Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Olive Oil and Herb Crackers

Count down continues with only three more nights until Bianca returns home. We had tested this recipe before she left for camp but I have played around with it a bit while she was gone. Since I have had so many requests, or should I say demands, for this recipe, I decided to post it before she came home. Just hope she survived the thunder storms up at camp in her spring-bar tent!

This recipe came from an 'assignment' I was given. A few months ago, some friends and I met for lunch at the Dodo and had an appetizer with crisp flatbread and herbed goat cheese.  My friend Barbara turned to me and gave me the assignment; create a similar recipe at home. I found this recipe on another blog but have mixed it up a bit thanks to Millcreek Olive Oil.  You need to check this place out! I made this flatbread with his infused Meyer Lemon and Persian Lime Olive Oils and some fresh herbs from my garden. The combinations and variations of this recipe are endless. As always, I use freshly milled hard white winter wheat but this recipe should work just as well with all-purpose flour or a combination of AP flour and commercial whole wheat flour. ---Bianca's Mom


1 & 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoonful chopped herb such as rosemary or thyme
1 teaspoonful baking powder
3/4 teaspoonful Redmond Sea Salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or flavored oil)
extra salt

1.  Place baking stone or heavy baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
2. Mix together dry ingredients and herb.
3. Mix together water and oil. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour water and oil into well. Slowly mix the flour into the liquid until it comes together as a dough.  Knead 4 or 5 times and then let rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
4. Divide dough into three pieces. Take one piece, while keeping other pieces covered, and roll it out on parchment paper into a 10 inch circle. Brush with additional oil and sprinkle with additional herb and salt, then use pastry cutter to cut into wedges, somewhat like a pizza. You can also roll it out into a rectangle and cut into squares.
5. Transfer entire piece of parchment paper to baking stone or sheet in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are browned and crispy.
6. Transfer to rack to cool and repeat with remaining two pieces. Discard parchment paper after each use.
7. Store in air-tight container at room temperature.

---great with hummus, cheese, pestos

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lemon-Arugula Pesto

So, now I am back on script for Bianca since one of my 'assignments' was to begin posting the pesto recipes that she worked on. Early this year, Bianca started testing different pesto recipes since we are big fans of basil pesto and she started to think that great pesto could be made with other herbs as well including cilantro, parsley, arugula and tarragon. We had a number of horrible failures in the search for a good arugula pesto which was surprising since I love arugula. This one seemed to work since the lemon juice tends to compliment the strong peppery taste of the arugula. The strong peppery taste of the arugula is also great with gorgonzola and blue cheese so try this pesto on a cracker with some Danish Blue Cheese from Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery.


1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 & 1/2 cups baby arugula leaves
2 tablespoonfuls fresh parsley
2-3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Gold Creek Farms)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Redmond sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

1. Toast the nuts in a non-stick skillet over low heat for 5-6 minutes. Let cool.
2. Add nuts, garlic, arugula, and parsley to food processor. Pulse to chop and combine ingredients.
3. Combine olive oil and lemon juice.  In a slow stream, add the liquids to the food processor and pulse to desired consistency. I tend to like my pesto with more chunks rather than smooth and creamy but this is a personal taste. Add cheese last and pulse to combine. I also tend to like the cheese to be a bit chunky in my pesto so I don't grate it beforehand. If you like a creamier consistency, grate the cheese first.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

---this pesto is delicious mixed in with pasta, prosciutto and peas.
--great with Danish Blue cheese from Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery and crackers (see recipe).
--can freeze in ice cube trays and use later in the year.
--delicious on fresh ricotta cheese bruschetta.
--use Meyer Lemon fused Olive Oil from Millcreek Olive Oil in place of the extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Poptarts

We are day eight into Bianca being gone at camp and are missing her quite a bit. She left me a list of her recipes to post but I am going to go off script and post a few of my own creations that I have gotten requests for. That is what happens when you leave your Mother in charge!
The other day, I read on Facebook about someone (I will let you remain anonymous) who managed to get a third degree burn on his finger eating a Pop-Tart. My first thought was, why would anyone eat a Pop-Tart!! I can't remember even liking those as a kid and I am pretty sure that Bianca has never had even a bite of one past her lips.  My second thought was, I bet I could make a pretty darn good homemade Pop-Tart. Since I had been busy making strawberry-rhubarb jam so as to not waste any of the fresh rhubarb we just discovered we had, why not a Strawberry-Rhubarb PopTart! What a great way to get your kids to eat something healthy. So here is a recipe I found that is adapted from a King Arthur's flour recipe.  I also made some small crescent pastries as posted for those of my friends who didn't want to overindulge but still enjoy a fresh tasty toaster tart!

2 cups plus 2 tbl. freshly milled whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Redmond's sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup chilled butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons ice water
12 tablespoonfuls Strawberry-Rhubarb jam (see previous recipe)

1) Mix together flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl.  Using fingers or fork, blend in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal and you have small, pea size chunks of butter. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball, divide in half and shape each into a 3 x 5 inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at one hour.
2) Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
3) Roll out one rectangle at a time on floured surface to about 13 x 11 inches then trim to 12 x 10 rectangle. Mark off 5 x 3 inch rectangles in rows of three. Place 1&1/2 tablespoonful of jam on center of each rectangle.  Roll out second rectangle to same size and place over first rectangle.  Seal outside edges of large rectangle with tines of a fork.  Cut 5 x 3 rectangles with pastry cutter and seal each individual rectangle with fork tines.
Alternatively: I just rolled out the dough as in #3 and cut out circles with a 3 inch round cookie cutter and placed 1 tsp of jam on one half of the circle, fold the circle in half and seal with the tines of a fork.
4) Cover and freeze for 2 hours or up to one week.
5) Poke a few holes on top of each tart with a toothpick.
6) Bake in preheated 375 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes. Rotate cookie sheet once at 15 minutes during baking.
--All-purpose flour can replace freshly milled whole wheat flour. I don't know how store bought whole wheat flour would work.
--I tried leaving the pastry dough in the refrigerator for 2 days and then putting these together and the dough was not as easy to handle so...I would stay will just refrigerating it for one hour.
--Use any local jam/jelly you can find. There are numerous available at the Farmer's Market so you could make a different kind each time.

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Bars

We noticed this year that we had rhubarb growing in our front yard. It seems that our dogs used to run through that part of the garden so that the plant never really grew.   But sadly, our older dog died last year and we have a new puppy who can't really play in the front yard yet since she tends to run across the street to greet everyone. So, no dogs in the front yard means we now we have a rhubarb plant! The funny thing is, the first time we made this recipe, our puppy, who also doesn't know yet NOT to get up on the dining room table, licked the pan clean of about one-third of this dessert!

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Bars
1 ½ cup fresh rhubarb, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For crust:
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 ½ cup quick oats (no instant oats)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed ¾ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar 1-2 tablespoon milk or lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan.
  2. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 to 12 minutes or until fruit is tender. 
  3. Combine cornstarch and granulated sugar in a small bowl, and then mix into the fruit mixture. 
  4. Keep cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil (approximately 1 minute). Continuer boiling until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  5. Combine all crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed, scraping bowl often, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is crunchy.
  6. Set aside 1 ½ cup of crust mixture.
  7. Press remaining crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread fruit filling over crust, and sprinkle evenly with reserved crumb mixture. 
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Cool completely. Then drizzle the mixed ingredients for the drizzle on to the bars. Cut into bars.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Honey and Salt Caramels II

Although we love the taste of the previous caramel recipe posted, this one tends to make a caramel that is not as soft and holds up better to the warm weather.  You have a number of great local beekeepers to choose from when buying your honey including Knight Family HoneyClifford Family Farm, and Slide Ridge Honey.  I made a batch of these this week to take to Slow Food Utah's Honey Bee Festival where a few of the girl and boy scouts were helping with the event. They were a great hit with everyone and since I received a number of requests for the recipe, I decided to post it on the blog. The most difficult part of the process is individually wrapping each caramel in waxed paper.

As for the local honey producers, Clifford Family Farm also sells pork, beef, eggs and produce which we buy either at Caputo's or at the Downtown Farmer's Market. Check out the Ricotta and Pork Meatball recipe posted previously.  I also bought some Honey Vinegar from Slide Ridge Honey which I think Bianca will absolutely love! -----Bianca's Mom


4 tablespoonfuls butter, cut into pieces
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream (use Winder or Meadow Gold)
1/2 teaspoonful Redmond Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoonful real vanilla extract.

1. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, letting the edges hang over the side of the pan. Spray with cooking spray or generously coat with butter.
2. In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
3. Add the honey, sugar, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until all the sugar has melted.
4. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan making sure the tip of the thermometer is in the mixture but not touching the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until temperature reaches 248 degrees F.  Remove immediately from heat.
5. Quickly stir in vanilla and salt carefully since mixture will bubble up. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle on additional salt if desired.
6. Let cool. Lift out of pan and then cut into squares and individually wrap in parchment paper or waxed paper.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Squash Blossom Fritters

This is one of my Nonni's recipes from way back. My Mom says she remembers her Nonni Bianchi (this is where I got the name Bianca) making these out of the zucchini blossoms from her garden. It was one of my Mom's favorites growing up. She says that when she didn't have a garden, she would never get to have these since no one sold the blossoms.  That has changed and you can now buy these blossoms at the Downtown Farmers Market. My Mom says that her Nonni used to pick the male flowers or the ones that wouldn't produce the fruit since she wouldn't let ANYTHING go to waste. You just need to leave the male blossom on long enough to fertilize the female blossom or else you won't get any zucchini! You can tell the difference since the female blossom will always have a small, growing squash at the end. Of course, if you don't want a TON of zucchini, go ahead and use the female blossom, too. I hear you need to get to the Market early if you want some of these blossoms, or at least that is what the farmer at Sadee's Pride Natural Produce told me so...get there at 8am.


2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoonfuls baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup water
10-12 coarsely chopped squash flowers (rinsed, stem and pistil trimmed)
1/4 cup finely chopped italian flat leaf parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Whisk flour and baking powder together in large bowl.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and water together. Add to flour mixture and stir to combine
  3. Add squash blossoms, parsley, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Prepare cookie sheet lined with double layers of paper towel.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat. 
  6. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls full of batter into hot oil-filling as many as you can without crowding. Cook 3 minutes or until the undersides are medium-golden brown. Turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Continue frying. Add and heat additional oil as needed.
  8. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Asparagus with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Asparagus with Wasabi Mayonnaise


1 cup mayonnaise (see previous post)
1 tsp dijon mustard
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
2 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp horseradish
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 lbs. medium asparagus

1. Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water for 1 minute.  Transfer to colander and rinse with cold water to top cooking. Drain well.
2. Whisk together mayonnaise and remaining ingredients until smooth.
3. Serve asparagus with dip.

The Past Week and the Next Two

As some of you might have known, this past week I went to Cedar City for a soccer tournament. The tournament is called Utah Olympic Summer Games and has been occurring for the past 26 years. Soccer is one of the many sports that occur at the Summer Games; some of the other sports are archery, running, biking, basketball, and wrestling.  My team, Red Hots FC, participated in U16 girls soccer.  The Red Hots FC won four of the five games we played and received the gold medal for being tournament Champions.  I am so proud that we won and also proud of all the great sportsmanship that we displayed, something that our coaches Christian and Karl have instilled in us over the years.  It was a fun tournament and I enjoyed spending time with the team.
Since I was gone, my Mom and my best friend Annie went to the Downtown Farmers Market to hand out the recipes last Saturday but, due to a glitch, the printed recipes were not there.  Being a true girl scout herself, Annie just proceeded to go around and talk to some of the farmers for me and got some information that I needed so all was not lost. She also got another Henna tattoo so she was pretty happy. Today, Annie and I head up to Girl Scout camp at Trefoil Ranch for two weeks in the LEAP program so I won't be back to the Farmers Market until July 2nd. There is no television, computers, cellphones or i-pods at camp so we will be technology-free for two weeks and living in the wild.  I am excited even though I will not be showering very often! I have gone ahead and planned my recipes posts for the next 2 weeks and have saved them on our home computer. My mom will help me these two weeks by posting these recipes that I have chosen and tested and handing out recipes June 25th. She will also answer any questions or requests you have based on the information I left her with. I will be at the Farmers Market on July 2nd, maybe you will see me (or smell me due to lack of showering at camp) there!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Basic Risotto (with Mushroom or Chard name it!)

I am posting this basic risotto recipe since, as the growing season moves forward, risotto is a wonderful base to bring out the flavor of fresh herbs and vegetables.  It takes a bit of time to make and you need to stand at the stove for at least 30 minutes, but it is worth it. There seems to be a ton of risotto recipes out there but I thought I would give you the basic recipe and then you could play around with sauces and improvise with different vegetables and meats. Once you get down the technique to make a rich and creamy risotto, you will want to experiment each time you get a new fresh ingredient at the farmers market and don't know what to do with it. Sometimes, just a simple risotto with a new special cheese warms you on cold day.  And don't forget to use those leftovers. Since we are only a family of three, every time we cook, we have leftovers. Look for the later posts on how to use leftover risotto (think of your own homemade veggie burgers here).


5-7 cups stock (homemade of coarse)
2 tbl olive oil
2 shallots, diced or 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Redmond sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 tbl butter or olive oil (depending on type of risotto made)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1.  In saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer. Cover and keep hot over low heat.
2. In large 3-4 quart frying pan, place 1/4 cup oil, onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook the onions slowly over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until they are a golden color. Turn the heat down if the onions begin to brown. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, stir well and cook over low-medium heat for another 5-10 minutes. Cook all the stock away.
2. Add the rice and stir constantly with the onions over medium heat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the rice grains are toasted but have not turned color. Add the wine all at once, stir and cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Continue to stir constantly until all the wine has evaporated.
3. Now starts the addition of the stock.  Add 1 cup of very hot stock to start, 1/2 tsp of salt and continue to stir continuously. The stock should initially barely cover the rice. Continue to stir frequently. The rice and liquid should be gently bubbling. Once all the stock has been absorbed, add an additional 1 cup of stock and continue to stir with about 3-6 minutes between addition of more stock.
4. After addition of at least 5 cups of stock, taste the degree of doneness of the rice kernels. They should be al-dente and the risotto creamy. This is the point at which you can add in your vegetables, meat, sauce, etc.
5. Add additional 2 tbl of olive oil or butter and 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese to finish.


-Mushrooms:  Using one to two pounds sliced fresh mushrooms (we used chanterelle and button). Heat 2tbl olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add these to the risotto in step number 4.  Mushroom risotto should be finished with 2 tbl butter to bring out the best flavor of the mushrooms.
-Garlic: okay, so I like garlic in everything but you can add 3 cloves of minced garlic to the onions in step #2.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garlic Lemon-Pepper Chicken

Bianca is off at a soccer tournament in Cedar City over the next few days so she asked me, her mother, if I would post this recipe for her. Last fall, we started ordering free range chickens and turkeys from McDowell Family Farm.  I was in charge of the turkey last Thanksgiving and that was when I decided to do some research and buy a locally farmed free-range bird.  Check out their website to learn more but my family definitely thinks these birds are worth the extra cost.  Bianca researched some recipes and when she saw this one with 10 cloves of garlic, salt and lemon, we knew it was a winner!  And remember, don't waste anything. Use the carcass to make some chicken stock and then, use a little of that broth to make some homemade whole wheat dog biscuits (recipe to follow).


1 chicken (3-5lbs)
2 lemons
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Zest the lemons and mix it with 2 tsp. of salt and pepper then add to the softened butter. Mix with a fork until evenly mixed. Cut the lemons into quarters.
3. Wash chicken and pat dry. Salt the cavity with one tsp. of salt and place the lemon quarters and 5 of the garlic cloves in the cavity. Tie the legs together with twine.
4. Rub 1/2 of the butter mixture under the breast skin as evenly as possible. Place 5 garlic cloves under the skin. Rub remaining lemon butter mixture on the chicken.
5. Cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 175F. Remove from oven, remove items in the cavity and tent with foil. Let rest for 5-20 minutes before carving.

Oh, and Bianca just called. Her team just won. Congratulations to the Red Hots and good luck on your game tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Day at the Farmer's Market

All of the Girl Scouts
Well I believe the weather and everything else was extremely perfect for the first day of the Downtown Farmer's Market last Saturday. The weather was pleasant as was the company.  For those of you who were there I hope you got to see and maybe even talk to my fellow Girl Scouts.  This group of Girl Scouts will be representing Utah at the 2011 Houston National Convention.  I myself am a national delegate for Utah and will be voting on the future of Girls Scouts of the USA.  These fellow Girl Scouts and I will be going to Houston in November,  so hopefully you got to meet and talk to them as well as get recipes from them. Some of you might have seen me in my uniform and with a hat on.  I went around and talked to the farmers who all had wonderful food.  I talked to Clifford Family Farms, Sadees' Pride Natural ProduceKnight Family Honey, Kenyon OrganicsBorski Farms, Woodyatt Cherries, and many other farmers.  I got my sun-dried tomato bread from Volker's Bakery and it was just a delicious as always. I got a lot of work done and am excited to keep handing out recipes.  Kenyon Organics may hang up some of my recipes and many farmers may hand some of the recipes out.  I also got some henna done by Liz Martin and the booth to the west.  It was beautiful! I am excited for next week!
My tree henna!
Me at the henna booth

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Beginning of the Downtown Farmer's Market

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Downtown Farmer's Market, which is exciting.  The farmer's market means that I get to buy and consume any fresh produce they have there.  It means I get to have Woodyatt Cherries again and some locally grown pecans.  The farmers's market means fresh food and the delicious sun-dried tomato bread made by the company whose name has slipped my mind.  Due to our very cold and wet weather this spring, many of the produce for is going to being harvested late this season, so...just come down to the market, enjoy the ambience, meet the farmers and be patient...the best produce is yet to come! Look for our area ranchers selling beef, pork chicken and lamb and make sure to check out local cheese and pasta makers. Oh...and HONEY...I can't say enough about all the delicious HONEY that is produced locally.
I am excited to meet the farmers and talk to them about my project. I will be there tomorrow with other Girl Scouts who are going to Houston with me for the 2011 Girl Scout National Convention in November.  They will be handing out recipes and talking about my project and Girl Scouts, so look around for some girls in uniforms moving among the crowd.  Most of us will be  dressed in our Girl Scout outfits if you need to find us.  I will be handing out 6 different recipes and hopefully you will get them tomorrow.

On the note of non-food items, I will be excited to see all the items they are selling and maybe get a henna tatoo. It will be especially fun to buy things.  Maybe I will see you there!! Have fun at the Downtown Farmer's Market no matter what you do!

Chinese Szechuan Noodles

We accidentally got produce from two different CSAs this year, Bell Organic and Jacob's Cove Farm. With both these CSAs coming to us on the same day, my mother told me to look for a recipe that would incorporate a lot of the vegetables we received like broccoli, bokchoy and carrots.  We also decided to use noodles that we got at the farmers market the year before from Tankinz Noodle Company.  The noodles can be frozen or cooked immediately. If you want her noodles, go to the Downtown Farmers market and she is usually on the East side. She also sells some great stir fry sauce that likely would add a little "zing" to this recipe.  You can also buy bokchoy from Blue Spring Farm at the Farmers Market.  This is a great recipe and makes enough for left-overs for lunch!

Chinese Szechuan Noodles
Szechuan Noodles in my homemade bowl
1 pound fresh noodles (whole wheat was good)
1/2 pound chicken breast or 1 pound sliced beef (Christiansen Farms)
4 ounces shrimp, shelled and cleaned 
1 head bok choy, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup broccoli or cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 onions, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot bean or chili sauce
1/2 tablespoon salt
7-8 tablespoons cooking oil for stir-frying


  • 2 teaspoons wine or cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 cup stock (we used homemade vegetable stock)
  • 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. Mix together marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken or beef for at least twenty minutes
  2. While marinating chicken, mix together sauce ingredients. Set aside. 
  3. Also while marinating chicken, parboil noodles in a pot of boiling water for three minutes. Loosen up noodles with chopsticks as they are boiling. Drain. Some of the thin noodles you buy at the market only need to be boiled for one minute until tender so give a taste test after one minute
  4. Heat wok or large frying pan. When heated, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic and chicken and stir-fry. When the chicken is nearly done, push the chicken up to the side of the wok and add the shrimp, if using them, in the middle of the wok. Stir-fry. When the shrimp are done, mix the chicken and shrimp and remove from the wok to a platter.
  5. Reheat the wok and add 2 tablespoon of oil.  Add onions, bok choy, carrot, and broccoli and stir-fry until tender and crisp.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the vegetables and mix it in.  Remove the vegetables to a platter. 
  6. Clean out wok with a paper towel. Heat wok again and add three tablespoons oil.  Place noodles in the wok, using chopsticks to break them up.  Add 2 tablespoons chili or hot bean sauce and 2 tablespoons light soy sauce.  Stir-fry until the noodles are heated through.  Add cooked chicken or beef and or shrimp and all the vegetables. Re-stir sauce mixture and add. When it comes to a boil, test and adjust the seasoning if desired, then remove and serve. 

Honey and Salt Caramels

I love honey and so does my whole family, so when we tried some honey caramels at a farmer's market we of course decided to go home and make some.  These are French salt caramels with the perfect mix of salty and sweet.  These caramels make great gifts and great snacks.  The caramels have a taste of honey which makes them even more delicious. Hopefully, your candy thermometer doesn't melt like ours did.  I love these caramels and I hope you do too and I guess we will be going out this weekend to buy a better candy thermometer!

Honey and Salt Caramels
3 tablespoons butter (you can buy from Gold Creek at the Market or Winder Dairy)
2 cups heavy cream (again, Winder Dairy or Meadow Gold are local)
1/2 teaspoon salt (we use Redmonds sea salt)
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup honey (mild honey is best but we LOVE the honey from Knight Family Farms)
1 cup sugar

  1. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment. 
  2. Bring cream, butter and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, the remove from the heat and set aside. 
  3. Boil sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel. 
  4. Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248˚ F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool for 2 hours
*You can cut the caramel into 1-inch pieces, then wrap in 4-inch squares of wax paper, twist two ends to close.

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

I have always loved meatballs.  My grandma makes them every time I visit her in Connecticut.  These aren't her original meatballs but these meatballs are just as good.  The pork and ricotta mix is rich and delicious and together they make a delicious meatball.  My mom and I used tomatoes that we had roasted and then frozen for further use, but fresh tomatoes work as well.  Not only do I love these meatballs but my mom is basically in love with them.  We usually order our pork from Christiansen Family Farm or you can buy it from Clifford Family Farm at the Downtown Farmers Market. It is pictured with local pasta from Nu Nooz pasta although we usually make our own fresh pasta. I hope you will like them as much as she does!

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
1/2 pound sliced bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 
1 1/2 pound ground pork  (Clifford Farms or Christiansen Farms)      
3 large eggs, lightly beaten (Clifford Farms)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese (we use homemade)
3 ounces pancetta, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. fresh or dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Redmond sea salt
2-28 oz. cans peeled/crushed Italian tomatoes
freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a food processor, pulse the bread to coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the pork, pancetta, eggs, ricotta, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and 1&1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  Mix well.  
  2. Shape into 24 meatballs or so, using about 3 rounded tablespoons of the mixture each (a 1/4 measuring cup may give the right amount). Transfer the meatballs to an oiled medium roasting pan.
  3. Roast the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown.  Turn meatballs after approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Using a spatula, loosen the meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper.  
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 325˚ F and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is very thick and the meatballs are very tender; turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking. 
  6. Transfer the meatballs and tomato sauce to a large platter. Garnish with basil and Pecorino. 

-Use fresh tomatoes from your garden

Monday, June 6, 2011

Honey Vanilla Granola with Dried Cherries and Pecans

Homemade Honey Vanilla Granola with Dried Cherries and Pecans
4 cups rolled oats (bulk at Honeyville)
4 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt (Redmonds)
1/2 cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup local honey (more or less to taste, Knight Family Honey)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (or more if desired)
1 cup dried Woodyatt Cherries (or more if desired)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix together dry ingredients in large roasting pan or bowl.
  2. Mix together honey, oil and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in pecans. Stir well until there is no dry oatmeal evident.
  3. Spread mixture evenly on baking sheets in a fairly thin layer. Bake for 15 minutes, remove pans from oven, toss the granola around, rotate the pans and bake for another 15 minutes. Repeat this process until granola is completely dry and light golden brown or about 45-60 minutes.
  4. Add dried cherries. Store in air-tight container.
  5. This is great with yogurt in the morning or just a snack.

Greek Lamb Burgers

When my Mom first made these burgers about a year ago, I was afraid to try them.  There were a lot of onions and I had never really liked burgers, but these were different.  These burgers are delicious and they are just as good as the lamb burgers you would get at any local Greek restaurant.  My Stepdad loved them so much that he went out and bought about 3 more pounds of ground lamb in the hopes that my Mom would make them more often. We get the lamb from Morgan Valley Lamb which may have been one of the reasons why they are so good.  The creamy yogurt sauce with the lamb patty is to die for! As always, we try to go as local as possible so we make homemade yogurt with milk from Winder Farms and buy locally made bread.  I hope you love this recipe!

Greek Lamb Burgers
1 lb. ground lamb (Morgan Valley Lamb)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (Rockhill Creamery)
2 tbl. fresh, chopped mint (grow it yourself)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup greek yogurt (we use our homemade yogurt)
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 tbl lime juice
1 tbl lemon juice 
1/2 tsp cumin
4 pita breads cut in half (we use local papapita brand)
  1. Mix together ground lamb, feta cheese, mint and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and then form into 4-5 burgers. These can be either grilled outside or broiled in your oven until done.
  2. Mix together the yogurt, diced cucumber, lime and lemon juice and cumin.
  3. Place burgers into pita pocket and top with a dollop of yogurt sauce. 
  4. Can be garnished with lettuce and tomatoes just like any regular burger.