Tuesday, October 11, 2011

veggie drawer chowder

We spent a few days away on the Oregon coast

for some sun, drenching rain, fog, mist and much digging on the beach.

After a few days away, our first day at home showed where our interests lie. My husband scooted off to work for a few hours, my son dug out his Lego box and started building new trucks and I went to my kitchen. I whipped up a batch of strawberry hazelnut crumb bars

and then, as it was chilly and damp I thought I would make some soup. I was inspired by a curried fish chowder I'd had while away. I unearthed the remainders of the vegetables from the fridge drawer and went to work. It turned out well so here is the recipe.

Veggie Drawer Chowder
3 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 rib of celery, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, halved and chopped
3 slices of deli ham, thinly sliced (optional)
a handful of small purple potatoes, chopped
~ 1 c frozen corn
2 c vegetable broth
~ 1 c cream
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne

In a stockpot or saucepan, melt a large knob of butter and add the carrots, onion, celery, leeks and ham if using. Saute the vegetables until they reduce down and are slightly tender. Add the potatoes and corn and stir well, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the broth and cream and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the seasonings and taste, adjusting to taste. Thin the chowder with milk if it is too thick. Serve hot.

Monday, October 10, 2011

happy thanksgiving

Today is officially Canadian Thanksgiving. But to accomodate work schedules, etc we had our dinner yesterday. I chose to do Nigella's ginger glazed ham (from the Christmas book) as I've made it several times and it is a favorite with our family. To go along side I created a potato dish that was completely inspired by a menu item (which I didn't have) at a dinner with friends in Seattle on Friday night - potato, mushroom, leek and goat cheese gratin. Also I roasted some lovely market organic carrots,

vegetables waiting to be roasted

made spinach gunge and roasted a butternut squash. The original intention for the squash was just some cubes for the salad course - to go with market greens, thin pear slices, chopped pistachios and a tuscan style balsamic vinegrette.

salad ingredients
And I did that and it was lovely. But then I was scrolling through some blogs yesterday afternoon and came across this over at Sprouted Kitchen which sounded intriguing so I modified it a bit, using this recipe as inspiration as well and created a roasted squash with breadcrumbs dish that was delicious. For dessert there was plainjane apple pie

this week's plainjane apple pie (it browned too well!)
and a pumpkin pie I bought at the market.

Potato, Mushroom, Leek, Goat Cheese Gratin
6 small organic potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/4" slices
3 small organic leeks, halved, washed and sliced into 1/4" slices
2 big handfuls of organic cremini mushrooms, sliced
a knob of butter
1 garlic clove, minced
3 stems oregano, leaves stripped off and chopped
1 cup mild goat cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Melt the butter in a saute pan until melted, add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until brown, add the garlic and a third of the oregano and stir. Set aside.
Into a greased baking dish, layer 2 of the potatoes to cover the bottom of the dish. Layer evenly with half of the mushrooms and then half the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and half of the remaining oregano. Cover with a sprinkling of goat cheese. Repeat. Add the last layer of potato, season with salt and pepper. Pour cream over the potatoes (~ 1 c of cream) and sprinkle the last of the goat cheese over the top. Bake for an hour or more until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are fork tender.

Butternut Squash Gratin (inspired by Sprouted Kitchen and 101cookbooks)
Roast a butternut squash in a 350 deg F oven for about 45 minutes until soft and starting to char slightly.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut in half and remove the skin, seeds and stingy bits. Dice the remaining flesh into small cubes. To the bowl of a food processor add ~ 1 1/2 c of coarse breadcrumbs, 1 clove minced garlic, 4 sprigs of oregano leaves, a pinch of cayenne. Pulse this until combined. In a saucepan add  about 2 tbsp of butter and heat until slightly nutty brown. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, mixing well.
To a greased baking dish, add half of the diced squash and cover with about half of the breadcrumbs, adding a handful of grated parmesan to the crumbs before adding. Cover with the remaining squash and then the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake in a 350 deg F oven for 15-20 minutes until hot and golden brown.

butternut squash gratin waiting to be baked

Thursday, October 6, 2011

variation on a theme

After writing about summer squash casserole, I came up with a variation for cauliflower that I bought in abundance last week. We harvested lots of purple potatoes from the garden last weekend and I thought the colour combination of white cauliflower with purple potatoes would be interesting. I made a pesto-ish sauce using arugula from the garden as well. I was quite pleased with the results.

Cauliflower Potato Gratin (inspired by 101cookbooks)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
8 small purple potatoes, sliced thinly
1/2 c arugula
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c butter
2 c whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 c gruyere cheese, grated

Make the arugula pesto by adding the arugula to a food processor and whizzing until broken up into tiny pieces. Add the garlic and salt and whiz to blend. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in until incorporated and a pesto consistency is reached. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter until browned and bubbly. Add the breadcrumbs and toast in the butter until brown.

Add the cauliflower and the potato to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Pour the pesto over the top and mix well

until all the potato and cauliflower have a pesto coating. Add half the breadcrumbs and mix. Add the cheese and mix. Pour the rest of the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

inspired by moussaka

My local fruit stand featured eggplant this summer. So once a week or so, I would pick up a couple of eggplant, and some red peppers and make a dish I came up with based on a moussaka recipe I have. It isn't quite as time consuming as moussaka and doesn't have tomatoes in it (which works for my man) and is delicious. We have eaten it quite a few times.

Eggplant Pepper Casserole
2 eggplants, sliced or diced
2 pepper, sliced or diced
5-6 small to medium new potatoes, sliced or diced
1/2 medium onion, sliced (optional)
1 lb mild italian sausage (optional)

2 tbsp olive oil
25 g butter
60 g flour
400 ml milk
1 egg
60 g feta cheese, crumbled
60 g grated parmesan cheese

Slice or dice the eggplant, peppers and potatoes

(alternatively the potatoes can be sliced, boiled and layered at the bottom of the casserole, with the other vegetables and sausage layered over top), add onion if using, and roast, in a pan, in a hot oven ( 375 deg F) for about 20 minutes. Break up the sausage meat and add to the vegetables and cook another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and milk and whisk to form a sauce. Once the sauce is free of lumps, season with salt and pepper and let heat until the sauce bubbles. Turn down the heat and let cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Beat in the egg and add the cheese and stir until blended.

Pour the sauce over the vegetable and meat mixture, in as even a layer as you can manage. Bake this for 40 or so minutes until golden brown. Serve.

Monday, October 3, 2011

another market competition

Today was Sunday, the first Sunday of the month which means the market was having another cooking competition. Todays was best pie. I decided to make an apple pie from here. I wanted to submit something that featured market fare and since I buy organic apples at the market this seemed a great start. I loved that it was just apples ( and some dough, butter and a touch of sugar). I didn't think it would win because it was so plain and I was right. The good news is that the winner, another apple pie, was made by someone new to the competition which would be encouraging to them and as I came a close second, I still got some bootle which is good for me. I do the competitions because I'm competitive, I love the market and want to support it and I love the challenge of finding recipes that will showcase market fare. The market organizer told me that my pie had several staunch supporters so I'll pass the recipe along. It's simple but charming all on its own.

Apple Pie (from Heirloom Apple Pie in Organic Gardening Magazine)

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp cider vinegar
5-6 tbsp cold water

Mix the flours, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process until the butter is in small pieces through the flour. In a small bowl combine the egg yolk, vinegar and 4 tbsp of water. Add to the dough and process briefly. Add more water, by tbsp until the dough just holds together. Combine into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Makes enough for 2 pies.

half of the dough from above
5 small gala apples, cored, peeled and sliced into 1/8 " slices
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Roll out the dough into a 12" diameter circle. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Layer on the apples leaving a 1" rim on the outside. Once the apples are placed, fold the pastry over the edges, pleating the dough to fit. Brush the melted butter over the dough and apples, then sprinkle the sugar over the apples. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender.

Note: I baked the pie for quite a bit longer than the specified 40 minutes - after 40 minutes at the top of my oven, the pastry was still pale. So I cooked it for another 5 minutes, and another, and another. In the end I must have baked it for another 30 minutes and it was still pale. So I popped it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown.
Here is a shot of my winnings today - a bunch of swiss chard (not pictured), radishes, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 jar salsa, 1 pair of earrings, 1 small ceramic planter, 1 vanilla cupcake with sprinkles, 3 chocolate cookies, apples. a small chocolate truffle, a tube of candy and a bag of quinoa pilaf mix.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

more pickles

When I received 6 pickling cucumbers and banana peppers in a market basket at the beginning of September I thought I would make pickes with both. Because of the number of cucumbers, I decided to try bread and butter pickles and found this recipe. For the banana peppers, I tried this recipe.

Bread and Butter Pickles (adapted from here)
~ 1 lb pickling cucumbers
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp pickling salt
1 c apple cider vinegar
1 c sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric

Slice the cucumbers and onions very thin and layer in a bowl with the salt. Nearly cover with ice cold water and set aside in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Drain, rinse well and drain again. Prepare canning jars.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as it boils, add the cucumber mix and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and spoon into the prepared jars allowing for 3/4-1" headspace. Pour the liquid over evenly distributing the seeds. Cap and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 1 + pints.

Sweet Banana Pepper Pickles (from here)
1/2 lb banana peppers, seede and sliced into rings
2 c. white vinegar
2/3 c white sugar
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Prepare jars. Bring brine ingredients to a boil. Place the peppers in the jars. Pour the hot pickling juice into the jars up to 1/2" of the top. Clean the jar top and cap. Process for 15 minutes in a canning water bath.

sweet banana pepper pickles (and applesauce)

peach crumb bars

I had just finished canning a huge box of peaches a couple of weekends ago and I came across this recipe.

So I had to run out to the fruit stand and buy more peaches. But it was a couple of days between getting the peaches and making the bars and when I looked in the fruit bowl, a couple of the peaches had been eaten. What to do? Well, a couple of the remaining peaches were huge and I found some strawberries lingering from the last box we got from the fruit stand so I mixed the 2 together for this recipe.

Peach Strawberry Hazelnut Crumb Bars (adapted from Cooking Canuck)
3 large peaches, pitted and diced
a couple of handfuls of strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
4 tsp tapioca starch (I didn't have any corn starch)

1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Cut the peaches into a chunky dice. Add the quartered strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and starch. Mix together and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Pulse until blended. Add the butter and pulse until blended and crumbly. Add the egg and hazelnuts and pulse until blended. Pour half into the baking dish and press together into a crust. Pour the fruit over the base and even out. Pour the rest of the crumb mixture over the top and spread as evenly as possible. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until light brown. Place on a rack to cool, refrigerate until firm and cut into bars.