Showing posts with label Ohio Food Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ohio Food Blog. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Garlic Scape Herbed Cream Cheese


A fast and flavorful spread for appetizers or snacks, this zesty cream cheese marries fresh herbs with garlic scapes for a Spring treat. Spread this on crackers or tortillas, pipe it into peppers, or dunk a carrot for a fresh from the farm share appetizer.


A fast and flavorful spread for appetizers or snacks, this zesty cream cheese marries fresh herbs with garlic scapes for a Spring treat. Spread this on crackers or tortillas, pipe it into peppers, or dunk a carrot for a fresh from the farm share appetizer.

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To make a more useful website for my fellow farm share eating folks, I periodically ask food bloggers for recipes so I can add their photos (and links back to their sites) to my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.
It's mean, rude, poor form, and illegal to take recipes and photos someone else has created and publish them on another website. Want to print off a recipe to hang on your fridge and refer to? Rock on! Here's how to print from my site. Want to copy and paste this post to publish somewhere else? No, you do not have my permission to steal my work. You're most welcome to link to this page instead.

When I was gathering garlic scape recipes I came across this Grilled Crostini with Garlic Scape Cream Cheese and Tomatoes from Kim of Kiss My Smoke. Her recipe reminded me that I hadn't tried making a savory cheese spread using farm share ingredients.



A fast and flavorful spread for appetizers or snacks, this zesty cream cheese marries fresh herbs with garlic scapes for a Spring treat. Spread this on crackers or tortillas, pipe it into peppers, or dunk a carrot for a fresh from the farm share appetizer.


This is not that spread that my kids keep asking me to make--I think I need to use some ricotta and more pepper to make it a bit drier/firm it up, to come closer to Boursin, but much more testing is needed. Rule #3, something to look forward to. 


[What are Rules #1 and #2? Rule #1--you need someone to love. Rule #2--you need something to do. Rule #3--you need something to look forward to. I learned these from my spouse shortly after we met.]


A fast and flavorful spread for appetizers or snacks, this zesty cream cheese marries fresh herbs with garlic scapes for a Spring treat. Spread this on crackers or tortillas, pipe it into peppers, or dunk a carrot for a fresh from the farm share appetizer.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar #MuffinMonday


Tender light muffins sweetened with wild violet syrup and sprinkled with wild violet sugar. Edible flowers baked into a Spring floral treat.


image of a plate of wild violet muffins topped with wild violet sugar

I'm reposting this recipe because the violets have appeared in the yard. Enjoy!

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About the only thing worth foraging in my yard these days are violets.

The garlic has woken up from it's deep winter slumber though it's nowhere near harvesting. The chives and raspberry canes are just beginning to stir. Some red leaf lettuce and celery from the compost miraculously survived the winter and is peeping up from a raised bed--though I suspect bunnies might nibble it off.

photo of a wild violet bloom
My spouse took this bug's view of a violet in our front yard yesterday.
I'm pretty much over playing with the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve, and I'm sick of eating down the put up vegetables in the freezer and pantry before we move. I want to forage with something fresh.

Wild violets it is.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Recipe for Compost

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Use a mulching mower or reversible leaf blower to shred Fall leaves, save them in bags or bins, add them to your kitchen scraps to create nutritious soil.

http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2014/09/a-recipe-for-compost.html

Please enjoy this post from several years ago--relevant now more than ever!


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I've added a gardening tip here and there over the past few years, but I've always included a recipe for a food that uses whatever vegetable or herb I've been discussing.


Today's post is a little different. I feel strongly that an appreciation of fresh food leads invariably, inevitably, inexorably back to the source: where your food comes from.

More folks getting interested in fresh local food means more folks trying their hands at growing some portion of it.

Maybe it's a windowsill with some herb pots in an apartment, or maybe it's rotation planting of your annual garlic and basil crops in raised beds.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your gardening efforts succeed is to make compost. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How to Make Chai Tea Concentrate for Homemade Iced Chai

Make your own DIY Chai concentrate and treat yourself to a fancy iced sipper while giving your wallet--and your stovetop--a break! This recipe uses the sun and then the Instant Pot to create 6 quarts of chai concentrate from only 16 tea bags.


image of a glass of iced chai with a bottle of chai concentrate, an Instant Pot, a bottle of simple syrup, and a jug of milk.



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I first shared this recipe nearly 5 years ago. I make it multiple times a week, year round, because I can guzzle iced chai during a polar vortex as well as during a heat wave. I thought I was being pretty frugal by making my own drink--then I took it to another level.

Last summer, after reading about making tea in an Instant Pot in one of my pressure cooker cookbooks from the library, I decided to experiment.

Instead of throwing the teabags from my half gallon of sun chai directly into the compost bucket or worm bin, I put them in my Instant Pot then added a gallon of water and made an additional batch of Chai concentrate.

It was delicious! Out of used tea bags I got twice the volume of chai tea concentrate with a smooth, rich flavor and intense color. That experiment worked so well that it became the most frequent recipe I make in my Instant Pot--and the simplest!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Peanut Butter, Spinach and Banana Smoothie--an Allergen Friendly Recipe

Creamy, satisfying, and green--this peanut butter, spinach and banana smoothie has it all. A smoothie you drink because you want to AND because you want to feel good about what you're eating.


image of a peanut butter, spinach, and banana smoothie in a glass with a blender behind it



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Ready for a fresh meal in a glass? One that you can meal prep, too?



I've got a yummy green smoothie for you--it's what I've been living on the past few weeks. I figured it's a good time to republish this recipe post.

Pin for later!


Image of a blender of peanut butter spinach and banana smoothie being poured into a glass


If you are already a green smoothie person skip this paragraph. If you're not, why not? I used to drink green smoothies (spinach or kale combined with fruits in an attempt to make the greens palatable) and feel virtuous, not satiated, so I understand the lukewarm feeling towards the green smoothie. But I would like you to try this one, if you've got spinach and banana lying around and feel so inclined.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Finnish Oven Pancake

A Finnish Oven Pancake is a rich morning treat made from pantry staples. Try this recipe with eggnog for a festive holiday breakfast. It's also perfect for a lazy Snow day.



image of a Finnish Oven Pancake in a round cake pan on a snowy lawn



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I love a good snow day. 
It's Mother Nature giving you an opportunity to pause, 
catch your breath, and take in the beauty of the world.

What's the best breakfast to make on a snow day?


To me, this Finnish Oven Pancake is the perfect Snow Day breakfast. It's made with common ingredients (eggs/flour/butter/milk) and it takes a while to bake--something I wouldn't normally do on a busy weekday morning.

Do you need a recipe to use up some eggnog?


During the holiday season I have eggnog on hand so I'll switch things up and make this using eggnog for a special treat. Try it with any flavor of eggnog you've got!


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A Finnish Oven Pancake is a rich morning treat made from pantry staples. Try this recipe with eggnog for a festive holiday breakfast. It's also perfect for a lazy Snow day.


While living in Virginia I started our family tradition of the Finnish Oven Pancake Snow Day Breakfast.


You may know this as a Dutch Baby, but I've seen many Dutch babies (Thomas and Emily come immediately to mind) and while I'd love to nibble on chunky baby thighs, they didn't look a thing like this.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Dairy Free Corn Casserole (Small Batch Thanksgiving)

This recipe makes a light (and dairy free) corn casserole. Skip the boxed mix and control your own ingredients!


close up of a Thanksgiving plate laden with side dishes including dairy free corn pudding casserole

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I am all about inclusion. Is that because I have a disabled kid? Because I love people who are LGBTQ? Because I share meals with folks who have different eating styles? Because I have lived in a country where I was a minority? I dunno. The result is that I strive to make everyone feel welcome at my table.

close up of a spoonful of dairy free corn pudding casserole


That doesn't mean I choose the lowest common denominator. My octogenarian house is accessible for my son but not for his sled hockey teammates. I won't plan an entirely meatless Thanksgiving meal for the lone vegetarian at the table--but I will choose vegetable stock over chicken stock in stuffing or in my Silken Turnip and Potato Soup so that more of the dishes on offer are appropriate for the folks who come together to share the meal.


This recipe combines roasted corn and caramelized onions in a light (and dairy free) corn pudding. Perfect for Thanksgiving or holiday dinners.


This recipe came about because of two things:  my conflicting desires to have a lot of side dishes and a small batch Thanksgiving, coupled with my neighbor hosting her extended family for the holiday and having less control over the food on her table. Her son has a severe dairy and nut allergy, and even well-meaning relatives don't always think it through.
"There's no milk or nuts in these Rice Krispie Treats!"  "Did you butter the pan?"
"Yes! Oh . . . I didn't think of that." 
Since I was thinking it through, and wanted the challenge of re-imagining a corn pudding without using a box of corn muffin mix, I offered to bring over a dairy free corn casserole for her table.


I figured I could divvy the mixture between 2 dishes so that we'd get variety in our side dishes while she'd get another dish that she knew was safe for her son.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Easy Chile Relleno Pizza

Chile Relleno Pizza is an easy 5 ingredient vegetarian pizza which echoes the flavors of a cheese-stuffed, batter-dipped, roasted chile pepper. I just skipped the frying aspect, and tossed it on a pizza crust instead.


image of a slice of Easy Chile Relleno Pizza on a plate


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This pizza can be enjoyed year round because the basic ingredients--eggs, salsa, roasted peppers--are accessible year round. It's got enough heat to make it interesting, and it's a meatless pizza that appeals to vegetarians and omnivores alike. You don't need a lot of preparation--a quick trip to the grocery store should set you up just fine--and making pizza at home is often faster than take out.


How do I make pizza at home faster than delivery?


Good planning is one of my keys to success in the kitchen--which sounds lofty but simply means that I've got a roll of parchment paper next to the foil and wax paper in the drawer, a pizza stone that lives in my oven and another that lives on my grill, and I'm likely to save that last cup of taco meat or that bit of leftover cooked potatoes because I'm thinking "I could put this on a pizza".


At any given moment you could open the door to the fridge or freezer and find a wide variety of vegetables and meats that would make a decent pizza. It's in my daily plan on Friday mornings to make a batch of pizza dough--something I do while the dogs are eating their breakfast.


If it's just two of us I'll still make a pair of pizzas but I'll divide the dough into thirds and save one in the freezer for a busy Friday. If you're interested in exploring more about making pizza at home, here's my Pizza Primer post--a brain dump (with images!) of my pizza wisdom from the past 20 years of making pizza at home.

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!


Monday, July 29, 2019

Peach Zucchini Muffins #MuffinMonday


Chunks of peaches combined with shredded zucchini in this peach jam-sweetened whole grain muffin.


photo of a plate of peach & zucchini muffins on a table, with muffins scattered around


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Necessity is the mother of inventive recipes I am sure. Why else would anyone combine zucchini and peaches? Sure, food that is ripe at the same time generally pairs well together (tomatoes + basil, cucumbers + dill are two good examples) but it seems a little crazy to combine peaches and zucchini in a muffin.



Call me crazy. I've been a canning fool (you can see on my FB page) and when I realized I had a jar of peach jam left in the pantry from a previous . . . ahem . . . home . . . I decided to use it in a muffin.  [What happens to jam after a 23 months in a cool dark place? Well, not much. The top of the jam was a bit darker than the rest, but the jar remained sealed and it tasted delicious. I just wanted room for all the peach raspberry jam I canned this year. Out with the old. Into a muffin.]

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Chunks of peaches combined with shredded zucchini in this peach jam-sweetened whole grain muffin recipe.


This muffin uses whole grains--whole wheat flour and cornmeal. The first and third batches were made using white whole wheat flour and are a bit lighter in texture than the second batch, but using your standard whole wheat flour works fine as well.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sous Vide Egg Bites with Sausage--Instant Pot Starbucks Copycat Recipe

Start your day with a homemade protein-packed meal. This recipe is a copycat version of Starbucks Sous Vide Sausage Egg Bites made in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

image of a Polish pottery plate of sous vide sausage egg bites surrounded by jars of Instant Pot steel cut oats


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I'm continuing my Instant Pot on Campus series with today's recipe post. These recipes use few ingredients and don't require much preparation--perfect for busy college students or anyone with less time or fewer kitchen skills who still wants to eat cheaply by making meals at home.


Each recipe in the Instant Pot on Campus series will have the following categories--What to Buy at the store, What You Need in the kitchen, How to Level Up, Troubleshooting, and of course the recipe + how-to video. I'll including tips for saving money while shopping, affiliate links to products I use, and hints for making this recipe suit your own tastes.

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.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Shrimp and Garlic Scape Scampi

Shrimp seasoned with garlic scape pesto and parsley then tossed in a wine/butter/lemon sauce and served over pasta.  This is local seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.



Photo of shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.  Seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.



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You're either here because you've got garlic scapes and want ideas for how to use them, or because you're looking for a different twist on the classic Shrimp Scampi. Either way, let's start with a little background info so that we're all on the same page.

What is a garlic scape?


Garlic grows in a bulb--like a tulip--and produces a flower. Unlike tulips, though, you don't want this flower--so you cut off the scapes while the flower part is still a tight bud. That's a garlic scape. Old Farmers [my Dad] say cutting off the bud forces enables the garlic plant to put all its energy into making a larger base or head or bulb. We're all about bigger bulbs of garlic, right?

image of a garlic scape in a garden bed



Since garlic--again like tulips--ripens but once a year there's only one shot to get garlic scapes each year. If you don't grow your own garlic [and here's a DIY post on planting/harvesting/putting up a year's supply of garlic and pesto from one raised bed] you can find scapes at a farmer's market of from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. It is rare to find them in a grocery store which is all the more reason to eat locally--they are a versatile veggie!



Image of a cast iron skillet with shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.



The requisite Food (Blogger) Origination Story


The first time I made Shrimp Scampi was in high school.  In an effort to save money I decided to make my boyfriend our pre-prom dinner at home. [We went to different high schools and attended two proms--though I have no memory of actually going to his prom . . . perhaps we just ate shrimp scampi at my house instead?].

I got the recipe on a piece of lab paper from Miss Tigani, my high school biology teacher. That scrap of paper hasn't been seen in decades, but the basics of scampi--garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, white wine--stayed with me.  I thought the milder taste of garlic scapes would go nicely for my family.
See, while I would love me some garlic shrimp from the white shrimp truck on the North Shore of Oahu, I know that the resulting 3 days of garlic oozing from my pores would not be appreciated by my spouse.  So I'll stay on the mainland and create this instead.

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Shrimp, garlic scape pesto, and parsley in a wine/butter/lemon sauce over pasta.  Seasonal eating. The high falutin' way.

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.

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.




Thursday, April 11, 2019

Salmon and Blackberries with Lemon Cream Sauce

Flakes of salmon and crunchy blackberries covered in a lemony cream sauce served on pasta.


image of a blue plate of spaghetti topped with flakes of salmon, fresh blackberries, and a lemon cream sauce

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This lemony cream sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the juicy crunch of fresh blackberries and enhances the delicate flavor of the salmon. Serve over pasta with a side salad or green vegetable to make a colorful complete meal in about a half hour.


I'm breaking a bunch of rules with this recipe. First--fruit with fish? Okay. Been there, done that with my Salmon in the Company of Good Oranges recipe. Second--a cream sauce for fish? Well, why not? I mean, I like an Everything Bagel (focaccia recipe) with cream cheese and smoked salmon after all. Finally--I'm sharing a recipe using a produce item OUT OF SEASON?? Yes. Yes, I am. I'm in the middle of a spring snow storm and I need to think Happy Thoughts of warmer times. Working with these photos and remembering this memorable dish gives me hope that Spring--and eventually the summer berry season--will arrive.

image of a smiling young woman standing in a field carrying a flat of just-picked blackberries and raspberries

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Avocado Feta Hummus Layered Vegetable Appetizer

Avocado feta hummus is a pretty and protein-rich vegetarian appetizer. Customize your platter with diced vegetable toppings and use pita chips or sliced vegetables as dippers.


Image of a plate of Avocado feta hummus topped with diced peppers, olives, and red onions served with a bowl of pita chips


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Being an intentionally seasonal eater means I get to eat amazingly delicious foods.  Fresh food--tomatoes, strawberries, even celery--just tastes better and I'm usually willing to wait out the winter months for those fresh tastes.  But if I limited my diet to solely local foods, I'd miss out on bananas, avocados, olives, shrimp, chocolate, salmon, tea . . . lots of stuff!


I compromise, of a sort, and think Kristy's idea of eating 80% local/20% other, as described in her podcast, is a terrific idea.  Every beet we eat is locally grown.  All the kale, as well. Much of the tomatoes and tomato-based products we eat are from my backyard and our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. I make enough pesto to last us for the year.  I'm also good with garlic, between roasting my own crop and using the fresh stuff from the farm share.


photo of Avocado feta hummus served as a layered appetizer topped with feta cheese, red onion, green olives, and yellow peppers


Avocados are an area where I enjoy breaking out of the local foods mode. After all, no avocado trees grow in my backyard (although I did have a banana tree when we lived in Hawaii)! Several years of resolving to add more avocados to my life [this is a New Year's Resolution more should adopt--it's fun!] means I am happy to report that I've gone beyond guacamole and avocado toast.


As soon as I tried the combination of salty feta and creamy avocado in Maria and Josh's Avocado Feta dip I was hooked. I keep coming back to that combination. I shared an Avocado Feta Lemon Yogurt Dip, and today I've made it into a hummus.


Avocado feta hummus is good as a stand alone dip--but it sings when you layer it with fresh & preserved vegetables and additional cheese then scoop it up with fresh veggies and pita chips.


I think this dip--with the green olives, yellow peppers, and red onion--looks like Easter egg colors.  I'm sharing it now just because I thought it would be a nice Easter appetizer, and I like to plan ahead.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sugar Free Banana Pecan Muffins #MuffinMonday

A naturally sweetened whole grain muffin full of bananas, dates, and toasted pecans.

Image of a muffin pan filled with sugar free banana date pecan muffins



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Today's muffin is a a delicious blast from the past. As my daughter was revising my drop down recipe index during her Spring Break she commented, 'you have a lot of muffins'. Since she's been the beneficiary of most of those muffins, I rolled my eyes at her and went back to my book. However, it did remind me that I've been wanting to share this recipe for Muffin Monday.


This recipe does not use granulated sugar. Nor does it use any sugar substitute your grandma wouldn't recognize--unless your grandma lived in the 1800s in a northern climate away from rail transportation and never saw a banana. Most folks alive and reading this on a screen probably have grandmas who grew up with dates, too. These fruits are what I used to sweeten this muffin, on purpose, and I think they make an excellent combination.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Raspberry Jam Oatmeal Bars

These tasty bar cookies have a raspberry jam filling sandwiched between layers of buttery oatmeal and toasted coconut crust.

photo of a plate of Raspberry Oatmeal Coconut bar cookies with a mug of coffee


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When I make an assortment of cookies, such as for a holiday cookie tray, I like to have a variety of tastes. Consider these as the Rules of a Cookie Tray. There should always be something chocolate. There should always be something not chocolate. There should always be a bar cookie. There should always be Peanut Butter Blossoms. And most important--all of these cookies should be easy to make since you're making so many of them at once.


These tasty bar cookies have a raspberry jam filling sandwiched between layers of buttery oatmeal and toasted coconut crust.


I got this recipe from my friend Lasar back when we lived in Hawaii. She called them Tasty Raspberry Treats and that's how I always think of them. Since I try and make my post titles a wee bit more descriptive, however, I've renamed them Raspberry Jam Oatmeal Bars because if you're looking for a way to use your homemade jam, this is a lovely one.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

My Mother's Lefse

My mother's recipe for lefse--the soft potato flatbread beloved by Norwegians and their descendants at home and abroad. This recipe uses potato flakes for an easy, smooth dough.


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image of a blue Polish pottery plate with pieces of folded lefse piled on it


Lefse


To Viola Ouren
By Dallas Ouren

We sat amazed as Mother worked the dough.
Could her palms sense when it became too warm?
Within those hands a shape began to grow.
Rolled out, it moved towards its proper form.


She sprinkled flour as she rolled them out.
The rolling pin moved lightly in her hands.
She turned each lefse over and about,
As swirling worlds take shape when God commands.


First rolled up on a stick, and then unrolled;
The cookstove added age-spots to each side.
Once done, they were removed for us to fold;
A simple task that we performed with pride.


Each bite one takes can recreate this mood;
What we call "lefse" is not merely food.

This poem appeared in the February, 1989 issue of the Sons of Norway Viking.



I'm sharing my mother's lefse recipe today because, more than any other food, lefse represents a Norwegian Christmas to me. I want to leave a record of this recipe for my children in the technology available to me today.


A recipe for the soft potato flatbread beloved by Norwegians at home and abroad. This recipe uses potato flakes for an easy, smooth dough.



If you know lefse, then you probably get it. Unlike other traditional Norwegian foods, [cough lutefisk cough] lefse doesn't seem to divide people. It is universally loved. Who doesn't like a tender flat potato bread, spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar? For me, only dark brown sugar will do but I'll bend enough to add a shaker of cinnamon sugar to my Christmas Eve smorgasbord for those weirdos who may prefer it. You savory lefse eaters . . . well, keep on being you.


The reason that I'm sharing my mom's lefse recipe and not just pointing you to Alanna's cousin LeAnne's excellent video tutorial (found here) is simple. My mom's way is different than what LeAnne does, and I want to be authentic to my mom's recipe.



three generations of women making lefse in the kitchen together



It's a funny thing, the concept of authenticity. What makes a recipe authentic? Is it the way you or yours learned it or the way the most popular chef of the time chose to make it? In a FB food blogger group we recently had a lively discussion about authenticity and tradition as they relate to recipes. [Can a carbonara sauce be a carbonara sauce if you choose to use pig belly not pig cheek? I'm not going to touch that debate, but I'll happily eat a plate of whichever meat is used in the carbonara you prepare for me.]


a floured pastry cloth with a piece of rolled lefse, a rolling pin, and the stick to carry the lefse to the griddle



My mother learned how to make lefse when she was a county extension agent in Minnesota in the 1950s. Her office was in the Pennington county courthouse, and she had a demo kitchen complete with multiple ovens and an overhead mirror. One of her functions was to prep the 4H kids who were doing demos at the fair. [The county fair was very early in the season, before the produce was ripe for showing/preserving, so they did all sorts of demos instead.]


Early one summer Doris Belanger won a blue ribbon making lefse at the county fair. That meant she'd be taking her lefse demo to the state fair at the end of the summer. In order to help polish her demo, my mom first had to learn from Doris how to make lefse. [I guess this isn't even my mom's lefse method, it's at least Doris's mom's mom's method.]


Doris taught my mom, and all summer long the 4H leader and mom met with Doris while she practiced. They gave tips on how to improve her presentation. At the state fair, Doris won a blue ribbon. She was comfortable and relaxed while making lefse, and her picture even appeared in the Twin Cities paper! In thanks, Doris's grandpa made my mom a grooved rolling pin on his lathe, and Doris's mom took a slat from an apple crate and carved a lefse turning stick which we call a spuda [spoo-duh--I don't know how to spell this].


image of a piece of lefse being lifted off the pastry cloth with a stick



See one, do one, teach one.



My mom demonstrated this method during Scandinavian Week at the 1976 Bicentennial Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife on the National Mall in Washington, DC. If you know lefse, you get it, and tourists in the crowd who knew lefse would crowd around after each session, chatting and enjoying samples.


Mom has even appeared on Norwegian TV in a program about how Norwegian Americans celebrate Christmas. Now it's my turn to demo this method, this time using the internet. I'm still using my mom and her equipment, though.

mixing up a batch of dough


GIF of mixing lefse dough and shaping into balls




shaping before rolling


image of grandmother showing grandson how to shape lefse before rolling out the dough




failure is always an option--and a tasty one too


photo of a misshapen piece of lefse cooking on the griddle



This video shows my mom making the first piece of a batch of lefse. She rolls out the dough until we can see the pastry cloth markings through it which is how we ensure it's thin enough. Then she checks to make sure it's not bigger than the paper towel it will cool on. Finally she rolls it up on the spuda and carries it to the griddle.



Once she's sure the griddle is very hot, she unrolls the lefse onto it. [Mom knows her griddle heats evenly and doesn't need to spin the lefse for even cooking.] After the lefse is blistered on one side, she flips it over and cooks the other side. Then she picks up the lefse and walks back to the paper towel, realizing on the way that we need a new location for the finished stack so we're not walking all over the kitchen while doing the lefse dance. It's kind of a cardio exercise.



Potato Lefse (Recipe from Marjory Olsen Olson)

This recipe was developed in a university agricultural research facility in Crookston, Minnesota in the 1970s. Crookston is in the Red River Valley where potatoes are harvested and processed into instant potato flakes.


Note:  This recipe requires chilling the dough before rolling it out. If I'm planning to cook the lefse in the morning, I'll mix up the dough the night before and leave it in the fridge to chill overnight. If I'm planning to cook in the afternoon, I'll mix up the dough while I'm having my morning cuppa and chill it until I'm ready to cook. You'll need several flat surfaces--to roll out the dough, to cook the lefse, and to hold the cooked lefse until you're all finished. Once you set everything up (and have flour all over the kitchen) you might as well keep on going until you've used up all the dough.


photo of a blue Polish Pottery plate piled with folded lefse




I know other folks' traditional recipes start with whole potatoes. For more recipes using potatoes, please see my Potato Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

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This was my 5th #ChristmasWeek recipe. I shared Finnish Pulla {Cardamom Coffee Braid}, Pecan Brownie Bites for a Cookie Drive, Scandinavian Fruit Soup, and Toffee Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm beat! Time to put on the fuzzy socks and curl up under a blanket to enjoy the Christmas lights.


This recipe was first posted in November 2014 and updated in November 2018.