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Monday, December 12, 2011

Honey Teriyaki Stir Fry

I've had some kohlrabi in my fridge for about 3 weeks and have been trying to think of a fun way to cook them up. I also found some leeks from Goranson farms at the Bath Natural Market, and had some dried porcini mushrooms from my summer CSA. I put it all together and came up with a stir fry - one of my favorite hodge podge meals. I also had some egg roll wrappers that I quickly filled with some cabbage and carrots....A power-veggie packed dinner.

Honey Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C honey
2 T ketchup

Mix all ingredients until blended. Set aside.

Stir Fry
1 C porcini mushrooms (or any mushroom of choice)
2 small kohlrabi, peeled & sliced into matchsticks
1 leek, white part only, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C kale, chopped
2 T oil
1 T butter
1/2 block of tofu, cubed
2 T tumeric
1/4 C flour
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, tumeric and pepper together until well blended. Toss tofu into flour  mixture until thoroughly coated. Lightly oil a baking pan and add tofu. Bake 10 minutes, turn, and bake 5 more minutes. Set aside.

In a large pan heat 1 T oil over medium heat and saute kale until bright green, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Melt butter in pan and add mushrooms, stirring for 3 minutes. Add leeks, garlic and kohlrabi and saute for 5 minutes. Add in kale, tofu and teriyaki sauce and turn heat to medium low. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

Egg Rolls
6 egg roll wrappers
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
1 T olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil over medium heat and add cabbage and leeks. Saute 5 minutes until soft, then toss in carrot, soy sauce and fish sauce. Stir and saute 2 minutes, then add pepper. Put about 2 T of mixture into each roll and fold corners and roll tightly. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place egg rolls seam side down. Bake 7 minutes, flip and Bake another 3-5 minutes, until crispy. Serve with dipping sauce - either sweet and sour or soy sauce.

Pumpkin Risotto

After looking back on all my risotto recipes, I have decided that the first cookbook I try to write will be dedicated to this delicious meal. Risotto, year round, with seasonal and local foods. Sounds like a winner to me. If there was a risotto cookbook out there, I would buy it....but then again, I'm obsessed with those plump, moist, creamy grains of rice.

I had some left-over pumpkin from something else I made, and couldn't resist combining the two. Pumpkin is creamy. Risotto is creamy. It seemed perfect. Even my kids, who are adamant that they hate squash even though the eat it all the time (in my sneaky chef ways), devoured this meal. They even exclaimed that I make the best food ever. And this was not one of those times I cooked an ingredient into a meal without telling them. My 5 year old helped me stir the risotto (the most important job), and he saw me poor the pumpkin in. It was just that good....even knowing it had pumpkin in it, they licked their plates clean. This will be in my winter rotational menu to use up all those delicious squash I'll be getting from my winter CSA at Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon.

Pumpkin Risotto Serves 4
1/2 small pumpkin, baked or steamed, then mashed
1 C arborio rice
1 C white wine
4-5 C stock
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/4 C parmesan cheese (fresh is best - if you don't have any, use another type, avoid powdered parm)
salt & pepper

In a large pan heat oil over medium-low heat. Add in onions and garlic, stir to coat with oil, and saute for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, heat stock to a boil then lower to a simmer. Add rice to onions and garlic and stir. Saute for 2 minutes, just until a golden color emerges from rice. Add wine and start stirring. Slowly add about 1 cup of stock when liquid in pan is absorbed. Stir constantly. The rice should be al dente when done, taste it throughout the cooking. When adding the final cup of stock, add the pumpkin. Stir thoroughly until done. Add butter and cheese, salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.*

We had ours on a bed of sauteed kale, which was divine. The risotto can also be a stand alone meal, served alongside some meat, or a salad and bread. Whichever way you have it, enjoy the creamy goodness of the pumpkin.

*It is important to not let risotto sit or it will become rubbery and gooey.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Quinoa is one of my favorite foods. It's a Peruvian grain that can be used in anything - from soups, to casseroles, even ground up as flour. The Incas refer to it as chisaya mama - the mother of all grains. It has a nice pop to it and is incredibly filling. If I want my kids to eat something, adding Quinoa is a sure way to do it.

I also love squash. Which is good because this time of year my house is full of it. I get a fall and winter CSA that load my counters with butternut, acorn, and delicata squash. Their bright orange and yellow flesh insure you're getting loads of vitamin C during the drab winter months when your body needs it most. My kids aren't huge squash fans, but that's where the quinoa came in....

I baked up a nice juicy butternut squash that was so fresh my knife slipped through it with the greatest of ease. After scooping out the seeds to roast of later, I popped it in the oven and waited for my house to fill with that familiar scent of roasting squash. While it was cooking, I got to work on the filling. I quickly looked around my counters and fridge and settled on apples as the main ingredient. What's more fall than an apple. I have been lucky enough to still have some local apples so I thought I would dice them up and make a perfectly quaint fall meal.

Apple, Brie & Quinoa Stuffed Squash (serves 4-6)
1 medium butternut squash
1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C vegetable stock/water
2 small apples, peeled and diced
1/2 C brie
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut-side up in a baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and scoop out flesh, leaving a thick layer inside the shell still. Meanwhile, add quinoa to stock/water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. While that is cooking, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and spread out evenly. Once they start to turn light golden, turn heat down to medium low and cook, stirring often, until they are a caramel color. Set aside. When quinoa is done, fluff and toss in squash that was removed from skin, apples, brie and 2 T balsamic vinegar. Fill the squash halves with quinoa mixture, pressing down gently. If there is any left over, pack it around the squash in the baking dish. Sprinkle squash halves with caramelized onions. Drizzle remaining balsamic vinegar over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to oven and cook 5 minutes, just until everything is warmed through. Serve with some crusty bread and a salad.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

In my fall CSA I had signed up for two chickens. I thought it would be a good dry run for the turkey, since I haven't cooked a whole bird in at least 8 years. The best part about this was the meat left on the bones after the meal. This week I decided to turn it into soup. We have all had a bout with the flu in the last week, so I thought a good serving of veggies and broth was just what we needed to get our immune systems back up and running. Also, I haven't had chicken noodle soup in a decade - I was never a fan before - and the kids have probably never had it. I thought this was a good time as any to introduce them. It was a huge success with everyone, and I cannot wait to make a turkey rice soup next week.

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 C cooked chicken, chopped
3 leeks, green and white parts sliced thin
2 large carrots, sliced into 1/4 rounds
2 salad turnips, chopped
6 leaves napa cabbage, leaves and stems separated and chopped
6 C broth
1 1/2 C uncooked pasta (noodles, shells, anything small and bite sized)
salt & pepper

1. Add broth to a large soup pot and turn to medium heat. Add carrots, turnips, leeks and stems of cabbage. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and drop to a simmer for an hour. Add in chicken, cabbage leaves and pasta. Bring to boil again, cover and drop to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until pasta is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a crusty roll and enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


A friend gave me a set of doughnut pans to try my hand at baked doughnuts. I made a double batch of spiced doughnuts with maple cream cheese frosting for Halloween. I brought 1/2 to a party I went to and 1/2 to my son's scout party. They were a huge hit. Now I have to return the pans tomorrow, so I decided to whip up one more batch before I see them go. It is totally possible to not use doughnut pans for these, too, so don't worry if you're not so lucky to already have these. However, I would suggest buying some because they make the most beautiful easy doughnut. I know what I want for Christmas....

Carob Doughnuts
2 C flour
4 T carob powder (you can replace this with the same amount of cocoa powder)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/3 C sugar
1 t nutmeg
1 t salt
4 T butter
1/2 C buttermilk (if you don't have any, add 1 T to regular milk and let sit 10 minutes)
1/2 C vanilla yogurt
2 t maple extract (you can use vanilla if that's all you have)
2 large eggs

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large mixing bowl add flour, carob powder, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. Combine thoroughly.
3. Add in nutmeg and salt and combine.

4. Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Use your hand to mix it in until ingredients are crumbly. It's easiest to use very cold butter for this.
5. In separate bowl add buttermilk, yogurt, eggs and extract. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
6. Poor wet ingredients into dry and using a spoon, mix thoroughly. Let rest 5 minutes.
7. If you have doughnut pans, grease them lightly and spoon mixture into pan, filling molds 2/3 full.
8. If you do not have pans, grease a cookie sheet and drop about 2 T of mixture at a time around pan. Use your thumbs to gently pull globs apart, exposing  center hole.
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set.
10. Remove from stove, let sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes then gently remove from pan (use a butter knife to help) and place on cooling rack.

These are amazing as they are, but if you want you can glaze or frost them. These hold up fantastic to dipping in coffee or hot cocoa. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ricotta Pie

Tonight's dinner was born from left-overs, but it is something that can definitely be made from scratch. It was also my first successful attempt at pie crust - the last few times were a hot mess. For the same reason that my brain shuts off when I drive into Lewiston, I cannot make pie crust. The difficulty comes not with the mixing of ingredients - I've watched my mom perfect it for 30 years - but with the actual rolling of the dough. It always sticks. No matter what. I received a marble rolling pin as a wedding gift, and that seemed to help tremendously. I still have some quirks to work out, but I know I'm on my way to making pastries by Christmas!

As for this pie, it's rich and full of ricotta cheese, eggs, and lovely vegetables I know my kids will eat. I even snuck a bit of squash in there. They both protest against squash, but they eat it more times than they would care to know. I'm convinced that when they are adults they'll suddenly, and without cause, have a strong desire to eat all things squashy. Then, I will sit back and smile.

Ricotta Pie
3 eggs
1 1/2 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C cottage cheese
3 T fresh chives,
2 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3C  mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 C squash, cooked and mashed with butter
2 T oil
1T butter
salt and pepper

Pie Crust
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1/2 C cold water (I put mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make pie crust by mixing the shortening, flour and salt together with a fork until crumbly. Slowly add just enough water in to make the dough stick together. You may not use the whole 1/2 cup. Roll out until about 1 inch bigger than you need for your pie plate. Fold gently in half, lift into plate, unfold and press into place. I take a sharp knife and cut the excess off and save it for cinnamon pinwheels. Using a fork, press the edges of the crust firmly into the top of the pie plate. Set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add oil and butter to it. Toss in onions, garlic and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and onions translucent. Add in spinach and toss with onion and mushrooms until wilted, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and add in squash, salt and pepper, mixing it all together well. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add in ricotta, chives, and cottage cheese. Mix together thoroughly.

To put pie together, dump vegetable mixture into pie crust and spread evenly across the bottom. Poor egg and cheese mixture over and let sit for 2 minutes. Place in oven and bake 50mins to an 1hour, making sure crust doesn't burn. Use a toothpick in the center of the pie to make sure it's done. If any egg mixture comes out on toothpick, place back in oven for 5 minute intervals until cooked through. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

You can serve with a salad and toast, sauteed vegetables, or home-fries.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fish Curry

My body was craving curry last night....I mean craving it. I wanted my house to fill with that succulent smell, my fingers to turn yellow from the powder, and the heavy notes to linger in my nose all night. As I sit here eating it for breakfast the next day, I realize just how scrumptious it was, and I how I absolutely must include it on here. If not for all of you, at least for my memory. Curry has a special place in my heart because when I was pregnant with my oldest son it was all I craved (well, that and olives), so we ate it 5 times a week. I'm surprised he didn't come out the color of Tumeric.

The great thing about curry is it can become a hodge-podge of ingredients from the fridge. This is what I had on hand, but you could add peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, chicken, pork...the list is endless. Like I said, it was so yummy that I stirred an egg into the left-overs, toasted a giant slice of buttermilk bread, and am enjoying it all over again for breakfast.

Fish Curry
1 lb fish, cut into bite sized chunks (any type of white fish works best)
1 large potato, diced
1/2 C mushrooms, chopped (I used Chicken of the Woods, but any firm mushroom would work)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 heads tat soi, chopped (leaves and stems separated)**
14 oz coconut milk
3 T curry powder*
1 1/2 t chili powder
Water, as needed
2 T safflower oil
1T butter

*This all depends on the strength of your curry powder. Mine had been sitting on the shelf for quite some time so I knew it would be weak. I could have used more, but with kids I didn't want it to be too strong. Adapt your recipe depending on the freshness of your curry powder and who is eating it.

**Tat soi is a chinese green that wilts up fast, alot like bok choy. You can use any green to replace it.

1. Heat safflower oil and butter in large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and green peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add potatoes, curry powder and chili powder. Cook 1 minute.

3. Add about 1/2 C water, just until veggies are wet. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Stir in coconut milk to veggies and bring to a simmer.

5. Add fish chunks and stir gently. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

6. Stir in chopped tat soi stems and cover again. Cook 2 more minutes.

7. Remove from heat and add tat soi leaves and stir gently. Cover and let sit 2 minutes.

8. Serve over brown rice with a side of Indian flatbread - naan - or some pita bread, to sop up any juices.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New England Fall Casserole

I love fall in Maine. Partly for the lovely colors of gold, red, and brown. Partly for the wet, foggy days that make me want to stay inside and drink tea. But mostly for the food. Those who know me, know full well that Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. I love spending 2 days in the kitchen. I love the fall decorations of gourds, leaves, and hand-print turkeys. I love sitting down on Thanksgiving day with my loved ones and sharing in the bounty of the harvest. My love for this holiday has nothing to do with the myth of a Pilgrim/Indian meal, all lovey-dovey and respectful. It has nothing to do with the turkey, even, because when I spent 7 years as a vegetarian I never missed the bird on my dinner plate. It has everything to do with the warm veggies, salty gravy and hearty breads. And being thankful for the ability to eat good foods with the ones I love. It's that last bit of relaxation and gratitude for life before the hectic craziness of Christmas and New Years.

In the spirit of fall and its glorious root vegetables, I decided to spend the afternoon in my kitchen cooking a casserole. A quick poke through my fridge and vegetable basket and I was elbow deep in beets, potatoes, red cabbage, garlic and onions. I also recently purchased a large local pork chop from Caldwell Farms that I would toss into the mix. Simmered for an hour (give or take) in a nice bath of homemade chicken stock from the day before, my house filled with the glorious smell of roasting root vegetables. I served this up with a side of cornbread for a filling, warm and hearty fall meal. New England style.

This is one of those wonderful fix it and forget it meals for those with crock pots. Simply add all the ingredients to the pot, place on low, and go to work, on a fall hike, or curl up with a good book for the day. By dinner time it should be perfectly cooked and ready to enjoy. If you like gravy on your bread or biscuits, use some of the juices from cooking and whip up your favorite gravy recipe.

Fall Casserole
8 small beets (about 1 cups worth), sliced into half moons*
6 medium potatoes (about 2 cups worth), washed and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, sliced into thin wafers
1 small red cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 lb pork, cubed
4 C stock
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

*Leave skin on beets if they are baby beets, it will be tender and edible. If they are larger beets, with a tougher skin, peel first.

Preheat oven to 350. Add all ingredients, except pork, to a large casserole dish and stir thoroughly to incorporate flavors. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour, add pork, then bake another 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and pork is cooked. Serve piping hot with cornbread or biscuits.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tricky Mac 'n Cheese

I am blessed with kids who love veggies. They request kale and potato soup, they devour spinach quinoa pilaf, and they munch fresh salads all summer long. BUT, that doesn't stop me from wanting to trick them every once in a while. Tonight's meal was one of those times. My oldest requested I make my homemade mac 'n cheese. Easy enough. But what about all those veggies sitting around in my fridge. I could throw in spinach, or mushrooms, but my kids are die-hard straight forward mac 'n cheese eaters. They want pasta and cheese. Period. So in order to get a veggie mac 'n cheese, I had to be tricky. I got a 1/2 head of cauliflower out of the fridge and steamed the crap out of it, until it was soft and mushy. Perfection. Mixed with a cheese sauce and tossed with pasta, I was able to successfully trick my children...Sometimes I live for these moments.

Mac 'n Cauli-Cheese
1/2 head cauliflower, steamed and mashed
6 C cooked pasta
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Toss cooked pasta with cauliflower once it's mashed and set aside. In saucepan over medium heat melt butter then add flour in and whisk for a few minutes until smooth and tan. Slowly add in milk and turn up to high heat and whisk continually until it starts to boil, then continue to whisk for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add cheese, salt and pepper and stir. Toss gently with pasta and bake for 35 minutes.

Serve with a spinach & apple salad and enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spicy Veggie Noodles

I recently found a 1/2 dozen packages of udon noodles on sale at my local natural market. Of course I bought them all, not knowing when I would need them, but knowing I would certainly find a use for them. And I did. In our recent CSA shares we've been lucky enough to get wonderful veggies like bok choy, broccoli (lots and lots of lovely green broccoli), peppers, shallots, and of course my 1lb of weekly mushrooms. With all these fresh vegetables and those packages of udon noodles, I knew what we had to have for dinner Tuesday night. I spiced up the grown-up bowls after I mixed it all together so the kiddos wouldn't burn their mouths.

Spicy Veggie Noodles
1 green pepper, sliced (I leave mine big so the kids can pick them out)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot (or 2 depending on size), sliced
1 head bok choy, leaves ribbon sliced and stalks chopped - keep them separate
1 C broccoli, chopped

1/2 lb of mushrooms, chopped
2 T butter
2 T oil (sesame if you have it, but any type works)
1 package of udon noodles
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C rice vinegar
1 T corn starch
1/3 C water
Sweet chili paste

Boil water for udon noodles and cook according to package. Rinse and set aside. In skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter and add mushrooms. Cook until soft. Set aside. In large skillet or wok add oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often so they don't burn. Add chopped broccoli and bok choy stems and cook, stirring often, until they are soft. Add bok choy leaves and mushrooms and cook until leaves are wilted. Meanwhile whisk soy sauce, rice vinegar, corn starch and water together. Add udon noodles to veggies with sauce and toss quickly and carefully. Serve in warm bowls with a teaspoon of chili paste and enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is a traditional british food, but too often mixed up with Shepherds Pie. The difference between the two is that Cottage Pie is made with ground beef, and Shepherds Pie with ground Lamb. Not being a fan of lamb, besides the fact that its not that locally available, I decided to make up some Cottage Pie the other night for dinner. We had about a 1/2 lb of ground beef from Caldwell Farms left-over from some lasagna I made for my mom's birthday, so the boys and I decided to make some comfort food. I had woken with a stomach flu that morning and by evening was feeling much better, but in need of something that would stick to my ribs. This is now my new favorite comfort food! Forget Chicken Noodle Soup when you're sick, this Cottage Pie will give you the vim and vigour you need to get better.

Cottage Pie
1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 head cauliflower
2 potatoes, quartered
1/2 lb of green beans, chopped into 1" pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
6T butter
1/4 C milk
3 T ketchup
1/2 C shredded cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease deep 8x8 casserole dish or pie dish. In skillet over medium heat cook ground beef for 10 minutes, or until brown and crumbly. Add onions and green pepper and saute another 5 minutes. Mix in ketchup, set aside. Steam potatoes and cauliflower separately, until they are soft. Mash and set aside. Steam carrots and green beans together until they are cooked through, but retain a bit of firmness - you don't want them smooshy so they hold up to the baking. In a saucepan melt butter and add milk to warm. Add to potatoes and cauliflower mash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then mix in cheese. In pie dish or casserole dish add beef mixture, cover with green beans and carrots, then cover the whole thing with mash potato mixture. Dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with warm rolls and a small side salad.

**NOTE: you can use any type of vegetables you may have on hand, such as peas or corn. That's the wonderfulness of this meal!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mango Quinoa Salad

I had a vision of quinoa and mango's to go with my Citrus BBQ Pork Kabobs. I did some online snooping and found a recipe: I doubled the servings and made some changes. I used Purslane instead of cilantro, because it's what I had from my CSA. Purslane is considered a weed, but is a hub of nutrients. Instead of pulling it and tossing it out of your garden, harvest it and use it in the same ways you use spinach and other light greens. It has a very mild lemon flavor. Discard stems (or save for stocks), and use leaves and flowers. Here's my version of a Mango Quinoa salad with Purslane..

Mango Quinoa Salad
1/2 C dried blackbeans
3 C broth
1" piece of Kelp/Kombu (helps make the beans less gassy & cooks them faster)
1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1 large scallion, sliced
1 bunch of purslane, chopped
1 mango, diced
1/2 C orange juice
4 T apple cider vinegar
4 T walnut oil
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight if you can. If not, start beans about 3 hours before the rest of the recipe. Place beans in stock with Kelp/Kombu, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until tender (but not mushy so they can withstand being mixed into a salad). Once beans are done, strain and rinse then set aside. In saucepan add quinoa and water, cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. While that's cooking, whisk cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, orange juice and purslane. Add in beans, scallions and mango and stir thoroughly. When quinoa is done, add that and mix. Refrigerate and serve at room temp or cold.

Citrus BBQ Pork & Veg Kabobs

Our family has been trying to include more sustainable meat in our diets, but have found that after being vegetarian for so long, our likes and dislikes of certain meats are very distinct. Last night was a home-run! I bought some local pork chops and cubed them up for kabobs. Mixed with a yummy quinoa salad (recipe to follow), these were a huge hit with the hubby & the kids.

Citrus BBQ Pork & Veg Kabobs
1 lb pork (not ground), fat cut off and cubed
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
12 crimini mushrooms, stems removed
1 C BBQ sauce (and some for basting)
1/2 C orange juice (I had fresh squeezed
2 T honey
12 kabob sticks, soaked in water so they don't burn

Whisk the BBQ sauce, orange juice and honey until thoroughly mixed - then add pork to it and marinate for 2 hours at least. Once kabob sticks have soaked and pork is marinated (always discard meat marinade immediately - do not use for anything else), it's time to put together the kabobs by adding the zucchini, summer squash, pork and mushrooms. Mine went: pork, zucchini, pork, summer squash, zucchini, pork, summer squash, mushroom. Once the kabobs are made, either preheat broiler or grill. Place kabobs on broiling pan (for oven method), or directly on the grill and baste with BBQ sauce. Cook about 5 minutes, flip, baste and cook another 5 minutes. Meat should be cooked through and vegetables should be soft, but still retain a crunch to them.

Serve immediately with rice, quinoa, potatoes or just a salad.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

It's that time of year where we're filling up on zucchini's and summer squash, lots of basil, and tons of spinach. I decided to combine them all to make a yummy summery meal that even the kids would like. I'm a big fan of winter stuffed squash meals, with rice and beans and thick heavy sauces. But since it's summer, I didn't want to make anything too heavy. I searched through the fridge and found some ricotta cheese that was just screaming to be used with the big fat zucchini I had gotten.

Green on Green
2 large zucchini, halved and seeds scooped out
1 16oz container of ricotta cheese
1/4 C parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
4 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 C chopped spinach
2 T butter
1/3 C bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare zucchini and set inside baking dish, cut side up. In a mixing bowl add ricotta, basil, spinach, and nutritional yeast and mix thoroughly - if you did it in a food processor it would be best, but don't overwork the ricotta and make it runny. Add salt and pepper to the mixture and spoon into zucchini halves. Melt butter in a skillet and add bread crumbs. Cook over medium heat until starting to brown just a bit. Sprinkle over zucchini. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until zucchini is cooked, but not soft. You want it to still have a bit of snap to it to compliment the gooey cheesiness of the filling. Serve warm with pasta and a salad.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homemade Pasta Sauce

I was going to make pasta for dinner this week and got the sudden urge to not buy sauce, but instead make my own. Sadly, I still have not received tomatoes in my CSA, so I went and bought some organic ones at the market. I had some yummy basil from my CSA and I couldn't wait to use it up!

Homemade Pasta Sauce
2 lb Plum tomatoes, peeled*
1 red onion, chopped
1 head garlic, roasted**
3 small carrots, peeled and chopped
1 C fresh basil, chopped
2 T dried oregano
2 T olive oil

2-3 C Vegetable Stock
1/4 C red wine (optional)
1 small bunch of basil
2 garlic scapes
1 T olive oil
2 T Nutritional Yeast

In large sauce pan heat oil over medium heat, then add onions and carrots and saute 5-7 minutes. Add basil tomatoes (whole), and garlic cloves, then cover with stock - don't make it too liquidy, just enough to cover tomatoes. Add red wine and stir thoroughly. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop down to low and simmer as long as you can until the tomatoes break down. Ideally you would slow simmer for 6 - 8 hours, stirring often and breaking apart the tomatoes. Once the sauce is done, set to cool for an hour. In a food processor, add scapes, basil and olive oil, then process until smooth. Add 1/2 the sauce and process on low just until smooth, not completely though, with small chunks. Place in bowl. Add rest of unprocessed sauce to processor and nutritional yeast and process on medium until a bit smoother than the last batch. Add to bowl and mix together thoroughly. Reheat when ready to use.

*To peel a tomato, place them in boiling water for about 10 minutes until skin starts to crack. Shock them with cold water and peel off the skin with your hands.

**Slice off the top of garlic exposing the tips of the cloves. Place in baking dish and drizzle with oil. Bake 15 minutes at 400 until garlic tops turn golden brown. Remove from oven and using a fork or some other small point, pop out the roasted garlic cloves

Mushroom Bacon

I opted for a CSA of mushrooms this summer. I did this on a whim since my husband does not like mushrooms, but I promised him that 1 pound of mushrooms a week would help change his mind. The key has been trying to find different ways of cooking mushrooms. This recipe does just that. He devoured these delicious little strips eagerly at dinner last night and insisted I put the recipe on my blog for others to enjoy. Being a vegetarian 95% of the time, bacon is something we miss eating. Why is there something so special about bacon? Well, whatever the reason, here it is....the best vegetarian bacon I've ever had.

Mushroom Bacon
1 lb King Oysters, thinly sliced in strips
4 T butter (at's not healthy, but either is bacon)
salt and pepper (lots of these, too!)

Preheat oven to 375 and oil a baking sheet. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy cast iron skillet and add a 1/4 of the strips of mushroom. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until bottom is dark brown (but not burnt). Flip and cook until dark brown. Set on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mushrooms. Bake for 5 minutes and serve hot!

These would be excellent in omelets, or on BLT's (or MLT's as they would be called), or on any type of breakfast sandwich. We had them as a side to baked eggs and cheese. Delicious!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pesto & Veggie Egg Sandwich

I love this time of year for CSA's because everything is green. Green foods energize me and get me on track for summer fun. This weeks CSA shares had the once a year delight, garlic scapes, in abundance. Scapes are the tops of the garlic that shoot up in early summer. To get nice fat garlic heads, the farmer cuts the scapes so that nutrients are no longer lost on these shoots. The scapes are long and curly and have a mild garlic taste. I use them in everything I would use garlic in, plus add them raw to my salads. This recipe also calls for pesto, which I had a jar of in my fridge, but I'm thinking next time I'd like to try and make a spinach scape pesto. Either way, this open-face sandwich was kick-ass. I also used bread and mushrooms from my CSA add-ons, too. This is one yummy, Maine grown meal!

Pesto & Veggie Egg Sandwich
4 eggs
2 C spinach, ripped into pieces
1 tomato, sliced into rounds
4 T pesto (or more if you love pesto like I do!)
1 C blue oyster mushrooms, chopped (this really could be any type of mushroom)
2T unsalted butter
4 thick slices of bread
4 oz shredded cheese (I used a creamy onion & herb cheese from Pineland Farms)

Melt butter in skillet and saute mushrooms for 5 minutes, then add spinach and scapes. Saute for another 2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Meanwhile, toast the bread and spread 1 tablespoon of pesto on each slice. Add sliced tomatoes and spinach & mushroom mixture. Quickly fry 4 eggs, leaving yolks runny and place one on top of each sandwich. Sprinkle with cheese and serve with a large salad for a quick, summery lunch or dinner.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beet Green Risotto

I know you must be sick of risotto recipes on here, but it is seriously my favorite food. I know it probably does not compare to real, Italian risotto, which is more soupy and creamy, but mine is pretty darn good and makes my family happy. And if I want perfect risotto then it's practice, practice, practice. Risotto is labor intensive in that you have to continuously stir for the entire 30 or so minutes it takes for the rice to reach that perfect al-dente state, where the center is still white with a bit of firmness. Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. This weeks risotto was planned specifically for my recipe book I want to write based on a typical summer CSA.

Beet Green Risotto
1 C arborio rice
1 C white wine
4 C stock, kept warm on the stove
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 T unsalted butter
2 C baby beet greens, stems removed & set aside, leaves chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 T vinegar (to help the beet greens retain their bright color)

In a large skillet add 2 T butter and melt over medium-low heat. Add onions and stems of beet greens (if they are bigger than 1 inch, chop smaller) and saute until onions are translucent and soft. Add rice and stir thoroughly. Once it starts to lightly brown add wine and start stirring. Once the wine is mostly absorbed in, add a ladle of warm stock and continue this process. Check the rice often and when it is just about cooked, still slightly firm in the middle, add one last ladle of stock with the beet greens and vinegar. Stir until stock is mostly absorbed and rice has soupy quality. Remove from heat and add butter, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately with a light side salad.

Parsnip Croquettes

Summer CSA has started with Hatchet Cove Farms and boy was I excited to get the first bag, delivered right to my front porch, on Tuesday morning. On top of my veggies, I also did some add-ons that they offered, through association with other food producers. One is a pound of fresh mushrooms from Oyster Creek in Damariscotta, and the other is a fresh loaf of bread from Village Bakery & Cafe in Waldoboro. I am so excited! The first batch of veggies contained early summer Broccoli (so sweet and tender), Pea Shoots (my favorite part of growing peas!), Mesclun Mix, Lacinato Kale (also known as Dino Kale), and Baby Beet Greens. The mushrooms were King Oyster's, which I've never had so should be exciting to try those, and the bread was a big moist loaf of classic sandwich bread. All-in-all, a great start to the summer CSA season.

That said, I still have some root veggies in the fridge to use up. Especially the parsnips. We have had parsnips 80 different ways this winter and I really thought I had run out of ideas. Then I stumbled across a recipe for Parsnip Croquettes - these are usually made with potatoes, and there heyday was back in 1970's (perhaps because they fry up nice and golden, like the color of that nice mustard yellow floor tile in the kitchen....and just about everything else in the 70's) - but I'm thinking about bringing them back in style. With a twist. I gathered up the ingredients I had and whipped up these nice little croquettes. We had them with Beet Green Risotto (recipe to follow) and a small side salad. I even made some yummy honey mustard dip for them. Delicious!

Parsnip Croquettes
5 large parsnips, peeled and cut into sticks (center rib removed)*
3 T chives,
1/2 C milk
1 egg
4 T wheat flour
1/2 C bread crumbs
3 T unsalted butter
salt & pepper
oil for frying

Steam parsnips until extremely soft and mushy. Remove from heat and mash in a large bowl. Add milk, a little bit at a time, and whip by hand. You want the mixture to be like mashed potatoes, not overly runny, but creamy. Add egg, chives, 2 T of flour, butter, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Mix remaining flour and bread crumbs in a separate dish. Roll parsnip mix into golf ball sized and roll in bread mixture until thoroughly covered. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all croquettes are made up. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour to set. When ready, heat oil in large skillet and fry up croquettes until brown on each side, gently pressing them into thick patties after the first flip. Makes 10 croquettes. Serve with the following dip or anything you'd like.

*Remember to keep those peelings, ribs, and any other unused part of your veggies for a weekly stock.

Honey Mustard
2 T mustard
2 T honey
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil

Whip ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asparagus & Eggs

My CSA share last week from Little Ridge Farms included Asparagus. I love asparagus. In fact, I wait all year for it as the first official sign of spring. Those green wonderful little trees are so delectable when fresh off the farm...once you have them, you will never go back to the tasteless green sticks at the supermarket. In light of these wonderful veggies, I made a light spring dinner tonight.

Asparagus & Eggs
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed if necessary
2 eggs
2 handfuls sorrel
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T butter, unsalted
3 T water

Citrus Avocado Sauce
1/2 avocado
1 T olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
1/4 C orange juice
1 T honey
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Place all ingredients for sauce in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat 2 oil in large saute pan with a tight fitting lid, sprinkling pan with salt and pepper.

3. Saute asparagus spears for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice.

4. Cover with water and place lid on pan. Keep covered for 8 minutes, or until spears are tender.

5. Meanwhile, heat frying pan over meat heat and add butter. Fry 2 eggs, leaving the yolks runny.

6. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside, keeping warm.

7. Add sorrel to asparagus water and saute until wilted.

8. To plate: Place 1/2 sorrel on plate and cover with fried egg. Wrap asparagus around the egg/sorrel in a C shape, drizzling citrus avocado sauce over asparagus spears. Serve with toast.

The Power of Green

In an attempt to lose weight and get that great glow before my wedding, I'm pushing more raw foods in my diet. I've been doing my best with the local veggies that have been available, but now that I'm heading into CSA season, I can do even better. Today's power-packed lunch is all green and all goodness. The only non-raw item is the nori roll I used to wrap it all up....but close enough.

The Power of Green Wrap
1 stick of asparagus
1 scallion
1/2 avocado
few slices of cucumber
1 sheet nori

Cut off top of asparagus and leave that for garnish. Cut scallion and cucumber into sticks. Slice avocado, leaving some on the side for garnish. Place veggies on sheet of nori near top. Wet edges of nori with a damp finger. Roll tightly, slice in half and garnish with top of asparagus and pieces of avocado. Devour!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Irish Eyes are Smiling Dressing

Wow. Sorrel. Sweet lemony goodness, where have you been all my life? I believe I tried this two years ago with my first CSA at Lalibela Farms, but it wasn't until my recent CSA pick-up from Little Ridge Farms where I realized that it just may be my new favorite food. It has a citrus taste, much like a lemon, and can be used in a number of ways - sauteed in quiche, pureed in a soup, salad dressings, in salads, or as pesto. For tonight's dinner I was feeling the salad - I think it must be the warmer weather really kicking my desire for raw foods into high gear. I wanted to use the sorrel, but not just as a green. Then I remembered I was out of the honey mustard vinaigrette I made last week. Thus the birth of this delicious dressing, named after Sorrel Island, Ireland.

Irish Eyes are Smiling Dressing
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
small clump fresh chives
1 T mustard
1 lime, squeezed
3 large sprigs fresh thyme

Puree everything except the olive oil together in a food processor on high. Slowly pour in the olive oil until well mixed.

I then took fresh greens, cucumber slices, carrots, sunflower seeds, and sliced tomatoes, and placed them on a spinach wrap, then drizzled over some of the dressing. Divine! I meant to take a picture, but i devoured it before I remembered to photograph it. Guess you'll have to make this green goodness for yourself.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Raw Sushi

Lately I have been addicted to a local sushi bar in Brunswick, Little Tokyo, and it's not unusual for my fiance and I to drop $50 on lunch there. Well, as you can imagine, that's a bit pricey - of course the sushi is DEFINITELY worth it - but I was looking for a cheap alternative. I have never made sushi at home, and I don't have any of the fancy equipment, but I got it in my head that I needed sushi last night. But I wanted it to be a bit healthier than regular sushi, and with sticking to my 90% RAW diet, I came up with this recipe. Instead of sushi rice I used celeriac - quite possibly my new favorite vegetable - and the results were scrumptious.

Raw Sushi
3 nori sheets
1 celeriac, peeled, washed and cubed
1/2 avocado (eat the other half for desert with a little salt sprinkled in it), cut into think slices
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into sticks
6 T rice vinegar
1 T brown sugar
soy sauce

1. Mince celeriac in food processor until rice consistency.

2. In a saucepan add vinegar and sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved. Mix into celeriac

3. Lay out a nori sheet and pat down celeriac on top of it, spreading all the way out to the side edges, but leaving about an inch on the top and bottom edges clear.

4. Place some carrot sticks and avocado slices along the edge closest to you, on top of celeriac, then roll tightly into a tube. To make nori stick to itself, dab a little water on the edges.

5. Using a sharp serrated knife, with a wet blade, slice sushi roll into 2 inch pieces and place on a plate.

6. Repeat 2 more times and serve rolls with soy dipping sauce and wasabi.

YUM! Enjoy this delicious alternative to sushi. And don't be afraid of the process, it's so easy and quick. Also, be creative, fill it with whatever veggies you have on hand. Cucumbers would have been amazing, too....or even smoked salmon, cream cheese....the possibilities are endless! If you make this, please comment on what you filled your sushi with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I-Must-Be-Irish Soup

In my "sneak peak" share from my Little Ridge Farms CSA I got a whole mess of leeks. These are one of my favorite veggies, and my kids, because of their mild onion flavor. My boys LOVE potato anything soup (it must be the Irish in them), so I decided to whip up this seasons first batch of Potato Leek soup. I had some cabbage from my last winter CSA still sitting in the fridge so I added that case the soup wasn't Irish enough!

2 quarts stock (or water if you don't have stock on hand....or a mix of both)
4 large potatoes, washed and cubed
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts sliced thinly (set aside dark green tops)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 T butter, unsalted
salt & pepper
2 T soy sauce
Olive Oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Toss leeks with olive oil and place in roasting pan. Roast in oven, stirring one or twice until starting to brown.

3. Meanwhile, bring pot of stock/water to boil and add potatoes. Cook until soft.

4. Remove potatoes from heat and puree in food processor (most like this will have to be done in batches and very carefully). Return pureed potatoes and stock into pot over medium heat, adding 2 T butter.

5. Add leeks, garlic and cabbage. Stir thoroughly and cook for 30 minutes, until cabbage is soft.

6. Meanwhile, slice green tops of leeks thinly. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and fry leeks until starting to brown. Remove from heat and place in a bowl, then toss with salt.

7. When soup is done, add 2 T butter, a bit of pepper, soy sauce and salt if necessary. Stir thoroughly until butter is melted.

8. Serve in bowls with a garnish of fried leeks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweet and Salty

Even though we've been eating mostly raw, I still wanted to toss in a beef meal to help my son's iron levels. This week I bought a sirloin tip from Caldwell Farms and then loooked through the cupboard for anything to add to it. I must admit, after being a vegetarian for 4 years, I have a really hard time cooking meat. I find I can't get the spices right, and I don't know if I should leave it bloody or not. So far, every meal has been alright, but if I could just get the cooking of the beef right, it would be great. Tonight falls into the mediocre category. The meal (aside from the beef) was perfect. The sauce on the beef was divine, but the beef itself was just alright. Then again, maybe I just don't like beef....Anyway, try this one out. And for those that cook meat often, please comment on tips for me to enjoy the darn stuff!

Sweet Candy Squash
1 small sweet dumpling squash
2 T local honey
1/3 C water
2 t Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in 1/2 from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into wedges, working from center, outwards, all the way around. Peel and place in a baking dish. Mix honey, water and cinnamon and pour over squash. Add more water if necessary to fill entire bottom of baking dish with a smidgen of sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn. If it's still a bit tough when you pull it out, bump up the oven temp to 425 and bake for another 5 minutes.

Sauteed Veggies
1/2 head of cabbage, cored and sliced
2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced into sticks or half moons
4-6T unsalted butter
salt and pepper

While squash is cooking, melt butter in large skillet. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until they start to brown. Add cabbage and stir thoroughly. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.

Beef Tip in Mushroom Sauce
1 lb sirloin tip
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 T oil
1/2 C mixed dried mushrooms (I used Oyster Creek's Maine Wild Mushroom Mix), reconstituted for 30 minutes in 1 C hot water (keep water after removing mushrooms)
3 T unsalted butter
2 T onions, minced
4 Cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1 T flour

In a cast iron skillet, while cabbage & squash is cooking, heat oil over medium heat. Heavily pepper sirloin tip on both sides and add to skillet when oil is hot. Place sliced onions over the top and cook 7-8 minutes. Flip over meat so onions are under it and cook 5 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the mushroom water over steak and cover, turning to low. Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter and add minced onions and garlic. Chop mushrooms and toss into saucepan, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes to release flavors. Add remaining mushroom water and stir. Bring to boil and add flour then boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove beef from heat, keep covered until ready to serve.

To plate: Place squash in center of plate and add a cut of beef to the top, making sure to get some of the onions from the skillet. Top with a large dollop of mushroom sauce. On the side place a serving of cabbage and carrots. Enjoy the wonderful mix of sweet squash and salty beef and veggies. This was a very filling meal even though we split the tip between 4 people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


In considering ways to shed some poundage before my mid-summer wedding, I decided to add as much RAW foods to my diet as possible in the coming months. For those not familiar with this diet, it means eating only raw and dehydrated foods. Cooking certain foods can diminish the nutritional value and our bodies more often than not have an easier time digesting raw foods over cooked. I do not fully believe that only raw is best, but I do believe eating a healthy mix is exactly what our bodies need. I also know, having done a raw cleanse in the past, that eating a raw diet leads to weight loss, increase of energy and healthier skin that glows - all things I need to prepare for my big day! I'm not sure how long I'll do the 100% raw, but I do know that as we head into warmer months, our diet will be about 75% raw all summer long, as our CSA's begin to bring us cukes, salad greens, tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs.

As some of you know from my blog, Risotto is my absolute FAVORITE food...I love to cook it, eat it, and serve it to all my loved ones. The art of making risotto is not for everyone, but if you learn to do it right, it can be a very rewarding meal to share. SO, as our first raw day came to a close, I decided to make an uncooked version of my favorite meal. Here are the scrumptious results.

RAWsotto! (Serves 4)
3 small celeriac, peeled, cleaned & chopped (or 3 cups when processed)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 t Maine sea salt
fresh ground pepper, lots of it!
1/2 C raw sunflower seeds, soaked in water for at least 4 hours, if not overnight
1 T olive oil
1 handful baby spinach
2 T nutritional yeast
1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
3 small sweet yellow peppers, sliced into thin slivers
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper

Place broccoli florets in a bowl and massage oil and vinegar into it with hands for a few minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix in yellow pepper. Set aside. In food processor place celeriac and drained sunflower seeds, processing until a rice consistency. Place in a bowl and add lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and stir thoroughly. Add spinach, olive oil and nutritional yeast to food processor and process until finely mixed. Toss with celeriac risotto. Drizzle with olive oil.

To serve, scoop heaping mound of risotto in middle of plate, add a big spoonful of broccoli over the top. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Serve with a side of raw carrot sticks.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

All-Star Pie

For our Easter dinner, which we had the night before Easter, I thought a good pie was the best way to end the night. I had some fresh cranberries from my last CSA at Wolf Pine Farms and some big juicy apples. I put them together for this amazing pie.

All-Star Pie
3 large apples, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
2 C fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 C raw sugar
3 T flour
1 t vanilla
2 t Cinnamon
recipe for 2 9" pie crusts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one crust in pie plate and poke with a fork. In a large bowl combine apples and cranberries then gently toss with sugar, flour, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour into crust. Roll out top crust and using a star cookie cutter, cut out 4 stars evenly spaced. Gently place crust over pie filling and place star cut-outs around the top crust. Bake in lower 1/3 of oven for about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 30 minutes. Serve, devour, repeat.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Cups

With Easter coming, I thought we would have an egg based dinner. We decided to do it the night before Easter because that was when we would have all four kids. Since none of us are religious, Easter is really just a day for the kids to pig out on chocolate. BUT, I can't pass up an opportunity to make an extra special meal.

(sorry there is no picture, I thought about adding it to the blog after we all licked the plates clean)

Serves 6

Easter Egg Cups w/ Asparagus
6 eggs
1 T oil
4 small red potatoes, diced
1/2 celeriac, diced
1/2 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, quartered and sliced
1 C vegetable stock
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 shredded cheese
20 asparagus, ends trimmed
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 6 large muffin cups with oil. In a large skillet, heat 1 T oil over medium heat. Add potatoes, celeriac, carrots, onions and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Turn heat up to medium-high and boil until stock is soaked into the veggies. Remove from heat and scoop veggies into muffin cups, pressing firmly into bottoms and sides. Break eggs into each cup of veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 15 minutes, then pull out and sprinkle each cup with cheese. Bake for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot add asparagus and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When eggs are done, gently remove from muffin cups (I used a butter knife and a tiny spatula) and place on a plate with 5 spears of asparagus and a small side salad.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mushroom Risotto & Sirloin Tip

Risotto is my go-to meal, it's the one I can cook blindfolded and half dead on my feet. And it gives me an hour to myself as it requires constant stirring in order to give it the right texture. I love making risotto, but the process is not for everyone. Before you start, make sure you have everything chopped, sliced, shredded, etc. because once you start stirring, stopping could literally ruin the dish.

Sirloin Tip
1 large sirloin tip
1 T miso paste
1/4 C tamari
2 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T sesame oil

Tenderize a sirloin tip (or any other cut of beef you want). Whisk the rest of the ingredients thoroughly and pour over beef. Cover and marinate for as long as you can in the refrigerator. When risotto (below) is finished, pan fry on each side over medium heat for 5 minutes.

1 C uncooked arborio rice
1/4 C unsalted butter
5 C stock
1/2 C dried shitake mushrooms, reconstituted for 30 minutes & water reserved, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T fresh parsley chopped
1/4 C parmesan cheese, shredded
salt & pepper

In a saucepan heat stock over low heat. In a large skillet melt 1/8 C butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in arborio and cook about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add reserved shitake water and start stirring! When liquid is absorbed, add a ladle of stock, shitake mushrooms and garlic. Stir! Continue adding a ladle of stock as the liquid is absorbed. Once rice is al dente, turn heat off and mix in butter, cheese, salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon a heaping mound of risotto onto a plate, slice sirloin tip thinly and place over risotto. Add a side salad and a slice of bread.

Mac & Cheese

My boys requested mac & cheese tonight...actually, they requested Annie's mac & cheese, but I decided to do them one better - I made mommy mac & cheese. I had about 2 cups of uncooked organic bow tie pasta in my cupboard and some yummy Pineland farms cheddar cheese in the fridge. Apparently it was a hit because my youngest declared this my best meal yet!

Mac & Cheese
2 C uncooked pasta
2 1/2 C shredded cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella & cheddar for extra gooeyness)
2 T flour
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/4 t ground mustard
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 C cream
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 C bread crumbs

Cook pasta according to directions. Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 C butter in saucepan over low heat. Add in salt, pepper, flour, and mustard and mix thoroughly. Continue stirring over low heat until a roux is formed - mixture will be smooth, bubbly and golden. Stir in milk and cream, then bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, still stirring. Mix in cheese and stir over medium heat until thoroughly melted. Mix cooked and drained pasta with the cheese sauce and place in large glass baking dish. In small saucepan melt remaining 1/4 C butter and add bread crumbs, then continue to cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat until bread crumbs are nice and brown. Sprinkle crumbs over mac and cheese evenly. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Serve this with a nice slice of bread and a side salad.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sultry Salmon w/ Divine Mash

Even though we are mostly vegetarians, we have always eaten fish. I mean, seriously, we live in's sort of a given that we have to eat fish. I admit, however, that I'm not very good at buying local fish even though I live in a fishing community. Part of it is because our local grocery market does not carry local fish....something I'm hoping to change with a letter. The other part is that I don't think I can use my EBT card at the local fish stores. I will have to do some investigating and see how to affordably localize our fish eating habits. Especially since starting tonight we have instituted Fish Wednesday's in our house. That's some sort of "meat" twice a week and vegetarian 5 times a week. I think that's a good balance, nutritionally and sustainably.

Sultry Salmon
1 lb fresh Atlantic salmon
pinch of Maine Sea Salt
1 small red onion, halved and sliced thin
1/4 C fresh chopped parsley
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5 T butter
1 lemon, squeezed

Preheat oven to 450. Add all ingredients - except salmon, salt and onions - to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until butter is melted. Bring to a boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Place salmon in a glass baking dish skin side down and lightly salt. Pour butter sauce over salmon and cover with sliced onions. Cover dish with tinfoil and bake for 15 minutes (add time depending on thickness of salmon, cook until flaky).

Divine Mash
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 celeriac root, peeled and quartered
8 T butter
1/4 C milk
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
salt & pepper

Boil a large pot of water and add potatoes and celeriac. Cover and boil until tender. Strain and set aside. In a sauce pan, melt butter, onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until butter starts to get golden. Add milk, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Pour over potatoes and mash all together thoroughly.

Serve a heaping pile of potatoes with salmon placed over it, then spoon some of the butter from the salmon over it all. Add a small salad of greens and dried cranberries with balsamic vinaigrette...ENJOY!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

Well, we did it. We made the plunge and started eating beef tonight. I bought some local organic beef sirloin tip from Caldwell Farms and made up some yummy beef stroganoff. I knew my boys would eat anything with sour cream, noodles and mushrooms. I was right! The meal went off without a hitch and all the plates were licked clean. We have decided to make Mondays our meat days (in direct juxtaposition of the typical meatless Monday menu's at many colleges). I think we'll stick to beef right now, but who knows in the future.

Serve this meal with a light salad of greens, apples and goat cheese tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette, and a glass of Blueberry Wine from Blacksmith's Winery.

Beef Stroganoff
2 T butter
2 C beef, cubed
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I used white button, but use any type, or a mix of mushrooms)
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C stock
2 T flour
8 oz sour cream (or plain yogurt)
salt & pepper
1 t cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add beef and saute 1-2 minutes until it starts to brown. Stir in onions and 2/3 C of the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes until beef is cooked through. Add mushrooms and garlic and a pinch of salt and cover for 5 minutes. Put remaining 2/3 C of stock and flour in a container and cover tightly the shake vigorously to mix. Add to meat and mushroom mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, allowing sauce to thicken.

Remove from heat and add pepper, sour cream and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. Serve this over some egg noodles or rice. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Sweetheart Pie

As many of you know, I'm a BIG fan of potpies, especially in these winter months when my fridge is full of root veggies. This past weekend my friends did a Thanksgiving Re-do and I decided to bring a potpie for us vegetarians. I made this one extra special with heart cut-outs because I'm so lucky to have all these wonderful people in my lives - AND because unbeknownst to me I was going to be getting engaged just a few hours later. So here it is, my sweetheart pie.

Veggie Pot Pie
double pie crust
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 C edamame
1/2 C quorn turkey roast
1/2 large red onion, chopped
4 small parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 T butter
1 C veggie stock
2 T flour
salt, pepper and oregano

Heat oven to 375 and line a pie plate with one crust. Using a fork poke holes in the bottom and sides, then gently press the fork down around the edging of the crust. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat and add veggies and quorn turkey. Saute for 10 minutes. Add stock and cover, simmering gently until veggies are soft and stock is gone. Remove from heat, add flour, salt, pepper and oregano and stir thoroughly. Spoon veggies into crust. Take top crust and a heart-shaped cookie cutter (or any shape you like) and cut out for evenly spaced hearts. Place crust over veggies and using a fork, press the edge tightly onto the bottom crust all the way around. Trim off any extra crust. Take the four heart pieces and place them on the crust in between the heart cut-outs. Bake for about an hour, with foil around the edges so as not to burn. Remove and let sit 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!

***The highlight of the dinner for me was when one of the guys there complimented me on my "meat" pie. I smiled and said "actually, there isn't any meat in it...." His response was simply, "huh, well it's delicious!"***

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Huevos Frijole Rancheros

If you saw last night's blog, you know I made some yummy fish tacos. Well, as usual, I made too much rice and beans and decided to use some of them up for tonight's dinner. With corn tortillas, rice and beans, cheese and salsa, I knew exactly what I wanted to make - Huevos Rancheros (or at least my east coast American version). I added a side of blue & white potato's for a full meal. Scrumptious!

(Serves 2)

Huevos Rancheros
3 corn tortillas
1/2 C rice & beans mixture
2 eggs
4 T butter
salt & pepper
shredded cheese (optional, NOT traditional)

Warm oven to 300. In a frying pan melt 2 T butter and fry 2 of the corn tortillas on each side. Slice third tortilla into 1 inch strips and fry. Place each whole tortilla on baking sheet and spread with 1/2 the rice & beans mixture. Put the sliced tortilla on the sheet to the side. Place in warmed oven.

Fry an egg on 1 side, leaving yoke runny (if you like, if not, by all means fry it up!). Gently slide egg onto tortilla and bean mixture and place back in warm oven. While that's finishing, cook up the side.

Blue & White Homefries
2 potato's - one white, one blue (if available, if not, use any potatoes you have), peeled & diced
1 small onion, peeled & sliced
salt & pepper
2 T butter

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes until they start to brown. Add onions, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve on the side of a plate with ranchero. Top everything with cheese, fried tortilla strips and salsa! Devour with a good beer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fish Tacos

We are a mostly vegetarian household, but we do love our fish! We're from Maine, it's sort of bred into us. We have decided to perhaps start adding some local organic meat back into our diet, too, so maybe someday soon I'll have a recipe for beef tacos on here. Until then, here's what I got for today.

2 inches of daikon radish, sliced thin and salted for at 30 minutes (I left mine in fridge overnight)
1/2 C shredded purple cabbage
1-2 T mayo
salt & pepper
dash of Braggs Amino Acid
fish (any type you like, I used tilapia)
1 T lemon juice
salt & pepper

In a large bowl add daikon, cabbage, mayo, salt pepper and braggs and mix thoroughly to make a slaw. Set aside in fridge, the longer the better. Then heat oven to 375 and sprinkle fish with lemon juice, salt & pepper. Bake until flaky (time varies depending on fish)

1 C dried black beans, soaked overnight with kombu and boiled until soft (with kombu)
1 C brown rice
2 C veggie stock
salt, pepper, cumin (basically any seasonings you like to give them flare)

While beans are cooking, add rice to stock in separate pot and bring to boil. Drop down to a simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes. When rice is done, add beans and seasonings to it and stir thoroughly.

shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Put everything together and scoop into corn or flour tortillas, or hard taco shells, or just eat as a salad.

***BONUS - I had some daikon left over and I drizzled olive oil and salt over it, then baked it into chips in the oven at 315 for about 30 minutes, flipping often. Serve these on the side of your tacos for an extra crunchy snack.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Latkes & Greens

I created this tonight for my family. We were swimming in potatoes and I steamed a bunch of purple ones last night in a hunch I'd want them tonight. I also pulled out my last bunch of kale from the freezer from last summer's CSA. This was born!

6 potatoes, peeled & steamed

1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 C milk
2 eggs
1/4 C flour
1/2 C cheese, shredded
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

2-4 T butter
oil for frying

1 bunch of kale, steamed gently until bright green
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-4 T tamari (or soy sauce, bragg's, etc)
1/3 C adzuki beans, boiled until soft (about 40 minutes)
1/4 C water/broth
2 T butter

Heat oven to 275. Mash potatoes, milk and butter. Melt 1T butter in skillet, Saute onions until golden. Add cheese, onions, garlic, flour, eggs, salt and pepper to potatoes and mix thoroughly. Heat oil in large skillet, then drop large mounds of potato mixture into skillet and cook about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Place on baking sheet in oven until all are cooked up. Once latkes are done and in the oven, heat butter over medium heat in skillet and toss in onions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, add kale and mix thoroughly. Add water/broth and beans, and cook for 5 minutes. Toss with Tamari. Serve latkes hot from the oven with sour cream in a bed of kale & adzuki beans, sprinkle with pepper.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I had some cabbage to use up from my CSA at Little Ridge Farms and after a search on the internet for something different, I found a traditional polish recipe, Halushki. Here is my spin on it! And it was yummy, the kids and man loved it, gobbling up every bite.

CSA Halushki
1/2 cabbage, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cloves, garlic, minced
1/2 C butter
8 oz multi-colored organic pasta
1 package fake bacon

salt & pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Once water is boiling add pasta and cook according to package. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt butter and saute onions, cabbage and garlic until cabbage is soft. Season with salt and pepper. While the cabbage is cooking, heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook fake bacon according to package. When it's done, chop and toss into cabbage mixture. Toss cooked pasta with cabbage mixture, adding salt and pepper as necessary.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Veggie Burritos

In my winter CSA from Wolf Pine Farm I got a giant bag of dried kidney beans. Seeing as though my youngest and I struggle with iron deficiency (an ongoing problem for me since childhood, even when I ate meat), these kidney beans were a blessing of red goodness. And when I think kidney beans, I think burritos! Here is my vegetarian take on scrumptious burritos.


1 C dried kidney beans, soaked for 24 hours
thumb sized piece of Kombu*
1 onion, sliced
1 C kale, chopped
1/2 small squash, steamed until soft
4 garlic cloves, minced

salt & pepper
chili powder

flour tortilla's
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

*Kombu: adding this to the soaking beans and cooking beans will help soften the beans, speed the cooking process, and makes them more digestible, ridding them of their stinky side-effects.

First, bring a pot of water and beans to a boil with the slice of kombu - do not add salt, it will make the beans tough. Once boiling, cover and simmer about 45 minutes. Keep an eye on them, cooking times vary based on age of dried beans. While the beans are boiling, steam the squash and set aside.

When beans are cooked, drain and set aside, removing kombu. In large skillet heat oil over medium heat, then saute onions until golden. Add kale, squash and garlic. Sprinkle tumeric and chili powder based on taste. I add about a teaspoon of tumeric and 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, but if you like spicy, definitely up the amount of chili powder. I like spicy but my kids don't. Add a bit of water, about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add beans and using a potato masher smash it up until desired consistency. Toss in a bit of salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into tortilla, cover with cheese, salsa, sour cream, and avocado slice. Roll and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Recently I had the urge to buy some veggies at the grocery store in an attempt to eat a RAW diet for a week. Since I have been receiving my CSA's I have not shopped for veggies, but I couldn't do a RAW diet solely on squash and potatoes (you CANNOT eat raw potatoes because they can make you VERY sick). So, I put down my rules of local seasonal veggies and bought some eggplant, zucchini and summer squash. After doing the RAW for a week, I still had some left-over and with a purging mentality, I made them all into one meal. My kids love Ratatouille (the movie and the food) for whatever reason, even though they will rarely eat any of these veggies on their own. Here's my version that got quickly gobbled at last night's dinner table:


1 medium eggplant, peeled & cubed (you can also salt it by putting it in a colander and sprinkling salt over it and letting it sit for an hour - this removes any bitterness)
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1" thick pieces
1 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1" thick pieces
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 C mushrooms (I used dried local mushrooms, reconstituted in warm water, then added the water to the cooking water for the rice I served this over)
1 1/2 C veggie broth
2 T butter
Salt, pepper, parsley & oregano
1/4 C nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven proof pan melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add rest of veggies except tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Saute for 5 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes, broth and herbs and stir thoroughly. Sprinkle nutritional yeast over top and cover pan. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook 1 C brown rice in 2 1/4C broth.

Serve a heaping spoonful of Ratatouille and sauce over rice, sprinkle with nutritional yeast (or Parmesan cheese).