Archive for Recipes

A Walk in the Woods Yields a Mushroom Frittata

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Chanterelles and boletes, trimmed and ready

We found quite a few chanterelles and boletes on our morning walk, one bolete was the prized “penny bun” and a good size too.  I trimmed them, caramelized a vidalia onion and sauteed the mushrooms until they released their liquid and browned a little.  I added fresh thyme and spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  I added salt and a small glug of water to five eggs, beat them with a fork until creamy then spread them over the mushrooms in the pan.  I cooked them on the stove top on low heat until I saw the edges start to harden then finished it off under the broiler (this ensures a tender interior without the trauma of trying to turn it over in the pan).

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Yum!

We rounded off our lunch with a slice of a lemon/ginger/rhubarb pie which I had brought from home.  I gave the recipe for this pie in my July 25, 2016 post on this blog.

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Strawberries!!!

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On Friday my husband and I picked 25+ pounds of strawberries at a local farm.  They were daunting when I got them home.  Of course we wanted jam and I like an old recipe from colonial days.  The New England colonists brought with them Sweet Woodruff, an herb native to Europe, where it was a necessary ingredient in their May wine but they also put it in strawberry jam as a flavor enhancer.  I made 12 jars of Strawberry-Sweet Woodruff jam and 14 jars of Strawberry-Pineapple.

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They’re the reddish ones in the middle

The farm gives out free recipe sheets and there was a recipe for a strawberry/pasta/kale salad which intrigued me but when I tried it we found it underwhelming.  I thought it had promise though so I tried it again, making it a whole meal this time using chicken chunks, quinoa, kale, strawberries and roasted sunflower seeds.  We really enjoyed it.  I used a sweet & sour lemony vinaigrette and garnished it with the zest from the lemon.

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And then there were the other uses:

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On cereal

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Strawberries and cream with a sprinkling of sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberries give me a chance to use my beloved old Royal Doulton berry plate that I found at a flea market with my brother. The bowl is perforated on the bottom so the berries don’t get soggy.

I also made a fresh strawberry pie, too sloppy to show you.  It’s been very rainy here and I should have used more cornstarch as it’s more like a thick sauce and spreads all over the plate (but still tasty).

 

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Spaghetti Squash: A Garden Thug with Tasty Possibilities

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Here it is in the fullness of its growth. It spread from its bed to the right and smothered the asparagus. Vines that went through the fence and got outside were swiftly nipped off by deer or who knows, it might have come in the house!

I like to try a new vegetable every year but I was an innocent when I decided to try out spaghetti squash, having no idea it would be so aggressive.  The squash themselves average about a foot long.  The vines on the other hand easily spread 20 feet.  They are a winter squash type and are ripe when they turn yellow and the skin is no longer tender.  I planted two hills and got about 25 squash.

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The ripe squash

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I get an inescapable mental image when I see them like this and understand if you do too.  Ignore that. To begin, you need to cut them in half and bake them at 400º until you can pierce the skin with a sharp knife.  If you cut them crosswise you get longer strands. I found it easier to take the seeds out before baking them but it can be done afterwards as well.

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Pull at the strands with a fork and separate them as you go along.

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This is the palette from which we can create our dishes.  I tried using it as I would angel hair pasta but I found that it got lost in heavy sauces such as marinara or Bolognese.

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It worked very well in place of pasta sheets for a cheese lasagna.  I layered it about an inch thick and pressed it down gently with a spatula.  (above: lasagna plated, below, lasagna in the pan).

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Here it is with the classic “Aio e Oio.” It makes an excellent side dish, here with maple glazed salmon filet and caramelized Brussels sprouts.

I found it really works well with lighter sauces.  I sauteed it to dry it out some then made the sauce and added the squash, turning it in the sauce until all strands were coated.  Aio e Oio (Roman garlic, olive oil and red hot chili pepper with parsley) is wonderful.  I also tried it with a sauce of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and basil and that was terrific as well.  Be sure to salt it as you saute it as it is very bland all by itself.

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Garlic Scape Pesto: “How To” Video

I’ve finally tried it, making a video that is.   Follow this link to view it.  In my maiden voyage I’ve made several “rookie errors,” one of which is forgetting the crucial matter of what kind of cheese to use (Pecorino Romano or Parmesan).  Another thing to remember is that this recipe is flexible, depending on the taste of the cook.  I notice now that I used 1/2 the volume of walnuts in the video, whereas in the link to my earlier post, I used 1/3.  To me this just shows how very flexible it is.  Many who viewed it from my Facebook page asked if I could show it being used, so I thought I’d post it here as well because I have previously done several posts about this terrific vegetable, being used both in its fresh form and as Pesto.  Pasta Primavera , Stir Fry with Chicken and Snow Peas  , and one about Garlic Scape Pesto itself, showing it used with rice and twice baked potatoes.  It’s also great mixed into salad dressing and tossed with pasta.

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Dancing Ladies Makes an Unusual Centerpiece

Here's Dancing Ladies in her place of honor.

Here’s Dancing Ladies in her place of honor.

Usually I have a traditional centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table, a cone of fruit topped by a pineapple (Colonial symbol for hospitality) to be compatible with our old house, but this year time ran out and I found myself out of time and desperate.  One of my orchids, an oncidium called Dancing Ladies was just coming into bloom and was so pretty I just covered her slat basket with decorative paper, tied a ribbon around her and had the solution to my problems.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the change.

My usual "over the top" traditional centerpiece.

My usual “over the top” traditional centerpiece.

I also tried new pies this year, using the recipes from the food section of the New York Times. (Link is to all the Thanksgiving recipes they had, pies being at the end.) I think the pies looked terrific but I like my old recipes better.  I usually make Apple, Pumpkin (really Butternut Squash) and Mince, but when I brought in my green tomatoes and made green tomato mincemeat, it was so delicious that I made Mince Pie right then and we ate it all ourselves.  The Times recipe had a chocolate/pecan pie which I tried instead of Mince.  Others liked it but I found to be too rich.  The Pumpkin/Squash Pie recipe from the Times tasted almost exactly like my regular one and the Apple was delicious but I missed just the plain apple as it added dried cranberries.

Here are my pies, clockwise from top; Apple, Squash and Pecan.  I had fun with the crust.

Here are my pies, clockwise from top; Apple, Squash and Pecan. I had fun with the crust.

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Asparagus: Beginnings and Endings

It’s one of my favorite vegetables with a season that’s all too short.  I always have a dilemma at the beginning and the end of the season; should I save these few spears for a day until I pick some more (losing the fresh from the garden flavor) or can I think of a way to use them right now?  They can always be mixed into a tossed salad but the flavor is diluted with all the other vegetables.  This year I opted to begin the season with a lunch of Asparagus Frittata and to  end the season with a side dish of Asparagus and Sugar Snap Pea Pasta.

Asparagus, Onion and Feta Cheese Frittata

Asparagus, Onion and Feta Cheese Frittata

This so easy, no recipe is required.  The method works for any combination you want to use in your Frittata.  Cut up the vegetables and sauté them in olive oil until just barely tender.  With my asparagus, I just sautéed it until it turned a brighter green although I started the onions first and cooked them through.  Spread the mixture out evenly and spread the cheese over the top.  While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the eggs; two per person and one for the pan, and turn down the heat.  Turn the broiler on to low.  Beat the eggs soundly with a fork and add salt and pepper.  Beat in cold water, about 1 Tbsp. per person ( I just run the bowl under the faucet for a second).  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, trying to coat them all.  Poke down any the have no egg, just to give them a little coating, even if they pop up again.  Cook the mixture without stirring just until you see the edges start to solidify, then run the pan under the broiler, keeping careful watch.  It will puff up slightly and brown on top, but still be tender inside.

Pasta with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

Pasta with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

This dish couldn’t be easier.  Boil your pasta of choice until very firm, add the chopped up vegetables and cook until they turn bright green, drain, add  salt and pepper and some butter or olive oil.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan.  Yum!  I’ve occasionally added chopped herbs or pesto (garlic scape pesto works well here) but I like it best with the unenhanced vegetable flavors.  After all this may be the last time I have Asparagus this year…

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Extend the Gardening Season With Row Covers and Layers of Leaves

Here's my Kale, sung as a bug in a rug.

Winter weather is right around the corner but we can still have fresh vegetables with a little advance planning.  If you still have carrots, a thick layer of leaves will keep the earth soft enough to dig them for many weeks to come.  Parsnips shouldn’t be picked until they have been touched by frost.  The frost sweetens them and develops the flavor.  Cover these with leaves too and mark the ends of the rows with stakes so you will know where to dig, if snow covers the ground.  The soil may freeze but there will be days over the winter where it warms up and you can go out and dig enough for a week or two as the carrots and parsnips last well in the refrigerator crisper drawer.  Kale is one vegetable that stands up well to repeated frost.  It eventually succumbs, but that day can be put off with row covers.  I secure the covers to the hoops with clothespins so I can easily pull back the cover to get at the kale.  I have given kale recipes in the posts for December 13th and 17th, 2011 and more complete instructions for parsnips with recipes in the post for February 18th, 2012 (see archives).

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