Recipes

Farm-Fresh Stuffed Veggie Loaf…..change it up throughout the growing season!

VEGGIE-STUFFED PICNIC LOAF

Yield: Approx. 6-8 servings                                                                                                                         

Ingredients:

3 large sweet peppers (mixed colors work great), cored and cut in half lengthwise

1 lg. red onion, sliced into ½” thick rings but kept together

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil

Approx. 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

1 medium round crusty bread boule (about 8” in diameter)

1 ½ c. lightly packed arugula

3-4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

 

Preheat a grill on medium heat.  Place the peppers and red onions on a baking sheet but keep them separate.  Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat until lightly charred and tender, turning half way through, about 8-12 minutes total. Transfer the peppers and onions back onto the pan and splash generously with balsamic vinegar (about 2-3 Tbl., reserving extra for later).  Cover the pan with foil and allow veggies to cool for at least 30 minutes.  Peel the skin from the peppers before using.  (They can be refrigerated at this point for 1-2 days).

Carefully cut out the top off the loaf, hollowing out the bread from both top and bottom leaving a 1” border.  Assemble the sandwich by covering the bottom with half of everything beginning with the arugula, peppers, crumbled goat cheese, and grilled onions, packing all of the layers tightly into the round edges of the loaf.  Repeat the layering using all of the remaining ingredients.  Whisk together

2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar with 1 Tbl. olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle this over the top of the sandwich ingredients.  Replace the top of loaf pressing it down firmly (it should seem quite over-stuffed at this point) and wrap very tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.  Use a good serrated knife to slice the sandwich into thick pie-like wedges revealing all the layers.

Variations:  Different veggies can be added such as summer squash, portabellas and eggplant… grilled or roasted!  Any type of cheese can be used (provolone, fresh mozzarella, feta, pepper jack) and meats such as salami, prosciutto, & capicola can be added.  Other yummy ingredients to layer inside include olives, giardiniera, and marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto!

It’s Back! Celebrating Strawberry Season in 2014

SKILLET STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Yield:  Approx. 8 servings

Fruit:

8 c. washed, hulled, halved native strawberries (about 2 ½ -3 quarts) *If berries are small leave them whole

½ c. sugar

3 Tbl. cornstarch

Topping:

1/3 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 c. sugar

1 large egg

1 ¾ c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ c. + 2 Tbl. whole milk, plus extra for the top

Whipped Cream:

1 c. heavy cream, well chilled

½  tsp. vanilla

3 Tbl. confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Toss the berries, ½ cup sugar, and cornstarch together in a bowl until everything is distributed and pour this mixture evenly into a 12” round skillet (can also use a ceramic baking dish approx. 9×13” in size).

Using a mixer blend together the butter and 1/3 cup sugar until incorporated.  Add the egg and continue mixing until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, adding this to the mixture alternately with the milk, blending just  until a batter is formed.

Pinch off pieces of batter (about 1 Tbl. in size), and drop them onto the berry mixture randomly, leaving little ‘windows’ to still see the berries below.  Lightly brush the top of the dough pieces with milk and bake the shortcake for 35-40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly all over and the biscuit pieces in the center are cooked through (cheat by checking underneath one!).  Serve the shortcake warm or at room temperature with fresh whipped cream.

 To make fresh whipped cream……add the cream to a chilled bowl and whip with an electric mixer just until it begins to thicken.  Add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and continue to whip until semi-stiff peaks form.  Keep chilled until ready to use (up to 8 hours).

Variations:  Try this recipe with other berries, peaches, plums, apricots, apples, etc.

 

 

One of my favorite snowy-day winter recipes!

DINER-STYLE BANANA CAKE WITH PENUCHE ICING 

Yield:  Double-layer 8” cake, 9×13 sheet cake, or large bundt

Ingredients:

½ c. unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

1 ½ c. granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2-3 large bananas)

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

¼ c. buttermilk (can substitute whole milk)

Icing:

½ c. unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 c. packed light brown sugar

½ c. milk

2 c. confectioner’s sugar

 

Make the cake by creaming together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and

fluffy in color and volume.  Slowly add the eggs, blending well. Add the vanilla and mashed

bananas and mix thoroughly on low speed.  Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the

mixture alternately with the buttermilk, blending just until everything is incorporated. 

Pour batter into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes for 8” rounds, 35-45 minutes for the other sizes, or just until the center is no longer wet when tested.  Remove from the oven and allow cake to cool before frosting. (note: 8” rounds and bundt cakes should be inverted onto a plate before icing, however a 9×13” cake can be frosted in the pan).

Prepare the icing by melting the butter in a saucepan.  Add the brown sugar and cook over low heat stirring constantly, just until the sugar dissolves.  Add the milk and allow the mixture to barely come to a boil before removing it from the heat and letting it to cool for 10 minutes.  Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar until the icing is completely smooth and no lumps remain. 

Pour icing over the cake to finish (dividing it between the two layers if making the 8” rounds). 

Note:  This is a great way to use up your abundance of ripe bananas!  Any overripe bananas

you end up with at home can be peeled and frozen in Ziploc bags to use in baking at a later time.

 

OATMEAL MOLASSES BREAD

Yield:  2 loaves or 1 ½ dz. Rolls

Ingredients:

2 c. water

1 c. quick oats (not instant)

2 Tbl. unsalted butter

1 package active dry yeast

½ c. very warm water (115 if using a thermometer)

½ c. molasses

2 tsp. salt

4 c. bread flour, plus extra for kneading

For Topping:

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbl. water

Oats

 

Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the oats and butter.  Cover and let sit for at least 30-45 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

 

Add the yeast and ½ cup warm water to a large bowl, whisking to dissolve (2-3 minutes).  Add the molasses, salt, and oatmeal mixture and blend well.  Begin stirring in the flour (approx. 3 ½ cups initially) until a very rough mixture comes together.  Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and begin working in the remaining ½ cup flour until a sticky dough is formed.  Continue kneading the dough for 7-8 minutes, incorporating more flour along the way as needed.  When finished the dough should be smooth and soft, but not sticky.  Place the dough into an oiled bowl, turning to coat the top.  Cover bowl with plastic and let rise in a warm spot until double in bulk, approx. 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Punch down the dough, removing all of the air.  Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 loaves*, placing them in well-sprayed loaf pans.  Cover the loaves with a dish towel and allow them to rise again until almost double in size – 30-40 minutes (the bread should have a slow spring back when touched).  Gently brush the tops of loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with oats.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until loaves are golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from the oven, turn the loaves out of the pans, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

*This dough can also be shaped into knot rolls, pan rolls, or round boules.  To make knot rolls divide the dough into smaller pieces (about the size of a lime), and roll each piece into a rope.  Tie the rope in a knot and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Allow to rise a second time as mentioned above, garnish with oats, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

 

Not just for the holidays!!

OLD-FASHIONED GINGERSNAPS

Ingredients:

½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. molasses

1 Tbl. + 1 tsp. Baking soda

1 ½ tsp. ground ginger

4 c. all-purpose flour

Granulated sugar for coating

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Using an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and cream together on 2nd speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Reduce to low speed and add the eggs and molasses, blending until incorporated.  Add the baking soda, ginger, and flour and mix thoroughly until a nice dough is formed.

Scoop cookie dough into small balls and roll lightly in granulated sugar.  Space cookies 2” apart on a greased or lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they have a ‘cracked’ appearance on top.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

Note:  This dough can be prepared in advance, with the balls of cookie dough frozen on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Frozen dough balls can be then stored in Ziploc bags and baked as needed.  Cookies can be baked frozen (no need to thaw).

 

 

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Flavour Boston Photography

PUMPKIN PIE BISCUITS          

Yield:  1 ½ dozen 2” biscuits

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour

2/3 c. sugar

1 Tbl. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. allspice

5 Tbl. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 c. pumpkin puree (roasted & mashed fresh pumpkin, or canned pumpkin)

1 c. milk

2 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted

Cinnamon-sugar blend

Preheat the oven to 400.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl and blend well.  Add the butter and blend with your fingers until incorporated and only small bits of butter remain.  Separately combine the pumpkin and milk and stir into the dry ingredients just until wet & dry are blended.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, patting evenly ½” in thickness.  Using a floured biscuit cutter (approx. 1 ½” in diameter – or any size preferred) cut the dough into biscuits and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet in rows, slightly touching each other.  Scraps can be gently re-rolled and cut however be careful about overworking the dough.  Brush top of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.

Note: the biscuits can be prepared to this point and frozen. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes or just until the center is no longer wet and is cooked through (note: frozen biscuits should be baked frozen rather than thawed, and allow 2-3 minutes longer baking time).

Variations: Golden raisins, dried cranberries, or nuts would be a nice addition.

 

Chilly late autumn….great soup weather!

SAUSAGE, FENNEL, & WHITE BEAN SOUP

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

2-3 Tbl. Extra virgin olive oil

1lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (or slice links)

1 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage, sliced (or slice links)

1 bulb fresh fennel, thinly sliced

1 sm. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. fennel seed

6 c. chicken stock

1-32 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, squished (or 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)

Handful chopped fresh basil (or use 1 tsp. dried)

2 c. cooked white cannellini beans (drain & rinse if using canned)

½ lb. fresh spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped

Kosher salt, cracked black pepper to taste

Shredded mozzarella cheese, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high and add all of the sausage meat.  Cook for approx. 10 minutes, breaking up with a spoon, until well-browned.  Pour off any excess fat from the pan and add the fresh fennel, onion, garlic and fennel seed, cooking until the veggies have softened, another 7-8 minutes.   Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and basil and simmer half-covered for 30-40 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed, and drop in the cannellini beans and fresh spinach.  Simmer gently for 10 minutes and serve topped with extra fresh basil and mozzarella cheese if desired.

Crusty bread of course!

 

Autumn in New England…..

MINI PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES

Yield:  Approx. 3 dozen whoopie pies

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

2 c. packed light brown sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

3 c. pumpkin puree (roasted & mashed fresh, or use canned)

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.  Blend well and set aside.  In another large bowl whisk together the brown sugar and oil until well combined.  Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla, whisking everything until thoroughly blended.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until fully incorporated.

Line baking sheets with parchment and using a very small ice cream scoop (or heaping tablespoon), scoop round mounds of dough onto pan, spacing at least 1” apart.  Bake just until centers tests clean, approx. 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before filling.    Note: The whoopie pies can be frozen at this point layered on a baking sheet with parchment in between.

Spiced Pumpkin Filling:   Yield: 3 cups

1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c. granulated sugar

1 Tbl. cinnamon

1 ½ tsp. allspice

½ c. pumpkin puree

Using an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, sugar, and spices and blend on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently until all is well blended and no lumps remain.  Add the pumpkin and mix just until incorporated.  Chill at least 1 hour or up to several days in the refrigerator.

 

Happy Labor Day Weekend

BLT SALAD WITH BUTTERMILK-HERB DRESSING

Yield:  4-6 servings

Dressing:

½ c. good-quality mayonnaise

½ c. buttermilk

2 Tbl. finely minced celery

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 Tbl. each fresh chopped dill and chives (can also use parsley, basil, tarragon)

Kosher salt, cracked black pepper to taste

Salad:

1 lb. applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp, drained, coarsely chopped

½ head each iceberg and romaine lettuce, washed and coarsely chopped

4 large farm-fresh tomatoes, sliced (or use a mix of cherry tomatoes, heirlooms, etc.)

Homemade grilled croutons*

Fresh chopped chives for garnish

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and refrigerate for at least one hour.   To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce and two-thirds of the bacon with a small amount of dressing……place on a platter.  Arrange the tomatoes over the greens and top with dressing, remaining bacon, fresh chives, and croutons.

Grilled Croutons……Slice and brush crusty bread generously with olive oil, and grill over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until well-toasted.  Cut into croutons.

GRILLED PIZZA WITH FIELD TOMATOES

Yield:  2-3 servings

Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh pizza dough (white or whole wheat)

Extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fresh chopped basil leaves

3-4 large ripe native tomatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 – 2 cups good quality parmesan cheese

Preheat the grill on high until very hot.  Tear off large pieces of dough and stretch with your hands as thin as possible into irregular shape pieces (average 3-4 pieces per ball of dough).  Brush both sides of the dough with olive oil and place on the grill.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and grill the dough just until it is cooked on the bottom and stiff enough to flip – 1-2 minutes. 

Turn pizza dough, adjust the heat to a low setting, and immediately begin assembling the toppings.  Rub the pizza generously with the garlic and then cover with some of the parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle basil leaves all over and top with the tomatoes.  Season tomatoes with salt and pepper, drizzle a bit of olive oil, and top with more basil and parmesan cheese.  Shut the lid on the grill and cook for 2 minutes or just until the dough is cooked and the cheese melts.

Variations:  Try using other ingredients such as prepared pesto, cubed fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, or even red and yellow grape tomatoes cut in half.  The combinations are endless…..artichoke hearts, spinach, prosciutto, roasted peppers or onions, grilled eggplant, other herbs, cooked shrimp or chicken, goat cheese, feta, olives, etc.   Just be sure whatever ingredients you use are fully cooked if need be.

 General Tips: The pizzas cook very quickly, so make sure to have everything prepped and next to the grill ready to go (a large cookie sheet works well as a prep station).   All grills are different, so be aware of temperature.  The dough can burn easily so you made need to make adjustments in the heat and move it around on the grill.  If you find that the bread is getting too done and the toppings aren’t melted yet, use a spatula and move the pizza to the top shelf on your grill if you have it.  This will do the trick!