Friday, October 30, 2009

Pizza with Squash, Black Beans, and Goat Cheese

This is a great use for leftover black beans that are already cooked and well seasoned. It's fine if they have some other ingredients mixed in, like onions and peppers.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tsp lemon juice
1 hot pepper, minced (frozen is fine) or chili flakes to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or 1-2 thawed cubes from the freezer)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked mashed winter squash or pumpkin
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil.

Toss the beans with the lemon juice, hot pepper, cilantro, salt and pepper. Spread the squash over the pizza crust, then top with the bean mixture. Dot with goat cheese, then top with the mozzarella.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese just begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

This recipe comes from my friend Amy, who got it from her mom - original source unknown. Winter squash should work fine in place of the pumpkin. I think I may experiment with it a little, but for now, here's the recipe as it came to me. Note that this calls for either one large pan or two smaller ones. If desired, you can frost these with cream cheese frosting. The result is really more like a moist cake than a bar, but tasty.

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups cooked mashed/pureed pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease either a 12x18-inch pan or else one 9x13 pan and one 8x8 pan.

Combine the eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and pumpkin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend well. Our the batter into the greased pan(s) and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mac & Cheese with Hot Dogs

While this is definitely not my usual fare, it is the sort of dish that children gobble down and adults find more comfort in than they might care to admit. It was brought about, here in our house, because we bought some old-fashioned pork hot dogs from Bostrom Farm some weeks ago on a whim. We figured we might grill them, or that our two-year-old might work his way through them. But grilling season is over, and they are not as convenient for the toddler as anticipated--being the old-fashioned kind, they came not just frozen but also uncooked. So we cooked up several and I made old-fashioned macaroni (well, actually shells, if you really want to know) and cheese. I prefer this type of mac and cheese just tossed with the cheese sauce rather than baked, but you can certainly top it with bread crumbs and stick it in the oven if you want to. I made this with mostly sharp cheddar and a small amount of Dutch Gold (Edam) from Chase Hill Farm, but you can use other cheeses as well. A mix is nice.

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk (room temperature is best)
8 oz. shredded cheese
3/4 lb pasta (shells or elbows are ideal)
4-5 old-fashioned pork hot dogs, cooked and sliced in rounds

Start by making a classic white sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or deep skillet, then stir in the flour. Whisk it constantly as it browns and thickens, bubbling. Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time, over low heat. Whisk constantly until the sauce thickens a bit, then raise the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently (you can switch to a spoon at this point).

While the white sauce cooks, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water.

After the sauce has simmered for its 10 minutes, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese, a handful or so at a time, until it melts.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Pour the cheese sauce over it, then stir in the sliced hot dogs. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Butternut Gnocchi with Garlic Sage Sauce

This recipe is adapted from one published in Vegetarian Times magazine about five years ago. I have been holding on to the magazine all this time, meaning to try the recipe at some point but never getting around to it until now. I wish I had tried it sooner! Delicious.

Traditionally, gnocchi are made with potatoes. They are also typically formed by hand. In this version, winter squash (substitute anything with a fairly smooth texture for the butternut) takes the place of potato and the gnocchi are freeform, a time saver that gives them a rustic look more reminiscent of dumplings.

2 cups cooked and mashed butternut squash
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2-3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves (or a few pinches of ground dried sage)
Grated Parmesan for topping

For best results, start by putting the cooked squash through a food mill or pushing it through a sieve into a large mixing bowl. If this sounds like more effort than you had in mind, you could also just run it through a food processor.

Stir the eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper into the squash until well combined. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is soft but not very sticky. You may need to add the flour in smaller increments toward the end of this process. Set aside while you bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat the olive oil, garlic, and sage in a small saucepan. Let it sit over low heat while you cook the gnocchi.

To cook the gnocchi, use a small spoon to take 1-inch scoop of dough. Use another spoon to scrape the dough into the water. Cook as many gnocchi at a time as you can comfortably fit in the pot without crowding (you don't want them to stick together). They will sink to the bottom at first, then bob to the top. Once they bob to the top, cook for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large shallow bowl or equivalent. Drizzle with a little of the sauce and either cover with foil or place in the oven on low heat. Repeat until all of the dough has been cooked. Toss gnocchi with any remaining sauce.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

Green tomatoes picked in October will slowly ripen indoors in a paper bag or wrapped in newspaper. But the flavor and texture will never compare to those picked ripe in warm weather. So, facing a bowl of the last of our green ones, I decided to try something different. This recipe is based on many different ones that I found on the Internet. The concept behind all of them was green tomatoes combined with apples, raisins, and spices. The result is sweet and tangy, perfect to go with grilled or broiled meat, or on crackers or toasted pita triangles. Try it with cheddar as well.

6 cups chopped green tomatoes (cored but not seeded or peeled)
3 cups chopped apples (peeled and cored first)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp minced ginger root
3/4 cup raisins
1-4 hot peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven or similar wide-bottomed pot. Add a splash of water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over very low heat for about an hour, stirring periodically.

Makes 4-5 cups.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thai Pumpkin Soup

This was definitely a winner, with both the husband and the two-year-old coming back for thirds.

Feel free to substitute winter squash for the pumpkin. Butternut or any other fairly smooth-fleshed squash would be a good choice. If you have the cooked squash on hand already, this soup goes together quite quickly. Thai curry paste is very flavorful, but also spicy, so calibrate the amount to your heat tolerance.

Canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp minced ginger root
1-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
5 cups cooked pumpkin or winter squash
1 14-oz can coconut milk (light is fine)
Water or stock (chicken or veggie)
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce (optional but recommended)
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro

Heat a little canola oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic, onion, and ginger and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the curry paste and saute for another minute or so, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine the squash and onion mixture and process until smooth, adding a little water as needed. You may need to do this in batches. Pour the squash mixture back into the soup pot. Stir in the coconut milk and add water or stock until the soup reaches your desired consistency (I go for a medium thickness myself). Stir in fish sauce, salt, and cilantro and heat through.

Serves 4-6.

Freezing Pumpkin and Squash for Baking

I just roasted a bunch of winter squash, which I plan to use in a few different squash-based dishes over the next few days (stay tuned!). But I think I'll also freeze some of it for use in baking. This is a handy way to have cooked pumpkin or winter squash available for use in muffins, pancakes, cookies, etc. in the just the right quantities.

Cook your squash and cool completely. Scoop squash flesh out of the skin and mash or puree. Then measure out in the quantities called for by your favorite recipes (often 1 cup) and freeze in quart size freezer bags, flattened out so they can be tidily stacked in the freezer (just like with pesto). You can thaw a bag of squash in a bowl of warm water in 10 minutes or so, about the time you would need to combine dry ingredients or preheat the oven.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Green Bean and Fennel Fried Rice

This used the last of the pole beans from my garden, along with some of the fennel that is still flourishing. It will be good later this winter, too, with frozen veggies. I made it with chicken, but feel free to substitute a protein of your choice.

1-2 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb green beans, in 1-inch lengths
3 cups chopped fennel (1 medium bulb plus tender stalks)
3 cups cold cooked rice
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
Salt to taste (if needed)

Heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a wok or very large skillet. Add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through. Remove to a bowl or plate.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add the garlic, onion, and ginger. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to get tender. Add the beans and fennel and stir-fry for an additional 3-5 minutes, until tender but not soft.

Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the rice (separating the grains with a fork if need be). Stir in the hoisin sauce and soy sauce and stir-fry briefly, until the rice absorbs the liquid and is heated through. Taste and add salt if desired.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pizza with Oyster Mushrooms and Fennel

I am (very) slowly working my way through Paul Lagreze's many mushroom offerings through New England Wild Edibles. I will be sad to see the Greenfield Farmers Market close at the end of the month for many reasons, one of which is the ready access to his mushrooms. This week I brought home some oyster mushrooms. These seem pretty versatile. Their texture is relatively meaty, and the flavor is more delicate than some other mushrooms. They worked well on this pizza, but I would also love to work them into a pasta sauce, a risotto, or a quiche or frittata. I meant to put rosemary on this pizza, but forgot - it was good without, but if you have some, give it a try. (The best way to get local rosemary year round is to grow a potted plant that can come indoors when the weather turns cool.)

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cups diced fennel bulb and any tender stalks (1 smallish bulb)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
1/2 - 2/3 cup tomato sauce (ideally something with mushrooms)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella (or chunks of fresh mozzarella)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil and set aside.

Heat a little more olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fennel and rosemary (if using) and saute over medium heat until tender.

Spread the sauce over the crust. Top with the mushroom and fennel mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with mozzarella.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until cheese begins to brown and crust is done.

Serves 3-4.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Portuguese Chorizo Stew

I love chorizo, a flavorful, slightly spicy Spanish/Portuguese sausage. The most reliable source I have found around here is Not Your Ordinary Farm in Guilford, VT. Products from the farm, including several types of sausage, are usually available at the Greenfield Farmers Coop. I used zucchini in the stew because I had a few in the fridge, the last of the harvest picked before the frost this past weekend. Red peppers would probably be more authentic. Frozen vegetables should work fine here, so I plan to make it again through the winter. It was excellent--savory and warming.

1 lb chorizo, casings removed
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground paprika
4-5 cups diced zucchini (fresh or frozen)
1-2 cups cooked red beans (optional)
3-4 cups chopped paste tomatoes (fresh, frozen, or canned)
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chorizo in a Dutch oven or soup pot. When the fat has rendered, drain most of it off. Add the garlic, onion, and paprika and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, beans (if using), tomato, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the flavors meld nicely. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Serves 4-5.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Late Fall CSA - Picadilly Farm

At Bart's in Greenfield this weekend, I happened on a flyer for Picadilly Farm's Late Fall CSA. Picadilly, which is just over the Mass border in Winchester, NH, offers a late fall share for $140. For that amount, you get four boxes slightly over a bushel each in size, two in November and two in December (alternating weeks). In addition to an array of storage crops, the boxes also include late season offerings like cold-hardy greens, at least until there is a hard freeze or snow. See the website for details and a sign-up form.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pesto Pasta with Corn and Chicken

Anticipating the frost that came last night, I bought corn at the farmers market and we pulled out all the remaining basil from the garden. Most of it was not in great shape, as basil really does not like cold weather, but I salvaged what I could and made some more pesto for the freezer. Some of it went to last night's dinner. I really liked the contrast between the savory pesto, chewy pasta, and crunchy sweet corn. If you'd rather not use chicken, or if you like the addition, add some lightly toasted walnuts or pine nuts. This is great with fresh ingredients, but you could also make it through the winter with frozen pesto and frozen corn.

1 lb uncooked pasta
3 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 cup pesto

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. About two minutes before it is done, add the corn.

Drain the pasta and corn, reserving a little of the cooking water, and return to the pot. Stir in the chicken and pesto, thinning with a little cooking water if desired.

Serves about 6.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shiitake Potato Pizza

This was really good. Thanks again, New England Wild Edibles, for the local mushrooms! The shiitake flavor shines here.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
2-3 medium potatoes, in 1/8-inch slices (peeling optional)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Liberally paint the pizza crust with olive oil (even if you are using a pre-baked crust). Set aside.

Cook the potato slices, by boiling, steaming, or microwaving, until just tender. Cool until they can be comfortably handled.

While the potatoes cool, heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and saute over medium-high heat for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and saute just until they start to become tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.

Arrange the potato slices on the pizza crust in concentric rings, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the mushroom mixture over the potatoes, then sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake about 15 minutes, until crust is done.

Serves 3-4.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thai Beef Stew

Yum! With local beef, potatoes, and onions available through much of the winter, I'll be making this again! At this time of year, you could brighten it up with some additional vegetables, like carrots or chopped red pepper, added near the end. You can get Thai curry paste (both red and green) at most grocery stores these days.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb stew beef, in bite-sized cubes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1-2 tsp Thai red curry paste, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
2 (14-oz) cans light coconut milk
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, sliced lengthwise
Water and/or beef stock
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
Roasted unsalted peanuts (optional)

Heat a the canola oil in a soup pot. Add the beef and brown all over. Add the cinnamon and cardamom and saute for a minute or two. Stir in the curry paste in water, then the coconut milk. Add the bay leaves, brown sugar, and salt. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, covered.

Add the potatoes and onion to the pot, plus enough water or stock to comfortably cover everything. Add the lime juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender, about another 15-20 minutes.

Add peanuts to bowls at the table if desired.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winter Squash with Cider Vinegar and Herbs

Small squashes like delicatas make for quick and easy preparation at any time, especially if cooked in the microwave. When I have a larger squash on hand, if I don't have any specific plans for it, I often cook the whole thing, mash the squash, and keep it in the fridge or freezer, using a bit at a time. Cooked squash will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for at least a week or two. I adopted this technique when I was getting a CSA share that included two or more squashes a week for months. I could take out a cup of cooked squash for pancakes or muffins, or put it on pizza or into a pasta dish, or heat some up to serve as a side dish like this one.

2 cups cooked and mashed winter squash
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or sage (or more to taste)

Heat squash through, then combine with all other ingredients. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot.

Serves 2-3.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Savory Grilled Green Beans

The pole beans in our garden are still producing, though they have slowed down considerably in the cooler weather. Still, I had enough collected in the fridge last night to make this, which we had alongside the lamb with parsley and garlic.

1 lb green beans, stemmed
olive oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the green beans in a bowl and generously drizzle with olive oil. Toss with the spices, salt and pepper, then let sit for up to an hour.

Grill beans in a grill basket over medium heat for 11-14 minutes, until just tender.

Serves about 4.

Lamb Chops with Parsley and Garlic

Last night we took advantage of the mild weather and grilled, then ate on the deck. Could be the last time for the season - we'll see if we get another warm spell.

Lamb is available year round in this area, and parsley and garlic are plentiful right now. If it's too cold to grill, try this under the broiler.

1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large or 8 small lamb chops

Combine the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers or a spoon, spread it generously all over the lamb. Let the lamb sit for up to an hour if you have the time.

Grill the lamb over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 130 degrees (rare).

Serves about 4.

Don't Forget to Check the Archives

I've been blogging here now for more than a full year, so if you're looking for recipes for a particular ingredient, don't forget to a) search for it by name in the search box and b) look through the recipes for this season last year. If you're getting a CSA share, you're probably swimming in winter squash right now among other things - there are lots of recipes for it on the site, posted last fall and winter, so check them out. And of course I'll be posting more as I come up with them.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How Do You Organize Your Freezer?

A full chest freezer in the fall is a beautiful thing. But since we only got the freezer late last fall, this is the first time it has been quite so full - and now I am struggling to figure out the best way to organize it so I don't have to take everything out to find what I want. Right now I have it full of big plastic bags that are full of one thing each (i.e. peaches in one, tomatoes in another). This method worked great with the freezer half full, but with it just about totally full, this means that getting to anything on the bottom (say, the bag of blueberries) means lifting out three or four bags of something else. It also means I have to remember where things are (though our freezer isn't that big, so it's not too hard to just look through bags to find what I want).

So, readers - some of you have undoubtedly been doing this a lot longer than I have. What's your method?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Local Wheat and Other Grains

With cooler weather, the baking season is upon us. I expect to find myself making bread a lot more often, not to mention muffins and so on. We are lucky in this area that there are some sources of local wheat.

Upinngil Farm in Gill has been growing wheat for years. At their farm stand, you can get whole wheat berries, whole wheat pastry flour, and whole wheat bread flour, as well as wheat bran.

Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield, which also sells at the Greenfield Farmers Market, has also been experimenting with grains including wheat. To my knowledge, Crabapple only sells whole wheat berries.

According to CISA, Four Star Farms in Northfield also sells wheat, barley, and buckwheat, which can be milled on site for an additional charge. I don't personally have experience with Four Star - if anyone does, please feel free to leave a comment sharing what you know!