Saturday, September 10, 2011
As much as I loved the Food Network back in the days when we had cable, I could never really get into Paula Deen’s recipes because of all the mayonnaise. I don’t like mayonnaise. I don’t eat mayonnaise. I don’t buy mayonnaise. So when some friends started talking about a Paula Deen tomato pie recipe I didn’t think much of it. I have plenty of tomato pie recipes in my arsenal. Some eggy, some tart-like on puff pastry, some like the cheese-less pizza tomato pies popular in Philly. But people kept talking about the Paula Deen recipe and I decided to put my mayonnaise issues aside and give it a go.
Her recipe is pretty straightforward: a prepared pie shell, cheese, green onions, tomatoes, basil and mayonnaise. Keeping with my “complicate everything” philosophy I tweaked the recipe using a homemade all-butter pie crust, homemade mayo, both Amish Paste and grape tomatoes from my garden, and caramelized red onions from Red Earth Farm along with the other ingredients. It was as good as everyone said it was. I just ate the crumbs off of the bottom of the pie pan taking a picture.
One 9 inch pre-baked pie crust, store bought or homemade
3 or 4 tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped ( or cherry tomatoes halved and squeezed to drain some of the moisture)
1/2 cup of green onion, chopped (or 2 red onions caramelized)
10 basil leaves, sliced
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
2 cups of shredded cheese ( I used one cup of Hillacres Pride cheddar, and one cup of shredded mozzarella- I bet it would be great with Pecorino Romano or Parmesan too)
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
Combine the mayonnaise and cheeses with salt, pepper and hot sauce. It will be thick and gloopy. Layer the onions, tomatoes, and basil in the pre-baked pie crust. Spread the cheese mixture evenly across the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until browned.
Thai Curried Squash Soup
Monday, January 10, 2011
Arriving home from a long vacation, I looked around my kitchen, realize there is very little fresh in the house, and decided to make a pantry soup for friends arriving for dinner and a movie. Squash can keep almost forever in a cool location, and I had these leftover from my last few CSA pick-ups in November. A few onions, carrots and apples relaxing nicely in my crisper, and some pantry basics rounded out this spicy, creamy soup with inspiration from a recipe from Bon Appetit. I rarely follow any recipe to a T, rather I make things spicier, add more of what I like and less of what I don’t etc. until I get it just right! You might want to do the same - 4 tsp. of curry past makes quite a spicy version of this Thai Curried Squash Soup.
Best Local Food Apps
Monday, October 25, 2010
I don’t have an iphone, but I know plenty of people who do. Some of you may be wondering if there are apps to help you stay on top of your local eating goals.There are! Some help you figure out what’s in season and where to find it, while other help you find very specific recipes (healthy, vegetarian or vegan, low salt, quick, etc.) based on the seasonal produce you’d like to use. I’ve included a few of the most popular below, but please add more - if you use them and like them - in the comments section for future updates.
Locavore ($3) - The entire purpose of locavore is to help you find in-season produce. Yeah!
Harvest ($2) - How do you find the best produce? This database helps you decide if the asparagus is too limp, the melon to hard, or the tomato too green.
How to Cook EverythingMark Bittman helps you figure out how to cook everything, from delicata squash to red quinoa.
Whole Foods The only thing free about Whole Foods is this helpful app, which lets you sort by food allergy/aversion, and searches for recipes based on the ingredients that you’re purchasing.
Epicurious I used the Epicurious website all the time, because it has awesome advanced searching options (vegan + breakfast + main course + bananas = recipe) and a solid rating system. The app will even build a shopping list for you.
Cook’s Illustrated Another great, free, recipe searching app with lots of helpful hints. This app even has a timer that runs on your phone to remind you when your quiche is done!
Green Tomato Pie!
Monday, October 18, 2010
So I cleaned out my summer crops and planted some seeds (lettuce, spinach, arugula, carrots, radishes) and now I have all of these green tomatoes to deal with. I can’t just compost them, and after making more fried green tomatoes than anyone can really eat, I decided to have a crack at this recipe that I’m been saving for a while. It’s a sweet pie made apple-style, but with green tomatoes instead. Verdict? It’s good! The recipe calls for a bit too much sugar, but the tomatoes have a strange sourness to them that makes the pie more complex than an apple pie.
2 c flour
1 c shortening (I use Crisco, it’s just easier)
<1 tsp salt
1/2 c cold water
Place the water in the freezer while you combine the rest of the ingredients. Use a fork to mash shortening into flour until peices are "pea-sized." Add the water a bit at a time until all dough holds together in a ball. Refridgerate.
1 1/4 c sugar
1 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
2 T butter
3 c thinly sliced green tomatoes
Set oven to 425 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together and mix with tomatoes. Let sit while you roll out the dough and cover the bottom of the pie pan. Drain off some of the excess juice created by the tomatoes and sugar mixture, then fill pie pan and dot with butter. Place top crust and bake for 45 minutes.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
As a certified - or maybe that should be certifiable - fan of cheese, I have a tendency to eat cheeses like brie as is… with crackers or fruit. The other day I ran into a recipe for brie soup at We Gotta Eat, the place I’ve been storing all my recipes in a bid to cut down on the clutter of cooking magazines at my house, and decided to give it a go with Cherry Grove Farm brie.
The results were, well, mixed. The soup itself was delicious, especially since I added potatoes to make it a cheese and potato soup, but very little of the brie actually melted. Maybe it needed to be cooked for longer? A friend who made some without the local brie ran into the same problem - she used a stick blender to break up the clumps of unmelted brie. In spite of the problems with the chunky cheese lurking in the soup (not a terrible problem to have), it made a perfect dinner in a bread bowl and topped with sauteed mushrooms from Mother Earth Farms.
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 cups heavy cream
10 ounce brie with rind removed and cut into pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig basil
4-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Salt and pepper
Bring wine and vinegar to a boil in a soup pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and reduce the liquid until only a cup remains. Stir in cream, brie, garlic, sprigs of thyme and basil and cook and stir 10 minutes or until the brie melts (note: I probably simmered the soup for about 15 minutes and the brie still hadn’t melted). In the meantime, boil potatoes until tender. Combine potatoes with brie soup and season with salt and pepper.
The only things that weren’t local: salt and pepper, vinegar, wine, and bread bowls.
Now It Feels Like Fall
Saturday, October 09, 2010
The cooler fall weather has really inspired me to spend more time in my kitchen lately, so tonight I broke out a precious chicken from Griggstown Quail Farm for roasting with homemade butter. I like a simple preparation for my chickens - a little salt and pepper in the cavity and outside the chicken, some pats of butter under the skin of the breast, and that’s it.
I really wanted some stuffing to go with the chicken, but my little couple pound chicken wasn’t going to hold a whole lot of it. Instead, I made it outside the chicken in a roasting pan. As thrifty measure, I like to use up all the vegetable odds and ends hanging out in the refrigerator. In this case, I had some cremini mushrooms from Mother Earth Mushrooms, some onion and celery from Lancaster Farm Fresh, carrots from Green Meadow Farms, and some red peppers from a local grower I roasted earlier this summer. Oh, and most importantly: the very last of the basil from my garden.
12 ounces bread cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
12+ ounces button or crimini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage leaf
2 cups chicken stock
A handful of chopped basil
Salt and pepper
Saute the vegetables in butter and olive oil until tender, mix with bread cubes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and pour chicken stock over until it has the desired consistency. You can either serve it immediately or bake it for a while to dry it up a bit.
A bit of local steamed broccoli made for an almost entirely locally grown meal. Just the olive oil, salt, and pepper didn’t come from the Philadelphia area.
This is a great time of year for produce, and aside from all the rain, we’ve had a nice long growing season. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some winter squash!
Carrot Top Soup
Monday, October 04, 2010
This sudden cold snap seems to have us all thinking about soup. As promised a few weeks ago, I did find a way to use my beautiful carrot tops and made this beautiful soup with them. The flavor is quite delicate, and a good homemade vegetable broth makes all the difference. The addition of brown rice makes the soup hearty enough for a meal and, of course, some good quality parmesan adds a great sharp and salty kick.
Creamy Potato Leek Soup
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Ever since we pulled our first new potatoes out of the ground, my fiance Michael and I have been hooked on home-grown potatoes. The earthy, creamy density of them is unbelievable. This year we also grew our own leeks and Michael came up with this amazing recipe for potato leek soup. It requires you to make your own stock, so try it on a crisp weekend day when you have some time to dedicate to it.
Michael’s Creamy Potato Leek Soup (Serves 6)
Home Made Veggie Broth:
1 med onion, chopped (garden)
1 leek (white part only), chopped (garden)
1 carrot, chopped (CSA)
4 stalks celery, chopped + leaves removed and set aside (store)
4 stalks thyme (garden)
1 potato, sliced (garden)
4 stalks parsley (garden)
1 bay leaf (store)
1 pinch turmeric (store)
1 pinch cloves (store)
1 head garlic, peeled and crushed (garden + CSA)
2 tbsp butter
8 cups water
Salt and pepper
1. Tie up bay leaf, parsley, thyme and celery leaves in cheesecloth
2. In a large soup pot, sauté onion, leek, carrot, celery and garlic in butter
3. Add water, cloves, turmeric and lastly the cheesecloth bundle.
4. Bring to a boil, then simmer with the top askew for appx 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste sometime during the simmering – don’t add salt unless the liquid is boiling somewhat, otherwise it will fall to the bottom and won’t dissolve.
5. Strain into a large container through a colander. Crush the solid veggies to get all liquid out. Discard boiled veggies (don’t bother saving them, you just boiled all the taste and nutrients out!) If using a vegan broth (oil instead of butter), compost them.
Makes appx 6 cups broth. You can experiment with adding any types of veggies you have around in the broth, but watch out for stuff that makes it too sweet. For vegan broth, use oil instead of butter. For chicken broth, use chicken livers, hearts, bones, feet etc, boiling for 3-4 hours and skimming fat off top periodically. For beef broth use beef bones, oxtails etc and skimming fat off periodically. To store, try freezing in an ice cube tray for conveniently sized portions to be used in your cooking.
Creamy Potato Leek Soup:
3-4 cups leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly and chopped (garden)
2-3 large white potatoes, sliced, skinning optional (garden)
6 cups veggie or chicken broth (see above recipe – garden/CSA)
½ cup chopped chives (garden)
½ cup whole milk, half and half or cream
Salt and pepper
1. In a large soup pot, sauté the leeks in butter. Add small amounts of broth as necessary to keep leeks from burning and sticking to pot. Let leeks soften (15 min or so)
2. Add broth and sliced potatoes, bring to boil, the simmer with top on for appx 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Blend soup in a food processor or blender until it is smooth.
4. Return to pot and add cream. Soup is ready to serve, you may eat it at any temperature (good cold in summer) but if you like it warm, heat but DO NOT bring to boil.
5. Garnish with chives. Additional garnishes include types of blue or gorgonzola cheeses or sour cream.
Canning: Hot Cherry Peppers
Monday, August 30, 2010
It’s no secret that I love hot pepper. And pickles. Pickled hot peppers? Yes, please. I bought some lovely hot cherry peppers on the side of the road in New Jersey, and then got a big bag in my CSA last week, so I decided to give them all the pickling treatment so that I can enjoy them with cheese, and all kinds of other things, later this winter. I’ve been using this recipe from Martha Stewart, and I have to say, it’s just about perfect.
Canning: Pickled Carrots
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Carrots are just fine, but sometimes they feel a little boring to me. Pickled carrots to the rescue! They’ve got more kick than fresh, are easy to make (especially when you have a bag of baby carrots hanging around) and a delicious snack with hummus. You can make these pickles over night in the refrigerator, or can them, like I did above. I love them at picnics! I started with this recipe originally published in Gourmet magazine. I cut the sugar a bit, and used dried hot thai peppers for extra kick. Adjust the garlic, dill and hot peppers to your liking!
Kohlrabi - a delicious recipe
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
One of my favorite things about my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA is the weekly email newsletter I receive. It lets me know exactly what I’m going to get in my share, usually includes an interview with one of the farmers who contributes to my CSA and photos of the farm, and recipes for some of the more unfamiliar vegetables. This week, I got a beautiful bunch of kohlrabi - a cross in flavor between turnips and cabbage. This recipe, included in the newsletter (originally taken from the blog Sustainable Pantry) was incredibly delicious. If you don’t have chard, blanch and add your kohlrabi greens! And make sure to peel the kohlrabi very well - it has a pretty hard outer “shell.”
2 kohlrabi, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 onion, choppedcimg3633
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T fresh chopped ginger
3-4 chilis (optional, I like things spicy so I used the Vietnamese chilis pictured)
Garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chard, washed and chopped
1 can coconut milk
2 T red (or green) curry paste
2-3 T peanut butter (I prefer chunky for this, but smooth is fine)
Scallions (for garnish)
1. In a medium sized pot, Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and chilis in a neutral oil (canola, safflower) over medium high heat until browned
2. Add the kolhrabi, scapes and chard and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the chard wilts and the kohlrabi softens up a little; season with salt
3. Add the curry paste and coconut milk, then fill the coconut milk can about 1/2 way with water, swish it around to get any remaining coconut milk, and add to the pot. Stir until the curry paste is dissolved. After the mixture boils, lower heat to a simmer and stir in the peanut butter until dissolved.
4. Cook for about 10 minutes. Taste and season as necessary with salt. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve over rice.
What to do with Garlic Scapes?
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Perhaps garlic scapes have popped up in your CSA share, or you’ve seen them recently at a farmer’s market and thought “what do I do with these?
You’re not alone. Before I signed up for my first CSA last spring, I’d never seen a scape or even heard of them. A garlic scape is the greens that garlic bulbs shoot up out of the ground while they are growing (much like onion greens). Farmers remove the scapes so that the garlic bulb devotes more of its energy to making itself big and fat. While farmers used to throw scapes into the compost or feed them to animals, they’ve become a popular market produce and herald of the new Spring season.
So what do you do with them? Basically, anything that you would already do with garlic. Scapes taste like garlic, but with a milder, greener flavor. You can chop them (all the way through the flower) and add them to stir-fries, soups, salads, casseroles, burritos, and really, anything else. Many scape lovers find them especially delightful ground into pesto. I like to fry the scapes before using them (like garlic). Because they are milder, you can use many more scapes than you would white garlic cloves. A good estimate is about one full scape per garlic clove (if you are substituting) and you will still have milder flavor. And if for some reason you just can’t stand garlic, they also look beautiful in a vase!
Sprout your own Beans
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Not only to sprouted bean pack a great crunch, they are also higher in enzymes, fiber B-vitamins and protein than cooked or canned beans, an easy protein-pick if you’re eating raw, and easy to make yourself. Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) work especially well and make a wonderful hummus, as do green lentils. Mung beans, adzuki beans are other popular choices.*
1. Place 1 cup of dried beans in a large jar. Fill with water and soak overnight.
2. Drain the beans, leaving them in the jar.
3. Every day, rinse the beans and drain again.
4. When the beans have sprouted long white tales, they are ready to eat and should be kept in the refrigerator.
The beans will “grow” as they sprout, so make sure to leave extra jar room. I like punch holes in a few jar lids with a hammer and nails so I have a permanent straining solution! Enjoy on salad, in curries, as spreads, in pasta - however you usually eat beans!
* Do NOT eat raw sprouted black beans, kidney beans or soya beans as they produce a poison before they are cooked and will likely make you sick. You CAN sprout black beans and then cook them.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
All this sun and rain and sun again left me with a bumper crop of dandelions. Before I covered the lot next door with raised beds and obliterated their yellow-bloomed bliss, I decided to use this bright “weed” for something useful. Crouched in the yard on a 70 degree Saturday, my basket of dandelion blooms garnered a lot of attention. Folks walking by stopped to ask what I was doing. A mini-van of curious neighbors pulled over to discuss my harvest, and turned out to be State Representative and her husband. My elderly neighbor got so excited he dug up a giant ceramic crock from his basement and donated it to my wine making effort. But what exactly is dandelion wine, and how do you make it? I’ve done some internet and word-of-mouth research and this is what I’ve discovered:
1. You only use the buds of newly opened, non-sprayed dandelions. If you want less bitter wine, use only the yellow petals.
2. Many old recipes call for the addition of orange juice and zest, cloves, even ginger to enhance the flavor.
3. Dandelion wine needs a LOT of sugar. Depending on how little you use, you can brew with traditional yeast, but a larger sugar addition needs champagne yeast (available at brewers stores) and will produce a drier, more alcoholic wine.
4. The wine needs to ferment anywhere from three weeks to one year.
I’ve started my first batch, but who knows if it will be a success. Have you ever tried dandelion wine? Ever made your own? Post your tips here and we’ll all benefit from this old recipe for “liquid sunshine” that makes good use of a lovely, if bothersome “weed.”
Make your own granola!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Granola can be filled with healthy grains, protiens and dried fruits. But it can also be filled with a lot of saturated fat, oil, and sugar. Make a visit to your local co-op or natural food store (or Reading Terminal Market) and pick up some healthy bulk grains and nuts and make your own! It really only takes about 20 minutes, and you’ll be able to control the amount of fat and sugar. I change-up my granola mix all the time - the latest involves sliced almonds, dried cranberries and goji berries for extra antioxidents. I also always add ground flax for the good omegas and wheat bran and rolled (not quick) oats for fiber. You can make a variation of my recipe here, or search online or in your own cookbook collection. I find in general that fat and sugar can easily be reduced!