Monday, September 15, 2014

Cheddar Apple Soaked MultiGrain Muffins

Grated apple and cheddar cheese with an assortment of whole grains make these muffins a delicious Fall treat.

Cheddar Apple Soaked MultiGrain Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts

What? A departure from my standard soaked oatmeal muffins?  Yep.  The dog woke me up extra early so before I was fully conscious I'd added oats, cornmeal, and whole wheat flour to the bowl with the buttermilk.  The dog went back to bed, and I made muffins.

When I'm solo parenting while my spouse is deployed, a favorite easy meal is apples, popcorn, and a protein. Sometimes it's popcorn with sliced apples and peanut butter, but usually it's a platter of apple slices, cheese chunks, and a big bowl of popcorn. This is easy to fix for dinner & a show treat night.

Cheddar Apple Soaked MultiGrain Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts

While my kids were in braces I really missed that meal (no popcorn allowed) and I had to come up with alternatives. I'd been thinking of adding a bit of cornmeal to my muffin batter--the crunch goes nicely with the tender crumb from adding cheese--and I'm pleased with the result.

These muffins are not too sweet, and in fact would be tasty with a bowl of Chicken Cider Stew or spread with some apple butter. Multigrain and multipurpose, I'd say.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia

Focaccia flavored with fennel seed and roasted garlic, in two thicknesses, and topped with an assortment of pizza toppings. Friday Night Fennel Focaccia Night, anyone?

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

The subtitle of this could be "we I do the hard work so you don't have to" but that would imply that making focaccia is hard, which I don't think it is at all.  In fact, a secondary goal of this blog is to de-mystify and normalize the act of making pizza at home (to that end check out my Pizza Primer for photo tutorials on making pizza).
The primary goal of this blog is to encourage readers to support their local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms by providing practical support via recipes showing what to do with fresh vegetables, how to put up what can be saved for later, and how to use those stored vegetables in the off season. [Mission statements can be run on sentences, can't they?]
Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

I've shared focaccia recipes on the blog before, always on Fridays, since my family demands enjoys our Friday Night Pizza Night, and this time I decided to experiment with the pan size and see which we preferred.  I have a 10 inch and a 12 inch cast iron skillet (ok and a little '2 fried egg' size one from my friend Miho, but that's too small for focaccia).  I made a double recipe and tried a portion in each skillet. The results are shown in the first photo above.  For me, I like a thinner focaccia and prefer the 12 inch skillet, but if you wanted this as a bread the 10 inch skillet would do just fine.

Roasted Garlic and Fennel Focaccia | Farm Fresh Feasts

The other reason I'm sharing this recipe today is to tickle your brain about planting garlic this Fall.  If you live in an area where tulips grow, and you have access to a plot of earth, you can grow garlic. If you don't get cloves from your farm share, check out the farmer's market or a gardening friend. The garlic from the grocery store is usually treated to inhibit sprouting, and you don't want that. Plant the cloves, pointy tip up about 4-6 inches under ground, sometime after Canadian Thanksgiving and before American Thanksgiving. I get more detailed about how I grow 2 crops (garlic and basil) in a single raised bed over the course of the year in this post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grilled Butternut Squash & Peppers--a side, a main, or a meal.

Chunks of grilled butternut squash and bell peppers as a side dish, tossed with grilled sausage for a main dish, and/or combined with pasta for a complete meal.

Grilled Butternut Squash & Peppers--a side, a main, or a meal.

Just because school is back in session and the leaves are turning it's no time to put away the grill. In fact, grilling winter squash when it looks like Fall and the calendar says it's still summer seems like a good idea. If you want to get all-season about it, I even made this recipe in the Spring, using the tail end of my Strategic Winter Squash Reserve.

Grilled Butternut Squash & Peppers--a side, a main, or a meal.
What's a Strategic Winter Squash Reserve? I'm glad you asked. It's one of the ways I feed my family from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share all year long. During the season (approximately late May-ish to early October-ish) we eat some of the share and put up the rest for later. One of the easiest vegetables to put up is winter squash. Winter squashes (acorn, buttercup, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti are most common) are terrific long-storing vegetables. In a cool dark place (the cold corner of my breakfast nook once it stops hitting 90 outside) the squash will keep for months. Many months. Just be sure to look over your squash every few days and use them in a timely manner.
Grilled Butternut Squash & Peppers--a side, a main, or a meal.

This recipe follows the Bus Stop method of cooking I've used in previous posts, such as the Potato, Beet and Leek Soup (and How to Make Vegetable Stock). Depending on how far you take this 'bus', you'll make a vegan side dish, a paleo/grain free main dish, or a complete meal for omnivores. Or all three--with a single cooking session.*