Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms, Fontina and Spinach

The Recipe

1 3lb (ish) Spaghetti Squash
Olive oil
1 10oz box mushrooms, preferably cremini, quartered
1/2 lb. fresh baby spinach
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded fontina cheese
1 minced clove garlic
1/2 cup, about, good bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Pierce the squash several times and place on cookie sheet; roast until tender, about an hour or so. Let cool a little. Maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile, sauté shrooms in about two tablespoons of olive oil. When they are almost finished exuding liquid, add the spinach, toss and turn off the heat. We want the spinach wilted, not cooked.

Cut the squash in half and use a spoon & fork to remove the seeds. Pull the spaghetti-like threads out of each half, separate and toss in a 9x13 in. baking dish. (It will be pretty wet, no reason to oil the pan.) Add the spinach & mushrooms and the garlic; toss well, then add 1 cup (4 oz) of fontina. Mix well , adding a pinch of salt.

Top with the bread crumbs and the remaining fontina. Bake about 20 minutes or until the crumbs are nice and brown and everything is nice and hot.

The Story

We get A LOT of spaghetti squash from our farm this time of year, and I'm getting tired of the same ol' squash recipes. Invented this the other night and we all absolutely loved it. A keeper.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nutty Kale Slaw

The Recipe

1 bunch kale
1 Medium onion
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1/3 c. XV olive oil
1/3 c. natural peanut butter
1-3 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. raw walnuts

Shred the kale into strips approximately ¼”. Halve the onion and slice thin. Use a mandolin for this if available.
In separate bowl add vinegar, olive oil, peanut butter, and hot sauce and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine mixture, kale, and onions and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
Toast walnuts and add to slaw just before serving.

The Story

We have been getting bunches and bunches of kale from our farm share this year. Love kale though we do, we are starting to tire of the few recipes we have and are dreaming up new ones. Andrew made this up, and now the kids ask for it every time we get kale.

The dressing gets a creamy texture from the peanut butter. We always have chunky peanut butter, so that adds additional interest. 

I can't tell you how well it keeps. We eat the whole bowl every time. I bet if you let it sit overnight, the kale will soften somewhat. If you end up with leftovers, let me know how they are! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds

I have not yet tried this, but it looks so totally cool:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Blueberry Jam (no pectin)

The Recipe:

7 cups blueberries, divided
3 cups sugar
juice and finely grated zest of two lemons (need about 1/4 cup of juice)

Mash about 3 cups of blueberries in a much larger pot than you think you'll need. Add sugar, lemon juice and zest, and the remaining blueberries. Bring to a boil; turn down to medium heat and boil about 18-20 minutes, or until thickened. Keep stirring and take care not to let it burn on the bottom. Skim off any foam on top; pack into jars.

The Story:

Really, that's it.

I do this as a refrigerator jam, as I don't can. If you do can, I'm sure you have sources which can tell you how to do that safely.

We've picked 40 lb. of blueberries so far this season. I just realized that we ran out today; we've frozen or eaten everything (or baked, or jammed, or what have you.) We've just decided to go back out tomorrow and pick more. I get the feeling that I'll be making a lot of blueberry jam with frozen berries this winter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Almond Streusel Coffee Cake

The Recipe

1 1/3 cup whole almonds (see note)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (dark brown, right? RIGHT?)
1/4 cup AP flour
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
3 Tbsp butter, in small pieces

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
Grated zest of the other half of the orange
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
2 Cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 Cup orange juice

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp orange juice

Pulse almonds in food processor a few times, until chopped (not finely, chunky.) Add the sugar, flour and zest; pulse 2 or 3 more times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly but still has big chunks of almond in it. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a tube pan.

Beat butter and sugar with mixer until very light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat for another minute or so after you think it's done. Add the zest and the extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients. Add flour and OJ to butter mixture in alternating steps, 3 additions of flour and 2 of OJ, beginning and ending with flour (you know this drill from other cakes.) Scrape down the sides well, and mix an additional 30 seconds or so.

Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the tube pan; scatter half the streusel over. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top, then scatter the rest of the streusel over. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cool at least 10 minutes in the pan before beginning the complicated removal from the tube pan; I find it easiest to slip the sides off, then loosen the cake as needed, and slip it off the tube assembly using two spatulas. Let cool another 10 minutes on the serving plate.

Mix the remaining OJ and confectioner's sugar until very smooth. Drizzle over the top of the cake in a pretty way. (You can add more OJ if you need to, but be sparing here)

The Story

On weekends we often have a nice family breakfast, waffles or pancakes or something. Breakfast cakes usually take too long in the oven; by the time you've woken up and baked for an hour or two, it's lunchtime. This one cuts the baking time by using the tube pan. Unlike many coffee cakes, it's not sticky sweet either. Who needs all that sugar?

Don't go out and buy almond extract for this. If you have a bottle that's been sitting around for three or four presidential administrations, here's the perfect time to use it up. If not, vanilla makes a lovely cake too.

If you don't have whole almonds, go ahead and use chopped or slivered; just wait to add them to the food processor until the end.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

The Recipe

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil (I prefer canola, it's your choice)
4 eggs
1 1/3 lb. roasted pumpkin puree (see The Story)
2 cups AP unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp or so freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease & flour 3 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pans; preheat oven to 350.

Beat sugar, oil and eggs in bowl until very light, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of bowl. Add pumpkin, flour, powder & soda, salt and spices, and molasses; mix until all flour disappears and everything is combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, one minute on medium/low speed should do it. Don't overmix. Add walnuts and stir briefly to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake loaves in the center of the oven for approx. 50-55 minutes, testing with toothpick for doneness. Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove from pans, then let cool on wire racks. You can wrap them up before they're fully at room temperature.

The Story

These freeze beautifully. Quick breads are often better the day after they're baked, so making these the night before makes a quick breakfast in the morning. This recipe is higher in fiber and lower in sugar than most pumpkin bread recipes, so it's good for breakfast in my mind.

I make this with my own roasted pumpkin. Take one "cheese" pumpkin (also called pie pumpkins or baking pumpkins, they are the squat creamy-yellowish pumpkins that are best for baking), cut it into quarters and scoop out the seeds, and roast at 375 until done through, maybe 45 min. to one hour. Let cool before handling. Scrape the flesh out of the shell and puree in a food processor. I then fill plastic containers with 20-21 ounces of puree, just enough for this recipe, and freeze them. I can get maybe 3-4 recipes worth of pumpkin out of a good sized cheese pumpkin. This puree has A LOT more water than canned pumpkin; if you want to make this recipe with canned pumpkin puree, use one 16 oz can and 3/4 cup of water.

I've been told canned "pumpkin" is really Hubbard squash. I wonder if it's an urban legend (rural legend?). I can say for sure that the lovely big orange carving pumpkins are NOT good for baking. They're really wet and the flesh is tasteless.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What is CSA?

CSA, or Community Sponsored Agriculture, is a great way to support local farmers, encourage a greater variety of local plantings, and get high-quality really fresh food for your family.

It's simple to do. For most farms, you pay for a share (up-front, so the farmer has money for seed and such) and then each week during the growing season, you pick up your portion of the farm's harvest. Some farms have a half-share option for smaller families; most farms have a swap area, so if your portion has something you don't like, you can leave it for someone who does and maybe you can pick up something you want instead. Many of the farms are organic (or headed that way.)

Friends of ours who have done this for years say it's cheaper than the grocery store in the long run, especially when compared to the price of organic produce. I'm just excited to get the really fresh food and support my local farmer.

Our farm has a winter option this year, using unheated greenhouses and certain crops. Our first week's harvest: 2 bins of potatoes (about 6.5 lbs worth), 9 fat lovely onions, 2 huge bunches of broccoli rabe, 2 bunches of Asian salad greens, and all the parsley and oregano we could cut. The salad greens were the star of dinner last night, and one of the broccoli rabe will go with some chickpeas & garlic for dinner tonight. I'm thinking potato pancakes and a fritatta later in the week for some of the potatoes. That's one big advantage of a CSA: eating seasonally. We get what is picked now, and we have to make meals based on it.

Our farm is Mendies Family Farm in Roosevelt, NJ. So far, we just love it.