Showing posts with label CSA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CSA. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Copycat Recipe CPK White Spinach Pizza

Fresh spinach, feta and mozzarella cheese on a roasted garlic oil-brushed crust. A copycat recipe for a homemade version of CPK White Spinach Pizza.

image of a slice of copycat CPK white spinach pizza on a plate

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One of my favorite items in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share or at the farmer's market is a bag of spinach. There are so many possibilities! If I'm overwhelmed with greens, unwashed spinach can hang out in the crisper longer than lettuce or even be frozen--to use in smoothies later on. My favorite is my Allergy Friendly Peanut Butter, Spinach, and Banana Smoothie. Today I'm sharing an updated version of a favorite way to use fresh spinach on a pizza.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How to Save Money and Reduce Waste in the Kitchen

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Today's post is an update of one I wrote back when the big purple mountains were the little green hills. Back before I knew what SEO was, back when I'd be silly and creative with my post titles.
I've updated the post--but the behaviors I described back then are behaviors I still practice--today!
Since I am primarily a visual learner but I want to make these simple behaviors accessible to every learning style, I've created a series of short videos to help show what I mean. Let's get started!

Keeping your kitchen environmentally friendly is more than buying certain products. It's practicing certain behaviors that help to reduce waste and save you money. Did you know that about 31% of the solid waste in the US is food waste? I learned that scary fact at a Montgomery County Food Summit and wrote about my tips for reducing food waste here. I want to do more than reduce my food waste, though. I want to stretch my food dollars to make more meals for my family.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle becomes Reduce (x3), Reuse, Repurpose, and Regrow

The first R is Reduce. I practice 3 different "reduce" behaviors to save money, get fit, and do my part to save the planet. The biggest one is that I deliberately reduce the amount of meat I eat. I pay attention to the portion sizes and often use meat as a garnish. For example, instead of each person getting a single steak on a plate I'll grill a couple of steaks, slice them into strips, and we'll each have a serving of steak strips. It's plenty for us to eat at one sitting and there's usually leftovers for another meal. What's the best way to eat less meat? Eat more veggies! Here's a post I wrote on how to boost the vegetable content of your meals all day long.

I'll stretch a pound of ground meat into 6-8 servings by combining it with finely chopped vegetables. Some of my favorites include onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, shredded zucchini or kohlrabi, chopped mushrooms, and corn. I use that veggie mix in tacos, in meatloaf, and in casseroles aka Hot Dish.
Here are some of my tried and true recipes to stretch meat:

One simple change I made to reduce the amount of food I eat is to reduce my every day plate size. Breakfast and lunch are often on 6½ inch plates. Snacks and desserts are on 5½ inch dishes. And dinners? I use an 8 inch "lunch" plate! I do keep my 11 inch dishes to use on Thanksgiving and other 'gimme all the sides' holidays when I'm wearing my eatin' pants. Piling food onto a smaller plate makes a smaller amount of food look more abundant, and that's another way I reduce the amount of food I need to buy.

The final Reduce I'd like to share is about drinks. If your go-to drink is tap water, more power to ya! I save money and reduce the amount of waste I'm generating by reducing the amount I spend on fancy single serve drinks. This doesn't mean I don't meet a friend for coffee--that's the happy exception to my daily normal. I bring a cup with me when I go out to reduce the single use packaging waste. I choose to make my go-to fancy drink (for me, Iced Chai) at home. Here's my DIY Iced Chai recipe. This Spring I'm testing out different methods to make a DIY version of the slightly sweet fruity tea that we like to drink on expeditions.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed potatoes made decadent with cream cheese, roasted garlic, and sour cream. Make them ahead of time and reheat in the oven or the slow cooker. Great for holiday potlucks, kids having dental work, or just because this is such a great recipe. Thanks, MA!

image of a traditional Thanksgiving plate of mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, creamed spinach, stuffing, turkey and a roll

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In my humble opinion, the best American meal--bar none--is Thanksgiving.  One year I made a full-on traditional American Thanksgiving meal three times in 4 months.  The first time was, no surprise, the 3rd Thursday in November.  The second time was on Christmas day, and if I had my Danish sister-in-law as my sous chef, I would do that whole deal again in a heartbeat (she made it so easy for me!).

The third occasion was after my spouse returned from a deployment, when I was stuffing him full of all his favorite dishes night after night. I even shared some of those leftovers with folks who found themselves unexpectedly in a hospital far away from home. Thanksgiving knows no boundaries.

Making a Thanksgiving meal from locally sourced farmer's market or Community Supported Agriculture farm share ingredients?  I got this.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cabin Casserole (I know! How cute is this name?) aka Pork Chops Baked with Curried Green Tomatoes

Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions in this homey casserole from a vintage cookbook.

A new green tomato recipe! Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions in this homey casserole from a vintage cookbook.

Each time I make this dish, I add a few tweaks on the seasonings but keep the main elements of pork chops, green tomatoes, and onions. I'm happy to report that this casserole is delicious over rice and my family still ate it all up! I used lemon pepper seasoning with the pork chops and hot curry instead of sweet curry on the vegetables--and they were very flavorful.

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Right now the seasons are a bit topsy turvy. The temperature swings from shorts to sweater weather. I'm excited to turn on the oven but still using the grill. The trees have started to change colors and I foresee leaf raking in the not to distant future. Yet the tomato plants are still plugging away, producing plenty of tomatoes. Once the night temperature dips far enough, there's no amount of sunny days that will bring me red tomatoes. I need to bring them in to ripen--or learn to love green tomatoes. This recipe is one of the ways I've embraced green tomatoes, and I'm glad to re-share it with you.

Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions served over rice.

I love to read cookbooks.  I may be terrible at actually following the recipes, but I never come away from a visit with a cookbook without inspiration.  The other day was no exception.  I was looking through the index of my mom's OK it's mine now 1950 1st edition Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook for something in the Cs, and I came across this recipe name:  Cabin Casserole.  I flipped to the page and saw this:

A heart-warming dish for a cold day.
Place in alternate layers in buttered casserole sliced onions
and sliced tomatoes (green preferred) . . . using in all 1/2
cup of each for each chop and sprinkling each layer with 
salt and curry powder.  On top, lay browned seasoned pork 
chops. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees (mod. oven) 45 min.
Then cover, and continue baking until tender
 (30-45 min more). Serve hot.

A new green tomato recipe! Pork chops baked with curry-seasoned green tomatoes and onions served over rice. Recipe  from a vintage cookbook.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Simple Green Soup (Not Really a Recipe)

A simple healthy soup of fresh vegetables with plenty of greens, then pureed for smoothness. This soup is gluten and dairy free, and can be made vegan if you like.

A simple healthy soup of fresh vegetables with plenty of greens, then pureed for smoothness. This soup is gluten and dairy free, and can be made vegan if you like.
Whoa-the dishes are actually matching this time!  Never happens here.

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After a month of indulging in my favorite holiday treats, and making my traditional holiday meals, and going out to holiday gatherings, I crave something simple like soup.  Soup that doesn't have lots of cream, that's just made with wholesome ingredients, soup that is going to help me reach my goals of eating more vegetables.

I have a terrible problem of reading recipes but not following them precisely.  I'll get an idea of something I want to make, or I've got stuff from the farm share I need to figure out how to use, so off I go in search of recipes.  I'll look in my cook book stash, my bookmarked recipe files, and surf the internet.  Usually I will find 2 or 3 different ones that look appealing, then cobble together my own creation.  Generally, the result tastes pretty good.

Except for soup.

I have not yet mastered the technique of making soup without a recipe.  Sure, I know how to use good ingredients.  I know to sauté the veggies to get some caramelization at the start.  I know soup is better the next day.  But the seasonings/spices/salting--especially the salt--trips me up.  I'm so afraid of over-salting that my family has gotten used to adding a few grinds from the salt grinder at the table.

This soup is like the Pirate Code:  more of a guideline, really.  The next time I've got a pile of leftover vegetables, and kale, I'll make it in a slightly different way.  Still good, enjoyed with a good bread and a hunk of cheese.  What isn't good, enjoyed with a good bread and a hunk of cheese?  I could eat that morning, noon, and night.

But back to the soup.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Eat More Veggies! (Allison's November Blitz Challenge)

My friend Allison inspired me several years ago with a challenge:

Make one small change in two areas of your health, do it for 3 weeks, and come to a party at my house at the end.  For charity!

Increase your daily servings of fruits and vegetables with these easy tips and tricks.

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There are more details (click here to see Allison's blog all about it!) but the key take aways for me were the idea (two small changes) and the timing that she chose:  Allison starts her challenge the day after Halloween (so, November 1).  Her three week blitz usually ends right before Thanksgiving (the 3rd Thursday in November).  So with a house full of candy and the holiday feasting looming, I was focused on small changes and self-improvement.


My small change is usually to eat between 5 and 9 servings of vegetables and fruit each day.

image of summer farm share box with radishes, carrots, and plenty of greens
and with a farm share like this, it's an easy change!

I usually have an exercise change too, but this is a food blog so I'll keep the focus on food.

I do better trying to eat something, instead of trying not to eat something else.  I figure, if I fill up on veggies and fruits, there is less room and less desire for the more fat- and sugar-laden treats in my house.  

It works for me.

Here's a sample of ways I incorporate more veggies and fruits into my day:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Instant Pot® Pickled Pork Sliders

Pickled pork sliders combine bacon, ground pork, and pickles for a savory sandwich. These are terrific with coleslaw or over rice. Use the Instant Pot® or make it on the stove top--with only 5 everyday ingredients, this recipe is easy to make and fun to eat.

Image of pickled pork slider sandwich topped with coleslaw, served with pickles, apple slices, and chips. Wholesome lunch.

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Disclosure--this post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. The more I meet with Ohio hog farmers the more inspired I am to create recipes showcasing their hard work. Pork is a versatile protein and I always have some in my freezer. I'm glad to show you an easy way to enjoy ground pork!

I've been using my new Instant Pot to make new versions of old favorites. In this post I'm updating my Pickled Pork and White Bean Sliders recipe with a new-and-improved version, using bacon instead of beans, and cucumber pickles instead of yellow squash pickles. If you're looking for the old version, scroll down to the bottom and you'll find the stove top directions.
photo of Instant Pot® pickled pork slider, topped with coleslaw, served with potato chips and a pickle.

When I embraced making pickles--thanks to the clear directions and approachable small batch recipes in Marisa McClellan's book Food in Jars (Amazon affiliate link) and on her eponymous blog--I did so with gusto. I pickled cucumbers, beets, peppers, green beans, squash, and turnips nearly as fast as I could accumulate mass quantities of them from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I soon had jars of quick-pickled vegetables in my fridge, and water bath-processed jars of pickled vegetables in my pantry. I had a family who unanimously loved cucumber pickles--at least on sandwiches and burgers.
What I didn't have were kids who would embrace different types of pickled vegetables.
Pickled beets?  Um, they're beets, Mom. Pickled turnips?  No, thanks. Pickled peppers?  Too hot! Pickled squash? Just . . . . why? Dilly Beans? Ok, none of us really cared for them, though I tolerated them in a nicoise salad.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins #MuffinMonday

Buttermilk-soaked rolled oats and whole wheat flour, combined with pumpkin puree and a handful of chocolate chips for flair, make these less-sugar muffins sweet yet wholesome.

photo of a plate of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

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As I think about my favorite recipes using farm fresh ingredients, I'm realizing how often I feed my family muffins.  Muffins for breakfast.  Muffins for after school snack.  With dinner.  Muffins to school or work or social functions.  Pretty much if there's an occasion to bring food, I've probably made muffins.  In addition to this recipe, you can find all my muffin recipes, from Apple Cider Forgot the Sugar to Zucchini Nutella,  to your right in desktop view, or  down below in mobile view----> in my Recipe Index by Category.

pic of a pile of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

I get this desire to feed the world muffins from my mom.  She has a couple of friends from school who made a muffin cookbook (Amazon affiliate link) that I refer to when I feel like making muffins but need inspiration. My current favorite muffin recipe, though, is cobbled together from my experiences making these waffles, these muffins, and always having buttermilk on hand. I love these muffins because they are whole grain, not too sweet, but have a little hit of chocolate that makes the kids think it's a treat. I've played with many iterations of this muffin base, using soaked oatmeal, but this recipe is the one that started it all. For Muffin Monday today, I've gone back to the beginning.

photo of a pile of pumpkins and winter squash

I know lately it seems that the switch has been flipped to All Things Pumpkin, and I am not usually one to jump on bandwagons, but my reason for using pumpkin is simple. I've got a lot of volunteer pumpkins on hand this Fall.  The garden has been crazy productive, thanks to the squirrels planting pumpkin seeds everywhere and my inability to deny food the right to grow wherever it shows up. Check here for how to Process a Pile of Pumpkins (and the mystery winterish squash in the background).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Green Tomato Bacon Jam

A savory freezer jam made with green tomatoes, sweet onion, and crispy bacon. This is AMAZING mixed with ground beef for burgers.

photo of a jar of green tomato bacon jam with green tomatoes

A note to the vegetarians who have visited this blog before: thank you for coming back! I beg your pardon, but today's vegetable recipe is really directed at the omnivores and carnivores that stop by (and thank you omnivores, if you've been here before, for returning!)
If you're new here, welcome! I blog about feeding my family seasonal produce from our CSA farm share, our garden, or good deals I find. I like to cook based on what I have available, so I created my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient (vegetable, or fruit, or fungus) which you can find in the pages across the top. For more recipes using green tomatoes, please check out my Green Tomato Recipe Collection.

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When I started this blog I didn't fully appreciate the versatility of a green, unripe, tomato. I liked to eat fried green tomatoes and hadn't ventured from there. Then a friend shared her Slow Cooker Green Tomato Garlic Chili recipe and I thought I'd dabble in more green tomato recipes. I've got 10 posted--so far!

I decided to make jam with green tomatoes from sheer curiosity. I saw sweet green tomato jam recipes, and savory red tomato and tomato bacon jam recipes, but I didn't find a savory green tomato bacon jam recipe. I started with this recipe and swapped out the red tomato for a bit larger volume of green tomatoes and onion.

image of green tomato bacon jam and green tomatoes

If you grow tomatoes or know someone who does, keep this recipe in mind as the nights get cooler (as tomatoes don't ripen if it's too cool at night).  Sure, you can pick tomatoes and ripen them on the counter, but aren't you getting a wee bit satiated by ripe summer tomatoes?  Are you looking for a little something different?  My answers to those questions are yes and yes, so I'm sharing this today.

Make this jam when your tomato crop is in danger of succumbing to frost.  Store the excess jars in the freezer. Next time you're making burgers, mix 1/4 cup of jam in with a pound of ground meat (I've used beef and turkey so far) then continue with your usual burger making.  I prefer to make quarter pound burgers because I get plenty of protein and sure don't need the bigger burger, and I can make 1 pound of ground meat easily feed our family of 4 on burger nights.

photo of green tomato bacon jam in a pot

Monday, January 6, 2014

Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups

Corn, black beans, and pepper in a lime vinaigrette served in avocado cups.  Vegetable appetizers for game day snacking that's good for you

Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts

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For my family, the Superbowl is usually an excuse to sit in front of the TV and eat crap snack foods.  Our list of snacks changes slightly year to year, but, like Thanksgiving, there are some standbys.  In addition to the recipes shown below, I've added a Game Day Snacks to my tags (right side bar) since we like to eat appetizers as well as sandwiches and quick snacks.  Check it out!
Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts

My son loves Buffalo Chicken dip.  Even though I wasn't planning to make it, he cobbled some together using thin sliced chicken lunchmeat, bits and pieces of cheeses, and salad dressings.  And Frank's Red Hot® sauce, of course. (There's no relationship to disclose--I buy it because I like it.)

Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts

My daughter--well, I can't say she loves guacamole, though she certainly likes it.  Making the guacamole became her job after she needed to give a speech in Spanish class and decided to demo how to make guacamole.  Yes, the apples do not fall far from the tree. :)

Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts

My spouse will eat anything, but he loves Slow Cooker Salmon Artichoke Dip and I love him, so I whipped him up a batch.  I had an ulterior motive, however--a big slab of salmon and a desire to have leftovers for this.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa in Avocado Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts
One problem with putting up your own corn? De-silking.  Must do better next season!

My new item was this Corn and Black Bean Salsa from Kate at Diethood.  I didn't have everything her recipe called for, but it was super easy to chop all the jalapeño, red onions, and cilantro for my daughter's guacamole and Kate's corn salsa at one time.  Since my New Year's Resolutions involve adding more avocado to my life, I served it in avocado halves and it was delicious.

Grab the following ingredients, head over to Diethood, and make yourself another Awesome Veggie Appetizer (link to my Pinterest board).  Then enjoy the game--or the commercials, or both--with something delicious to munch on.
For other recipes using Avocados, please see my Avocado Recipes Collection. For other recipes using Beans, please see my Beans (Legumes) Recipes Collection. For other recipes using Corn, please see my Corn Recipes Collection. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For ways to Use This Blog, please click here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Fig Jam on an Eggnog/Butternut Crust (Pizza Night!)

An eggnog/butternut squash pizza crust topped with prosciutto, goat cheese, and fig jam

Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Fig Jam on an Eggnog/Butternut Crust | Farm Fresh Feasts
I wish I had some sort of clever little story about how this pizza came to be.  The plain fact is that my son found half gallons of eggnog for 50 cents after Christmas last year and I figured I'd get one and play around with it.  I also had the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve staring at me balefully, wanting to be included in everything.  So, since I had my 'shred a butternut squash' epiphany, I decided I'd put some in pizza crusts.  That worked out just fine, so I cast a wider net.  I figured the color of the butternut squash would only enhance an eggnog crust (whereas beets or kale in an eggnog crust would be . . . . just wrong).  I knew the eggnog would make a slightly sweet crust, and I love sweet and salty blends, so perhaps this is the right time to try my favorite combo:  prosciutto, goat cheese, and fig jam. [That combo comes directly from a George Foreman grill cookbook--put that in a panini and smash it and you are in for a real treat.]  

This crust is a marvel.  It's pillowy and soft thanks to the dairy, yet it bakes up firm enough to stand up like a regular slice of pizza.  It's very slightly sweet.  [If you're wanting a dessert pizza crust using eggnog, add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the crust, and sweet toppings.] My topping combo totally works with this crust--perhaps even better than on a plain crust.  It is delicious and if you find yourself with some butternut squash (leftover roasted mashed would also work fine) and a spare half cup of eggnog, give this a try. It's a StrangeButGood combination!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin and Eggnog French Toast

French toast made with roasted pumpkin and eggnog batter for a seasonal brunch

Roasted Pumpkin and Eggnog French Toast

My kids are very fortunate French toast eaters.  They are blessed with not one but two grandmothers who rock at making French toast.
Can a grandmother rock at something?  Well, these women sure do.  My kids love Grandma's French Toast--regardless of which grandma they are visiting.
When I first met my mother-in-law, she told me she was a "plain Jane cook".  She sure makes something 'plain' like French toast taste super when we visit!  She has her recipe memorized (and now I do, too):  for every 4 pieces of bread you need 1 egg, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  It's a no-fail recipe that we love to eat while gathered around the large table, watching the woods outside.

My mom's contribution to my kids' Grandma French Toast Experience is her choice of bread.  Mom buys day-old bread (hmm, I wonder where I get my love of marked down food from?), usually hoagie rolls, and slices it into thick rounds.  She serves the kids breakfast on the bar while they sit on stools overlooking her kitchen.

Combining mom's bread with my mother-in-law's batter results in a delicious breakfast treat when it's just mom making the French toast.  For this post, though, I decided to kick it up a notch.  I thawed some packages of pumpkin (that I'd roasted and put up for muffins) and added it to the batter.  I had eggnog, and decided to use that in place of milk.  Because the pumpkin was pretty thick, I opted to toss the whole thing in the blender to mix it up.  This creamy concoction was so delicious I had to share.

Try this for a special brunch or just for an everyday weekend breakfast.  My kids tell me that the leftovers made a tasty school-day breakfast treat.  Even if it's not as good as when Grandma makes it!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turkey Pesto Olive Feta FFF-a-boli, Thanksgiving Leftover Remake Pizza Night!

Turkey, green olives and feta cheese combined with pesto in a rolled pizza

I knew when I made these pizzas that I wanted to do a Leftover Remake using turkey.  I just didn't have any turkey to try it with!  Then we celebrated Thanksgiving, I got some turkey leftovers to work with, and I could make this vision a reality.  Turkey, pesto from the freezer stash, green olives, feta cheese . . . sounds like a winning combination.

Turkey Pesto Olive Feta FFF-a-boli | Farm Fresh Feasts

Then my spouse asked for a Nic-o-boli for his birthday, and I veered off into a different direction.  What if I took that topping combination I'd envisioned, and stuffed it into a rolled pizza?

Turkey Pesto Olive Feta FFF-a-boli | Farm Fresh Feasts

We all agreed it worked great.  If you have leftover turkey meat, and you've put up your pesto (or have a jar in the fridge) try this FFF-a-boli.  It's delicious (and what I'd be making for Friday Night Pizza Night the day after Thanksgiving if I wasn't a food blogger who has been inspired by this)!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

ABC: Apple/Apricot, Beet, Cranberry Sauce--Quick Take

A colorful side dish of cranberries with roasted beets and dried apricots simmered in a sweetened apple cider/orange juice broth. A delicious addition to holiday meals and a terrific way to use farm share beets that gets the whole family to dig in.

A colorful side dish of cranberries with roasted beets and dried apricots simmered in a sweetened apple cider/orange juice broth. A delicious addition to holiday meals and a terrific way to use farm share beets that gets the whole family to dig in.
New photos for 2015, same tasty recipe!

I'll freely admit I'm a fan of the can.  Not the jellied cranberry sauce (though I'm sure it has its uses).  I have no issue, however, with canned whole berry cranberry sauce.  It's fine. Want a recipe for a doctored up can of cranberry sauce? Here's my Semi-homemade Cranberry Pineapple Pecan Salad.

A colorful side dish of cranberries with roasted beets and dried apricots simmered in a sweetened apple cider/orange juice broth. A delicious addition to holiday meals and a terrific way to use farm share beets that gets the whole family to dig in.

I also love cranberry-orange relish, and cranberry-apple sauce.  Whole Foods made a cranberry-beet-apricot dish on their salad bar years ago that my mom re-created.  I decided to combine all of those into this side. It's sweet but not too sweet, tangy but not too out there.  And the color is freakishly vibrant.

A colorful side dish of cranberries with roasted beets and dried apricots simmered in a sweetened apple cider/orange juice broth. A delicious addition to holiday meals and a terrific way to use farm share beets that gets the whole family to dig in.

For more recipes using apples or apple cider, please see my Apples/Apple Cider Recipes Collection. For more recipes using beets, please see my Beet Recipes Collection. For more recipes using cranberries, please see my Cranberry Recipe Collection. This is the only recipe in the Apricot Recipe Collection so don't bother clicking over there. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating locally and seasonally from the farm share, the farmer's market, and seasonal abundance. I've got even more recipe ideas on my Pinterest boards, follow me there to see them. I'm also sharing new recipes on my FB page so check that out as well. Want to know how to use this blog?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Potato, Beet, and Leek Soup (And How To Make Vegetable Stock)

A thick vegan or vegetarian or omnivorous soup of potatoes, beets and leeks

Potato, Beet, and Leek Soup (And How To Make Vegetable Stock) | Farm Fresh Feasts

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My spouse is a vegetarian, at least while he's away on his all-expense paid work trip to an exotic foreign locale.  If you think it's ironic, considering I just shared a post on 106 Recipe Ideas Using Ground Beef because I have 110 pounds of ground beef in the freezer, you're in good company.

Since the rest of the household is omnivorous, I've been experimenting with ways to create meals we can all enjoy.
I've heard homeschoolers will use the Bus Stop Method of teaching--introducing a subject, then dropping off students to work at different levels while continuing to teach that subject.  I consider recipes like this, and my Vegan/Vegetarian/Omnivorous Valentine's Pizza and my Acorn Squash, Beet, and Sweet Potato Chili, to be similar to the Bus Stop Teaching.  Call it Bus Stop Cooking (though bear in mind I am cooking in my kitchen, not at a bus stop, and I have access to running water, an oven, stove, and all that).
 The base of this recipe is a vegetable stock, slowly cooked in the slow cooker (is that redundant?) all day (and in fact I kicked this batch over to Keep Warm and let it go overnight since I didn't feel like dealing with it in the evening).  I like mushrooms in my vegetable stock, so when I realize that I'm not going to finish a package I'll toss them in with the rest of the cast of vegetables into a Vegetarian Soup Pack in the freezer.

The inspiration for this soup came from Alanna's Greens 'n All Beet Soup.  I love the flavor of that soup, but my kids aren't crazy about chunks of vegetables, and lately with my obsession with sautéed beet greens there just wasn't any left for soup.  So I figured I'd adapt Alanna's recipe with the veggies I had.  Once I simmered and pureed the soup, I had a rick, thick, vegan bowl of yumminess (shown above).  That's Bus Stop #1.  Adding a dollop (love that word) of sour cream makes a nice vegetarian bowl (shown below left).  Bus Stop #2.  Adding a pound of browned and drained ground beef to the pot means that we've arrived at the final destination--a soup for omnivores [aka another way to get my kids to eat beets.  With beef.]

Potato, Beet, and Leek Soup (And How To Make Vegetable Stock) | Farm Fresh Feasts

I don't know if my spouse will continue as a vegetarian when he returns.  He says he'll eat "happy meat", so I've sourced a "locally-raised on locally-grown and -ground GMO free feed" turkey for Thanksgiving.  I do know that I will continue this Bus Stop Cooking method, because it tastes good!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

Creamy macaroni and cheese with bits of Italian sausage baked in a pie pumpkin from the new cookbook MELT:  The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

I'm going to talk about this recipe first, then the cookbook where I got it.  Before I get too wordy, some notes:
MELT will be on sale on 22 October 2013.  You can preorder a copy from a variety of vendors, check here for a list of links (link to website).
If you preorder a copy, or even if you don't, you can participate in a $500 Le Creuset cookware giveaway!  Click here for details on the giveaway (link to website). 
I received a review copy* of MELT and chose to post my experience making this recipe from the book because it's tasty and uses seasonal vegetables from my CSA farm share.  I am not involved in the cookware giveaway (just passing the info along to you), I do not benefit from the links posted above, nor was I compensated for this post.  I do get to keep the cookbook, though, which rocks.
Mac and Cheese in a Pumpkin from MELT

What's all the fuss about baking in pumpkins? 

When I see photos of things baked in pumpkins I tend to think it's a gimmick, more for the presentation aspect than the actual taste.  I mean, how often do you see photos of the food actually being served? [Yeah, I went there.  Seems only sporting to share reality.]  As it turns out, while the mac and cheese in this recipe is delicious, it's even better baked inside the pumpkin!  How do I know this?  The recipe calls for a 5 pound pumpkin and the largest one I'd gotten from my farm share was only 2 pounds.  So I baked the rest of the mac and cheese in a pretty Polish pottery bowl alongside the pumpkin.  The pumpkin adds a creamy sweet vegetable base to the mac and cheese which is truly amazing.

What if I don't have access to little pumpkins?

Since I've lived around the world where seasonal, traditional American plant items are pretty pricey (I'm talking pumpkins and Christmas trees) I've given this situation a bit of thought.  I would suggest using a can of pumpkin puree (not the pie filling, just the puree) and spreading a layer of canned pumpkin along the bottom and up the sides of a 2-3 quart casserole dish, then adding the filling, covering, and baking as directed below.  No access to canned pumpkin?  Roast whatever winter squash is local to you, and spread that inside a casserole dish, cover and bake.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kalua Pig Pizza with Chinese Cabbage (Pizza Night!)

Slow cooked Kalua pig with sauteed Chinese cabbage and caramelized onions on a pizza.  Serve with pineapple on the side and have a real Hawaiian pizza.

Kalua Pig Pizza with Chinese Cabbage (Pizza Night!)

When I saw Marlene's and Dorothy's Slow Cooker Kalua Pork posts within days of each other, I knew it was the sign I needed to share this pizza.

Here's how I make my Kalua Pig in a slow cooker!

See, Kalua Pig is an ono grind, but unless you're hosting a luau you're going to have leftovers.  Lots of them.  Normally I pack up multiple bags of Pig to freeze, with a little pan juice, so that we enjoy the Island flavors many times over several months.  We'll eat our first meal with sautéed cabbage, "2 scoop" rice, and fresh pineapple.  Then I get to play with the rest.  I stick to the cabbage and pineapple sides, though, because Kalua Pig and cabbage is like PB&J to our family.  They just go together.  

Kalua Pig Pizza with Chinese Cabbage (Pizza Night!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stupefyingly Simple Chicken, Rice, and Butternut Squash Soup

Stupefyingly Simple Chicken, Rice, and Butternut Squash Soup

One taste of this soup, and you too will be stupefied.  And your body slammed with enough beta carotene to . . . . well to do something astounding.  Maybe even run or something crazy.

For me, making soup is not a quick or easy thing.  I think it's a Production.  I have my Soup Packs.  There's lots of chopping involved.  I plan to spend hours over my pretty purple pot.  And I generally end up with something good that my family eats happily the first time but the soup leftovers don't usually get fought over like other things.

The day I made this, I had 2 kids home sick with colds, and I was busy with baking.  I didn't have time to devote to soup, but I thought the kids would benefit from a warm bowl for lunch.  The oven was on anyway, so I selected a small butternut squash from the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the corner of the breakfast nook, split it, scooped out the guts, and roasted it upside down on a rimmed baking sheet with a cup of water for 45 minutes until it was tender.  That part was easy.  I kept going.

Since I wasn't Making A Production out of the soup, I grabbed a large saucepan, preheated oil in it over medium heat, and dropped in about half a cup of carrots and celery from a freezer bag of pre-chopped veggies.  After they had started to soften I tossed in some Onion Onion and minced garlic.  I also tossed in 4 bullion cubes because I didn't have any soup stock on hand.  After my electric kettle had come to a boil I added about 4-5 cups of water to the pan.  Then a can of chicken, half of a squash, and let it simmer gently until lunchtime (give it at least 30 minutes, could go up to 2 hrs).  When it was time to serve, I scooped out the remaining rice from the rice cooker (last night's dinner leftovers), added it to the pot, and dished up bowls of warm soup.

Stupefyingly easy and surprisingly tasty, especially given the utter lack of effort on my part.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Savory Butternut Squash Soaked Oat Muffins

As the weather turns colder and my farm share starts including butternut squashes, I tend to do one of two things:  I roast them or I pile them up in a cold corner of my breakfast nook to make my Strategic Winter Squash Reserve (link to my FB page photo of SWSR 2013).  With the roasted squash, I make different main dishes or side dishes.

Late last winter, however, when the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve was the only source of 'fresh' CSA farm share vegetables [still had stuff put up in the freezer and pantry], I got creative.  I shredded the squash.  Shredding a vegetable that you normally use in a mashed form gives you all sorts of options (like Chicken Saltimbocca).  I've revamped my Visual Recipe Index! For more ideas on what to do with your butternut squash, click here.

Savory Butternut Squash Soaked Oat Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts

Since I'm crazy flexible enough to add vegetables to oatmeal and buttermilk and make muffins, I thought I'd throw a cup of shredded butternut squash in the bowl and see what happened.  The lovely thing about this soaked oat muffin recipe is that you toss the first few ingredients together, then have plenty of time to figure out just what you're going to make in the hour before you finish the muffin batter and start baking.  Plenty of time to dither between sweet and savory muffins.

In the end, I veered into the savory muffin direction (oh come on, the title of today's post gave it away). I had a bit of leftover dribs and drabs from a ham, and figured I'd chop them up and add them to the batter.  I added a bit of cornmeal for crunch, and a bit of thyme because I could, and honey in place of sugar for a hint of sweetness--not too much.   For a rather virtuous muffin (whole grain, no processed sugar) they are delicious.  Come see!

Friday, October 4, 2013

White Chicken Leek Pizza on Sweet Potato Crust

Chicken, leeks, and herbed cream cheese on a tender sweet potato pizza crust.

White Chicken Leek Pizza on Sweet Potato Crust | Farm Fresh Feasts

Changing it up again--recipe first, words later, because I'd like to share below how I store some crops from the garden and the CSA farm share.  One long term storage crop is sweet potatoes.  I've made pizza crusts from (links to my other recipes) shredded butternut squash, roasted or shredded beets, steamed spinach and steamed kale.  Why not sweet potato?  Just like the addition of sweet potato to biscuits results in a tender crumb, adding it to pizza crust results in a tender, flavorful crust.  I made a triple batch of dough and will share have shared my creations throughout this fall--including 2 delicious FFF-a-boli rolled pizzas, one for vegetarians and one for omnivores--created using ingredients that will be leftover after Thanksgiving. Everything is up on the Visual Pizza Recipe Index.
First up, a white chicken leek pizza (with a fresh tomato pesto & fontina option for vegetarians, photo below), since I got both sweet potatoes and leeks in last week's CSA farm share.

Fresh Tomato Pesto  on Sweet Potato Pizza Crust | Farm Fresh Feasts