Archive | October, 2009

Winter Squash Soup with Apple, Ginger, and Coconut

27 Oct

A friend of mine from high school, Kristin Anderson Hoppe is an holistic nutrition consultant and chef in the bay area. I really respect the work she’s doing and think we all would be better off if we took an holistic approach to nutrition and our relationship with the food we eat and where it comes from. Her mission is to help people choose “foods that sustain the health, vitality, and nourishment of themselves, their communities, and the earth.” If you are interested in learning more, check out her site: Food Therapy. Kristin recently posted something on Facebook about a soup with these ingredients and I was inspired to give it a try.  Usually I improvise recipes on the fly and don’t write anything down and then much to my chagrin have no idea how to recreate them if they turn out well. However, this time you are in luck because I had a hunch that this soup would be really good and I wrote down all the ingredients, amounts, and steps as I went along. Here’s the delicious result. Continue reading

Those Progressive Swedes

24 Oct

Just read this article in the New York Times about folks in Sweden experimenting with measuring and labeling the carbon footprint of the foods they’re eating. I feel like we are so behind the times here in the USA. Imagine if we thought about food not just in terms of it’s nutritional content as fuel for our bodies but in terms of the health of the planet??? In this country we don’t seem to get the connection – our health and the environment’s health are one and the same. What would it take for Americans to think in these terms? Would your eating habits change if you were confronted with the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of that pound of ground beef in your grocery shopping cart? Or those bananas? Or that box of cereal?

Want to calculate your impact? Check out this great tool.

If you’re interested in reducing your food miles here are some good resources.

Recipe Hacking Suggestions?

19 Oct

Hello readers and RecipeHacking participants –

So I have a few ideas for the next RecipeHacking challenge but I would really welcome your input. Is there anything you’ve been cooking lately that you think would be well suiting to being hacked? Generally when choosing a recipe to hack I’m looking for a dish that has multiple components that can be translated in new ways. For example with the pizza challenge, there were three general parts with the potential to be altered: the crust, the toppings, and the sauce. Some folks altered the crust, while others decided to interpret the sauce or toppings in a different way. I’m always interested in recipes that can be played with in terms of substituting ethnic ingredients or can be adapted to suit any course in a meal – for example the fruit pizza dessert one person submitted in the last challenge. Send me your best ideas and maybe, just maybe, your suggestion will show up as the next RecipeHacking challenge. Submit your daring dish ideas below in the comment section of this post. Thanks!

Pasta, Bean, and Vegetable Soup

18 Oct

It’s cold, it’s rainy, and the temperatures have dropped. When it starts to get chilly, I love making soup. It’s a great way to use up fall and winter veggies from the farm and is usually foolproof. Veggies + broth + herbs = deliciousness. My mom gave me a general idea for this recipe and I just adapted it based on what we got at the farm this weekend. Try it with whatever you have on hand.

Pasta, Bean, and Vegetable Soup

3 leeks, sliced and rinsed (regular onions would also be fine)

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (I include the leaves for flavor and looks)

1 zucchini, diced

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes, with their liquid

many cups of vegetable stock

1 box small pasta (I used pastini stars)

1/2 large head of escarole, rinsed and roughly chopped

Herbs to taste: oregano, parsley, basil

Optional: parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot saute leeks, carrots, and celery in a little bit of olive oil until just tender. Stir in herbs. Add stock. (I lost track of how much stock I put in – depends of how thick or thin you want your soup. Use your judgment.) Stir in beans and zucchini. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the pasta. Simmer until pasta is tender. Once the pasta is cooked stir in the escarole. Once escarole is wilted you’re ready to serve it up. If desired, sprinkle each bowl with a little parmesan cheese. This makes a very large batch of soup – be prepared to freeze some and/or share it with many friends.

Some recipe ideas for winter…

16 Oct

This morning we woke to the first snowfall of the season. Despite it only being October, it is starting to feel a bit more like winter. Apropos of that – here are some seasonal “winter” recipe ideas.

About half of these foods are available at my farm right now but the other half, well, they may be in season somewhere – though certainly not here in New England. It looked like there are a few original ideas. Just wanted to pass it along.

Check it out:

Raspberry Jam

12 Oct

I’m trying to catch up a bit. About a month ago I made a huge batch of raspberry jam. We have gorgeous raspberries at Brookfield but at most we got about a quart with our share – perhaps enough for a small tart or something, but ours usually disappeared before having the opportunity to become an ingredient in an actual recipe. They’re so tasty – we would munch on them on the ride home, have them on our cereal in the morning or over ice cream for dessert.

In past years we’ve done a lot of canning. This year we haven’t done any – what with a baby and a new house we didn’t feel like we had lots of time.  By the end of the summer I was really feeling the urge though and found myself  bound and determined to make some jam. So, to fulfill my jam making craving we went to a local berry farm and picked two flats. Do you know how many berries that is??? 16 pints! We picked one flat and I thought, “oh that doesn’t look like much, that will barely make any jam at all.” What was I thinking?! When we got home the race was on to hurry up and make jam before all those berries started to spoil because we certainly didn’t have room in our refrigerator for all of them.

The first time I made jam I was blown away by how much sugar the recipe called for. The second time I tried to cut the sugar without changing the type of pectin I used and the result was something I would hesitate to actually call “jam” – but  it did make a tasty syrup for pancakes and waffles. Since then, I figured out it’s best not to mess with the pectin:sugar ratio and have used low-sugar pectin. This time I chose to try using a no sugar pectin. Instead of sugar I sweetened the jam with mostly apple juice.

I love the simplicity of making jam. I rinsed the berries, put them in a pot, crushed them with a potato masher, mixed in the juice I was using for a sweetener, gradually stirred in the pectin, and let it all come to a boil. I did end up adding a very small amount of sugar in the end, about 1 cup (considering I had 24+ cups of fruit, that’s not much!). The jam was pretty tart and a little sugar cut the acidity just enough.

Once the jam boiled for a couple minutes it was ready and  I poured it into sterilized jars. I have a large-mouthed canning funnel that makes this job easier and neater. Once the jars are filled, with a small rubber spatula you can take a quick swipe around the jar to get any air bubbles out. Then you want to wipe of the top edge of the jar to make sure there’s no jam there to prevent the lid from sealing on properly. Once the lids were screwed on I  processed the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, you take the jars out of the boiling water and just let them be for a about 24 hours. This is my favorite time because the cans make a pinging pop-pop sound as they seal and you know they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. The next day – make sure each can is sealed by pressing on the lid.  If it doesn’t give you know it’s sealed. If you can depress the top – you have two options. You can put the jam in the fridge – it should last 3 weeks or so. Or you can reprocess it in boiling water again. Sealed jars should preserve the jam for about a year.

If you’re interested in canning and looking for materials (jars, canning pot, accessories, etc.), check out your local hardware store. I’ve been surprised by the variety of canning supplies the hardware stores near me have had. For step by step instructions on making and canning jam, most boxes of pectin include them.

And the winner is….

4 Oct

Big thanks to all of you who participated in this RecipeHacking Challenge! What yummy creations you came up with!

The winner of this month’s challenge is Kate G. for her figgy pesto pizza! Congratulations, Kate! Not only did you take a pizza recipe and hack it – but you took a pesto recipe and hacked that too! We loved that you got inventive putting figs in the pesto sauce and used them as a topping as well. With the chicken and cheese it sounded like a match made in heaven. As well as RecipeHacking bragging rights, you win a gift certificate to to the market of your choice so you can keep getting creative in the kitchen!

Honorable mentions go to Cathy K. for her zucchini and cheese crusted pizza and Harriet C. for her fruit pizza dessert. We loved that it wasn’t just about interesting or different toppings but that you were rethinking the pizza from the ground up. Kudos to Rachel W. as well, for the most interesting ethnic twist. We’d never even heard of Ajvar before reading your post.

Anyone interested in revisiting all the wonderful recipes that were contributed, here’s the original post and comments.

Stay tuned – we’ll be looking to you all for some ideas for the next RecipeHacking challenge!