Shepherd’s pie is comfort food–traditionally lamb in a sauce, topped or wrapped in mashed potatoes. Since many of us try to limit our starch consumption, I thought I would try to make shepherd’s pie using mashed cauliflower. I also used ground beef, since it’s easier to come by grass-fed ground beef than naturally-raised lamb. The second way to make this recipe is with mashed butternut squash. Make two recipes of the filling and make both–you’ll have dinner for another day! Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with a spaghetti squash, or you’re tired of serving it with marinara sauce, here’s a recipe for you. It’s special enough for company, and simple enough for every day. Based on the classic spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti squash is roasted in the oven, and finished off with a sauce of garlic, leeks, white wine, parmesan and a bit of bacon.
You know it’s fall when your share has winter squash in it. Last week we got Yugoslavian finger squash, this week it’s butternut–my favorite! If you’re not familiar with cooking fresh winter squash, they can all be cooked by splitting in half, taking out the seeds, and baking in a 350-degree oven, cut-side down on a baking sheet (lined with foil, if you like) for 45 to 60 minutes. You can turn them cut-side up after 30 minutes and fill the cavity with butter and brown sugar, or soy sauce and lemon juice. The squash is done when it gives easily when you poke it with your (oven-mitted) finger. Butternut squash is particularly versatile, and can be prepared in a number of ways. My mother used to peel it, pressure cook it, then mash it with butter, salt and brown sugar and put the mixture in a casserole in the oven–is this anybody else’s traditional family Thanksgiving side dish?
There are a lot of recipes out there for squash soup–I like to put curry in mine. (Saute some onions in olive oil until soft, peel and cube the squash, saute the cubes with the onions, add chicken or veggie broth, curry powder or (better) paste, simmer until the squash is soft and falling apart, puree with a stick blender or in a food processor. You can also add chopped fresh tomatoes for a brighter flavor).
Here’s a savory squash-apple combination that I adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
1 pound yellow onions
3 tbsp olive oil
1 pound butternut squash
1 pound fresh apples
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage ( you can use 1/2 tbsp rosemary if you don’t have sage)
1/2 cup sherry
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago, or other sharp, dry cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the onions, cut in half and cut them in very thin half-moon slices. Put 2 tbsp of the oil in a skillet or wok and saute the onions with a little salt over medium heat until soft, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, peel the squash, cut it in half and take out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/8″ slices and set aside. Peel, core and cut the apples into wedges or 1/8″ slices and set them aside. When the onions are soft, add the sherry and sage to the pan and let it cook until most of the liquid has boiled away.
In a 2 1/2 quart shallow baking dish ( I used a souffle dish because I didn’t have one that big that was shallow) layer the squash slices, and sprinkle with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Cover with the onion mixture, then top with the apples slices. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Take the foil off and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes until the cheese is melted and brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Juicing is a delicious and healthy way to use up fruits and vegetables, even some that are a little past their prime for cooking or eating out of hand. Here are my favorite recipes for juices using some of our share items: Watermelon Limeade, Carrot-ginger juice, and Drink your Greens Juice. Some of the recipes use a juicer; one can be made in a food processor or a blender.
If you don’t own a juicer, you may want to consider it. There are lots of brands out there–we have an old Champion centrifugal juicer, and it just keeps going and turning out terrific juice! If you’d like to comment with your favorite brand or model of juicer, it would be fun and helpful to your fellow readers!
We had the great good fortune to be able to attend the Farm Dinner on September 22nd. (There is one dinner left on Sept 29, tickets available here.) The long table, gleaming in the afternoon sunlight with glints of flatwear and crystal, curved through the farmhouse grounds, near apple trees laden with fruit.
After appetizers and drinks, we were invited on a tour of the farm. Everyone piled into the painted school bus, and we bumped over the farm roads, looking at fields of corn, cabbage and tomatoes. Our tour guide told us fun facts about the farm. She’s a former flight attendant following her dream of working with the land and growing food. All the folks I met who worked at the farm shared a love of the land and farming. There were volunteers working in the tomato fields as we went by, and we cheered for them and for their work.
Back at the farmhouse, the table was beautifully set, with carrot decorations (yes, we ate them!), flowers, menus, and little pumpkins to set the tone for the first day of autumn. The guest chef, Greg Soukup (from Blue Sage Catering & Cafe in Colorado Springs) made a mouth-watering caprese salad for another appetizer on the table. After introductions of farm staff (and Mr. Andy Grant in his traditional kilt), Chef Greg gave us a rundown on the deliciousness to come: a trio of fresh salads, featuring kohlrabi, carrots, onions and cucumbers, then ham, pork, sausage and bacon stewed with beans in a North American Feijoada (vegetarians had a separate dish), colorful cauliflower, fresh breads and butter, and for dessert, poached pears with hazelnut chocolate.
As the sun went down, we ate, drank and socialized. Volunteers serving at the dinner lighted candles in mason jars hanging from the trees. Guinea fowls flew up on the roofs of the farm buildings and greeted the sunset with their exotic cries. (Look in this photo–there are four on the roof).
The mood was convivial and friendly, with the dishes served family style and passed around the table. There was never any danger of going without or not having enough of any item–the servers were attentive and careful to make sure that everyone had all they wanted.
We drove up from Colorado Springs for the dinner, a two-hour drive, and stayed in a small hotel on Mulberry Drive that night. It was well worth the drive, and I highly recommend the overnight stay, although we were finished around 8 and could easily have driven home.
Don’t miss this opportunity. You won’t regret it. Tickets are available on the Grant Farms website here.
I’ve been waiting and waiting for the kohlrabi season to start. Since it’s a late summer crop, evening temperatures are usually cool enough to use the oven, and that’s my favorite way to prepare this versatile vegetable.
Kohlrabi is a relative of cabbage (and broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts), and grows just above ground. It is mild flavored, and delicious raw in salad (like jicama), chunked in soups and stews (like a turnip), or roasted until carmelized in the oven (like nothing else!). Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, all–just a quick plug for Local Food Week in Colorado Springs, which is going on now. Grant Farms is participating in several of the events, and they’re all about celebrating local food. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come out to some of the events.
Here’s a schedule on the Local Foods Colorado Springs blog:
Applesauce is a favorite of mine, and a great kid snack. Over the years I’ve learned the easiest way to make no-sugar-added homemade applesauce. This recipe is for peach applesauce, and is easily adaptable to a variety of fresh fruits, so you can make your favorite blends. Get creative!
Today I got my first preserving share veggies–22 pounds of wax beans. They look perfect and taste great, even raw, but my plan is to freeze them for summer goodness all winter long. Here’s a guide to freezing all kinds of fruit and especially veggies, and some shortcuts that really help out.
A good resource for both canning and freezing guidelines is the Ball Blue Book guide to canning and preserving, including freezing, dehydrating, and canning instructions and recipes.
The season is here for lots and lots and LOTS of zucchini, a summer squash that is legendary for producing beyond the average cook’s capacity to keep up. This recipe for fritters uses 3 medium zucchini, and can be made gluten free and egg free for people with allergies. It has small amounts of feta cheese and parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh herbs for a big flavor. I baked the fritters in the oven, but they can be pan fried as well. Frying increases the amount of oil in the finished product and gives a lovely, crispy exterior.