whee!

Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre

April 18, 2014 - Written by Diana

Since it’s National Garlic Day on April 19th, I wanted to come up with a dinner that had some nice garlic flavor.  Originally I was going to make a salad with garlic chicken and asparagus, but while I was at the store other thoughts entered my mind and I went with it.  I grilled asparagus on a grill pan first, but maybe it doesn’t really need it.  We loved the whole meal and I will definitely do it again when my daughter’s home, she enjoys it when I come up with something delicious. Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre is something your family would enjoy too.

Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre Ingredients:

Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top.  Roll the chicken up around the asparagus.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs. Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done.  About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.

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Butternut Squash under a Swiss Cheese Crust

November 25, 2013 - Written by Diana

I still have butternut squash in my basement, but as the basement warms up, the squash will be in peril.  I’m glad they lasted as long as they did, since this is the first year we tried basement storage.  Last year we kept the winter squash upstairs, and they didn’t last as long.  I’m going to make Butternut Squash Under a Swiss Cheese Crust for our family Easter gathering.  I made it for dinner one night and my husband was really impressed, so impressed he wants me to make it again. I used curry in the dish to keep it from being too sweet, but also added nutmeg and cinnamon because I love the taste with butternut squash and  I also added nutmeg to the cheese sauce.  The swiss cheese was hand delivered from Wisconsin. A friend of my husband’s brought us back cheese from a recent trip. Isn’t it cool to have a friend like that? My favorite prep method for butternut squash is to slice it down the middle, scooping the seeds and pulp out, but leaving the meat behind.  Then it is brushed with olive oil, and placed cut side down in a glass pan.   It goes into the oven at about 350 and bakes until a knife slides in easily. Ingredients:

Bake butternut squash until soft.  Cool and then scoop butternut squash out of the shell into a bowl.  Use a mixer to combine the squash milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and curry.  Place in a buttered casserole dish. In a small saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour.  Slowly whisk in cold milk until smooth.  Take off heat and whisk in the cheese. Spread cheese sauce over top of the squash (add more cheese if you need a thicker consistency).  Bake in oven at 350 until cheese starts to  brown and crusty.

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Cream To Butter To Shortbread

December 23, 2012 - Written by Diana

If you want to do a project with your child to make a gift for their grandmother or other relatives or their class at school, this would be a great bonding experience.  I’ve had a lot of fun lately making butter from whipping cream.  I use Snowville’s Whipping Cream from grassfed cows because I like the way they do things.  Then I take the butter and use it to make Shortbread Cookies.  I did it with a food processor which can make it safe and quick to work with their attention span.

Let the cream sit at room temperature until it comes up to around 55 deg Celsius.

Pour into the food processor up to the liquid line and let ‘er rip.

Cream in Food Processor

The cream will become thicker and thicker turning into whipped cream, keep going.

Whipped Cream Stage

It will be thicker and then start to separate into buttermilk and butter – it’s amazing, but pretty cool.

The food processor will rock a little as the butter sticks to the blade and separates from the buttermilk.

Drain the buttermilk into a container – use this in butter milk biscuits, or pancakes, or any buttermilk recipe.

Rinse the butter in cold water to remove any buttermilk left, squeezing and reshaping it to get out the buttermilk.

Place the butter into a container that will hold the butter snugly, and use plastic wrap on top to keep the air out and place in the fridge.

Buttermilk and Butter

You could stop here, with the butter and buttermilk, or you could go on to make shortbread cookies  using the butter.  First though, clean out the food processor because you can use it for the next step.  Butter cookies has always been one of my favorites.  I regret that I can not stay away from them. They’re so buttery, they melt in your mouth and are so easy to make.  My biggest problem is waiting for the cookies to cool so they don’t crumble when I pick them up. The shortbread cookies are made with quite a bit of butter, so keep them refrigerated.

This shortbread recipe is from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen Cookie Lover’s Cookbook. While this is a binder FULL of cookie recipes the shortbread recipe is one of my favorites and one I love to bring out during the holidays when all diets are ignored for a little bit. This shortbread uses cake flour which makes it dissolve when it touches your tongue. It doesn’t matter how careful I am with the shortbread taking it out of the pan is difficult.  If you use a cake pan it falls apart when you take it out.  If you use a springform mold it is a little easier to slip your knife under the cookie and loosen it up, but no matter, it will still crumble here and there as you try to move it to the wire racks to cool.  That’s the very nature of shortbread – it is a melt in your mouth buttery goodness treat that is hard to resist.  Showcasing your homemade butter in homemade butter cookies – fantastic and easy.

Scottish Shortbread Cookie

Scottish Shortbread
 
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After making your own butter from cream, the next step is to make a buttery scottish shortbread cookie.
Author:
Recipe type: Buttery Shortbread Cookie
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 32
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cake flour(not self-rising)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks) cut into pieces and softened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, mix both flours, sugar, and salt.
  3. Knead butter into flour mixture is well blended and holds together.
  4. (Or, in food processor with knife blade attached, pulse dry ingredients to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.)
  5. Divide dough in half.
  6. With hand, pat evenly onto bottoms of two ungreased 8-inch round cake pans.
  7. With fork, prick dough all over to make attractive pattern.
  8. Bake until golden, about 40 minutes, rotating pans between upper and lower oven racks halfway through.
  9. Remove from oven; immediately run knife around sides of pans to loosen shortbread, then cut each shortbread round into 16 wedges.
  10. Cool completely in pans on wire racks.
  11. When cool, with small metal spatula, carefully remove cookies from pans.
  12. Store shortbread in an airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

 

Eggs and Tatsoi in a Sweet Potato Nest

December 15, 2012 - Written by Diana

Eggs & Tatsoi on a Sweet Potato Crust

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with three ingredients and my cast iron pan.  I like that I can stick the pan under the broiler and bake some eggs, after I’ve partially cooked the other ingredients on the stove top.  Cast iron is really great for even heat and works well even on my glass top, too. Trying the same dish over and over in different ways should give you perfection sooner or later, but I’m always thinking what if I did this, or this, or this. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

This combination of sweet potatoes, greens and fresh eggs has become family favorite. These aren’t the only ingredients I’m using, because often I add  luna burgers broken up and I also use onions, shallots or leeks.  Fresh herbs are good to sprinkle over top, and a little bit of chevre and swiss ( two of the lowest sodium cheeses my husband can eat).  The greens are whatever I have on hand, sometimes spinach or chard, but this week tatsoi was in the market bag. Tatsoi is similar in look to bok choy, but a little milder in taste.  Reading about tatsoi, it seems to be pretty winter hardy and may be something to grow in my garden next year.

Sweet potatoes are the base.  They are grated, and the water squeezed out in order to form a bottom crust .  If you’d like softer potatoes, squeeze only some of the water or none depending on how crusty you want it.  I added ginger and rosemary to the potatoes.  If you use salt, add it to each layer; the potato layer, the greens layer and the egg layer.  We left it out because of my husband’s diet but the herbs give the dish a really nice flavor.

I’ve also added winter squash to the greens layer before.  My mother in law thought it was really pretty with the light orange in with the bright greens.  The greens layer is on top of the sweet potato base, but is started in another pan first.  Then using a finger or spoon make a well in the greens to add the eggs.  If you don’t make the well, your eggs slide out of place and  they might anyway as I found out.  Try as I might the eggs never stay perfectly placed.  Move something around and they just slide another way.

Eggs and Tatsoi in a Sweet Potato Nest
 
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This breakfast for dinner (or for breakfast) dish is cooked first in a pan and then low broiled to finish and uses lots of great winter vegetables.
Author:
Recipe type: Winter Vegetable Breakfast (or Dinner)
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato or 2 medium.
  • ¼ cup onion divided
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • handful of rosemary minced
  • olive or canola oil
  • 2 bunches tatsoi
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 ounces chevre
  • 1 ounce of swiss cheese grated
  • fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. Grate sweet potato(es), onion and ginger together.
  2. Place in a dish towel and squeeze liquid out.
  3. Add two tablespoons of whole wheat flour and minced rosemary and mix ingredients together.
  4. Heat Cast Iron or other pan and add 4 tbs oil.
  5. When the oil is hot sprinkle the sweet potato mixture all around until it covers the bottom in a layer. (and leave it alone).
  6. In a separate smaller pan - non stick, heat up 1 tbs of oil.
  7. Large dice onions, and the stems of the tatsoi.
  8. Separately chop the tatsoi leaves.
  9. Saute the onions and stems until they start to turn translucent.
  10. Add the tatsoi leaves to the pan and let cook down - the leaves will wilt down like most greens.
  11. You may need to add a little oil to the sweet potatoes as they cook.
  12. When the potatoes seem like they've formed a crust on the bottom, using a plate, flip the potatoes over and slide it back into the pan on the other side.
  13. Pile the greens mixture on top of the sweet potatoes and using your fingers, or a spoon make little wells for eggs.
  14. Dollop chevre around the pan.
  15. Crack eggs and place them with the yolk in the center of the wells.
  16. With the oven on low broil, place the cast iron pan into the oven.
  17. The yolks will start to firm and the translucent whiltes will become opaque, you'll have to watch to make sure that you get it out of the oven on time.
  18. Sprinkle the top with grated swiss cheese and herbs (thyme, parsley, etc.)

 

Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and Cheese

December 5, 2012 - Written by Diana

Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and CheeseThis is my way of dealing with my husband’s new low sodium diet – by coming up with new ways to eat without using salt or high sodium ingredients.  Macaroni and cheese was out, because cheese has too much sodium unless it’s something a little on the bland side like lower sodium Swiss. So, I kicked it up with a Hot Sweet Pepper Relish and Kapow it was tasty without much sodium. This casserole had plenty of veggies, the creaminess of a good mac n cheese, and a nice kick to it. My husband had trouble backing away from the bowl even after eating two plates of it.

This is a much lower calorie version since we can’t use a lot of cheese, and it’s not as thick as a lot of other macaroni and cheese recipes.  I like to add a veggie to my mac and cheese too, so this one had sauteed cabbage and leeks.  I found a low sodium brown rice bread.  The bread was too dry and bland for a sandwich, but toasted, ground up and sauteed in a little butter and sprinkled on top of the macaroni and cheese, it added a nice texture and bit of crunch to the top.  Believe me, bread crumbs was a much better use of the bread than in a sandwich. The photo doesn’t show the bread crumbs, but the next time I did this – I used the bread crumbs and liked it better.  So that’s how I do it now.

Zesty Cabbage, Macaroni and Cheese
 
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This is a lower sodium, lower fat method of cooking macaroni and cheese, with a light cheese sauce and some cabbage and leeks.
Author:
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Cheese Sauce:
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 ounces chevre
  • 4-6 ounces low sodium Swiss Cheese
  • 2 tbs zesty pepper relish
  • 1 tsp stoneground mustard
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • Casserole ingredients:
  • ½ lb macaroni prepared according to box directions
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ cabbage
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1lb ground lamb
  • Crumb Topping:
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs butter
Instructions
  1. Cook ground lamb, pour off grease and let drain on paper towel.
  2. Cut the cabbage into 1 in X 1 in pieces.
  3. Dice red pepper.
  4. Dice the white part of the leek, removing the green stem and root.
  5. Saute the leek, red pepper and cabbage in olive oil, in a non-stick pan.
  6. When soft and translucent, remove to a bowl, wipe out pan and use for cheese sauce.
  7. In non-stick pan melt butter, add in the flour and combine.
  8. Add in milk and chevre whisking as it thickens.
  9. Chop swiss cheese and add to the sauce mixture, stir in zesty pepper relish, mustard, cumin and paprika.
  10. Whisk it all together.
  11. Add together the lamb/cabbage mixture, the drained pasta and the sauce and toss.
  12. Pour into a casserole dish.
  13. Melt butter and stir in bread crumbs.
  14. Sprinkle over top of the mac and cheese.
  15. Bake at 400 for 20 min or until crust is browned nicely.
Notes
I used Wishwell Farms Hot Sweet Pepper Relish in my mac and cheese, but you can take any relish and zip it up a little with some hot sauce. You can sub out a different vegetable for the cabbage. My husband and I like cooked cabbage but you can use any vegetable you like best, just make sure it's mostly cooked before adding it to the mac and cheese. I used stoneground no sodium mustard, but you can use another stoneground, or dijon mustard.

 

 

Farm Market Frittata

September 20, 2012 - Written by Diana

Eggs are a lovely protein, don’t you think?  We often turn to eggs when we want something quick and delicious for breakfast or dinner.  I made this frittata the other day using eggs, farm market veggies and a vegetarian burger(okay, it’s a Luna Burger – anything tastes good with a Luna Burger in it) crumbled up, plus some cheese.  My husband took a bite and told me it wasn’t right, because his eggs don’t taste this good, and aren’t this filling when he makes them. The end of summer is bittersweet because the fresh locally grown veggie supply starts to wane, but at the same time they have their best flavor.  Get’em while their fresh.

 

Farm Market Fritatta

Farm Market Frittata on Plate Farm Market Frittata

Farm Market Frittata
 
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Frittata made with fresh local eggs, vegetables and a vegetarian grain burger or patty.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 2 baby eggplant
  • ¼ cup crookneck squash
  • vegetarian or grain sausage patty
  • 4 small cherry tomatoes
  • shredded cheddar
  • 4 oz goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Scramble eggs with 1 tbs water, and set aside.
  2. Dice and saute in warm pan with olive oil - onions and green pepper.
  3. I used baby eggplant but didn't peel, just sliced little circles.
  4. The squash was peeled and sliced to about the same size.
  5. When the onion is almost translucent and soft, add the squash and eggplant to the onion and pepper.
  6. When the eggplant starts to soften, place the veggies in a bowl and set aside temporarily.
  7. Add a little oil to the pan and warm the vegetarian burger. Remove, break into a little smaller than bite size pieces and set aside.
  8. Swish lightly with oil, pour the eggs into the pan, let start to cook.
  9. Add in the sauteed veggies, and the tomatoes.
  10. Dollop the goat cheese into the eggs and place the pieces of vegetarian sausage in under the egg.
  11. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  12. Place pan in oven under a low broil until egg is firm and cheese is melted.
  13. Serve slices on plate and grate a little more cheese over top.
Notes
When you stick a pan in the oven under the broil, you want to make sure you won't damage any of it by sticking it under the heat. I used a low broil to make sure it doesn't quickly overcook. I protected the handle of the pan with foil to make sure it didn't burn or melt. I would not use this pan over high. If you have a cast iron skillet that would have been better.

 

Spring Blossoms & Chevre Spread for your Easter Hors D’ouevres

April 3, 2012 - Written by Diana

 

This spread is an incredibly easy, but so tasty and pretty and very springy.  My idea came from two places – one from my sister in law who uses violets on spread for crackers almost every year for Easter when the violets are in bloom.  The first time my brother in law asked if he could remove the yard from his cracker before he ate it.  The second from Hounds in the Kitchen’s Rachel who recently reposted about redbud blossoms being edible.

I didn’t have a recipe but had an idea and ran with it.  I found most of the herbs in my herb beds, nice new little leaves of thyme, mint, chives, parsley – all plants that come back every year.  The flowers were violets and redbuds .  I use the flowers out front away from the dog run, she doesn’t climb trees, so I don’t worry about that as much.  I zested lemons and limes, but I think if you used an orange it would be pleasant as well.  The combination of lime zest, and mint leaves made for a mojito cream cheese flavor on a cracker – that was my favorite.  The others with lemon zest and pretty flowers are very delicious too.  You can prepare the crackers ahead, or make a spread with the herbs, and zest and leave the flowers and mint for each person to sprinkle on top themselves. Lest you think this spread to girlie girl, my husband and son gobbled it up… all gone.


Spring Blossoms & Chevre Spread for your Easter Hors D'ouevres
 
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Using freshly picked spring blossoms and herbs, combined with Chevre (goat cheese) and grated lemon or lime zest to create a really pretty cracker spread.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 - 2 tbs Various herbs
  • -Parsley
  • -Thyme
  • -Chives
  • -Mint
  • Edible Blossoms
  • -redbud buds
  • -violets
  • Zests
  • -1 lemon
  • -1 lime
  • 8 oz Chevre (goat cheese)
Instructions
  1. Throw herbs (except Mint) into herb grinder - or magic bullet, small food grinder and mince.
  2. Add chevre to herbs and pulse together.
  3. Split the chevre/herb mixture up into half.
  4. Add lemon zest to half and lime zest to the other half and combine.
  5. If you wish to thin out the chevre a little, add a little of the juice to the spread.
  6. To the lemon zest half - sprinkle top with blossoms
  7. To the lime zest half - sprinkle top with mint and even mix a little in
Notes
You can easily substitute quark or cream cheese for chevre.

Photos by Mark Hayes  used with permission.

Chocolate Mousse with Berries – Quick Valentine’s Dessert

February 14, 2011 - Written by Diana

Here’s a Chocolate Mousse recipe that’s so quick, easy, delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day. For the Superbowl I made vegan cupcakes that were delish.  I thought the glaze tasted like pudding, but it was thick and sweet.  I took that recipe and changed it into a mousse.    This dessert is pretty fast and easy to make.

The microwave was used to melt the chocolate and goat cheese together before putting it into the magic bullet to combine it and add air (to moussify).  That’s really all it takes, pour the mousse  red raspberries and sliced strawberries in ramekins and then decoratively top with one of each and refrigerate.  This is a dessert you can make after work and cool while dinner is being devoured. I loved it and so did my husband.  One for us tonight, and another for tomorrow (no kids, oh well).

Ingredients:

Use a paper towel or cloth to drain and pat dry the tofu – blend it until smooth.  In a microwave, melt the semi-sweet chocolate for a minute, stir, place back in for another thirty seconds, stir.  Crumble in goat cheese, stir to make smooth, then place in microwave for another thirty seconds.

Pour chocolate mixture, in with the tofu, add the agave and vanilla and blend until smooth.  I used a magic bullet because it will do small amounts.  A blender would work, but may be too big for the job.

Place a couple of red raspberries on the bottom of 4 ramekins and slice one half of a strawberry for the bottom of the ramekin also.  Pour the mousse over top of the berries and place the second half  of the strawberry on top along with a red raspberry.  Cool in fridge.

Simple, Easy, Fast Delicious.

Campanelle and Pancetta in a Smoky Cheddar Goat Cheese Sauce

December 21, 2009 - Written by Diana

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I made this to go with the barbecued ribs we had for dinner the other night.  Macaroni and Cheese is a classic meal to go with barbecued ribs, but I had Smoky Cheddar Goat Cheese, so I thought I’d put in a few  little twists.  The campanelle is a nice sturdy pasta that holds cheese well and the pancetta ups the smoky factor nicely.  The Smoky Cheddar Goat Cheese looked and tasted drier than I expected, so adding a little extra milk or cream was necessary.  However, in a sauce it was terrific tasting.  The cheese is Misty Creek Goat Dairy Cheddar Goat Cheese Smoked from U.S. Wellness Meats.  I didn’t want a thick creamy sauce because I thought it would overpower the pancetta, so it was more of a light cheese sauce – at least for me. 

Misty Creek Goat Dairy Cheddar Goat Cheese Smoked Ingredients:

 

Cook up Campanelle according to box instructions, drain in colander.  In a deep pan, cook up the pancetta removing it from the pan right before it is crispy.  Add the butter to the pan and turn down the heat a little so it melts and doesn’t burn. When it is melted stir in the flour until all the liquid is absorbed, and pour in the milk and whisk until thickened.  Add in the cheese and stir until evenly melted. Add Salt and Pepper as desired.  Transfer to another pan for use in the oven, top with grated parmesan and broil for a minute.

Because this cheese is a white, and I used whole wheat flour, the sauce is a little brown looking, as opposed to a yellow cheddar sauce, but was still delicious.  I loved the extra smoky bites whenever you got a bite of pancetta.

 

I also used the Smoked Cheddar Goat Cheese for an egg dish the next day and it melted nicely in with the eggs and veggies.  This is more of a shredding cheese and melting cheese, than a cheese and cracker cheese because it’s a little dry.  Delicious in your Campanelle and Pancetta, or your egg dishes.  Great topping for potatoes or sloppy joes or cauliflower.

Sausage & Chard Crustless Quiche

August 24, 2009 - Written by Diana

Sausage & Chard Crustless Quiche I like quiches a lot, but more without the pie shell.  I’m that way with pies too, I like the insides the most. This was our breakfast this morning.  I used some herb garden chevre in it that we got from the cheese guy at the farmer’s market and some gouda (because it’s good-er that way). Quiches are fun because you can change it up a little – put in a different meat, or a different cheese, use some other veggies and it changes the taste for a whole new type of quiche. 

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Instead of butter, I used an olive oil spray and sprayed a glass pan.  Spray a frying pan with olive oil, tear up chard and sauté the chard and shallots together until wilted.  Take off the heat.  Throw in the crumbled turkey sausage and the chevre.  In a bowl, beat the eggs and the evaporated milk together.  Stir in the sausage chard mixture, add in the gouda, salt and pepper.  Pour into the glass pan and bake in the oven until the egg is cooked through. I think it took 20 – 30 minutes, but my pan was oval and not round, so the mixture spread out more. If you are using a glass pie pan, you might need to cook it a little longer.