Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lorraine's Brussels Sprouts

One of our neighbors brought this dish for Thanksgiving and the brussels sprouts fans in the group loved it.

1 lb brussels sprouts
2 T Dijon mustard
1 cup dried cranberries (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained)
2 T butter
1/4 cup honey
salt & pepper to taste

1. Trim sprouts and cut an X in the stem. Remove outer leaves. Soak for 10 minutes in lightly salted water.

2. Steam sprouts for 8 minutes, until almost tender. Drain and rinse until they are bright green. When cool, cut into quarters.

3. Melt butter, and cook sprouts in it for 1 minute.

4. Mix honey and mustard and add to pan with sprouts. Add cranberries.

5. Heat over medium until tender.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grilled Broccoli and Lemons

I found this in a "10 ideas for: broccoli" article in real Simple. It may not sound like much, but it's really quite tasty. I think I like the roasted lemons the most.

Total time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

1 bunch broccoli, cut into 8 large spears
2 lemons, quartered
2 Tbsp olive oil (+ more)
salt & pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli and lemons in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Grill the broccoli and lemons over medium heat, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, 10-15 minutes.

3. Squeeze the lemons over the broccoli and drizzle with additional olive oil.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Butterscotch-Nut Bars

This is adapted from a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. I made it last weekend and it was a huge hit.

1.5 cups raw unsalted nuts (cashews, pecans, & almonds)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1//2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1.75 cups white flour

3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

Toast the nuts on an unoiled baking sheet for 7-10 minutes, until golden; then chop toss with 3/4 tsp salt, and set aside to cool.

In a heavy saucepan or skillet, heat the butter until it begins to bubble, turn amber colored, and leave tiny brown particles on the bottom on the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Beat the brown sugar, egg and vanilla into the cooled butter until creamy. Sift in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and half of the flour; mix until blended. Sift in the rest of the flour and mix until the dough is stiff and forms a ball. Press the dough evenly into the bottom on the prepared pan and set aside.

For the syrup, warm the butter and sugar on medium-low heat in a saucepan just until the mixture bubbles vigorously and the sugar begins to melt. Add the water and stir until most of the sugar has melted into the syrup. Toss the nuts in the syrup and spread evenly over the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes, until just golden and firm. Cool and then cut into 24 bars.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Saffron Quinoa with Apricots & Almonds

I found this recipe in Yoga Journal, one of several created by Charity Ferreira. I'm always looking for interesting things to do with quinoa and this one is a keeper.

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/8 tsp turmeric
pinch saffron threads, crushed
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup thinly sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup currants
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
minced zest from 1 orange
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, bring juice, turmeric, saffron, and 1 cup of water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes.

2. Stir in almonds, apricots, currants, oil, lemon juice and orange zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sweet Pasta Salad

I found a version of this recipe in Parents magazine. I haven't served it to Abel yet, but I can attest that it is indeed tasty and a welcome change to the typical pasta routine.

2 cups cooked mini wheel-shaped pasta (or farfalle)
1 small apple, cored & chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cucumber, seeded & chopped (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nappa Cabbage Salad

The salad is miscellaneous Americanized-Asian, more or less inspired by the Asian salads and thai chicken wraps available at restaurants.

1/2 head of Nappa cabbage, shredded & washed (I use a salad spinner)
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
about a cup of crunchy "Chinese Noodles" (aka Chinese crackers, I used the MeeTu brand), crushed
2-4 Tbsp (to taste) prepared Thai peanut satay sauce
3.5 oz Trader Joe's Teriyaki Baked Tofu (or use cooked chicken), diced

Toss all the ingredients together and eat while the "noodles" are still crunchy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Our CSA has offered Pick Your Own cherry tomatoes every week for the past month. I was starting to run out of things to do with them, until a friend suggested this easy recipe. Thanks, Barb Cerri!

as many cherry tomatoes as you have, washed
olive oil

1. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy clean-up).
2. Place the tomatoes on the pan, and add a healthy splash of olive oil. Shake the pan several times to coat the tomatoes with oil.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Roast in a 400-degree oven until the tomatoes begin to brown/blister a bit, and collapse upon themselves (but still retain some of their shape).
5. Remove from oven and let cool. They will keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for several days, or you can freeze them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healthy Green Juice

Here's another recipe from Real Simple magazine. I found everything but the lemon at last week's Farmers' Market. This juice is actually quite refreshing. Try adding an extra cucumber. Be sure to wash everything first.

1 cucumber, cut into spears
3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch lengths
3 leaves kale, broken into 2-inch wide strips
1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1/2 lemon, peel removed with a knife

Feed the cucumber, celery, kale, apple, parsley and lemon into a juicer. Discard the solids. Drink immediately.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons

This is from the excellent Smitten Kitchen website. I made it for Family Lunch on Sunday and we all devoured it. Simple and really delicious.

Crushed croutons
4 slices hearty white bread
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Tomato salad
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, mixed colors if you can find them
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mellow red wine vinegar (yours isn’t mellow? use less)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful basil leaves, slivered.

Prepare the crushed croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into chunks and pule them in a food processor until coarsely ground (largest chunks can be lima bean sized). No food processor? Keep tearing the bread up until it is in ragged, mixed sized crumbs. Spread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and parmesan until croutons are evenly coated with oil. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. (Warm is fine, hot might wilt your tomatoes, boo.)

Assemble salad: Halve each tomato lengthwise and arrange cut side up on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar and a few grinds of pepper in a small dish. Drizzle over tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with crushed croutons. Garnish with slivers of basil.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mango Slaw

From Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health. A delicious alternative to typical cole slaw and a great use for the cabbage we've been getting from our CSA.

1 firm slightly underripe mango
1.5 cups shredded red or green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar, maple syrup or other sweetener
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 small fresh chile, minced
1 Tbsp grated peeled ginger root

1. Peel the mango and cut in lengthwise into halves, cutting as close to the pit as possible. Slice off any flesh that remains attached to the pit. Cut the mango flesh into thin strips and place it in a serving bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot and mint.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together lime juice, sweetener and salt.

3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil and cook the garlic, chiles and ginger until sizzling and fragrant -- about a minute. Whisk it into the lime juice mixture.

4. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss until well-coasted. Let sit for about 20 minutes

Sunday, August 7, 2011

OMFG Chocolate Cake

The acronym comes courtesy of my friend Derek and his 8-year-old daughter, whose eyes bugged out when she tasted this. It is adapted from a recipe in the Hershey's Homemade cookbook, which I got in college after sending in a bunch of proofs of purchase from Hershey's cocoa containers. The adaptations are to make it dairy-free, and while they may sound weird, I assure you, "normal" eaters can't taste the difference.

2 cups organic sugar
1.75 cups all-purpose flour
0.75 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong coffee
1 Tbsp white vinegar in 1 cup Silk Chocolate Almond Milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Prepare 2 9-inch round cake pans: cut rounds of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each pan, then spray with canola and dust thoroughly with flour.
3. In a large mixer bowl, blend sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add eggs, coffee, vinegar/milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

2/3 cups Earth Balance margarine
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
5 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cups Silk Chocolate Almond Milk
2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the margarine. Stir in the cocoa, stirring constantly, and being careful not to scorch it. Remove from heat, spoon into a large mixer bowl and cool completely. Add powdered sugar alternately with almond milk, beating to spreading consistency. Blend in vanilla. You may have to chill it a bit before frosting the cake (if you're cooking in a warm kitchen).


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alfresco Dip

I found this recipe in a pamphlet from Whole Foods market. So yummy.

1 cup pitted green olives (about 30), drained and chopped
3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed red chile pepper
3 ripe tomatoes (about 1.25 lbs), cored, chopped & drained
1/3 cup sour cream (or vegan sour cream)
crostini, toast, cucumber slices or other dippers

In a large bowl, stir together olives, parsley, basil, lemon juice, oil, chile pepper and tomatoes. Set aside to let flavors meld for 30 minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl. Spoon sour cream into the center and serve with crostini (or other things) for dipping.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Scapes

2 lb potatoes, cut into 1-1.5 inch chunks
8-10 garlic scapes
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 375.
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread on a foil-covered cookie sheet.
Bake potato mixture for 45-60 minutes (to your desired level of crispness), stirring every 15 minutes or so, to prevent sticking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marinated Kale with Radish and Pine Nuts

Here's another kale recipe inspired by my CSA share. This one involves BOTH kale and radishes, two thing you MAY not know what to do with. This one is from Dr. Alejandro Junger's book, "Clean."

2 cups shredded ale, ribs removed
4 radishes, quartered
2 Tbsp pine nuts
olive oil to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and marinate for 20 minutes or so. Serve at room temperature.

Crispy Kale

Here's something yummy you can do with kale. You'll be surprised at how good this is. This is one of those foods that my family eats straight out of the pan, because we can't wait for it to be brought to the table. Really - we're this crazy for kale? Yup. Who woulda thunk it.

1 bunch kale
2 Tbsp (or so) extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Pull the kale off its (thick) stems, tearing it into large pieces, and clean it in a salad spinner.
3. Place the kale on a rimmed cookie sheet.
4. Pour the olive oil over the kale and massage it into the leaves a little bit, while tossing it around with your hands.
5. Add salt to taste (a little goes a long way).
6. Bake the kale for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring it around on the pan.
7. Check for crispness. The kale probably needs another 5 minutes in the oven, but be careful not to burn it. You know it's done when it's crispy like a potato chip, but not burnt.
8. Serve immediately. It doesn't stay crispy if you let it sit around.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spicy Thai Tofu Salad

An easy, quick, yummy & fresh-tasting summer dinner.

1 t black sesame seed
1 t toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
2 t honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 package Trader Joe's baked tofu (teriyaki)
1/2 cup fresh shiitake or white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas or snow peas
1/4 to 1/2 cup scallions, clopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach

Combine ingredients for dressing: sesame seeds & oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, cilantro and red pepper flakes.

Add tofu, mushrooms, pepper, peas and scallions, and toss until coated. Let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Divide spinach between 4 plates. Top with tofu mixture and serve.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Living Local with the Family: 12 Easy Ways to Raise Locavore Kids

You want to be a locavore. You love the idea of eating food that’s grown close to home, by farmers you can talk to, and on land you can actually set foot. But you have kids – and they’re suspicious of anything new you put in front of them. How can you introduce the concept of a locally grown diet to your family without causing a hunger strike?

It’s easier than you think. The first step is to get your children involved in finding local foods. Make it fun! Take them on field trips to show them where food comes from. Select a recipe you can prepare together, and then obtain at least one of the ingredients from a local source. I’ve tried it – and it works . . . at least sometimes.

My son, like most four-year-olds, is reluctant to try new foods, especially if they are a.) Green; b.) Vegetables; or c.) served to him at the dinner table. But on a recent trip to Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, Abel happily sampled – and enjoyed – the following, plucked right from the garden: Johnny jump-ups, spinach, radish, cilantro, peppermint, and chives. If I served any of those foods to him at home, he would turn up his nose, but at the farm, his curiosity – and his appetite – was piqued.

Here are twelve things you can do with your family to inspire an interest in locally grown foods.

1. Go berry picking. Here in Plymouth and Bristol counties, there are a number of Pick-Your-Own berry farms. Blueberries are the most common, but some offer strawberries and raspberries as well. Read Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal before you go, and then imitate the sounds from the book as you fill your pail: “Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.” Try Tree-Berry Farm, Scituate; C.N. Smith Farm, East Bridgewater; Ward’s Berry Farm, Sharon; and The Blueberry Farm and Lipinski’s Farm, both in Hanson.

2. Visit the Farmers’ Market – For the most varied selection of locally grown foods, the farmers’ market is your best bet. These days, there’s one in nearly every town. (See the guide on page ? to find one near you). Bountiful, colorful displays of just-picked fruits and vegetables can whet even the pickiest person’s appetite. My son once grabbed a miniature pumpkin from a farmer’s kiosk and took a big bite! Farmers’ markets also offer locally produced honey, baked goods, jams, and other condiments -- often with complimentary samples!

3. Visit a Pick Your Own (PYO) Veggie Farm – When you arrive, you’ll learn what’s ready to be harvested. Decide what to get, and then have your children find, choose and pick it. It helps to have a recipe in mind, e.g. “We’re going to pick tomatoes, so we can make spaghetti sauce!” Last fall Abel and I dug potatoes and carrots at the market garden at Hingham’s Weir River Farm. I’ll never forget the look of delight on his face when he pushed a pitchfork into the soil and turned up dinner! Other farms with PYO crops: Back Acre Farm, Middleboro; Curly’s Farm Fresh, Acushnet; and C.N. Smith Farms, Bridgewater.

4. Go apple picking – You don’t have to drive west to find apple orchards. We have a number of small ones right here, close to home, including Mounce Farm in Marshfield, which is right down the street from our house. Upon arrival, Abel and I were given a stepladder, a bag, and a quick explanation of the best way to pick. We found a tree with low-enough branches, climbed up, and quickly filled our bag. Next stop: home – to make a delicious apple pie, of course! Check out: Dartmouth Orchards and Pocasset Orchards, Dartmouth; and The Big Apple & Pine Hedge, Wrentham.

5. Gather eggs – Did you know that eggs come in colors other than brown and white? At Today’s Harvest, a farm stand run by the Everett family of Marshfield, we found green eggs and speckled ones, and at Holly Hill Farm, blue. Local eggs are more flavorful, and you can’t beat the freshness! Ask around for local sources. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to scoop a still-warm egg right out of the nest. If not, you’ll still get to meet the hens and bring home a dozen eggs. Fresh eggs are widely available if you know where to look. Try Web of Life Organic Farm, Carver; Ohan Circle Farms, Holbrook; Prospect Hill Farm, Plympton; and Engelnook Farm, Rochester.

6. Visit a farm – A number of local farms welcome visitors. You can meet and sometimes feed the animals, watch or even participate in chores, and find out what it takes to run the place. Some of the animals are raised for meat, some for dairy. At Peaceful Meadows in Whitman, you can visit the cows and then enjoy ice cream made on the premises. (The company no longer produces its own cream, but you can use the visit as an opportunity to explain the connection between dairy cows and ice cream). Hingham’s Weir River Farm has Open Barnyard days throughout the summer and fall. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Farm in Plymouth offers a free petting zoo with cows, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and even a tortoise!

7. Go to a county fair – Head to the ground floor of “Aggie Hall” at the Marshfield Fair to see the vegetables, especially the giant pumpkins. Prizes are a great motivator, so the blue ribbons on zucchini and squash might inspire your kids to start their own garden. Check out the honeybees at work, and buy some local honey. The Marshfield Fair also hosts a 4-H program, so throughout the week there are livestock contests and demonstrations.

8. Attend a fall festival – Nearly every autumn weekend in southeastern Massachusetts, you can find a corn maze, hay ride, or harvest festival, many of which also sell locally grown foods. At Sauchuk Farm in Plympton, we navigated the corn maze, where the ears of corn still on the stalks fascinated Abel. “Mom, can we eat these?” Then we took a hayride out to a field where he picked his own pumpkin. Abel was less interested in making a jack o’lantern than in turning the pumpkin into pie. Other farms with PYO pumpkins include Bog Hollow Farm, Kingston; Beaver Brook Farm, East Bridgewater; and Keith’s Farm, Acushnet.

9. Watch a cranberry harvest – In October and November, local cranberry growers harvest their crops. Involving trucks, tractors, harvesters and conveyor belts – and millions of bright red berries – it’s a fascinating process, especially for heavy machinery enthusiasts. Buy some freshly picked berries and make some jelly, muffins, or bread. Check out: Log Cabin Acres, Carver; Highland Cranberry Company, Lakeville; and Stone Bridge Farm, Acushnet.

10. Make Maple Syrup – That stuff we put on our pancakes . . . it comes from trees! Want to see how it’s done? Visit a local maple farm. Watch them tap the trees, collect the sap, and cook it into syrup. At the South Shore Natural Science Center’s annual Maple Day, you can find out how it’s done. Or schedule a visit to Matfield Maple Farm in West Bridgewater or Davell’s Family Farm in North Attleboro.

11. Grow you own – If you have the time and the energy, starting a garden can be a rewarding project for the whole family. You can’t get more local than your own backyard! No space to plant? Try large pots, window boxes, or hanging planters. Start by perusing seed catalogs or visiting a garden center – the colorful pictures on the seed packets are a great way to get inspired. Even a toddler can sow seeds, and oh, the joys of watching the first sprouts emerge from the soil! Come summer, you just might catch you little one popping a cherry tomato into his mouth.

12. Join a CSA – We have raspberries in our yard, and occasionally some wild blueberries, but we haven’t found the time to grow our own garden. So last year we joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. We got our hands dirty, helping to prepare the ground for planting and harvesting some ripe vegetables. Every Friday for 16 weeks, we brought home a bag or two of freshly picked produce. What an important lesson – that food doesn’t have to come from the store, or even the farmers’ market – it can come straight from the farm. Look for CSAs in your area on localharvest.org and farmfresh.org.

By Kezia Bacon-Bernstein
Originally published in edible South Shore.