Tag Archives: food

Dandelion Green & Potato Soup

It happens to everyone—You get a little too busy too cook after buying a bunch of fresh produce, or you lose a bunch of wonderful greens in the back of the crisper drawer, and by the time you find them, they are not of salad quality. We’re usually pretty good about not letting food get past its prime in our home, but with our ridiculous schedules the past few weeks, we found a couple of items went over the hill. One of the things I was pretty bummed to find wilted in the fridge was a big bunch of dandelion greens that I had been psyched to try. I never had dandelion greens before, although I always wanted to try them (and dandelion wine—Maybe I’ll find a pesticide-free field of blooms soon!). So, I was reluctant to throw the bunch of not-so-pretty greens away. They weren’t slimy or moldy, just a little wilted. In my mind, those are the veggies that are perfect for soup, so I set to work making a soup that used the last of my winter potatoes with the bunch of dandelion greens. The result was delightful! Dandelion greens turn out to be incredibly tasty (not to mention how good for you and inexpensive they are). This soup recipe would also work with any other dark, leafy green, like kale, chard, or spinach.

Dandelion Green & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 c. stock or broth (I used smoked turkey stock)
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and chop scallions.
  2. Heat olive oil in large soup pot or dutch oven and sauté garlic and scallion for 2-3 minutes.

    Garlic & Scallion

    Garlic & Scallion

  3. Meanwhile, cube potatoes.
  4. Add potatoes to garlic & onion mixture.

    Potatoes

    A hearty yellow potato pairs well in this soup.

  5. Add stock or broth, then add water until liquid covers potatoes by 1-2 inches.

    Simmering Potatoes

    Simmering Potatoes

  6. Bring liquid to boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmering for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Meanwhile, roughly chop dandelion greens.
  8. After potatoes are tender, add greens and black pepper to pot. Cover, simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

    Dandelion Greens

    Dandelion Greens

  9. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Dandelion Green & Potato Soup

Dandelion Green & Potato Soup


Arugula, Hummus & Mozzarella Panini

One of my favorite things to make for dinner on busy days are paninis. Warm and creamy filling in between crisp, hot bread just seems a lot more fulfilling than the cold sandwich alternative when you are tight on time. I’ve learned that the soft cheese or spread, greens, protein, and harder cheese order of filling seems to work pretty well, with the spread and cheese acting as glue to hold the yumminess together. Good, crusty bread is also a must for paninis. If you don’t have good bread, stick with grilled American cheese & tomato soup (actually, even that should have good bread involved).

On these particular paninis, we paired some zesty spring arugula with creamy hummus, earthy mushrooms, bright pesto, and fresh mozzerella. It tastes like it takes a lot longer to make than it does!

Arugula, Hummus & Mozzerella Panini

Ingredients:

Makes 2 paninis

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. pesto
  • 4 T. hummus (I used roasted red pepper)
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 1/4 red onion (or 1 very small red onion)
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 4 oz. mozzarella
  • 4 slices wheat bread

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice mushrooms & onion and sauté until onion is translucent.
  2. Spread pesto on two bread slices.

    Pesto on bread

    Pesto on bread

  3. Spread hummus on remaining two bread slices.

    Hummus

    Hummus on other side.

  4. Divide sautéed mushrooms & onions over hummus.

    Mushrooms & Onions

    Mushrooms & Onions

  5. Place handful of arugula on top of mushrooms & onions.

    Arugula

    Arugula

  6. Slice mozzarella and place on top of arugula.

    Mozzarella

    Mozzarella

  7. Top with pesto-spread slice of bread.
  8. Grill in preheated panini press for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, or in skillet for 3 minutes per side.
  9. Serve hot with pesto roasted radishes and salad.
Arugula, Hummus & Mozzarella Panini

Compared to the mellower flavors of winter, this really shows of the variety of flavors for warmer months!


Spring Brunch Pizza

Just in time for Mother’s Day brunch, I bring you this recipe for a tasty spring pizza. Garlicky pesto, earthy potatoes, creamy fromage blanc, rich eggs, and zesty arugula are piled on a crispy crust to make this hearty pizza pie. My mother-in-law had shared some duck eggs with us, and, having never tasted them before, I thought they deserved a bit more of a special treatment than the chicken eggs I normally have. According to my mother-in-law, the duck eggs have more than twice the nutrients than a chicken egg, but also twice the cholesterol. This makes sense, as the yolks looked larger and richer than chicken eggs. If you can’t find duck eggs, though, chicken eggs would work just fine in this recipe.

The crust for this pizza was made without yeast, as I couldn’t find any in the house. It was a slightly denser texture than some crusts, but still quite good with a nice, crisp bottom. Best of all, it was sooo quick and easy to mix up.

Spring Brunch Pizza

Crust Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. olive oil (I used mushroom-sage flavor)
  • 3/4 c. water

Topping Ingredients:

Topping Ingredients

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. pesto
  • 1 medium potato (I used a yellow one)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 bulbs wild garlic or green onions, with green tops
  • 2 duck eggs, or 3 chicken eggs
  • 2 c. arugula or chopped spinach
  • 8 oz. fromage blanc or ricotta cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix dry crust ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Add water and oil. Mix until dough forms soft, not sticky, ball (add up to 1/4 c. more flour, if necessary).

    Pizza Dough

    Pizza Dough

  4. Knead on floured surface for 3 minutes.
  5. Spread on greased pizza pan and brush edges of crust with olive oil.

    Crust in pan

    Crust in pan

  6. Spread pesto over crust.

    Pesto on Crust

    Pesto on Crust

  7. Slice the potato as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one). Layer potato slices on top of pesto and sprinkle with black pepper.

    Potato Layer

    The thinly sliced potatoes look pretty over the pesto.

  8. Chop white and green portions of wild garlic or green onions and sprinkle over potato layer.

    Scallions

    Scallions scattered over potatoes

  9. Bake pizza for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, scramble eggs.
  10. When pizza comes out of oven, scatter scrambled eggs over crust.

    Eggs

    The colors look like spring!

  11. Spread arugula leaves over eggs.

    Arugula

    Arugula layer

  12. Drop fromage blanc or ricotta over arugula by spoonful.
  13. Bake for 10 additional minutes, or until greens are wilted and crust is lightly browned. Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing.
Spring Brunch Pizza

The flavors of spring appear in all different elements of this pizza. You can serve it for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner!


Birthday Cake Martinis

A couple of weekends ago, I pulled out my spray-paint can cocktail shaker (thanks, Liz!) and mixed up a batch of birthday cake martinis for Kevin’s birthday. The recipe was so simple,  I hadn’t planned on posting it here. But, since I put the picture in that weekend hodgepodge, numerous people have written to ask for a post about it. So, here it is! Be aware, this drink packs a punch. You also may want to experiment with adding some white chocolate liquor or using vanilla vodka instead of whipped cream. Definitely don’t forgo the frosting- It’s the icing on the cake! (har har har)

Birthday Cake Martini
makes 1 martini, but easy to scale

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. whipped cream vodka
  • 2 oz. creme de cacao a la vanille
  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. heavy cream
  • frosting
  • nonpareil sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Spread thin layer of frosting on small plate. Pour sprinkles into shallow bowl.
  2. Dip martini glass rim into frosting, then sprinkles.
  3. Add liquors, cream and ice to cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into sprinkle-rimmed martini glasses.
  4. Serve immediately.
Birthday Celebration

Cupcakes & Birthday Cake Martinis


Slow Cooked Soy-Ginger Chicken

Chicken isn’t something we have too often, mainly because it’s one of the more expensive things to buy from the farm (costs more than vegetables, anyway!). but it’s a meat we enjoy on occasion. Chicken legs are one of the more economical cuts to purchase, and they are so incredibly easy to prepare, especially when you toss them in a slow cooker. This recipe has a rich flavor with salty soy sauce, fresh ginger, nutty sesame oil, spicy chili powder, and sweet honey. Served with some kale sautéed in a touch of sesame oil and chili powder, this dish is a crowd pleaser!

Slow Cooked Soy-Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Yes, that is grocery store purchased chicken in this picture! I think it's the only meat we've purchased from a market in over a year. We had a gift card to Trader Joe's and decided to give their product a try. I've got to say, it was odd to have meat in a Styrofoam tray with a bar code sticker ...

  • 1 onion
  • 6-8 chicken legs
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2″ chunk ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1.5 T. sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Peel and cut onion into 1/4″ slices. Place onion slices in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken legs on top of onion slices.

    Chicken and Onion

    Layer chicken legs on top of onion slices.

  3. Peel garlic cloves & crush them. Add to slow cooker.
  4. Peel ginger and cut into 1/8″ slivers. Add to slow cooker.
  5. Sprinkle chili powder and black pepper over chicken. Add bay leaf.

    Ginger, Garlic, Bay Leaf

    Flavorful ginger, garlic & bay leaf

  6. Whisk together soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil. Pour over chicken.

    Soy Sauce Mixture

    Soy Sauce Mixture

  7. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  8. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice with sauteed greens.
Soy Ginger Chicken

Soy Ginger Chicken with Sauteed Kale


Radish Green & Potato Soup

It’s radish season! Raw radishes in salads, grilled with butter & salt, or sautéed with mint and onions—radishes take on completely different personalities depending on how you prepare them. The greens offer a whole different culinary perspective that is often overlooked. We had to adopt out our bunny for the sake of Kevin’s lungs (allergy-induced asthma), which has left us trying to find new ways to use up plant parts we used to feed to the bunny. Radish greens are one thing I am glad I learned how to cook with! They are so delicious, and have tons of nutrients. You can sautée them like you would other greens, or, you can make them into this crazy simple soup. It is simultaneously earthy, fresh and zesty.

Radish Green & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients. (Not pictured: Hot Sauce,

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large bunch radish greens
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2-3 c. water (or broth) (enough to cover potatoes in pan)
  • 2 T. parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • chives, parsley, mint, sprouts, etc. for topping

Directions:

  1. Chop shallot, parsley, & garlic
  2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallot & garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.

    Sautéeing

    Sautéeing shallots, garlic & parsley.

  3. Chop radish greens and add to pot. Sautée until wilted.

    Radish Greens

    Wilting radish greens

  4. Wash & dice potatoes. (You can peel them if using russets, but I used yellow potatoes with pretty thin skin & left it on. No need to peel red ones, either.)
  5. Add potatoes to pot and add water or broth to just cover top of potatoes.

    Simmering potatoes

    Potatoes in the pot

  6. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in batches in the blender.
  9. Ladle into bowls. Top each bowl with a few dashes of hot sauce.
  10. Finely chop remaining herbs and place on top of soup.
Radish Green & Potato Soup

It may look like something from a swamp, but it is seriously good eating.


Crunchy Granola French Toast

As many of you probably know already from previous posts, my husband and I don’t eat breakfast very often. I can barely think about eating for at least a couple of hours after I get up, and I’ve always been like that. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I just can’t get into it early in the morning. However, on weekends, when there’s a bit more time to ease into the day, I do enjoy sitting down for a morning meal.

On a recent trip to New York City, Kevin and I visited Eli Zabar’s and picked up a loaf of their fantastic challah bread. After reserving a few slices to snack on plain, I got a hankering for french toast. We had a bag of granola in the cupboard from The Granola Factory, so I decided to whip up some crunchy french toast for us as a treat last weekend. The granola makes a delicious crust on the bread, and, instead of maple syrup, we topped ours with honey vanilla yogurt.

Crunchy Granola French Toast

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 1″ thick slices challah bread, or other dense bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • splash vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1.5 c. granola
  • 2 T. butter
  • yogurt for topping

Directions:

  1. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.
  2. Crush granola into small pieces and spread evenly on plate.

    Assembly Line

    Set up a french toast assembly line

  3. Submerge bread into egg mixture, then press both sides of each slice into granola.
  4. Melt butter on griddle or in large skillet.
  5. Place coated bread slices in skillet and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

    French Toast in Skillet

    French Toast in Skillet

  6. Serve topped with yogurt.
Granola French Toast

This would be great topped with fresh fruit, too!


This One’s for the Dogs

I am a Girl Scout leader, helping lead four troops of girls from Kindergarten-12th grade. This is my 20th year as a Girl Scout, and I can’t even begin to express how important the people I’ve encountered through the program have been in my life. I can only hope that the girls I lead will get something as valuable out of GS as I have myself.

The Brownie troop I lead has been working on a Journey project all year. I won’t get into how I feel about these new sorts of programs in scouts, but lets just say I am not a huge fan. Despite my personal opinions about the program, I wanted to give the girls the opportunity to earn the award that goes along with it. The final step of the project involves taking action within the community. The girls decided to reach out to Last Chance Ranch, a local animal and equine rescue.

The girls made dog and horse treats to bring to the shelter, plus, they donated $100 of their cookie money to the organization. After the original batch of 300 dog treats went moldy before we got to deliver them, I called Bone Appetit Bakery for advice. The dog treat baker was extremely helpful and gave me tips to perfect the recipe I had found online, allowing the treats to stay fresh for months. So, for all of you puppy parents out there, here’s a recipe for some natural peanut butter treats your dog is sure to enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
Makes 3-4 dozen treats (1-2″ diameter)

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (all-natural or organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Whisk together oil, peanut butter, and water.
  3. Gradually add flour, stirring until a stiff dough is formed.
  4. Knead dough into smooth ball.
  5. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick and use cookie cutters to cut out treats, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
  8. Turn off oven, crack open door, and allow treats to sit in oven for 2 hours, or overnight.
  9. Store treats in airtight container.
Dog Treats

Peanut Butter Dog Treats


Ramp Stuffed Potatoes

Recently, a friend of mine brought me a pungent bag of ramps, or wild leeks. I hadn’t even heard of these foraged treats until about a month ago, but since then, I feel like I’ve heard about them everywhere I have been! Ramps come up in April with broader, flatter leaves than an onion, but the same sort of bulbous root underground. They are quite potent to smell- If you pick one, you’ll know from the odor that it’s really a ramp! They have a lovely flavor of garlic and onions, and the greens are tasty, too, unlike a traditional leek. Last week, I posted a recipe for trout topped with a crispy wild leeks. The onion and garlic flavor really complemented the fish. We also fried up some of the ramps to use as topping on some grilled hamburgers. But, I wanted to make something to truly highlight their taste and texture. I had picked up a huge bag of Lehigh potatoes (similar to Yukon Gold) from Padula Potatoes last weekend, so I decided they would be the perfect canvas. These super simple stuffed potatoes were the result, and they were so delicious!

Ramp Stuffed Potatoes

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Just five ingredients for this recipe!

  • 8-10 ramps/wild leeks
  • 2 large Yukon Gold type potatoes
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. milk
  • salt, to taste (I used our homemade herb salt)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and prick potatoes. Brush 1 T. olive oil over the skins, then wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Remove potatoes from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Cut each potato in half, lengthwise, and scoop out flesh into medium bowl, leaving a 1/4″ shell.
  5. Clean ramps and chop bulbs and greens, adding them to the bowl.
  6. Add remaining 2 T. olive oil, milk and salt.
  7. Using a fork or potato masher, mash mixture until potatoes are smooth.
  8. Spoon filling into potato shells on baking sheet.
  9. Return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through and lightly browned on top.
Ramp Stuffed Potatoes

Garlicky, creamy and filling!


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.

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