October 30, 2010

Halloween Party Mix

It's Halloween, so you're bound to eat junk food, right? So why not make this candy mix? This combination of ingredients is very addicting, and this recipe makes a big bowl. So make sure you share some!

Halloween Party Mix

1 11-oz. pkg twist pretzels
1 7 oz. pkg. mini peanut butter filled butter-flavored crackers like Ritz)
1 c. dry roasted peanuts
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 10-oz. pkg. M&Ms
1 16-oz pkg. candy corn

In a large bowl, combine pretzels, crackers, and peanuts. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and soda (mixture will foam). Pour over pretzel mixture; stir until coated. Pour into greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes; stirring every 15 minutes. Break apart while warm. Toss with M&Ms and candy corn. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

October 26, 2010

CSA - Week 20

Last week of CSA: Pie pumpkin, lettuce, green pepper, squash, zucchini, green beans, assorted hot peppers, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, eggs, watermelon, and potatoes.

 I have a huge mound of potatoes leftover from weeks and weeks of CSA.  I needed something new to try,   and roasting potatoes on a bed of salt sounded interesting. These turned out simple but tasty.

Salt Roasted Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place 1-1/2 cups of coarse sea salt in an oven-proof pan that has a cover. Wash the potatoes and dry them with towels. Place the potatoes in a bowl and lightly cover them with olive oil. Place the potatoes, one by one, into the bed of salt, leaving room between them. Season them with another teaspoon or two of salt. Put the cover on the pan and roast them in the oven for 45 minutes. The potatoes are done when a knife slips into the potato with no resistance. Allow the potatoes to cool a bit and then remove them from the salt, brushing off the excess salt.

I found this great online article about lacto-fermentation as a preservation method. I thought I'd try it out. If it works, I'm definitely going to try and make kimchi. Instead of using whey, I opted to use the extra salt. But making whey is very easy, so try it if you want a guaranteed lacto-fermented end product.

note: Create whey by allowing plain yogurt to sit in a coffee filter or kitchen towel. The liquid that drains out is whey.

UPDATE 1/15/11: It's been several months since I made this salsa. I opened up the large jar of salsa the other day and it bubbled and fizzed! It worked! The salsa definitely has a tang, but inside a tortilla with other ingredients, I didn't notice. The big test: my husband didn't notice the difference in taste.

I will be trying out kimchi soon, now that I know lacto-fermentation is so easy.

Cultured Salsa
adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon via simplebites

4 medium tomatoes, about 2 pounds total
2 small onions, finely chopped
1-2 bell peppers, seeded
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (or not if you prefer more spice)
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
1/4 cup filtered water

If you prefer peeled tomatoes: score the bottoms, drop into boiling water for about 15 seconds, remove and place in ice water. The peels should come off easily.

Chop all ingredients by hand or with a food processor to desired consistency. Mix and place in a very clean quart-sized, wide mouth mason jar. Press down with a wooden spoon, adding more water to cover the vegetables. Be sure to leave 1-2″ head space.

Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days before transferring to cold storage.

October 24, 2010

Fudgy Brownies

Back in the day I used to buy brownie and cake mixes. I think brownies were the first item I used to make from a mix that I realized I could just as easily make from scratch. This brownie recipe couldn't be easier. You can even mix everything up in the saucepan.

For a more decadent, special occasion brownie, try these.

Fudgy Brownies

½ c. butter
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ¼ c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 c. coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350. Grease rectangular 13x9x2 pan. Heat butter and 1 c. of chocolate chips in 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted; remove from heat. Stir in sugar, flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and eggs until smooth. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake about 30 minutes or until center is set; cool completely. Cut into bars; store tightly covered at room temperature.

October 22, 2010

Cornbread Muffins with Flax

Neither my husband nor I care for cornbread. However, we both love these muffins. These are just slightly sweet and super moist. I love them with chili.

Cornbread Muffins with Flax
adapted from This Week for Dinner

1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Fill 12 lined or greased muffin cups with batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

October 21, 2010

CSA - Week 19

Week 19: Eggs, watermelon, zucchini, butternut squash, grape tomatoes, tomatoes, assorted hot peppers, yellow beans, potatoes, ornamental corn, mini pumpkins, and a jack-o-lantern pumpkin.  I gave the jack-o-lantern pumpkin to my friend to carve with her children.

This week, instead of going to the farmer's market to pick up the CSA share, the farmer invited us to their farm.  I am amazed that one family can keep all of it going.  They hire some help, but mostly they do all the work themselves.

These are rows and rows of strawberry plants.  25,000 strawberry plants that were planted by hand.  They'll grow over the winter and be kept warm with blankets.  They have a cannon machine nearby that makes a loud noise every few minutes at night to keep away the deer, who like to munch on the plants. I was too busy looking at animals and supervising pony rides with my friends' children to explore the greenhouses where many of the plants are grown.

October 19, 2010

Ravioli with Five Cheeses

This is the last of my string of Italian pasta dishes, for now, anyway.

I've attempted ravioli several times, but was never proud of the end result. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong...rolling the dough too thin. Leaving the dough thicker makes forming the ravioli much easier, as the dough doesn't tear and the ravioli doesn't break when boiling. Also, I used plenty of flour to dust the dough when rolling and forming the ravioli, which helped out too.

As you can see, I don't have a ravioli mold, so my ravioli are crude and irregular. They still taste fabulous, though. I formed the ravioli by rolling out a wide strip of pasta, adding scoops of filling to one side of the pasta strip, then folding over the pasta, pressing to seal, and cutting it into individual ravioli. Another idea would be to use a biscuit cutter to cut the ravioli.

Semolina flour is not required to make successful pasta. Feel free to substitute any other fresh pasta recipe in place of the Semolina Pasta recipe below. This cheese filling is very tasty, despite that I left out the gorgonzola cheese.

I highly recommend freezing any ravioli you won't eat that day. Spread uncooked ravioli on a baking sheet and stick in the freezer for a half hour or so. Then transfer to a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

UPDATE 2/5/2011: I made these ravioli again, this time with the gorgonzola cheese. I actually preferred them without the gorgonzola, which is a blue cheese. However, if you love blue cheese, then go ahead and add the gorgonzola.

Semolina Pasta
from Bob's Red Mill

2 cups semolina flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup to 1 cup water (as needed)
1 tb olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

On a flat work surface form a mound of the semolina, salt, add egg, 1/2 cup water and oil in center top. Mix to make a stiff dough. Add one tablespoon of water at a time while combining mixture, until desired consistency is achieved (moderately stiff dough). This is a very stiff dough due to the grainy texture of the semolina. If you find this dough too difficult for you to work with, wet your hands and continue kneading to the right consistency. Knead 10 minutes or until dough is elastic. Wrap dough in towel or place in plastic bag and let rest for 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface roll out to desired thickness and cut as desired.

Ravioli with Five Cheeses
from The Italian Dish

makes 50-60 ravioli

helpful equipment: a pastry bag or gallon sized zip lock, a ravioli mold, a rolling pin, a spritz bottle of water, a fluted pastry wheel

1 batch Semolina Pasta dough
2 ounces or 2 c. Parmesan
1 c. or 1 ounce Pecorino Romano
1 c. or 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
3/4 c. or 2 ounces gorgonzola
1 c. or 8 ounces ricotta
1 egg
salt and pepper

Make the pasta dough. While the dough is resting, make the filling:

Place the Parmesan and Pecorino Romano in a food processor and process until fine. Add the other cheeses, the egg and a pinch of salt and pepper and process until smooth. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a large tip, with the mixture and refrigerate. (If you don't have a pastry bag, just use a gallon size zip-lock and snip off a little of one corner). You can also simply fill the ravioli with a spoon, without using a pastry bag.

Make the ravioli (see this link for a photo tutorial):

Cut the pasta dough into three pieces. Keep the dough you are not using wrapped. Make sure your pasta rollers are on the #1 setting, the widest. Flatten your piece of dough and run it through the rollers. Flour it, fold it into thirds, and run it through again. Do this three or four times. Set the rollers to #2 and run the dough through that setting. Do not fold dough. Keep running it through the rollers until you get to setting #4 or #5. Avoid rolling the dough too thin. If you like thinner dough, use #5. Keep in mind as you are making the pasta sheets, that you want them as wide as possible so that they cover your ravioli mold. (If you are not using a mold, don't worry about that.) Take the sheets of pasta and lay them on a floured countertop. Cover the pasta sheets with a towel or plastic wrap, so they don't dry out while you are forming the ravioli.

Repeat with remaining dough until you have made all your pasta sheets. If you have a ravioli mold, flour it well. Lay one sheet of pasta on the mold, making sure the entire mold is covered. Take your pastry bag and squeeze out about a tablespoon of filling into each well. Spritz the pasta sheet with a little water. Lay the second sheet on top and run a rolling pin over to seal. Turn the mold over and release the ravioli. They will not be separated. Use a fluted pastry wheel to cut apart. Lay the ravioli on a floured baking pan and continue making ravioli until you've used all the pasta sheets.

You can store the ravioli on baking sheets in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Cover with plastic wrap. You can also freeze them on baking sheets and then stick them in zip locks. To cook after being frozen, do not defrost first.

To cook: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli in batches of about a dozen at a time. Bring the water back to a gentle simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. (If ravioli is frozen, cook about a minute more). Remove with a slotted spoon or handled strainer to a serving dish. Continue cooking the remainder of ravioli. Serve with any sauce you like.

October 16, 2010

Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins

Today is a perfect fall day. PERFECT! The sun is shining, the skies are clear, the leaves are turning gorgeous colors (see below - this is across the street from my house), and I've got these muffins to snack on.

Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins
adapted from Simply Recipes

2 1/2 cups grated fresh zucchini
1/2 cup grated apple
6 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
couple dashes of ginger
Zest of half of a medium orange or lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix in the grated zucchini and apple and then the melted butter. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the zest.

Line muffin cups with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among cups – I used a scant 1/4 c per muffin. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin and let cool another 20 minutes.

Makes approximately 18 muffins.

October 15, 2010

Gnocchi alla Romana

Crispy, pan-fried pasta dough with a hint of nutmeg? I knew this would be good the instant I spotted the recipe online. The dough was very easy to work with - I patted it flat with a wet wooden spoon and then cut it out with a biscuit cutter.

I served the gnocchi with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. Delizioso!

Gnocchi alla Romana
from Al Dente Gourmet

2 cups full fat milk
1 cup fine semolina flour
1 egg
1 bay leaf
salt, to taste
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
unsalted butter, for greasing and frying

In a saucepan add the milk, salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Remove the bay leaf and then slowly sprinkle the semolina over the milk, whisking energetically to prevent any lumps. Immediately lower the heat and cook –uncovered—for about 5-6 minutes or until the mixture is thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the egg, nutmeg and a little more salt if necessary.

Grease a baking sheet with unsalted butter and add the semolina mixture into it. Spread the mixture using a wet spatula till about 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Pat the sheet in the fridge and leave it for 1 hour. When ready, cut mixture into circles using 4 cm/ 1 in cookie cutter. Reshape scraps with your hands and cut out more semolina circles. Melt 2-3 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Place several gnocchi until golden and crisp from each side. Serve immediately.

Baked Variation: Grease a baking tray/dish topped with grated parmesan cheese and bake in a 400 oven until golden brown.

October 13, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

It's time for more pumpkin and spice, one of my favorite flavor combinations. The pumpkin in these pancakes isn't too overwhelming, though I couldn't tempt my husband with them. He has something against pumpkin. Too many scary jack-o-lanterns as a kid, I guess.

As the daylight hours are decreasing, many of my photos now have shadows as I'm snapping them in artificial light. I don't know anything about lighting or photography - can you tell?

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

1 ¼ c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
¾ tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. whole milk
¾ c. canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree
4 large eggs, separated
¼ c. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick). Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into batter in 2 additions. Brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches. Serve with syrup or plain yogurt.

October 12, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

This and the next few posts all fall into one of two categories: spiced baking or pasta. I guess the in-and-out fall weather has inspired me to do classic fall baking and warm, cheesy pasta dishes. Both make me very happy.

I think the only other time I have eaten white vegetable lasagne is the Stouffer variety at a church function. It was actually much better than expected. So homemade had to be amazing, right? Well, it was. Creamy, oozy goodness between fresh pasta (I'll post a recipe for fresh pasta in an upcoming post) and flavorful vegetables was heavenly. It was so gooey that I thought a photo of a hot piece of lasagne would be too sloppy. So this photo was taken of a cold piece, because I wanted the layers to show up.

I used carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper.  The recipe calls for fennel, which I didn't have, but would probably add an interesting flavor.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
adapted from Rachel Eats

2 medium carrots peeled and finely diced
2 medium zucchini finely diced
1 bulb of fennel, finely diced
2 medium sweet red peppers, deseeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
coarse salt
2 cups whole milk
1/4 c. plain flour
1/4 c. butter
freshly grated nutmeg
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded or fresh mozzarella, chopped or torn into little pieces
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
butter for dish and dotting on top
12 dried lasagne noodles

Dice the vegetables into little cubes and put them in a nice wide baking tray. Sprinkle them with coarse salt, minced garlic, and douse with oil. Stir to combine. On a baking sheet, roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes at 425° until they are soft, tender and just starting to turn golden. Set aside.

For bechamel: Warm the milk in a small pan but don’t let it boil. In another pan melt the butter over a low flame and add the flour, cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes. Remove both pans from the heat and slowly pour the milk into the butter and flour pan a little at a time, mixing well between each addition. Place the sauce back on the heat, add salt and a grating of nutmeg and keep stirring without interruption until the sauce is dense like thick cream. Set aside.

Boil the lasagne noodles as directed on package. Quickly lift the pasta onto a clean tea towels to dry.

Butter an 9 by 13-inch dish. Lay three sheets of lasagne on the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/3 of bechamel on the pasta, sprinkle with 1/2 of the roasted vegetables, 1/3 of the grated Parmesan, 1/2 of the mozzarella and several grinds of black pepper. Repeat this process again.

For the final layer, top with remaining noodles, then spread the remaining bechamel and Parmesan and dot with butter.

Cover the dish and allow the lasagne to rest for at least 2 hours and up to 12 in the refrigerator before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375° and bake the lasagne, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until a light golden crust forms on top.

Let the lasagne sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow it to firm up.

October 11, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

In my effort to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, I have had to expand my cooking repertoire. This recipe was part of that expansion. I'm not sure if I will make it again or not. It tasted good, but was a little different than my usual pasta dish: sweet! I definitely thought the sauteed chicken on the side helped cut the sweetness of the butternut squash sauce. I recently saw a similar recipe that added diced chicken and bacon, which sound excellent.

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce
from Simply Recipes via Good Life Eats

1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
8 ounces of penne pasta
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped shallots
1/2 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of half and half
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Water or broth as needed to thin the sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise in half and scoop out the guts and seeds and discard them. Pour 1/4 cup of water into a pyrex or ceramic baking dish and place the butternut squash halves cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the squash. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skins and purée with a or food processor. Discard the skins.

Fill a pot with water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Set over high heat to bring to a hard boil. Add the pasta and cook at a hard boil, uncovered until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a wide skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash purée and cook for about a minute, mixing it in with the shallots. Add the half and half, a tablespoon at a time, slowly stirring it in to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the nutmeg, sage, salt and pepper. Add water (or broth) to thin to the consistency you want. Take off heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Cover the pan to keep warm.

Check pasta. When ready (al dente) drain and plate. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with a little extra parsley and Parmesan. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

October 10, 2010

Triple Chip Cheesecake

I discovered this cheesecake recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine several years ago, and if I remember right, I think it was a reader submitted recipe. It has become my signature cheesecake. It's really not hard to make, but melted the three flavors of chips and stirring into the batter requires dirtying a lot of bowls. The butterscotch chip layer is the best part and gives this cheesecake a unique flavor.

Triple Chip Cheesecake
from Better Homes and Gardens

1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
½ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. cocoa
1/3 c. butter, melted

3 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. sour cream
3 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 c. each butterscotch, chocolate, and white
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300˚. Grease 9-inch springform pan.

Crust: Combine crumbs, powdered sugar, cocoa, and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 ½ inches up side of pan. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool in pan.

Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until creamy. Beat in sour cream, flour and vanilla. Add eggs; beat until combined. Melt butterscotch morsels in medium microwave-safe bowl at 70% power 1 minute; stir. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Stir 1 ½ c. batter into melted morsels. Pour into crust. Repeat procedure with semi-sweet morsels. Carefully spoon over butterscotch layer. Melt white morsels in small bowl as stated above. Pour melted morsels in remaining batter; stir. Carefully pour over semi-sweet layer, covering completely.

Bake for 70 to 75 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of cheesecake. Let stand 1 hour. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Optional topping: drizzle additional melted chips over cheesecake.

October 9, 2010

CSA - Week 18


In week 18 I received: zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, acorn squash, assorted peppers, radishes, yellow tomatoes, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, eggs and watermelon.

My only recipe to share is a basic tomato sauce. This recipe is super easy, and of course I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Peel the tomatoes by cutting an X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Run under cold water. Peel the skins off, cut out the stem part of the tomato, squeeze out some of the seeds, and puree in a food processor.

Basic Tomato Sauce
from Trattoria by Patricia Wells

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
sea salt to taste
one 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice or one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
several sprigs of fresh parsley, bay leaves, and celery leaves

In a large unheated saucepan, combine the oil, onion, garlic, and salt, and stir to coat with oil. Cook over moderate heat just until the garlic turns golden but does not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. If using whole canned tomatoes, puree the tomatoes first and add to the skillet. Crushed tomatoes can be added directly from the can. Add the herbs, stir to blend, and simmer uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove and discard herbs. The sauce may be used immediately, stored in the refrigerator for 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

October 6, 2010

Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas

I am usually very good about planning out a menu each Saturday, and then I go to the store and buy everything I need for the week. This works out well, though planning menus can be painful. It's totally worth it when I can come home from work and start right on dinner, because I know what to make and I have everything I need.

Occasionally, I don't plan. That's what happened last week. I knew I had a ton of food waiting for me, but I wasn't sure how it would all come together. In this situation, usually I make something not so good.

I surprised myself by making up a recipe and it turned out good. So good that my husband, who usually doesn't make that many comments about dinner, spoke up and told me these enchiladas were surprisingly tasty. I almost fell off my chair. How could a tortilla filled primarily with spinach and no meat be good? He did admit that he was super hungry, so maybe anything he ate would have tasted excellent. Still...

Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas

1 cup black beans
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/3 cup feta cheese, shredded
4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
enchilada sauce - see recipe below

Add the peppers and garlic to a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the peppers begin to slightly soften. Remove from heat. Combine peppers, spinach, black beans and cheese in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Spoon a little bit of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a baking dish – just enough sauce to create a very thin coating.

To form the enchiladas: Place a small handful of the spinach and cheese mixture onto each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with other tortillas. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Enchilada Sauce
adapted from Everyday Food by runningfoodie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 small chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon sauce (from a small can)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add flour, chili powder, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook for 1 minute. Add broth, chipotle and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water, and vinegar; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Spice Bread

I love classic pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. But I fell in love with this pumpkin bread with apples, too. The spice combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is common in recipes using pumpkin and apples, so pairing these fruits together just makes sense.

Sweet breads baked in mini-loaf pans are one of my favorite foods to give away. This recipe makes 4 mini-loaves and one standard loaf. Wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, this bread stores well in the freezer.

Pumpkin Apple Spice Bread
adapted from Recipes for IBS

3 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ginger
16 oz. can pumpkin or 2 c. homemade pumpkin puree
3/4 c. canola oil
2 1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)

1 Tbsp. flour
5 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350. Combine topping ingredients with a fork. Set aside. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended. In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs well with an electric mixer. Fold in apples. With a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring the batter by hand until well blended. Pour batter into two non-stick greased loaf pans. Sprinkle on topping. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean (bake mini loaves for 40 minutes). Cool on racks.

October 4, 2010

Fresh Edamame

A few weeks ago I saw these bean stalks at the farmer's market. I didn't even wonder what they were, but I overheard the farmer telling someone else that they were edamame. So I bought some and searched the internet for what to do. Of course, they really weren't that hard to prepare and turned out really yummy. I just popped them in my mouth like candy.

If you buy fresh edamame, it should be sold on the stalks like this. Otherwise pulling the pods off of the stalks opens the pods, so they won't stay fresh for too long.

Fresh Edamame

Remove pods from stalk. Boil a pot of salted water - one or two teaspoons for a large pot. When water is boiling, add the edamame pods. Test an individual edamame at around 5-6 minutes and gauge the firmness of the bean. Edamame beans should be firm, yet give to the teeth. Mushy beans means that they are over cooked. Pour beans into a colander. Salt to taste. Serve edamame in the pods, or remove beans from pods. Serve at room temperature or cold.

October 3, 2010

CSA - Week 17

Week 17 (almost done): Eggs, acorn squash, summer squash, assorted peppers, potatoes, honeydew melon, tomatoes, and pear tomatoes.

I guess I'm getting a little burned out on trying new recipes with my recurring CSA produce. Don't get me wrong; I've been eating it, but in kind of boring ways. For example, I ate the pear tomatoes and the honeydew melon plain. I froze the hot peppers and grated the summer squash to put in the freezer.

Here'a new egg recipe, though!  I really do love eggs.  A friend verbally told me about this recipe, and I'm sure I got it all wrong, but this is the type of recipe where there's a thousand ways to make it. But here's what I did, and it worked. My husband said he really liked it.

Spanish Tortilla

4 slices bacon (2 slices tastes just as good)
3 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold work well), peeled and cut in half-inch cubes
1/2 onion, diced
6 eggs
salt and pepper
chopped chives (optional)

In a non-stick skillet, fry the four pieces of bacon until cooked through. Remove the bacon from the pan. Once cool, crumble the bacon into small pieces.

If there's a lot of bacon grease left in the pan, you can remove some of it, but leave several tablespoons in the pan. Add the potatoes and onions and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir in bacon and chives, if using. Once potatoes and onions are done, pour the egg mixture over top. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes.

October 1, 2010

Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread isn't my favorite, though it's good every once in a while.  This chocolate version made the banana experience a whole lot more enjoyable.  

Cocoa Nana Bread
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 cup store-bought chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. At this point, the batter may look a little curdled -- it's okay. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 to 75 minutes) or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temp right side up.