Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice-Knowing the Dark

 Happy Solstice!  Of all the rituals, events and reasons for celebrating this time of year--the winter solstice is truly the one I love the most.  That one long night marks the start of the days slowly getting longer--a time to embrace the dark with the knowledge that brighter days are just around the corner.  Usually its cold and bleak outside--not warm and balmy like today--so its nice to have a  reminder to celebrate this season of dark.  A time for reflection and planning; with each passing day getting brighter and longer.  Enjoy this poem by Wendell Berry--and enjoy the slow waning of darkness:

To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark.   Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Sale at Inverbrook this Saturday 1-6PM

If crowded malls and impersonal big box stores are getting you down this holiday shopping season, I am happy to offer the perfect alternative.  This coming Saturday from 1-6PM we are hosting a holiday sale at the big stone house on the farm featuring a variety of talented local artisans.  Orchids, cheese, beeswax candles, temporary tattoos, pottery, seed packets, earrings, fabric bags, aprons, and more....this eclectic mix of vendors will provide a wide array of gift options.

Along with the great local artisans, I will be manning farm table which will include the ability to sign up for our 2012 CSA season, learn about the add on CSA options like the North Star Orchard Fruit share, buy gift certificates from Three Birds Bouquets, as well as the opportunity to purchase Camels Hump Rain Barrels. 
Shop locally and celebrate the holidays this season at Inverbrook Farm's Holiday Sale. A selection of fine handmade crafts and local fare will be available for purchase.


Featuring:
* Bessie -- bags, aprons & accessories
* Chansonette Flowers & Art -- inspired orchids & succulents
* Happy Cat Organics  -- where the slow food revolution begins
* HEIRLOOM: modern classic -- jewelry & accessories
* Lyla Kaplan Pottery -- functional stoneware
* Red Haven Farm -- artisan cheeses
* Matchstick Handmade -- beeswax candles
* Camels Hump Rain Barrels  -- water catchment systems
*Three Birds Bouquets -- flower csa

Bring your friends and enjoy light hors d'oeuvres while ringing in the holiday season and new year 1-6PM Saturday, December 17th!
Bessie's Bags

Matchstick Handmade Beeswax Candles

Happy Cat Seed Packets

Chansonette Orchids and Floral Creations
Lyla Kaplan Pottery bottle

Heirloom: modern classic pendant


Monday, November 28, 2011

Reflections On November--A Season of Gold

As November draws to a close I thought I would share this lovely poem with you all.  The unusually warm and wet month has lead to some very dramatic weather--highlighting the natural beauty of our Chester County landscape.  Its been a month since the CSA ended, so I have had plenty of time for walks and appreciation of the varied terrain at Inverbrook.  When I read this poem it had a particularly strong resonance with the month and my recent observations--a month full of gold.

GOLD

Suddenly all the gold I ever wanted
Let loose and fell on me.  A storm of gold
Starting with rain a quick sun catches falling
And in the rain (fall within fall) a whirl
Of yellow leaves, glitter of paper nuggets.

And there were puddles the sun was winking at
And fountains saucy with goldfish, fantails, sunfish,
And trout slipping streams it would be insult
To call gold and, trailing their incandescent
Fingers, meteors and a swimming moon.

Flowers of course.  Chrysanthemums and clouds
of twisted cool witch-hazel and marigolds,
Late dandelions and all the goldenrods.
And bees all pollen and honey, wasps gold-banded
And hornets dangling their legs, cursing the sun.

The luminous birds, goldfinches and orioles,
Were gone or going, leaving some of their gold
Behind in near-gold, off-gold, ultra-golden
Beeches, birches, maples, apples.  And under
The appletrees the lost, the long-lost names.

Pumpkins and squashes heaped in a cold-gold sunset--
Oh, I was crushed like Croesus, Midas-smothered
And I died in a maple-fall a boy was raking
Nightward to burst all bonfire-gold together--
And leave tat last in a thin blue prayer of smoke.

-Robert Francis
Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year.  We did not raise many turkeys, so I was spared the typical busy chaos associated with distributing the culinary focal piece for this very important meal.  Strangly I was feeling a little less spirited about the holiday; a holiday that I usually relish in.  The themes of thankfulness, family and food--are all very important to me.  Thanksgiving morning I took a walk to the top of our hill to pick bittersweet and was once again struck with the peace and beauty embodied in our lovely local landscape. 
The time spent outside on such a lovely day quickly brought on a sense of thankfulness appropriate for the holiday.  My walk ended near the beehives (kept at the farm by beekeeper Dan B.) where I paused to watch their busy activity--thinking of the stores of golden honey inside of the hive.  My Thanksgiving spirit had been renewed in the observation of bees and their magical transformation of the landscape to sweet delicious sustenance-the metaphors are endless. 
As December is sure to bring cooler weather and a more barren landscape--I will hold on to the golden thoughts of November, ever thankful for the warm beauty of nature. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yoga Retreat at Inverbrook Farm-Celebrating the Season


It has been two weeks since the last CSA pick up, and for some reason it has felt like months.  The end of the season is always a little emotional for me. I look forward to the coming months of rest, reflection and planning; but miss the structure and hope that comes with cycles of growth and harvest.  My open schedule makes the shorter days, lack of light, and soon to come cold temperatures easy to enjoy.   The move inside, however, is always a little bittersweet.   I think no matter what your profession, the onset of winter brings on emotional changes for us all. 

Making most of this season was the theme of a recent yoga retreat that took place at the farm.  The retreat was lead by Julia Horn who teaches a the West Philadelphia yoga, healing and arts center Studio 34.   I thought you would enjoy a little taste of the retreat--it is a partnership we are working on continuing. If you are interested in attending future retreats please let me know (inverbrook@gmail.com) .  In the meantime enjoy some photos, recipes and a beautiful poem read during the afternoon retreat (thanks to the participants that allowed me to share their photos, recipes and poetry). 

The retreat included a workshop with urban farm guru Nic Esposito

Julia leads the group in a greens harvest

In return for the greens, the group helped the farm out by seperating garlic cloves for planting

Then time for some cooking

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Corn Bread

(Baker’s Note: I’ve made this bread so many times, I tend to just throw the ingredients together without really measuring. So, some of the measurements are estimated. Definitely taste the dough, and adjust to your own preferences. )

Ingredients:
1 ½ cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup veggie oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (it’s okay if you leave it a lil’chunky)
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375. Grease a small casserole dish, standard pie plate, or muffin tin.

2. Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar and let set to allow the milk curdle.

3. Mix cornmeal, flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl.

4. In a separate small bowl, combine the milk mixture, oil, maple syrup, and sweet potato. Mix well before folding into the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined…you don’t have to worry about over mixing….No gluten J

5. Allow the dough to let sit for about 5 minutes before pouring into the baking dish, or muffin tin.

6. Bake bread for about 20 to 25 minutes….or 15 to 20 minutes if making muffins. When done, the surface bread will be firm to touch, and have cracks in the top. Let cool in baking dish for about 5 minutes before removing the bread (or muffins).

7. Feed yo’ face!!!!!

Irish Brown Bread
Recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Ingredients:
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp. white distilled vinegar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. non-hydrogenated nondairy butter
I added ½ cup oat bran….totally optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease a round 9 or 10 inch cake pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar, and let stand for 5 minutes to allow milk to curdle.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, and oat bran (if using). Add butter, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

4. Stir in the milk/vinegar mixture and combine until you have a sticky dough. Using your hands works best. Once just mixed knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for about 10 strokes. Don’t over knead or the bread will become too tough.

5. Place the dough in the prepared pan, and cut a cross in the top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread has a hollow sound with thumped. Cool slightly before serving.

Bakers Note: Brown bread can dry out quickly and is typically good for 2 to 3 days.

Current Spice Bread
(Baker’s Note: This bread recipe utilizes a bread machine.)

Ingredients:
1 cup warm (not hot) water
½ cup soy milk
2 Tbsp. non-hydrogenated nondairy butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. dry yeast (or one proportioned packet)
1 cup dried currents (or raisins)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients, except currents, in the bread machine IN THE ORDER GIVEN. Do not stir, adding the yeast last, being careful not to get it wet. Select the DOUGH cycle and start machine.

2. After about 20 minutes of mixing, check the dough. Add more soy milk if the mixture is too dry, or add more flour if the mixture is too wet. Add the currents to the machine, and then allow the cycle to complete.

3. At the end of the cycle (a beeper sounds on most models) remove the dough from the machine, and knead lightly on a floured board for about 2 minutes.

4. Heat oven to 350, and grease a bread baking pan. Place the kneaded dough in the bread pan, and cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until the bread has just about doubled in size…about 30 to 40 minutes

5. Bake bread for about 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown, or until the bottom of the bread has a hollow sound when thumped.

6. Cool slightly before serving…..if you can wait that long!

Beet Hummus
(Baker’s Note: Again, this is a recipe I make often. So, again, some of the measurements are estimated. Definitely taste the hummus while you go, and adjust to your own preferences. )
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium beet, washed and cubed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
3 15 oz. cans chic peas, drained and rinsed, reserving the bean liquid
1/3 cup tahini
¼ cup fresh dill (or 1 Tbsp. dried dill)
½ cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the beet and onion and sauté until the onions begin to sweat. Add the garlic, cover and cook for another 10 minutes until the beets become tender. Stir occasionally so the garlic does not burn.

2. Add lemon juice and beet, onion, garlic sauté to a food processor or blender, and mix until well pulverized. Add the chic peas and tahini and continue to mix adding the reserved bean liquid as needed to get the desired consistency.

3. Add the dill, parsley, cumin, horseradish, salt and pepper and mix…adjusting the seasonings to taste.

“Of Bright & Blue Birds & the Gala Sun”

Some things, niño, some things are like this,
That instantly and in themselves they are gay
And you and I are such thngs, O most miserable . . .

For a moment they are gay and are a part
Of an element, the exactest element for us,
In which we pronounce joy like a word of our own.

It is there, being imperfect, and with these things
And erudite in happiness, with nothing learned,
That we are joyously ourselves and we think

Without the labor of thought, in that element,
And we feel, in a way apart, for a moment, as if
There was a bright scienza outside of ourselves,

A gaiety that is being, not merely knowing,
The will to be and to be total in belief,
Provoking a laughter, an agreement, by surprise.

-Wallace Stevens


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Urban Apiaries on Friday Arts

Check out this great video featuring farmer friends Trey Flemming and Bill ShickUrban Apiaries honey is now available at Talulas Table
Watch Friday Arts for November 2011 on PBS. See more from FRIDAY ARTS.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween -- Cooking with Pumpkins (and their seeds)


Happy Halloween everyone.  I thought you would appreciate these Halloween inspired food links and a great new recipe from Nikki.  Enjoy!

Food52 Homemade Halloween Treats

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from Maria's Country Kitchen

101 Cookbook's Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Three Ways

Food52 6 Drinks for after Trick-or-Treating

Notes From Nikki
Pumpkin Lasagna
Happy Halloween! I thought it would be appropriate to share a pumpkin recipe as it is Halloween. A frosty, snow-covered Halloween, but Halloween nonetheless. This recipe includes chicken apple sausage. Feel free to omit it for a vegetarian version. It will still be delicious. You can also substitute the chicken apple sausage with your favorite chicken or turkey sausage or ground turkey (cook the ground turkey or any bulk sausage along with the onions, garlic, and sage before you add the chard). Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo. You'll just have to make it yourself to see how pretty it is. ;-)


Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs sage, stems discarded, leaves minced
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
3-4 C cooked pumpkin (I halved, seeded, and roasted two of the pumpkins from our Inverbrook share, the oblong one and the orange and green sugar pie pumpkin; both boast tremendous flavor)
2 bunches chard, tough stems removed, chopped
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1- 1 1/2 lbs cooked and sliced apple chicken sausage (enough slices for two layers of the lasagna)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (feel free to use your favorite cooked lasagna noodles; the no-boil noodles are just a convenience)
1/2 C fresh shredded parmesan
3 C shredded mozzarella
1/4-1/2 C ricotta cheese (I used whole-milk for maximum flavor)
Splash of milk
Butter for greasing the bottom of the lasagna pan

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Saute the onion, garlic, and sage in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
3. Toss in the chard and continue sauteing until the chard is wilted.
4. Add in the cooked pumpkin and another dose of sea salt and pepper, stirring well to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Grease the bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with a bit of butter.
6. Add a splash of milk to the bottom of the pan, and then top with your first layer of lasagna noodles.
7. Top the noodles with the pumpkin/chard mixture, a layer of sliced sausage, close to half of the mozzarella (keep in mind that you'll just need to reserve some [less than 1/3] for the very top), half of the parmesan, and 1/2 of the ricotta (tiny dollops spread fairly evenly apart), in that order.
8. Add another layer of noodles, pumpkin/chard mixture, sausage, mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta.
9. Top this second layer with a final layer of noodles, the remainder of the mozzarella, and a drizzle of milk over the top.
10. Tent with foil and bake until bubbling (about 30 minutes).
11. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes or so until the top is golden brown.
12. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a good 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Notes From Nikki-Sweet Potato Chili and more

Sweet Potato Chili
To me, nothing says fall more than soups, stews, and chili. Chili has to be my favorite meal this time of the year. Nothing warms my bones more than a hearty bowl of beans, vegetables, meat, and spices. This version uses sweet potatoes, ground turkey, and a secret ingredient... Victory's Storm King Stout. It's absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. It's hard to go wrong with Chili though. Feel free to omit the ground turkey if you like. It will still be delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp cumin
1 T ground chile pepper powder (I used chipotle. Feel free to substitute with New Mexican for a milder version, or just use less than a T. You can also substitute a fresh, minced hot pepper.)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 T cocoa powder
Sea salt
2 lbs. ground turkey
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, juice included
2 C stock (I used homemade chicken. Vegetable would also work. Water is also a possibility in a pinch, but you will lack some of the flavor, especially if you omit the turkey.)
1 bottle of Storm King Stout (other stout or porters will also work, but Storm King offers something pretty special)
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
About 2 C seeded, chopped sweet peppers (I used a variety of the bell and long Italian peppers from our Inverbrook share)
Fresh grated cheddar for topping (I used a sharp, raw variety)
Sour cream for topping

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot until fragrant.
2. Add in the cumin, chile powder, paprika, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and a generous dose of sea salt. Stir to combine.
3. Add in the turkey and saute until cooked through.
4. Add in the sweet potatoes and tomatoes and stir to combine.
5. Add the stock and beer. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender.
6. Add in the beans and the peppers and turn off the heat.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Allow the chili to rest for a bit so that the flavors meld and the peppers have a chance to soften a bit.
9. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.




Garlic Roasted Haricot Verts

By now, you have probably realized my affinity for roasting. To me, roasting is the best way to bring out the deeper, sweeter complexities of food. I rarely boil or steam vegetables. I much prefer roasting, either in the pan with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, or in the oven on a baking sheet. Haricot verts are perfect for oven roasting. Tossed with some olive oil, and a bit of minced garlic and sea salt, they turn out delectably crisp and tasty. A nice alternative to shoestring fries. My kids love them. I hope you enjoy them too.
Ingredients
1-2 lbs. haricot verts, stemmed (I used a medley of Inverbrook green, yellow, and purple)
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Toss the haricot verts with the olive oil, garlic, and sea salt.
3. Spread out onto a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer (it's okay if there is some overlap).
4. Roast in the oven until crisp tender and golden brown in spots (about 10-15 minutes), shaking the pan to toss the beans around at least a couple of times during the process.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving.
Serves 6


Bacon Cheddar Potato Mash
I served the Garlic Roasted Haricot Verts with grilled chicken and the following Bacon Cheddar Potato Mash (see photo below). My family was wild about the entire menu! I hope you enjoy both dishes as much as we did.
Ingredients
6-8 oz fried bacon, drained and crumpled
3-4 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if significantly large (I used the russets from our Inverbrook share, but any potato will do)
1 C + milk
4 T butter
4-6 oz. grated cheddar (I used a raw, sharp variety)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of chopped parsley leaves

1. Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add in a generous amount of sea salt.
2. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender.
3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the pot.
4. Add in the butter, I C of milk, and another generous dose of sea salt.
5. Mash the lot together using a potato masher.
6. Stir in the bacon, cheese, pepper, and more milk if needed.
7. Stir in the parsley, and taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serves 6-8

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Three Great Fall Recipes

Good Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
My son, Kiah, has been begging me to make beef stew (his favorite) ever since the leaves started turning. This dreary day turned out to be the perfect day to hang in the kitchen, and the Inverbrook potatoes and parsley I had on hand sealed the deal. Although it's a cinch to whip together, you need time for this recipe. The meat needs to simmer at least an hour to get to the point where it just falls apart in your mouth. Any less than an hour and your jaws will be begging for mercy as they attempt to chew through all those tough little wads of beef. I started this stew late in the morning, finished it just after noon, and let it sit covered on the stove until dinner time. Perfect. All I had to do was reheat it a touch. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients
3 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into bit-sized chunks
1 large yellow onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T worcestershire sauce
3-4 T ketchup (or tomato paste)
3-4 bay leaves
6 medium-large russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
6 medium carrots, sliced/chopped into bite-sized chunks
Generous handful of chopped parsley leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Saute the beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat in a large soup pot until the meat is browned on the outside.
2. Season the beef mixture generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and stir in the worcestershire and ketchup.
3. Add 8 C of water, along with the bay leaves, and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender (about 45 minutes-1 hour).
5. Add in the potatoes along with more sea salt and pepper, and continue simmering until the potatoes are starting to get tender, but are still pretty firm.
6. Add in the carrots, and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are firm tender, and the meat is super tender.
7. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.
8. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
9. Serve and enjoy!
Serves 6-8

Kabocha Squash Bowls with Local Drunken Cranberry Turkey Sausage and Greens
If you haven't tried the sausage from the good folks at Maiale, do yourself a favor and indulge the next time you're out at the Kennett Farmers Market on a Friday. It's to die for. Really. I have a slight sausage addiction thanks to these guys. They have vegetarian options as well. The following recipe showcases their "turkey sausage with drunken cranberries". I was told that the "drunken cranberries" are soaked in white wine. Feel free to substitute other turkey based sausage here, or just leave it out. The squash will still be tasty with just the greens. I would throw a bit of fresh minced garlic into the saute pan along with the greens to give it more depth if you decide to leave the sausage out.

Ingredients
1 package of Maiale Drunken Cranberry Turkey Sausage (or approximately 1/2 lb of turkey sausage of your choice)
2 bunches of cooking greens, stemmed and roughly chopped (I used the perpetual spinach from our Inverbrook share)
2 kabocha squash, halved and seeded
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2- 3/4 C freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano

1. Rub the the squash halves with a bit of olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
2. Roast uncovered in a 400 degree oven until the squash is tender when pierced and slightly browned (about 20-30 minutes).
3. While the squash is roasting, remove the sausage from its casing, and saute over medium heat in a large skillet until cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks.
4. Add in the greens and saute until just wilted.
5. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
6. Once the squash is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and fill each half with 1/4 of the sausage mixture.
7. Sprinkle the top of each squash bowl with parmigiano reggiano, and return to the oven briefly to melt and brown the cheese slightly.
8. Serve and enjoy!
Serves 4

Sweet Potato Apple Cake
This recipe from Whole Foods Market showed up in my inbox today: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2658?utm_source=Responsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2011_10_19_Recipe

The sweet potatoes from this week's share are perfect for this. I changed things ever so slightly, using real maple syrup instead of brown sugar, coconut oil instead of cooking spray, etc. My version is below.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients
1 C whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 C real maple syrup (1/2 C makes for a sweet cake, use less if you're looking for something a bit more mild)
1 large or 2 small eggs
2 small-medium sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb.), peeled and grated
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and grated (I used honey crisp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut oil for greasing the pan (extra virgin olive oil will work too)

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
3. Combine the apple, sweet potato, eggs, maple, and vanilla in another bowl.
4. Fold the dry and wet ingredients together, stirring until just combined.
5. Grease an 8" cake pan with coconut oil, and spread the cake batter evenly into it.
6. Bake until cooked through (about 40 minutes).
7. Allow to cool, slice, and serve.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This Week's Share and Notes From Nikki

I cannot believe its raining again.  I had really been enjoying the sunshine, along with the relatively warm weather and the changing leaf color.  Oh well.  The one good thing about the rain is that it forces me in front of the computer and I can update the blog.  Nikki has provided the perfect soup for this cool and rainy day--it seems to embody the sunshine we are missing today.  Enjoy both the recipe and this week's share.

This Week Share:
Winter Squash or Sweet Potatoes (depending on pick up day)
Potatoes
Green Beans
Cooking Greens
Eggplant and/or Green Tomatoes
Sweet Green Peppers
Hot Peppers
Garlic
Lemongrass
Dandelion Greens
Parsely
Sunflowers

NOTES FROM NIKKI
Butternut Squash, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup
This soup is decidedly rich and creamy without being heavy. A perfect soup for a wet, fall day. Kaboocha squash would work here as well (I would roast it right in its skin first to deepen the flavor). The corn can be added in after blending with an immersion blender for a chunkier version (I was in the mood for something smoother). Feel free to fish out the lemon grass stalks before blending. I always leave them in as I don't mind a few strings here and there in exchange for a more pronounced lemon grass experience. :-) Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash (or two small), skinned, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed, cut into 2-3" pieces and then sliced again vertically
8 oz. frozen corn
6-8 C stock (I used chicken, but veggie would work fine here)
1 15 oz. can coconut milk (I prefer the full-fat version for the best flavor)
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and roughly chopped (I used one of the milder poblanos from our Inverbrook share. Feel free to use something hotter, or leave in some seeds and ribbing for more heat.)
Sea salt
Generous handful of fresh chopped cilantro leaves
Toasted pepitas for topping

1. Saute the garlic, onion, lemongrass, and hot pepper in the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until the onion is softened.
2. Add in the squash, tossing to coat.
3. Add enough stock to cover the squash mixture.
4. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the squash is tender.
5. Turn off the heat, and add in the corn, coconut milk, and a generous dose of sea salt.
6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
7. Stir in the cilantro, and taste and adjust.
8. Serve topped with a sprinkling of toasted pepitas.
Serves 8-10

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Lemony Haricot Vert with Shallots and Chicken Paillards

Lemony Haricot Verts with Shallots and Chicken Paillards

Well, at least all that September rain brought us a bounty of Inverbrook beans! The pretty little yellow haricot verts are my favorite, and make me feel better about the fact that there is mold growing all over my basement. ;-)


The following recipe is super simple to throw together, and showcases the beans in a delightfully rich and tangy way. If you're not into butter, skip it and just use olive oil. The advent of fall always leaves me craving heavier foods (like butter), but I know not everyone feels the same way. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 bags Inverbrook haricot verts (I'm guessing about 1-1 1/2 lbs, give or take. Snap off the stem ends. I used the yellow ones.)
4 T extra virgin olive oil
6 small shallots, skinned and sliced
2 T butter
Flour for dredging the chicken
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon, plus a little zest for good measure (I used the juice of 1 whole lemon, but I like things really lemony. Use as much juice and zest as you like.)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thin (You can also use thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets or chicken tenders)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Small handful of chopped parsley leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
3. Season the dredging flour generously with sea salt and pepper, mixing together well.
4. Dredge the chicken paillards in the flour one at a time, and add them to the pan, cooking in batches (about 3-4 in the skillet at a time to avoid over-crowding), until both sides are golden brown and the paillards are cooked through, but still juicy inside (about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness; they dry out quickly so don't overdo it). Feel free to add more olive oil to the pan if needed.
5. As the paillards finish, place them on a baking sheet in the oven so they stay warm.
6. Once all the chicken is finished and being kept warm in the oven, add the butter to the skillet, along with the shallots.
7. Saute the shallots until they are softened and starting to brown a bit.
8. Add in the haricot verts, tossing to incorporate everything.
9. Cover and steam until the beans are just barely tender (5-10 minutes, tops), shaking the pan every so often to prevent the beans on the bottom from browning. They should still have quite a bit of snap and lots of vibrant color when they're done.
10. Add the parsley, and sea salt and pepper to taste.
11. Lay a chicken paillard on a bed of haricot verts, garnish with a parsley leaf and a bit of fresh ground pepper, and serve.
Serves 6

Friday, September 30, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Happy Birthday Nikki!

Today is Nikki's birthday, hopefully someone else will be cooking for her this evening.  Happy Birthday Nikki, thank you for your great recipe ideas.







Potato, Kale, and Sausage Chowder

Fall is the perfect time of year for soups and stews and chowders. The following recipe is a hearty blend of potatoes, kale, and sausage. Topped with a bit of cheese, and served with a hunk of artisan bread, you'll have the makings for a stick-to-your-bones kind of meal. Enjoy!


Ingredients
1/2-1 lb sausage of your choice (I used mild Italian pork sausage this time around, but have also used smoked kielbasa with excellent results. If you decide to use a low-fat chicken or turkey sausage, you'll probably need to add a splash of olive oil to the pot while you're sauteing the onions and garlic along with the sausage. You can also cook the sausage on the grill or roast it in the oven, slice it, and add it to the chowder at the end when you add the kale, although again, you'll need a splash of olive oil to saute the onions and garlic in.)

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
About 1 dozen small-medium new potatoes (around 2 lbs.), scrubbed and cut into 1/8ths or 1/16ths
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into smallish pieces
8 C chicken or veggie stock (you can also use 1/2 stock and 1/2 water)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Grated parmigiana reggiana for topping (or other cheese of your choice; I use cheddar when I use smoked kielbasa)
1. Remove the casing from the sausage and cook over medium heat in a large soup pot, along with the onions and garlic, breaking up the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
2. Once the sausage is cooked through, add in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
3. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are firm tender.
4. Add in the kale and turn off the heat.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
6. Smash up some of the potatoes a little with a spoon to thicken a bit (optional).
7. Serve topped with a sprinkling of cheese and a side of artisan bread.
Serves 6-8


Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter, Honey, and Sage

One of the many things I love about winter squash is that it can live on my kitchen counter for quite a while before I have to do anything with it. This is a welcome trait in the midst of our hectic fall schedule. In the following recipe I used spaghetti squash because it was what I had on hand, but any roasted winter squash will work. The carnival squash from our Inverbrook share would work beautifully here (and would be much more beautiful). Just halve the squashes, seed, and roast until tender, then add the brown butter, honey, and sage mixture directly to the squash halves, and serve them as little bowls of buttery goodness. Yum! Enjoy!


Ingredients
2 roasted spaghetti squash (Halve the squashes, seed, and roast on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until tender and browned a bit. Once the squashes are done and slightly cooled for handling, scrape the meat from the skin with a fork creating spaghetti-like strands. Set aside and keep warm.)
4 T unsalted butter
Pinch or two of nutmeg
1-2 T finely chopped fresh sage leaves (plus more leaves for garnishing)
2 tsp honey plus more for drizzling
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Add in the nutmeg, sage, and a pinch of salt.
3. Simmer over medium-low heat until the butter starts to brown. (Watch very carefully! Butter can go from yummy, toasty brown to burned in an instant. I've learned the hard way. ;-))
4. Stir in the honey.
5. Toss the squash with the brown butter mixture and a bit more salt.
6. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
7. Serve drizzled with more honey and garnished with a sage leaf and some fresh ground pepper.
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Week's Share-More Beans, Greens and Rain

I have to say I am longing for a little sunshine, even if it does mean a drop in temperature.  The lack of sunlight has been hard on fall growing.  This will most likely be the last week for eggplant and green tomatoes.  I kind of wish I was a mushroom grower, considering that is one of the few "new" crops popping up all over.  Please make sure you wash and dry the items in your share well this week.  Grit, dirt and mold are all an issue this week. 

There are two crops that have faired well with the recent warm humid weather--greens like kale and perpetual spinach and the beans.  The beans are delicious--sweet, tender and juicy--finally tasting like they should.  Enjoy the beans and greens click here for a facebook album of the two types of produce.

This Week's Share:
Potatoes
Beans
Greens-cooking and spicy/sweet asian salad mix
Eggplant
Green Tomatoes-please wash and cook--they were gathered from the ground
Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers
Parsely and Mint

Below are some recipe links for beans, kale, and potatoes:

Smitten Kitchen Green Bean Salad with Fried Almonds

Smitten Kitchen Braised Roma Beans

Food 52 Vegetarian Kale Recipe

Food 52 Kale and Sausage Tart

Culinate Guide to Potato Salad


Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Tomatoes and the Autumnal Equinox

It is now official; summer is over and fall is about to begin.  This time of year always makes me think of green tomatoes-they seem to perfectly embody the transition from one season to the next. The dwindling daylight, the lower temperatures--not quite enough solar power to keep things ripening--the final signal to take advantage of the last of the summer harvest.   A time to can, pickle,cook and preserve.  Food In Jars creator Marisa McClellan has two great postings related to preserving these late summer treasures for the months to come.

Small Batch Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green Tomato Chutney

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Potatoes and Roasted Poblano Gratin

Potato and Roasted Poblano Gratin
You may have noticed a decrease in my posts since the advent of fall (and by that I mean post Labor Day). For those of you who don't know me, I have four children that I homeschool. Those four children are also involved in a plethora of activities (dance, sports, drum lessons, attending programming at Open Connections [a resource center for homeschoolers], etc). I also work part-time as a teacher at Open Connections, and am a doula and lactation consultant with Well Born Baby (even though I am a busy mama, I am still taking clients... please send me your referrals :-) [nikki@wellbornbaby.com]). Yes, my plate is oh so full (no pun intended), and my time in the kitchen has been limited as a result. So, what does any of this have to do with Potato and Roasted Poblano Gratin? Well, besides providing an explanation for my lack of recipes this month, I also realize that I'm not the only one who is feeling frazzled this time of the year. As the lazy days of summer draw to a close and our schedules become a bit more demanding, we all start to feel tapped out. I don't know about you, but this causes me to crave some serious comfort food. This dish provides just that, comfort. It's warm and heavy and satisfying, just what my body and soul are craving at this time of the year when the days are suddenly shorter and the nights are colder, and by nightfall, I'm simply tuckered out. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. The roasted poblanos really set if off, so I wouldn't suggest leaving them out or using them fresh. Roasting them gives the dish a depth that wouldn't be possible with fresh peppers. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large (or 2 small) yellow onions, chopped
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3-4 lbs. of potatoes (I used a combination of new purple and red potatoes from our Inverbrook share that have been patiently waiting on my kitchen counter), boiled until tender and sliced 1/8-1/4" thick
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
6 small poblano chile peppers (anaheims will also work for a milder version), roasted under a broiler until charred on all sides, steamed in a covered bowl for 10 minutes, and then stemmed, skinned, seeded, and chopped (wear gloves, trust me)
1.5 C fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
2 C half and half
Sea salt
1.5-2 C shredded Mexican cheese of your choice (I used a combination of jack, manchego, and anejo)
1 T butter
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
3. Add in the roasted chiles and corn, stirring to incorporate.
4. Add in the potato slices, tossing to coat. Season generously with sea salt.
5. Turn off the heat and set aside.
6. Butter a deep casserole dish, and fill with the potato mixture. Press the mixture down into the pan so that it is evenly distributed.
7. Drizzle the half and half over the potato mixture, and top with the cheese.
8. Bake until the gratin is bubbling and the cheese is melted and browned a bit (about 30 minutes).
Serves 8-10

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This Week's Share-Sweet and Spicy Greens and more Edamame Beans

This week's share includes a new sweet and spicy salad mix that can deliver a fair punch.  The spicy mustards and arugula within the mix are definitely capable of clearing your sinuses.  Despite the wasabi type bite, these greens serve as a nice compliment to sweet dressings, fruit like apples and asian pears, or as a bed for steak or salmon.  Click here for a Mustard Green version of a caesar salad from Bon Appetit.  Along with the sweet and spicy mix this week's share includes:

Potatoes
Winter Squash including baby pumpkin, spaghetti, and kabocha
Cooking Greens
Sweet and Spicy Greens
Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers
Green Tomatoes
Edamame Beans
Parsley, Basil, Mint and Dandelion Greens

Margaret Gilmour of Fresh Basil blog recommended this great simple recipe for ginger Kabocha Squash.  Fresh Basil recently featured an article all about purple vegetables with beautiful pictures of produce from your share taken by fellow CSA member Carlos Alejandro.  Purple potatoes are once again an option in this week's share--although this variety is called blue gold and has delicious gold flesh. Enjoy the color. Enjoy your share.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Roasted Carnival Squash Soup

Roasted Carnival Squash Soup

And suddenly, it's fall. That was quick. :-)
The following recipe will help warm your bones during these chillier nights we've been having. It screams fall with its squash and apples and sage. Be sure to serve it with plenty of warm, crusty bread. Delicious!


Enjoy~

Ingredients
4 small carnival squash, halved and seeded
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 small-medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used honeycrisp)
4-6 C chicken stock (vegetable stock or water will work too)
2-3 T chopped fresh sage leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 C whole milk
Toasted pepitas for topping
Crumbled feta for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Rub the squash halves with a bit of the olive oil (not the skin) and season with sea salt and pepper.
3. Roast the squash until it is soft and browned a bit. (This can be done ahead of time. My roasted squash halves sat in the fridge for a couple of days before I made the soup.)
4. Allow to cool just enough to handle, and then scrape the meat from the skin. Set aside (discard the skin).
5. Heat 2-3 T of the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, and add the onion.
6. Saute the onion until softened and fragrant, and then add in the squash, apples, sage, sea salt, and pepper.
7. Saute for a bit, and then add in the stock.
8. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering.
9. Cover and simmer until the apples are tender. Turn off the heat.
10. Using an immersion blender, blend it all together (the mixture will be thick).
11. Add the milk a bit at a time, stirring to incorporate, until the soup is the consistency you prefer (you can also add water instead of milk).
12. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
13. Serve topped with toasted pepitas and crumbled feta.





Friday, September 16, 2011

This Week's Share-Green Tomatoes and Russet Potatoes

This week's share featured all kinds of starches--shelling beans, edamame, russet potatoes, and winter squash along with cooking greens, peppers, and green tomatoes.  Below are a few recipe links to help you use up the items in this week's share.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Easy Edamame Recipes from Eating Well

Green Chile and Chorizo Potato Pancakes

Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Summer Squash Pancakes and Honey-Drizzled Delicata Rings

Roasted Honey-Drizzled Delicata Squash Rings over Garlicky Greens

I was elated to see delicata squash when we picked up our Inverbrook share this week. Delicata is my absolute favorite winter squash. I love that it doesn't need to be peeled and that the skin is entirely delicious and edible, not to mention its inherent beauty. This dish showcases its good looks as the squash is cut into rings and served over a bed of greens. Splendid! My kids devoured these rings, by the way. A nice alternative to onion rings or fries. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T honey
2 delicata squash, sliced 1/4-1/3" thick (use a pairing knife to scrape the seeds from the slices, creating rings)
2 bunches chard (or other cooking greens), stemmed and chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Drizzle 2 T olive oil onto a baking sheet, and arrange the squash rings atop in one layer.
3. Drizzle the rings with honey, and season with sea salt and pepper.
4. Roast for about 7 minutes, turn the rings, and then roast for another 7 (give or take... you want the rings to be golden brown on both sides and cooked through).
5. While the squash is roasting, heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
6. Saute the garlic until fragrant, and then add in the greens, sea salt, and pepper.
7. Saute just until the greens wilt, and then turn off the heat.
8. Turn the greens out onto a plate, and top with the roasted squash rings (I like to arrange them in a pile).
9. Serve family style.
Serves 2-3 as a side dish


Summer Squash Pancakes

So, my kids are sick of summer squash. Every time I put a dish on the table, they ask me if there is zucchini in it. ;-) I don't blame them. I do have a tendency to sneak it into just about everything this time of year. (Note to self: do NOT plant summer squash in the garden next year. Claire will provide plenty enough. ;-)) Despite their protests, they sincerely enjoyed the following dish. Pancakes! What's not to like? These work out to be something like a potato pancake, only instead of grated potatoes, you use grated summer squash. Super easy and quite tasty. Enjoy! Oh, incidentally, my kids insisted on topping these with ketchup (the horror!). Feel free to heed their advice if you must, although I wouldn't do it. ;-)

Ingredients
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
3 medium summer squash (I used 1 zephyr and 2 pattypan), grated (largest holes)
2 eggs
1 C bread crumbs (toast 2 slices of your favorite bread, allow to cool, and then give them a whirl in the food processor)
Small handful of chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Grated parmesan for topping (optional)
Basil leaves for garnishing

1. Preheat the oven to 200.
2. Toss the grated squash with a bit of salt and set in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes or so.
3. Squeeze the drained squash by the handful to remove excess water, and then combine it with the eggs, chives, garlic, bread crumbs, a bit more sea salt, and pepper.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and form the squash mixture into patties (use about 1/4-1/3 C for each patty), one at a time, adding them directly to the skillet.
5. Place up to 4 patties at a time in the skillet, using a spatula to flatten them to about 1/4" thick.
6. Cook until the patties are golden brown on the bottom, and then flip (be careful, they're a little flimsy for the first flip).
7. Re-flatten a bit with the spatula, and cook again until the other side is golden brown (it should take a good 7 minutes or so per side; if you flip too early, you can always re-flip; I re-flipped a few times [I was feeling impatient ;-)]).
8. Place the finished patties on a baking sheet in the oven so they stay warm while you cook the other patties.
9. Serve each pancake topped with grated parmesan and a few basil leaves.
Makes approximately 8 pancakes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This Week's Share-More Winter Squash, Potatoes and Garlic


This week's share includes more varieties of winter squash including Carnival Sweet Dumpling and Delicata.  If you are not familiar with the various types of winter squash and how to cook them, check out this great winter squash glossary from Culinate.  In the upcoming weeks you will have access to sunshine kubocha, more acorn, butternut and a few small pumpkins.  Along with winter squash, this weeks share includes the follow:

This Week's Share
Potatoes (red and blue gold)
Beans (on Monday) and Greens (on Wednesday)
Sweet Dumpling Carnival Squash
Delicata
Summer Squash
Garlic
Green Tomatoes
Eggplant
Dandelion Greens, Basil, Parsley and Mint

Below are a few recipe ideas for the items in this week's share.  Happy cooking.

A recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

Summer Squash Soup with Parsley Mint Pistou

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Notes from Nikki-Recipes for Acorn Squash and More

Hope everyone is have a nice weekend.  Just a quick reminder that depsite the holiday, I will still be having CSA pick up tomorrow (Labor Day).  Nikki has been busy creating some great recipes with last weeks share, check out the 3 delicious "dishes" below.  Hopefully her culinary adventures will inspire a little time in the kitchen this long weekend.

Baked Acorn Squash with Maple, Rosemary, and Bacon

A little taste of fall, although technically it's still summer. I feel the change a comin', though. This dish makes it easier to say goodbye to my beloved summer. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 small acorn squash, halved and de-seeded, stems removed to alleviate excessive tilting
2 T butter, divided into 4 equal parts
2-4 T pure maple syrup
2 sprigs rosemary, de-stemmed and minced
4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled (optional, use smoked finishing salt as an alternative)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, put 1/2 T of butter in each, along with 1/2-1 T maple syrup, a generous sprinkling of the fresh minced rosemary, a bit of sea salt, and some fresh ground pepper.
3. Bake in the oven until the squash is tender and browned along the rim.
4. Allow to cool a bit, top each with a crumpled slice of bacon (if using), and serve.
Serves 4

Roasted Curried Potatoes and Eggplant

This delectable dish is a cinch to make. Served with a side of steamed rice, it makes for a quick and satisfying meal. Use your favorite curry powder blend and end-of-the-season heirloom tomatoes that perhaps got too big for their britches. I used two GIANT heirlooms that I picked up from the KSQ farmers market. They were a little too overripe to eat raw, but roasted, along with the eggplant, potatoes, and a sweet onion, they were divine. Enjoy!
Ingredients
1-1 1/2 lbs. new potatoes (I used yellow fingerlings), halved or quartered the long way
6-8 T extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 long, skinny eggplant, sliced
2 small, globular eggplant, quartered and sliced
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes (or more smaller ones), cored and roughly chopped (large pieces are fine)
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of fresh, chopped cilantro leaves (save a few leaves for garnishing)
2-3 T of your favorite curry powder
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Plain yogurt or sour cream for topping (optional, but highly recommended)
Steamed rice to serve along side (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Drizzle 3-4 T of the olive oil onto a baking sheet, and spread the potatoes atop. Season the potatoes generously with sea salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of the curry powder. Pop the potatoes in the oven and roast until tender.
3. Drizzle the remaining 3-4 T of olive oil along the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the onion, garlic, eggplant, and tomatoes atop and season with sea salt, pepper, and the remaining tablespoon of curry powder. Toss to coat. Roast alongside the potatoes until the tomatoes fall apart and the eggplant is tender.
4. Toss the potatoes with the eggplant/tomato mixture and the cilantro.
5. Taste and adjust to your liking.
6. Serve with steamed rice (if desired), and a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

Chocolate Zucchini MuffinsHaven't used up the mountain of zucchini living in your fridge yet? Me neither. This is about the time of year that I start grating zucchini and putting it in everything... pasta sauce, chili, muffins, bread, etc. The following recipe is one that I adapted from my dear friend Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site. The recipe is basically the same, I just switched out all-purpose flour for white whole wheat (ww pastry flour would work too), sugar for pure maple syrup, and milk for buttermilk (I didn't have buttermilk on hand). I also halved the amount cocoa powder and chocolate chips (my kids aren't big on super rich chocolate goodies... I know, what's wrong with them?). Because of the reduced chocolate chips and maple syrup swap, this probably isn't as sweet as Heidi's version. Feel free to use more maple syrup. You could probably use up to 1 C safely. As always, I encourage you to play around. Make it your own. :-) Enjoy!
Ingredients
1/2 C pure maple syrup (or more for a sweeter version)
3/4 C organic, extra virgin coconut oil, warmed to a liquid state
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk or plain yogurt)
2 C grated zucchini (or any summer squash)
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you want a richer chocolate experience)
2 C white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
Butter for greasing the pans (or more coconut oil)
1/2 C good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Black's)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch or two of sea salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Grease 1 and 1/2 standard muffin pans with the butter (to total 18 muffins).
3. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl.
4. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (make sure your coconut oil is really warm so it doesn't solidify when it comes in contact with the cold eggs and maple syrup).
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini.
6. Fill the pans with the batter, and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the muffins are cooked through (don't leave them in for too long or they will dry out).
Makes 18 muffins

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Week's Share and Notes from Nikki

Happy September. Hope everyone made it through last week without too much trouble. We are feeling very lucky here at the farm, damage seems fairly minimal, just an acceleration of the disease and ratty look that usually comes in late September.  It will be interesting to see if the tomatoes and summer squash will recover from the beating they got, if not, we will switch over to more fall crops.  My fruit growing friends did not fair so well, North Star reported some major losses, as the wind and rain pounded their new Asian Pears.  Hurricanes tend not to be a farmers friend, so lets keep our fingers crossed that this next one stays well away.

Power outages, storm prep and beautiful days have kept me from updating the blog.  Luckily Nikki sent along some great recipes she created through the hurricane that I wanted to share with you all.  Even though pick up is past for this week, I thought I would include the share outline:

This Week's Share:
Potatoes
Acorn Squash
Hot Peppers
Green Beans
Cooking Greens
Eggplant
Summer Squash
Basil, Parsley and Mint

Notes From Nikki

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Farm Fresh Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, and Oregano

I was so excited to see spaghetti squash when we picked our farm share last week. It's one of my favorite kinds of "winter" squash, as it tastes like summer to me. The following recipe is super easy, and my family devoured the dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Ingredients
2 spaghetti squash, halved and seeds scraped out
4 T plus 2-3 more, extra virgin olive oil
6 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
3-4 sprigs oregano, leaves removed, stems discarded, chopped
Handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for topping

 
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Rub each half of the squash with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper (don't rub the oil on the skin, just the meat).
3. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender (about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your squash).
4. While the squash is roasting, drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with the remaining 2-3 T of olive oil.
5. Spread the tomato quarters on top of the olive oil, and sprinkle with the minced garlic, oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
6. Roast the tomatoes in the oven (along with the squash) until they start to fall apart (the squash should finish slightly before the tomatoes, which will work out well [see next steps]).
7. Once the squash is tender and can be pierced through the skin easily with a knife, pull it out of the oven and allow to cool a bit so that you can handle it without burning yourself (I wear oven mitts).
8. Using a fork, scrape the squash from the skin, separating the "strings", so that you have something akin to a pile of spaghetti. Discard the skin.
9. By this time, the tomatoes should be finished. Pull them out of the oven, break them up with a fork, and toss them (along with all their delicious juices) with the squash, basil, and a bit more sea salt and pepper.
10. Taste and adjust to your liking.
11. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serves 6-8


Summer Vegetable Frittata

Frittatas are all the rage at our house. I find them to be wonderful vehicles for using up leftover farm share remnants. ;-) This one turned out to be particularly good. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients
1 small-medium yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced
1 dozen eggs, beaten
1 bunch of perpetual spinach (or other cooking green), de-stemmed and chopped
3-4 small-medium new potatoes, boiled until tender and sliced
1 pint cherry-type tomatoes, halved
Handful of chopped chives
Handful of chopped basil (I used the tiny leaves from an Inverbrook bush basil plant)
2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful or two of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Saute the squash in the olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet until tender and beginning to brown a bit (it is very important that the frittata be able to slide out of the skillet when it is finished).
3. Add in the the greens and saute until wilted.
4. Add the eggs to the pan, and shake the pan a bit to evenly distribute the eggs around the veggies. Season with sea salt and pepper.
5. Lay the potato slices evenly a top, and then shake the pan a bit again, allowing the potatoes to sink into the egg a little. Season again with a bit more salt and pepper.
6. Spread the tomatoes atop now, distributing evenly across.
7. Top the tomatoes with the chives and basil, and then cover the chives and basil with the cheese.
8. Once the bottom has set, place the pan under the broiler (about 5-6 inches away), and cook until the top sets and the cheese melts and turns bubbly and golden.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool very briefly before sliding the frittata out of the skillet.
10. Slice like a pizza, and serve.
Serves 6