Showing posts with label CSA community supported agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CSA community supported agriculture. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2019

Apple Fig Chutney

Use your seasonal fruits in tasty ways! Made of apples and fresh figs with savory spices, apple fig chutney is a tangy condiment that is easy to cook on the stove and can be water bath processed for shelf stability.

image of 3 jars of apple fig chutney on burlap cloth

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I like to combine produce that ripens at the same time. Tomatoes and basil, for one example. Corn and zucchini, for another. Apples and figs are an area I'm slowly exploring. Last year I shared my Fresh Fig and Apple Salad. Today I've updated an old post with new video, an easier to read recipe card, and the same terrific recipe.

This recipe is based off of Marisa McClellan's Apple Pear Chutney recipe in her book Food in Jars, shown below. I changed it up a bit since I had fresh figs on offer. How did I get the fresh figs, you ask? Read on for my earlier thoughts on foraging fruit!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Instant Pot Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos

Use the Instant Pot to speed up your meal prep! In this recipe we'll cook eggs and potatoes at the same time in the electric pressure cooker then create Egg and Potato Breakfast Burritos, Egg Salad, and Mashed Potatoes. Cook once, eat twice, and get out of the kitchen to enjoy life!

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Welcome back to my Instant Pot on Campus series! I created this recipe series to help my son learn some basic recipes for when he heads back to school armed with an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. You can see my inaugural IPOC recipe, Spaghetti and Meatballs, right here.

Each of the Instant Pot on Campus recipes will have several things in common. These recipes use a small number of ingredients and have easy prep. I'll walk you thru what to buy at the store, what you'll need in the kitchen, what could go wrong and how to fix it, and how to Level Up when you're feeling fancy.

In today's recipe we're going to cook two building blocks--hard boiled eggs and roasted potatoes--and combine them in various ways to make a variety of meals. This Instant Pot recipe works for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

What to buy at the store

photo of ingredients used to make Instant Pot Egg and Potato Breakfast burritos

These ingredients are handy to have around because they keep well. If you only grocery shop once a week, use this as your go-to meal the day before you shop (kinda like your 'I'm doing laundry' outfit).
  • Eggs (up to a dozen)
  • Small potatoes (up to 3 pounds waxy Yukon or redskin type--NOT russet)
  • tortillas
  • cheese (cheddar or colby jack works great)
  • Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce

I generally get my eggs from the local coop which means I'm getting whatever size the chickens are laying, but anywhere from Medium to Jumbo will work in this recipe. The larger the egg, the longer you may wish to cook to achieve a chalk-like yolk.

As for potatoes, the smaller the better works best in this recipe. You will not cut the potatoes before cooking, so choose egg-sized or smaller potatoes to make sure they are fully cooked.

If you've got a box grater, a block of cheese is generally cheaper per pound than a bag of shredded cheese. However, it's a timesaver just to open a bag and shake out what you need. Your choice! Same with tortillas. If you prefer breakfast tacos, get a smaller corn or flour tortilla. If you've got a bigger appetite, get the burrito-sized tortilla.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Pineapple & Sweet Potato Muffins #MuffinMonday

These sweet muffins are packed with fruit--pineapple--and vegetable--sweet potato which add depth and character to a tender breakfast treat. Topped with maple sugar for crunch, this muffin is an all around satisfying snack.

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Welcome to Muffin Monday! I've been having so much fun baking muffins for the Detachment that I'm bringing a new one for you this month--a sweet potato muffin with pineapple in the batter.

image of a handsome Basset hound walking past a bowl of purple sweet potatoes, pineapple, eggs and brown sugar

The inspiration for this muffin came from the growers of these Stokes purple sweet potatoes--Frieda's. My first exposure to purple sweet potatoes came via the Mile Creek Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I had so much fun combining orange and purple sweet potatoes in my Overnight Sweet Potato Monkey Bread and playing with the vivid colors to make my Mardi Gras Braided Bread that I searched all over my new city until I located some purple sweet potatoes at my local natural foods coop.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Healthy Apple Cider Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Apple cider and nutmeg-spiced whole grain baked treats covered with cinnamon sugar are a lightened-up version of the popular fall donut.

photo of a plate of healthy apple cider donut muffins, brushed with melted butter and swirled in cinnamon sugar

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Eating with the seasons means that change is constant. Come to think of it, being a military spouse means the same thing. Being a parent means the same thing--once you get a handle on one age, growth and development means your newfound knowledge is sorely lacking. Again. Heck, I guess being human means that change is constant. I'm getting off track.

image of preparing wet ingredients for healthy apple cider donut muffins--pouring vegetable oil into bowl with eggs and reduced apple cider

This website focuses on using seasonal produce, and it's Fall, so we're talking apples, apple cider, buttercup and butternut squash, and that's just the start of the alphabet. As the seasons change so does the offerings in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and at the farmer's market. Just like my dogs warmly greet me even if I just ran upstairs for a pair of socks, I warmly greet the arrival of each new season (although with considerably less tail wagging).

Monday, October 22, 2018

Fresh Fig and Apple Dessert

This autumnal dessert is local eating at its simplest. Fresh figs and apples topped with goat cheese and candied pecans then drizzled with honey.

photo of a bowl of fresh figs and apples, topped with goat cheese and candied pecans, then drizzled with honey

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I like everything about this--the contrasting textures of apples and pecans with the soft bite of the figs and cheese. I like the sweetness of the honey balancing the tartness of the apples. The crunch balancing the creaminess. It's very satisfying to eat because it hits on so many levels, which is pretty awesome for a dessert because you don't end up eating larger amounts simply to be satiated. Yet this dessert is easy to make--and easy to source locally.

I am all for Pumpkin Everything in the Fall. Really! That video of guinea pigs discussing the merits of pumpkin spice? A perennial favorite. [I miss our composting pigs, they were wonderful pets, although having my 3pack of dogs is enough for me now.] That does not mean I don't appreciate the wonders of other fall flavors. Especially apples. My grateful thanks to John Chapman.

This autumnal dessert is local eating at its simplest. Fresh figs and apples topped with goat cheese and candied pecans then drizzled with honey.

When we started eating from a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share back in 2006, one of my favorite discoveries was the amazing apples grown in the Shenandoah valley--part of the fruit share at Bull Run Mountain Farm CSA. In Ohio I found more local apple varieties to delight my senses in the fruit share of Mile Creek Farm CSA. And now in Minnesota there are yet more varieties being created over at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (I'd like to think my daughter's tuition $ will contribute to the making of the next Honeycrisp). We are having fun exploring our new home via the local produce we find on our expeditions.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Strawberry Banana Muffins #MuffinMonday

This whole wheat treat combines the sweetness of fresh local strawberries and ripe bananas with the tang of sour cream while using less sugar than you'd expect.

image of a plate of whole wheat strawberry banana muffins with a mug of tea

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You know how seeing one of those cooking videos ignites a craving? That's what happened here. I kept seeing a video for strawberry banana bread in my feed, or strawberry banana smoothies at the store, and the next thing you know I've got a hankering to make Strawberry Banana Muffins.

pic of a plate of strawberry banana muffins garnished with strawberries and bananas

Conveniently I had fresh local strawberries from the farmer's market and ripe bananas on hand, plus the the endurance to make muffins. You see, while we're mostly unpacked in our new home, very little is set up exactly how it's going to stay. That means every time I cook something it involves finding the right ingredients, locating the proper tools, and doing a lot of  'hmmmm . . . this would work better over there, which means I should move that to this other place, and stick that other thing in a pile by the stairs to figure out where its new home will be . . .'.  It's the standard dance of the military family in a new place--finding the best way to arrange our stuff to quickly make a house into Home.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How to Eat Local This Year

Eat local, save money, and support your local economy--how the switch to a local, seasonal diet changed my life.

a typical early summer farm share box in the midwest
This is a typical early summer farm share box. It's got plenty of leafy greens along with some herbs, onions, squash, eggplant, peppers and radishes.

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So you want to Eat Local more often this year? Me, too. I'm glad you're here. I think eating locally is good for your body, your family, our environment and our community. Plus, the food just tastes good. For over a decade I've been deliberately seeking out locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally produced sweeteners, and locally sourced protein. I've moved from the East Coast to the Midwest while keeping up with my Buy Local habits. I suspect these tips are transferable, so I've decided to break from the usual 'how to use the farm share produce' recipe type posts for a series on how to add more local to your life. Please feel free to share with someone thinking about eating more local this year. I know we can all use support to make our good intentions into actions.

This series evolved from a talk I gave at my local community center entitled Eat Local, Save Money, and Support Your Local Economy. Over the years I've picked up a bunch of tricks to make successful local food choices, and I wanted to share some. The start of a new year is often a motivating time for many people, so if I can help nudge your local leanings into some practical action I'd be delighted.
Over the series we'll cover why sourcing food locally is good for your economy, where you can find local foods, and how to shop more mindfully. I'll share my philosophy on menu planning--when I do it, when I wing it. I will explain vegetable triage, and share some tips on reducing food waste. I'll give you some tips for preserving produce while it's abundant--without needing fancy equipment. Feel free to poke around the website--there's a lot of nuggets of wisdom in here along with some pizza. To help eaters like me, I've got my recipe index broken into produce type--from Acorn Squash to Zucchini--with a variety of recipes for a variety of eaters.

48% of each dollar spent in a local business is recirculated in your community

I'd like to start off with my biggest surprise--the WHY of Eating Local.

Why are YOU interested in eating local? For me, it began as a way to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits our family was eating while supporting farmers who are respectful and kind to the land in the region we live. The human and environmental impacts were pretty much all I thought about. Now, though, the economic impact of my purchases on my community are my bigger motivation. This is for two reasons. First, every dollar is a vote for what matters to you. Second, everybody eats. If I can combine my voting (dollars) with something I've already got to do (buy food), I see that as a winning multitask. As the chart above shows, 48 cents out of every dollar you spend locally is recirculated in your community. This multiplier effect ripples throughout the region. When you buy a box of strawberries or a loaf of bread at the farmer's market, or eat at a local independent restaurant, you are contributing to your neighbors, to your PTO, to the emergency services of your town as your dollars are recirculated by local business owners. You are enriching your community just by buying dinner. That's pretty empowering.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Raspberry Kale Lemonade Slushie

A refreshingly icy raspberry lemonade boosted with kale and pomegranate juice. This is a great way to get your greens in--after blending, the color of kale disappears into the drink. You might even say it's magic. Magically delicious, that is.

photo of raspberry kale lemonade slushy in a glass

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My happiness upon seeing kale in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box is not feigned. I like kale--curly kale, lacinato kale, Red Russian kale . . . it doesn't seem to matter which variety. I like them all. This transformation from dreading kale to anticipating kale came in part because of my Vitamix.
Let's clear one thing up right now--I bought my Vitamix around 2001-02 and started this website a decade later, so there is no relationship to disclose when I mention the brand name of the machine. I'm just sharing what gives me excellent results every time. Just not with pizza dough--too difficult to get all of the dough out of the machine.

Using my Vitamix to turn kale into a beverage revolutionized the way I see kale. Because kale is a cool season crop, it arrives in the farm share box along with many other greens. I'm more interested in cooking the cabbage, the chard, my beloved beet greens, or spinach. I'd rather make a salad with the lettuces that are invariably included in the same box as kale. This leaves kale the odd green out, but this refreshing recipe turns kale into a summer sipper the whole family enjoys.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Where to Find the Best Local Foods

Suggestions for sourcing the best local fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats--part two of my series on How to Eat Local This Year!

the 2nd Street Market farmer's market in the summertime
photo provided by the 2nd Street Market, Dayton, Ohio

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Last week, in Part One of my How to Eat Local This Year series, I covered WHY I eat locally grown foods. One big reason to eat locally is because fresh food harvested in season just plain tastes good. I also shared the economic benefit to your community by recirculating dollars spent at local businesses. Here's another benefit--it's good for you! I am not a dietician so I'm not going to make any health claims, but I do think having more fresh produce in your house each week means you're more likely to eat more fresh produce each week, and eating more fresh, unprocessed food is always a good thing. This week, we're going to cover the WHERE--specifically how to find locally-sourced foods near you. The primary places I source locally grown foods are the farmer's market, the grocery store, on farm markets, and through a CSA farm share. We'll take a closer look at each of these today.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Green Tomato Pizza with Pesto and Feta

This vegetarian pizza showcases green tomatoes at their finest--topped with feta and mozzarella cheese on a garlic scape pesto-spread crust.

a slice of green tomato pizza topped with pesto and feta cheese

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Friday nights are pizza nights around here, and I'm always looking to what vegetables are in season to add to our pizzas. After trying a fried green tomato sandwich with goat cheese at a local restaurant, I decided to throw some different cheeses on top of sliced green tomatoes and see if I could make a tasty vegetarian pizza. This one turned out well--the pesto complements the cheeses nicely and perks up the green tomatoes in a pleasing way.

September may make some folks think of All the Pumpkin Spice All the Time, but for me September means Green Tomato Season. While I've had a terrible year tomato-wise in my garden (more than made up for with terrific pickling cucumber and tomatillo harvests) I do have plenty of green tomatoes still on the vine.

a close up image of green tomato pizza with pesto and feta cheese

Cooler nights mean that those tomatoes will ripen much slower than in the heat of summer . . . so why not make good use of green tomatoes?  No matter if you grow them yourself, find them in your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box, pick them up at the farmer's market or come home to a basket on your doorstep from an overwhelmed neighbor--get your mittens on some green tomatoes this month.

The main thing I make with green tomatoes is my Green Tomato Bacon Jam. It's a freezer jam, sweet and savory, and I think it is amazing mixed with ground meat for burgers. I put up several jars in the Fall and try and use the last one up mid-summer. I also like to make chili with green tomatoes, and have shared 2 recipes so far--one with beef and one with pork. Pork pairs pretty nicely with green tomatoes  in my Cabin Casserole, too.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Local Eating on the Road--Six Ways to Make it Work

Subtitle: How to Survive a Summer Vacation When You Have a CSA farm share

Regular readers will note that my posts have been a bit 'off' recently. I apologize. I tried to blog while on the road and without my ailing laptop. It did not work out swimmingly. The long miles on the open road have given me time to think about this post, though, so that's a plus. Rather than share my vacation slides interspersed with my rumination, I'll give you the BLUF [military acronym meaning Bottom Line Up Front] now. If you're interested in the epic family road trip dubbed Flora Fauna Americana, keep on scrolling.

  • Do your homework before you go. But be flexible!
  • Be willing to explore a bit off the interstate. Don't be afraid to call an audible.
  • Ask locals for recommendations.
  • Try local specialties--splurge, you can economize in other ways.
  • Raid your farm share for snacks on the road. And speaking of farm shares, 
  • Have a friend take over your farm share pickup while you are away.
Pay attention--don't make me turn this wagon around.
Before I get into the details of these suggestions, our vacation by the numbers:

3800 photos taken, mostly by my spouse
3600 miles on the rental car, mostly one way
17 National Forests, Grasslands, Historic sites, Memorials, Monuments and Parks
12 times we drove over the Continental divide
11 bighorn sheep
10 hotels, mostly Holiday Inn Express because of their pancake machine
9 De Laval cream separators in 3 museums
8 states (three of them start with I)
7 museums 
6 glaciers
5 geysers
4 ships inside buildings
3 time zones
2 dinosaur sites
1 cave
Finding my relative's signature on a church record on the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota:  PRICELESS

We saw bison, Columbian ground squirrels and 13 stripe chipmunks, prairie dogs and pronghorn antelope, elk and osprey and eagles, and cows, sheep, and goats.

We explored state sites, parks, and forests in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.

We enjoyed the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Dugout site in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The Ingalls Homestead and Museum in De Smet, South Dakota. The Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. The Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire, Iowa. The National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa. The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. The Miracle of America Museum in Polson, Montana. We did not miss the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota nor Al's Oasis and Wall Drug off Interstate 90 going across South Dakota.
Did you know Abraham Lincoln had his own BBQ sauce?

We ate at the Steer Inn in Indianapolis, Indiana, the St Olaf Tap in St Olaf, Iowa, Nick's Hamburger Shop in Brookings, South Dakota, Pauly's Pizza in Rapid City, South Dakota, the Wagon Box Inn in Story, Wyoming, and the Belton Chalet in West Glacier, Montana.
Spotted at Danebod in Tyler, Minnesota.

Do your homework before you go. But be flexible!

We [ok my spouse] got the Roadfood book (Amazon affiliate link) by Jane and Michael Stern. Check your local library, and there's even a Kindle edition. He printed out the pertinent pages--regions of the country we'd be passing through--and included them in our travel folder. Because of his efforts I sat on a shady deck in Story, Wyoming enjoying ripe avocado slices and crisp bacon tucked into a soft roll in a turkey bacon avocado sandwich at the Wagon Box Inn.

Things did not always go according to plan. We intended to eat lunch at the Mug 'n Bun while passing by Indianapolis, but a mix up in directions and the GPS sent us to the Steer Inn. I had a tasty Pizza Burger. We learned after we arrived that it was featured on Food Network--so check out the website before you go to see if there's something nearby you'd like to try (Food Network restaurant search link).

Be willing to explore a bit off the interstate. Don't be afraid to call an audible.

When we crossed the Mississippi river into Iowa we knew our end goal was north to Minnesota, but we had time and no need to stay on the interstate. Plenty of time to wander among the rolling hills of NE Iowa to St Olaf and a delicious pork tenderloin sandwich and frosty mug of root beer. Call an audible and explore the Buffalo Bill museum in LeClaire if you're in the area.

Ask locals for recommendations.

After a tour of Wind cave in Wind Cave National Park we asked the rangers for ideas for a place to grab a bite on our way to our next [Mammoth] site. They steered us to a lovely restaurant, Woolly's, for a bacon cheeseburger salad and Dorothy Lynch dressing.

While visiting family in Montana we ate at Belton Chalet. There were flowers on the food when it was served, people. Edible flowers--on bison meatloaf, grilled pork chops, mac and cheese, and these amazing porcini-filled pasta purses with shaved Brussels sprouts! That's so not my usual burger and fries. It was quite a treat. Such delicious meals can be found more easily by talking with the folks who live and eat nearby.

Try local specialties--splurge, you can economize in other ways.

Military families tend to spend vacation time heading home to spend time with family. While that is lovely, we welcomed the opportunity to see some of the rest of the country and just went for it. When we ate in national parks my spouse and I made it a point to try local specialties. I had Idaho trout for breakfast at Jackson Lake Lodge and smoked fish for lunch in Yellowstone National Park, as one example, and the couple dollars more over the other entrees was worth it. Sure, you could eat burgers every day [I believe my daughter did, if you include bison burgers] but why not branch out a bit? To economize, we mostly stayed in hotels that had breakfast included, we brought some snacks from home, and typically ate out once a day. [Had we not been flying home at the end of the trip we could have packed in more food, drinks, and a better cooler.]

Raid your farm share for snacks on the road.

The day before we left I sliced up all the carrots, radishes and celery left in the crisper [I put the tops & tips into Soup Packs in the freezer]. Kohlrabi, beets and banana peppers went into pickling brine. With some store-bought hummus in disposable containers we were set for the first few days of the trip. Long-storing Costco snacks and stops at grocery stores carried us the rest of the time.

Have a friend take over your farm share pickup while you are away.

Lots of folks want to try the idea of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, but a 20 week season can be a daunting commitment. Having a curious friend take over a week helps you out and could gain your farmers a new subscriber.

One more--throughout our time in Yellowstone I had terrible cell phone reception. I'm not complaining--I was on vacation and even if I felt weird being unreachable that's my problem. However, while walking on the boardwalks near Old Faithful my phone rang.  Of all the places for it to ring, and all the reasons for it to ring, here I am arranging a wheelchair fitting appointment for my son in the middle of rare geothermal features. I could only laugh.

Enjoy your vacation. Stay off the phone and the computer and make lots of memories.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cranberry, Chicken, Spinach and Leek Enchiladas

Leeks and frost-kissed farm share spinach, sautéed with chicken and cranberry salsa in a creamy enchilada, topped with spicy salsa verde.

Too early to break out the cranberry salsa? It pairs so nicely with salsa verde I couldn't resist. I'm tempted to try and make some of my own this year, since our farm share--and my spouse's coworkers--have provided so many hot peppers.  I've put up salsa twice, and have just enough ripe tomatoes left to put up a third batch.  In the mean time I put up a batch of hot pepper jelly as well--then promptly gave most of it away.  Update: I did make my own cranberry salsa! You can find the recipe here.  Between the canning and the freezing I'm trying to keep up with the supply of vegetables that I'll feed the family during winter. [I feel like the Ant, though I really want to lie down and read my book like the Grasshopper--so I'm going to keep it short and sweet and go do just that.]

Want more enchilada recipes? Try my Clickable Collage. More recipes using spinach? Here's the Spinach Recipes Collection. More recipes using Leeks? Try this collection. More recipes using Cranberries, in various permutations? Look here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sausage Cheese Apple Balls

A blend of Italian and breakfast sausages with cheese and apple in a bite-size appetizer.

With Fall comes an increase in my kids' busy schedules. Marching band, sled hockey and sewing all happen in the evenings and that means sometimes dinner is actually Substantial Afternoon Snack. A snack like this, with some apple slices, veggies and hummus, and a glass of milk or cider is enough for my kids to fuel up and power through the rest of a long day.

When I set a goal of increasing my vegetable appetizer recipes on the blog at the beginning of this year, I deliberately concentrated on appetizers that don't use meat. Participating in #AppetizerWeek added a bunch to get the ball rolling [goodness, pun was not initially intended but I'm going with it] and I've added some each month. I'm going to broaden this list to include some meat-containing appetizers, starting with these Sausage Cheese Apple Balls.

I made these first while preparing to host a bunch of fellow military spouses, and I was ridiculously distracted in the preparation.  I'm so grateful that Joyce arrived, said 'can I do anything to help?' and took over the baking that night. Because the recipe makes a ton, I froze half of the dough. My son baked them later for a snack and I took some photos. Well, those photos fell into the swamp didn't turn out, so I made up another batch and tweaked it a bit. I now prefer a blend of breakfast and Italian sausage for our snacks.

Just like reading the same words over and over can improve fluency, preparing the same recipes over and over can help with cooking skills. My son is learning to cook by mastering one recipe at a time. Since he loves the classic Bisquik Sausage Cheese Balls it was easy to get him interested in making them again, with a twist. As Lydia commented on my Cheddar Apple Soaked Multigrain Muffins, apple pie and cheddar cheese go very well together, so I figured adding grated apple would work in these appetizers.

This recipe is so simple to throw together, even a teen can make it!

For more recipes using apples, please see my Apple Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For more appetizer ideas, please see my Pinterest boards. Want to know how to use this blog? Click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Patty Pan Squash Crumble (Reflections on Two Years of Blogging)

Patty pan squash, simmered with spices, tucked between a sweet crumble dough then baked. Summer squash for a Fall dessert. Revisited after 2 years of blogging.

Since I've been doing this blogging thing for about two years now, I've decided to revisit a recipe post from my first weeks of blogging. A post that has bothered me. Oh, the recipe is a sound one--though I did tweak it a bit--it's the rest of the elements of blogging that bothered me. I'll list them out for you.

  • The title. Summer Squash = Fall Dessert? Sure, that's a valid description of the post, but it's not really going to come up on many search engines. I may be ridiculously boring and obvious in my recipe titles these days (see my Visual Pizza Recipe Index for proof) but at least you know what you're getting with a Fig Jam, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Pear Pizza, don't you think?
  • The presentation. When I made this before, I observed that it probably would be good with ice cream but I didn't go get some and try it. After my IceCreamWeek experience, it doesn't make sense not to eat ice cream when you can. I'll admit this time I didn't go out and get some ice cream--I sent my son. We're all glad I did.
  • The photo. This one shouldn't be a surprise, but I will point out that at least the original photo was taken in natural light and is in focus, and also not extremely close up. You can see it here.  Not a horrid photo, right? But it doesn't tell a story. I'm continually working to improve my photos by adding elements that tell a story, like I learned in my 30 Days to Better Food Photography course.
The story of this recipe remake can be told through these three photos. After setting up the shot I asked the kids for help--with the promise of snacking once I was finished. I'd say they liked it.

Happy 2 year anniversary to Farm Fresh Feasts.  Thanks for reading.

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.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles

This one pan gluten free meal combines beef and vegetables with cheese under a cornbread crust.

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles | Farm Fresh Feasts

Full Disclosure: I've never eaten real authentic tamale pie before, though I have eaten real tamales* and assisted in the Big Production that goes into making them. I confess I first got the recipe for tamale pie off the bag of a bag of cornbread mix. It called for cans of chili, shredded cheese, and packages of cornbread mix. I fixed it while my spouse and I were still in the first throes of living as man and wife [we'd been married for a while, but it took us a long time to actually live in the same country] and it was fast, easy, and tasty.
This recipe is not quite as fast as emptying a few cans into a skillet, but it's close.

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles | Farm Fresh Feasts

After I got more adventurous in cooking, I started making tamale pie using my own meat mixture, and then later using my own cornbread.  Ever since we joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share, I'm constantly looking for ways to add additional vegetables into familiar dishes.  You can never have too many vegetables (unless your farm share pick up is the day after tomorrow and you've still got two crispers full of beets and kale veggies).

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles | Farm Fresh Feasts

Last summer, before Butch came into my freezer, I managed to combine chiles from New Mexico, beef from Michigan, and corn from Delaware along with patty pan squash and red onions from Ohio into a tamale pie.  We'd returned from a beach vacation in time to walk down the street to the local grocery store and grab a couple of quarts of freshly roasted Hatch chiles.  I couldn't wait to get started on salsa verde (my usual use for Hatch chiles) so I chopped up chiles and used them in both the filling and the topping for this dish. The kids and I enjoyed the tamale pie so much I put it into the rotation, not that I have much of a rotation what with trying new things all the time, but still. It was a keeper. This is a tasty way to add some summer veggies + ground beef into a one pot meal.
Lately you may have noticed that I've been using lots of Hatch chiles from New Mexico, which 'tis true are not local to me here in Ohio.  Aside from the fact that these chiles taste good--and I don't have to do the roasting--New Mexico has a soft spot in my heart. I've been to New Mexico on vacation, twice, and got married there each time. I married the same guy [we forgot to take photos the first time, or invite our folks, so a re-do was appropriate].  It's not a bad state to get married in--you just needed $25 cash and a photo ID, the minimum age was 13 years old, and my marriage was recognized by the rest of the country. What's not to like? And, as a bonus, they grow tasty chiles there--though as far as I know I've never eaten a Hatch chile in New Mexico. Perhaps if we get hitched again . . . though my spouse would not appreciate a 3rd anniversary to remember.
For more recipes using Hatch chiles, please see my Hatch Chile Recipe Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For even more ideas using all kinds of peppers, from mild bell to spicy chiles, check out my friend Kristy's site JalapeñoMania. On my FB page I'm sharing recipes from other bloggers, and I'm pinning good stuff all over my Pinterest boards. Wanna know how to use this blog? Click here.