Thursday, April 28, 2011

seitan shepherd's pie

a take-off of an old classic.this is how it's done.
boil potatoes with skins. a bunch of 'em. say 3-4 lbs. 
the original recipe calls for slicing zucchini length-wise, frying them until almost cooked, and placing them along the bottom of the baking pan.  i've done that before, and it is delicious (especially for the month of august, b/c it uses up some of the massive amounts of zucchini around the house) but it's also more work.  so i've modified it a tad, and just:
-stir fry all of my favorite vegetables in olive oil: garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, peppers, parsnips, etc.  -then toss in some savory herbs: thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, parsley...etc. whatever you prefer. add some nutritional yeast, balsamic and sun dried tomatoes if you got 'em (they'll add lots of tang) at the end of the cooking. put the whole mixture at the bottom of the casserole dish.
-cook seitan however you prefer: dry baked, boiled, fried. i usually fry it with pepper and thyme. put that on top of the veggies in a flat layer.
-now, if you have lots of extra veg, place 'em on top of the seitan layer.  if not,
-mash those potatoes in your favorite way.  i usually just do garlic mashed potatoes and add a bit extra butter/margarine and (soy) milk to make the potatoes extra wet (which you need, b/c the whole pot pie will be baked for a good long while, and dry out the potato mash).
bake it all at 350 for 45 minutes.
sprinkle nutritional yeast over the top, and you have yourself a hardy meal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

garden activities 2011

howdy friends!
though we haven't been writing about the garden, we've been busy tending to it.  we made two new cold frames that are storing many plug trays of seedlings. the two front plots have been broadfork'd and treated with manure, as well as four beds in the back 40. we've put spinach, arugula, chard and sugar snap peas in the ground. and we've planned out the garden, in its entirety.  we're doing a CSA this year, and quite excited about it. we love sharing our garden with people!
we've started plug trays of basil, fennel, leeks, tomatoes, lettuces, broccoli and kale, so far. there's more to come, for sure.

new cold frames

here's our crop list (mainly from johnny's):
edamame (toya and butterbeans)
broccoli (windsor, blue wind and gypsy)
cucumbers (diva and little leaf)
kale (winterbore and red russian)
lettuces (mesculn and red romaine)
melons (charentais-edonis)
snap peas (super sugar snap and sugar anne)
scallions (deep purple)
tomatoes (green zebra, velencia, sun golds, marianna, striped germans)
can you tell there are 4 broadfork'd beds?
squash (kabocha-confection, delicata, butternut-waltham)
corn (augusta and vision)
spinach (corvair)
potatoes (red norland and kennebec)
summer squash (dundoo)
parsnips (javelin)
carrots (bolero and nelson)
pumpkins (expert)
leeks (king richard)
sunflowers (fire cracker, velvet queen and full sun)
zinnias (prairie)

and from vermont bean company:
green beans (roma II, soleil, cherokee, top crop)

things to do: sow a tray of peppers, direct sow carrots, parsnips, onions, radishes and potatoes

Monday, April 11, 2011

lemon ricotta pancakes w/ blueberry sauce

we made these for our family, visiting. i gotta say, they were a huge hit - the lemon blueberry combo is hard to beat. i got this recipe from two peas and their podit's pretty simple, so here goes. 
for the blueberry sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1. in a bowl, combine the lemon juice and cornstarch. set aside.
2. in a saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and stir in lemon juice and cornstarch mixture. stir until the sauce thickens slightly.  cover and set aside.
it's unfortunate the hashbrown mixed with the sauce, i know

the pancakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
2. in another bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest, and canola oil. fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until flour disappears. don’t over mix, you want the batter to be thick.
3. heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat with oil. cook the pancakes until browned on the underside and beginning to set, about 2 minutes. flip and cook the other side, about two minutes longer. make 'em until batter is gone. serve with blueberry sauce.

Monday, April 4, 2011

gingery cookies and naming

i'm not calling them gingerbread cookies because they're lacking a key ingredient - molasses. can't be gingerbread w/out molasses, sorry. i'm pretty unforgiving on this topic. 
so instead i used a molasses replacement and came up with a whole new cookie that is very popular in our house. 
i'm just not sure what to name 'em. why don't you try out the recipe and lemme know what you think an awesome name would be for them? 

don't you love the shapes of the cookie people?
gingery cookies

- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/3 c maple syrup (the real stuff!)
- 1/4 c agave  (you could use honey instead)

melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan.  add in 1/2 c of sugar and stir.  now add the agave and maple syrup, and continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture isn't grainy. 

in a separate bowl combine until well-mixed:
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 tbs ginger root (ground) or powder
- almost 1 tsp cinnamon 
- 1 tsp nutmeg

create a hole in the middle of the bowl and slowly pour in the lukewarm sugar-butter concoction. mix it until the dough starts to form a ball in the center of the bowl. then take it out a knead it a few times on a wooden cutting board.  
cover it in saran wrap and leave it out for an hour or so (if you plan to use it immediately). you can also refrigerate the dough for 4 days.  when you're ready to make cookies, roll the dough into a ball and sprinkle the very minimum of flour on a flat surface. roll the dough flat and even, and cut out shapes. 
bake for 7 to 10 min at 375 on parchment paper.  
you can decorate them with some frosting, or raisins and nuts....lots of options.  clearly we went with the easy colored-sugar stuff.  it was a good project for kid A.

 try them and lemme know what you think!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

butternut squash gratin and toasted sicilian quinoa

we've got loads of butternut squash from autumn that still needs to be used up.  so when i stumbled upon this recipe, after some initial ingredient make-over, it was a perfect fit. here goes.

butternut squash gratin

-1 squash about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs.  peel, scoop out the seeds, 
and slice quarter inch half moon pieces. 
-1 tbs unsalted butter, cut up into small pieces.
-1/2 c chicken stock
-1/2 c parmesan cheese
-1/2 c bread crumbs
-1 tbs olive oil
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
-1 tsp thyme, chopped

in a greased, shallow 2 qrt pan layer the squash on top of each other. toss some salt on each layer. pour the stock over the squash and place the butter pieces evenly over the squash.  cover with tinfoil and bake at 400 for 35 minutes, or until squash is soft. 
meanwhile, in a bowl mix the cheese, oil, spices, a dash of salt and bread crumbs.  add some hot sauce if you want to spice it up a little. 
when the squash is ready, spread the cheesy breadcrumb mixture evenly over it. bake for another 12 or 15 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. 

while the gratin was cooking i made some toasted quinoa. the quinoa tastes more nutty and less bitter this way.
sicilian toasted quinoa 

-1 c quinoa
-2 tsp olive oil
-2 c water
-2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 tbs balsamic
-handful of dried tomatoes, to taste
-small onion chopped
-bunch of kale or char (optional)
-handful of raisins and sesame seeds (optional)

drain the quinoa, grease  a skillet with the oil and toast the quinoa at med heat until golden (~15 minutes) tossing frequently. add the water, garlic and onions, let boil. after a few minutes add the dried tomatoes and leafy greens. 7-10 minutes later the quinoa should be cooked. a minute before it's finished add the balsamic and stir.  top with sesame seeds and raisins if you like.