Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Winter Squash

Classic comfort food--with the addition of a seasonal vegetable. Long-storing winter squash is cubed, roasted, and tossed into macaroni and cheese flavored with Italian sausage.

Long-storing winter squash are one of the ways that I feed my family from the farm share during the off season when we're not getting weekly boxes of fresh vegetables. For today's recipe I chose one of the squash that came from my compost pile. I'm thinking it's a cross between a butternut and a pumpkin or maybe it's an albino pumpkin like all the albino squirrels in my town. Who knows? Either way, it was a pale fleshed winter squash, part of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in my cold basement, and worked just as well as a pumpkin or butternut squash would in this recipe.

I don't combine this stuff on a whim, you know. [That's not exactly accurate. On Monday I posted a recipe that evolved as I was preheating the skillet and my daughter was throwing out ideas, which turned into Mardi Gras Fried Rice. Whims were involved.] Last year I took a sugar pie pumpkin from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and baked mac and cheese in it. I got the recipe from the versatile cookbook, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese (Amazon affiliate link). I first made that recipe before my spouse returned from a deployment. I was thinking that I had to make it again for him as the recipe is such a good one and because I crave comfort foods like mac & cheese when it's cold out. You can find that recipe here, or, if you're local to me, I donated a copy of the cookbook to my local library.

The thing is, I rarely re-make a recipe without tweaking it somehow.  [Heck, even my morning oatmeal is currently undergoing revisions.] When I was spooning that mac & cheese into the pumpkin, I wondered about skipping the adorable container/serving dish concept and instead stirring pumpkin into the mac and cheese and then baking it. I kept the rest of the elements the same because the flavors are so good together (I have made 4 or 5 recipes from MELT and each time was successful). Because the baking time is 1½ hours total, this is not a weeknight meal. However, it feeds 8 to 10 people and the leftovers reheat well, so it's a weekend meal making leftovers that could become lunches or fast dinners on hockey busy nights during the week.

For another mac and cheese recipe, please check out Macaroni and Cheese with Beet Greens, Ham and Manchego. For other recipes using winter squash, please see my Winter Squash Recipe Collection, part of my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ham and Turnip Stew

Ready in about half an hour, this tasty stew has turnips and carrots simmered with a meaty ham bone.

I appreciate the readers on my Facebook page!  I couldn't decide which recipes to post this week and posted a list of options. Sandy chose this recipe, so here it is! I apologize for the poor quality photos--I expected this would make a leftover that I could photograph for lunch in natural light, but we cleaned the pot out. You're getting a quick pic that was snapped at our dinner table.  Simon thought it smelled delicious as well.
The other dogs are too short to have 4 paws on the floor and reach the table.
I've been on a mission to use what I've got in the fridge, freezer, and pantry lately. One of the issues with hating to waste food is the accumulation of items. For example, if we eat ham for dinner, we'll enjoy the leftovers in sandwiches, quesadillas, meatballs and/or pizza. There's usually still a chunk of ham left and we're hammed out, so into the freezer it goes. Ditto the ham bone. Normally I'll make {No Salt Added} Ham & Bean Soup with the bone, but I found a spare ham bone while rooting around in the freezer [I know, everyone should be so lucky].

On a whim, and why there are no 'ingredient' or 'process' photos, I grabbed some of the ubiquitous turniips from the crisper and made a quick stew. Turnips are one of the cool season crops that grow really well for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers, so we get a bunch when they are in season. The saltiness of the ham bone plays nicely with the sweet turnips and this stew was gobbled up. I'm remembering this one for Fall, since I'm always looking for ways to enjoy turnips.

For more recipes using turnips, please see my Turnip Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Six Ingredient Spicy Mustard Greens Soup (in the Slow Cooker)

Spicy sausage, mustard greens and potato in a hearty slow cooker soup.

When the community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share give you a gallon-sized bag of mustard greens, you've got to get right on them. If you don't, you'll turn around one day to find 3 gallons of mustard greens jockeying for space with the cabbages, lettuces, spinach, and . . . . the next thing you know, you have Greens Paralysis. It's a common phenomenon.

When I was suffering from Greens Paralysis, as I posted on my FB page, it was primarily due to an excess of mustard greens and too few family dinners. At a recent Local Food Summit in my town I had the pleasure of listening to my farmer, George Mertz, talk about the benefits of joining a CSA. One that I wasn't expecting to hear, but absolutely agree with, is that joining a CSA will increase the number of times you'll sit down to a home-cooked meal. This easy home-cooked meal broke my Greens Paralysis. With just six ingredients it assembles quickly in the slow cooker.

Now, when I say 'only six ingredients' I'm not talking about ingredients like a cake mix and a can of pie filling. It's true, two of my six ingredients are chock full of other ingredients. Those would be the chorizo and V8 juice. [Actually, so is my chicken stock, now that I think on it. But I can pronounce all of these ingredients.] The sum of the parts of this soup, thanks to those multi-faceted ingredients, is superb. Like nearly all soups, it is better as a leftover on the second day. And anything that breaks my Greens Paralysis, that enables me to get my groove back with respect to my farm share, is very appreciated.

For other recipes using mustard greens, please see my Mustard Greens Recipe Collection which I will now run off and make.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Acorn Squash, Beef, and Bulgur Casserole

A hearty casserole of ground beef and acorn squash, mixed with bulgur wheat and seasoned with Greek spices. A terrific base for a Bowl.
Happy Halloween! I've been reflecting on how Halloween has changed for me over the years. Single and pre-kids if I was home I'd have a bag or two of candy to hand out to the kids who stopped by. When I had young kids I was all about getting nutritious finger foods into them while they were bouncing around ready to head out for loot. We'd have a pre-trick-or-treating neighborhood party with a secondary goal of preventing too much candy ingestion. As if, my older self says. Now I've got teenagers. One will be trick or treating in a medieval dress from the thrift shop with a floor length cloak she sewed herself. The other will be playing in the marching band at the last game of the season, wearing a costume he made that makes no sense to his folks [Night Vale Community Radio Intern?]. I sense I'm on the cusp of yet another change, as always happens in Life.
Because I answered a question on G+,  I received a free box of FreakyFruits from Melissa's Produce. I have not seen such nice packing since we lived in Japan. So far I've made Buddha's Hand Feta Yogurt Dip, Rambutan Hairy Eyeballs, Mustard Greens Kheema with finger limes, and (not shown) Passion Fruit & Banana Muffins. I'm not under an obligation to share what I've been doing with the fruits, but hey--I started a blog to share what I do with produce.

I've been seeing a lot of bowls lately. My friends share photos of them on FB and Karen from Soup Addict tantalizes me with her amazing bowl creations. Let me be clear--this is a casserole, not a bowl. However, this casserole lends itself to getting your bowl off to a great start. It combines a grain with a  vegetable and a protein (the ever-present ground beef from the cow in the freezer--link to my 106 recipes using ground beef). I like to eat it piled with more vegetables (suggestions below) and a healthy scoop of Acorn Squash Tahini Dip with Greek Seasoning stirred in. After all, like my spouse has taught our son to say, "it's all going to the same place".

I realize that this is the 3rd recipe featuring acorn squash that I've shared in the past 2 weeks. I could have held an Acorn Squash Week.  Instead, I'll just mention that photos and links to all of my recipes for using acorn squash can be found on my Acorn Squash Recipe Collection.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Creamy Tomato Soup with Home-Canned Tomatoes

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich month (season? day? week?) is coming, and before I share my fig-filled, or my tomato jam-spread, or my guacamole & corn grilled cheese creations I'd like to share the perfect accessory for all good grilled cheese sandwich meals--tomato soup.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

Truth be told, I was a huge fan of the red & white can as recently as last year.  Heck, some of my favorite winter school day breakfasts as a kid were cups of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. What changed for me was the realization that I had the key ingredient to make a deliciously flavorful tomato soup right at my fingertips--a pantry with jars of home-canned tomatoes.  I'm going to tell you about canning tomatoes when it's NOT canning season for one reason:  to lay the groundwork/plant the seed in your brain, so that when summer comes you've had time to mull over the concept. [I'm honest and upfront with my brainwashing techniques.]

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
Canning need not be 3 generations slaving away in the kitchen. But it's fun if it turns out that way :)

Putting up tomatoes is a terrific way to step into the Big Scary World of Canning.  With a tall pot, a bunch of quart-sized canning jars--I would borrow from a friend a funnel and a pair of tongs jar lifter your first time--you can have the building blocks for a variety of meals.  If you don't grow your own tomatoes you've got plenty of options for amassing a canning quantity.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
You do NOT need all of these supplies to can a few quarts of crushed tomatoes!
  • If you've got neighbors who are overrun with ripe tomatoes, especially neighbors who are older than you, offer to put up the whole mess and share the preserved bounty with the gardener. 
  • Ask your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer to sell you extras.  Your farmers will be delighted to have ripe tomatoes go quickly and easily to a good home.
  • If you don't participate in a CSA but do frequent the farmer's market, tell a farmer that you're interested in "seconds" or "canning tomatoes", and when tomatoes are abundant you'll be doing each other a favor buying ripe and ready, perhaps slightly cosmetically damaged, tomatoes for a good price.
When I put up crushed tomatoes I follow the basic method--shared on the Pick Your Own website, on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, on the Food In Jars blog, and in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Amazon affiliate link) that I checked out of my local library a bunch of times before buying my own copy.

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.
Gratuitiously long caption as I don't know how to make words appear when you hover over the photo (though I do know how to link parts of a collage to other posts):  All you need to can is a tall pot with some sort of shelf to keep the jars off the bottom; and jars, and water--lots of water; and a heat source to heat that water (and heat the tomatoes, too); tomatoes, lemon juice and salt and a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes plus a bucket to store the peels before they go to the compost, and a flat surface for them to cool, and a pantry to store your bounty. And the floating tomatoes?  I screwed up and let them get cool in between packing and processing. No problem, still good eating.

Canning crushed tomatoes is safe and easy if you follow the directions.  Just peel the tomatoes, squish the tomatoes, pack the squished tomatoes into clean jars with salt and lemon juice, and stick 'em under boiling water according to the methods I've linked to above.
Honestly, it's trickier to bake a cake--and not from scratch, I'm talking from a mix.  Did you measure the oil and water correctly? Are there shells in the batter? How do you know you've beaten it long enough?  How do you know if the pan is properly prepared?  How do you know if the top springs back enough? Sheesh! Tomatoes are acidic enough to start off, and you further make the environment hostile to undesirable stuff by adding lemon juice to each jar.  Follow the method from the sites above and you'll be successful. [/brainwashing]

A creamy tomato soup made with home-canned tomatoes, pesto, and roasted garlic.

Once you've got a quart of crushed tomatoes, soup is a short simmer away.  [Or a long simmer, if your spouse is unexpectedly delayed and dinner is late.]

For other recipes using tomatoes, canned or otherwise, please see my Red & Yellow Tomato Recipes Collection or my Green Tomato Recipes Collection, 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.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hoisin Sesame Swai with Hoisin-Roasted Radishes

Hoisin sauce and a crunchy ginger-sesame seed blend coat this firm white-fleshed fish, served with tender roasted radishes and Asian-seasoned sautéed beet greens

Hoisin Sesame Swai with Hoisin-Roasted Radishes | Farm Fresh Feasts

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Do you ever wear matching clothing? Complete track suits?  Do you wish for Adult Garanimals with coded tags that help you decide if your top and your bottom clothing choices coordinate?

Where am I going with this?

It's not very usual for me to have all the foods matchy-matchy on the plate.  [Heck, the plates don't even match each other.] Apparently I tend to get all matchy-matchy with Swai.
Like I said the first time I posted a Swai recipe, "Swai is a white fleshed fish in the "Good Alternative" category on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website.  Protein that is a Good Alternative, that is a great price, is good for me." That remains true today. In addition to the beef in the freezer (link to my beef recipe round up featuring 106 recipes from 66 bloggers) and the wild sockeye salmon from Seldovia Point, AK, the fish we eat the most is Swai.  It's useful in a variety of preparations, I've shared some related links below.

We often like to eat fish with rice, so I wanted to try an Asian preparation for this Swai.  I picked up this sesame seed blend at a TJMaxx/Marshall's, taking a page from Heather's shopping tips, and thought it would be good rolled around inside out sushi as a coating for fish.  From there the idea of coating the fish in hoisin sauce was a no-brainer.

Since I also had radishes from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share to play with, I opted to give them a similar coating and see how it played in Peoria the dining room. The result was surprisingly good.  Roasting brings out the sweetness from the radishes and the hoisin provides them with a nice tang.  We all enjoyed this meal, and to get the entire family to enjoy radishes is an accomplishment worthy of a Week In Review post.

Hoisin Sesame Swai with Hoisin-Roasted Radishes | Farm Fresh Feasts

On the plate you'll also see beet greens.  Specifically, Asian Beet Greens.  This bonus recipe is up on my FB page and my G+ page if you'd like to check it out.

For more recipes using radishes, please see my Radish 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.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tangerine Ricotta Muffins (Monday Muffins)

Lightly sweet, brightly creamy, these tangerine ricotta muffins are a lovely winter muffin

Tangerine Ricotta Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts

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When I saw these muffins I knew I wanted to try making them using one of the citrus fruits from the Band Fruit Fundraiser stash.  I also had ricotta that I wanted to use up so I could try and make my own like Annemarie does.  However, I made one of the classic blunders (no, not the "never get involved in a land war in Asia one" nor the "never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line" one):  I didn't read the entire recipe first.

So at 6:20 am, when I stumbled into the kitchen with the intent of making Tangerine Ricotta Muffins for my kids' breakfast, I was caught unawares with "1 stick of butter, softened" as an ingredient.

Oops!  I hadn't set out any butter to soften and I didn't really want to nuke one because good grief an entire stick of butter in a pan of muffins?  My kids eat 2 or 3 muffins a piece!  I didn't want them to consume 1/4 stick of butter just with breakfast--and that was before I read "1 cup of sugar".
If you've seen my other muffin recipes (muffin recipe index to your right), you know that I serve them to my kids as part of breakfast or after school snacks--not dessert--so my muffins are usually whole grain and contain less sugar and fat than what I see in many bakery muffins.
I set that recipe aside for a future dessert, because it looks so delicious and I think my family will love it for a special treat.  Instead, I took my ricotta cheese, my tangerines, and my muffin-making skills and made these muffins.  The kids loved them hot with a bit of buttery spread. I liked mine later, room temperature, with my tea.  The next day my son grabbed some to take on the road to his sled hockey tournament and my daughter spread hers with strawberry jam.  Next time, I'm thinking white whole wheat flour, honey, and tangelos . . .

For other recipes using tangerines, please see my Tangerine/Tangelo Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For more muffin recipes, look to the Recipe Index by Category on the right sidebar -----> under Muffins. Wanna know how to Use This Blog? Click here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pizza

Cubes of roasted butternut squash and strips of salty prosciutto turn a simple cheese-and-red-sauce pie into a warming winter pizza

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pizza | Farm Fresh Feasts

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I'm finally starting to work on the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the cold corner of my breakfast nook (down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the recent Polar Vortex).  This is where I stash the more shelf stable of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables during my weekly Vegetable Triage, and I appreciate how a cool, dark place can store fresh local vegetables for me to enjoy when I've run out of fresh greens and the more perishable farm share produce.
I've had some winter squash last as long as 3-4 months, but I prefer not to play fast and loose with my SWSR.  The vegetables I've canned (tomatoes, tomatillos, tomato salsa, tomato sauce, salsa verde, green tomatoes, tomato jam . . . did I mention I canned a whole bunch of tomatoes?) and frozen (corn, carrots, leeks, zucchini, yellow squash, roasted peppers, Hatch chiles, celery, . . . and I am sure something else) will stay in good condition longer than the winter squash, so winter squash is next on the chopping block.  Literally!

This pizza is a subtle way of including winter squash into our meals, and though my kids picked the squash off their slices, my spouse and I enjoyed it.  [In fact, instead of saving the extra roasted squash that didn't make it onto the pizza, I stood over the stove with a fork and snarfed up squash while chatting with my spouse.]  Yum!  There's something about roasting that brings out the sweetness of vegetables--be they mushrooms or squash or potatoes. Coming up in the next few weeks I've got roasted squash in hummus and roasted sweet potatoes in salsa . . . but for today, because my family likes our Friday Night Pizza Nights, please enjoy a pizza!

For other ideas on how to use butternut squash, please see my Butternut/Buttercup Squash Recipes Collection and my Winter Squash Recipe Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. For other pizza ideas please see my Friday Night Pizza Night board in Pinterest, and my Visual Pizza Recipe Index. For how to Use This Blog, please click here.

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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Black Eyed Pea and Kale Salad in Salumi Cups: A New Year's Day Good Luck Appetizer

A bite size appetizer of black eyed peas and kale salad, served in salumi cups. A terrific bite to ensure good luck in the New Year.

Black Eyed Pea and Kale Salad in Salumi Cups | Farm Fresh Feasts

Why is it considered good luck to eat black eyed peas on New Year's day?  Since I didn't learn about this tradition until I lived in the South as an adult, do Northerners/East Coasters/ Westerners/Midwesterners not have good luck ever?  What about folks in other countries?  Not everyone eats black eyed peas, you know.
Heavy questions for a busy time.  All I know is in addition to jumping into the New Year (from a stair, not a chair) I like to eat black eyed peas this time of year.  I'm good with these traditions--one's silly fun to do, and the other's tasty.
Sometimes I like to make Hoppin' John, sometimes I like to change it up a bit.  Here's a bite size appetizer way to get your New Year Good Luck, and if meat is not your thing, there's a bonus recipe below to an alternate salad/leftover remake.
Updated Note:  My mom emailed me that she knew salumi was not a typo but she didn't know what it was.  Salumi is the name for a category of dry cured meat.  Salami and prosciutto are examples of salumi.  I'm thinking pepperoni may be as well.  Learn something new?  I try to each day!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Orange Teriyaki Slaw Stir Fry with Orange Sriracha Turkey Meatballs

A colorful, flavorful, stir fry of red cabbage, carrot, celery and onion in a fresh orange and teriyaki sauce.  Served with orange-ginger-sriracha turkey meatballs and rice.

Orange Teriyaki Slaw Stir Fry with Orange Sriracha Turkey Meatballs | Farm Fresh Feasts

This is another Fast from the Farm Share meal, combining Band Fruit Fundraiser oranges and cool weather vegetables in an Asian-inspired stir fry.  Because I had it, I baked ground turkey meatballs flavored with orange, ginger, and sriracha separately and added them at the end, but this orange-sauced stir fry would be terrific as a side with a different protein source.

Working on the savory orange recipes section of my Fall and Winter Fruit Recipe Round Up gave me a hankering for Asian-influenced orange recipes.  Since I like to use what I've got, I opened the fridge and chose a red cabbage, a fat carrot, and the last of the celery for this stir fry.  It's pretty much slaw ingredients--seasoned differently and stir fried. I used ground turkey for the same reason--and because the idea of having my daughter mix, shape, and bake the meatballs appealed to me after a day of hauling fruit in and out of vehicles.

I don't have a juicer--but I have a blender, so I tossed the peeled orange and all of the sauce ingredients into the blender and made quick work of the sauce.  Getting the rice going first, and baking the meatballs while working on the stir fry, means that this meal comes together very quickly.

Orange Teriyaki Slaw Stir Fry with Orange Sriracha Turkey Meatballs | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you want a bright and colorful vegetable side, or a flavorful omnivore meal, try this dish.  It brightens a dreary day.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Citrus and Honey Whole Grain Muffins

Oranges and tangerines paired with honey in a whole wheat and oatmeal muffin

Citrus and Honey Whole Grain Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts

When you first get cases of citrus for the Band Fruit Fundraiser, your family is gobbling up oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines as fast as you can peel them.  My family is as spoiled as the composting pig.  I peel the oranges for them as well. I have that hook thingamajig from Tupperware.  It makes it easy.
But after a while, the joy of juice bursting in your mouth pales a bit.  The palate gets a bit tired of such unrelenting sweet goodness. Like living in Hawaii with unrelenting sunshine. It happened to me!
So you get creative, and start serving the citrus as the main event at breakfast.  That goes over well, so for special people you serve salmon and oranges with dinner.  You throw orange sections in spinach salads and fruit salads. [And you freeze the leftovers of those fruit salads for smoothies.]  You buy apples.  And grapes. And you kinda forget about the handful of citrus still in your crisper.
As Norah Jones just sang on my stereo, <they're> just sitting here, waiting for you to come on home <and make a muffin>.
I wanted to make another muffin without added refined sugar, this time on purpose, so I grabbed the honey out of the pantry. Honey pairs very nicely with citrus.  Add in the whole grains--oats and wheat--and you're good to go.  This muffin is a great use for leftover peeled citrus.  Chop the citrus finely, or you will have odd lumps sticking up here and there. You'll live if you do.  I did.  Kids still ate them.
I like to soak my oats in buttermilk overnight because I like the texture of the resulting whole grain muffin, but even an hour's soak makes a difference if you didn't mix these up the night before.

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 25, 2013

Cranberry Apple Pecan Tangerine Mini Muffins

Cranberry Apple Pecan Tangerine Mini Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts
These were for a gathering and I dusted them with cinnamon sugar before baking.
It's all about the leftovers, isn't it?

When I made this bread I had leftover Cranberry-Apple-Pecan mixture.  I froze it, since I am big on the "What do I do with this?  I dunno.  I'd better toss it in the freezer" method of dealing with things.

The paperwork for my taxes is not in my freezer.

Luckily, I married a wonderful man whose wonderful mom prepares taxes for a living, otherwise my tax paperwork would be in the freezer with random assorted bags of vegetables and fruits.  And Butch.

I enjoy the cranberry-citrus combination (and will soon be blessed with Band Fruit Fundraiser citrus, stay tuned for a recipe round up next month) so I decided to add some tangerine to these muffins.  I was making up a frightfully orange smoothie (Tangerine-Carrot-Banana) and since I'd gotten the blender out, I blended up a tangerine first for the muffin batter before continuing with the rest of the smoothie.  If you're not mixing up a smoothie, just chop up a tangerine and add it to the batter, or get fancy and remove the juicy flesh and toss the scaffolding* in the compost.  Alternatively, give the remnants to the composting pig as she'll eat almost anything (her late roommate would eat anything).
Don't give it to the worms--they don't care for citrus.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftover Remake--Poutine?!

Roasted potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy, with optional turkey, turning Thanksgiving leftovers into a new meal.

Gravy seems to be an orphan leftover in my house.  We always seem to eat up all the mashed potatoes but not all the gravy.  Yes, I know I can make a Thanksgiving casserole with all the same stuff I just ate moistened with gravy, but I like to find different tastes for my leftovers.  So what do I do with my leftover gravy?

Well, it's the season of excess plenty, so why not make poutine?

Thanksgiving Leftover Remake--Poutine?!

[Big Ol' Honkin Disclaimer:  I have never eaten real poutine.  I am not even Canadian--my Canadian mom chose to take a job in the US where she met my dad--though I've got relatives and friends Up in the Great White North. But it seems very wordy to say "potatoes topped with cheese curds and re-heated leftover gravy" when "poutine" conveys the same idea.]

It never occurred to me to make poutine at home.  For this, I give credit to my son.  He and I share a similar affinity for unagi and furikake, so if he wants to try something it's a good bet that I would also like it.
In my house, on your birthday, you get to choose what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dessert.  My son wanted the appetizer for his birthday dinner to be poutine.
Thanksgiving Leftover Remake--Poutine?!

Poutine is no amuse bouche.  I had no idea what I was in for!  I'd heard of it, sure, but had no clue that we'd be too full from the appetizer to appreciate dinner!  I decided to try it again, when I had leftover gravy, as a stand-alone snack/meal thing.

Try this if you have more gravy than mashed potatoes!

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!

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?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cranberry Chicken Meatballs with Cranberry Gravy

Cranberries, sage, and red onion flavor ground chicken in meatballs served with cranberry gravy

Cranberry Chicken Meatballs with Cranberry Gravy | Farm Fresh Feasts

My spouse used to buy CDs and books based on the covers (you know, in the days pre-online shopping, when you'd physically scan the shelves and pick up what caught your eye).  He discovered Willy Porter's Dog Eared Dream (Amazon affiliate link) that way (cute dog on the cover).  He also found a cooking with fruit cookbook (which, sadly, has been lost in the many moves).  I always intended to use that book to add more fruit to savory dishes, but it never really caught on with me.

I have a taste memory of a wonderful chicken schnitzel melba (chicken, peaches, brown gravy) from Restaurant Paltzer in Spangdahlem, Germany that is my Gold Standard for a savory, fruit-and-meat entree.  I'm still working on the recipe for that (though my German coworker is helping!), but since it's getting on to cranberry season and I'm all about eating with the seasons (or putting up produce while it is in season to eat later) I'll share these cranberry chicken meatballs.

Even though I tend to stock a lot of local ground beef in my freezer, I am not immune to a good deal on ground chicken at the grocery store.  I had chopped cranberries (from these muffins) and some red onions and sage from the farm share.  The family was pretty pleased at the thought of chicken and noodles for dinner.  Perhaps they were happy about a pink meal that didn't contain beets. Even though I had 2 burners and the oven going, this meal wasn't that much plate-spinning effort.  I threw the meatballs together and chucked them into the oven, freeing up my hands to make the gravy while the noodles and meatballs were doing their own thing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mini Cranberry Yogurt Oatmeal Muffins

A pretty little lightly sweet muffin with cranberries, Greek yogurt-soaked oats, and a candy topper.

Mini Cranberry Yogurt Oatmeal Muffins | Farm Fresh Feasts
Note:  I am so glad to have the seasons change--I've been sitting like a swan* a bunch of recipes (because, you know, our family likes to eat each day) that were not really seasonal for posting on the blog at the time I made them.  I mean, who wants to read about cranberries in March?  I'm glad to share them now, and to give you ideas for what to do with your cranberries.  And yes, currently I'm cooking stuff that uses the last of the summer produce so I'll be sharing it next summer.  I'm starting my own personal NaBloWriMo where I plan to write up blog posts as many days as possible in order to deal with the pile of recipes and head notes that clutter my work space.  With breaks for eating muffins, pizza, and beets, of course.  Yes, I am nesting. ;)
I buy cranberries when they are in season and inexpensive, then I store them in my fruit and veg freezer (not to be confused with the meat freezer) until I'm wanting some fruit for a muffin and open the freezer up, scan the contents, and think 'well, why not cranberry muffins?'  That was an entirely run on sentence.  I see where my son gets it from.  I was thinking about my usual Soaked Oat muffins, but was out of buttermilk--though I did have a bucket of plain Greek yogurt.

A quick check of my muffin bible, Muffins: A Cookbook (Amazon affiliate link) reassured me that it was possible to use yogurt in muffin batter, and in fact their recipe for Cranberry Yogurt muffins is very slightly adapted here.  I didn't use the entire bag of cranberries in this recipe, but don't go on a rant about it like I did, instead come on back next time, because I will share the Cranberry Chicken Meatballs with Cranberry Gravy I made using the rest of the cranberries I'd chopped.

Another Note:  I made these to serve as an after school snack to a bunch of girls (who came over to unplug my fruit and veg freezer work on a school project).  I was concerned that the cranberries would be too tart, so I added a candy melt for a hit of sweetness when you popped the muffin in your mouth, and made them mini because they looked cuter (sort of like wee Oliver, our new-to-us wiener dog).  If you don't have or don't want to use candy melts, please feel free to bump up the brown sugar to 1/2 or 3/4 cup if you're concerned about the tart vs sweet level.

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.