New Favorite · New Traditions · Vegetables

Roasted Stuffed Kobacha Squash (or Pumpkin)

Stuffed pumpkin (or in my case Kobacha Squash) was a novel idea I heard about from friends. I found this wonderful recipe and adapted it to use the Kobacha squash I’d recently purchased from Trader Joe’s.

It was a fun, and delicious, experiment and one I’ll try again, shaking it up with different ingredients. This is a great way to use leftover pumpkins from Halloween or Thanksgiving. A new tradition perhaps.

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ROASTED STUFFED KOBACHA (OR PUMPKIN)

1 pumpkin (I used Kobacha squash), about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, shredded
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky. (Note: I baked my squash in a round Pyrex casserole lined with parchment paper)

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  • Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
  • Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

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  • Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
  • When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

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  • You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
  • It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Recipe Adapted from Epicurious.com

Family Favorites · Garden · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini and rabbits have a lot in common. They multiply…and multiply…and multiply.  My zucchini plant has done well this year, keeping my daughters and I supplied in plenty of zucchini for salads, pastas, breads and, one of my favorites, Zucchini Fritters.

I’ve made these for years but with the remodel, the recipe disappeared. I found this recipe online which sounded almost exactly like my tried and true recipe. It’s easy and delicious, a bit like latkes.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

4 cups shredded zucchini
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sliced scallions (green and white parts)
Vegetable oil
Sour cream, for serving (optional)

  • Place the shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle the zucchini lightly with salt. Allow the zucchini to stand for 10 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl.
  • Add the flour, eggs, sliced scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the bowl, stirring until the mixture is combined. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Liberally coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop 3-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini mixture into the pan, pressing them lightly into rounds and spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook the zucchini fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook an additional 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout.

  • Transfer the zucchini fritters to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt. Repeat the scooping and cooking process with the remaining zucchini mixture.
  • Serve the zucchini fritters topped with sour cream (optional) and sliced scallions.

Recipe from Justataste.com 

Family Favorites · My Roots · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Fresh New Potatoes and Peas

Fresh New Potatoes and Peas were a summer treat on the Iowa farm.  My Mother would dig potatoes and shell peas from her large summer garden.  I cannot verify the origin of this recipe but Mom always said it had Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch roots.

While I do not grow potatoes in my garden, I prepared with red potatoes from the grocery store and peas from my CSA weekly bounty.Fresh New Potatoes and Peas

This recipe can easily be prepared with frozen peas as well.  It’s a wonderful side dish with steak, hamburgers, or fish. My oldest daughter, Megan, suggested it would be great with a little Parmesan cheese.  I’ll be trying that next time!

New Potatoes and Peas

FRESH NEW POTATOES AND PEAS

1 1/2 quarts new potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups new peas, cook until done
1 cup sweet cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated carrots (optional)
salt and pepper

  • Cover potatoes, peas, and carrots with water and cook until tender. Drain.
  • Combine cream and flour until smooth. Add to potatoes and peas and add butter, salt and sugar.
  • Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened.
Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Roasted Kohlrabi and Beets…Really!

This is the first year that I have participated in Grant Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  My older daughter, Megan, and I decided to try it this year and we’ve enjoyed the fruit and vegetable surprises each week.

Kohlrabi was not a new vegetable to me but I haven’t had it since I lived at home on the farm.  My Mother would slice it and eat it raw with salt. It reminds me of a very crisp, slightly sweet, potato. However, I wanted to try something different and decided to roast it with a few red and gold beets, also in my CSA delivery.

The leftovers were equally good served chilled.  Is this my favorite vegetable recipe? No, but I’m always up for a new adventure and I enjoyed it.

ROASTED KOHLRABI AND BEETS

3 medium to large Kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
5-6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher or Sea Salt
black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease with olive oil.
  • Place chopped vegetables on baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vegetables.  Bake another 45 minutes under tender.
Breakfast · Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegetables

Quinoa Broccoli Cheese Bites

Our girls LOVED Broccoli Rice Casserole when they were growing up and this recipe sounded delicious using quinoa instead of the traditional rice.  They were so yummy that I ate them for breakfast and as a side side for dinner. It would be great to add bits of ham or bacon for a ‘grab and go’ breakfast dish.

QUINOA BROCCOLI CHEESE BITES

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
crushed red pepper (optional) to taste

  • In a medium sauce pan, combine quinoa and water (or broth) and cook according to package directions. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, eggs, broccoli, onion, garlic, cheese and paprika.
  • Put a heaping tablespoon of quinoa mixture into prepared muffin tins.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then gently remove from pan to cool completely.

 

Book Club · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Shallots & Almonds

I was craving green beans and our book club was meeting to discuss ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. Our hostess served Tom Yum Koong Soup, favored by one of the characters in the book when fighting off a cold.  Others brought bar food and I brought green beans…never mentioned in the book but satisfied my craving.

This is a simple and absolutely delicious recipe. I’ll be making it again, and again, and again.

GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS

2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest

  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
  • Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great).  Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from KalynsKitchen.com

 

Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Apples Roasted with OJ

Roasted Vegetables are my absolute favorite yet I didn’t discover this technique until a few years ago.  My carrot harvest this year was the best I’ve ever had, despite Joe’s (my 12 year old Golden Retriever) attempts to steal the carrots out of the basket.

I found this wonderful recipe which did not call for apples, but in later versions I added the apples and loved the added sweet/tart bites.

SWEET POTATOES & CARROTS WITH APPLE CIDER THYME

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
1-2 apples, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place cut sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture all over vegetables and toss to coat evenly.
  • Roast for 35-45 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized to your liking. Serve immediately.

Adapted from http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/food/2014/10/13/sweet-potatoes-and-carrots-with-apple-cider-and-thyme/

Family · New Favorite · New Traditions · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Roasted Fennel…another new love!

Fennel was a target buy at Trader Joe’s for daughter Megan and I this week. My husband, Karl, used to love to cook Fennel as was prepared for him on business trips to Italy.  It’s been years since I’ve prepared it. Megan suggested we roast it and it was fantastic. I have to say that eating it raw was delicious, too.

The fennel was prepared the same evening as the Zuppa Tuscana (recipe to post next week).  We decided to put some of the fennel in our soup and loved the addition.  I even added cold roasted fennel to a roast pork and goat cheese sandwich…love it!

Next time I’ll try roasting the fennel with other vegetable, perhaps white and sweet potatoes and a bit of rosemary?

 ROASTED FENNEL

2 heads fresh fennel
olive oil
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rinse fennel.  Slightly trim bottom and top of fennel bulb.
  • Cut each bulb in half lengthwise.  Cut out core and set aside.
  • Slice fennel thinly and place on baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15-20 or until brown on edges and tender.
Casseroles · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Baked Stuffed Avocados…yummo!

Baked Avocado…a new adventure for me and I loved it. The idea of using avocado as the binding ingredient for quinoa, tomato, cheese was great and included all ingredients I love. This recipe is worth experimenting with and can easily be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

BAKED STUFFED AVOCADOS

2 large ripe avocados
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mix of plain and Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slice avocados lengthwise and remove the pit by gently tapping it with a large sturdy knife.
  • Scoop the avocado from the shell with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.  Add quinoa, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine, but leaving hunks of avocado.
  • Place the hollow avocado shells on a baking sheet and carefully fill each with the mixture.  (I found that I had more filling that the shells would hold and baked the remainder in a small greased casserole dish).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is sufficiently melted.

recipe slightly adapted from P&G Everday