Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Iacono Farm Duck Braised in Local Red Wine and Served over Tagliatelle

Lately I have been using my Le Creuset at least once a week - braising duck, pork, beef, and chicken.

It takes no more than 10 minutes (if that) to put everything together into the pot in the early afternoon and by 6:30 you have a flavorful meal to serve over rice, noodles, or potatoes.

Tonight I braised my favorite local duck from Iacono Farm. What I really like about the Iacono ducks is how lean they are. Most ducks are so fatty, but Iacono ducks have just the right amount of fat to keep them moist and flavorful without being too greasy.

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The inspiration for my recipe came from this Epicurious recipe from 1996. I added more red wine, my turkey stock from Thanksgiving, and carrots, turnips, and onions from my CSA Quail Hill Farm to enhance the flavor of the recipe. I also used an emulsion blender at the end of the process to blend the sauce.

What you need:
Serves 4

1 whole Duck or 4 large whole duck legs
2 cups of a good dry red wine (local if you have a good one)
2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup golden raisins
5 cups chicken or turkey broth
2 large carrots in a large dice
1 red onion in a large dice
1 turnip in a large dice

Preheat oven to 265°F and season duck with salt and pepper.

In a heavy kettle just large enough to hold legs in one layer, cook legs, skin sides down, over moderately high heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin browned, removing fat from kettle as it is rendered with a metal bulb baster (or very carefully tilting the kettle and spooning off). Rotate duck and brown all sides and then transfer to a plate.

Pour off fat from kettle and deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits. Add garlic, thyme and 1/2 cup dried fruit and stock and return duck breast side up and bring mixture to a simmer and braise, covered, in oven 2.5 to 3 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Pour braising mixture (removing the thyme) into a 1-quart measuring cup (or a fat separator) and let stand until fat rises to the top. Skim off fat and return liquid to the braising pan and puree with an emulsion blender or transfer to a regular blender. Boil liquid until reduced by about one third and slightly thickened and add remaining 1/2 cup dried fruit. Simmer sauce until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.

While sauce is simmering remove the meat from the bone and cook your noodles. Once your sauce is ready return the meat to the pot and stir in buttered tagliatelle.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Squash Lasagna

I have made this dish several times already this fall its delicious and in my opinion better than a traditional lasagna. If you have fresh kale, swiss chard, and squash around - make this recipe and you wont be disappointed.

Tonight was the first time I used fresh lasagna noodles and it was noticeable, but definitely not a must.

Another plus of this dish is that you can make it ahead of time and then just pop it into the oven about 45 to 50 minutes before you plan to serve it.

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What you need:
Lasagna Noodles
2 to 3 Medium Size Squash Halved and seeds removed
1 wedge of a nice Italian Fontina Grated
1 Container of Fresh Ricotta
2 Onions Thinly Sliced
1 bunch of Kale Chopped
1 bunch of Swiss Chard Chopped
1 handful of Sage
1 Cup of Parmesan Grated
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
Juice of 1 Lemon
Olive Oil
*Optional, but a great addition is chicken apple sausage removed from the casing and browned in a sauté pan.

Preheat the oven to 450 and roast the halved squash on a foil lined backing sheet seasoned with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil until fork tender. While the squash is in the oven caramelize the onions over medium high heat in a bit of olive oil until very tender and brown. Grate the fontina. Juice the lemon and stir into the ricotta. Chop the kale and swiss chard and sauté until tender. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Then scoop out the flesh and any juice from the squash into a food processor and add in a heavy pour of olive oil, the sage, nutmeg and half of the parmesan, half the onions, salt and pepper and blend until pureed.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the bottom of the lasagna pan and add a spoonful of the squash puree, lasagna noodles (fresh or hard uncooked), ricotta, sauteed swiss chard / kale, fontina, squash, lasagna noodles (fresh or hard uncooked), ricotta, sauteed swiss chard / kale, fontina, squash and top with the browned chicken apple sausage if you are using it, and the remaining fontina.

Put into a 425 degree oven covered in non stick foil for 45 minutes. Remove foil and add remaining parmesan and return to the oven for a few minutes to brown the top of the cheese.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quail Hill Mourns

A few weeks ago there was a tragic accident at our local CSA Quail Hill Farm and Josh Levine one of our farmers lost his life.

Standing outside his funeral were many people that simply could not fit into the synagogue, my husband Dan and I were among those outside. For well over two hours we stood there in silence waiting, wondering, only slightly able to hear the numerous friends and family members one after another paying their respects to Josh.

We didn't know Josh all that well. We were small town acquaintances with one very special thing in common - the precious Quail Hill Farm. His presence was always felt on the farm where he worked for the past several years. He was an advocate of this blog and posted links to it on the Farm's Facebook page.

Since his death, I have been uninspired to write my blog and have had anxiety about returning to the farm - which I did yesterday - it was the bi-monthly winter share harvest day.

Mae, my 2 and a half year old, and I went over around noon to collect our vegetables, talk to the farmers and re-connect with other farm members.

The mood in the farmhouse was uneasy, the faces sullen, while the bright rays of sun streaked into the dusty farmhouse illuminating the kale, cabbage, onions, squash.

I am sure a blanket of sadness will cover the farm for a long time, although I know in the magical hands of Scott, the head farmer, the bounty and beauty of land will serve as an homage to all of Josh's efforts.

Josh's presence will be greatly missed and my deepest feelings go out to his family and friends.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An All Things Local Amagansett Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year. This year was particularly exciting for me as our entire dinner was from local just picked ingredients (except for the string beans which were only included because my 4 year old asked if we could have them with our Thanksgiving dinner).

The Menu:

Squash Soup - Medley of Roasted Quail Hill Squash Pureed into a creamy soup with Sage Pesto topped Crostini
Dry Brined Herb Roasted Turkey
Tom Colicchio’s Sausage Stuffing With Golden Raisins and Sage
Sweet-Potato Brûlée
Roasted Cranberry Sauce
Puree of Potatoes, Parsnips and Turnips
Shredded Brussels Sprouts With Lemon and Poppy Seeds
String Beans Steamed in Turkey Stock
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Rye Pecan Pie
Apple Cranberry Tarte Tatin

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Squash Roasting for Soup

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Soup Ready for Serving

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Table Set and Ready for Guests

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Roasted Cranberry Sauce

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Herb Roasted Turkey

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Steamed String Beans

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Just Picked Brussels Sprouts Soaking

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Sauteed Brussels

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Chloe Brulee's the Tops of the Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet-Potato Brûlée

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The Dinner Plate

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Caramel Pumpkin Pie

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Rye Pecan Pie

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Apple Cranberry Tarte Tatin

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The Dessert Table

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Great Grandma & Her Son make a Fresh Whipped Cream to Top Pies

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last Night's Appetizer - Chloe's Local Cabbage Egg Rolls

A recent handout we received from Chloe's teacher gave tips for encouraging better hand-eye-coordination for 4 year olds (i.e buttoning and zippering) we learned last night that making egg rolls could easily added to that list as well - Chloe was a natural!

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Local Cabbage Egg Rolls
What you need:
Serves 4

1 Head of Cabbage shredded
1 Large White Onion in small dice
2 Carrots grated
1 or 2 Daikon Turnips grated
1/3 of a container of firm Tofu in a small dice
1 Handful of Cilantro Minced
Rice Paper Wrappers
Rice Wine Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 cup of sugar
2 garlic cloves Minced
Vegetable oil for frying

Saute the onion until they begin to caramelize, then add in the cabbage to the onions and sauté until it cooks down quite a bit and is caramelized as well. Then add in the carrots, turnips and tofu and sauté for 5 more minutes. Finally add in cilantro, a small splash of the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar stir and remove from heat. Set aside.

Add water to a small bowl. Take a sheet of rice paper onto a plate facing you and add a heaping tablespoon full of the cabbage mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and then run your finger along the outside perimeter of the wrapper. Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper and tightly seal.

Set aside on a plate until ready to fry.

Make your sweet and sour sauce while you are heating your frying pan.

In a small sauce pan heat 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, minced garlic and red pepper flakes (to taste) and heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce has started to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry egg rolls until golden brown on all sides.

Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the oil. Transfer to a plate and serve with the sweet and sour sauce.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last Night's Dinner - Local Just Picked Cabbage and Potato Soup

Because of the sheer number of vegetables I have currently in my refrigerator, making a nice fall soup keeps coming to mind when I am thinking of what to make for dinner each night. With this soup I wanted to achieve the richness, complexity and sweetness of a good french onion soup so I slowly cooked the onions and cabbage together until caramelized.

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What you need:
Serves 8
3 Large Yellow Spanish Onions Thinly Sliced into Half Moons
2 Green Cabbages cut in half and then thinly sliced
6 slices of Bacon
1 can of organic white beans (try to find beans that come in BPA free lined cans)
a little less than a Quart of small Potatoes cut into quarters with skins on
2 cloves of Garlic minced
1 bay leaf
2 Stalks of celery sliced into small pieces
4 sprigs of thyme
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups of water
Soy Sauce
Sour Cream
Minced Chives

Begin by cooking the bacon in a large sauté pan (12 inch if you have one) until it is crispy. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel and chop into small pieces and set aside.

Add onions to the bacon grease and cook on medium until lightly brown and caramelized (about 20 minutes). Then add in the garlic and the cabbage in small batches on top of the onions allowing a few minutes to cook down a bit before adding more cabbage (you might need to add a little butter or olive oil if they are beginning to stick). Cook slowly over medium heat until the cabbage has also browned and caramelized about 20 more minutes. Then add in about a cup of the broth and scrape any of the browned bits on the bottom of the sauté pan and transfer to a large stock pot and add in the rest of the ingredients.

Simmer covered for about 30 to 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a splash of soy sauce.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and serve with a spoonful of sour cream and top with minced chives and bacon bits.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Whole Wheat Farro Strozzapreti with Sauteed Kale and a Roasted Squash Sauce

Fall vegetables are so rich, hearty and sweet that adding a meat or protein often becomes unnecessary.

Tonight's dinner is a perfect example of a quick and easy, filling, one bowl vegetarian meal enjoyed by the whole family.

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What you need:
Serves 4
1 Winter Squash halved (I used a butternut tonight)
Whole Wheat Pasta (I used Farro Strozzapreti Pasta tonight)
2 Spanish Onions
1 Bunch of Kale
Handful of Pine nuts toasted
6 Sage Leaves Minced
1 Tablespoon of Butter
Olive Oil
a nice Balsamic Vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 (convection if you have it) and season squash with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 35 to 45 minutes until tender with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

While squash is cooking boil water for pasta. Saute the kale until wilted in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside. Saute onions in a little olive oil or butter until caramelized. Set aside.

Then cook pasta, drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil.

Once squash is cool enough to handle remove from the skin add to food processor with sage, caramelized onions, 1/4 a cup of grated parmesan, a heavy pour of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

Toss pasta with sauce. Stir in kale. Top with pine nuts, parmesan and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Veggie Filled Beef Bi Bim Bop

One of the things I miss most about NYC is the ethnic food. Looking into my fridge filled with fresh vegetables and greens from the latest Quail Hill Farm harvest, thinking of what to make for dinner tonight, my favorite Korean dish Beef Bi Bim Bop came to mind.

What you need:
Serves 4
1 Grass Fed Sirloin or Strip Steak (Optional)
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Minced Ginger
1 Tablespoon of Honey
2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
Asian Red Chili Sauce
Assortment of fresh vegetables grated (tonight I used 2 carrots, 4 radishes, 1 turnip)
1/2 pound of Spinach or Boy Choy chopped
1 egg for each person
4 Cups of Rice after cooking (about 1 cup per person) I used Sushi Rice
1 Sliced Jalapeño
Juice of 1 Lime
Olive Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Handful of Cilantro chopped
1 Scallion thinly sliced

Season the steak with salt and pepper and then transfer to a large ziplock bag filled with soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic minced and asian red chili sauce to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Meanwhile start your rice.

Then grate the vegetables in the food processor, chop the spinach or bok choy and slice the jalapeño.

Sautee the spinach or choy in a bit of olive oil until wilted and remove from heat.

Make a quick vinaigrette with the lime juice, a splash of soy sauce, a few drops of asian chili paste, 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the grated vegetables cilantro and scallions in the vinaigrette and add a bit of salt then set aside.

Grill or pan sear the steak for about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly and wrap in foil to keep warm so you can fry the egg.

Fry 1 egg per person.

While the egg is cooking begin to add to bowl by placing the rice in the bottom spinach or choy grated veggies, jalapeño and then steak. Top with the fried egg.

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Then break the yolk and mix everything together with a bit of asian chili paste.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Corn and Potato Soup

This growing season at Quail Hill Farm has been amazing - carrots, radishes, turnips, cabbage, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, edamame, ground cherries, swiss chard, kale, and bok choi among other things are all still growing in the fields.

Since QHF does not grow corn, we really don't enjoy the sweet Long Island corn as often as we should each summer. I probably only purchased local corn a few times since July and so I decided to pick up the last of this year's crop for this wonderful fall soup.

A few winters ago I participated in a 4 family "Soup Club" which was a weekly swap of soups throughout the winter. One Tuesday each month it would be my turn to make a soup for the other 3 families and the other 3 Tuesdays we received soup from them. The weekly soup delivery really us get through the long NY winter!

Tonight's soup was so rich, creamy and flavorful, it would have been a big hit with my friends from the Grand St. Soup Club.

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Click to enlarge "My Little Sous Chef"

What you need:
Serves 6

2 Ham Hocks
6 Carrots Diced
2 White Onions Diced
2 Garlic Cloves Diced
4 Stalks of Celery Diced
2 Ears of Corn
Bay Leaf
12 Small Fingering or other Baby Potatoes
Handful of Dill
Handful of Cilantro
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Scallion Diced
Creme Fraiche
Olive Oil

Place a large pot over medium high heat and add a tablespoon or so of oil and sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they begin to turn brown. Add in the ham hocks, bay leaf and about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour and then add potatoes until tender. Remove the ham hocks and set aside. Add in corn and simmer for a few more minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Remove from heat and add in the cilantro, dill, milk and black pepper to taste. Then take your emulsion blender (or you can transfer to a food processor) and blend to desired consistency.

Remove any meat that is remaining on the ham hocks.

Dish soup into bowls and and return to soup. Add a small spoonful of creme fraiche and top with scallions.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yesterday's Harvest

Our beautiful kale that is pretty much now a tree - it has managed to grow taller than a 4 year old!

Eating their harvest of ground cherries as they pick!

Notice the container is empty - she eats every raspberry that she picks.

Nice dirty buns Mae!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Last Night's Dinner - Indian Spiced Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin with Local Apple Chutney with Roasted Potatoes & Cauliflower and Just Picked Greens

We have successful completed our move - most of the boxes are now unpacked - except of course for the large box of potatoes that I found a nice place for in our new garage. Tired and sore from lifting, unpacking, and organizing, I once again turned to a local food blog (Sag Harbor Days) for inspiration for last night's dinner. Her Roasted Potatoes with Indian Spices recipe made my mouth water. The spice mixture for the potatoes also became the dry rub for the grass fed beef tenderloin I picked up earlier in the day.

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Begin by making the potato recipe found here on Sag harbor Days (but double the amount of spices used and put aside on a large plate to use as the rub for the tenderloin).

Local Apple Chutney
Serves 4
What you need:
2 Apples Diced and Skins Removed
1 Red Onion Diced
1 Tablespoon of Minced Ginger
1/8 Cup Red Wine VInegar
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon of Allspice

Combine the above in a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and stir. Cover and simmer for 30 or so minutes. Stir and remove from heat.

Indian Spiced Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin
What you need:
Beef Tenderloin
Spice mixture from Potato Dish

Season the tenderloin with salt and then roll in the dry rub mixture and set aside.

Heat grill or grill pan to a high heat and begin to cook the tenderloin turning about 3 times after cooking for about 6 minutes each side. If you are using a grill pan, sear on all sides and then transfer to the oven set at 400 degrees and cook until desired doneness (about 13 minutes). Allow to rest and then slice and top with Apple Chutney.

Serve with roasted cauliflower and a green salad.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lamb Burgers with a Feta Yogurt Dill Sauce served with Just Picked Roasted Carrots and Potatoes (Dinner From a Few Nights Back)

During a recent visit to Citarella in East Hampton, I noticed a poster for Lava Lake Lamb. After reading the poster I decided to give it a try. Knowing my husband loves a good lamb burger, I asked the butcher to take the deboned leg and grind it up for me. A little surprised that someone would make such a request for such a nice piece of lamb, he finally agreed.

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What caught my eye is that the lamb is 100% Grass-Fed - never placed in feed lots, never given hormones, never given antibiotics.

Lamb Burger:
Serves 4
1.5 Pounds of Lamb Ground
Handful of Mint
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt
Splash of Soy Sauce
1 Squirt of Ketchup
Half a Red Onion chopped

Take everything above (except for the lamb) and add to a blender or food processor and blend till combined. Stir mixture into lamb and form patties.

Heat grill or broiler and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

While burgers are grilling make the sauce.

Feta Yogurt Dill Sauce
1 Small Plain Yogurt
Splash of White Wine Vinegar
Small handful of Dill Chopped
Splash of Olive Oil
about 3 Tablespoons of Feta
Juice of 1 Lemon

Combine the above into a small 1 cup food processor or blender and pulse till combined.

Assemble the burgers on a toasted bun or pita bread and add sliced tomatoes and sauce. Serve with roasted carrots, potatoes or in this case both.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Sesame Crusted Tofu and Salmon over Local Just Picked Kale and Soba Noodles in a Peanut Sauce

We have been packing for our upcoming move for the past several days - and even though we are trying to be super organized for this move and start early - it seems we still have a lot to do. Hence the recent lack of posts.

Needing inspiration, I turned to a fellow Quail Hill Farm Member / local food blogger - Sag Harbor Days. This recipe was really intriguing to me. I have never been a huge peanut sauce fan, maybe because I am very picky about my peanut butter. A few weeks back a friend brought me some fresh ground peanut butter from the city, so tonight I decided to give this recipe a try.

In her recipe she only used tofu, but hungry from packing, I decided to add salmon as well. They worked very well together.

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What you need:
Serves 4
Salmon (1 small fillet for each person)
1 Package of Extra Firm Tofu Sliced into 3/4 inch rectangles
6 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
a Large Handful of Kale Chopped
3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
Splash of Sesame oil
1 Teaspoon Asian Chili Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Ginger Minced
1 Package of Soba Noodles
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Lemon Slices

Boil the water for the noodles. Add to water when boiling.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper and steam (in bamboo steamer if you have) on top of the lemon slices. When cooked through remove from steamer and add toasted sesame seeds to the top of each fillet.

Make your sauce by adding the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, chili sauce, and sesame oil to a small bowl and stir. Add water if the sauce is very thick. If you happen to have red pepper paste in your fridge or freezer (I made some last week) then you can add a spoonful as well.

Season each tofu rectangle and sear in a small sauté pan until golden. Remove from heat and add toasted sesame seeds to the top of each rectangle.

Add oil to the pan and add kale stir until wilted add sauce and noodles, toss and then remove from heat and plate.

Top with salmon and tofu.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today's Dessert - Just Picked Raspberries featured in a Tarte Amandes et Framboises

My daughter Chloe and I picked so many beautiful raspberries on Tuesday that they deserved a place in a delicious dessert. Excited to try a recipe from a new cookbook I received as a gift at this year's Common Table event at our CSA Quail Hill Farm, Chloe and I decided to make Tarte Amandes et Framboises.

The below recipes are from French Fridays at the Farm, by Sydney Albertini who is also a member at Quail Hill Farm.

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Tarte Amandes et Framboises
What you need:
1 Pie Crust (I made a classic Pate Sucree)
3/4 cup of Blanched Almonds
1/4 Cup Sugar
5 Tablespoons of soft Butter
1 Egg and 1 Egg White
a few drops of Almond Extract
1 to 2 cups of Raspberries

Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough and line tart pan.

Make almond filling by pulsing almonds and sugar in a food processor until finely ground, but not pasty. Add butter and process until creamy. Mix in egg and egg white and almond extract.

Pour almond cream into pie shell. Scatter raspberries pushing them in gently.

Bake for 55 minutes until golden and let cool on rack.

Slice and serve.

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Pate Sucree Recipe:
3 cups of Flour
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
3/4 Cup Cold Vegetable Shortening cut into small pieces
3 Tablespoons of Butter cut into small pieces
4 or more Tablespoons of Ice Water

Blend flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor. Add in shortening and butter and blend until a course meal forms. Add water gradually until a ball forms. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Grass Fed Steak Tacos Topped with Just Picked Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

As the tomatoes are on their way out, the tomatillos are on their way in! This season's have been so delicious (very sweet and a slight bit tangy) ideal for a fresh salsa. Luckily we also have amazing peppers (both hot and sweet) at the farm as well as heaps of beautiful cilantro that move so nicely together in the gentle breeze.

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
What you need:
20 Tomatillos Papery Skins Removed (mine were purple)
2 Red Onions Halved
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Green or Red Peppers Halved and Seeds Removed
1 Jalapeño or other Hot Pepper Halved and Seeds Removed (You can leave the seeds in if you want a spicier salsa)
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons of Honey
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil (don't use a flat sheet without sides as juices will escape from the tomatillos while baking). Take the first 5 ingredients above and add to the baking sheet with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the top. Roast for 25 minutes or so.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add to a food processor (if juices have spilled onto the sheet add then to the processor as well) along with the lime juice and honey.

Pulse until blended to desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

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Grass Fed Steak Tacos
Sirloin or Strip Steak (you will need about 2 to 3 ounces per person)

Steak Dry Rub
2 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons of Ground Coriander Root (Cilantro)
Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes
Black Pepper

Combine the above in a spice grinder or small bowl and mix. Rub the steak (I used sirloin) with the spice mixture and set aside for 10 minutes before grilling.

Heat grill (or grill pan) and grill steak to desired doneness (about 3 minutes per side for medium rare). Allow to rest for about 5 minutes. While the steak is resting heat the tortillas on the grill. Slice the steak thinly and add to warmed tortillas and top with tomatilla salsa and grilled red onions. Add a spoonful of sour cream and chopped grilled scallions on top.

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Serve with beans and rice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Local Zucchini, Kale and Tomato Lasagne with a Sweet Fennel Sausage

I had one last zucchini from the summer left in my fridge today, but was in the mood for a lasagne, so I decided that the zucchini could replace one of the noodle layers in this fresh vegetable lasagne. Because I make my lasagne with fresh vegetables (which have a high water count) I do not pre-boil my lasagne noodles. I have found they are always cooked through and actually hold up much better when added to the lasagne uncooked - and there is no need to buy the "no boil" noodles.

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What you need:
Serves 6
1 Fresh Mozzarella Sliced
1 Package of Hard Mozzarella Grated
1 Pint of Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 lb of your favorite Sausage (I used a sweet fennel sausage from my local Italian specialty store)
1 jar of Rao's Marinara Sauce or use your own
2 large Garlic cloves - minced
Half a box of Whole Wheat Lasagne Noodles (Dont cook them)
2 large handfuls of kale chopped
4 large tomatoes sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
1 Large Zucchini sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (convection if you have it).

Brown the sausage in a small sauté pan (squeeze it out of the casing into the pan) and then add in the minced garlic and let that cook for a few minutes, just enough to brown (as it will cook through in the oven while baking). Then remove from heat and set aside.

Next sauté the chopped kale in a bit of olive oil until it cooks down a bit, but still retains its color. Then remove from heat, add salt and pepper and set aside.

Take the ricotta and put it into a strainer with a bowl underneath so that the liquid would drain for about 5 minutes. Then stir the lemon juice and black pepper into the fresh ricotta and set aside.

Then begin to assemble the lasagne in this order. A layer of sauce on the bottom, lasagna noodles, ricotta, fresh tomatoes, kale, zucchini, red sauce, grated mozzarella, ricotta, kale and then a final layer of tomatoes, top with the browned sausage, and any remaining red sauce. Cover with foil and bake on convection for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove the foil and turn the oven to broil and top with the fresh mozzarella and return to the oven until the mozzarella is slightly browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes then slice and serve.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today's Lunch - Local Cucumber Soup

I recently had a version of this soup at a dinner party (thanks Sydney) and it was excellent. It is so fresh and light and makes a fabulous starter or light lunch with a slice of freshly baked bread. Next time I make it I plan to serve it alongside a lamb burger in a tall skinny shot glass.

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Local Cucumber Soup
Serves 4
3 Large Cucumbers peeled and cut into large pieces
1 Clove of Garlic minced
3/4 Cup of Sour Cream
Juice of Half a Lemon
Handful of Basil
Handful of Dill
Splash of Olive Oil

Combine all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tonight's Dinner - Stuffed Local Peppers, Grilled Sausage and Slow Roasted Local Eggplant

Honestly I am not big on sausage and peppers... at least I wasn't until I made this version of the dish. Now that peppers are the new zucchini (meaning I have more than I know what to do with) tonight I made it my mission to get through as many as I could.

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Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4
5 Peppers (or 9 if they are small) 1 diced and the rest left whole but tops cut out and middles removed
4 Tomatoes Diced
2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
1 Red Onion cut into a Small Dice
Olive Oil
Slices of fresh Mozzarella (1 for each pepper)
Handful of Basil Minced
2 cups of Brown Rice cooked according to package (2 cups yield after cooking)

Preheat over to 375 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peppers on sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until cooked through but not turning brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add olive oil, garlic, onions and peppers to a medium sauce pan and stir for about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes so that water from tomatoes begins to reduce and a sauce has formed.

Stir in cooked rice and remove from heat.

Fill each cooked pepper with the rice mixture. Top with fresh mozzarella and basil. Serve with grilled sausage and slow roasted eggplant wheels.

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