Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shredded Swiss Chard Salad

I made this yummy salad to share last night with the recently-christened "Flavors" Food Group that I'm a part of.  I like chard, but not so much when it's the star ingredient.  This salad, however, was surprisingly good!  It was fun sharing it with some other local, in-season food enthusiasts, and it was even more enjoyable knowing that all the produce came straight from my garden!
Source:   adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, August 2012
1 large bunch of rainbow chard (12 oz.)
1 clove garlic
2 T. olive oil
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. finely chopped shallot*
1 fresh hot chile pepper, very thinly sliced**
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
5 oz. mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded
Wash and dry the chard leaves.  Removed the stems.  Stack the leaves in a pile, roll up tightly like a cigar, and thinly slice crosswise into very fine strands.
For the vinaigrette, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste.  In a large bowl, whisk garlic past with the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, chile pepper, sea salt and pepper.  Toss the chard in the vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Yields:  6 (1-cup) servings
*Note - I never have shallots on hand and haven't had any success growing them in the past, so I usually substitute a combination of onion and garlic for the shallot.
** I used a red jalapeno in place of the chile pepper.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Zucchini and Olive Flatbread

I'm so glad my friend Kristy shared this recipe with me!  My zucchini plant had kicked the bucket, but I still had plenty of yellow squash from the garden; it worked just fine in this recipe.  Instead of following the flatbread directions, I simply prepared and baked it like a traditional pizza.

Source:  food network

1 pound pizza dough
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil plus extra, for drizzling
1 large (8 oz.) zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/8" slices
2 T. chopped fresh oregano leaves, divided
1 1/2 c. (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella
1 c. (2 1/2 oz.) grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 c. pitted sliced black olives

Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12" circle.  With a pastry brush, brush 1 T. olive oil over the dough.  Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over.  Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer on top of the dough.  Drizzle the zucchini with oil.  Bake the dough for 18-20 min. until the edges begin to brown.  Remove the bread from the oven, sprinkle with 1 T. oregano, the cheeses, and the olives.  Bake for 5-7 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly.

Sprinkle with remaining oregano, cut into wedges and serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings


Source:  Julia Hair

This particular variety is so easy to grow.  I'm so grateful Julia shared some of her heirloom soybean seeds with me last fall!

Simply cook the endamame (soybeans) in their pods in boiling, salted water for 5 min.

You can serve them in their pods and pop the beans out with your teeth, or you can shell them.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Green Bean, Tomato and Chickpea Salad

As soon as the green beans and grape tomatoes are in, this is a staple summer recipe for me.  The chick peas make it a one-dish meal for more lunches and dinners than I can count!

Source:  Adapted from a recipe from Aunt Yvonne and Everyday Food magazine

1 can (15.5 oz.) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. quartered grape tomatoes
1 1/2 c. green beans, steamed 'til crisp tender, then chilled
1/4 c. red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 T. coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & pepper

In medium bowl, gently stir together chick peas, tomatoes, green beans, onion, garlic, and parsley.  
In separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  
Pour dressing over vegetables and toss until coated completely.  Chill and let marinate for at least 1/2 hour.

Yield: 4 Servings

Fresh Peach Pie

After several tries (and a few tasty, but unpresentable flops!), I think I have finally nailed Fresh Peach Pie!  The trick is to make sure the peaches aren't too ripe - if they are ripe enough for eating, they will be too juicy for pie baking.

I'm so glad Cindy brought this pie to our food group last week and was willing to share the recipe with me!

Source:  Cindy Umberger

1 unbaked pie crust

4 or a bit more cups of fresh peaches
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/8 t. cinnamon

1 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter

Gently pat the crumbs around the edge to seal.  Bake around 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees for the last 10-15 minutes until peaches are soft and crust is golden.*

*Note - I baked mine for 45 minutes total.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I stumbled across this recipe just in time for dinner tonight with my food group.  This was my first attempt at growing Fingerling potatoes, just wasn't quite sure what to expect nor when to harvest them.  I'm not sure I'll grow them again next year, but it was fun to try them.

Source:  Masonic Village Farm Market newsletter

Toss potatoes with crushed and chopped garlic cloves, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Spread on cookie sheet.  Roast at 500 degrees until tender, about 20 min.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Basil Oil

I had been wanting to try this recipe, so was very grateful Julia and Alan volunteered (or should I say, were volunteered - no one else in the group wanted to attempt the basil-infused oil!) to make this salad for our food group this evening.  It was yummy, and their presentation was just as lovely.

2 c. fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

6 c. cold cubed watermelon (from about 4 1/2 lbs. watermelon), rind removed
3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2" wedges
1 Kirby cucumber, cut into 1/2"-thick slices on the bias
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. crumbled soft goat cheese (4 oz.)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare an ice-water bath.  Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  Blanch basil for 1 min.  Transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain.
Puree basil in a blender with olive oil until smooth.  Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined fine sieve set over a bowl.  Let stand until oil drips through, about 1 hour (do not squeeze cheesecloth).

Toss together watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl.  Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with goat cheese.  Drizzle with basil oil and more olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Garnish with basil.

Serves 4

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zucchini Salad with Red Onion

Quick, easy and delish!

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, June 2007

1 T. red-wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
4 small zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs. total)

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper.  Stir in onion, and let stand 15 min.

Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini into paper-thin ribbons, avoiding seeds.  Add to bowl with dressing, season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Serves 4

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pickled Beets

Source:  Adapted from Mennonite Country Style Recipes

4 qts. beets
2 1/2 c. vinegar
2 1/2 c. water
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. whole allspice
1 (3-inch) stick of cinnamon
1/2 t. whole cloves
1 T. pickling spice (optional)

Cut tops off beats leaving 1" of stem; leave root attached.  (This helps to prevent the nutrients from cooking away in the water.)  Wash thoroughly.  Cover with hot water and cook until tender enough that skins slip off, approximately 15-25 minutes, depending on size.  Dunk in cold water to cool for handling.  Cut off remaining tops and roots and slip off skins.  Cut into cubes, slices or quarters, or leave small beets whole.

Pack beets into quart jars.  Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in saucepan.  Tie spices in a cheesecloth and add to pan.  Heat to boiling and boil 5 min.

Remove spice bag.  Pour vinegar/sugar mixture over beets in jars, leaving 1" headspace.  Tighten lids, and process in boiling water bath for 10 min.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quick-Marinated Yellow Squash Salad

Here's another nice yellow squash salad recipe!

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, September 2007

3 T. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
3 T. olive oil
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
2 medium yellow squash (8 oz. each), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 shallot, thinly sliced crosswise*
1-2 t. fresh thyme leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice and oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add squash, shallot, and thyme.  Toss to combine.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

*Note - I substituted a red onion for the shallot (I haven't had any luck growing shallots!).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Turnip Soup with Crispy Country Ham and Cornbread Croutons

I just do not like turnips - can I admit that??!!  But, I really want to learn to like them....  They are so easy to grow and oh, so pretty.  This soup recipe gives me hope!  It wasn't too exited about it, but once I added the salty, crispy ham slices and the toasted sweet cornbread, it totally changed my mind about this recipe!!  The cream helps too.  :)  Amazing what flavor and texture combinations can do....

2 oz. unsalted butter
1 1/4 lbs. yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 c.)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 T. chopped garlic
10 c. chicken stock
2  lbs. turnips, peeled and diced
1/4 c. heavy cream
4 oz. country ham, julienned
2 c. medium diced cornbread
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and celery.  Season with salt and black pepper, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden, about 8 min.

Add the bay leaf and garlic, stirring for 2 min.  Add the stock and turnips and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the turnips are very soft and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 1 hr.

Remove the soup from the heat.  Discard the bay leaf.  With a hand-held blender, puree until smooth.  Slowly add the cream.  Stir to blend.  Reseason the soup.

In a small saute pan, over medium heat, render the ham until crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Set aside.  Toss the cornbread with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.  To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls.  Garish the soup with the crispy ham and croutons.

Yield:  8 servings

Monday, July 8, 2013

Squash-Blossom Focaccia

Oh my, this was so surprisingly good!!  Way easier (and healthier!) than Stuffed Squash Blossoms.  It just makes me smile to think that those lovely blossoms can be so delightfully delicious....

Source:  Country Living Magazine, June 2013

2 T. olive oil, plus 2 T. for pan
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
1/2 c. fresh ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz.)
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
8 squash blossoms

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Meanwhile, grease a 9x13" baking pan with 2 T. oil.  Place dough in pan; press it with fingers to dimple, and then stretch it to the corners of the pan.  If dough springs back, let it rest 10 minutes and stretch again.  Bake for 8 min.

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cook for 5 min.  Spread ricotta atop bread; then sprinkle on half of Parmesan, plus salt and pepper.  Arrange squash blossoms atop cheeses, as shown.  Sprinkle on remaining Parmesan.  Bake until bread is golden, 10 min.  Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining oil before serving.

Note - Instead of prepping the dough like focaccia, I simply turned it into a pizza.

Yield:  6 slices

Friday, July 5, 2013

Grilled Ratatouille Muffaletta

I've been wanting to try this recipe, but it needed an event!  This evening's outdoor Harrisburg Symphony concert on the lawn of Lebanon Valley College was the perfect occasion.  It was so much fun sharing food with friends outdoors on a lovely summer evening.

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2013

 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2" rounds
coarse sea salt
1/2 c. pitted mixed olives, such as Kalamata and Cerignola
2 pepperoncini, stemmed
1/2 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for grilling
4 small tomatoes (1 pound), sliced into 1/2" rounds
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise 1/4-inch-thick
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, patted dry
1 (8-inch) round rustic bread, split horizontally and hollowed out

In a colander, toss eggplant with 3/4 t. salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse olives, pepperoncini, and parsley until very finely chopped.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in mayonnaise.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium.  Clean and lightly oil hot grill.  Toss eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini with oil and season with salt.  Grill, turning frequently, until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes for tomatoes and about 7 minutes each for eggplant and zucchini.

Spread bread with olive mixture.  Assemble sandwich with peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Serve immediately or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Slice with a good serrated knife to ensure clean slices.

Yield:  Serves 6

Looking back, I should have waited until next month when the tomatoes, eggplant, pepperoncini, and peppers were ready in my garden vs. buying all the ingredients at the farmers' market.  I'll keep that in mind for next year!

Also, I couldn't find the perfect loaf of artisan bread at market, so I tried making my own, but it didn't have a rustic enough texture to support the filling - the sandwiches ended up being soggy and droopy (even though the flavor was good!).  :(    I'll try again!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Herbed Squash with Yogurt Dressing

My yellow squash plants were quite prolific this year - just an unbelievable amount of cute little squash from two plants!  It gave me all kinds of opportunities to try a variety of summer squash recipes.

So, I made this salad for a potluck at my old neighbor's new home.  I knew it was an iffy recipe to try at that type of event (especially with mint leaves as one of the ingredients!), but as usual, I was determined to use produce from the garden vs. buying ingredients at the grocery store.  Surprisingly enough, the gang liked it; several people even asked for the recipe, so I was tickled!

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, July/August 2011

2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch half moons
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 T. olive oil
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 t. fresh parsley, chopped
2 t. fresh mint leaves, chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Serves 4

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Garlic Scape Pesto and Mushroom Pizza


4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
4 oz. sliced portobello mushrooms
Italian seasoning or fresh herbs

Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees.

On a large piece of parchment paper, spread the pizza dough out to be as thick or thin as you like.  Spread the pesto on top of the dough.  Then, top with the cheeses, and arrange mushrooms on top of the pizza.  Sprinkle seasoning or herbs on top of the pizza.

Use a pizza peel to transfer the pizza (still on the parchment paper) to the preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 12-15 min., or until the pizza crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Garlic Scape and Almond Pesto

Oh my word, if you love garlic as much as I do, you will think you are in heaven with this Garlic Scape Pesto!!  It's fabulous on pasta.  

If you're used to the texture of traditional basil or parsley pesto, just be prepared that the garlic scapes have a more substantial texture (not sure if that's the best way to describe it - as soon as you taste it, you'll understand what I'm trying to explain).  Once you get over that unexpected difference, you'll be in garlic heaven....  

Be sure to take advantage of the short scape season and stock your freezer with plenty of this pesto for future dining (if you can wait that long, unlike me!!).

Source:  Dorie

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 c. slivered almonds (toasted lightly, if you prefer)
1/2 c. olive oil
sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 c. cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing.  The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or packed airtight and frozen for several months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.

Yield:  1 cup

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Oooh, this was good!!  I found this recipe in my "Spaghetti Squash" file after I had used up my last spaghetti squash of the season, so I broke down and bought another one at the grocery store so I didn't have to wait  until next fall to try this recipe.  There were no local spaghetti squash left at Root's, so I had to settle for an imported one from Mexico.  (Maybe my guilt caused me to forget to include it in the picture above!)  But, I'm so glad I made it, and I'll be sure to prepare this dish next fall when winter squash and red peppers are available in my garden.  (I tried freezing several portions, so I'm thinking I can make it when the produce is available in the fall, then enjoy it over the winter.)  I was very happy to be able to use some Italian sausage I purchased at Rooster St Provisions in Etown (what a fabulous shop!!), along with some local Raw Monterey Jack Cheese made from 100% grassfed cows that I found at the Country Store. Yum!  And, I had just enough fresh (or should I say frozen!) Italian parsley remaining in the garden to sprinkle on top.  :)

Source:  adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Sept. 2006.
(Thanks, Julia H. for passing this recipe on to me!)

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 1/4 lbs.)
12 oz. bulk Italian sausage
1 1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/8 pepper
1 1/2 c. red pasta sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or Italian blend cheese
1/4 c. snipped fresh Italian parsley

Halve squash crosswise; remove seeds.  (Be sure to save seeds for toasting at another time!)  Oil rims of squash with olive oil.  Place cut sides down on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Roast squash at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes until just tender (when the tip of a paring knife can be slipped into the flesh with slight resistance).

While squash is roasting, in a large skillet, cook sausage, mushrooms, pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink; stir to break up sausage.  Drain off fat.

After removing squash from oven, turn heat down to 350 degrees.
Scrape pulp from squash (about 3 cups).  Oil a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.  Spread half the squash in dish.  Add half the sausage mixture.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and black pepper.  Top with half the sauce and half the cheese.  Top with remaining squash, sausage and sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Serves 6

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Luxurious Mashed Potatoes

I had seen this Everyday Foods video on how to make these mashed potatoes just before Thanksgiving, but didn't get around to trying them until now.  Oh my, after making mashed potatoes with their method (using a ricer and Yukon Gold potatoes), I will NEVER go back to making mashed potatoes using any other method or with any other variety of potatoes.  "Luxurious" doesn't even begin to describe these.  Divine....  Comforting....  Too amazing for words....   I won't even admit how many days in a row I've made these!  Using raw cream and high quality butter takes them to yet another level....

Source:  Everyday Food magazine, November 2009

2 lbs. Yukon God potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces, at room temp
1 - 1 1/2 c. heavy cream, warmed

In a large pot, cover potatoes by 2" with salted water.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender (mushy, but not water logged), about 12 min.  Drain thoroughly; put back into pot to dry a bit.  Pass potatoes through a potato ricer into pot.

Over low heat, add butter and stir until melted.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until potatoes are stiff, about 1 min.  Gradually add cream, stirring constantly to combine.  If you wish, you may pass the potatoes through a fine-mesh sieve, using a rubber spatula, for a finer consistency.  (I don't bother.)  Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6