Valentine's Day Recipes with MsToodyGooShoes

February 14, 2014

Nan's Farmer Omelet

February 8, 2014

My husband and I like to experiment with ingredients from our farm, especially over the summer when produce is abundant.  A bit more scarce now from the farm, our ingredients today came to us by way of the grocery store.  Last week Hubby made an omelet with sweet was great.  Today I took his lead and tweaked it a little.....

My husband bought me cast iron skillets a few years ago....they are my go to for most things and are so easy to clean.  You can't use soap on them though....just scrub clean with a kitchen brush and hot water.  Dry them and coat the inside with a little olive or vegetable oil while they are still warm and that's it. 

I'm terrible at flipping omelets....they always fall apart on me.  Many times I will just mix fix them scrambled with whatever I happen to have on hand added in.  Today, I placed a heavy plate over the top of the skillet after the omelet was half done to finish the top off.  Since I used the cast iron skillet, I could have also placed it in the oven to finish cooking, but I didn't want to heat up the entire oven for one skillet. 

Here's the ingredient listing:

Eggs...I used 6 for the entire skillet...for three people and we still had a small amount of leftovers
1/8 Cup Milk
Diced Sweet Potato....1/4 of one small potato
Fresh Garlic...two cloves
Chopped Onion...small
Green Bell Pepper - 1/4 of one pepper
Chopped Kale
Garlic Powder
Colby-Jack Cheese, shredded
Olive or other Vegetable Oil

Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl and set aside.  The milk adds a bit more volume to the eggs, along with extra protein, calcium and vitamins. 

In the skillet, add the oil and heat the pan.  Add the diced potatoes and green peppers to the hot skillet and saute for a few minutes until they start to soften a bit.  Add the onion and garlic and continue to saute until vegetables are tender.  Add the seasoning to the vegetable mixture - I always add garlic powder even though I use fresh garlic all the time as I like the extra flavor.  Turmeric and Cumin are very strongly flavored herbs, so a little goes a long way.  I can't tell you exactly how much I used because I just use my judgement and sprinkle it in, but you can add it to satisfy your individual tastes. 

Add the chopped kale and cook a few minutes longer just until kale wilts down a bit.  Add the eggs, stir the mixture together and let cook without disturbing over a medium flame.  After the eggs start to set up, add the cheese, again to your liking.  It is at this point that I covered the skillet with a heavy plate to finish cooking while I did some dishes.  I would say it cooked for about eight to ten minutes longer, if that.

You can tailor this recipe to suit your tastes, maybe adding some hot pepper or substituting other vegetables. Kale and sweet potatoes are nutrient dense foods, so we eat a lot of them.  

So this was our breakfast, including coffee from our old-fashioned, stove-top drip coffee pot that previously belonged to my grandparents....I believe it dates back to the 1920's-1930's!

A note about Turmeric and Cumin:  
      Turmeric is a pungent herb and widely used in Ayurvedic medicine.  It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as being high in anti-oxidants.  It has been used to reduce inflammation of joints as well as to protect the liver from certain toxins.  It is also thought to have anti-cancer benefits, aid in digestion by stimulating the flow of bile and to improve blood circulation by reducing the blood's ability to clot.  Turmeric is generally considered a safe herb, however pro-longed use in higher doses can upset the digestive system. Also, those with certain liver ailments, gallstones, jaundice or congestive heart disease should not use this herb before checking with their physician. (

      Cumin, another pungent herb, also has a history in Ayurvedic medicine, is used in digestive health and thought to have anti-carcinogenic properties.  Cumin is also a great source of iron, thus good for the circulatory and immune systems and also metabolism.  (

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Try out the recipe, share with others and let me know what you think of it! 

Have Your Cake....

February 3, 2014

We went to my in-laws' home for Super Bowl Sunday.  It was my job to bring dessert.  After roaming the aisles of the grocery store yesterday and not seeing anything I liked, I decided I was going to attempt to make a cake.  I remembered at home I had a Hershey's Cookbook.  This was no ordinary cookbook.  I made brownies from scratch from a recipe contained in those faded pages long ago.  They were the best tasting brownies I ever had.  Coupled with the fact that every cake, cake mix and boxed pudding in the store was loaded with ingredients I couldn't even pronounce along with hydrogenated oils - yuck - I decided, as usual, that homemade was best.

Here it is....the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook.

Copyright: Hershey Foods Corporation, 1971
Copyright Hershey Foods Corporation, 1971  Check out the prices shown in the store window!

My version, which was revised for the 'modern' kitchen and again copyrighted and published in 1971, was handed down to me from my grandmother.  Little Grandma, Grandma Millie, or Carmelita, who was only 4'2", was quite the cook.  She got me to eat things when I was little that I wouldn't eat otherwise, like asparagus.  She would bread and fry the asparagus and the first time I had it - I had no clue what it really was - I loved it and asked for seconds.  Today, I love asparagus...although I couldn't eat it let alone smell it cooking when I was pregnant with my daughter - but that's a whole other story!  We would bake together too; Grandma always had extra pastry crust after making a pie, so of course, we would make turnovers with it and play cards at the kitchen table while the pie and turnovers were in the oven.

So I LOVE this cookbook!  I poured over the pages when I got home from shopping yesterday and finally settled on the "Simple Cocoa Layer Cake,"  (I originally wanted to do cupcakes, but didn't have any cupcake liners).   It was amazing if I do say so myself, but I think it really was a fool-proof recipe.  Several others have been asking me for the recipe, so here's a photo of the finished cake and the recipe.

"Simple Cocoa Layer Cake" - Very Moist and Rich!

Simple Cocoa Layer Cake

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1&1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs, with yolks and whites separated
2 Cups Flour - All Purpose
1/2 tsp salt (note:  I omitted the salt)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1&1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Hershey's Cocoa  (note:  I used the 'Special Dark' cocoa powder)
1&1/4 Cup Milk

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, then add the well-beaten egg yolks.  Sift the flour, salt if using, baking soda, baking powder and the cocoa powder together.  Add alternately with the milk to the creamed butter mixture.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the chocolate batter.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans and bake in a preheated moderate oven at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes.  (A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle should come out dry when done.)  Put together and ice with "Busy Day Cocoa Icing."

Busy Day Cocoa Icing

6 TBSP Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Butter
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Hershey's Cocoa (again, for my recipe, I used the "Special Dark' Hershey's Cocoa)
3 Cups 4x Sugar (Confectioners')

Add boiling water to butter.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder.  Beat, and when well blended, add sugar.  Beat until smooth and creamy, adding additional liquid if necessary, until you reach the desired spreading consistency.    Spread on warm cake.  Yield:  About 2 Cups icing or enough to generously ice an 8 or 9 inch layer cake.  Keeps well for several days without hardening. 

Note:  I added a little bit extra confectioners' sugar as I didn't think it sweet enough with the dark cocoa.  This made slightly extra icing, but it was perfect as I spread some between the layers to hold them together as is normally done.  I  think I have about 2 large spoonfuls of icing left.  

Again, this recipe is copyrighted by Hershey Foods Corporation.  If you can find the cookbook, I highly recommend purchasing one as the recipes are fantastic.  We loved this cake (it really is a 'simple' recipe) and since I left it at my in-laws' home, my husband is asking me to make another one.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls

January 26, 2014

Just a quick post here.  So remember how I said I have more time for baking during the winter?  I decided to surprise Jenn with one of her favorite things this morning....Cinnamon Rolls.  Not sure how I like them though....they're yummy enough, but I think I would adjust the recipe based on the air in the house.  Since our air inside is drier with the wood stove on, I may add an extra egg or more oil to the recipe next time.  Jenn said hers was perfect, but I thought mine was dry.  This recipe was for my bread machine on the dough only cycle, so it could just as easily be done by hand, only you'd have to mix and knead by hand, allow to rise until doubled in bulk about an hour or so, then punch down and knead again for 1/2 a minute, let rest for 10 minutes (all rest/rising periods are covered with plastic wrap and kept away from drafts) and follow directions as below.

1 Egg at room temperature plus enough water to equal 1 Cup (80 degrees F or 27 C)
3 TBSP Oil
1/3 C Sugar
1+1/2 tsp Salt (salt is necessary to help support the structure of the dough...I've tried other bread machine recipes with out adding the salt and they don't come out right)
3+1/2 C Bread Flour
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

1/3 C Butter, melted
1/4 C Sugar
2 TBSP Cinnamon
1/4 C Walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 C Raisins

1/2 C Powdered Sugar
3 TBSP Milk, liquid
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

If using bread machine, place ingredients in pan in order listed.

Take prepared dough and place on lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a 12"x6" rectangle and spread with butter.  Combine remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle over buttered dough.  Roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion, starting with the longest side and cut into 1-inch slices.

Place on greased baking pan, about 1/2 inch apart and let stand in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees F (177C) for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Mix glaze ingredients until smooth and drizzle over top.    Makes 12 rolls.

Homemade Granola Bars

January 22, 2014
I was at the grocery store last night picking up a few staples...onions, potatoes, etc.  I wanted to get a few items to snack on at home and for school lunches.  I'm so tired of the same old things and there are so many preservatives in everything.  There are some things that you don't think are in there too, but the manufacturers disguise them under different names.  Take MSG for example....many of us know it's not good for us and try to avoid it.  It gives me headaches, as does Aspartame.  But did you know that something can say "MSG Free" and still have MSG in it?  It may be written as "Autolyzed Yeast" or "Autolyzed Protein" or some other name...there are lots of them.  Even processed organic foods can have these things in them!  For a great informational read, check out The Elephant Journal .

So back to my shopping....I got the great idea to make my own granola bars instead of buying them at the store. I figured it had to be relatively easy.  This morning, I did a search for homemade granola bars and found this great recipe which I can't wait to try!  It received a large amount of great reviews and the recipe is simple to adjust using other ingredients you may already have on hand.  It's from Ina Garten of Food Network...which I love!  Check it out....

Homemade Granola Bars on the Food Network


Corned Beef and Cabbage for the Slow Cooker

February 28, 2013
I thought I would test out a new recipe today that I found online.  I had purchased corned beef brisket and I didn't want to boil it for 4 hours because I would not be home to watch it.  Instead, I placed it in the crock pot this morning with rutabagas, carrots, potatoes and leeks.  Seasoned it with what I had in the house (no pickling spices to speak of, but that's what the recipe called for) and let it go for 8 hours.  I cooked the cabbage separately with some of the water from the crock pot and served it all with horseradish and sour cream mixed together.  Yum Yum!!  You can find the recipe here from our friends at Food Network.  Oh wow...I've never tasted such delicious rutabagas before!  If you were not a fan of them before, you will love them now.   And the vegetables made the dish very colorful pretty!
(Oh, for my seasoning, I used garlic powder, pepper, a little cumin, caraway seed, bay leaf, and anise seed.)

Greens and Beans

January 30, 2013
I just wanted to share a quick recipe; super simple and super delicious and back to an older, simpler way of life.

Here I used home grown rapini (broccoli rabe) that we are growing this winter in our greenhouse, but you can use any green you like. Kale, mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens; they all work well here. I just sort and wash the greens (about a pound) in cool water and shake any excess water from the leaves. I toss them in a large saute pan and drizzle them with olive oil. I add pressed and also chopped garlic and saute until greens are tender and then I add in my beans. I used a can of chick peas here, but you can use cannellini beans, navy beans or something similar here. And that is it! Absolutely delicious and quite filling.

Hearty appetite!

Crunchy Veggie Slaw

July 12, 2012
Fresh from my kitchen....Crunchy Veggie Slaw

1 lb mixed shredded red and green cabbage
4 - 8 oz shredded carrots
3/4 Cup baby broccoli florets
1/4 Cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 Handful raisins
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
2 TBSP Milk
2 TBSP Sugar
3 TBSP Vinegar, either white or cider
1 tsp Celery Seed

Mix all veggies, sunflower seeds and raisins together in large bowl. In separate small bowl, for the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Pour the dressing over the veggie mixture; stir until dressing is evenly distributed and chill for one hour. Serves 8.....unless you are my family, then it only serves 4. :-)

Tip: We always have Balsamic Vingar in our home, not so much of the others. You can substitute with the Balsamic if you like. Keep in mind the dressing will be brown and not white...still very yummy though.

Zucchini Beer Bread

July 9, 2012
3 Cups Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Cup OC Blonde, Chatham IPA, Chatham Pale Ale (beer replaces eggs)
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Zucchini, grated
1 tbsp Vanilla
1 Cup canola Oil

Sift first 5 ingredients together; add sugar and then remaining ingredients. Mix and divide into greased loaf pans or bundt pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until top springs back when tested.

Courtesy of my friends at Chatham Brewing ( and the Dive Bar (

My Mom’s Summer Squash with Rice

……an old Sicilian recipe

June 28, 2012

We've been harvesting a light green Mediterranean squash out of our greenhouse for a while now, but this week we've started picking zucchini and yellow summer squash out of our field as well. Customers have come to the greenhouse in the past to buy squash plants and always comment on how many squash they are overrun with. So much so that their neighbors hide when they see them ;-) ....just kidding. I've also recently written an article on growing squash for our local paper, and I will post that once the article has been published next week.  
8 medium summer squash, either zucchini, yellow or other, split in half lengthwise, then cut into ¾” slices
2 medium or 1 large yellow or sweet onions, roughly chopped
1 -28 oz can peeled plum tomatoes with juice or 6 fresh plum tomatoes, skins removed, crushed or coarsely chopped
1 can butter beans or other white bean, to your preference
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP dried basil or 3 sprigs fresh, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley or 1 sprig fresh, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano or 2 or 3 leaves fresh, chopped
pepper to taste, either black or crushed red pepper
Olive Oil
1 – 2 cups brown rice, uncooked will yield 3-6 cups cooked
Cook rice according to package directions. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil, about 2 TBSP, in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until almost translucent. Add sliced squash to onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, adding garlic after 5 minutes. Add a little more olive oil if necessary to keep onions and squash from sticking to skillet and stir.
Add tomatoes and beans and all seasonings. Continue to stir occasionally and cook until squash is tender but not mushy, and tomatoes and beans are heated through.
Serve over cooked rice either as a meatless meal or a side dish. Top with grated parmesan cheese if desired for extra flavor.
Tip: I added the beans one night as I was not cooking meat. The beans add protein to the dish, but you can omit them if desired. My mom’s original recipe does not call for beans.

Garlic Scape Pesto

June 9, 2012
Garlic Scapes are the stem and seed pot of the garlic bulb. Garlic is usually planted sometime between September and October. The cloves are separated from the bulbs, some of the papery skin is rubbed off and the cloves are planted separately, about 10 - 12" apart in rows. The garlic bulb must go through a period of vernalization, which is basically the cold period through the winter. This vernalization is necessary for the plant to flower the following season. However, when producing garlic, we don't want the plant to go to flower, so the scapes which harbor the seed pods are removed while they are still green. These scapes have the same garlic flavor as the bulbs and are widely used in cooking but only available for a very short period of time. This year, being that we had such a mild winter and early spring, the scapes are about a month early. We typically don't harvest them until the beginning of July. The remaining leaves of the garlic plant then begin to turn yellow and dry. It is after this process that the garlic itself is then harvested.

-Great on toast and bagels just as it is on pastas, seasoning for meat and vegetable dishes and also used as a salad dressing…

I have no measurements for this recipe but it is so very simple. No doubt it will be so versatile and loved, you’ll want to prepare extra to have on hand.

As with asparagus, you’ll want to trim the thicker, tough ends of the scapes and discard. Wash and pat dry the remaining Garlic Scapes. Puree Garlic Scapes with a little olive oil in a food processor until smooth….you’re done! Very easy. Now spread on bread, toast, crackers, or bagels and enjoy! Great as a pesto on pastas or add a bit to a cruet with olive oil and vinegar and make a salad dressing. Season meats before roasting or grilling; add to sautéed vegetables for seasoning.

NOTE: You can also chop the Garlic Scapes and use them in vegetable or rice dishes either fresh or sautéed.

Mango Roasted Chicken

April 28, 2012
1 Fresh Roasting Chicken
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 TBSP Butter
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 - 3 TBSP Mango Butter
1 Lemon, sliced, seeds removed
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste, or about 1-2 tsp
Dried or Fresh Rosemary, to taste, or about 1-1/2 to 2 tsp
Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Set in roasting pan with a little olive oil. Spread butter all over chicken, then do the same with the mango butter. You can spread some of the butter and mango butter under the skin of the chicken as well. Scatter a few slices of lemon on top of the chicken and sprinkle the chicken with the minced garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes. I also like to put some of the herbs and butters into the cavity along with one or two slices of lemon.
Bake covered at 350 degrees F until done, calculating at 20 minutes per pound, basting about half-way through. Serve with your favorite selection of roasted or steamed vegetables and either cooked rice, potato or noodles.
Tip: When using dried rosemary, I like to crush the herb before using, since the dried rosemary tends to remain a bit hard even after cooking.

Sweet and Savory Chicken Salad

April 29, 2012

So our Mango Roasted Chicken last night was delicious! There was not enough left over for another full meal, so I took the rest and decided to make chicken salad and chicken stock. I'm not sure what it is with me lately, but I've been concocting and trying out new recipes. Maybe it's because I can't wait for the growing season here on the farm to start.

We've had such a mild winter and that 80 degree weather on and off between March and April...who knew? Then the other night there were hard freeze warnings! My poor hydrangeas are very confused. I know Mother Nature is going to make us pay for our very mild winter! Hopefully it will not be by the way of hail after the crops are planted and sprouting. Last year's rain after the hurricane was bad enough. We lost our crop of cauliflower and a field of beans and cucumbers too! It's very scary at times living on the farm, but it's our way of life. Tough at times for this Long Island gal who married a farm boy!

So for the chicken salad today, you will need, obviously, chicken :-). Once again, I used my Mango Roasted Chicken left overs, but any roasted chicken will do. Mine was a larger bird, so I think I had about a pound of chicken left over. You will also need the following:

1/4 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/2 Cup Low-fat Mayonnaise
1 to 2 TBSP Ranch Dressing (to taste)
1/4 Cup chopped Red Onion
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup Raisins
I have to admit that as I went along, I kept adjusting to taste, so the measurements are approximate. But I have faith in'll figure it out!
Shred the cooked chicken or chop into bite-sized chunks. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and mayonnaise. Add the Ranch dressing 1 spoonful at a time and whisk into the yogurt mixture until you are satisfied with the taste. Add the dressing mixture to the chicken and stir together until thoroughly coated. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir again until everything is incorporated. That's're done! Enjoy in a sandwich or on crackers. Refrigerate any left overs.
Need some entertainment? Check out the videos on our site...up and coming new country artist Jennifer Grace. That's our daughter! If you like her music, please comment on her youtube page and feel free to share with others.  She even has her own page on this blog.

Chocolate-Banana-Coffee Muffins

April 12, 2012

I spent part of today baking as I had bananas that were becoming over-ripe. I made muffins and they turned out so yummy that I had to share the recipe with you!

1/3 Cup melted butter

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 egg, beaten

3/4 Cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 TBSP Brewed,French Vanilla coffee or any strong coffee
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup powdered baking cocoa
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or prepare with paper liners.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sugar, coffee, vanilla and egg and mix well. Add in the baking soda and the pinch of salt and mix together into the banana mixture. Add the flour and baking cocoa and mix until just incorporated. Scoop into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean. Cool on rack.

Recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins or 9 larger muffins. Delicious!

Green Beans and Tomatoes (Italian Style Green Beans)

September 27, 2009

2 quarts green beans (or 1 quart each green and yellow beans)

Plum Tomatoes - about 4 medium sized, chopped

Olive Oil

Italian Seasoning

Garlic Powder

Basil - fresh or dried, to taste

Fresh Garlic - about 4 cloves, peeled, crushed and chopped

Wash and trim beans. Coat bottom of large skillet with pure olive oil (it's so much healthier than canola and vegetable oil). Heat oil over medium heat and toss in crushed, chopped garlic and cook for about 45 seconds. Add beans, stir with the oil in the pan and cook, covered, over medium heat about 7 minutes. Stir again, add Italian seasoning and garlic powder if needed to taste. When beans are tender, add chopped plum tomatoes and basil.   Shut off heat and leave covered just so the tomatoes are heated through. Stir and serve while hot.
A few kitchen tips:
Olive oil, while being a much healthier alternative to plain old vegetable oil or canola oil, can sometimes burn quickly. The best olive oil to use for cooking is either light olive oil or regular, pure olive oil. Light olive oil can also be used for baking. These two types of oil have a less pungent olive flavor and will not burn as readily as the virgin or extra-virgin varieties of olive oil, which should only be used for dipping and salad dressings.  
Another tip: to quickly peel garlic, set the clove on a chopping board and crush it with either the palm of your hand or with a knife, press down firmly on the garlic clove. The garlic clove will slip easily out it's skin. Also, crushed garlic gives your dishes much more flavor then just slicing alone. By adding garlic powder or extra garlic to this recipe, you can omit salt. Taste the beans first and add herbs as needed to taste. Hope you enjoy my recipe!

A Few Cauliflower Recipes

October 25, 2008

We had a very hard freeze here the other night, so everything on the farm is done now except for the cauliflower. We just started harvesting the cauliflower this week, so I wanted to provide you with some tasty recipes. Here are some great new recipes....
Cauliflower with Bacon 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets 1 tsp dry mustard ¼ Cup butter or margarine ½ tsp salt (if desired) ¼ lb bacon, cooked and cut into 1” pieces 2 TBSP water 2 oz jar sliced pimiento, drained 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley In 3 qt saucepan, melt butter. Stir in remaining ingredients except parsley. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisply tender, about 10-12 minutes. Season with parsley and serve. Makes about 5 servings.

I love Autumn roasted vegetables. You can do the same with root vegetables too...such as beets, potatoes, parsnips and carrots...roasting brings out so much flavor...
Oven-Roasted Vegetables 1/3 Cup butter or margarine 2 Cups broccoli florets ½ tsp thyme leaves 2 Cups carrots, julienned (matchstick carrots) ¼ tsp ea salt & pepper 2 small onions, quartered 3 Cups cauliflower florets Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. In 13x9” pan, melt butter and stir in seasonings and remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Cover w. foil, bake for about 25 minutes, until vegetables are crisply tender.

Pumpkin Soup

October 18, 2008

We had a great time at the Pumpkin Festival today at the Farmer's Market. It was very cold though, and the Cooperative Extension office made hot Butternut Squash Soup! Yum. I made up recipe flyers for Pumpkin Soup for today, and we ran out of them, so I will post the recipe here for those who missed out. Here it is...enjoy. Allow yourself to be creative too and serve the soup in hollowed out pumpkins!

Pumpkin Soup
1 Large Red Onion, sliced thinly, about 2 Cups
1 stick (½ Cup) unsalted butter
white pepper to taste
8 Cups coarsely chopped raw, peeled pie pumpkin pieces (2 lbs)
6 Cups chicken broth
2 TBSP Raw Rice
2 Cups heavy cream or to taste

In a kettle, cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened and add pumpkin, white pepper and salt to taste. Cook mixture, covered, over moderately low heat 20 minutes or until pumpkin is softened. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, and cook covered, over moderately low heat, 20 - 25 minutes until pumpkin is very soft. Remove kettle from heat and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. In blender/processor, puree mixture in batches, transferring to another kettle as pureed, and stir enough cream into soup to reach desired consistency. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Heat soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Serves 6-8 people, (10 Cups)

Pasta Fagioli; or Pasta and Beans

October 14, 2008
....this is one of our favorites, with one small change.... The recipe we were using called for Escarole, which I absolutely love. My husband said, "Why don't you try making it with our Swiss Chard?" So I did that tonight. Wow...out of this world. Even our daughter loved it and had seconds. (She will not normally eat Swiss Chard). Here's what I did:
1/2 Medium Sized Sweet Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Golden Swiss Chard (Golden Chard tends to be sweeter than red or green)
10 cups Chicken Stock or Broth
4 - 6 oz Pasta, either small Shells, Penne, or something similar
1 can Great Northern Beans (White Beans)
Olive Oil
Coat the bottom of a 6 Qt sauce pan with Olive Oil. Chop the onion, garlic and swiss chard stems and saute until tender. While that's cooking, chop the leaves of the Swiss Chard and rinse and drain the beans. Once the onion, garlic and stems are tender, add the chopped Swiss Chard leaves and continue cooking until the Chard is wilted. Add the 10 Cups of chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and beans and cook until the pasta is done "al dente."

Fall Apple Recipes

October 14, 2008
In the midst of freezing my beans, (I was able to get 18 quarts of beans done) another farming friend dropped off a couple of bushels of apples. They were great! I made easy! And since it's almost gone, I have to make more. I think I'll make a few pies and freeze them until the holidays.
Quick Homemade Applesauce:
Wash, peel and chop apples...I did about 20 apples so far, and it made about 1-1/2 - 2 quarts.
Place them in a large saucepan with a little water on the bottom and cook them slowly on low-medium heat. You'll want to cook them until they are very soft. I also added Apple Pie Seasoning and just a touch of sugar. You can use plain Cinnamon as well if you don't have the Apple Pie Seasoning. Season to taste and you can either mash by hand and leave small chunks of apples in the sauce, or you can puree with a mixer. Allow to cool a bit and then ladle into plastic containers. Store in refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage. Yumm!....There's nothing like homemade applesauce.
Quick Tip: I used Delicious Apples for this Applesauce....they cook down more quickly than other varieties. Don't use them for baking though. It is because of this characteristic that they do not lend themselves well to pies. You are better off with Cortlands, Jona-Golds, Spy, or Romes. I like to mix Cortland Apples with the Jona-Gold Apples for my pies and turnovers.
Nancy's Apple Crisp:
5 large, tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped into big pieces 1/2 Cup sugar 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon 3 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine Apples with above ingredients and place in lightly greased 2 quart souffle dish. For the topping, mix together the following ingredients: 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts, if desired 3/4 Cup flour 3/4 Cup brown sugar 1 Stick Butter, slightly softened 1/4 Cup rolled oats 1/4 tsp salt, if desired Cut in butter with flour and sugar and then mix in the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle mixture over top of apples and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. The oats and walnuts add a bit more fiber and texture to the recipe and give it that warm, country flair. It makes a great dessert but also serves well as, say, maybe breakfast. Delicious!

Zucchini and Cheese Bread

September 18, 2008

A customer from the farmer's market we attend was asking for a zucchini bread recipe...I couldn't find the one I was thinking of, but this one is great too!  

2 Cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt (if desired...I never use salt)
1/8 tsp red (cayenne) pepper, ground
1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed to release flavor
1/4 tsp dried basil, crushed to release flavor
1/2 tsp dried, minced onion
1 TBSP sugar
3/4 Cup shredded Cheddar cheese (3 oz.)
3/4 Cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini, can us green or yellow or mixture
2 eggs
1/2 Cup pureed unpeeled zucchini
1/4 Cup vegetable oil..if using olive oil, use the lighter version...better for baking
1 TBSP lemon juice
Grease and flour an 8"x4" loaf pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, red pepper, oregano, basil, onion, sugar, cheese and 3/4 C shredded zucchini. Set aside. In medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in 1/2 C pureed zucchini, oil and lemon juice. Stir into flour mixture only until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand in pan 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool. Makes 1 loaf.

More Italian Style Green Beans!

July 17, 2008
Here's another of our favorite Green Bean recipes, Italian style!

1 QT Green Beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 small Onion, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
4 or 5 New Red Potatoes, sliced
Tomato Sauce
Fresh Oregano and Rosemary, chopped
Olive Oil 

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add green beans and potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes or so. If you like, you can add a little water to the skillet and place a lid over it to retain the heat and cook the potatoes more quickly. Add chopped fresh oregano and rosemary (1 small sprig), while cooking. During last few minutes of cooking, add tomato sauce, about 3/4 Cup, and stir through to heat sauce. You may season with salt and pepper to taste if you like.

Hint: I like to use red potatoes in this recipe as they cook faster than the other varieties. I also use my own homemade tomato sauce, but that recipe is for another day! Also, I usually do not cook with salt as there is so much salt already in many of todays foods.

Our Favorite Green Bean Recipe

July 17, 2008
I’m Italian, and my mom always tells me “Use your judgment,” whenever I ask for quantities in a recipe, so please pardon me for not including quantities in some places. Use your judgment! :-)

1 Medium Onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves Garlic, chopped 
1 QT Green Beans, rinsed and trimmed 
8 -10 oz sliced, fresh Mushrooms
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil

Saute Onion and Garlic in large skillet with Olive Oil. Add Green Beans and Mushrooms and cook until desired tenderness. While vegetables are cooking, add fresh Rosemary and if desired, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot. 

Hint: When using fresh rosemary, easily remove leaves from the stem by holding the top end between your fingers of one hand and running your index finger and thumb from top of stem to bottom, against the direction of growth. The leaves will easily remove from the stem, and then chop the leaves to release more flavor. I like using fresh rosemary rather than dried as it is tender and not hard.

My Mom's Eggplant Salad (Sicilian Caponata)

November 20, 2007
Gail from Manorville has requested a recipe for Eggplant Salad. There are many different recipes, but coming from an Italian family, I will post our family recipe. It has a complex flavor, but is very simple to prepare. This is perfect timing too because my mom always makes this recipe for our holiday meals...she puts it out with the appetizers and antipasto..mmmm. I actually had to call Mom to make sure I had all the ingredients listed! Left out the onions...thanks Mom! :-)

1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped or diced (note: I never salt and drain my eggplant; in our family, if the eggplant didn't have "bite" to it, then it wasn't eggplant. Feel free to do as you wish) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 stalks celery - chopped
1 small - medium onion - sliced thin
2 cloves garlic -chopped (the original recipe does not call for garlic....but I put it in just about everything except desserts)
1 TBSP capers
2 TBSP sugar (or to taste)
1 -6 oz can tomato paste
Balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Saute the celery and onion (and garlic) in the olive oil. Next add the capers and then the eggplant. Saute until eggplant is tender...should only take a few minutes. Add in the tomato paste, sugar and vinegar and mix well. At this point, I adjust the vinegar and sugar to taste. The final recipe should have a sweet but tart flavor. In my household growing up, we never used measurements in our recipes, everything was done by judgement. My mom always tells me, "just use your judgement." Ditto here. The eggplant salad should be moist, but not soupy. It should hold together well when picked up with a spoon or fork. This is our recipe. Experiment with it and create your own. Sometimes I add olives too. I'm hungry! Eggplant salad, Italian bread and a glass of red wine. That's all I need. Enjoy!

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