Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baked Brie with Pecans and Pear Jam

Hi, this is Bianca's Mom. Since Bianca has now finished her Gold Award, she has agreed to let me share her blog! Now, let me clear on this. I could not figure out how to set up a blog myself and I was little help for her in setting up this blog. What I did do was give her support, encouragement and transportation in order for her to get her project done.  She had some problems and failures along the way and I made sure that she learned from these failures rather than be discouraged by them. When she was very busy with school homework, I would go ahead and cook some of the recipes she had chosen with the caveat that we would not go out and buy anything extra to make the recipe. This helped her to learn how to make many substitutions in the recipes to incorporate local food products. She also learned how to read recipes and quickly learn which ones would most likely be delicious and which ones were dubious. Over the course of this past year, she rarely choose recipes to test that we didn't like although some she choose had more of an "adult" spin to them, like the one below. This is a wonderful dish to bring as an appetizer to a party. It uses a majority of local products and you could make your own puff pastry but...we have done this and it is more work than most people would want to do, including us. Bianca and I have made homemade puff pastry in the past, but we lost patience with how many times you have to refrigerate, roll out, fold, refrigerate, roll out, fold, etc. that we just did everything at once and it wasn't very puffy! So, we used store-bought puff pastry for this recipe and it was still delicious.
Anyway, I look forward to joining Bianca on this blog and eating delicious, local food.


1 sheet puff pastry
8 oz. round brie (Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery)
1 tbsp. butter (Winder Farms)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (Thompson Family Pecan Farm)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup pear jam (homemade from my friend Lila)
1/4 tbl. honey (Clifford Family Farm)
1 egg, beaten (Clifford Family Farm)
crackers or cubes of fresh bread (all homemade!)

1. Defrost the puff pastry for 15-20 minutes, then unfold and place on cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Melt the butter in medium pan over medium heat. Add pecans and saute about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add cinnamon and stir until pecans are well coated.
4. Slice the top rind off the brie round with a sharp knife without removing too much of the cheese itself.
5. Spread pear jam over top of brie then spread the pecans on top of the jam and drizzle with one tbl. of honey.
6. Place the brie in the center of the defrosted puff pastry. Gather up the edges of the pastry and gently squeeze the pastry into the brie round. Gently fold the pastry around the top and seal. Brush the beaten egg over the top and side of the brie.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is a golden brown.
8. Serve warm with cubes of fresh bread or crackers.
adapted from
-use different jams. We have made this with pepper jam and raspberry jams and it is really delicious.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Roasted Hubbard Squash with Goat Cheese

Hi, this is Bianca's Mom. At the very last Farmers Market of the season, I bought two very large Hubbard Squash and then stored them in my garage and forgot about them.  As some of you may know, we lost Doug last year but his 61st birthday would have been today and I wanted to have some friends over to help me celebrate. He loved a good hearty soup, especially French Onion Soup so I went ahead and make a big pot of that (see previous post) but then thought I would need another large pot of soup to feed everyone and that got me thinking about those Hubbard Squash. So, I grabbed the big one and tried cutting it, which didn't work well at all. Then I remembered a friend from work who told me that he just drops his Hubbard Squash on pavement to break it apart so I walked out the front door with my squash and slammed it on the sidewalk and it split into 4 pieces. They were just the right size to roast in my oven.  Let's just say it was one big squash. Bianca laughed since I accurately guessed that it weighed about 12 pounds. This required me to double this recipe which was fine. This recipe called for Hazelnuts which believe it or not, I had in stock but we added the goat cheese for some extra bang.  This was an absolutely hardy and delicious soup and we will be buying many more Hubbard Squash next year!


3 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic cloves, peeled (Utah Farms CSA)
1 tbl. coriander seeds
1-1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1-1/2 tsp. dried sage (our own herb garden)
1 small (5.5-6 pound) Hubbard Squash, split open (Wheeler Farm Market)
2 tbl. unsalted butter (Winder Dairy)
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice (East Farms)
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (homemade)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, skinned and chopped
goat cheese

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Use large pyrex baking dish.
2. Grind the oil, garlic, sage, coriander and fennels seeds in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Rub the mixture onto the flesh of the squash pieces. Set them cut side down on the baking dish and roast about one hour, or until the flesh is tender. Let cool, cut side up. Scrape the flesh away from the rind. You'll need about 5 cups of the mashed squash. You can freeze any remainder.
3. Melt butter in a 5-6 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek, carrots, and big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, bay leaf and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaf and allow soup to cool slightly. Puree in batches or better yet, get yourself a very inexpensive immersion mixture and puree the soup right in Dutch Oven. In fact, I think we need to add Immersion Mixture to the list of necessary pantry items! Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with hazelnuts and one tbl. of goat cheese per bowl.
Serves 8-10 or 16-20 if you have a 12 pound squash!
adapted from Fine Cooking
--make extra and store in the freezer for up to 2 months
--season with chives or cayenne pepper
Calories: 240

Update on My Gold Award

I just want to tell you all that I have earned my Gold Award.  For those of you who don't know what this means, the Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts and I have slowly but surely been earning it.  This blog has been part of my project and is probably the part that turned out the best. Even though my project is now done, this blog will continue to grow and I hope be it will be used by people who are looking to use more local foods.  Now that I have earned my award, my Mom is going to join me in keeping this blog up-to-date. We will be adding new recipes and comments at any free moment and when we have a delicious recipe.  

I have learned so much from doing this project and I loved doing it, too.  I learned how to cook better and because of this I have been eating tons of more delicious food.  The new fruits, vegetables, and other types of food that I have gotten to try have widened my taste pallet and maybe made me gain a few pounds, but really, who cares! My leadership skills improved and I learned how to really get out there and support things I believe in. The farmers I met are great and fascinating people that you should get to know as well.  Talking to them was so interesting and I learned so much more from them that I never knew before.  With all this talking, I think I became more confidant and comfortable with voicing my ideas and thoughts.  There are many more things I learned from this project, including learning that failure is always going to occur but you just have to keep going since this project had a couple of glitches and issues along the way. For example, next time around,  I will know how to make the Annual Girl Scout Day at the Downtown Farmers Market a little different and interesting for kids since I plan to help make this an annual event. 

I truthfully couldn't have done it without a great number of people, but there are a few I would love to name. Gwen Crist was my advisor and she was so supportive and encouraging.  She is in charge of Slow Food Utah and helped me throughout the project. I met a lot of farmers because she introduced me to them and got to help at many local food events because she encouraged me to do so. Kim Angelli was another wonderful woman who helped me with everything Downtown Farmers Market related. She runs the market with incredible grace and encouraged me to get out there and talk to the farmers.  Every week she printed my recipes and I would just grab them and hand them out.  Tara Poelzing has also been a great person to get to know as she also builds her local food website,, which talks about local food in Utah. Her support was very helpful throughout my project.  Connie Gates, my mentor for a long time was a great support as well as a great reminder to get my Gold Award final report submitted (which is a big ordeal).  The last, but definitely not least, is my mother Doreen Kulikowski. She is a wonderful woman who has made a big difference in my life.  Her enthusiasm, support, and help with cooking has definitely has been super helpful.  Without my Mom's guidance, I could have not done so well, not just with this project, but with many other things.  

Thank you all!

This project has just been so amazing and I personally believe that even if you are not a Girl or Boy Scout, you should get out there and do some advocacy or community service, because it feels great.  I hope you all enjoyed some aspect of my project as much as I did and thanks. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Beer Bratwurst with Onions

Do you love sausage? I know I do! This recipe is a great one for those sausage lovers out there as well as those who are willing to try them. Colosimo Sausage is a family business based right here in Utah that was established in 1923. All of their pork sausages are made from only the finest cuts of pork and by the taste you can definitely tell that is true. They use the pork shoulder commonly referred to as the Boston Butt. The sausages are made daily and are inspected in their facilities in West Jordan.  Colosimo's makes over 25 kinds of sausages. Some of the more popular flavors include: Mild Italian, Hot Italian, Bratwurst, Polish, Cajun, and Tuscan Red Wine.  I love this recipe and recommend it for any family meal or dinner party.  I hope you enjoy this delicious local food.  


2 tsp. butter or olive oil (Winder Farms)
6 bratwurst sausages (Colosimo's)
1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/1-inch slices (East Farms CSA)
6 ounces beer (Wasatch Beer)

1. Heat one tsp. butter or olive oil in large Dutch oven. Brown the sausages until a deep golden brown, making sure to turn them over during browning without piercing the skin. Remove to a dish.
2. Add additional tsp. of butter or olive oil and the onion slices. Toss the onions to coat and cook, stirring often until translucent and golden, but not brown.
3. Return the sausages to the Dutch oven and add the beer. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beer has cooked down to a syrup, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve on buns with the onions or alone.

French Toast

Ah, French toast! A classic breakfast made local! Personally, I have loved french toast for a long time, especially when I would wake up to my stepdad making it in the morning.  Now my mom and I have made our own local version with Vosen's Bakery bread serving as the light, fluffy base of this meal.  It is extremely delicious, but any other bread that is nice and soft as well as tasty will work perfectly. The bread isn't the only part that makes it delicious, the syrup helps as well.  I personally love Pioneer Valley raspberry syrup and my mom loves the blueberry syrup, but anything you desire will taste great on top.  Enjoy this simple and delicious meal and don't forget to eat local this winter.


1/2 loaf Roman Filoni Bread from Vosen's Bakery (Liberty Heights Fresh), cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 eggs Clifford Family Farm
2/3 cup milk (Winder Farms)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt (Redmond Sea Salt)
1 tsp honey
Butter (Winder Farms)
Syrup or jam (Pioneer Valley Fancy Syrups)

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and honey in a wide bowl. Soak both sides of bread slices in the egg mixture.
2. Heat a lightly buttered non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot.
3. Place soaked slices in warm skillet and cook until both sides are a golden brown. Serve hot.

---We cook many slices on the weekend, let them cool and then place them in a plastic bag, with wax paper between each slice, in the freezer. Then during the school week, I take out a slice or two and place them in our toaster at the highest temperature. Then, I have fresh french toast during the week!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Yummy Localicious Ingredients

In preparation for our new Cooking Club which starts this month, we made Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good from around my french table by Dorie Greenspan. We did stuff the pumpkin but then had extra stuffing so we went ahead and stuffed some acorn squash, too. We liked the taste of the acorn squash better although the presentation of the pumpkin was really cool. Look for the rest of the recipes from our Cooking Club evening in the next few weeks.


2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed (Utah Farms CSA)
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4-inch chunks (Vosen's Bakers)
1/4 pound cheese, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (Beehive Cheese), 
   you can use cheddar, Gruyere, swiss cheese or any combination
3 garlic cloves, chopped (see my Mom's post on garlic)
1 sausage, sliced (Colosimo's or Cremenelli)
1 tbl. olive oil
1 onion, sliced and sauteed in the sausage grease above (East Farms CSA)
1/2 cup heavy cream and additional milk if needed (Winder Farms)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a skillet. Cook sausage in oil until well browned. Remove sausage from pan. Add sliced onions and saute until translucent and slightly golden, but not brown. Remove from pan.
2. Toss together the bread, cheese, garlic, cooked sausage and onions in a bowl. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and toss together well.  Add cream and stir together. If not creamy enough, add a little extra milk instead of cream until the mixture is fairly moist. If the crust is pretty thick on your bread chunks, made sure the mixture is on the moist side.
3. Take bread and sausage mixture and place evenly in each acorn squash halve. Place in oven-proof casserole dish and cover with foil or casserole dish cover. Place in oven and bake for approximately one hour or until squash in tender when pierced with a fork.
adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
---Dorie Greenspan calls this recipe, Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.  We made it by stuffing a pumpkin we had from our CSA and our acorn squash and we liked the acorn squash better. My Mom also had leftever cooked Pork Roast and some alfredo sauce so she added chopped pork and substituted the alfredo sauce for the cream. So, I think this recipe can be whatever you want to add that you would consider "everything good".
---Add bacon instead of sausage
--Add some greens such as kale, spinach, or chard.
--Use rice or quinoa instead of the bread
--Add some chopped pears or apples to give it some sweetness