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Friday, March 28, 2014

Vegan Tuscan Soup

This winter has been nothing but an array of sick...6 long months of virus after virus. Tonight another round has swept through the household, and I'm tired of it. In response to this sickening grip on our household, I decided to whip up this warm and hearty soup. If you have leftover rice and beans, this soup comes together in about 20 minutes. It is great for those with dietary restrictions, too - it's vegan and gluten free - and would be spectacular with tofu. If you're a meat eater, don't hesitate to stir in some cooked chicken or sausage for some added protein. All-in-all, this soup was a big hit with the kids and mister alike, it was slightly warm with spices, but not so much so that it made it uncomfortable. However, if you want a little kick, double the spices!

Vegan Tuscan Soup
(serves 8)

8 C Vegetable Stock
1 C rice (leftover rice would cut the time)
1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, sliced
2 C pinto beans (precooked)
3 C fresh spinach
1/2 C salsa
2 T dried thyme
1 T cumin
1 t Cajun spice

In a large stock pot add stock, rice, onion, garlic and spices and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the rice is just cooked. Stir in pinto beans, salsa and spinach and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with a thick slice of warm bread.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New England Winter Stew

I love my winter CSA more than any other season. When I first decided to do one, I was concerned that winter in Maine is not a viable time for growing food at the farm. I was quickly proven wrong. My first winter CSA was through Little Ridge Farms in Lisbon, and I was astonished at the variety of vegetables - from delicata to butternut squash, turnips, beets, onions, shallots, kale to collard greens. And I never got bored with them. My body craved them. And each winter I tingle with anticipation for creating recipes to keep my family warm in the cold New England weather while providing them with the plethora of vitamins our bodies crave. This year's holidays took a toll on us, berated by colds, a gastrointestinal virus, and the exhaustion from late nights and too much candy. We were in dire need of soup, a thick hearty stew that could warm us from the inside out. Serve this with a hearty chunk of bread and a small salad for a full meal.

(serves 4)
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 C sausage, cooked
2 C butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
1 fennel bulb, chopped, tops removed (for another use)
2 C cooked rice
4 C vegetable stock
4 T butter, unsalted
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1 sprig savory
1 apple

In large sauce pan put whole sausages in and cover with water. Cook 15 minutes over medium-high heat. Set aside and drain any remaining water from the pan. Return pan to medium low heat and melt 3 T of butter in it. Toss in onion and coat with the butter. Cook over medium low heat until the onions have caramelized. Add in garlic, squash, turnip and fennel and toss to coat with onions. Chop sausage into pieces and mix into veggies. Pour in vegetable stock. Stir in cumin and cayenne, and drop a sprig of savory in. Bring to a boil and drop to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour. Add in rice and cook for another 30 minutes. Mix in 1 T of butter, salt and pepper if desired.

To serve, scoop stew into a bowl and garnish with fresh chopped apple and fennel ferns.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ratatouille Casserole

This time of year is my favorite for the vegetables that are being harvested in New England. Eggplant, summer squash, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, kale....and all that says to me is Ratatouille. My CSA from Center Pond in Phippsburg, and my dear friend on the other side of town, have supplied me with all of these wonderful ingredients, right down to the basil and rosemary.

Recently I was diagnosed with an intestinal disorder, so I've had to modify my diet drastically. This was the first meal I ate that wasn't buttered toast or a banana, in almost a week. I am so happy to say that it 100% commits to the low FOMAP diet I am following, but is also amazingly delicious. We served ours over tricolor quinoa, but you could also do rice. The amounts are all rough approximations based on what I had on hand - use more or less of anything to suit your needs and tastes.

(photos by the wonderful bf)

(serves 4-6)

1C fingerling potatoes, sliced thinly
1C japanese eggplants, sliced thinly
1C summer squash, sliced thinly
1/2C carrot, sliced thinly
1 tomato, sliced thinly
1-2 C vegetable stock, depending on how soupy you want it
1/4C fresh basil, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
1/4C cheese, shredded
3T oil
1T salt
pepper to taste

Place eggplant in a pie plate and sprinkle with all the salt, place other veggies (except tomato, which is a fruit anyway) in another pie plate and nestle on top of the eggplant. Let sit 10 minutes before you start the
cooking process. This will press the water out of the eggplant, taking away any bitterness. In a cast iron deep skillet heat 1T oil over medium heat until sizzling, then add potatoes, spreading them around the bottom of the pan. Cook until they start to brown a bit, then flip them and cook until the other side is equally brown. Remove from heat and set aside. In same pan add another 1T oil and heat over medium heat until sizzling. Add in carrots and summer squash and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, dry off eggplant with a cloth removing salt and excess water. Toss in with the summer squash and carrots and stir. Let cook, stirring once or twice for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1T oil to the pan and heat. Place potatoes on the bottom of the pan evenly spaced. Layer with summer squash, eggplant and carrot. Turn off heat and pour in stock. Spread tomato slices over the top. Sprinkle with basil, lay the rosemary over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mushroom Zucchini Risotto

We got a nice big zucchini from our CSA at Center Pond Farm and I couldn't wait to cook it up. But there were so many options! Of course, my default is always risotto. This zucchini was big enough that I didn't have to use it all for one meal, so risotto has been made with two-thirds of the zucchini intact and waiting for another meal. This risotto was the first time my youngest son exclaimed that he now LOVED risotto, and that he would eat anything with mushrooms in it. I call that a success!

Mushroom Zucchini Risotto
(serves 4)

2 Portabella mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 T)
1 T olive oil
1 C arborio rice
1 C white wine/or stock (I had 1 C left-over chicken stock)
6 C stock, kept warm
1 C zucchini, shredded
2 T fresh sage, minced
2 T fresh parsley, minced
2 T butter
1/4 C parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large skillet heat butter and add mushrooms, cooking until soft. Remove mushrooms from pan & set aside. Add olive oil, onions and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add in arborio rice and mushrooms and stir to coat rice thoroughly. Saute for 2 minutes, then add in 1 C of wine or stock and start stirring. Continuing adding in 1 C of until al dente. With last cup of stock, add in zucchini, sage and parsley. Once that last cup has been absorbed and the rice is creamy and cooked, add in butter, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately with crusty bread, and salad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Veggie Mac 'n Cheese

I've been craving some homemade mac 'n cheese, but I've also been craving some vegetables with Spring here and the summer bounty so close. I rummaged through the fridge and found all the fixings to make a healthy mac 'n cheese - never mind all the cheese, it's healthy. I swear!! I counterbalanced it with broccoli and cauliflower, but I felt like it needed something more. I rummaged again and found some quinoa. Perfect!! The mother grain was sure to bring some health back to my ooey gooey cheesy dinner. And the upside is my kids love everything in this, like a party in our mouths. I served it up with a slice of warmed bread, and you definitely could (and probably) add a salad, too.

Veggie Mac 'n Cheese
(serves 6)

1 (13.5oz) package of whole wheat rotini
2 C shredded cheese (any type of your liking - I used brie & cheddar & parmesan)
2 C lightly steamed broccoli & cauliflower
1/2 C quinoa
4 T butter
4 T flour
1 C milk
salt & pepper

Boil rotini until al dente, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 C of water to boil and mix in 1/2 C of quinoa. Cook about 10 minutes on low, covered, until the moisture is absorbed. Mix pasta and quinoa together in a lightly buttered casserole dish. Stir in the broccoli and cauliflower, gently. In a saucepan, melt butter and add flour, whisking steadily over medium-high heat until a nice caramel color is achieved. Add milk in slowly and bring to a boil, whisking still. Let it boil for 1 minute then stir in cheese until melted, and a sauce consistency is reached. Add a dash of salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Mix into pasta, quinoa and vegetables. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hodge Podge Casserole

The other day I decided it was time to put together an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink meal. I have beans filling my cupboard from our Pantry Share we got in the fall from Wolf Pine Farm. I decided to make those the base of the casserole, then clean out the cupboards and fridge from there. What I ended up with was a nice Tex-Mex kind of meal that was incredibly filling a versatile. I served it up with fresh shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, and some homemade hot sauce. Delicious!

Hodge Podge Casserole
(Serves 6)

4 C of beans (we used a mix of black and pinto)
1 C cooked brown rice
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 T garlic, sliced
1/2 package of polenta (the type that comes in a tube, or make your own)
1/2 C nutritional yeast cheese (you can replace this with any type of cheese)
9 taco shells, broken into pieces
1 C cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 T olive oil
1 T chili powder
1 t garlic salt
salt & pepper, to taste
bacon grease (or butter)

Grease a large glass casserole dish with bacon grease and place slices of polenta along the bottom. Heat oil over medium heat, then saute peppers, onions and garlic until soft. Stir in chili powder, garlic salt and nutritional yeast, then gently stir in rice. Place that layer over the polenta, then pour beans over that. Sprinkle with 1/2 the cheddar cheese, some salt and pepper. Cover with broken taco shells, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake for 45 minutes in 400 degree oven, covered. Then remove cover and bake another 15 minutes, to crisp up the top.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bacon Vegetable Soup

There's been a little illness going around the house the last few weeks - stomach bug, head cold and body aches. When I'm sick, all I want to do is eat soup....lots and lots of soup. Last night I came home to a grumpy and sick boyfriend and decided he needed a good dose of soup to lift his spirits. I looked around the refrigerator and cupboards and came up with this soup, full of rich broth, hearty vegetables and bacon. I served it with a loaf of homemade cornbread and watched as the soup was eagerly devoured by all. This is the perfect soup for saying goodbye to winter, root vegetables, and illness, and hello to spring!

Bacon Vegetable Soup
(serves 4-6)

6 slices bacon, raw
4 slices bacon, cooked
1 C onion, chopped
2 T butter
1-2 C potato, cut into 1" pieces
1 C carrots, sliced
2 C spinach, chopped
8 C stock/broth
garlic salt & pepper to taste

Cook 4 slices of bacon in the oven set at 400 degrees until crispy. Set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the raw bacon for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Stir in onions and butter and continue cooking for about 10 - 15 minutes, until a nice sweet aroma is being released by the onions. Stir in potatoes and carrots, the broth. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer and cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in spinach. Chop cooked bacon and stir into the soup right before serving. Season with garlic salt and pepper.

Spicy Bacon Cheddar Cornbread
(makes 2 mini loaves)

1 C cornmeal
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C milk
1 egg
1 T bacon grease (or vegetable shortening)
1 C cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 T hot sauce or chopped jalapenos (we used some chunky spicy pepper relish my boyfriend made)

Put 1/2 T of bacon grease in each mini loaf pan and put in 400 degree pre-heated oven. Meanwhile, mix cornmeal, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Add in milk and egg and stir thoroughly. Then stir in cheese, bacon and hot sauce until well combined. Pour into hot mini loaf pans and bake for 30 minutes.