Tag Archives: Colleen Marsh

Thanks a Bunch!

Thursday night, as I was just returning home from an art event I was participating in at Moravian College, I felt my phone start buzzing like crazy in my pocket. I set down my artwork, dug out my phone, and flipped it open to see a couple of new messages:

“Hey there, winner!”—my friend, Jaime, of Save the Kales

“You won best neighborhood blog!”—my boss, Jane, whose nephew writes Laughing At My Nightmare

I logged into Facebook and read:

“Congrats on your award! Way to be awesome!”—my friend, Charlotte, who must have been following Lehigh Valley with Love‘s Twitter feed

Then, after a moment of reveling at the speed in which information travels via text messaging and social media, it all sunk in—FromHereNow had just been announced as the winner of the best neighborhood blog category on at the My Choice, My Voice blog awards! The Morning Call, one of the Lehigh Valley’s local papers hosted the contest. I had already committed to participating in an homage to Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” on the night of the awards ceremony, and, while I was bummed about missing it, I didn’t think too much of it, because I couldn’t fathom that this little eight-month old blog would win anything. I had been mostly disappointed that I wouldn’t meet some of the other local bloggers who had been nominated—There were many worthy nominees in each category. I was quite surprised to hear the news!

I originally started this blog for two reasons: to share the things I have learned to love about the Lehigh Valley, and to have something to do with my hands when I quit smoking (That’s the biggest win of them all! Still nicotine free!). I really didn’t think many people would read it, and I wasn’t even sure if I could keep it up (I’ve witnessed many blogs that start off strong and just can’t commit to the time or energy it takes to keep a blog fresh.) So, this recognition comes as a pleasant surprise, and a motivational boost to keep going.

Thanks a bunch to everyone who voted for FromHereNow!

P.S. Since I didn’t go to the awards ceremony, I have to go to the Morning Call office to pick up my plaque and have a picture taken. Once I have it, I’ll put up a picture! 🙂

 


Sunchoke? Jerusalem Article? Huh?

When we received sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes, as they are also known) in an all-local bin from Pure Sprouts, I wasn’t quite sure what to with them. I had never heard of them before, and I can’t say they looked like anything particularly special. They looked a bit like ginger root, with a slightly pink hue. To learn a little more about it, I pulled out my go-to veggie guide From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. (If you ever plan on cooking a vegetable, buy this book. It tells you the background, how to grow, storage, cooking tips, flavor profile, and recipes for pretty much anything)

This is a tidbit of what I learned:

  • A Jerusalem Artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes.
  • It is the root tuber of a wild sunflower and is native to North America.
  • Harvest begins in late fall and lasts through light frost.
  • The flavor is very adaptable and is mild, sweet and nutlike.
  • They are great sources of iron and niacin and actually lower blood sugar, so they are recommended for diabetics.
  • Sunchokes can be eaten raw or cooked, peeled or not.
  • You can sauté, stir fry, steam, simmer, bake or boil them. (Mash them for a change from mashed potatoes!)
  • Store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For long term storage, bury them in sand in a cold but not freezing environment.

After reading up on the sunchoke, I decided to turn my stock of them into a soup, combined with carrots and rutabagas. To “hearty up” the soup for Kevin, I made some smoked turkey croquettes to serve in the soup. It was a great addition, but this soup is fantastic on its own, too!

P.S. This soup is very inexpensive to make!

Sunchoke Soup with Smoked Turkey Croquettes

Sunchoke Soup with Smoked Turkey Croquettes

Sunchoke, Carrot & Rutabaga Soup (with optional Smoked Turkey Croquettes)

Soup Ingredients:

Soup Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 2 tsp thyme (my garden)
  • 1 beer (someone had left this Amstel at our house—It worked well in this soup!)
  • 2 medium rutabagas (Pure Sprouts)
  • 7 sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes (mine were each about 3 inches long by 1.5-2 inches thick) (Pure Sprouts)
  • 7 small-medium carrots (Pure Sprouts)
  • 2 c. stock or broth (we used homemade smoked turkey stock)
  • Smoked Turkey Croquettes, optional (recipe follows)

Soup Directions:

  1. Slice onion and cook in a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until starting to soften.
  2. Add thyme and cook until fragrant.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1/3 of the beer. Cook and stir until beer is almost gone. Continue adding beer a third at a time, cooking and stirring, until onions are caramelized.
  4. Peel and dice rutabagas, sunchokes and carrots, and add them to the pot.
  5. Add another drizzle of olive oil and sauté for a few minutes, until edges of root vegetables are just starting to turn golden.

    Veggies Sautéeing

    Veggies Sautéeing

  6. Add stock or broth and bring to a boil.

    Simmering

    Simmering

  7. Simmer 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and falling apart.
  8. Use an immersion blender, or work in batches in a regular blender, to purée the soup.
  9. If adding smoked turkey croquettes (recipe follows), place a few in center of bowl. Ladle soup around croquettes.

Smoked Turkey Croquettes

Croquette Ingredients:

Croquette Ingredients

Croquette Ingredients

Croquette Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mince onion in food processor.
  3. Add smoked turkey and pulse until finely ground.

    Chopped Turkey & Onion

    Chopped Turkey & Onion

  4. Add sweet potato and thyme and process until smooth.
  5. Form turkey and potato mixture into slightly flattened patties about 2 inches wide by about 1 inch thick.

    Unbreaded Croquettes

    Unbreaded Croquettes

  6. Crush pretzels into medium crumbs and spread on a plate.
  7. Press croquettes into pretzel crumbs.
  8. Place on greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  10. Serve with sunchoke soup!
Sunchoke Soup with Smoked Turkey Croquettes

Sunchoke Soup with Smoked Turkey Croquettes


Saffron Risotto & Smoked Turkey Hash

One of Kevin’s signature dishes is saffron risotto (or “yellow rice,” as he calls it). His grammy in Delaware taught his family this recipe, and it is by far one of his favorite dishes. For many years, Kevin was the only one who prepared this dish for us since he was so particular about it, but I’ve finally gotten the confidence to make it myself (although I still call him in to make sure it is ready to add the Parmesan cheese). He insists in should be made in a dutch oven and stirred with a wooden spoon. This year, as part of a Christmas gift, his grammy gave him a box of rice and some of the signature saffron packets she uses to create the golden-hued, creamy dish. So, after I cooked up my vats of turkey stock, we put some to use making a big pot of risotto. We paired the risotto with a hash of sorts, blending mushrooms, spinach and smoked turkey into a spicy winter meal.

Kevin’s Saffron Risotto (or Yellow Rice)

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients (I forgot to include parmesan & pepper in the picture!)

  • 1 c. rice
  • 2 cans worth (about 28 oz.) chicken or turkey broth (we used homemade turkey stock)
  • half a 1/220 oz. packet saffron or a few threads saffron, crushed
  • 3 T. butter (Flint Hill Farm)
  • palmful grated parmesan cheese (Klein Farm)
  • ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Melt butter over med-high heat in large dutch oven.
  2. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly browned and nutty smelling.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add one quarter of the chicken broth to the rice, saffron and some black pepper. Stir well.
  4. Simmer over low heat until liquid is almost completely absorbed into rice.
  5. Add another quarter of the broth and some more black pepper. Stir well.
  6. Repeat simmering until liquid is almost absorbed, adding a little more broth and pepper, and stirring, until all broth is used. Stirring upon each addition is important—It’s what makes the risotto creamy!

    Kevin Smelling Risotto

    Kevin using his nose to see if the risotto needs more black pepper.

  7. When the last of the broth is nearly absorbed, add the parmesan cheese and stir.
  8. Serve hot.

Smoked Turkey Hash

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Smash garlic and sauté in a little olive oil until fragrant.
  2. Slice mushrooms and add to garlic & olive oil.
  3. Add cumin, paprika, and hot sauce. Sauté until mushrooms are lightly browned.
  4. Chop turkey and add to mushroom mixture. Sauté until turkey is heated through.
  5. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
  6. Enjoy!
Saffron Risotto & Smoked Turkey Hash

Saffron Risotto & Smoked Turkey Hash


Slow Cooker Curried Chicken & Apples—It’s What for Dinner!

In an effort to find yet another way to use apples from my enthusiastic picking trip (I’ve even given dozens away and STILL have apples), I decided to put them to savory use. I pulled out my trusty slow cooker, some root veggies and potatoes and a half chicken from the freezer and got to work mixing up a curry dish that made the house smell heavenly and reminded me of my dear friend Fatima who had to head back to Tanzania to help her father. If you are one of those people who fears curry because of its aroma, please, give this recipe a try—It will warm your spirit!

We saved half of the chicken meat to put on Asian inspired chicken salads the next day—I’ll post that recipe soon!

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken & Apples

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Chop potatoes, apples, leek or onion, celery and carrot into 1.5″ pieces.
  2. Mix chopped veggies in bottom of slow cooker.

    Veggies

    Veggies

  3. Sprinkle with 1 T. of curry powder and salt & pepper, then stir.
  4. Brush olive oil on both sides of chicken, then rub in remaining 1 T. of curry powder.
  5. Place chicken on top of vegetables in slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  6. After 8 hours, remove chicken and vegetables from slow cooker with a slotted spoon.

    Chicken & Veggies

    Chicken & Veggies

  7. Whisk plain yogurt into juices in bottom of slow cooker until smooth.

    Yogurt Sauce

    Yogurt Sauce

  8. Remove chicken from bones, if desired.
  9. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables to serve and top with scallions, bean sprouts and/or roasted chickpeas.

    Curried Chicken & Apples

    I like to add something crunchy like these beans sprouts for contrast on top of this dish. Serve with flatbread for sopping up the yummy sauce!


Polenta & Sausage Ragu

In the middle of the week, I often find myself hungry for something hearty from running around doing random things, but pressed for time since I have more random things to run and do! I was so glad to discover how easy it is to make polenta (when I made Polenta Stuffed Peppers) because it really doesn’t take much time, is ridiculously inexpensive, and is sooo warm, creamy and filling. Strangely enough, I am not a huge fan of grits, which are basically the same thing but made with white corn meal. Isn’t that odd? We still have tomatoes ripening on our counter from our green tomato harvest before the first frost, and I had some grilled green peppers and onions and some basil frozen, so I was able to mix up a simple fresh ragu to top it off.

Polenta & Sausage Ragu

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  •  2 c. coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 6 c. water
  • 4 T. fresh basil (I had chopped and frozen some leaves from my garden in ice cube trays with a touch of water)
  • 1 tsp. Herbs de Provence (Quartz Hill Farm)
  • 1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 green pepper (mine was frozen from Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 small onion (mine was frozen from Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce (mine was leftover homemade)
  • 5-6 roma tomatoes (my garden)

Directions:

  1. Mix cornmeal with one cup of the water. Bring remaining 5 c. to boil in saucepan.
  2. When water boils, add cornmeal/water mixture to saucepan and stir well.
  3. Chop half basil leaves and add with Herbs de Provence to cornmeal mixture.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.

    Polenta

    Stirring Polenta

  5. Meanwhile, brown sausage in skillet.
  6. Slice peppers and onion and add to sausage in skillet, cooking until onion is translucent.
  7. Chop tomatoes and add to skillet. Cook 1 minute.
  8. Add spaghetti sauce and reduce heat, simmering until tomatoes have cooked and sauce is hot.
  9. Serve polenta topped with sausage ragu.
Polenta & Sausage Ragu

This will stick to your ribs!


Vegan Butternut Squash Dip with Garlic-Onion Crackers

Tonight is the first meeting of the Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op (7:00 at the library—Be there!). My husband and I are so psyched. I am even skipping out on one of my Girl Scout meetings to attend! The Express Times covered the story with a pretty decent article, which you can read here.

In the spirit of community, the meeting organizers have asked people to bring vegetarian or vegan snack food or non-alcoholic beverages to share in a potluck. Since I’ll be coming straight from my earlier Girl Scout meeting tonight, I knew I had to make something ahead of time that I could just grab when I pick up my husband and bring along. With a bunch of roasted butternut squash in the freezer, plus two whole ones in the fridge, I figured that was a good place to start. Dip is generally pretty foolproof, so I whipped up a super-simple batch in the food processor and made some tasty garlic onion crackers to go along with it. The combination is delicious—Savory crackers (based off a recipe for Indian nippattu, an onion and chili savory cookie) with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy dip. So, whether you’ve got a holiday party coming up or taste this tonight at the meeting and decide you want more, give it a try! (By the way, both recipes are vegan.)

Butternut Squash Dip

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Dip Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 c. roasted butternut squash (I had some in the freezer from Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 takeout packet soy sauce (I think that’s a tablespoon?)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • hot sauce, to taste (Easton Salsa Company)

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic in food processor.
  2. Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the food processor, then add remaining ingredients.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. Serve with savory crackers.
Butternut Squash Dip

Butternut Squash Dip—How easy was that?!

Garlic-Onion Crackers

Makes 120 bite-size crackers!

Ingredients:

Cracker Ingredients

Cracker Ingredients

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt (I used herb sea salt we made from thyme, sage & rosemary from our garden)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic(Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water (you may not use it all)

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and sesame seeds in large bowl.
  2. Mince onion and garlic (I used a food processor) and add to flour mixture, stirring to combine well.

    Cracker Dough

    With Onion & Garlic Added

  3. Add olive oil and mix well (mixture will be lumpy)
  4. Gradually add water and stir until dough forms. Dough will feel oily.
  5. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°.
  7. Form a small ball (about 1/2-3/4″ in diameter) of dough. Place between two sheets of wax paper or greased plastic wrap. Press thin with your fingers (about 1/16″ thick, 1-1.25″ diameter).
  8. Gently peel dough circle from wax paper and place on non-stick or foil lined baking sheet. Prick dough circles all over with fork.

    Dough Circles

    Dough Circles

  9. Repeat until all dough is used.
  10. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Since this makes 120 crackers, you may want to bake these in batches so you aren’t using up a zillion baking sheets!)
  11. Cool completely on wire rack and store in airtight container.
Garlic Onion Crackers

Crackers and crackers, oh my!

 


Leek & Shiitake Pizza

In using up the contents of my all local bin from Pure Sprouts last week, I decided to make a leek and shiitake pizza on a whole wheat crust. The crust was earthy, complimenting the mushrooms, and a roasted garlic cream sauce (which would be excellent on pasta, too!) balanced nicely with the slight bite of the leeks. Making your own crust is always a plus, but you could also start this pizza off with a premade crust (Apple Ridge Farm sells some!). To save even more time, roast a bunch of garlic ahead of time, then squeeze the cloves out of the papery skin and freeze them for easy access to slow-cooked flavor. I’ll post the ingredients and directions for the crust, sauce and entire pie separately so you can pick and choose as you like!

Leek & Shiitake Pizza

Pizza Crust Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Crust Ingredients

Whole Wheat Crust Ingredients

  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1.5 c. warm water
  • 1 (.25 oz) pkg dry yeast
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1.75 c. white flour
  • 1.5 tsp. salt

Crust Directions:

  1. Whisk 1 1/3 c. warm water with sugar in bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add olive oil and stir.
  3. Place flour and salt in large mixer bowl fitted with dough hook.
  4. Add yeast mixture and mix until dough is smooth and elastic. (You can also knead the mixture by hand for about 5 minutes.)
  5. Divide dough in half and form into balls.
  6. Place each half in a greased bowl, then flip dough over so all sides are greased. Cover with dish towels and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  7. Roll out each crust or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. (I prebake the second crust without toppings and freeze it for a really fast dinner another night!)

    Par-baked Pizza Crust

    I didn't prick my crust before baking without toppings, so it bubbled up a bit.

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients:

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • 5 T. olive oil
  • 4 T. flour
  • 1.5 c. milk (Keepsake Farm)
  • 1 head garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • pinch each of rosemary, thyme and sage (my garden)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sauce Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. (If using the sauce right away on pizza, place pizza stone in oven while cold)
  2. Slice off top 1/4″ of garlic head, exposing cloves, and drizzle it with 1 T. of the olive oil.

    Garlic Head to Roast

    Garlic Head to Roast

  3. Wrap tightly in foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until garlic is soft.
  4. When garlic is done, heat remaining olive oil in saucepan.
  5. Squeeze garlic cloves from skin into saucepan, mashing garlic with spoon into olive oil.
  6. Add flour and stir until paste-like.
  7. Whisk in milk and add herbs, salt and pepper.
  8. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.

Pizza Ingredients:

Pizza Ingredients

Pizza Ingredients

  • 1 leek (Pure Sprouts)
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms (Mother Earth mushrooms via Pure Sprouts)
  • 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese (Groffdale Meadows Dairy)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 c. roasted garlic cream sauce

Pizza Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. (If using pizza stone, put it in cold oven and allow to preheat)
  2. Roll out pizza dough to 14″ round and place on cornmeal coated pizza peel or baking sheet.
  3. Spread sauce over pizza crust.
  4. Slice white part of leek and shitakes, then sprinkle them over sauce.
  5. Grate cheese over vegetables and sprinkle with pepper.
  6. If using pizza stone, slide pizza from peel onto stone, or place baking sheet into oven and bake pizza for 13-18 minutes, or until crust is done to your liking.
  7. Serve hot with any leftover cream sauce for crust dipping!
Leek & Shiitake Pizza

Leek & Shiitake Pizza


Vegan Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

Yamming it up

Just yamming it up … har har.

Well, my food coma has worn off and I am in the process of concocting ways to use up the various leftovers we were sent home with from our two Thanksgiving feasts. This year, inspired by a visit to the Farm Sanctuary, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law requested a vegan Thanksgiving. My husband, who has grown to thoroughly enjoy vegetables and raises no complaint about several meatless meals each week, agreed to their request, with one stipulation: no fake meat or dairy products (i.e. no Tofurkey, veggie crumbles, chick’n, egg replacer, soy cheese, etc.). If we weren’t going to eat meat, we shouldn’t pretend like we were. I have to say, I supported that point—Vegan processed food is still processed and probably not very good for you. So, my sister-in-law and I set off on a quest to develop a menu that wouldn’t leave the omnivores dreaming of turkey, purchasing as many local ingredients as we could. The results were quite delicious and everyone seemed sufficiently stuffed! We dined on lentil loaf, stuffing stuffed apples, chili maple sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mushroom and plain vegetable gravies, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pies. So, without further ado, the recipes for a delightful animal product free Thanksgiving feast! Oh, and a note: all of the recipes for this meal that require baking can go in at 375°.

Lentil Loaf (based off the recipe at My Vegan Cookbook)

I was a bit skeptical of this seemingly random mush of ingredients, formed into a loaf and baked, but it was so good! It was quite flavorful, not at all dry, and easy to slice. My husband is not a tofu fan and couldn’t detect it in this dish.

Lentil Loaf

After reading several recipes and reviews, I was afraid our lentil loaf would crumble apart, but this recipe stood up well!


Ingredients:

Tomato Topping Mixture

  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Lentil Loaf

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 c. medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 T. tomato topping mixture
  • 3 T. corn meal
  • 3/4 c. cooked & drained lentils
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Mix together all tomato topping ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Dice onion and red & green pepper, then sautée in 1 T. olive oil until onions are translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, pulse oats five brief times in food processor (you could probably also crush the oats in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor).
  5. Drain tofu and press out all extra liquid. Place tofu in large mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  6. Add sautéed veggies and the rest of the lentil loaf ingredients, making sure to just add 1 T. of tomato topping mixture and reserve the rest. Mix well.
  7. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and grease the foil.
  8. Form tofu-lentil mixture into a loaf shape about 2.5″ tall and 4 inches wide on tin foil.
  9. Coat loaf with tomato mixture.
  10. Bake 20 minutes, then cover with tinfoil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

Stuffing Stuffed Apples

I think these were the biggest hit!

Ingredients:

  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 stalks celery (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 T. dried sage (my garden)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (my garden)
  • 1 medium loaf bread (about 4-5 c. cubed, we used cranberry-walnut from Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 10 medium apples (Strawberry Acres)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut off top third of apples and scoop out insides, leaving 1/4″ wall, using either a spoon or small melon baller.
  3. Dice onion and celery and mince garlic, then sautée in olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven until onions are translucent. Add dried herbs after 1 minute of cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, cut bread into 1″ cubes.
  5. Add bread cubes to onion mixture.
  6. Drizzle vegetable stock over bread mixture.
  7. Stuff bread mixture into apples in large baking dish, heaping out the top of each apple.
  8. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes, or until bread is golden brown on top.

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Sweet & Spicy Chili Maple Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes or yams (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in wedges about 3/4″ thick.
  3. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil in 9×13″ baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder and drizzle maple syrup on top.
  5. Toss to evenly coat.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Green Bean Casserole

My sister-in-law came up with this recipe—It tastes just like the classic version and made a ginormous pan full!

Green Bean Casserole

Just as creamy and crunchy as you remember it as a kid, but with no dairy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cans (14 oz) green beans
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 9 oz french fried onions
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder (or 3 fresh cloves)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium heat add 2 cups soymilk, mushrooms, garlic, and pepper.
  2. Bring to boil then simmer.
  3. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup soymilk and add to pot. Stir for 5 min, then remove from heat.
  4. Drain beans and put in casserole dish.
  5. Add 3 oz french fried onions and soymilk mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 40 min.
  7. Top with rest of onions and cook til brown.

Mashed Potatoes

This makes a huge batch—We love our mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potatoes

My brother-in-law taught me a couple years ago that adding a few cloves of garlic to the boiling potatoes adds a lovely subtle flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs Lehigh potatoes (from Padula Potatoes, Yukon Gold is a close sub)
  • 4 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. plain soy milk (this was the only “fake dairy” we used)
  • 4-6 T. vegetable based margarine

Directions:

  1. Peel and dice potatoes. Smash garlic cloves.
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large pot and cover by at least 2 inches with water.
  3. Boil, covered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Strain potatoes.
  5. Add soy milk and margarine, then mash with potato masher or whip with blender.

Vegetable Broth Gravy
This recipe is also from my sister-in-law!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (Queen’s Nutritional Products)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cup veg broth
  • 1/2 tsp sage (my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Stir in flour, yeast, and soy sauce.
  3. Gradually add broth.
  4. Season and bring to boil. Simmer 8-10 min, or until thickened.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy

The mushrooms add a wonderful rich flavor to the gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 5 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 4 T. flour
  • 6-8 mushrooms (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 can beer (Yuengling)
  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth
  • sage, thyme, rosemary (from my garden) and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Slice mushrooms, add them and herbs to onion and garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add flour and stir until thick and pasty.
  5. Whisk in beer and let simmer until slightly thickened.
  6. Add vegetable broth and continue to simmer until hot and thick.

Double Crust Apple Pie

Apple Pie

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without pie!

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c. ice cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6-8 apples (I used a mix of Mutsu and Melrose from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • sugar to sprinkle on top of pie

Directions:

  1. Place flour and salt for pie crust in food processor. Cover and pulse 4 times to combine.
  2. Add shortening to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. With processor running, add ice water until dough just begins to form ball and leave sides of processor.
  4. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice apples to make 6 c. slices. Place apples in large bowl and mix with lemon juice.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Remove one dough ball from fridge and roll to 1/8″ thick.
  8. Place crust in 9″ pie plate and press on bottom and sides, trimming excess from edges. (Save the scraps to coat with cinnamon and sugar and bake like cookies!)
  9. Add flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger to apples in bowl. Mix well.
  10. Heap apples in crust in pie plate, mounding more in the middle than on the edges.
  11. Roll out second crust and place over top of apples.
  12. Fold two crust edges over each other and crimp to seal.
  13. Cut small vent holes near center of top crust.
  14. Sprinkle top crust with sugar.
  15. Bake 1 hour, covering crust with foil if it begins to brown too much. Filling should be bubbling near center of pie.
  16. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Beef Patties with Mushroom Gravy—It’s What’s for Dinner!

Last week, I planned on making meatloaf for dinner, but miscalculated my time and had fruit leather occupying the oven when it was time to make dinner. The day had demanded something hearty, and we are on a bit of a mushroom kick right now (it took us so long to find a local source!), so I still wanted to make something using beef and mushrooms that captured that “manly meal” attitude of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. So, out came the cast iron skillet (it just makes things feel heartier), a beer and some other ingredients, and voila! The perfect meal for a cold, bleak night. Plus—A bonus side dish recipe because my husband popped into the kitchen to whip up a batch of potato-cauliflower purée.

Beef Patties with Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:

Beef Patty Ingredients

Beef Patty Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef (Valley View Farms)
  • 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1/2 c. applesauce (homemade from Strawberry Acres apples)
  • 6-8 white or cremini mushrooms (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 beer (I used local Yuengling, but any lager or stout would work)
  • small palmful dried thyme (my garden)
  • small palmful dried rosemary (my garden)
  • 6-8 sage leaves (my garden)

Directions:

  1. Mince onion, garlic and half of each herb.
  2. Mix 3/4 of applesauce, onion, garlic and herbs with ground beef.
  3. Form beef mixture into six patties.
  4. Heat large cast iron skillet and add patties. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes, or to your liking.
  5. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms.
  6. When patties are cooked through, remove from skillet.
  7. Add beer to skillet, scraping up brown bits from bottom.
  8. Add sliced mushrooms, last 1/4 of applesauce and remaining herbs to skillet.

    Mushroom Gravy

    This will make your house smell amazing.

  9. Simmer until reduced by half and thick.
  10. Spoon gravy and mushrooms over beef patties and serve with potato-cauliflower purée.

    Beef Patties & Mushroom Gravy

    Drink a hearty beer with this!

Potato-Cauliflower Purée

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients (Pardon the mess in the background!) (Not pictured: cheese)

  •  2 c. cauliflower florets (this was leftover yellow cauliflower from Bechdolt’s that we had grilled then frozen)
  • 2 c. Yukon Gold potatoes (Strawberry Acres)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. milk, or to taste (Keepsake Farm)
  • 1/4 c. cheese (we used Keepsake Ferale from Keepsake Farm)

Directions:

  1. Dice cauliflower and potatoes and place in large pan.
  2. Cover contents of pan with water and bring to boil. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Use an immersion blender or mixer to purée vegetables.
  4. Add butter, milk and cheese. Stir until creamy and well combined.
  5. Serve hot with mushroom gravy.

Snack Time!

It’s a holiday week, which probably means you’ve got at least one meal lined up where you anticipate eating to the point where you will swear off food for a week. When you realize that you are hungry later that same day, wouldn’t it be nice to have

In an attempt to put my excess of apples to creative use, I sat flipping through a stack of Food Network Magazines, searching for inspiration. I caught a recipe for fruit leather out of the corner of my eye and almost passed right over it because, who the heck eats fruit leather? Then I remembered how much fun I had with Fruit Roll Ups as a kid and decided to give this recipe a try. I made some modifications and was super pleased with the results (aside from some minor swearing when I discovered that my tin foil is not non-stick after all). This recipe does take quite a while to bake, but that’s not hands-on time, so pop it in the oven and go get sucked into a marathon of Axmen on Netflix or something.

Also, remember those apple chips from last week? Well, I wanted a sweet and salty snack, so scroll on down the page to find a ridiculously easy, healthy snack mix recipe I made up using those chips and some other ingredients.

Apple Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Doesn't get much simpler than this!

  • 6 apples (I used Ida Red from Strawberry Acres)
  • 1 lemon (it felt so strange to buy citrus!!!)
  • 1/4-1/2 c. sugar, optional
  • cinnamon, ginger or other spices, to taste and optional

Directions:

  1. Peel, core and slice apples (it’s moments like this when I am oh-so-grateful for my apple peeler/corer/slicer that looks like a medieval torture device).
  2. Place apples, sugar and spices in food processor or blender and squeeze juice from lemon over top.
  3. Purée apples.

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

    Apple/sugar/lemon juice purée

  4. Transfer apple mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until thick and dark, with most liquid having evaporated, about 40 minutes. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so it doesn’t burn, and be careful—It will spit when it bubbles!
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°.
  6. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick foil and spread fruit mixture evenly over both.
  7. Bake for 3-3.5 hours, or until surface is barely sticky.
  8. Remove from oven, cool and peel off foil. If the bottom is still sticky, flip it over and return to oven for 15-20 more minutes.

    Apple Fruit Leather

    My lack of non-stick foil left me with this large piece of fruit leather that looked vaguely like the USA! It tastes like an applesauce fruit rollup!

Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Ingredients:

[This was such an impulse concoction that I didn’t even take a picture of the ingredients.]

  • 2 c. air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. roughly broken apple chips (recipe here!)
  • 1/4 c. spicy roasted chickpeas (Cardamom & Curry)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

  1. Mix popcorn, cranberries, apple chips and chickpeas in large bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over popcorn mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle garam masala over mixture and toss again.
  4. Chow down!
Curried Popcorn Snack Mix

Sweet, spicy, tangy, crunchy, chewy—Everything a snack mix should be!


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