Recipes


A few months ago, I discovered my new favorite way to eat squash.  With sweet and sour, soft and crunchy flavors and textures all combined, this recipe is delicious, and a welcome change if you are overwhelmed with winter squashes!!

Stuffed Delicatta Squash

  • 2,  8-10 inch long delicattta squash
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and clean out the seeds and pulp. 

Steam until tender.  I prefer to use my large steamer, but you could also lay them upside down in a casserole dish, with about an inch of water, and bake at 350* for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Just be aware the latter method may cook unevenly, so you will want to ensure all squash are nicely tender.

While squash is cooking, finely chop celerly and onion, and saute with butter.  Cook until onion and celery are nice and tender, and onion starts to brown lightly.  (Note that I am preparing a lot more than the recipe states.  I broke the recipe down to serve 2-4 people.)

Mix in sour cream and stir well. 

By now the squash should be done.  Remove from pan, and place meat side up on baking tray or casserole dish.  Fill cavity with sour cream mix.  If you aren’t a sour cream fan, just fill 1/2 way to allow the squash flavor to be more apparent.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Don’t be stingy with the cheese!  Broil in oven for about 8 minutes, or until cheese turns golden brown.  Remove and serve.

Before I got my goats and started milking, I took a short class on how to milk and make several common cheeses.  One cheese was called “Chevre'”, which turned out to be Vinegar Cheese, one was Mozerella, and one was Ricotta.  Later, depending which book or internet site I was reading, the definition of “Chevre'” varied.  Some resources called any goat cheese Chevre’, while others said Chevre’ was saved for certain soft cheeses, and still others said Chevre’ was technically a French cheese made from a very specific culture.  I even talked with experienced goat-keeper Tonia via Facebook, who had heard similiar definitions, and made me even more determined to get to the bottom of it. Just what was the real meaning of Chevre’?

It just so happens, we are sponsoring a U.S. Air Force Academy semester exchange cadet from Canada.  He is a French-Canadian (and comes complete with the really cool French language and thick accent when he speaks English!), from the Quebec province, and his family has traveled to France often.  I figured he would be a good starting point.  So I asked him.  He said in France and Quebec, the term is used when referring to any type of cheese made from goat’s milk, though there may still be some elite French groups that use it to refer to specific cheeses. 

My next step was the dictionary, but Webster’s didn’t list the word.  Perhaps because it is French and not English?  Then I tried online, and discovered online definitions list it simply as “cheese made from goat’s milk.”  During that research, I came across a website with all sorts of info on French cheeses and goat cheeses.  It stated that Chevre’ simply means “goat” in French, and a cheese with the label “Pur Chevre'” means the cheese is made entirely from goat’s milk.  Because of the nature of goat’s milk, it generally is associated with a soft, crumbly cheese, but can get harder and tangier with age.  (FYI, here is the site I got a lot of info:  http://www.cheese-france.com/cheese/chevre.htm).

So, I think I have finally answered the question for myself.  My husband says I think way too much.  He will get a laugh out of this.  I don’t think he had any clue just how much this was bugging me!  Then again, I think he knows I have issues. 

In closing, let me give you what has become my favorite Chevre’ recipe, commonly known as Vinegar cheese.  It’s my current favorite, due to it’s versatility, ease and speed of making, and the compliments I often receive:

Basic Chevre:

  • 1/2 gallon of raw goat’s milk
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Heat the milk to 180′ F, stirring occasionally.  Turn off heat, and add vinegar, pouring in a swirl pattern to help incorporate it.  Gently mix justa  few times with a spoon, using a slow up-and-down action, to fully incorporate the vinegar.  Do not stir!  You should see the milk curds and whey begin to seperate almost immediately.  Wait 1-2 minutes.  Line a large bowl with a flour cloth.  Pour milk mixture into the cloth-lined bowl.  Tie the flour cloth at diagonal corners, and lift out of bowl.  The whey should immediately start draining out into the bowl, leaving only the curds in the cloth.  Wait until cloth stops dripping (usually about 20-30 minutes).  For a drier, harder cheese, wait a bit longer, occasionally checking the cheese until the desired firmness. 

Once desired firmness is reached, use a spatula to scrape cheese off cloth and into a seperate bowl.  Use your hands to mix desired seasonings into the cheese.  Serve immediately or chill.  FYI, my favorite seasoning so far is 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning herbs.  There is no limit as to what you can use though–fruits, nuts, sauces, herbs, etc.  Enjoy!

This homemade version of eggs benedict tastes soooo much better than any restaurant version I ever had!  It’s done in 5 steps, so it depends on how efficient you are at multi-tasking, as to how fast this dish can be prepared.  More importantly, just try to keep everything warm while preparing the remainder.

Eggs Benedict

  • bread
  • bacon (sliced canadian bacon is preferred, but regular bacon strips will work)
  • eggs
  • hollandaise sauce

Step 1:  Slice your favorite, all-purpose, homemade bread.  I used this recipe.  Toast top side in a broiler, just until golden.

Step 2:  Cook bacon in skillet until semi-crunchy, then lay between papertowels to get rid of excess oil.

Step 3:  Poach eggs.  Heat a large skillet with about 1.5 inches of water over high heat until it boils.  Crack an egg, and holding as close to the water as you can, gently open and allow the egg to slip into the boiling water.  Note: Fresh, free-range eggs work best for poaching.  Older or CAFO eggs tend to fall apart.  Let egg sit about 3-5 minutes, or until whites have cooked and yolks just begin to thicken (but not cook through).  Use a slotted spoon to gently scoop egg out of water.  I prefer to set the egg on a dish to give the excess water a chance to run off, but this is optional. 

Step 4:  Prepare hollandaise sauce. 

  • 3 lg egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into eight pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In saucepan, use wire whisk to whisk together egg yolks, water, and lemon juice until blended.  Cook over med-low heat, stirring constantly with spatula, until mixture just begins to bubble at edge (about 6-8 minutes).  Reduce heat to low.  Whisk in 1 piece butter at a time, until all butter has been used, and sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from heat, stir in salt.  Before sauce thickens too much, assemble:

Step 5:  Assemble entree:  Lay a slice of bread on plate, toasted side up.  Lay 1-2 pieces of bacon on bread, scoop an egg onto bacon, and then drizzle with hollandaise sauce.  Enjoy!

This recipe has a become a household favorite, and never fails to receive numerous compliments from guests!  It is relatively easy, and absolutely delicious!!

(photo coming!)

Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin, stew beef, or ground beef (trimmed, and chopped into 1 inch cubes if necessary)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 tsp. dried dill
  • 1.5 tsp. dried parsley

In 12 inch skillet, melt butter over med. heat, add beef, and cook until just browned on both sides.  With slotted spook, transfer beef to bowl, and set aside.  Using butter and beef fat in skillet, stir in onion, and saute’ until tender–about 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup broth and paprika, and cook, stirring, until onion is very tender and somewhat translucent–about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, lemon juice, brandy, tarragon, salt, pepper, beef, and remaining broth.  Cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked and most of liquid has evaporated (you only need about 1/2 cup remaining)–about 20 minutes.  Stir in dill and sour cream.  Heat through, but do not boil.  Serve over egg noodles or rice. Garnish with parsley.  Enjoy!!

I mentioned in a previous post that we brined our turkey for the first time this year.  It was absolutely, beyond a doubt, the BEST turkey I have ever had!!  Even the leftovers were tender, moist, and loaded with flavor.  We used a free-range, all natural turkey, which means lots of flavor, but also often means less fat and therefore much drier meat.  Yet, with the brine, it was amazing!  So, I thought I’d share….

Turkey Brine

This is very simple, so listen closely.  You have to make a decision…..do you want to soak the turkey overnight (over 8 hours) or start the day you plan to cook it (less than 8 hours)? 

If you plan to soak overnight, or over 8 hours, then dilute 1/2 cup kosher salt (I used my canning salt) per 1 gallon water.

If you plan to soak 4-8 hours, then dilute 1 cup kosher salt per gallon water.

Clean turkey as you normally would, removing the organ bag from inside if necessary.  Make enough salt/water solution (brine) to fully cover the turkey.  If you have trouble getting the salt to dissolve, heat part of the water slightly, just until salt dissolves, and add the rest of the water cold to re-chill the solution.  You don’t want it too warm. I had an 18 pound turkey, and found my granite-ware water-bath canner worked perfectly.  Cover and place pot in fridge (or cold porch/garage) for desired brine time.  When it is time to cook, remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly, prepare it as you normally would, place on roasting pan, and roast according to instructions. 

Based on my research, the brine causes an osmotic reaction to occur, causing the cells of the turkey to absorb more water.  Then, when you cook it, it will lose water as usual.  However, with the increased water available, it retains plenty of moisture within the cells to make a juicy turkey for the table. 

Have fun!!

Thanks to my CSA, I had collected an abundance of eggplant, and needed a way to use it.  I have tried a few popular recipes like Eggplant Parmesan and grilled eggplant, but since the kids and I aren’t really eggplant fans, we just couldn’t seem to make a dent in my stock.  Until now.  Thanks to this recipe, I am actually out of eggplant!  Even the kids couldn’t get enough!

Baked Eggplant Fries

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp garlic (we love garlic around here!)
  • 2 eggs

In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and garlic.  Mix thoroughly.  In seperate dish, scramble the eggs.  Dip the eggplant strips into the egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture.  Arrange in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet.  Spritz eggplant strips with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp looking.  Turn sticks over, spritz with cooking spray, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so, or until golden and crisp.  Serve immediately, as they are best warm.  You can serve with a plain tomato or spaghetti sauce as a dip, if desired. 

Note:  While I did not peel my eggplant, I did notice that the peel side of the strips did not hold the crust very well.  I decided to use the parts that were fully covered in peel for other things.  Just a bit of peel on the tips really won’t affect it much.

I am not normally a big quiche fan, but when I needed to use up some miscellaneous veggies recently, I decided to try this recipe sent out by our CSA farm.  It turned out absolutely wonderfully!  Even the kids loved it!

Potato Crust Quiche

  • 3 medium potatoes (to make about 1.5 cups mashed)
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups mixed veggies of choice (chopped into small, bite-size pieces)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup fresh bread cubes

Cube potatoes and boil until tender.  While potatoes are boiling, saute chopped veggies until tender. Set aside.  In small bowl, thoroughly combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.  Drain potatoes, add butter, and mash thoroughly.  In greased 9″ pie dish, spread potatoes evenly over bottom and sides, using a spatula to press firmly.  Crust should be about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Pour cooked veggies over crust, and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over veggies.  Re-mix milk mixture, and pour evenly over cheese.  Use a spatula to gently press veggies and cheese down into milk mixture, though it may not cover it completely.  Sprinkle bread cubes over mixture, and gently press down.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until potato crust is golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Enjoy.

Notes: 

  • This recipe doubles easily.  However, when I doubled it, I preferred to use a 12 ounce can of evaporated milk and 5 eggs, then split the mixture between the pies.  I liked this latter version a bit better.  I had planned to freeze one quiche, and pop it in the oven later.  Unfortunately, it was such a hit, neither quiche ever made it the freezer!
  • Also, while any veggies can work, I found you should limit the carrots (less than 1 standard sized carrot per pie) or the carrot flavor outdoes the other flavors.  Same with fennel stalks.  I also found the quiche to be a great way to use up collards, spinach, raddichio, kale, broccoli leaves, and beet leaves, which the greens making up about 1 cup of the veggies.  Other things I used and liked include kohlrabi, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms.

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