Garlic Scapes GO OUT for Pizza!

It seems ubiquitous that when one has copious quantities of garlic scapes – or even ten – that they be turned into pesto! I’m just never sure what to do with so much of the stuff, but today, pizza seemed to be a great idea. It’s the Fourth of July Weekend, not too hot and the perfect time to practice my pizza making skills! The great thing about making pizza is to leave the toppings out and have everybody make their own. This allows for a long relaxing meal on the deck because we can only do one pizza at a time. They each take about 8 minutes in a 500 degree oven, so just enough time for salad and conversations with guests as some are in the kitchen and others on the deck. It’s my secret weapon for really making entertaining relaxed!

Some of you are probably wondering why I am doing the pizzas in the oven. Well, we sold our property where we built our last pizza oven and have yet to make our wood-burner at the farm. That project is in queue!

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Last year I left a few onion sets in the ground over winter to go to seed this year. We have these very architectural beauties decorating the garden beds, and the seed heads, like garlic scapes, carry the flavor of their parent plant. Onion flowers have a mild onion flavor that is great on salads, pizza or enchiladas. Here you can see the little white flowers along with a few of the green onions chopped up and tossed on top of the pie.

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This is the same crust recipe that I have used in the past, however I was out of the sprouted wheat, so used only white flour. This crust was good, but didn’t have the chewy texture I get with the sprouted variety. I am no expert, but flour really makes a difference to a good pizza dough. In five years of making dough, I don’t think the dough was ever the same twice. There is something about humidity and water flour ratio that can really have an impact. The most important thing to remember with this cold fermentation dough is to leave it just a tad bit stickier than bread dough. Here’s the recipe with the sprouted wheat.

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As for the pesto, garlic scapes make it simple. No peeling garlic needed. You just toss a bunch of the scapes in a food processor with all of your other pesto ingredients and voila! This spread can not only add flavor to pizza, but is a great sandwich spread or veggie dip. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 garlic scapes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to bring together
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
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Trifling a Strawberry Moon

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Up here in the North it’s strawberry season! And what a wonder to have a full “Strawberry” moon coincide with the Summer Solstice! According to Martha White’s recount of the Old Famer’s Almanac, “From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.” That means when I am not eating strawberries, I work on the annual “Burdock Eradication Program,” thin the carrots and beets and plant a few of each for good measure!

Fruit trifles became a mainstay of farmhouse life last summer as the individual mason jar 1/2 pint servings are easy to store for a fancy dessert when company arrives. These I made with a gluten free granola crunched pie crust crumble that is AMAZING! It’s both delicious and easy to prepare. There are three components to this dessert: crunchy crumble, lemon minted cream cheese, and strawberries. Layer them together for a fresh and delicious summer dessert.

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The Strawberry Moon rose late last night and was just setting as I awoke at about 5:30 today.

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Gluten Free Granola Infused Pie Crust Crumble

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Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 packages cream cheese
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large lemon zested
  • 1 large lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 handful fresh mint

Directions: In a food processor, mix all of the ingredients except the whipping cream. You may need to push the cream off the sides of the bowl once or twice. Then add whipping cream and run processor until blended.

Note: I’m not one for sweet desserts, so you may want to add more honey or sugar.

Strawberry Filling: Simply mix about a pound of strawberries with a tablespoon of sugar or honey. In this recipe, I pulsed the berries and honey in a food processor just until they were slightly chopped.

Crumble Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • dash salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chilled butter into chunks. Mix dry ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and vanilla until combined. Spread on parchment and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. When the crumble cools, you will want to break it into smaller pieces.

Beet Greens, Herbs and Butter Lettuce Salad

The Table Was Set…

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The Harvest Prepped…

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And An Herbed Beet Greens And Butter Lettuce Salad Was Born!

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If you’re getting a CSA or shopping the farmer’s markets, look for healthy and perky leaves on your beets for a double whammy as beet greens make fabulous salad. They have a wonderful, rich, mellow flavor, and their tender leaf makes for a nice crisp salad chew! I chopped the greens and thinly sliced one beet for a quick salad, but should experiment with the tearing method as the greens may have a better aesthetic that way.

Aesthetics aside, the flavors in this salad were quite complex and enjoyable. One of my weekend menus called for Farm Fresh Spring Rolls that were to include rice noodles, beet greens, butter lettuce, mint, basil, fennel and dill, but I ran into a bit of a materials snafu and had to alter the course. Before I discovered my missing ingredient (forgotten spring roll wraps), I made a spicy sesame ginger dressing which ended up topping the beet greens and spring roll herbs in a wonderful accident. Toasted sesame oil pairs well with the buttery nature of beet greens and the ginger-garlic-spice made for an interesting and delicious surprise flavor.

Here’s an approximate recipe for the dressing. You will want to taste and adjust especially the soy sauce. I don’t like the dressing too salty, so find that I add the aminos slowly.

Spicy Sesame Ginger Garlic Dressing:

  • 1 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chile flakes

This salad was followed by a simple collard stir fry with ginger and garlic,  spicy tofu and jasmine rice.

After All Was Said And Done…

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May is Salad Month! Aparagus Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

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Did you know that today is not only Cinco de Mayo, but it is also Cartoonist Day, Childhood Stroke Awareness Day, Oyster Day and Chocolate Custard Day? Tomorrow is National Crepe Suzette Day, Nurse’s Day, No Diet Day and No Homework Day! If you were wondering why everyone went around with Princess Leia earmuff buns yesterday, it’s because it was Intergalactic Star Wars Day! This is really important stuff to know. With the lists at http://www.checkiday.com/ I will finally have a purpose, a focus and a guiding light for each day of my life!

Salad month for me is actually SALAD YEAR. I eat salad everyday. Sometimes my salad is interesting, but often it’s just a handful or two or the various greens from the fridge topped with nuts, fruit and other veggies. One thing is it is always delicious.

We have nothing green yet in Minnesota, but thank goodness for spring in nearby places – eh hum – California and Mexico. If I were posting locally grown fare today, I’d have to serve last year’s applesauce, canned tomatoes or frozen pesto. Longing for green and fresh, I opted for the spring flavors of asparagus and mint. This is a light and fresh salad with a surprise layer of flavors. Perhaps I’ll use the Salad Month idea to inspire more interesting salads!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 head read leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, steamed
  • 1 handful mint leaves, thinly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped white onion

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Chop and steam the asparagus for 2 minutes. It should be bright green and crisp. Chop the lettuce, mint, red peppers and onion. Mix the mint with the lettuce in a serving bowl. Top with the peppers, asparagus and onion.

Mix all ingredients for dressing in a blender until well mixed. I always taste to see if it needs more salt, oil or vinegar.

Plum Galette

Do you ever wonder what happened to good old-fashioned pie? Do you occasionally crave it, then find the slice that sits in front of you to be woefully inadequate? What happened to that thick slice of pie chock full of fresh fruit with a richly flavored, not-too-dry yet flaky crust?  I sometimes dream of that pie, but so often forget it can’t be found in a bakery. We can all find lots of mediocre pie at chain restaurants and grocery stores but if you want to find the real thing, you might be looking forever. Perhaps some nice old Finish lady in Northern Minnesota could hook you up, but if you’re looking in a store or pastry shop, you’re probably out of luck. I feel bad for kids these days because I don’t think they’ll ever know what pie really is. There is just something about old-fashioned pie that can’t be replicated in the bakery kitchen.

Having grown up with a nice old Finish lady to show me the ropes, there are a few things I know. First, butter is a must. I am a practicing vegan except when it comes to pie – no margarine allowed. The dough has to be cold, cold, cold so leave it in the fridge for a good long rest before you roll it. And finally, don’t roll your crust too thin. It’s just a beautiful thing to eat a slice of pie from tip to crust – to end with a generous chunk of flaky dough lightly kissed with caramelized fruit juices and sugar. Mmm mmm!

I know that one problem with pie is that it seems too difficult. So many of us just don’t have the time anymore, so I made a galette instead of pie. Galette is a fairly easy alternative allowing for free form rather than fussing with a pie pan and crimping edges. Fortunately, with a galette, we still get that old-fashioned sense of the pie!

Ingredients:

Crust: For a really clear and easy-to-follow recipe, see Elise’s directions at Simply Recipes.

Filling:

  • 6 red plums
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 beaten egg
  • turbinado sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the plums either into small chunks or thin slices. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add flour, sugar, nutmeg and lemon juice and mix.
  4. Roll out the pie crust to about 1/8 inch and place on parchment covered cookie sheet.
  5. pour plum mixture into center of pie crust. Push all the plums together into a tidy flat circle.
  6. Fold the pie crust up over the plums crimping the dough where it doubles over itself.
  7. Brush the dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes until the dough is browned.

Sesame Slaw with Golden Beets and Kale

The only way to get my son to run errands with me is to bribe him. As you can imagine, this can sometimes be costly and frustrating! But getting him to the coop is easy and free…all I need to do is remind him of the samples! He usually lingers by my side in the fresh foods area picking out bananas and other fruits, but as soon as we turn the corner, he beelines to the deli for samples of cheese, spreads, crackers and salads. The other day he came running up to me with a little cup filled with some sort of a kale salad.

“Here Mom, this is for you. I thought you’d like it. It has kale.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a kale and golden beet salad from the deli.”

“Did you try it?” I asked incredulously thinking the coop had cast some sort of spell over the boy who hates vegetables.

“Of course not! It has kale. I got it for you.”

What a sweet boy and what a sweet salad. I knew from the first taste, something like it would need to come out of my kitchen. The coop salad had the same general flavor devised with sesame oil, sesame seeds and ginger that my recipe includes, but did not have raisins. Somehow a little sweet seems like a good pairing for the beets and carrots. I think some fresh fruit like chopped nectarines, mangoes or apples would also cut the bill. (What does that mean, anyway?)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots grated
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch curly kale, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • a few splashes of rice vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)

Directions:

Long grate the carrots by cutting them just the length of the food processor feed tube. Empty into mixing bowl. Next grate the beets the same as the carrots. I chose to quickly saute the golden beets in about a tablespoon of sesame oil as they were a titch bitter when raw. Leave them a little crunchy to the bite.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and add to carrots and beets in mixing bowl.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the greens into fine pieces. The kale can be massaged to soften, steamed or sauted.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve at chilled or at room temperature.

Cold Winter Curry

Oh, the flavors! Oh, the warmth! Oh, the kale! I can’t get enough of the stuff! I’ve consumed four large bunches and another of swiss chard this week – almost entirely on my own! Once I started eating it, I couldn’t get enough! The same happened with beets, and I think sweet potatoes must be right up there in the Gotta Have It department. While the rest of you “Master” cleanse, juice and go raw, I’m focusing on ROY G. BIV and powerful spices warmed to perfection!

In this recipe:

  • Red – tomatoes
  • Orange – sweet potatoes
  • Yellow – cauliflower
  • Green – kale
  • Blue/Indigo/Violet – last seen in Beety Tweety Bird Nests
  • Powerful Spices: Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, hot peppers

Ingredients Chickpea Curry:

  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, mince
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, blended
  • 3/4 can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. whole brown mustard seed
  • 2-3 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups chickpeas, pre-cooked
  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped

Directions: Cook chickpeas or use canned. On medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add red onion and saute until translucent. Add cumin, brown mustard seed and Garam Masala to the oil for a quick toast. Next add garlic, ginger and chile pepper. All these ingredients should be cooked for a minute or so, just until the aromas are released. Next, add the pureed tomato, coconut milk and chickpeas. Allow to simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, mix in the kale cooking it just past raw to bright green.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in Madras Peanut Curry Sauce:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. Madras style curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Warm the coconut milk and the peanut butter in a small pot. When the peanut butter begins to melt, whisk the two ingredients together. Add spices and mix well. Toss in cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Allow to steam on low heat for a few minutes until vegetables are tender.

Note: I tried roasting the veggies with the sauce at 450 degrees. They cooked, but did not crisp at all. I love the idea of serving the cauliflower roasted like I did here. Next time.

Plantain Soup

It’s the time of year that my mind wanders off to Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico. I dream of warm weather, tropical foliage and platanos! Platanos are particularly important in the diet of Coastal Ecuadorians, and I don’t believe I ever had a meal that did not include them in some form. They usually eat the plantains green either fried, baked or mashed to make empanada dough. My favorite way to eat the platano is fried and smashed in what they call, “Patacones.” In other parts of Latin America fried and smashed plantains are called, “Tostones.” They are an acquired taste as they tend to be quite dry, but the minute I tasted them topped with hot and spicy Aji, I couldn’t get enough. Aji is a hot chile, cilantro and lime condiment served everywhere in Ecuador.

An Ecuadorian custom from the highlands  is to serve a light soup as a first course for the mid-afternoon meal, and it’s common to see a few platanos floating around the broth with diced potatoes and a sprig of cilantro. Slices of avocado, toasted hominy and Aji were always served with the soup.

Today’s recipe combines an Ecuadorian platano fetish with my never-ending quest for maximum nutritional value. Here you will find copious quantities of kale! And don’t even think about eating the soup without the Aji. Yes, it’s a condiment to be served on the side, but it without it, you’ll feel like you’re eating mashed potatoes without the gravy.

Ingredients:

Soup

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, diced
  • 2 plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bunch curly kale, deveined and chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • avocado and lime as garnish

Aji

  • 4 Serrano peppers
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt to taste
  • splash water

Blend together in food processor or blender.

Directions:

Be careful not to overcook this soup. Serve immediately.

Heat oil in a stock pot. Add onions and cook until they are crispy. Next add the garlic and stir it until fragrant. Add water, cumin, salt, potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are almost tender. Add plantains and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes and plantains are tender. Add the kale just before serving. It should just wilt and turn bright green. Serve with Aji, avocado and lime on the side.

Vitamin Supplement Number Two – Beety Tweety Bird Nests

Last week when I went for groceries, the goal was to make the cart look like a CSA box. Midwinter legumes, grains and soups have been great, but this time of year you may feel your body craves the vitamins from more rainbow-colored foods. At the grocery two things particularly caught my attention: beets and greens. I bought four hefty deep purple roasters as well as mounds of kale and swiss chard. Last week’s Beet Sweet and Kale Soup was so satisfying, I’m loving the look of the ruby-red long grated strands, so having two of the beets already roasted in the fridge made this warm salad really easy to make. I filled the nests with a Greek yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of minced ginger, but can imagine them stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese, humus, or just shaved pieces of Pecorino Romano.

This will make approximately two dozen nests depending on how large the beets. The beets I had were big ones – about four inches in diameter!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets roasted then grated
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients and spoon into greased muffin tins. Use the back of a spoon to form an indentation in each mound of beets. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the nests immediately from the muffin tins or they may stick.

Mock Chicken

I’ve often wondered how mock duck was made. I knew what it was – wheat gluten – but never knew what the process involved. I finally decided to do a little research only to realize that mock duck is basically a dumpling. It’s also very easy to make. I found a recipe on a site called,  Ma Cooks! and used this as the springboard for this recipe.You’ll notice by the garlic, cumin and oregano, that this mock duck is destined for a Latin American theme. In fact, I hope to use it to make green chile enchiladas.

Jeff returned yesterday from a conference in Albuquerque and upon my most pointed request, carried with him five giant tubs of frozen chiles. If you have never used frozen New Mexican chiles before, I highly recommend urging any friend traveling to the Southwest to traffic for you as much as they can carry. The Bueno Foods website will deliver six small containers for $25 dollars plus a $50 dollar delivery fee! I’m sure there are many New Mexican transplants who are willing to pay this exorbitant fee.

Ingredients:

Stock:

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix the gluten, rice flour, salt and water together. Knead briefly until the gluten strands develop. Let the dough rest while you prepare the stock.

Use a stock pot to saute onions in the canola oil until translucent, add garlic and spices. Cook for a minute until the spices and garlic are lightly cooked and giving off aroma.

Add four cups of water to the stock pot and bring to a boil.

Lightly knead the mock duck dough and break into six to eight pieces. Once the stock comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, place the mock duck dough into the water, cover and slowly simmer for about an hour.

Once it is finished, it can be sliced and added to any dish calling for chicken. I would caution you not to use it in really wet dishes as the texture gets a little mushy.

Garam Masala Vegan Dip

Living the vegan lifestyle is a concept that I both accept and deny. I love vegetables and cannot imagine eating animal flesh, yet when in comes to the satisfying creaminess of cheese, ice cream and other dairy products, the thought of giving them up, causes my head to involuntarily shake out a most-emphatic, “NO!”

I’ve found with a pizza oven in the back yard, dairy product consumption is at an all-time high around our house, and has given me a little pause. And although we’re still topping our little wood-fired babies with fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and Gorgonzola, I’ve begun to wonder about vegan alternatives to cheese.

I’m not yet ready to take the dive, but thought I would start experimenting with vegan cream sauces. This recipe has as it’s base walnuts, olive oil and tahini and when mixed with a little soymilk, turned white and creamy and sweet. I was surprised by how sweet my plain soymilk made the dip, so to make it savory for the cucumber sticks, I added garlic, white wine vinegar and Garam Masala. As you can see I served it with vegetables, but it’s very satisfying spread on crackers as well. I might try it another time, sans savories, as the cream filling for a chilled fruit tart.

Ingredients:

Sweet:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain soymilk

Savories to add to Sweet:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add more or less soymilk depending on how thick you want the dip.

 

Llapingachos – Cheese Stuffed Potato Patties

Potatoes? I have a love hate relationship with potatoes. They are starch, carbohydrate, heavy, and can be dry. They are time-consuming to cook and often need so much added “stuff” to make them palatable. Jeff loves potatoes – especially french fries, but it’s not really the potato he loves – they’re just a “vehicle for ketchup!” They are delicious though, aren’t they? Especially roasted with garlic and lots of salt. I loved them in the Vindaloo Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower dish I made a few weeks ago, and I am always happy to toss a couple of diced potatoes into any winter stew.

If you get a CSA or shop the farmer’s markets, you know fresh potatoes are rolling in from the fields daily right now. They are dense, creamy and still full of water as the starches haven’t had time to convert to sugars yet. They cook more quickly when they are fresh, and in my opinion, taste better in this state.

When I was in college I had an internship in Ecuador, where in the highlands, folks enjoy a cheese stuffed fried potato patty called a “Llapingacho (ya ping gacho). This dish stands out as having a lovely yellow color, a rich flavor, and creamy texture that is nearly impossible to recreate in the United States if you shop at conventional grocery stores. Why is this so? Well, I learned through trial and error, that the Llapingacho will not cooperate with a potato whose starches are overly developed. It simply will not. It can be made, but the texture and flavor never match that of those served in the Andes. Unfortunately, potatoes in the U.S. spend lots of time in storage which allows water to evaporate and starches to form.

Since returning from my internship in 1991 I have tried to recreate the smooth and creamy texture of the Ecuadorian Llapingacho but was not successful until I used the Yukon Golds from my Wisconsin CSA! Fresh from the field they had the perfect consistency and flavor needed to recreate this dish. I assume the potatoes had been dug from the field a day or two before delivery so spent little or no time in cold storage. I don’t think most of us can find potatoes fresh enough in most grocery stores to make the Llapingacho. Even the Yukon Golds that I have tried from the co-op haven’t worked. In addition to needing a completely fresh potato, there are other tricks to making a perfect Llapingacho: 1) wash the starch off the potato cubes before you cook them, 2) let the patties cool completely before frying, and 3) make sure your cooking oil is really hot. This is a great recipe to prep one day and cook the next.

Of course, even fried this potato is still a vehicle for other goodies. In South America the Llapingacho is served with a peanut sauce. Many enjoy a zesty salsa to top, or a grated cabbage coleslaw. We ate ours with a side of yesterday’s Zucchini Salad, chopped fresh jalapenos, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Delicious!

Take advantage of the fresh Yukons coming out of the fields to make this dish that can only be fully realized in Minnesota right NOW! You’ll love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Golds, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup leeks, thinly sliced (any kind of onion may be used)
  • olive oil to saute leeks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • peanut or canola oil to fry patties
  • 1 cup grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Start a large pot of water to boil while you peel and cube the potatoes. After they are diced, swish them around in a big bowl of water to wash off some of the starch.

Once the water begins to boil, spoon the potatoes into the pot and cook them until they are just tender. Drain the potatoes from the cooking water and allow them to cool before mashing.

While the potatoes cool, saute leeks on low heat until they begin to caramelize. Mash the potatoes, mix in the leeks and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to cool completely until it can be handled.

Form the mashed potatoes into a ball a little smaller than a tennis ball. Press your thumb into the center of it forming a small indentation. Fill this with cheese then close the potato mixture around the cheese to form a ball again. Press the ball into a patty making sure that the patty is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cool in the fridge for at least an hour. (I covered mine with wax paper and fried them the next day.)

Heat peanut or canola oil on a skillet until it is very hot. Fry the patties until they are browned on both sides. If your patties are not completely chilled or thick enough, they will be very delicate for flipping.

Zucchini Salad

I’ve been staring at zucchini in the crisper drawer for days – and of course, it multiplied. I don’t know how it does that. One minute you have three little demure zucchini hanging out in the fridge, then suddenly there are eight, they are huge and they are staring back at you! There must be an algorithm for this monster…if three go in and eight come out the formula may be 2x + 2, but how does one explain their increase in size?

Not only are the zucchini in the fridge multiplying, but mother nature has determined that running the oven in our house is not an option. With temps in the 90s and dew points in the 70s, there will be no zucchini crusted pizza, gratin, or cake. I just can’t risk the respite of an air-conditioned space when facing these extremes. So the zucchini remained chilled, and it’s growth pattern stopped in a quick zing through the shredder. I tossed this salad in lemon, olive oil and agave like in the Sweet and Sour Slaw with Wilted Kale from a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out very light, refreshing and delicious.

Note: The zucchini will drain quite a lot of water once you put the salt on it, so it should be served shortly after combining the vegetables with the dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium zucchini and yellow squash, grated
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, grated
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • salt to taste.

Directions:

Grate and slice the vegetables. Squeeze the lemon over the zucchini, add the olive oil, agave and salt and mix well.

Vindaloo Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower

When Jeff tried this dish, he said, “Mmm, tastes like candy.” The Vindaloo I used comes from Penzeys, and it is a spice mixture made with coriander, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, mustard, hot peppers, cardamom, turmeric and cloves. Any curry powder roasted with veggies would taste great, but I particularly enjoy the cinnamon in this version. Roasting it brings out its’ sweet rich flavor and it pairs nicely with sweet roasted cauliflower.

When large quantities of root vegetables start rolling around in the bottoms of the CSA boxes, roasting is a great way to quickly work through the veg. The veggies can simply be tossed in a titch of olive oil, spread out over a cookie sheet and baked until they are tender or beginning to brown. In the roasting process, natural sugars begin to caramelize, and for veggies with a low water content, a lovely crunch develops on the outside. You can prepare a mixture of veggies on one sheet as long as you cut the pieces to the same size. I felt comfortable roasting both the potatoes and cauliflower together as the potatoes were babies – already creamy and soft to start, and I wanted to allow the cauliflower to crisp and caramelize.

Fennel is the next veg that will take a ride through the roasting cycle. I’m thinking thin slices of fennel, onion and apple tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper to be served on toast…

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin seeds
  • Vindaloo Curry

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over the veggies. They should be lightly coated. Then generously sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Next add cumin seeds and curry to lightly coat.

Spread the veggies out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until browned and crispy – about 35 minutes.

Summer Potato Soup

This is another kid-friendly soup that makes mama happy with all kinds of “goodness” hidden inside. This pureed number sports new potatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini and carrots that all help to nourish the body: low-fat, high protein, high fiber, vitamin packed. But who cares about all that after a week of trips to the old-fashioned candy store, all-you-can-eat Oreos, and making faces on Ritz crackers with Easy Cheese? Watching the boy scarf down two bowls of the soup without a single complaint makes me think his body was in need of nutrients after the “Up North at the Cabin” binge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
  • water to cover potatoes
  • 6-8 small carrots
  • 2 cups large lima beans, pre-cooked
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, pre-cooked
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch hot pepper flakes

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a stock pot. Add onions and saute on a low heat until they begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for a minute – remember, don’t let it burn! Add diced potatoes and fill the pot with enough water to just cover them. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until they are just tender. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes.

Puree the onion, garlic, potato and zucchini with an immersion blender or a standard blender. I used a standard because I wanted it finely pureed. (Max doesn’t like potatoes or zucchini!) You may need to do the blending in two batches.

Return the puree to the stock pot and add the carrots. Heat on a low simmer until the carrots are cooked. Add the pre-cooked garbanzo and lima beans to the mix. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes.

Note: This soup was garnished with an herb chimichurri that I made with a handful of fresh herbs, a the juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup olive oil, a clove of garlic and salt and pepper.