Sunday, January 31, 2010

Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw

Another winter slaw...this one very pink. It has a nice crunch and mild kick from the dressing. These slaws keep well in the fridge for a few days, so you can make a large batch and eat it with dinner over a couple days.

1 small-medium heat red cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp spicy mustard
1-2 tsp salt

Combine the cabbage, apple, and onion in a large bowl and fluff with your fingers or toss well with a spoon to separate all the strands.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl or jar and mix well. Pour over salad and toss to thoroughly coat everything. Let slaw sit for an hour or so before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Lamb Stew with Tomatoes and White Beans

I like to make meat stews on the weekend, when I have time to let them simmer properly. This one goes together fairly quickly, then bubbles happily away by itself while you go do something else. I used tomatoes that I froze last summer, thawed in the microwave, and their liquid. You could also add a little stock and/or red wine if you like.

1 lb stew lamb, trimmed of excess fat and connective tissue and cut into bite-sized pieces
olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups crushed or chopped tomatoes and their liquid (frozen or canned)
1 bay leaf
1/2 - 1 tsp dried thyme
3 cups cooked white beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Pour off most of the fat, then add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about an hour.

Add the beans at the end of the cooking process, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves about 4.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pesto Pizza with Egg on Top

I had a crepe kind of like this a few years ago on a trip to Southern France - the crepe came with Camembert instead of mozzarella, which is what I would have done if local Camembert were to be had this time of year. The pesto came out of my freezer, and I reveled in every bite. We haven't had any basil pesto in a while and I always forget exactly how much I love it.

1 14-inch pizza crust (whole wheat is nice)
olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto
2-3 oz. mozzarella, in small chunks
3-4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the crust lightly with olive oil, then spread the pesto over it. Dot with the chunks of mozzarella. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove pizza from oven and carefully crack the eggs over the top, evenly distributed. Even more carefully, put the pizza back back in the oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes, until the eggs are cooked; the whites should be set but the yolks should still be quite gooey.

Serves 3-4.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making Yogurt

I got a Yogotherm for Christmas and have been making 2-quart batches of yogurt at home about once a week ever since. It's easy, it's cheap, and the yogurt has been fantastic--thick, creamy, smooth, and with great flavor. I'm still happy to rave about our local yogurt producer, Sidehill Farm, which is amazing - but at the rate we go through yogurt, it has been getting expensive.

Here's how I do it:

1. Heat 2 quarts of milk to 180-185 degrees F (needless to say, I use local milk; usually from Mapleline Farm). I do this in the microwave (it takes about 13 1/2 minutes in mine; the first few times I did it in small increments to figure it out).

2. Place bowl of hot milk in a second large bowl of cold water and cool to 120 degrees F. (This takes about 13-14 minutes as well.)

3. Place culture in the inner pail that comes with the Yogotherm - I use 4 Tbsp of the previous batch of yogurt, reserved ahead of time, or of yogurt bought at the store. Pour milk into the pail. Optional: add 1/4 - 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup. Mix well. Place lid on pail and put it in the Yogotherm. Let sit on the counter for 9-10 hours to incubate (I prepare it before bed and leave it overnight).

4. Remove pail from Yogotherm and refrigerate. Makes 2 quarts.

There are, of course, plenty of ways to make yogurt without the Yogotherm incubator, but I like it because it's simple and easy and uses no electricity. It's available from New England Cheesemaking Supply in Ashfield (the same place I took the cheesemaking class). It comes with some culture, and you can buy more online, but really there's no reason to since you can just use your prior batch and occasionally some store-bought yogurt to refresh the culture.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Butternut Barley Pilaf

I found this a little addictive. The flavors and textures are beautifully complementary. A food processor with a grating attachment makes quick work of the squash. While it is not strictly essential to use butternut, I find it is best for peeling and has a good texture.

1 cup dry pearl barley
3 cups water or stock (chicken or veggie)
olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1/2 cup frozen parsley (or fresh)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the barley and water or stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the barley is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. While the barley cooks, prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat some olive oil in a very large skillet. Add the garlic and shallots and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the shredded squash and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until it is all tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and remove from heat.

When the barley is done, combine it with the squash mixture in a large bowl and mix well. Serve hot.

Serves about 6.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is a traditional dish much like shepherd's pie, but made with ground beef instead of lamb. Traditionally it is made with carrots and celery, but you can vary the vegetables with whatever you have on hand. I like the colorful result with the combination below - all items I had in my freezer - but you could also use celeriac, turnip or rutabaga, cabbage, green beans, peas, whatever. I usually end up making this from scratch, but it's a great way to use leftovers, whether ground meat, cooked veggies, or potatoes. It would be awesome with garlic mashed potatoes (just add roasted garlic when you mash the potatoes).

This makes a generous batch; feel free to halve it.

2 - 2 1/2 lbs potatoes, in chunks (peeled or not as you choose)
1 Tbsp butter (or more to taste)
1/4 cup milk (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
1 cup diced red pepper (frozen is fine)
1 cup diced green pepper (frozen is fine)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (frozen is fine)
2 lbs ground beef (thawed if necessary)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup beef or veggie stock

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a 9x13-inch baking pan ready.

Begin by getting the potatoes going: bring them to a boil in a large pot of salted water and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. When they are done, drain and mash with the butter and milk. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

While the potatoes cook, heat the olive oil in a very large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the carrot. Saute an additional 3-4 minutes, then stir in the red pepper, green pepper, and corn. Cook over medium heat until tender. Add the beef and raise the heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until beef is browned and cooked through. Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and veggie mixture and stir it in, then add the stock. Simmer, stirring periodically, for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit.

Spread the beef mixture evenly into the baking pan. Top with mashed potatoes in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and potatoes begin to brown.

Serves 6-8.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Irish Parsnip Apple Soup

Another pureed root vegetable soup, this one a traditional Irish winter recipe. Serve with popovers or crusty bread.

2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 - 2 lbs parsnips, peeled and sliced (woody cores removed as needed)
1 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Water or stock (chicken or veggie)
Milk or cream (optional)

Melt the butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the parsnips and potatoes and saute, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes. Add the apples and saute an additional two minutes or so. Add the sage, nutmeg, cloves and salt and stir to distribute well. Add enough water or stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until parsnips and potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes).

When the vegetables are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender, or do it in batches in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add a little milk or cream if desired, and/or additional water or stock to achieve the desired consistency.

Serves 4-5.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Fare Workshops

The Greenfield Winter Fare is coming up on Saturday, February 6 at Greenfield High School from 10-2. Last year it reportedly attracted 800-1,000 people, and I would expect at least that many this year. Apparently the Northampton Winter Fare brought in close to 1,500. Get there early for the best stuff!

In addition to lots of local food, there will be a bartering area, a place for recipe swaps and discussion, and several great workshops - one of which will feature yours truly along with Juanita Nelson. Our workshop is called Winter Riches: Tips and Ideas for Eating Locally Through the Snowy Months and will meet from 10:15-10:45. See the Winter Fare website for details on the other workshops and schedule. Topics of other workshops include home canning, making cheese and yogurt, backyard sugaring, growing sprouts, and storing food through the winter.

Slow Cooker White Bean, Tomato, and Fennel Stew

We've had such an abundance of standard winter vegetables that I have hardly touched the stores in my freezer so far (except for fruit for holiday pies!). But this was an easy freezer-based meal, simple and satisfying. You can serve this on its own or over rice; brown rice works nicely.

You can use canned or frozen tomatoes. If you use frozen ones, let them thaw overnight before putting them in the slow cooker. It's not hard to remember to do so, since you have to soak the beans overnight, too.

1 1/2 cups dry white beans (such as navy or great northern)
3-4 cups crushed or coarsely chopped and seeded tomatoes (canned or frozen)
1-2 cups chopped frozen fennel
1 medium onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight in several times their volume of water. In the morning, drain and rinse them, then put them in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, along with the fennel (which can go in frozen), onion, bay leaves, and basil. Add enough water to just cover the beans. Cook on High for 6-8 hours, until beans are tender.

When beans are cooked, add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Local pork is always in season, and it goes beautifully with apples in a classic combination. If you don't have apple cider on hand, you can skip it--just use a little more of the olive oil.

3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup apple cider
1-2 Tbps olive oil
2 large pork chops (bone-in)
2 medium apples, cored, in 1/2-inch crescents
1 medium red onion, sliced lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (unless you are preparing the chops ahead of time).

Combine the garlic, sage, salt, pepper, cider, and olive oil in a small bowl or jar. Generously brush the chops all over with it (you won't use it all). Toss the apples and onions with the remainder. If you have time, let the chops sit in the marinade for a while (refrigerate if more than 30 minutes or so).

Place the chops in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Surround them with the apples and onions. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the interior temperature reaches at least 137 degrees. If desired, finish very quickly under the broiler.

Serves 2-4.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sesame Mustard Slaw

This recipe, slightly adapted, comes from Didi Emmons's excellent Vegetarian Planet. Didi loves slaws and this book has a whole section of them. At a time of year when cabbage is more readily available than fresh salad greens, slaws are a welcome way to use them. This one is fantastic. For my own contributions, see the variation ideas.

6-8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1 large carrot, grated
1 1/2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Combine the cabbage, onion, and carrot in a large bowl and fluff with your fingers to separate and mix all the pieces.

In a jar or small bowl, combine all other ingredients except the sesame seeds. Pour over the veggies and toss to coat. Cover the slaw and refrigerate for at least one hour to let the cabbage soften and the flavors mingle.

Just before serving, lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet. Toss with the salad and serve.

Serves about 6.

Variations: There is no need to limit this to cabbage, or even to use cabbage at all. The dressing goes well with other types of winter vegetables. Try combining shredded carrots and raisins with the dressing (sesame seeds optional). Or use apple instead of carrot in the cabbage version. Or try a combination of shredded carrot and celeriac. Yum!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pizza with Parsnips and Blue Cheese

Well, dear readers, with all my travels it has been a thin month so far for recipes. But now I am home again and hopefully not going anywhere again for while. With that, here's a tasty new pizza.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1-2 tsp butter
3-4 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced in thin rounds (woody cores removed if needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1-2 oz. crumbled local blue cheese of your choice
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet, then add the parsnips. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender (7-10 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza crust, then top with parsnips. Sprinkle with blue cheese, then top with mozzarella. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Traveling Again

I am off again for another week, this time skiing in Vermont. More posts coming when I return!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Enterprise Farm Locavore Pancake Breakfast

Enterprise Farm in Whately, which operates the Food Shed winter market with local and East Coast regional produce, is holding a locavore pancake breakfast on Jan. 30 to benefit the Northampton Survival Center. Details here.

The farm also offers CSA options year round. The winter/spring season has already started, but pro-rated shares are still available.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Northampton Winter Fare - Saturday

Northampton's first Winter Fare is happening this Saturday! It's from 10am - 2pm at Smith Vocational School on Route 9. It's sure to be a big event, so get there early for the good stuff. Local farmers will likely be selling an array of winter storage crops along with greenhouse-grown greens for cooking and salads, maple syrup, bread, cheese, etc. There will also be an opportunity to barter your own stored or preserved foods with others. I can't make it myself (and truth be told, I am still awash in local veggies from our last CSA box and final garden harvest of carrots and rutabagas, not to mention all that is in the freezer), but I look forward to hearing about it from anyone who goes!

According to CISA, there is also a one-day market scheduled for this Saturday in Gill:
Gill Farmers' Market
January 9, 2010 - One Day
Gill Elementary School, 48 Boyle Road
Contact: Steve Damon at (413) 863-2850

And, of course, the Greenfield Winter Fare is coming up Feb. 6 - so get that on your calendar too!

Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

This is an update on a recipe I posted about a year ago for Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips. It turns out this works well with any root vegetable that is on the sweet side - so not just parsnips and sweet potatoes, but also carrots, turnips, and rutabagas. It might even be good with roasted potatoes (you'd probably need to adjust the times), but I haven't tried that yet.

If you like the flavor combination, this could also serve as a glaze for roasted winter squash.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Barley and Root Vegetable Soup

I love barley's nutty chewiness in soup. And barley vegetable soup is a classic. Simple and warming for a cold winter night.

1 Tbsp butter
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small celeriac root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
2-3 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
3/4 cup dry lentils
Water or stock (veg, chicken, or beef)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sherry
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes, celeriac, carrots, barley, and lentils, then enough water or stock to cover with an inch or so additional on top. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the lentils, barley, and veggies are all tender (20-30 minutes).

When everything is tender, add the soy sauce, sherry, and pepper. Taste and add salt if desired. Serve hot.

Serves about 6.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Celeriac Shiitake Chowder

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to another year of the Happy Valley Locavore.

Give this chowder a try even if it sounds odd to you - it's delicious. The recipe is adapted from one in Deborah Madison's Local Flavors.

Though optional, this is particularly good with the chowder ladled over small mounds (1/4-1/2 cup) of cooked wild and/or brown rice in the bottom of the bowl. I made it with a mix of wild, brown, and other rices that is available at Green Fields Market. If you serve it this way, get the rice cooking before you work on the rest of the soup so that it is ready when the soup is done.

2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cups celeriac in 1/2-inch cubes (peeled first)
1 medium potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1-2 frozen parsley ice cubes
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped dried shiitake mushrooms
Water or vegetable stock
2 cups milk (use whole for an extra-creamy chowder, but even skim works)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a soup pot. Add the onion, celeriac, potato, parsley, and bay leaf and saute over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped dried shiitakes and enough stock or water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

When the vegetables are tender, you can optionally use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup (do not fully puree). Stir in the milk and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve hot, ladled over cooked whole grain rice if desired.

Serves about 4.