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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

One of the best things about eating seasonally is the anticipation and excitement about eating vegetables.  Never in my days of non-conscientious eating could I have imagined opening a box of CSA vegetables and being utterly thrilled at the sight of zucchini.  But sure enough, that happened yesterday.

Zucchini is on my top five favorite vegetable list, in company with beets, asparagus, spinach and peppers.  Thank goodness tomatoes are fruit, for something would have to get bumped…  While the concept of eating seasonally means I lose out on my precious favorites for the majority of each year, it is counterbalanced by the enjoyment of eating the flavors as nature intended. 

We’ll eat zucchini in many forms this summer, as always.  From roasted to raw, it will grace our plates at least twice a week.  But the recipe today is one of our favorites.  My mom used to make this casserole during the summer when I was growing up.  As my father has a significant aversion to most vegetables, Mom and I got to enjoy the whole thing.  We found it even makes a great cold breakfast the next day.  And a great snack.  And on bread for lunchtime sandwiches.  And…

Ingredients

4 cups zucchini – grated

½ small onion – chopped

6 slices provolone – torn

1 c. breadcrumbs

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 eggs – beaten

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease a 9×13 pan.

Combine all ingredients.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is set.

Perfect for dinner with an open-faced tomato sandwich.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

Tips & Tricks:

This recipe is easily multiplied.  Adjust cooking times accordingly – continue to bake until center is set.

This works great in muffin tins to create individual servings. 

Provolone works the best for this recipe.  I like Applegate Farms since it is hormone free and made with vegetable rennet.

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Jon and I started actively cleaning up our diet nearly 3 years ago.  On a whim, I had picked up an issue of Clean Eating and was instantly smitten with their recipes.  I quickly got a subscription and ordered all of their back issues.  When they arrived, we sat at the table and paged through each magazine, marking the recipes that sounded yummy.  Not being a beef eater, I virtually ignored each and every beef recipe.  Jon, who never met a piece of beef he didn’t like, seemed to tag virtually each and every beef recipe.  What to do, what to do…

Ever the woman of compromise (cough, cough), I decided I’d try a recipe he wanted but with chicken.  I decided on the Soba Noodle Salad with Flank Steak from the May/June 2009 issue.  At the time, I prepared it exactly like the recipe but I substituted roasted chicken for the flank steak.  It worked!  Since then, with a few tweaks, it has become a household favorite. 

When I saw the beautiful head of Napa cabbage in my CSA box this week, I knew this was one meal that would certainly grace our table.

Salad Ingredients:

2 to 3 roasted chicken breasts – cubed

1 package soba noodles – cooked to instructions

1 head Napa cabbage

4 carrots

2 cups pea pods

1 generous handful chopped cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 inch nub of fresh ginger – grated

2 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. sesame oil or olive oil

1 tsp. Sriracha

Slice Napa cabbage into thin strips.  Place in very large bowl.

Finely grate carrots.  Trim ends from pea pods.  Add to cabbage.

Add chopped chicken and cilantro.

Combine dressing ingredients.  Whisk until honey is fully incorporated.

Add soba noodles and dressing to cabbage.

Toss to combine.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

Tips & Tricks:

I slice up my Napa cabbage and then wash and spin in the salad spinner.

This salad is great warm, room temperature or cold.  It’s just great.

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We have two Friday traditions in our home.  On Friday nights, we watch TV while eating dinner.  Also, with the exception of special events or occasional Mommy cravings, Fridays are the days I make dessert.

This chocolate chip coffee cake is one of my favorites.  My regular readers might notice that this is yet another recipe that includes cream cheese.  And what you’re thinking is true. This girl loves her cream cheese!

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 cup softened butter

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1¼ c. sugar

2 eggs – beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

¼ c. milk

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Topping:

¼ c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9” springform pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Whip to combine.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir gently.  Add milk and combine.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared springform pan. 

Stir topping sugar and cinnamon together.  Sprinkle over batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

Tips & Tricks:

To make this cake slightly leaner, I usePhiladelphia’s Neufchatel instead of regular cream cheese.

Source: Unknown

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Our CSA, Lancaster Farm Fresh, does not operate like the traditional CSA.  To my understanding, most CSA’s work with one farm and you get a share of what that farm grows.  Lancaster Farm Fresh works with many different organic, transitional and IPM farms to give its members a huge variety of produce.  Becoming members has broadened our horizons and introduced us to produce that we had never heard of before.  Garlic scapes are one such example.

Garlic scapes are the greens that grow above ground while a head of garlic is growing below.  They have a slightly less pungent garlic flavor than the bulbs and don’t give you “don’t kiss me” breath.  Sadly, scapes are only around in the late spring and early summer when they are cut to keep more nutrients in the actual garlic bulbs. 

Linguine with garlic scape pesto is, by far, our favorite early summer meal.  Quick and easy and oh, so delightful! 

Ingredients:

6-8 garlic scapes

5 basil leaves

1 c. grated pecorino romano

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

½ c. olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup pasta water

1 lb. linguine – cooked to package instructions

NOTE:  Generally, pesto contains nuts.  Our little guy has not yet had tree nuts, so I did not use them in our pesto.  We didn’t miss them.  If you’d like to include them, ¼ c. would be perfect.

Prepare pasta to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, cut garlic scapes into 1 to 2 inch segments.

Place scape, basil, pecorino romano, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in food processor.  Pulse to combine.

Add pasta water in ¼ c. increments until desired consistency is achieved.

Toss with linguine and serve.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

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Yesterday, I woke with the plan to make vanilla rhubarb jam.  As it was my first canning project of the year, I took out all of my supplies and scrubbed them down.  After grabbing the recipe, I started taking out all of my ingredients… only to find that the rhubarb I got from my CSA bit the dust.

Change of plans:

Last week, our local grocer had pineapples on sale, buy one get one free.  Though we prefer to eat local and organic, there are always some exceptions to the rule.  Tropical fruit is one of them.  I can not imagine my life without mango, pineapple and banana.  So, deal that it was, I bought 2 pineapples.  Upon arriving home with me, these pineapples promptly became part of my ordinary kitchen landscape and I forgot about their existence.

While I was leaning against the counter, annoyed with my rhubarb’s traitorous behavior, I started playing with a pineapple frond.  Uh… duh?  Pineapple jam!  So I grabbed that recipe, simple as it is, and started in with my ingredients.  I finely chopped one of the pineapples.  I poured a cup of water.  I put sugar in a bowl.  I stuck my hand into the refrigerator to pull out a lemon… and only had limes!  Since acidity isn’t something you want to play with when canning…

Change of plans:

I now had a whole chopped pineapple.  And plenty of limes.  So, I scrapped all plans for canning and made Pineapple Granita with Lime.

1 pineapple – peeled, cored and chopped

½ c. to 1 c. sugar

½ c. warm water

Zest of one lime

Pour water and sugar into a large jar.  Shake for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve sugar.

Combine all ingredients into food processor.

Process until smooth.

Pour into a 9×13 baking pan, cover and place in the freezer.

Freeze for 45 minutes. 

Using a spoon, gently stir pineapple.  Return to freezer. 

Freeze for 45 minutes.

Using a spoon or fork, scrape at pineapple to create little bits of ice.  Return to freezer.

Continue process until pineapple is frozen and scrapings are loose and fluffy.

Ready to eat!

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

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I have never been a big fan of fruit desserts.  If I want fruit, I’d usually prefer it in its natural, non-dessert state.  Also, it is my humble opinion that in most cases, the word dessert should be should be synonymous with the word chocolate.  Strawberry shortcake with buttermilk biscuits is one of those exceptions.

When we went to our local orchard on Saturday and saw that they already had a crop of strawberries this season, I had to get some.  They made for a wonderful Mother’s Day dessert.

Ingredients:

Strawberries

1 qt. strawberries

1-2 Tbs. sugar

Wash, trim and slice strawberries.

Add 1 to 2 Tbs. of sugar to strawberries.  Gently stir to combine.

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

4 oz. cream cheese – softened

¼ c. sugar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 c. whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla 

In a small bowl, stir cream cheese and ¼ c.  sugar until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip cream, vanilla and 2 Tbs. sugar until slightly thickened.

Add cream cheese & sugar mixture.  Continue whipping until thick.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Assemble and… Yum!

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

Tips & Tricks:

I usually use Philadelphia Neufchatel instead of cream cheese.  Since it is softer, it is ready to go right out of the refrigerator.

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My experience with grits was quite limited until Jon and I took a 3 week trip down south.  Early in the trip, I tried grits.  I loved them.  From that point on, I ate them nearly every day.  When we returned up north, I decided to try my hand at making them. 

Seems there are two rules for making grits.  A friend of mine fromSouth Carolinatold me that good grits must be made with stone ground cornmeal.  This is essential to get the perfect consistency of grits. 

The second rule I learned from My Cousin Vinny.  While Joe Pesci’s character, Vinny Gambini, is cross examining a witness, he inquires about the breakfast of grits the witness had eaten.  When asked if he used instant grits, the witness replied “No self respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits.”  

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups whole milk

1½ tsp salt

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

4 Tbs. butter

Pepper to taste

1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese 

In a medium sauce pan, bring broth, milk and salt to a slight boil over medium high heat. 

While whisking, add cornmeal.

Reduce heat to low and cover pot.  Whisk every 3 minutes until creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Be sure to scrape bottom and whisk well to prevent lumps. 

Remove from heat.  Add butter and pepper.

Stir to combine.  Add cheese.

Stir until cheese is melted and combined.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

Tips and Tricks:

While I usually use cheddar cheese, this time I used pepper jack.  Not quite traditional, but a good way to add oomph to the meal.

Adapted from Alton Brown’s Cheese Grits

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