Sunday, October 23, 2016

Boo-tiful Blackwater

We'll soon be at the end of our picnic season as the chilly weather has arrived!  A warm sausage & white bean pasta with "devilish eggs" and "witch finger" cheese straw comprised our meal today.

The "Spooky Snacks" were inspired by Food Network Magazine.

 "Witch Finger" Cheese Straws

(7 fingers)

Combine water, buttery spread, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat;  bring to a simmer.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teapsoon salt

Add flour and stir until dough forms a ball.  Transfer to the bowl of a mixer.
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Transfer to a decorator tube with large round tip.  Pipe 6-inch crooked finger onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
2 eggs

Press slivered almond into end of each.  Sprinkle dough with grated Parmigiano and paprika.
Parmigiano cheese 
Slivered almond

Bake at 400 F. until puffed, about 25 minutes.


Italian Sausage & White Bean Pasta 

 (Serves 4)  

Cook pasta in water until al dente.  Drain, reserved some of pasta water.
3/4 cup dry pasta

Cook beans in water until soft.  (I use my counter-top pressure cooker and cook 45 minutes.  Drain.
1/4 cup dry beans
2 cups water

Saute vegetables in olive oil 3-5 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup sweet pepper, diced
1/4 cup fennel, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced

Add sausage.  Break into small pieces.  Brown.
4 ounce Italian sausage

Add broth.  Bring to a boil;  lower heat to simmer.
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (can use pasta water with 1/2 "Not Chicken" low sodium vegetable cube

Stir in tomato, greens and oregano.
1/2 large diced tomato
1 cup fresh greens, snipped
1/4 cup fresh snipped oregano

The next day (for 2 servings), heat chicken broth in saucepan.  Stir in other ingredients and heat to 165 F.  Pour into preheated thermos.  (I preheat mine be filling with boiling water, then emptying before adding soup).
1 cup low sodium chicken broth 

Our picnic today was at Blackwater Falls, a West Virginia State Park.

We found a beautiful spot to set our table:
 Have a beautiful week!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bakin' Up Butternut

Beyond autumn soup, this sweet winter squash-the butternut-is perfect in baked goods.  The creamy flesh, when roasted and pureed, looks very much like pumpkin. And like pumpkin, butternut squash is rich in Vitamin A.  This recipe was inspired by Clean Eating.

Butterscotch Squash Coffee Cake

(Serves 16)

In saucepan over medium heat, melt buttery spread.  Add milk, syrup, squash puree and extract.  Simmer until thick, whisking occasionally.  Cool.
6 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
3 tablespoon maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon butternut squash puree
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Mix dry ingredients:  flour, flaxseed, spices, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in nuts.
2 cups spelt flour
3 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

With electric mixer, beat squash, oils, syrup, coffee, vinegar, ginger, vanilla and water until coffee is mixed. Fold into dry ingredients.
1 1/4 cups butternut squash puree
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Olive Oil
5 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Spoon batter into Bundt pan greased with olive oil spray.  Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack in pan.

When cake is cool, invert and remove from pan.  Pour 1/2 of glaze over cake.  Sprinkle with flaxseed meal.  Pour rest of glaze over cake.
1/2 teaspoon flaxseed meal

I also made a marbled "pound cake" with butternut squash puree in both the cocoa layer and orange layer.  Remembering that I had an early morning appointment and unable to properly cool the cake, the result was a somewhat dense product.  I sliced it and froze individual pieces.  Now I'm loving a heated piece of this "cake" with almond butter.  I'll have to try something similar again!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Reaping Harvest Stars with this Pasta & Pesto

Sun-dried tomato pesto with almonds, corn cut off the cob and sweet red peppers adorn this handmade farfalline pasta.  Mine has a local aged goat cheese-Bella Vita-now sold out till spring when the aging process nears 9 months-which makes this dinner even more special.  The recipe is from Rachael Ray.   

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto 

(Serves 3)

Pour 1/3 cup boiling water over sun-dried tomatoes.  Soak for 10 minutes.
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)

Combine drained tomatoes, almonds, basil, garlic and cheese in a mini food processor.  Process until finely chopped, adding some of the tomato soaking water if necessary.
1/4 cup toasted almonds
2 tablespoon fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmigiano type cheese, grated

1 ear of corn, cooked and cut off the cob

Saute celery, shallots, peppers and mushrooms in oil for 3-5 minutes.
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 tablespoon shallots, diced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Stir in corn.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving a small amount of water.
1 1/2 cup farfalline pasta 

Combine sauteed vegetables with corn, pesto and pasta.  Add some of the pasta water as needed.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Picnic Under a Canopy of Color

The autumn lentil blend in the vegetable soup and the layered frittata muffins made for a colorful meal to match the beautiful "canopy of color" we sound in our picnic spot.  The soup recipe is from Food Network Magazine.   

Curried Lentil Soup

(Serves 4)

Saute shallots, celery, carrots and peppers in olive oil for 5 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon shallots, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup carrots, diced
2 tablespoon sweet peppers, diced

Add garlic, ginger, curry and paste. 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Add water, bouillon and lentils.  Bring to a boil.  Cover.  Lower heat to simmer and simmer 25 minutes.
3/4 cup autumn lentil blend (red, black & green lentils)
3 1/2 cups water
1 low sodium vegetable bouillon cube (non GMO-gluten free)

Stir in greens and cook until wilted.
3 cups spinach-green blend, stems removed

The frittata muffin has 2 layers-the bottom layer an egg rich blend-the top layer a whole grain muffin blend.  I loved that I was able to add the local corn, fresh off the cob!  The recipe is from Clean Eating.

Cornbread Frittata Muffins

(6 Muffins)

Bottom layer
Saute shallots, squash and garlic in olive oil 3 minutes.  Divide in half-save 1/2 for later!
2 tablespoon shallots, diced
1/3 cup yellow squash, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Stir in eggs, seasoning and corn.  Portion (heaping 2 tablespoon each) into muffin pan greased with olive oil spray.
3 eggs,
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1/4 cup corn, cut off he cob
Bake at 375 F. for 10 minutes.

Top layer
Mix dry ingredients, flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2 tablespoon spelt flour
2 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup whole grain cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir in remaining sauteed vegetable mix and corn.
Remaining sauteed celery, shallot, pepper blend.
1/4 cup corn, cut off the cob

Mix remaining egg, milk, lemon juice, melted buttery spread and syrup.
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Fold dry ingredients into liquid.  Portion (heaping 2 tablespoon each) onto partially cooked bottom layer of muffin pan.  Return to oven and bake 14 minutes.

Our picnic today was at Ohiopyle, a Pennsylvania State Park.  The leaves are not at peak, but the park couldn't have been prettier.  We found a spot in the "Cucumber Falls" picnic area about a mile in by the creek.

  This park if just under 50 miles from our West Virginia home.




Friday, October 7, 2016

Sweet & "Creamy" Kabocha Squash Soup

This delicious squash soup requires no "cream".  I roasted the cut, unpeeled pieces in the oven-then peeled.  I added the pieces to sauteed celery, onion and garlic with spices along with low sodium vegetable broth and simmered shortly.  Blended and topped with roasted seeds made for a delicious brunch with my homemade pita bread. The recipe is from Elise Bauer.   

Kabocha Squash Soup

Makes 6 1/2 Cups

Carefully cut squash, removing pulp and seeds.  (Reserve the seeds for roasting)
Spray unpeeled squash pieces with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.  Roast (peeled side up) in 400 F. oven for 45 minutes.  Cool slightly. 
1-10 inch round kabocha, pulp and seeds removed, cut in 4 inch pieces
Olive oil spray
Mrs. Dash

Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes.
2 tablespoon onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sprinkle in seasoning.  Saute 2 minutes.
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp coriander

Add vegetable broth and Mrs. Dash.
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth 
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Peel squash pieces and add to pot.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Carefully place soup in a blender and puree.

Serve with roasted seeds.

Roasted seeds (garnish)

Thanks to my farmers market friend, Sudawan Richardson, for the challenge!   

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Autumn Picnic Meant for Loafing

Who doesn't like a good meatloaf sandwich, and this turkey vegetable meatloaf wasn't just any meatloaf!  Accompanied by potato salad, warm applesauce and onion rye bread, this picnic meal made with local foods was a good one!  The meatloaf recipe was inspired by Eating Well.

Turkey Vegetable Meatloaf

(Serves 7)

Saute onion, pepper, celery and sweet potato for 3 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoon onion, diced
1 small sweet pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup sweet potato, diced

Add zucchini and garlic.  Saute 3 more minutes.
1 small zucchini, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Remove from heat.

Combine turkey, corn, Mrs. Dash, milk, wheat germ, herbs and ketchup.
1 pound ground turkey
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon ketchup, without high fructose corn syrup
Add sauteed vegetables.

Shape into leaves.  Place into pans greased with olive oil spray.  Bake at 350F. for about 40 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165F.
Sauce for 4 servings:
Mix ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.  Brush on outside of loaves.
1 tablespoon ketchup, without high fructose corn syrup
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar 

Our picnic today was at Teter Creek Wildlife Management Area between Philippi and Belington, West Virginia.  This is one of those places we wanted to visit in the fall, but there just aren't enough weekends in the season.  In 2016, we have picnicked almost 25 times!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sharing Culinary Goodness with Local Foods

Farmers market meats and produce are at the peak of freshness.  You won't find anything as good at the grocery store!  It's been so much fun conducting culinary demos at our local farmers market.  Today we were promoting fresh turkeys from the Working H Farms.
The Hardesty family is taking orders for Thanksgiving Turkeys.  They'll process the cage free birds on Monday and deliver them to the market on Tuesday evening in time for Thanksgiving Day meal preparation.  For today's demo, we gave samples of turkey tenderloins that were roasted yesterday.

Earlier in the week, I gathered autumn produce from several of the market vendors to make a vegetables soup.  Kohlrabi, butternut and acorn squash, sweet and red potatoes, carrots, pinto beans and more went into the autumn soup with some coriander, cumin and cinnamon seasonings.  The wonderful aroma of the hot soup certainly drew in the crowd.

The recipe was inspired by Del Sroufe in his "Forks Over Knives" Cookbook.

We were delighted to have two dietetic students from WVU join us today.  Their professor encourages community service. . . and what a great place this is to achieve that!

Sharing recipes made with foods from the farmers market encourages people to go home and try the nutrients dense recipes, made at the peak of freshness with local foods.