste.  If necessary, add more water to thin.  (According to Peter, "If the sauce is thick at this stage it will be pasty on the pizza.  It should easily spread over the dough.")  Taste again and adjust the salt, if needed. 

Makes 3 cups

*Peter's note: "The best brand of tomatoes for pizza sauce is the one you already love.  They all work well.  This sauce doesn't need cooking because the tomatoes are cooked when they're canned and the sauce cooks in the oven."

*My note:  I found that my tomatoes were a bit too juicy (they weren't a paste variety), so I drained them, but reserved the juice in case I needed it later.  I also did not need to add the extra water.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip

It's amazing what a few short years can teach you!  I've only been growing my own garlic for 2 years now, and never even knew what garlic scapes were until last summer when my cousin told me about them.  So, I was quite eager to try them in this recipe this year!


1/3 c. sliced garlic scapes (3-4)
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 t. coarse sea salt, more to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped.  Add cannellinin beans and process to a rough puree.

With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil though feed tube and process until fairly smooth.  Pulse in 2-3 T. water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip.  Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more sea salt.

Yield:  1 1/2 cups

Note:  I wanted a thicker consistency for spreading on crostinis, so I followed the recipe above, but then added another can of partially processed cannellini beans to give it a bit more texture, then added more garlic scapes, lemon juice and salt to taste.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Radish Butter Crostinis

I plant radishes every spring, but never quite know what to do with them.  As a child, they were a rite of spring, so I always plant them simply to evoke those fond memories.  I have been wanting to find a better way to enjoy them other than simply eating them sprinkled with salt, so I was thrilled not only to discover this recipe, but to LOVE it!  The butter tempers the overpowering spiciness of the radishes, resulting in a truly delightful flavor.

Check out the Martha Stewart link below for even more radish recipes!
Source: Adapted from

8 medium radishes (about 1 bunch), cleaned, roots trimmed
6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make crostini:
Slice baguette; brush both slides of each slice with olive oil and toast in 400 degree oven, turning once, until golden brown.

Grate radishes on the large holes of a box grater. 
Place grated radishes on paper towels; squeeze out excess liquid.
Combine radishes and butter in a small bowl; mix well.

Spread radish mixture on crostini; season with sea salt and pepper.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Roasted Chicken Salad with Fresh Peas and Mint

This is a nice salad to serve in the spring when fresh peas are in season and mint is at its best.

Source:  adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine, May 2012

1 whole roasted chicken, cooled and carved into pieces
1 head butterhead lettuce such as Bibb or Boston, trimmed and separated into leaves
1 c. shelled fresh peas (from 1 lb. in pods)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. minced shallot
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint leaves, plus 1/2 c. for salad

Cook peas in boiling water until just tender, 2-3 min.  Drain, and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking and retain color.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, mustard, salt and 1/4 c. chopped mint in a small bowl. 

Arrange lettuce, whole mint leaves and peas on a large serving platter or individual plates.  Toss chicken pieces in dressing and arrange on top of salad.  Pour remaining dressing over salad.

Serves 4-5

Strawberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

This was fabulous!!

I almost went to the grocery store to buy frozen raspberries for this recipe (the original recipe calls for raspberries), but at the last minute I realized, "What are you thinking??!!  You have an abundance of strawberries in the garden, so why not substitute them?!"   My commitment to eating what I can grow saved the day!  I wasn't sure how the strawberries would work as a substitute, but they worked wonderfully.  I loved the combination of the strawberries and rhubarb with buttery crust.  The glazed topping added the perfect touch.

This was the first I had used butter in a pastry crust (had always used shortening before, but am determined to use butter or lard from now on).  I still need to perfect my pastry skills when it comes to working with butter, but I was able to get the dough rolled out into a large sheet, so I was pleased!  I can't wait to make this again when raspberries are in season.  And, I just bought a rhubarb plant, so next year when I make it, I'll be able to use rhubarb from my garden!

3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 c. butter
3/4 c. plus 1-2 T. milk
1 egg yolk
2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
5 c. fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained
3 c. sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained*

Vanilla Icing:
1 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
5-6 t. milk

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly.  Whisk 3/4 c. milk and egg yolk; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Add additional milk, 1T. at a time, if necessary.

Divide dough in half so that one portion is slightly larger than the other; wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Roll out larger portion of dough between two large sheets of lightly-floured waxed paper into an 18x13" rectangle.  Transfer to an ungreased 15x10x1" baking pan.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of pan; trim pastry to 1/2" above edges of pan.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add raspberries and rhubarb; toss together to coat.  Spoon into pastry.

Roll out remaining dough; place over filling.  Fold bottom pastry over edge of top pastry; seal with a fork.  Prick top with a fork.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 min. or until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

For icing, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie.  Cut pie into squares.

*Note:  If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely.  Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Fabulous with fresh asparagus!  The original recipe called for grape or cherry tomatoes, but there's no way to make this recipe when both tomatoes and asparagus are in season, so I stuck to my "in-season" guns and substituted sun-dried tomatoes for fresh.  I'm glad I did!

Source:  adapted from

12 oz. orzo
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, cut into small pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. fresh parsley, minced
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Lightly steam asparagus; place in bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
Cook orzo according to package instructions.  Drain and place in large bowl.  Add asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.
Whisk olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl.  Stir into orzo and vegetables.  Stir in parsley and cheese.

Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

I could have eaten the whole bowl this evening, but I made sure I saved enough for lunch tomorrow; I plan to add some left over roasted chicken breast to change it up.

Update, 6/30/12 - Since my asparagus season is over, I substituted some frozen sugar peas in place of the asparagus - absolutely yummy!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

What a crazy winter!  One of the perks was that the mild temps allowed these 2 leeks that struggled last summer to mature over the winter.  This was my first attempt at growing leeks, so I'm not even sure how the winter affected their flavor, but I decided they were certainly worthy of eating if they made the effort to survive the winter.


2 T. unsalted butter
4 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, thickly sliced
1 baking potato (1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into 2" chunks
5 c. chicken stock
1 c. heavy cream
slat and freshly ground pepper
chervil or parsley sprigs, for garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan.  Add leeks and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 min.  Add the potato and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15 min.  Add cream and simmer for 10 min. longer.  Working in batches, puree soup in a blender, then return to pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 6

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Garlicky Green Beans with Mushrooms

I've been using this recipe all winter with green beans from the freezer - tastes great with both fresh or frozen green beans!

Source: adapted from

2 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 T. onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 t. butter
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Steam green beans until crisp-tender.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until tender.  Drain beans; add to skillet.  Stir in salt and pepper; heat through.

Serves 8

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


adapted from

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c. butternut squash puree*
2 medium or large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1" cubes
3-4 c. chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
4 fresh sage leaves
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper

In 4-qt. stockpot, warm olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat, cooking for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the squash puree, potatoes, and enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes. (The more stock you use to cover the potatoes, the thinner your soup will be. Use just enough liquid to boil the potatoes; if needed, you can add more stock to thin the soup later.) Add the sage, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Puree soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot. Test for seasonings.

Serve with sage breadcrumbs (see recipe below)

Sage Croutons

2 c. French baget, torn into 1/2-1" pieces
1 T. finely chopped fresh sage
ground sage
Extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Toss bread cubes in olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh sage, ground sage, salt and pepper. Bake at 275 degrees until browned, approximately 20 minutes.

*Note - to roast squash, cut it open lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Rub oil over the flesh, then sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Roast cut side down in a 400 degree oven until tender (approximately 40 min.).

Update - 3/24/12
My nephew was here for lunch today, so I pulled some of this delicious soup of of the freezer.  I'm pretty selective about who I cook for these days; I'm not willing to waste the hard work and precious ingredients on just anybody.  However, I'm more than happy to expose my nephew to the pleasures of good food since he's a fellow foodie; in fact, I've been trying to make that a priority.  When I told him what we were having, he threw a hunger fit:  "I'm sick of soup!  Eeuw - that doesn't look good.  I DON'T like butternut squash soup!! "  I reminded him that he's never even tasted butternut squash soup before, and that he rarely dislikes what I prepare for him.  Lo and behold, he not only loved it, but he was concerned that I had gotten a bigger portion than he did.

Roasted Beet Sandwich


I broke my "local/in-season" rule by buying some arugula for this recipe - a friend was coming for supper, and I didn't want to wait until spring to try this.  I knew it would be good because it's basically a variation of the Roasted Beet  Salad that I love, love, love, and it was as good as I anticipated!  I'll be sure to plant some beets and arugula and make this again!

Source:  adapted from recipe in Botanical Interests 2012 seed catalog

2-4 fresh beets, roasted, peeled and sliced
2 large handfuls of fresh arugula
4 slice (1/2" thick) good quality, multi-grain bread slices
4 T. soft goat cheese
sea salt, to taste

Remove stems and greens from beets, wash and pat dry.  Place in glass baking dish.  Toss with small amount of olive oil; sprinkle with sea salt.  Tightly cover dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees F. until soft (30-50 minutes, depending on size.  A toothpick should be easily inserted all the way to the center.)  When cool enough to handle, gently rub the skins off and slice.  Toast the bread.  Spread a thick layer of goat cheese on one slice of toasted bread.  Layer sliced beets on top of goat cheese.  Pile arugula on top of beets.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with sea salt.  Top with other slice of toasted bread.