Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Squash Madness

Between my local CSA and our garden I am getting about 10 squashes – zucchini, yellow summer squash, patty pan, spaghetti squash – a week coming into my kitchen! What to do with it all?!

Squash soup, stuffed squash, baked squash, fried squash, squash fritters, squash bread, squash spread, squash relish, squash in salads, in stir fries, in pasta sauce, in omelets…every day, for weeks now…My family is very tolerant and my freezer is full! And I will probably get 10 more squash next week!

Here’s how I cook squash

Squash Soup

one medium onion or leek

one large potato

6 cups vegetable stock

marjoram and salt to taste

lots of squash

Sautee one onion or leek in some butter and oil. Add squash chunks, marjoram and salt.

[I make this with zucchini or patty pan or a combination. Patty pan squash makes a nice thick soup when pureed so I leave out the potato.]

Add stock and simmer until the squash is soft. Puree.

Squash Fritters

(adapted from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” by Marian Morash)

2 eggs

2 C grated zucchini or yellow squash

1/4 c flour

1 T melted butter

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 t dried mint

2 T finely crumbled feta cheese

Beat eggs and combine with remaining ingredients/Spoon 3-4T of mixture per fritter into hot oil and fry on both sides until browned and crisp.

Makes 6-8 fritters.

Zucchini Bread

(adapted from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” by Marian Morash)

3 c flour (combination of white, whole wheat and spelt)

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg or ground cloves, or both

3 eggs

1 – 1 2/3 c sugar (I use 1 cup, half brown)

3/4 c vegetable oil

1 t vanilla or 1 packet vanilla sugar

2 c grated zucchini

raisins and nuts, optional (I use dried cranberries or chocolate chips)

Beat eggs, sugars and oil. Add spices and vanilla. Mix well. Add in dry ingredients. The batter is very stiff. Add grated zucchini and any other add-ins you wish. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350F in greased and floured loaf pans, or 25 minutes in muffin tins. Makes 2 loaves or 2 dozen muffins.

Zuchini Spread 

thanks to Allison for pointing me to this recipe from “the kitchn”

Sauteed Zucchini and Onions

1 or two onions thinly sliced into rings

a medium zucchini thinly sliced into rounds

butter and oil

salt and pepper

cheese to melt on top

Sautee onion and zucchini until onion is translucent and zucchini is softened. You don’t want mush, but you don’t want crispy either. Season with salt and pepper. Melt cheese on top.

Here’s how I preserve squash

Freezing: Squash don’t freeze well, but you can freeze the bread, the spread and the soup. I also tried freezing one cup portions of shredded zucchini for use in making zucchini bread later in the year.


Zucchini Relish

(from “Food in Jars” by Marisa McClellan)

6 cups copped green bell peppers (about 8 whole peppers)

6 cups grated zucchini

2 1/2 cups grated onions

4 cups apple cider vinegar, divided

2 cups sugar

salt to taste

2 T mustard seeds

1 t celery seed

1/2 t red pepper flakes

Combine vegies in pot. Stir in 2 c vinegar and simmer about 30 minutes until veggies have cooked sown. Drain and return veggies to pot. Add remaining 2 cups vinegar and the rest of the sugar nd spices. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour into hot jars and process 10 minutes. Let sit in the pot 5 minutes before removing to prevent bubbling over from a swift change in temperature. Makes 5x 500 mL jars.


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Monday Menu…on summer time

Yes, I know it is Wednesday. Although I am enjoying the fact that I have to stop and think to figure out what day it is. Don’t you love summer vacation?!

Here’s a dish I made for lunch yesterday because I barely remember what we had on Monday (that’s not summer vacation forgetting, that’s just pure getting old forgetting!).

Pasta° with Sage* Oil and Goat Cheese°

It’s fresh whole wheat pasta from the farmer’s market with sage oil drizzled on top, goat cheese crumbled on top and the lightly roasted seeds and nuts that come with the pasta sprinkled on top.

Sage oil is made by infusing about a cup of sage leaves in a cup of olive oil by heating them gently on the stove for 10-15 minutes and then letting it sit a little while. Strain out the leaves and bottle. Use generously. Delicious!


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We were half way through dinner before I realized it’s Monday!


Mixed Salad: lettuce°, arugula*, lamb’s quarters*, carrot°, tomato°, chick peas

Pasta° with zucchini* sauce

Like most gardeners who plant zucchini, I have loads and loads of it towards the end of the summer. We haven’t harvested much yet, but more is on the way. I started using it in pasta sauce a couple years ago to use it up and it has become one of the girls’ favorites.

Zucchini Sauce

1 or 2 cups shredded zucchini

onion finely diced or garlic minced, to taste

cream (I use soy cream)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

optional: other herbs of choice, grated parmesan

Sautee onion, zucchini and garlic. Add herbs if using, salt and pepper to taste. Add in as much cream as desired. I probably use a quarter cup or so, just enough to make it look like a cream sauce! I suppose you would’t need to use it all if you don’t wish to. Let it simmer a little while. Add parmesan at the end if you wish (I do). Serve on top of pasta or rice.

With more zucchini on its way, look for more zucchini recipes soon, including zucchini muffins and lemon zucchini.

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Summer vacation and the liven’ is easy! We’re having wonderful weather and enjoying our days in the garden. Tonight’s dinner comes mainly from the garden, a necessary reminder of why I do it!

Today’s harvest

Menu 25 June 2012

radish* top soup

spring vegetable paella-otto with broccoli*, snap peas*, carrots°, mushrooms° and onions*

raspberries* and strawberries* with sweetened yogurt

Radish Top Soup

Radish leaves

This recipe comes from Marian Morash’s The Victory Garden Cookbook, which I love because the chapters are arranged by vegetable. When I have a glut of almost anything, Marian usually comes to my rescue!

I’m sure that following her recipe exactly yields wonderful results, but here’s what I do:

  1. Sautee some onions or leeks in butter and oil. I use about one medium onion.
  2. Add cubed potatoes, water and bouillon. One large potato, vegetarian bouillon.
  3. When potatoes are almost cooked, add radish tops. I use about 2 bunches worth of greens.
  4. Puree, adding milk or cream if you like. Season with salt and/or pepper.

It would be good peasant style, too I think, but I puree it.

Spring Vegetable Paella-otto

Once again, I must say that a real recipe would probably help tremendously, but I believe I’ve noted that if you want perfection you’re going to have to find it elsewhere.

So, here’s what I did:

  1. Cook rice in bouillon in more or less normal way. I couldn’t find any brown rice in the cupboard (I swear we bought some) so I used risotto rice, thus paella-otto.
  2. Sautee chopped onions, broccoli, and carrots in a big pan. I used my wok.
  3. Remove vegetables and then add mushrooms. I got daring and when mushrooms were almost done, decided to finish it all off at once instead of bit by bit. I added minced garlic, thyme and a little saffron (I recommend adding it to the rice cooking water, but I didn’t think of it until this point.)
  4. I added in the cooked rice and the rest of the vegetables and mixed it all together.
  5. It needs salt! And maybe more garlic. And regular rice, not sticky arborio rice. But it tastes good. You can really taste the flavor of each of the vegetables.


Berries with Sweetened Yogurt

The lots on either side of ours are empty, apart from the legion of weeds just waiting to invade. They send in advance troops in by seed, runners under the fence, with birds and the cat. Though I win some battles, they are winning the war, for now. Occasionally, though, they send me something I can use. Dandelions and nettles have come in and I’m happy about that (yes, happy – here’s why). But the other day we discovered a major encroachment onto our plot by raspberry bushes! Lots of them! Happy day!

It isn’t easy to get the girls to refrain from devouring every ripe berry they see whenever they see them, but they managed to pick a small bowlful today. I mixed them with the last few strawberries and served them with yogurt.

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Round 1 Explore the dandelion

This one is pretty easy, given we already eat them every year as I described in an earlier post. But I have been exploring other ways to eat dandelion.

My mother-in-law makes dandelion honey. I am not sure how she does it, but I know she sends the girls out to pick 100 dandelion flowers, cooks them up in a simple syrup and then leaves them out to sit over night. She must then strain it and put it in jars. So, it’s basically dandelion flavored sugar syrup, but it’s yummy. We eat it on pancakes and use it to sweeten tea.

I have also been experimenting with dandelion muffins. I got the idea here, but use an entirely different recipe that I adapted from The New York TImes New Natural Foods Cookbook (published 1982 and stolen from my mother in about 1992).

Fabulous 3-grain Dandelion Muffins

1/3 cup corn flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup soy flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup oil

1 cup dandelion petals

1/3 cup or so dried cranberries

Combine dry ingredients. Add in dandelion petals and mix well. Mix egg, yogurt and oil together and then add to dry ingredients. Mix in cranberries. Bake 25 minutes at 350F.

Mixing in the dandelion petals. The muffins never stick around long enough to photograph!

And, to top it all off, with all my talk about dandelions, a colleague made some dandelion jelly and brought me a jar. Delicious!

Round 2 Hunt for morels

Mushroom hunting is big in the Czech Republic. Very big. It has been quite dry here, though, notwithstanding a couple days of rain not too long ago and I haven’t seen the mushroom hunters out. I hope I can do some hunting myself this year and will surely post about it if I find anything. The problem always seem to be that the serious hunters are out at dawn (which occurs about 5am these days) and there is nothing left by the time normal folks roll out of bed and get into the woods!

Round 3 Cook a foraged meal

This is the one we really go into. Friend and neighbor, Andrea, my partner in all these crazy things I am doing these days (who is highly amused at being called “friend and neighbor,” though it is an accurate description) got in on this one with me. And once again, she sacrificed her vegan principles for a taste of our (not in the least vegan) foraged dinner.

Elder is flowering so we decided on a traditional German elder pancake for dessert and elder cordial to drink. For the main course, I proposed nettle gnudi and a salad. The salad is mostly from the garden, but we threw in some foraged lamb’s quarters.

Foraging is even more fun with a nice basket.

The nettle gnudi recipe comes from the Fat of the Land Blog, a wonderful source for foraging and home of this round of the challenge. The recipe calls for ricotta but there was none at the store, so I substituted tvaroh and cottage cheese and it turned out just fine. Of course, frying anything in sage butter and olive oil is bound to taste good!

Adding the chopped, blanched nettles to the cheese.

Roll it out and cut into pieces.

I made them by the plateful.

My helpful daughter cooked them while I rolled and cut. When they float, take them out of the boiling water.

Ninety nettle gnudi…try saying it 5 times fast!

Fry them up in olive oil, butter and sage.

I barely had time to snap a photo…those gnudi disappeared fast!

Now for dessert:

Andrea made a thin pancake batter, dipped the flower heads in and then plopped them into hot oil.

Fry until golden

Nibble right off the stem!

They were great plain but also with a little dandelion honey.

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The garden is doing great and tonight we had our first strawberries and the best spinach I’ve ever grown. Our soil is just too heavy for spinach to do well, but last fall I added lots of shredded leaves and good soil to a bed to make it nice and light and it seems to have made a world of difference to the spinach. The other inspiration for tonight’s dinner was the hunk of cheese and bag of mushrooms I bought at the farmer’s market last week.

Menu for Monday, 28 May

crustless mushroom° quiche

spinach* with tomatoes

toasted bread

yogurt with sliced strawberries*

elderflower* cordial

The crustless quiche was a sort of improvisation since I didn’t feel like making crust. And since the crust is just slightly sweet, it made the tangy quiche even tangier.

Crustless Quiche

Sautee sliced mushrooms° and let cool. Place on bottom of quiche dish. Mix 1 1/2 cups of yogurt with 2 eggs°, 2 tablespoons of flour, a bit of salt and some shredded cheese°. Pour over mushrooms and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. I tucked a little left over asparagus° into one end – a little treat for me.

Spinach and tomatoes

My husband bought some really awful looking tomatoes – you know, the hard orange balls that don’t really look, smell or taste much like real tomatoes. Well, the only way to deal with those is cook them down, which I did with some garlic and olive oil. Then I added the spinach until wilted. The spinach was so good it even made these tomatoes taste alright!

Yogurt topped with strawberries

Can’t wait until the strawberry:yogurt ratio is reversed!

Elderflower cordial

An experiment inspired by the Urban Farm Handbook foraging challenge and all of the elders flowering right now everywhere you look.

I found the recipe here and made a batch over the weekend.

I think it turned out too lemony and sour, but over ice with a bit of dandelion honey to sweeten it, YUMMMMMMY! We will definitely be making more of this.

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We’ve been eating greens!

From left to right, that’s leaf lettuce, a spinach leaf, arugula, Chinese mustard greens and mizuna. I mostly planted arugula – lots of arugula!

I planted polycultures this year and so far, so good! They certainly look beautiful!

The garden is full of greens and we’ve had them lots of ways this week, so I thought I’d share them all.

grape and greens salad* with honey mustard dressing and sesame seeds

omelette with arugula*

boiled potatoes° with a mixture chopped greens*, garlic, olive oil and salt on top

pasta° with goat cheese° and greens*

more salad*, this time with nettle* pesto dressing

more salad*, with kohlrabi° and radishes°

What’s your favorite way to eat fresh greens? I am open to new ideas!

Recipe for Honey Mustard Dressing

Mix about 1/2 cup of oil with a touch of vinegar, ground dried mandarin peel, teaspoon of mustard and dandelion (or regular) honey to taste.

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