Tag Archives: dinner

Brook Trout with Crispy Wild Leek Topping

Last weekend was the first weekend of trout fishing season in this area, so Kevin made plans to spend the better part of both days along the local waterways. Every year, Kevin spends hours fishing on his lunch break, in the evenings and on weekends. Until this year, he participated purely for sport, releasing everything he caught. This year is different, though. Since we’ve got about a year of local eating under our belts, he suggested we take our practices to the next level and start eating some of his catch. Coincidentally, we have had our first experiences with wild food foraging in the past couple of weeks, too, picking some spring onions and receiving some ramps (or wild leeks) from a friend.

So, on Sunday, when Kevin caught two brook trout, it was time to take the plunge into eating what he had provided for us himself. I’ve got to admit, as a former vegetarian/vegan, it took a lot for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the fillets I was preparing had recently been part of a fish swimming in the creek (I wasn’t witness to him cleaning the fish). But, I am an omnivore. I forced myself to come to terms with the notion, and realized that, as local, sustainable and natural eating goes, this is about as authentic as we could get.

I prepared the trout fillets simply, baking them with a topping of chopped ramps, parsley, and torn bread. The flavor was light, delicate and delicious. Paired with some spring onion pesto pasta and radishes sautéed with fresh mint (bonus recipe below!), it was a great way to taste the flavors of Pennsylvania spring.

Brook Trout with Crispy Wild Leek Topping

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 trout fillets
  • 6 ramps/wild leeks (if you don’t have ramps, you can substitute green onions and an extra clove of garlic)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs parsley
  • 1 slice day-old bread
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover baking pan with foil and lightly grease.
  2. Place trout fillets skin side down on foil.

    Trout Fillets

    Trout Fillets

  3. Clean ramps and finely chop the white part and the leaves, then place in small bowl.
  4. Mince garlic and parsley and add to bowl.
  5. Tear bread into small pieces and add to bowl.

    Herb & Bread Topping

    Herb & Bread Topping

  6. Drizzle herb and bread mixture with olive oil and toss to mix well.
  7. Spread mixture evenly over trout fillets.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until trout is opaque and flakes with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
  9. Serve with spring vegetables. (And watch out for super thin bones when eating!)
Rainbow Trout

A true Lehigh Valley early spring dinner.

Bonus Recipe: Sauteed Radishes with Spring Onions & Mint

Ingredients

Just a few simple ingredients for this flavorful side!

  • 1 large bunch radish roots (save the tops for another use!)
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and quarter radishes. Clean and chop spring onions, keeping white and green parts separate.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet, and add radishes and white part of onions.
  3. Sautée over medium heat until radishes are lightly carmelized and crisp-tender when pricked with a fork.
  4. Add chopped onion greens, then remove from heat.
  5. Top radishes with torn mint leaves, salt and pepper.

Root Veggie Tagine

Cold weather root vegetable season is quickly coming to an end—Radishes, pea shoots, ramps and spring onions are appearing, and we are welcoming them! This will likely be the last turnip-centric recipe I post for this year (we’re as happy about that as you are!). This Morrocan-inspired dish is ridiculously easy to prepare in a slow cooker, and the seasonal vegetables are enhanced with the addition of several rich spices. Whenever one of my friends is setting off on a global vacation (a luxury I have yet to be able to afford), I always hand them a few dollars and ask if they’d mind bringing me some spices if they happen to visit a market. I’ve been fortunate to build up a lovely spice collection this way, with friends bringing me samplings of authentic spices from places as far as Turkey and India. I used several of these spices in this meal to create layers of flavor. The addition of dried apricots or golden raisins would add another desired complexity in flavor. I forgot to take pictures while I was cooking this, but I think it’s pretty easy to put together.

Root Veggie Tagine

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs root vegetables (I used a combination of carrots, turnips, sweet potato, red potato, and rutabaga)
  • 4 dried apricots or a handful golden raisins, optional
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 1.5 c. vegetable broth

Directions:

  1. Peel vegetables and cut into 1-1.5″ cubes. (I left the peel on the red potatoes & carrots.) Chop dried apricots, if using.
  2. Place root vegetables and dried fruit into slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle with spices and hot sauce.
  4. Pour vegetable broth over vegetables.
  5. Cook in slow cooker for 8 hours on low heat.
  6. Serve over rice or couscous.
Root Veggie Tagine

Exotic flavors blend into layers of flavor in this easy dish.


Steakhouse Dinner Date at Home

Recently, one of our favorite farms, Keepsake Farm & Dairy, received a fresh batch of beef from their butcher. We love purchasing our beef and dairy from the Place’s because we know that they have done everything they can to raise the cows properly (plus, it’s delicious!). In their new location on High St. in Nazareth, the cow’s can freely come and go between a large sheltered enclosure and a wide pasture. You can see the cheese making room from the store, and the milking parlor is just down the hall from where you can pick up a creamy gallon of raw milk or a wedge of bleu cheese. It’s always so nice to stop in at the farm store and catch up on the latest developments from John or have a cheerful conversation with his mom. The last time we were in, Keepsake was having a freezer clearing sale, so we stocked up on some cuts we normally don’t get.

Inspired by a delicious meal we had last fall in Maine while visiting my parents, we cooked up a fancy date night dinner of beef tenderloin and mushrooms in a simple red wine sauce. It’s a classic flavor combination that always tastes luxurious. We paired the meal with roasted lemon & bleu cheese potatoes and zesty spinach. This steakhouse-at-home meal is perfect for the kind of night where you bring out the candle sticks and put on an old black and white movie.

Steakhouse Dinner

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
Shallots & Garlic

Shallots & Garlic

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Ingredients:
We were lucky enough to acquire some ramps, or wild leeks, yesterday. We didn’t have them when I made this dish, but they’d be a great replacement for the shallots and garlic!

  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 8 white or cremini mushrooms
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lb beef tenderloin
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • splash milk

Smokey Spicy Spinach Ingredients:

  • 4-6 c. fresh spinach leaves
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika

Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Chop potatoes, skin on, into 1.5″ cubes and place in large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss so potatoes are evenly coated.
  4. Spread potatoes evenly in rectangular baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with bleu cheese.
  6. Roast potatoes for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Directions:

  1. Chop shallots and garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large skillet (I do not use a non-stick one for this, so I can scrape up the browned bits from the bottom when I deglaze the pan with wine.). Add shallots and garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

  3. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms, and add to skillet with herbs. Sauté an additional 2 minutes or until herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms Added

    Mushrooms & Herbs Added

  4. Slice beef crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
  5. Cook beef with mushrooms, shallots & garlic, stirring frequently, until evenly browned.
  6. Add red wine to the pan, using a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Reduce heat and simmer until beef is cooked to your liking, just a couple of minutes.
  7. Add a splash of milk to the pan and stir until well incorporated into the wine and warmed through.

    Beef Added

    The milk adds just a touch of creaminess to bring it all together.

Smokey Spicy Spinach Directions:

  1. Wash and dry spinach leaves, using a salad spinner, if you have one.
  2. Place spinach leaves with a few tablespoons of water in large skillet over medium heat. Cover and let cook until spinach leaves are wilted, tossing occasionally.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice over spinach, then sprinkle with paprika.
Steakhouse Dinner at Home

No need to spend $40 or more on a factory farmed steakhouse dinner in a restaurant, when you can create your own with ethically & sustainably raised food for way less money at home!


Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Believe it or not, despite the warm temperatures, it’s still root vegetable season (although I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel—Today is the second day of spring, and I’ve got some pea shoots!). Winter is at times the toughest season to be a locavore, but at other points, it’s so rewarding. Root vegetables & mushrooms are much more fulfilling on a cool day than a summer salad or bowlful of sautéed spring veggies. There’s a reason why certain foods grow at certain times—Because that’s when our bodies need the nutrients they offer! In this transitional period between winter and spring, heartier vegetables are still in abundance, but slow cooked stew and tagine just don’t seem as appealing when the temperature is slated to be in the 70s. So, I embraced the challenge of using the hearty offerings of the earth in a manner that doesn’t feel quite so heavy in the stomach or heat up the house so much. Plus, for my vegetarian & vegan friends, you can eat this too!

(P.S. Speaking of mushrooms, I can’t wait—Tomorrow I am picking up my very own shiitake mushroom grow log. Yes. Shiitakes fresh from the back yard. Mmm.)

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Ingredients:
Note: You’ll notice that this post does not include the individual farm’s name next to each ingredient. From feedback I received, that made it more difficult to follow & print recipes. SO, I am working on a page that will list all of the farmers & local businesses I buy from, their specialties, and their contact info. Then you can see where all of the great spots to purchase ingredients are. I’ll still highlight specialty/exclusive ingredient sources in the specific recipe. I assure you, even though the name of the farm isn’t right there, it was all still purchased from local producers.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion (or half large)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of sage
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 4 cremini mushrooms
  • 2 c. broth (I used turkey stock, but chicken or vegetable would work, too)
  • 4 medium turnips (I used 3 golden, 1 white)
  • 1 c. couscous

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and chop onion and mushrooms. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or dutch oven and add garlic & onion, sautéeing until onion is almost translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, chop mushrooms and crush herbs. Also, peel and dice turnips.
  3. Add herbs and mushrooms to onion mixture, cooking for two more minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly golden and herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs, a good base for many things!

  4. Add turnips and broth to pan and bring to a boil.

    Turnips & other veggies in broth

    A photographed pot never boils.

  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until turnips are fork tender.
  6. Add couscous to pan and stir. Immediately remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.
Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

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Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole

After you’ve scooped out the insides for your stuffed mini cabbages, don’t throw those scraps away- save them to turn into this fabulous eastern European-inspired casserole! My father was born in Poland, so it’s in my blood to love pierogies. I love making them, cooking them, eating them … I dream of someday opening a pierogi restaurant called Babushka …

Anyway, I digress. This casserole is a cinch to throw together and is a fulfilling blend of creaminess, buttery-ness and saltiness.

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Finely chop kielbasa and cook in a skillet until browned (if your kielbasa is fully cooked, just warm it in the skillet).
  3. Chop onion and add to kielbasa and drippings in skillet. Cook until just softened.

    Kielbasa & Onions

    Kielbasa & Onions

  4. Place six pierogies in bottom of casserole dish.
  5. Spoon kielbasa and onions, with drippings, evenly over pierogies.
  6. Sprinkle half the cabbage over the meat and onion mixture.
  7. Top cabbage with another 6 pierogies.
  8. Sprinkle remaining cabbage evenly over second layer of pierogies. Dot with butter and season with salt and pepper.

    Cabbage & Butter

    Cabbage & Butter

  9. Add final 6 pierogies on top of cabbage and butter.

    Last 6 pierogies

    Last 6 pierogies

  10. Top casserole with grated swiss cheese.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and cheese is bubbly.
Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

A satisfying blend of flavors and textures!


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