Greeting on another beautiful morning! As of this writing, the sun is shining down and it sure feels good; I heard that it was supposed to rain though. Have you noticed how deliciously tender the kale has been? It is becoming a daily part of my life: breakfast, lunch, and dinner - I am enjoying every morsel! Autumn is circling around us now, the air is definitely cooler and soup-making is in the air. I am going to dig through my fridge this morning and create a pot of hearty, healthy deliciousness. Maybe a white bean kale soup with lots of extra veggies. Hope you all find the time to get a pot on the stove and enjoy the goodness too. Blessings of Autumnal joy to all of you, Rebecca
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pear-ripening tip.
Debbie here again - the Warren pears you're getting in the Extra Fruit option are still hard when you get them. This is normal; pears are picked hard and ripened off the tree in our walk-in cooler - they need a period of chill time to ripen properly - and only brought out of the cooler for delivery to you or to farmers markets. After the 'chill' period, they will ripen when brought to room temperature. To expedite that process, put your hard pears in a brown paper bag with an apple; the apple will give off ethylene gas and help the pears to ripen more quickly.
Check on them daily; when there's a little give to the flesh they are ready to eat! Note that the skins remain relatively green even when fully ripe (they don't yellow up like Bartlett pears), so don't let that throw you. Right now, they'll probably take at least 3 days, but as fall/winter progresses, they'll continue to ripen slowly in the farm's cooler and so will take proportionally less time to ripen at home!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SAVORY "MAKI-SUSHI"-STYLE CABBAGE ROLL
Serves 4-6For the roll
1 small cabbage
4 large potatoes
3 pats* butter (about 1 tbsp.)
8 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. spinach or other greens of choice
1 large carrot
sea saltFor the sauce
half a lemon
4 tbsp. olive oil
*[a pat is about a teaspoon of butter sez Rebecca; I'm not capable of using butter in such small amounts, so I'd use a tablespoon per 'pat' myself, but Rebecca and I both agree: either way is fine ;-) - Debbie]
1. Remove the tougher outer leaves from the cabbage, if necessary, then wash and blanch the remaining leaves in boiling water. Drain well and arrange them in layers, forming a rectangle.
2. Boil the potatoes, press them through a potato ricer (or mash them), then put in a saucepan with 1 1/2 pats of butter. Season with salt and reduce the puree over low heat. Add some parmesan, a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg and an egg and stir until well blended.
3. Blanch the spinach or other greens for a few minutes, until tender. Dry out over a gentle heat with the remaining butter.
4. Boil the carrot whole in a little water (or steam) until al-dente but pierce-able with a sharp knife tip, then set aside.
5. Spread the potato puree evenly over the rectangle of cabbage leaves leaving a margin exposed; spread the greens on top of the potatoes, then finish off with the whole carrot. Wrap the cabbage leaves around the filling in the shape of a log roll like you would when making maki-style sushi, then wrap in a sheet of plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to become firm.
6. Remove the roll from the refrigerator, remove the plastic, and slice crosswise into 1-inch (or so) thick slices; dress with lemon juice and salt.
7. Sometimes I roast garlic and mash it into the potatoes for extra flavor.EGGPLANT ROULADES with RAISINS and PINE NUTS
1 large eggplant
2-3 summer squash
4 sweet peppers
6 tbsp. raisins
5 tbsp. pine nuts
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
sea salt and pepper
1. Put raisins in boiling water to soak. In the meantime, clean and cut the peppers in half, removing the stems, seeds, and the white ribs inside, and wash, trim and cut the squash in half lengthwise.
2. Cut the peppers and the squash into thin matchsticks and put into a bowl.
3. Wash and peel (optional) the eggplant and cut it into very thin slices then brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Warm up a cast iron griddle (or any heavy skillet). When hot, place the eggplant slices on it, turning to cook on both sides. Once cooked, place on a tray.
5. Saute the garlic in a pan with some oil; add the matchsticked sweet pepper and squash and cook for 3-4 minutes over a high flame. Add salt and pepper, together with the pine nuts and the softened raisins. Stir the mixture until well blended and cook for another 4 minutes, mixing in some of the finely chopped chives at the end. Remove from the heat and put aside.
6. Lay the eggplant slices on a work surface and spread each with about a tbsp. of the cooked vegetable mixture. Roll up the slices, forming roulades (spiral rolls), and arrange on a platter. Scatter roulades with remaining chopped chives and serve immediately.LATE SUMMER HARVEST SOUP
Transform summer's bounty into this incredibly beautiful soup with bursts of sweet peppers drifting in a pale amber broth. Be sure to pay attention to the cooking time for each vegetable and add fresh herbs at the last minute so they retain their vibrant colors. If you are missing a vegetable or two, don't worry. While the soup tastes best on the day its made, if you need to make it in advance, reduce the cooking times some so the vegetables don't overcook when reheated. Then add some tomatoes and herbs just before serving.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large leek, both white and green parts, well rinsed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C dry white wine
7 C stock
3 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3/4 C )
1/2 C trimmed and sliced green beans
1 C diced squash
1/2 C fresh corn kernels
2 C diced dry-farmed tomatoes
1 tbsp. coarsely chopped basil
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 C chopped flat-leafed parsley
sea salt and pepper
freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add the leek, fennel, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the carrots and green beans and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the squash and corn and simmer just until the vegetables are tender, about another 5 minutes -- do not overcook or the bright vegetable colors will be lost.
4. Lastly, add the tomatoes, basil, thyme and parsley and let simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf and serve immediately, garnished with ribbons of Parmesan cheese or a dollop of pesto, if desired.APPLE-NUT PANCAKES
makes about 12 pancakesBasic Whole-Wheat Pancake Mix
(combine these ingredients)
2 C less 2 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp. dry sweetener
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powderPancakes
3 crisp apples, cored, peeled (optional), and thinly sliced
3/4 C toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped, with some reserved for garnish
2 large eggs
1 C buttermilk, or more if desired (a good substitute for buttermilk, if you don't have it, is to sour some regular milk by stirring about 1 tbsp. vinegar into 1 C of milk and letting it sit for at least 30 minutes before using)
4 tbsp. (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted, or 4 tbsp. oil
2 C basic pancake mix, above
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
oil for brushing the griddle
confectioner's sugar for dusting the pancakes (optional)
pure maple syrup, warmed
1. Place the sliced apples and chopped walnuts close to the griddle for easy reach.
2. Place the eggs, milk, and butter in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
3. Combine pancake mix and cinnamon in a medium size bowl and whisk to blend well. Add the egg mixture in a slow stream, stirring constantly until just blend; do not over mix or the pancakes will be tough. If you prefer thinner pancakes, increase buttermilk by half a cup.
4. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat until a few drops of water sizzle when splashed on the surface.
5. Brush some oil on the hot griddle. Working in batches if needed, spoon batter onto the griddle to form pancakes that are about 4 inches in diameter. Arrange slices of apple and a sprinkling of nuts on each pancake while still liquid. Cook pancakes until small bubbles begin to form in the batter, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
6. Carefully flip pancakes over and cook until the other side is brown, another minute or two.
7. Transfer pancakes to a warmed platter and garnish with the reserved walnuts; dust with confectioner's sugar if desired. Serve the pancakes immediately with warmed maple syrup.APPLE-BRAN MUFFINS
Makes 15 muffins
A healthy muffin that's also moist and tasty is hard to come by, but this one fits the bill. Tidbits of apple make the muffins naturally sweet and delectable, while the low-fat ingredients help keep the calorie count down. Bran is nutritious, but most bran muffins are heavy and dense. These, however, are surprisingly light and tender. If you are tempted to indulge a bit, sprinkle them with a little cinnamon-sugar for a pleasant crunch.
2 1/4 C wheat bran
2 C milk or milk substitute
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
butter for greasing the muffin tins (if not using liners)
2 C whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus 1 tsp. ground cinnamon for the topping
2 large eggs
1/3 C oil of choice
1/3 C applesauce [use your own homemade applesauce
or see recipe below - Debbie]
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 small apples, peeled (optional), cored, and cut into quarter-inch dice (about 1 C)
1/3 C granulated sugar (optional)
1. Place the wheat bran, yogurt, and milk in a large bowl and stir to combine. Let mixture sit at room temperature until bran softens, about 30 minutes.
2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 15 standard muffin cups or use liners.
3. Place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Combine eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until completely blended. Add egg mixture to the bran mixture and continue to stir.
5. Add the bran-applesauce mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just barely combined (do not over-mix or muffins will be tough). Fold in the apples. Spoon batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost to the brim.
6. To make cinnamon-sugar topping, if using, combine the granulated sugar and remaining 1 tsp. of cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about 1 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
7. Bake muffins until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.
8. Place the muffins on a wire rack and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and serve warm. The muffins taste best the day they are made. If necessary, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.WARM and ROSY APPLESAUCE
The quality and freshness of the apples you select will determine the final flavor of the applesauce. You might want to stir in a spoonful or two of maple syrup or brown sugar depending on the sweetness you desire. I like the natural sweetness of the apples without any sweetener.
2 lbs. apples, washed thouroughly, (peeled optional)
1 cinnamon stick
sugar or maple syrup (optional)
1. Quarter and core apples, then cut quarters into thin wedges.
2. Place cut up apples and cinnamon stick in a large wide saucepan; add 1/4 C water. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples are soft, about 25 minutes.
3. Cool the apples slightly; remove the cinnamon stick and set aside. You can run the apples through a food mill to get the skins out, or just mash them skins and all to your desired consistency. Taste and add sweetener if so desired. Sometimes I squeeze in a little lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.CARROT DATE SQUARES
Makes 1 large pan.
These are sensational. Make them in a smaller, deeper pan if you like a cakier texture.
6 tbsp. melted butter
1 C flour of choice
1 C sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 C plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C shredded carrots
1/2 C coarsely chopped dates
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 11-by-14-inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sweetener, baking soda, and salt. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and blend thoroughly. Gradually stir in the melted butter. Add egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Blend well.
2. Stir in the carrots and dates and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool briefly a rack and cut into squares; serve warm or cool.CHICKEN and BROCCOLI STIR-FRY with CASHEWS
The sauce is thickened with kudzu root, which is an anti-cancer plant that is a lot more desirable than the cornstarch of questionable quality found in most carry-out fare. Plus, the blend of tamari, lime juice, ginger, and a maple syrup in the sauce is so delicious that you'll be able to take that Chinese restaurant off the speed dial!
1/2 tsp. sea salt
juice from one lime (about 2 tbsp.)
4 organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (you can substitute an equivalent amount of tofu or tempeh)
2 tsp. kudzu (found in health food stores)
1/4 C cold water
1/2 C tamari
another 1/4 C water
6 tbsp. maple syrup
another 2 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. brown rice vinegar
3 tsp. minced garlic, divided
3 tsp. minced fresh ginger, divided
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 lb. broccoli
2 tbsp. light sesame oil
1/2 C cashews
1. Stir the lime juice and salt together. Add chicken and marinate for 20 minute in the refrigerator.
2. Whisk the kudzu with the 1/4 C cold water until completely dissolved, making a slurry.
3. Combine the tamari, other 1/4 C water, maple syrup, other lime juice, vinegar, 2 tsp. of the garlic, 2 tsp. of the ginger, plus the cayenne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken and is reduced in volume by a third, about 4 minutes. Stir in the kudzu slurry while whisking continuously to thicken more, then stir in the toasted sesame oil and remove from the heat.
4. Meanwhile cut the broccoli florets into bite-size pieces. Trim and peel the stems and cut them into bite-size pieces as well, keeping them separate from the florets.
5. Heat a wok or large, heavy-bottomed saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the light sesame oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the remaining 1 tsp. each of garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic. Stir in the chicken and toss constantly for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli stalks and stir-fry until bright green, then add the florets and continue stir-frying until bright and vibrant, about 2 more minutes. Pour in the sauce and stir-fry for another 30 seconds, tossing constantly.
6. Serve immediately, garnished with cashews.SPICY CREOLE GUMBO with COLLARDS
1 bunch collards, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 sweet pepper, chopped
3/4 C thinly sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. file powder (optional)
6 C stock
sea salt and pepper
1 C cooked kidney beans
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1. Cook the collards in a pot of boiling water until just tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, and file powder (if using). Add the stock, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the reserved collards, beans, and Tobasco. Taste to adjust seasoning and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer.
4. The collards are cooked separately to prevent any of their bitterness from finding their way into the gumbo. The optional file powder (ground sassafras leaves) is worth locating; it lends an authentic flavor to the gumbo. Look for it at gourmet grocers and larger supermarkets or at a health food store. [Or try Penzey's Spices
, in Menlo Park - they will mail-order if you're not in the neighborhood! - Debbie]