Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hanson's Farm: Beauty, Tradition and Diversity

Tom and Martha Hanson of  Hanson's Farm in Framingham, Massachusetts, love farming. They are the fifth generation of Hansons to farm, and really want to keep farming. They are smart, fun and flexible. A few years ago they realized that in order for the farm to stay afloat, they needed to utilize all of the farm and all of their talents and skills. The result is that they’ve diversified in some very unique and cool ways. They have a beautiful, inviting farmstand filled with fresh vegetables in vibrant greens and reds and purples. A comfortable armchair in a corner, a table with chairs on a side-porch, and a sign reading “Be Nice or Go Away’ all reflect their open nature and sense of humor. They raise pastel-colored eggs from heirloom chickens, stable horses, have a corn maze, and annually have a Haunted Hay Ride that brings in nearly a hundred volunteers. They give birthday parties and field trips. And they have a very successful CSA program. Hanson's Farm is a delightful place to shop and a fun place to visit. In honor of Martha's eggs, here are some egg recipes!
Alsatian Onion Tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces cold unsalted butter or lard, or a combination
2 ounces cold vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water
4 ounces thick sliced bacon (about 4 slices)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds onions 
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Blend together the flour, butter or lard, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the pieces are the size of baby peas. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture and stir with a fork or your fingers until incorporated. If the dough doesn't hold together, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until it does. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. With the heel of your hand, knead once or twice. Gather dough together and press into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 14-inch round. Lift the dough into a 12-inch tart pan. Trim off the excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhanging dough into the pan and press against the side to reinforce the edge. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.Line the chilled shell with foil and fill with pie weights (you can use raw rice or dried beans for pie weights). Bake until the pastry is set and pale golden along the rim, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and return to the oven to bake until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer shell to a rack, leaving the oven on.
Cut the bacon into small pieces, about 1/8th inch thick. Cut the onions in half, peel and slice thinly. Place the bacon in a cold skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cooked bacon to paper towels. Add the butter to the skillet and, when melted, add the onions with half the salt and pepper. Cook over medium –low heat, stirring, until quite wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and pale golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in the bacon and remove from the heat. Let cool about 10 minutes. Whisk together the cream, eggs, nutmeg, and the rest of the salt and pepper in a large bowl. Drain any liquid that has settled out of the onions and add the onions to the cream mixture.Pour the filling into the tart shell, spreading onions evenly, and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature, as a main dish or in small portions as an appetizer.
Summer Spaghetti Carbonara
1 pound spaghetti
4 eggs
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Beat the eggs. Cut the bacon into half-inch pieces. Peel and slice the onion. Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Set aside. Cook the onion in the bacon fat.  Combine the bacon and onion in a bowl with the beaten eggs. Remove a half a cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl. Toss and mix well, adding some pasta water a tablespoon at a time if it is too dry. Toss in the cheese and season with pepper. Serve with crusty bread and a large green salad.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Picadilly Farm- Partnerships in the Community

Jenny and Bruce Wooster had a vision: they wanted to farm in partnership with the community. But the theme of partnership runs much deeper than CSA shares at Picadilly Farm in New Hampshire.
When the Woosters were looking for a farm, they met the Hudsons, dairy farmers thinking about retiring and selling the farm. Jenny and Bruce bought the farm from the Hudsons in 2006, but the relationship continued to flourish as the Hudsons helped the Woosters change the farm from a dairy farm to vegetable production. During my visit, Mr. Hudson dropped into the farmhouse to talk with Bruce- the friendship and trust was evident in their brief exchange in the kitchen (as Bruce bounced baby Jesse on his hip).
Picadilly Farm partners with 5 other farms to make the most of each farm's resources, each growing a crop to share with the other farms to round out their repertoire. In order to connect to more communities, there are five pick-up sites for CSA shares throughout southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  They offer a sliding scale for those who may not be able to afford the fresh, organic produce they grow, and provide food to several shelters and food pantries.
The feeling of community and family is evident in the way that Picadilly does CSA pick-up at the farm. Members have a broad choice of vegetables, choosing in a mix-and-match format in their charming picking room. AND they have a 'pick-your-own' plot of land, offering extra vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs that the members can gather themselves.
Bruce and his crew were picking melons the day I visited. The yellow watermelon is not just gorgeous but juicy and sweet. While melons are delicious on their own, they are great foils for spicy ingredients such as peppers, garlic and onion. Firmer melons, such as honeydew and cantaloupe, can be grilled or sauteed, alone or with a sprinkle of chili or curry powder. Add chunks of them to kebabs, or simply serve as a side course. Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve them (other than just cutting and eating, of course!)

Shrimp and Melon Soup
This is good for leftover grilled or boiled shrimp. You can also use crab or lobster meat, or leave the shellfish out completely.
One small watermelon
1 small red onion
2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 fat clove garlic
1 hot chili, such as jalapeno
1 small lime
1 to 2 cups cooked shrimp, lobster or crabmeat
2 Tablespoons chopped mint
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1. Cut the watermelon in half and remove from the rind. Cut into chunks, removing the seeds. Peel and cut the onion and cut into quarters. Peel the ginger and cut into several pieces. Peel the garlic. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Zest the lime with a rasp, zester, or smallest hole on a box grater and set aside. Juice the lime, and place the watermelon, onion, ginger, garlic, pepper and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Combine the shrimp, mint and cilantro. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, place a scoop of the seafood mixture in a bowl. Ladle the soup around the seafood, garnish with a sprinkle of lime zest, and serve cold.

Melon Salsa
1/2 melon- any kind
1 – 2 hot peppers (cherry, jalapeno)
2 – 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, mint or cilantro
1 small red onion or 2 scallions
1 lime
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Remove the melon fruit from the rind and dice into small pieces. If using watermelon, remove the seeds as you dice it. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and veins (wear gloves, or scoop out with a spoon- a grapefruit spoon is great for this). Cut into strips and then mince. Chop the fresh herbs. Peel the onion, if using, and cut into very small dice. If using scallions, trim and chop.
2. Zest the lime with a rasp, zester, or the smallest holes on a box grater. Toss together the melon, pepper, herbs, onion or scallions, and lime zest. Juice the lime and sprinkle over all. Toss again and season with salt and pepper

If you are choosing your own melons, choose ones that feel heavier than you'd think they'd be, and that have a fruity fragrance at their stem end. Avoid melons that are already soft, or cantaloupe that are still green. Store honeydews, cantaloupes and like melons in the refrigerator, but watermelon can be stored at room temperature until cut- then refrigerate.

Happy eating!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mirepoix for the Summer

I’m calling it Summer Mirepoix. Mirepoix is a mixture of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery, used as a base for most soups and many classic sauces. It can be chopped coarsely, left in large chunks, or diced precisely—the magic is in the combination of flavors.
But... I currently have corn, zucchini and onions, and so that's what I’m using as a base for soups and sauces. Fifty percent zucchini, 25% corn and 25% onions. Chili, chowder, pasta sauce, corn pudding, quiches—it’s all good. I’ve also chopped my ‘Summer Mirepoix’, sautéed it and frozen it in small batches to add to soups and stews during the winter, resurrecting summer flavors in January and February.
Summer 'Mirepoix'
1 pound (16 ounces) zucchini
8 ounces corn kernels
8 ounces onion
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
Wash the zucchini and cut into small dice. Dice the onion. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, over low heat until the onion is soft and the zucchini is tender. 
Summer Mirepoix Quiche
Leftover ham can be used in place of the bacon-- dice it, but there's no need to saute it. This is also a great use of the eggs in my share!
Dough for a 9” pie crust
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
2 cups Summer Mirepoix
pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
3 eggs 
1- 1/2 cups milk 
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1-1/3 cups)
1/4 cup minced fresh thyme (optional)
1. Cook bacon in a skillet over low heat until crisp. Drain off excess fat. Add the mirepoix, salt and pepper. Set aside. 
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry from center out, lifting pastry, turning it slightly, and occasionally flipping to prevent sticking. Roll pastry to 1/8 -inch thickness.  Gently pick up the pastry and place in a 9-inch pie pan, leaving about 1/4-inch overhang for shrinkage. Pinch up excess pastry to form a rim and flute the edges. Prick the bottom all over with a fork.
3. Line the pastry with a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil larger than the pan, and fill with pie weights, rice, or dry beans. Bake about 20 minutes, until the edges begin to color. Remove the paper and weights. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. 
4. In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly with the milk and herbs, if using. Spread the vegetables and bacon over the bottom of the crust.  Sprinkle the vegetables with the cheese. Pour the custard into the pie shell to within 1/4-inch of the top of the crust. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling puffs. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Summer Mirepoix Chowder
3 cups Summer Mirepoix
1/2 pound thick bacon, cut into small pieces 
1 large clove minced garlic
1 bay leaf 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 cups scrubbed baking potatoes, cut into 1/2” cubes
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk 
1 cup heavy cream 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until lightly brown. Add the garlic bay leaf, thyme, potatoes and Summer Mirepoix.. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 
2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 
3. Add the milk and cream, and simmer for 5 minutes, making sure the soup does not boil. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 
4. Ladle into soup bowls garnish each serving with the green onions.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to do with slightly wilted lettuce, and other stuff

The beginning of the growing season is both exciting and challenging, from a culinary perspective. Great fresh things are coming from the garden, sometimes faster than you can actually cook and eat them!
Lettuce is a great example. It grows in abundance early in the season, and is not fresh and crispy for very long.
So, what to do with the slightly wilted lettuce?
Hopefully you've stored it well. But if it is looking a bit worse for wear, try sauteeing it or braising it.
Sauteeing simply means cooking it at a high heat for a brief amount of time. Braising is a 'combination' cooking method, which means it is cooked by a dry method first, then a wet method. Think pot roast (seared in oil then simmered in a liquid) or any kind of stew (including chili!). Cooking lettuce that is not-yet-garbage-but-not-showcase-material is a good way to enjoy the product.
You can change the character or personality of the dish with the kind of fat you use or the cooking liquid, or the herbs you choose. I've included some samples below.
Tonight for dinner we had braised lettuce with Cajun Baked Tofu and BBQ dipping sauce and baked potatoes. Instead of tofu, chicken could be substituted.

Cajun Baked Tofu
Substitute chicken breasts or thighs and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
1 package firm tofu
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
Cooking oil spray
BBQ sauce (optional)
1. Place the tofu on a plate and place another plate on top of the tofu. Place something heavy on the plate (such as canned goods) as a weight. Let stand 10 minutes to press out excess water.
2. Whisk together the Cajun seasoning, canola oil and soy sauce in a large shallow bowl or glass pie pan. Cut the tofu into 3 large slabs, and then cut each slab on the diagonal into 6 triangles. Place the tofu triangles in the marinade and turn them over to coat all sides. Let marinate 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Place the tofu triangles on a baking sheet. Bake 15- 20  minutes until crisp. Serve with barbeque sauce, if desired.
Leftover Sandwich: Toast a whole wheat hamburger roll. Slice 1/2 a tomato and a radish. Sandwich the tofu, radish and tomato in the roll, sprinkled with a bit of kosher salt.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tracie's Community Farm: The Magic is in the Details

Tracie Smith started growing vegetables and selling shares of the harvest while she was in college, and she’s never stopped. Now, Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire has hundreds of share members, enjoying the produce she grows for both summer and winter harvests. 

In my instructional kitchen at Masuk High in Connecticut, I have a sign on the wall: The Magic is in the Details. Tracie pays attention to the details. The rows on her farm are straight and weed-free; her field tomatoes carefully trellised and standing straight and strong. She and her staff carefully trim the vegetables as they pick them, taking back buckets of beautifully prepped vegetables to the barn for inclusion in the CSA baskets. Her members have lots of choices, all carefully weighed and bagged and tucked into quaint farm baskets. Add-ons include mesclun, kale, herbs, and chard. Eggs, bread, cut flowers, and some dairy products are also available in the barn. Half of her shares are delivered to the member-- just one example of her focus on making sure her members are treated with care. The magic is in the details.

Back in Connecticut, I just picked up my share from Stone Gardens Farm this morning: eggplant, zucchini, corn, kale, potatoes, onion, garlic, yellow grape tomatoes, tomatoes. I also picked up a half-bushel of tomatoes for canning sauce. 
Most of the time those grape tomatoes don't make it to the dinner table- they're perfect for snacking! But if you do have a hankering to cook some, here's a simple recipe:
Hot Herbed Tomatoes
From Kathy’s recipe box
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
3/4 cup soft breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons minced parsely
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes in a single layer in a 9x13-inch pan. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil and sprinkle over tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over all. Bake 6 to 8 minutes.

And a simple way to make zucchini look fancy:
Zucchini "Pasta"
2 medium zucchini
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini and carrots all the way through, turning the vegetable as you do so to make long peels. Toss the carrot peels and zucchini peels together. Cut the onion in half and then cut it into strips. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet until hot and add the onion. Lower the heat and cook until soft and beginning to brown. Add in the carrots and zucchini and toss well. Continue to cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Friday, August 6, 2010

What To Do With It All-- Mid August Recipes

After a fun, educational trip to New Hampshire farms and a few very hot, humid days, I'm looking forward to the weekend and trying some more (dare I say it?) zucchini recipes this week. Zucchini Pickles and Vegetarian Chili will be involved.

The following recipes can be used for the menus in the last blog. Some are everyday meals, and one meal made up entirely of appetizers (great for 'dinner and a movie', or eating on the deck/patio).

Crab Cakes with Chile Cream Sauce
These cakes can be made smaller and served as appetizers. They freeze quite well, making them a great meal for entertaining or for a weeknight meal. 
Four 6-ounce cans lump crabmeat (1-1/2 lbs)
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup panko crumbs
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 scallions or 1 small onion, very finely minced
1 small clove garlic, very finely minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
2-3 eggs
oil for frying
1. Drain the crabmeat well and combine with the 1/2- cup breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, scallions or onion, garlic, mustard, hot sauce and salt and pepper. Using a 1/3-cup measure, shape into about 16 cakes, 1/2 inch thick.
2. Lightly beat the eggs. Set up a breading station with the flour, beaten eggs, and panko crumbs. Dredge the cakes in the flour; dip in the eggs and then the panko. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining cakes.
3. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry cakes until nicely browned and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to paper-towel lined sheet. Repeat with remaining cakes.
4. At this point the cakes can be frozen. To serve, defrost in the refrigerator over night and reheat in a 400-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes. They can be held in a 325-degree oven. Serve with Chile Cream Sauce.
Chile Cream Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Check for salt and pepper and serve with the crab cakes.

Coleslaw with Creamy Feta Dressing
Pre-salting the cabbage prevents it from becoming watery after a day in the fridge. 
1/2 large head of cabbage- about 1-1/2 pounds
1 large or 2 small carrots
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (optional0
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Finely shred the cabbage (I rarely use a food processor to shred or grate, but for this I get better results using the slicing disk in the food processor). Grate the carrot. Place in a large colander and sprinkle the kosher salt over all. Toss well to combine, and then place over a bowl to drain for about an hour and a half, until the cabbage is beginning to wilt. Rinse very well and dry with paper towels or in a salad spinner.
2. Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, white vinegar and feta. Add to the cabbage mixture and combine thoroughly. Sprinkle on the oregano and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Corn Pudding
This is a very versatile recipe. You can add a cup of grated cheese, or some fresh herbs), or finely minced hot or sweet peppers, chili powder, or old bay seasoning—all of these will give the pudding character. But I love it plain, with just the honest taste of fresh corn.
2 cups fresh corn kernels (this can be leftover corn on the cob, or kernels cut from uncooked corn, providing the corn is very fresh)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons butter (you can use bacon fat)
1 small onion (you can substitute scallions or red onion, or leave it out and add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper.
Butter, as needed, for the baking pan
1. Peel and chop the onion. Melt the butter in a small skillet and sauté over low heat just until the onion begins to soften. Butter a 1-1/2 quart soufflé dish or casserole. Preheat the oven to 325. Have ready a baking pan big enough to fit the casserole in, surrounded by water.
2. Combine all the ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Place in a baking pan and put in the oven. Pour in enough hot water to go halfway up the casserole. Bake for about an hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Deviled Eggs Four Ways
I love devilled eggs! They are an inexpensive and fast appetizer or snack that can be put together with a minimum of time and ingredients. 
Traditional Deviled Eggs
6 hard cooked eggs
2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Guacamole Eggs
6 hard cooked eggs
1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Curried Eggs
6 hard cooked eggs
2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder
1/4 teaspoon hot curry powder
1 Tablespoon minced chives
Chili Deviled Eggs
6 hard cooked eggs
2 heaping Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoon minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon mashed garlic

Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a bowl. Smash them with a fork and mix in the remaining ingredients. Carefully spoon the yolk mixture into the hole in the egg white where the yolk had been.  Sprinkle with paprika for Traditional egg; garnish with cilantro leaves for Guacamole eggs, and chives for curried eggs.

When I was teaching recreational classes, one class was devoted to 'stuffed things'-- egg rolls, calzones, empanadas, turnovers-- you get the idea. Students were invariably surprised by how much they loved these little pockets of yumminess.
3 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm milk
3 Tablespoons sour cream
Combine all ingredients. Knead well into a soft, pliable dough.
1 small cabbage, about 1 pound
3 Tablespoons butter
1 medium zucchini
1 small onion
1 teaspoon fresh dill, or 1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1. Finely grate the cabbage and zucchini. Chop the onion. Fill a large pot of water and add the cabbage. Simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet and sauté the zucchini and onion until soft.
2. Drain the cabbage and add to the skillet with the zucchini and onion. Cook over low heat, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated, perhaps another 10 to 20 minutes. Keep the heat low, keeping careful not to scorch the mixture. Add the dill or dill weed. Place in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until it is finely chopped. Squeeze out any remaining moisture.
3. Roll out the dough thinly and cut into 4-inch circles. Place 2 teaspoons of filling on one half of the circle. Dip your finger in water and apply water around the rim of the circle. Fold over the dough and press to close. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil and carefully place about 7 or 8 pierogies in the water. They will sink, and when they rise up to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining pierogies.
5. Serve warm with sour cream (chopped chives or dill in the sour cream is a nice touch). Or you can sauté the cooked pierogies in butter and serve with sautéed onions.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Humbled Chef

CSA shares can be humbling. Every week I lose a little bit of control. While I've embraced the fact that I'm just not going to be choosing my produce each week, and that until I know what will be harvested, I don't know what I'm going to be cooking. . .I can't plan-- and a lot of what I do for a living is plan what is going to get cooked. As all of us who have chosen to cook seasonally, the challenge is to be flexible and creative with the food. Because, truly, there's only so much zucchini sauteed with garlic you can eat. And sometimes I feel overwhelmed and humbled by the zucchini.

Last week we got corn, potatoes, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, beets and tomatoes.
This week, we are going to enjoy (I swear) more zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, cherry peppers, onion, kale and a dozen farm fresh eggs (have I mentioned how much I love fresh eggs?). And I bought a pint of grape tomatoes and some Brazilian eggplant at the farm stand with my farm credit.
This week's menus will include:
I. Crab Cakes (using the eggs, onion, garlic)
Coleslaw with Creamy Feta Dressing
Zucchini Cheese Biscuits
II. Oven Fried Chicken 
Corn Pudding
Simple Chopped Salad (Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Carrots, Zucchini)
III. Appetizer Night:
Pierogies (Cabbage, Zucchini, Onion)
BBQ Chicken Wings
Deviled Eggs 3-Ways
Bruschetta (Tomatoes, Garlic, Peppers)
Caprese Salad (Tomatoes, fresh Basil)
IV. Grilled Burgers or Steak
Zucchini Pickles
Corn on the Cob
I canned a batch of Zucchini Corn Relish today. At some point in the winter it will be a great reminder of summer flavors. Next canning session will be herb jellies.
Tomorrow I head up to New Hampshire to visit farms. When I come back, all of these recipes will be posted.
Happy Zucchini!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Zucchini Corn Relish
This recipe can be adjusted using more or less of each of the vegetables, making sure that the total quantity is the same. It will mellow over time, and is great after about 6 weeks.
4 cups finely chopped zucchini
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups corn kernels
1 finely chopped green bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 cherry pepper, seeded and chopped
6 cups warm (not hot)water
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 cups white vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
2 Tablespoons pickling spice *
1 Tablespoon turmeric
* you can make your own or buy pickling spice in the spice section at the store
  1. Combine the chopped vegetables and place in large bow. Dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the vegetables. Stir. Place a plate over the vegetables to make sure they stay submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. 
  2. Drain the vegetables and press them down to make sure you remove as much of the salt water as possible. Combine the remaining ingredients in a very large pot and add the drained vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and either cool and refrigerate or can.
  3. To can: add the hot relish to sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch space on top. Place clean canning lids over top and affix with canning lids. Place in boiling water to cover and boil for 10 minutes. Let cool without moving for a day. Check the seal to make sure it is secure by pushing slightly on the lid. It should not move or bounce at all. If it does, store in the refrigerator. If not, you can store it at room temperature.
Zuchini Cheese Biscuits
These actually freeze well. Reheat, wrapped in foil, at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes and serve hot.
2 c all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
4 T cold butter
1/4 c grated zucchini
1 Tablespoon finely chopped herbs, such as chives, thyme, parsley or thyme (or any combination)
1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4-1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in the butter until it resembles small peas. Toss in the zuchini and cheddar. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and stir to mix. If the mixture is too dry to form a ball, add more, a tablespoon at a time, until you can form a ball. 
  3. Pat out to about 1/2” thickness and cut into 3” circles or squares. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake about 9 minutes.
Kathleen’s Zucchini Bread
I don’t know if I should call this “St. Joseph Hospital Zucchini Bread--the recipe was in my sister Kathy’s recipe box, written on a St. Joseph Progress Record (Kathy was a nurse). Nevertheless, I got it from her so…I fooled around with it a bit for a healthier version, below.
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4- teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts or raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan or other tube cake pan, or two 8-1/2-inch loaf pans.
2. Combine the eggs, vanilla, sugar and oil in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the baking powder, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir just until the dry mixture is incorporated. Gently fold in the grated zucchini and nuts or raisins, if using.
3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.
Lower Fat and Sugar Variation
• Use just 2 eggs plus one egg white instead of 3 eggs
• Replace the 2 cups of white sugar to just one cup of brown sugar
• Reduce the amount of oil to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup applesauce
• Replace 1/2 cup of grated zucchini with one grated apple
Mix and bake the same as above, adding the applesauce in with the wet ingredients, and folding in the apple with the zucchini.
Marinated Zucchini Salad
I have a lot of mint in my garden, but this works just as well with fresh basil or thyme.
4 medium zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh mint or basil (if using fresh thyme, reduce the amount to 1 Tablespoon) plus extra for garnish
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Wash and trim the zucchini and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pat dry. Heat half of the oil in a heavy skillet and fry the slices in batches until they become soft and the edges are beginning to brown.  Place in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat the remaining oil and the vinegar in the pan. Add the herbs and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the zucchini and let marinate for an hour or so. Serve at room temperature, garnishe with fresh herbs.