Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gluten Free, Vegan Carrot muffins

Carrots!  So many carrots!  We got carrots in our Shared Roots Farm share and some donated at an event I attended, on top of the leftover carrots from the week before.  My philosophy is usually to make soup and/or freeze things but our freezer was full this week.  Im a big fan of carrot cake.  I have also had to eliminate eggs and dairy from my diet from time to time because of medical treatments I am going to do.  I sort of based this recipe on the recipe for zucchini bread that I previously posted.  There is no animal products, no gluten, no added sugar.  These muffins freeze and defrost very well in the car on a road trip or in a lunch box.

Carrot Muffins:
makes 10 - 12

1 c carrots, grated
1 c natural applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oat four (make sure its gluten free)
1 c rolled or steel cut oats (again, gluten free)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove
1/2 c raisins
**can add 1/4 c sugar for sweeter muffins

Preheat oven to 350f and grease a 12 muffin tin

In a bowl mix together carrots, applesauce, vanilla (sugar).
In seperate bowl mix together oat flour, oats, baking soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Add wet ingredients into dry and mix well, making sure all flour and oats are well incorporated.  Mix in raisins.

Divide muffin mix into tin.  Shape muffins *these muffins wont have a lot of rise that helps make that "muffin shape".  
Bake 20 - 25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool in tin 5 minutes before removing.

Dijon dill dressing and scape & scallion dressing

They say that variety is the spice of life.  Sometimes, especially in early weeks of receiving my Shared Roots Farm share, I got a lot of the same thing; it's the nature of farming.  I've had to come up with many new ways to keep the same things "different", and no one wants a boring salad.  I came up with 2 new saad dressings this year, a dijon dill and a garlic scape & scallion dressing (using my go-to pesto ingredients to make a dressing).  Each of these recipes will be enough to dress a large salad for 4 people.

Dijon Dill Dressing
2 tbs Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil
5 tbs vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 tbs lemon juice

Whisk together all ingredients.  Refridgerate 1 hour before using.
**Goes well with a simple salad and dill turkey burgers

Scape and Scallion dressing
2 tbs scallions, finely minced
2 tbs garlic scapes, finely minced
1 1/2 tbs mustard
1/4 c olive oil
1/8 c vinegar
1/4 c orange juice

Whisk together all ingredients.  Refridgerate 1 hour before using.
**Goes well with a citrus salmon

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tomato Vegetable Soup

This week I got another "new" vegetable in my CSA from Shared Roots Farm, tomatillos.  Tomatillos are a South American husked tomato, they can be a variety of colors.  They are slightly sweeter then a traditional tomato.  Tomatillos are what are used in salsa verde.
Im not a huge fan of Mexican food, I dont like the heat.  Making salsa verde with the tomatillos was kinda out of the question since I dont eat chilis.  When in doubt, make soup!

Tomato Vegetable Soup:
serves 8
3 tbs margaine/butter
1/4c scallions, minced
3 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz tomato paste
2 (32oz) boxes beef stock
4 c water
1 c carrots, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
3 tomatillos, diced

In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat margraine.  Saute scallions, garlic and onion until carmelized, stirring often to keep from sticking.

Add tomato paste and stir well.
Add stock and water.  Bring to a boil.
Add carrots, celery and tomatillos.  Simmer 15 minutes.
**for a little extra something add cooked rice or quinoa just before serving

Sunday, August 16, 2015

CSA pro-tips

I start this post with an apology.  When the CSA season began and I started blogging again, I vowed to post weeky.  Life keeps happening.  My husband and I have thrown ourselves into a new hobby, and I have been making dresses for myself.  Meanwhile, I have a small stockpile of new recipes waiting to be blogged.   That being said, off we go with a couple tips that I have learned that will make having a CSA less daunting.

CSA Tips:
I would in no way call myself a "pro" when it comes to this veggie thing, I'm still coming across new foods and researching new ways of cooking.  I have, through trial and error, learned a few things over the last 3 years that I wish someone had emparted to me.
1.  Picking CSA pick-up date: When you get your CSA contract, like my local CSA, they may give you options of pick up days or times.  Choose a day and time that allows you to have time to process through your veggies.  I dont work, when I chose my day/time the first year, I didnt give it much thought.  I use to pick it up on a Friday at 5pm.  This worked for me the first year; my husband could walk to work and got paid on a Wednesday.  I would go grocery shopping on a Wednesday or Thursday but since I didnt know what was in my CSA, I often had to grocery shop again to plan around the vegetables I recieved.  This year I gave it more forthought.  My husband now works Monday through Friday, gets paid on a Friday, I grocery shop pay days.  I chose a Wednesday CSA pick up day this season so I could have my vegetables before I went grocery shopping.
2.  Do some recon:  If your CSA is anything like mine, you may not know ahead of time what you are getting in your CSA each week.  It helps if you can check to see what your CSA posted the same week last year.  I have friends on my facebook who are part of a CSA in a different area in my state, they often post what they recieved.  Check the Farmers Almanac when all else fails, it usually predicts what vegetables will come into season certain weeks.
3.  Be prepared:  Before going to pick up your CSA, make sure you have everything you need or everything ready for when you come home.  This means different things depending on how you work in the kitchen.  Before I leave the house I make sure the kitchen is clean and dishes wash, especialy those I know I will need like my food processor, salad spinner or mandalin.  If you compost, make sure your bin is empty.  I usually put a large pot of water on the stove (not turned on!) in preparation of blanching anything I know I want to freeze.  I also make sure Im stocked on things like olive oil, vinegar and freezer bags.
4.  Know you veggies:  As I said, I wouldnt call myself a "pro" because there are still some veggies I dont know.  Before you leave your CSA pick up, review your vegetables to make sure you can identify everything.  Dont be afraid to ask!  If you dont recognize something, generally, the people running the CSA know what it is.  When in doubt ask facebook or do a Google image search.
5.  Look for recipes or ideas:  Once you know what you have, take some time to look for recipes.  There are times when you get beets three weeks in a row.  Check out some new ways to cook things.  Im constantly surprised with new combinations I have never thought of before.  Carrot greens and swiss quiche, dill turkey burgers, Google can open a whole new avenue of tastes.
6.   Set aside time: This kind of goes with the tip of chosing a day and time that fits your schedule.  Once you get home with your CSA set aside time to do all the prep and processing right away, this will save you time later.  See if you have anything leftover from the week before; if its still good freeze it, make pesto, if its gone bad, compost it.  Once you've gotten rid of the old, start dealing with the new.  Remove butts and wash greens right away, putting them in labeled bags in the crisper so they are ready to go for salads.  Remove herbs from stems and either make pesto or put them in a zip bag in the fridge or even set them up for drying (in dehydrator or a baking sheet on lowest heat in oven).  Wash, blanch and freeze whatever greens you dont think you will use right away.   If you have extra carrots or zucchini, grate it and freeze it for bread or muffins in the winter.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Radish and Cabbage No Mayo Slaw

This is a quick and easy recipe, even easier if you have a mandolin.  I'll admit, I'm terrible about measuring.  The fact that I have to figure out measurements for people to follow the recipe is a bit diffiult for me.  That being said, you may need to tweak this recipe a litte for your own taste.

Radish and Cabbage No Mayo Slaw

1 medium head of Napa cabbage, shredded
6 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/8 c (4 tbs) olive oil
2 tbs pesto of choice 
1 tbs lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Put shredded cabbage in a strainer/colander over a bowl or in a clean sink, salt it well.  Let set for 5 - 10 minutes, this will draw out some of the water from the cabbage.  Squeeze out excess liquid.  
Mix together vinegar, oil, lemon juice, pesto, salt and pepper.  

Place cabbage and radishes into a large bowl.  Toss veggies with the vinegar mixture.
Set aside in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.  (There may be excess liquid at the bottom of the bowl, either pour it off or serve with a slotted spoon)

Gluten free, vegan Zucchini muffins

I know, most people cringe at the thought of gluten free and vegan.  I swear, if i hadnt made this recipe, I woudn't think there was anything "different" about these muffins. No butter, no eggs, no freaky ingredients that you only find at specialty stores.  These muffins also freeze and defrost well.  This is also great for low iodine diets, just sub non-iodized salt.

Zucchini Muffins

1 3/4 c (gluten free) oat flour**
1 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 tbs molasses)
1 c apple sauce (I used homemade chunky)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c grated zucchini, packed

Preheat oven to 350
Grease muffin tin

Mix together dry ingredients.  Mix in wet ingredients until well blended.  Pour into prepareed tin about 3/4 full.
Bake 30 to 45 minutes.  Check with toothpick, should come out clean.
Allow to cool 5 minutes before taking out of tins.

** Oat Flour: Not all oats can be considered gluten free because of potential contamination.  If you arent super gluten sensitive most oats are okay, but if you are Celiac, make sure it is labeled "gluten free".
To make your own oat flour, simply grind traditional oats in a grinder or high speed food processor.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pesto and Spinach Chicken Roulade with Kohlrabi Fritters

I had planned on writing at least 1 blog post a week with a new recipe.   Last week I got behind between not feeling well and a family reunion.  I'll try to do 2 posts this week/weekend.

For the second week in a row the majority of my CSA share has been the same.  Its a litle difficult to find new things to do with garlic scapes and scallions.  Typically, I throw garlic scapes. scallions, and a little olive oil into my mini food proccessor and make a pesto.  The leftover scapes and scallions I chop up to keep on hand in the fridge, then its ready to throw into eggs, cooked greens, salads or anything else that tickles the fancy.  This week I used both the pesto and the pre-cut scapes/scallions to stuff chicken with.
Kohlrabi is more of a fun challenge.  Ive only gotten kohlrabi in my CSA maybe once a year.  Its a type of cabbage that tastes a bit like broccoli with both the bulb and leaves being deiciously edible raw or cooked.  Kohlrabi can be treated a lot like a potato.  That being said, I decided to make kohlrabi fritters this week, almost like potato pancakes.

Pesto and Spinach Chicken Roulade
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
small bunch of spinach (Or use frozen spinach defrosted and drained)
2 tbs minced garlic scapes
2 tbs minced scallions
3 tbs margarine/butter
2 tbs + 2 tbs olive oil
1/4 c pesto of choice

Preheat oven to 425f

In a heavy, oven proof pan (I used my Dutch oven) heat 2 tbs of olive oil, scapes and scallion for 3 minutes.
Add raw spinach and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes, making sure to stir frequently to keep spinach from scorching.

Cut the chicken breasts in half through the middle
*or you can pound them thinly 

Add a thin layer of pesto then the cooked spinach onto thinned chicken breasts.
Starting at the narrowest end, roll chicken up, tuck in open ends, and use toothpicks to secure.

In pan/Dutch oven that you used to saute spinach, heat 3 tbs of margraine and 2 tbs oil.
Add chicken to pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Place pan of chicken into oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Optional White Wine Pan Gravy
1/2 cup dry wine (I used a local semi-dry mead)
2 tbs margarine
1 tbs flour
splash of lemon juice

Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil.
Put pan on medium heat
Add wine, margraine and lemon juice.
Once heated, add flour, whisking constantly until desired thickness

Kohlrabi Fritters
2 c grated kohrabi, drained
2 tbs flour
1 beaten egg
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbs pesto 
*enough vegetable oil to have 1/4 inch in the bottom of a skillet

Grate kohrabi and remove ass much liquid as possible
(you can place in a clean towel and squeeze or, like me, squeeze out the liquid with your hands)

Mix remaining ingredients with the grated kohlrabi

Heat oil in a skillet, enough to be 1/4 inch deep
Form kohlrabi mixture into 1/8 cup ball and press into the hot oil to make a patty
Fry unti brown, about 3 minutes per side

Remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

peanut chicken with bok choi

Another summer of fun with vegetable has begun!
I was a little late this year in getting my CSA paperwork in.  By the time I got it in my usual farm was sold out of shares; a blessing and a curse.  Wanting to still receive amazing local, organic veggies, I joined a new farm, Shared Roots Farm.  My first share contained: bok choi, asian greens, pea shoots, spring green, scallions and (my husband's favorite) kale.  The pick up for the share is next door to my friend's art studio.  I picked my share up then she and I spent the afternoon chatting, eating spring greens and pea shoots right from the bag.  My tummy was so happy!  Then came the dilemma, what do I do with bok choi?  I'm sure I must have eaten it raw in summer or rainbow rolls.  Research began.  I had already come up with a great peanut sauce recipe for slaw late last year.  Figuring that bok choi was an Asian vegetable, it must go great with peanut sauce.  A recipe for Peanut chicken with bok choi was born.

Peanut Chicken with Bok Choi over Noodles:
Serves 4, 
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

4 Chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 carrots, shaved or thinly sliced
1 large head of bok choi, thinly sliced
noodles of choice (used 1 pack ramen for my husband & 1 pack rice noodles for me)
pea shoots for garnish

1/2 c peanut butter (natural is best)
2/3 c soy sauce (I use gluten free)
1 tbs minced ginger or 1/2 tsp ground
2 tbs minced garlic or 2 tsp powder
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs honey
3 scallions, chopped
splash of lime juice

Whisk together all peanut sauce ingredients and set aside

Rinse all greens and set aside in colander to allow to dry

Prepare noodles according to package, 1 pack per person
*pro tip: save the flavor packs, they come in handy for things like soups

Heat a large skillet or wok
Toss chicken with half the peanut sauce.
Put chicken in heated wok/skillet and cook through, about 7 minutes.
Add bok choi, carrots and remaining peanut sauce and cook until bok choi is wilted, about 3 minutes

Serve chicken, veggies and pan sauce over noodles.
Garnish with fresh pea shoots.