Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fresh Mint Shortbread Cookies

It seems a bit of a stretch to include this recipe on an in-season recipe blog when the only ingredient that qualifies it is two tablespoons of fresh mint, but these cookies are the essence of summer and beg to be included!

Source:  L. Fackler

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t. peppermint extract
2 T. crushed mint leaves
2 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar; add salt, extract, mint leaves and flour.  Mix thoroughly.  Chill dough.  Form into 1" balls and roll in sugar.  Flatten slightly with bottom of drinking glass.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stuffed Jalapenos


Source: Everyday Food magazine, June 2010

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded*
coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar.  Season with salt and pepper.  With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno half with about 1 T. cheese mixture.  Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Serves 6

*Note:  Just make sure you remove every seed and as much rib as possible if you prefer less heat!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lacinato Kale Salad with Roasted Squash

Why in the world would I be making a butternut squash salad when my garden and crisper drawer are overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash??  Because, I was cleaning up for company and still had two butternut squashes sitting in the kitchen that I hadn't gotten around to using last fall.  They were still in surprisingly good shape, so the choice was to either toss them onto the compost pile or be responsible and eat them.  So, I pulled out my butternut squash file and found this recipe.  I do think it would have been better with fresh squash and a different variety of kale, but I was pleased that the squash ended up in my stomach vs. the compost pile.

Also, this is another one of those massaged kale salads that totally intrigues me, so I was glad for a chance to try it out.

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine, January 2012

1 lb. peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 c.)
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 T. flaxseed oil*
1 1/2 bunches Lacinato kale, washed and patted dry
4 oz. aged goat cheese, shaved or crumbled
1/3 c. toasted hazelnuts (1 1/2 oz), roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 1/2 T. olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper, toss well.  Roast until golden brown, tossing halfway through, about 45 min.

Meanwhile, place shallots on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 T. olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Roast until brown, tossing halfway through, about 30 min.

In a large salad bowl, combine lemon juice, flaxseed oil, 1/2 t. salt, and a  pinch of pepper.  Cut 2" off bottom of kale and slice leaves crosswise into 3/4" ribbons (you should have 12 c. loosely packed kale); add to salad bowl.  Toss kale with dressing, squeezing until leaves are soft. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.  

Add squash, shallots, cheese and nuts to kale.  Toss well to combine.

*I substituted olive oil.

Serves 8

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Adapted from Quick Cooking Magazine

This is a yummy way to use up all those extra zucchini from the garden!  It's basically a vegetarian lasagna recipe, with zucchini substituted for the noodles.  It freezes nicely, so you can make a pan or two in the summer when zucchini are abundant, then pop it in the freezer to enjoy some winter evening.  Those larger zucchini that were hiding under the leaves and got away from you are perfect for this dish (I had a few of those when I returned home from vacation yesterday!).

2 lbs. zucchini
1 (15-oz.) container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs, divided
5 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 T. fresh parsley, minced
1 t. fresh oregano, minced
1 t. fresh basil, minced
1/8 t. pepper
1 (26-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 c. (6-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4" slices. Steam for 5-6 min. or just until tender. Drain; pat dry. In a bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, 3 T. bread crumbs, 3 T. Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper; set aside. Spread a third of the spaghetti sauce in a greased 13x9” baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 T. bread crumbs. Cover with half of the zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Repeat layers of sauce, zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Cover with remaining sauce. Combine remaining crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

If freezing, wait to sprinkle crumbs and Parmesan cheese until just before baking. Allow extra time for heating.

Yield: 12 servings

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garlic Scape Hummus

Adapted from

2 cans of chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. fresh chopped garlic scapes
2 T. agave
1 t. sea salt

Place ingredients in blender or food processor and process until thick paste forms.  Add additional olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.  Add salt to taste.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cindy's Kale Salad

One of the ladies from book group made this for our picnic last week.  YUM!!  I've never had the courage to use kale for a salad, especially before a fall frost; I was always afraid it would be too tough or bitter.  But, this was perfection!  So, I ventured out and made this salad with kale from my garden for dinner with friends this evening.

1 T. lemon juice
4 T. olive oil
4 T. honey
sea salt
1 bunch kale, stalks removed, torn into bite-size pieces*
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1/3 c. golden raisins or 1 c. fresh berries**

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.  Add kale.  Using both hands, gently massage dressing into kale for about 2-5 minutes.  (You may want to use gloves, as this is a bit messy.  The kale will change color, wilt a bit and become softer.)  Add raisins and almonds and toss.

*My kale wasn't as sweet and tender as Cindy's, so I'm guessing she may have a different variety of kale in her garden.  I believe Tuscan kale is the variety to use if you can find it.  My kale was a bit chewy, but the flavor was still good.  Next time I plan to massage it a bit longer.
** I substituted black raspberries for the raisins, but any fresh berry would not only be lovely to look at, but yummy too.

Sour Cherry Pie

I only have a few more packs of sour cherries in the freezer; they came from my dear friend Elma's sour cherry tree, so it takes a special occasion to warrant using them!  Elma and her husband moved recently from their little farmette, so when my sour cherry supply is depleted, that's it!  :(

Source:  Adapted from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes

9" unbaked pie crust
crumb topping or pastry for lattice strips
3 c. canned or frozen cherries, undrained
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. water
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. almond flavoring
1 T. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cherries, sugar and salt in saucepan and heat to boiling.

Dissolve cornstarch in a portion of the 1/2 c. water, then stir into cherry mixture.  Cook just until thickened, stirring constantly.  Add the rest of the water if necessary.  Remove from heat.

Stir in almond flavoring and butter.  Pour into crust.  Add crumb topping or make a lattice of pastry strips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned.  

Note: Be sure to allow pie to cool completely before serving or transporting.  I omitted this step, and my pie ran all over the place when I was transporting it!!  :(