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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tomato-Radish Salad in Belgian Endive w/ Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

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While I await the first CSA box of the season, I am reduced to supermarket produce.  Once I went CSA, store bought produce just pales in comparison.  Until the CSA season starts, supermarket produce will have to suffice.

I had found some orange tomatoes and some radishes on sale at the store and decided to make an impromtu salad with some endive, shallots and basil I had in my refrigerator.

The honey-dijon vinaigrette is simple to make and full of flavor.

The supplies:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large scallion, diced and separated
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 medium-large basil leaves, chopped

Vinaigrette

  • half of the diced shallot from above
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (if you don’t have white wine, use a cider or whatever you like)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • S & P to taste
  • 1/2 Cup of oil (olive or vegetable)

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, radishes, shallots and basil.  Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the vinaigrette:  Mix together the mustard, shallot, garlic, vinegar and S & P. Wisk while drizzling in the oil.  Wisk until emulsified.  That’s it.  How easy was that?  🙂

Line a serving tray with endive leaves.  Fill the endive leaves with the tomato/radish mixtured.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over and enjoy.

I love this recipe.  It’s quick, it’s easy and most of all it’s delicious.

Of course, it will be extra special when I use the produce from HighCross Farm, but I digress… 

One more picture…

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Posted by on May 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Potato and Ramps Soup

Look at these awesome ramps I got at HighCross Farm.  Aren’t they pretty? 🙂

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I never had ramps before and had to look them up online.  They are a wild leek and have an onion/garlic flavor to them.  I read that they go well with eggs and potatoes.   I wasn’t in the mood for eggs, but could go for something potato-y.  I didn’t want to fry the potatoes and ramps like most of the online recipes were suggesting.  I opted instead to make a soup.  It was a blustery day in Wisconsin, and soup sounded like it would hit the spot.  So I raided my pantry and came up with a pretty awesome soup recipe.

Potato and Ramps Soup

  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped ramps (including green)
  • 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • S & P to taste

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, fry bacon until crispy; set bacon aside.

Mmmm bacon…

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Add ramps and potatoes to the skillet; fry on medium-low heat until ramps are tender.

Sprinkle with flour and stir until flour is absorbed. Stir in chicken broth; simmer until potatoes are tender.

Add cream and bacon (save some for garnish) and let simmer until heated through.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Garnish with some chopped ramps and bacon and enjoy!

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One more…

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Posted by on May 17, 2009 in bacon, ramps, soup

 

Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp w/ a Garlic Wine Sauce over Pasta

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With the 2009 CSA season about to start, my mind has been racing thinking of what I can do with this season’s share.  HighCross Farm grows the most amazing cherry tomatoes ever.  I won’t see those until later in the summer so I had to suffice with store bought.

I like using the off-season time to experiment and practice.  I can’t wait to take what I’ve played with over the winter months and apply it using the best produce around from HighCross Farm.  I truly am excited for the start of the season.

The Supplies:

  • 1 container grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • A good handful of precooked or uncooked (peeled and deveined) shrimp
  • 1/2 Cup (or more if you so desire) good white wine (I had a Chenin Blanc on hand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • S & P to taste
  • cooked pasta of your choice

I took a container of grape tomatoes and sliced them in half.  I kept is simple by using  just a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Baked them off in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes.  They should come out looking like these beauties…

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Mmmm!  Tomatoes are naturally sweet; when you roast them you heighten their sweetness ten fold.  It’s like eating candy..really.

Next, I took about 3 cloves of garlic and a small yellow onion and chopped them up finely.  I sweated them out with some olive oil until they were translucent.

To that I added a good white wine and let it simmer until it reduced by half. 

This is a good time to start your pasta.

Once the wine has reduced add in your roasted tomatoes, shrimp and basil.  Let simmer until the shrimp are either heated all the way through or cooked all the way through.  You will have something that looks like this…

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Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and mix into the sauce. Plate and enjoy.  This dish is fantastic!!

One more picture…

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Posted by on May 17, 2009 in basil, pasta, tomatoes, wine

 

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Stuffed Zucchini

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You can tell I’m geekin’ for the new CSA season to start.  June 4th can’t get here fast enough.  I have an inventory list in my mind of what might be in the boxes this year and have been trying to come up with different ways to use the produce I will be getting in m CSA box from HighCross Farm

Last season the summer squash were plentiful.  I suspect this season will also have a good supply of summer squash as well.  I decided to see what I could make with zucchini that wasn’t a bread or deep fried.

I had done a stuffed patty pan squash recipe before here, and thought I might take that idea and use it on zucchini.  I was rewarded with a wonderful dish that will be used over and over again.

The downfall of posting my “recipes” online is a lot of time I just throw it all together.  I hardly ever measure unless I am baking.  I will do my best to give you approximates. 

Stuffed Zucchini

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil leaves (when ready, I will use the basil in my CSA box, fresh is better in my book)
  • 1/2 bread crumbs
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Sliced your zucchini in half lenghtwise.  With a teaspoon, scoop out the insides making a “boat”.  Chop up the scooped out zucchini and set aside.

Finely chop your garlic and onion.  Drizzle olive oil in a heated pan and sautee onions and garlics until they start to turn clear.  Add in sausage and chopped zucchini and cook thoroughly.  Let cool for about 10 mins. You will have something that looks like this…

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You don’t have to, but I transferred the sausage mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add in the basil, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, tomatoes and salt/pepper. 

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Add egg and mix together.

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Fill your zucchini with the sausage mixture and place in a greased casserole dish.

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Place into the oven for 20-30 minutes.  When the sausage looks crispy on top and the zucchini are fork tender, it’s time to add the rest of the cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the zucchini and turn your oven to broil.  Broil just until the cheese melts and forms a crust.  This will take less than 5 minutes so don’t go too far.

What you get is nothing short of amazing. 

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As I stated earlier, the measurements are approximate.  If you find it too dry, add a little olive oil.  Too wet, add some more bread crumbs.  Season to your liking, and most of all…Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in zucchini

 

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Spinach Fettuccini w/ a Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

My daughter is going to help out at HighCross Farm this season.  This pleases me so.  When I went to pick her up this afternoon, Farmer Steve invited me to grab a bunch of  spinach that had come up on the farm.  Who am I to turn that down?!  Look how gorgeous it is.

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This has me super excited for the approaching CSA season. 

Spinach is one of those super foods.  It’s incredibly good for you by contributing to healthy bones, eyes and teeth.  Spinach is loaded with iron and Vitamins K and C.  Can’t go wrong with spinach.

I decided to make some spinach fettuccine with a low-fat roasted garlic Alfredo sauce to top it off.  I couldn’t think of a better way to break in my new pasta making attachment for the Kitchenaid Mixer.

This dish is worth the effort of making the pasta.  The pasta is light with a nice spinach flavor that’s not over powering.  The sauce is rich, creamy and full of flavor.  You will enjoy this immensely.

I started off by slicing the top off a large head of garlic and drizzling it with olive oil.

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I wrapped it up in tin foil and popped it into a 450 oven for about 35-40 minutes.  When you can start to smell the garlic in your kitchen…it’s done.

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Your garlic cloves should be nice and soft and caramelized on top.

Squeeze your head of garlic (once it has cooled off) into a bowl releasing all the yummy roasted garlic cloves.

Set aside for later.

Now for the pasta.  The supplies are as follows:

Spinach Fettuccini

  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree (approximately 8 ounces of fresh spinach steamed and pureed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • *water used to steam the spinach

Fill a sauce pan up with about an inch of water.  Make sure the water doesn’t come up through your steaming device (either a vegetable steamer insert or a colander).  Place spinach into steaming device, cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  You will note the spinach cooks down considerably.  I prefer to steam my spinach rather than boil because you want as little moisture in the spinach when it is all said in done.

Spinach after it has been steamed.

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When spinach has cooled, wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze as much of the water out as you can.  You will not there is a good amount of moisture in the spinach even when it is steamed.  You want your spinach to look like this…

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Put wrung out spinach into a food processor or blender and puree. 

Place the flour and salt in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Insert the flat mixing paddle. Mix dry ingredients together on speed 1.  Add eggs one at a time and then the spinach. If the dough looks too dry add the water that you used to steam the spinach in by the spoonful until you get the conistency that you want.  (if you can stick your thumb in the dough and it comes out clean you are good) Continue to mix on speed 1 for about 1 to 2 minutes. Replace the flat mixing paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough on speed 4 for 3 minutes.

Remove dough and wrap in plastic. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

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 Assemble pasta attachment to the stand mixer. Turn machine to speed 1. Run the dough through the machine. 

I like to put my pasta into nests.  It makes for easier storage.

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Either let your pasta dry or cook immediately.  

Note:   It is very important to remove as much moisture from the spinach as possible before adding to the dough. If after kneading the dough feels slightly sticky, knead one tablespoon of flour into the dough until the stickiness disappears.  ** I personally found the dough to be a tad dry, thats when adding the water from steaming the spinach really helped.  But if you find your dough too sticky then go ahead and add more flour.  I found myself adding a little more flour after it had rested since it was still a tad too sticky for me.

Also:  You do not need a Kitchenaid to make this pasta.  You can make it by hand or in a food processor.  You do not need a pasta roller as well.  Just roll out your dough until it is thin enough to your liking and use a pizza cutter and cut it into strips.

Now on to the sauce…

I love Alfredo sauce, but I do not love Alfredo sauce calories.  I decided to try and make it low fat and when it was all said and done, I wound up cutting the calories by almost half.  I used way less butter and half and half instead of cream.

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

  • I head of garlic, roasted…cloves removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 C half and half
  • 3/4 shredded paremsan cheese
  • S&P to taste

Melt the butter on low. (But don’t let it brown) Then stir in the other ingredients until the cheese is melted.  How easy is that???

Spoon the sauce over your pasta and you have heaven on a plate.

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I can’t put into words how much I love HighCross Farm!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2009 in pasta

 

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