Friday, December 31, 2010

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

The author and her three crazy cousins in Orlando

You say goodbye, I say hello... hello, hello.... One of the simplest (lyrics-wise) Beatles songs there is. If you think about it, it has a whole lot to say, however. I could do a round-up this New Year's Eve of my favorite blog posts (I''ll include some), but I do enjoy sharing a little bit of my life here as well.

The photo above is one of my three cousins (well, they're more like little brothers to me and my actual brother, Rob). We took that in Disney World back in March where I was lucky enough to spend a weekend catching up with them and reconnecting. It would be eight months later we all were together again to say goodbye to their dad and my uncle.

This year, for me, has been about re-evaluation in so many ways. The four young people in that photo above have learned more than ever, that staying in touch and saying "I love you" to those you hold dear is more important than ever. A month after losing my uncle to cancer, we lost a dear family friend who was like a second mother to my brother and I. Another sad lesson in making sure you live for the now, the moment, and in the present.

The author on her first trip to Seattle
It was very easy to get lost in a whole lot of sadness this year, but family and friends, they pull you through. So on the eve of 2011, we look forward. We're planning trips together, trips to see each other, to remember those we've lost and celebrate those we have yet to meet.

This blog has been a huge difference in my life in the past six months. I've met people and been part of things I never would have dreamed I would have the opportunity to take part in, and 2011 will only bring more of those experiences. I've made new friends in the process who are amazing people. This blog has me looking towards the future and opportunities I have never even dreamed of.

For those who read this every week, I toast you today and thank you for being a part of this journey. I hope my posts in 2011 get you thinking a little more, cooking a little more, and tasting all the parts of life a little more.

I do make resolutions every year. I think they allow me to enter the New Year with goals, whether I accomplish them or not.

I resolve this year to be happier, whatever it takes. I resolve this year to be healthier. I resolve this year to draw my family and friends closer and keep them there. I resolve to get those little parts of "me" back that I may have lost throughout the years. I resolve to make a plan for the future, and capitalize on the things I dream about. I resolve to do all these things, because I deserve them, and my family and friends deserve the best "me" in their lives.

I promised you food, and here you go. While this blog has been around in some form or another since January 2008, it only really found its focus this past May. That focus is celebrating local eating in a sensible, but not overwhelming way. I still want to teach people that you don't have to go out of your way to eat locally and mindfully. Baby steps towards a larger goal of better food. Here are some of my favorites in case you missed them early on.

Thank you again for reading and I can't wait for more food adventures in 2011!

Corn and Blueberry Muffin Pies

Corn and Blueberry Muffin Pies
Honey Whole Wheat Apple and Cheddar Muffins
Peach and Cardamon Crisp
Pumpkin Risotto
Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
Sage and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Peaches
Summer Bounty Bacon Lasagna
Snickerdoodle-Eggnog Cookie Pies
Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

Goodbye 2010. Hello 2011 from New England!

Casco Bay, Maine
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Havarti Chicken Chili

I'll be honest, some food, well, it just doesn't photograph well. This chili is one of those dishes. I promise you, however, that it is extremely tasty and probably one of the easiest things you'll ever put together. It's perfect for this week after Christmas. Your motivation is shot (like mine), you have a to-do list that's growing (got one of those too), and you'd rather curl up in a blanket, sip some wine and emerge in the new year, fabulous and ready to take on the world (right?). This dish is your friend for such a week.

Another plus to this chili is that it's made up of almost entirely pantry ingredients. Pick up a rotisserarie chicken (or take out the leftovers from a roast) and pick up a block of good Havarti cheese and you're good to go. Oh, and did I mention it's a crock pot recipe? Even better, you can throw all this stuff into the pot, give it a stir and let it cook away until you'll ready to eat. I found this recipe last year sometime, and it's been in winter rotation since.

I'm lucky enough that my local farm actually sells local rotisserie chicken (how fabulous is that?). The rest of the jarred/canned ingredients are usually things I try to avoid, but contrary to popular belief you can find natural varieties of jarred salsa (please don't use fresh in this, it doesn't turn out well) and the canned beans (I found a natural kind at my regular supermarket). You CAN use light Havarti cheese here if you'd like. I've found the Trader Joe's Light Havarti works well. You might just get some clumps of cheese at the end because light cheese, in general, doesn't melt as well as full-fat. Top it all off with some yummy sour cream and some tortilla chips and you're good to go!

Havarti Chicken Chili
Source: Wine a bit... you'll feel better
Serves: 6-8

1-2 pounds of cooked chicken (the meat from one small rotisserie chicken works well here)
1 16-ounce jar of salsa (not fresh, that doesn't work here)
1 48-ounce can of Great Northern Beans (do NOT drain them)
8-ounce package of Havarti cheese (plus extra for topping), shredded (melts better)
2 teaspoons cumin

Mix all your ingredients together in the crock pot. Give them all a stir so everything is coated in everything else. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve with your tortilla chips, sour cream and some extra cheese. One more great thing about this recipe, it re-heats very well! Pin It

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nutella Sea Salt Fudge, Chocolate Rolo Cookies and Chocolate Kissed Prezels, Oh MY!

Merry Christmas Eve to all those who celebrate it! For all of you who don't know, my day job is being a television news producer in Boston. Other than the husband, my dear co-workers help me test all my products out. Truth be told, they get my baked goods because I cannot have them sitting in the house, looking at me. 
I am so lucky to have a staff of amazingly talents producers and writers than I'm honored to work beside each and every night. I wanted to thank them in some small way. I decided to give them the gift of sweets this holiday season. I also wanted to try out some new recipes I had stumbled across in my trusty Google Reader. 

Now, before I continue on this Christmas Eve, I would like a moment to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. Whatever it is you celebrate (or don't), I hope you're happy and healthy and with friends and family. Since starting this journey on this blog, I've met some amazing people and have touched a lot of people I still have had yet to meet. I hope you enjoy this little corner of my life, I certainly enjoy bringing it to you!

Now, to food: All three of these lovely treats were a favorite of someone in the newsroom at some point or another last night. I promised I'd post all the links (and my thoughts) to the recipes because they really are fabulous. While you check these beyond yummy recipes out, also check out the blogs they're attached to, there's some amazing work in the below sites, and they'll leave you hungry. Let's start with that Nutella Sea Salt Fudge you see above. 

Nutella Sea Salt Fudge

I found this little gem on the great blog "Cookin Canuck: Nutella Sea Salt Fudge". Dara is the author of the site, a mom of two cute boys, and very talented in the kitchen. She wasn't kidding when she said this comes together easily and is super impressive. Just leave yourself enough time (about 2 hours) for the fudge to cool in the fridge. I doubled the recipe and poured into a 9x13 baking dish which worked perfectly. Do NOT skip the parchment paper step, it makes this all SO much easier. Do not walk, but RUN, to the store to get everything you need for this recipe.

Chocolate Rolo Cookies

I love me some Rolos. Seriously, ask the husband. When we head north (to Canada) to visit family and friends, I buy anything Rolo related (especially the ice cream). Yes, you can get those chocolate/caramel pieces of heaven in the U.S., they just don't put it into all kinds of treats here like they do in Canada (and don't get me started on the lack of Coffee Crisps down here). I digress. After a bite into one of these cookies, my anchor proclaimed, "That might be the best cookie I've ever had". I can't disagree, it's up there. You bite into what you think is a chocolate cookie to get the Rolo surprise in the middle. 

I found this recipe on "Two Peas and their Pod: Rolo Cookies". The blog is about the cooking adventures of Utah couple, Maria and Josh. I have a TON of their recipes bookmarked. Check the site out and I'm sure you'll do the same. 

The only thing I'll add to this recipe is that it's TOTALLY adaptable. I used mostly Rolos in the middle, but also did a batch with Peppermint Patties and Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. All three came out amazing. The husband especially liked the Reese's one. My biggest hint with these cookies is to completely cover the candy with the dough. You get a larger sized cookie with this recipe, and hey, it's the holidays - that's OK. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk please!

Chocolate Kissed Pretzels (or Rolo Pretzels)
Chances are you've come across these in the past. A LOT of people make some variation of these sweet treats. It's totally understandable too because they're super easy and basic and totally yummy.

All you need is:
- Bag of small pretzels, preferably the small rings, but I couldn't find them, so I went with mini regular ones 
- Bag o' Hershey Kisses (or Rolos again if you'd like)
- Bag o' M&M's (totally optional)

Get that oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (which, by the way, is NOT wax paper. Don't put wax paper in the oven, it burns and smells awful). Now place as many pretzels as you need or want on that lined baking sheet. Place a Hershey Kiss (or Rolo, or any small candy really) on each pretzel. Pop them in the oven for 2 minutes until soft, but keeping their "kiss" shape. Take those yummies out of the oven, press a little M&M into each and throw them in the fridge to harden up. Once they've cooled, you can pretty much throw them into any kind of container you'd like and they'll last for a week or so (but I highly doubt you won't eat them by then).
Happy Holidays to you all!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter CSA Cooking: Holiday Scalloped Potatoes

It's very easy this time of year to get caught up in the business of the holidays. You search for that perfect gift, shopping hastily and wrapping even more so. It's easy to forget that simple moments with your family (whatever form that takes) is the real reason the holidays can be so magical. 

We've had a rough few months in our family. We lost two very close family members to cancer within the past month or so, one just last week. I debated sharing this, but I think it's a good reminder of what's important in life, especially during this season. You would think because of such a great loss the holidays would be muted this year. They are definitely more understated but still as joyous. The two loved ones we lost, they loved Christmastime. They would want us to toast them and celebrate with one another. We did, and it was seriously heart-warming.

Gordie and Gabbie would like to say Happy Holidays!
We had my side of the family's Christmas a little early this year. My dad lives in Dallas and he flew up here to celebrate with us this weekend. So in our little Newburyport bungalow - my dad, my mom, my husband, brother and uncle all gathered for some holiday cheer this past weekend. I took to the task of cooking the feast, while my amazing husband readied the house for our guests. I looked to the bounty I had stocked up from my Winter CSA share at Heron Pond Farm for my cue of what to serve with the gorgeous beef roast we were having.

I'll be sharing a few recipes from our early Christmas feast in the hopes if you're undecided on what to put on your table this coming weekend, maybe something I put in here might just help you decide. Today's offering is Cooks Illustrated's Holiday Scalloped Potatoes. Now I put this disclaimer in quite a bit - "lighter" in this blog's title doesn't necessarily mean "low-calorie or low-fat". Some of these recipes are quite healthy, but some, are the exact opposite. Lighter in this blog's case tends to mean a "lighter attitude" towards a local eating style. This next dish, well, there's a reason you only bring it out at the holidays. 

Holiday Scalloped Potatoes
Serves: 8-10

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 cups heavy cream 
1 cup whole milk
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons table ssalt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pounds russet potatoes (I used whatever mix I had from the farm), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick
slices (use a food processor with slicing attachment if you have one, makes this all so much quicker!)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces, I used Cabot's Extra Sharp)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven oven medium heat until foaming subsides, about a minute. Add onion and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so until you can smell it. Add cream, milk, thyme, bay leaves, salt pepper and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, adjusting heat as necessary to get a light simmer until potatoes are almost tender. This all takes about 15 minutes. 

Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Pour potato mixture into a large au gratin dish (in my case a 9x13 pyrex baking dish was just fine). Sprinkle the top with all your cheese and then put into the oven and bake until cream has thickened and top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving and enjoy!

(Note - if you want to slice up your potatoes in advance, put them into a large bowl with the cream and the milk in the fridge, that will prevent them from discoloring. )

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dorie Greenspan's Swedish Apple Cake and a Holiday Potluck

I've been very lucky since I've started this blog to meet some really amazing people. The food blogging community is quite a special thing. Yes, there's sometimes competition, but it's mostly friendly. Honestly, it's one of the most supportive communities I've ever encountered. Food bloggers cheer each other on and give pats on the back when someone succeeds. Just like every other community, we celebrate around the holidays with one another.

As you all know by now, I live on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The food blogging community up here is a talented and very supportive bunch. So when Kristen of North Shore Dish gracefully offered up her home for a North Shore Food Blogger Holiday Potluck, I was really excited. Too often in the world of food blogging do you converse for months on end on twitter, through comments and Facebook; but life is busy, and you don't get to put a real, actual face to a name. This lovely "smorgasbord" event was an awesome chance to do that.

Everyone was asked to "take a cue from the Swedes" and bring a dish to the event. The dishes ran the gamut from Guatemalan meatballs, to meatballs of the Swedish variety, to avocado-crab soup, to a bouche de noel. All were amazing, as we're the spirits we cheers'd each other with. I'll leave the listing of the amazing folks who I got to spend a wonderful evening with to someone else, since with my brain, I'm liable to forget someone and be sad about that. You all know who you are, it was amazing spending time with you, and I hope we can do it again soon.

This Swedish Apple Cake was my offering to the table. Be warned, it's sweet and rich, but isn't that just perfect for the holidays? It's also super easy to throw together and looks amazing. This technically could be a Winter CSA post as well, because I still have a store of apples I've picked up from over the weeks as part of my share. I found the recipe on who found it on Serious Eats, but it all can me traced back to the amazing Dorie Greenspan. Enjoy!

Dorie Greenspan's Swedish Apple Cake
Serves: 8-10

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 extra-large egg or 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you should have about a 1/2 cup of melted butter)
1 to 1 1/2 apples, peeled and sliced
apple or apricot jam, for glazing the cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking, powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla and sugar until pale and smooth. Add the cooled melted butter and beat until smooth and shiny. Add the flour mixture, and mix with a spatula until everything in combined.

Scrape into a buttered 9-inch springform pan. You can use a pie dish or cake pan as well but it can be difficult to get the finished cake out of the pan without cracking it.

Top the batter with your apple slices and bake about 35 minutes or until the top is browned and the apples are tender.

Heat up a bit of the apple or apricot jam or jelly in a saucepan until liquid, adding some water if necessary. Brush glaze over the top of the cake and enjoy! Pin It

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boston Brunchers: KO Catering and Pies

Fantastic Sausage Rolls

Those are sausage rolls and they're amazing. My several years long search for such a thing has ended at KO Catering and Pies in South Boston. There's a bakery in a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. that my husband (then boyfriend or fiance) used to stop at and pick us up a few. I haven't been able to find something similar until now.

I was lucky enough to join Katie, Renee, Daisy, Athena, Elizabeth, Jason, and Rachel at KO Catering and Pies as part of our Boston Brunchers group. Basically, every month a few of Boston's (and New England's) brunches take part in some tasty breakfast somewhere in the Boston area.

This morning, it was "brekky" as KO Catering and Pies likes to put it. The shop is on A Street in South Boston, but the Australian meat pie company will soon be taking to the streets of Boston in their new food truck. Theirs will certainly be one I hunt down religiously when I'm in the city.

Yummy meat pies!

Their shop in South Boston is cozy and perfect for striking up a conversation with another random meat-pie lover. Their main business, however, is "take-away" of their awesome meat pies and sausage rolls.

Cute re-heating instructions
The Boston Brunchers were not going to miss an opportunity to take home some tasty morsels from out of the case. I took home an Irish Beef Stew and a Classic Meat and Cheese. You even get a little card to take home telling you how to properly heat up your meat pie. You want to do it in the oven, because as our gracious hostess Kara told us, there's no artificial anything in their products so some of the flavor and freshness would be lost if you heated it up in the microwave. Let's just say, the husband and I have tried both pies at this point and both were fabulous and comforting treats!

Corn Fritters with Avocado and Bacon
Back to "brekky", however, since that is what KO Catering and Pies was hosting us for! I chose the Corn Fritters with Avocado and Bacon. The fritters were perfect, light, yet substantial and filling. The avocado and greens salad on the side was a great accompaniment . The bacon was a real surprise. It was, thick, well-seasoned and done perfectly, crispy, but not burnt. The combination was a pure winner.

Katie's Croque Madame

I'd be remiss if I didn't include a description of my table-mate Katie's Croque Madame. It's provolone and ham sandwiched between two large pieces of sourdough bread with a perfectly done egg on the top. Seriously, it's beautiful and according to Katie, it was tasty as well!

Sourdough with vegemite
We actually started our breakfast with some amazing toasted sourdough bread spread with an Australian favorite, Vegemite. It's description is an "enriched yeast spread". I'm going to say that description doesn't do it justice. It almost has a meaty flavor and is very salty. It's good on top of sourdough but certainly is an acquired taste for most.

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
Now, I didn't have a bite of this, but it looked fantastic. It's a sticky date bread with butterscotch sauce. It's served with vanilla ice cream and from the looks on the faces of those who tried it, it was very good.  

I had a great time and a great "brekky" at KO Catering and Pies with the Boston Brunchers crew. A huge thank you to KO Catering and Pies for hosting us for the morning! KO Catering and Pies on Urbanspoon
The Boston Brunchers!
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snickerdoodle-Eggnog Cookie Pies

"Some people have a very personal reaction to eggnog."

This is my disclaimer as people approached my desk to see what my little container held this week. You see, just like the husband is my guinea pig for my creations, my workplace is the same, just on a bigger scale. My co-workers know when they see a little plastic container or a plate on my desk, treats are in store for them. 

The treat du jour? It's the "Snicker-Nog Cookie Pie". Yes, I gave it a cute nickname, sue me. I wasn't kidding about the disclaimer, either. Some people, do indeed, have a violent reaction to the idea of eggnog. Some people, like me, love the stuff and find ways to use it everything (hello, cream replacement in my morning coffee). Others won't touch the stuff, even if you do load it with copious amounts of alcohol. 

Fear not, nog haters, even you can appreciate this recipe (well, at least the non-nog lovers at my place of employment were a-ok with this one). You see, I was thinking about where I wanted to start with egg nog and baking when the lovely snickerdoodle came to mind. I love those cinnamon-sweet cookies. So, I wanted snickerdoodles, but I thought their spiciness would pair lovely with the eggnog, especially in a frosting form. Boom, it was on.

This recipe is part of Pretty Mommy's Holiday Recipe Exchange. You may remember my Corn, Leeks and Potatoes Two Ways post for Pretty Mommy's Fall Recipe Exchange. Well, the first exchange went so smashingly, a holiday version was born. 

Disclaimer: As sometimes happens on this blog, this recipe is neither lighter nor local. It just tastes good.

Snickerdoodle-Eggnog Cookie Pies (or Snicker-Nog Cookie Pies)

Makes: 15 cakes (with leftover frosting)
Cookie Recipe from Cooking Light
Frosting Recipe adapted from Beantown Baker (originally Cooks Illustrated 1997)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (187.5 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
For cookie coating
1/3  cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg. 
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife or weigh. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls (does seem crumbly sometimes, it's fine). 
Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Back at 400 for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Remove from pans, cool on wire rack.

Now while those cookies are a-coolin', you're going to make the frosting.

Eggnog Frosting
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (10 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons eggnog (I enjoy the stronger Hood Golden Eggnog variety)

In a standing mixer (with a whisk or paddle attachment, I always use the paddle), beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Add confectioners' sugar and salt, beat at medium-low speed, until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined about 15 seconds.

Now add your vanilla and rum extracts, your cinnamon and nutmeg, and finally your eggnog. Beat the mixture on medium speed, about 10 seconds until everything is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy (about 4 minutes), stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during that time. 

So you've got your frosting and your cookies done. Now simply take a spoonful of frosting, place it in the middle of a cookie and squish that frosting down with another cookie. If you'd like, roll the sides of the cookie pie (the frosting) in sprinkles or decorative candy for a pretty little effect.

You will have some frosting leftover. You can either make another batch of cookies or eat it straight, totally up to you! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter CSA Cooking: Squash Couscous Cakes over Kale

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm getting kind of sick of squash. Let me tell you, I love the stuff, but I do think I've eaten enough of it this fall so that I may be turning orange. I shouldn't be sick of it. It's good for you, versatile, and can hold up an entire meal on its own. This year, so far, I've made soups, salad, pasta and a thousand sides with the gourds. I've been warned about hitting this point in your Winter CSA. There is a lot of squash and a lot of kale. Luckily, I love both, but sometimes, it's time for a break.

I could just stop, but I'm not a waster. In the big bowl on my kitchen counter there are several butternuts and a couple of other winter squashes that are staring me down. They will be prepared in some fashion or another. It was time to get a little bit creative for two reasons. The first is that I really didn't have a whole lot of food other than produce in the house. Second, I needed to do something new with the squash. So I stared into the depths of the pantry for a while to figure out with what I could pair a lonely acorn squash.

The homely and simply little couscous cake was born. A box of whole wheat couscous, some roasted squash and some cheddar cheese came together for this one. It's a cheap meal, but filling and a great lunch you could have at home or on the go.

Squash Couscous Cakes over Kale
Serves: 4

1 acorn squash (any kind will do)
2 cups prepared whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 bunch kale, leafs cut from stems and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

First set your oven to 350 degrees. Cut that squash in half, scoop out the seeds and the stringy parts. Place halves face-down in a baking dish coated in cooking spray and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes until fork-tender. Scoop squash flesh out of each of the halves and set aside.

While your squash is roasting, prepare your couscous according to the directions (I made enough for two cups worth, or two servings this recipe calls for). Once done, set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine squash, couscous, cheddar, onion, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Once combined, add slightly beaten egg and stir to coat the mixture. In a large skillet, heat 1.5 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Form mixture into small cakes and fry in heated oil on each side about 5-7 minutes until each side is browned. Transfer to a plate, cover to keep warm and set aside.

In that same skillet, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale to the skillet, salt and pepper and cook until kale cooks down a little bit, but is still slightly crunchy.

Serve cakes over kale and enjoy! Pin It

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter CSA Cooking: Cider-Glazed Carrots

Sometimes simple is best. After a week of being pretty much couch or bed-bound, I wasn't going to get into anything fancy this Sunday night. Usually, I like to try my hand at something new on a quiet end-of-the-weekend evening, but I just didn't have the gumption to forge on. This isn't always a bad thing, however. We had a nice little frozen turkey pot pie from one of our local farms, and I had lots of potatoes and lots of carrots.

It's chilly in New England now. The heat is finally always needed and the heavier coats of winter have made their first appearance. Pot pie, cheddar smashed potatoes and glazed carrots sounds comforting and a simple Sunday supper. The cider-glazed carrots are a side that's always welcome in our house. Carrots from my winter CSA share from Heron Pond Farm are wonderfully sweet right now so this recipe is an easy progression from their natural state. Enjoy!

Cider-Glazed Carrots
Serves 4

1 pound of carrots, washed, trimmed, peeled and slice
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup water

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the 2.5 tablespoons of butter. When melted, add in brown sugar, stirring to combine the mixture. At this point, you can add your carrots to the pan, turning to coat them in the butter and sugar mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and add you cider and water. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then back down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until your carrots are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve hot! Pin It

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter CSA Cooking: Cabot's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Hello faithful and new readers! I'm sorry for the bit of a break this week. The flu and cold fairy decided she'd make a stop at my house this week. The only gourmet thing I've been making every night is TheraFlu (which, by the way, does not compare to NeoCitran, right Canadian readers? NeoCitran is awesome). Although a cough has stayed with me, I finally had enough energy to whip up a simple, easy, hearty soup for a chilly New England day.

I had luck in having everything to make this because of two reasons: One, the broccoli from my Heron Pond Farm Winter CSA share was still in awesome shape after about a week in my crisper. I'm telling you people, you buy local, you have so much more time to use produce AND it still tastes amazing after some time in the fridge. Two, I was lucky enough to win blocks of Cabot Extra Sharp, Seriously Sharp, Racers' Edge and Reduced Fat cheddar and a cute little cutting board from Cabot and New England through a Yummy Mommy's Eyes. Please check out Michele's blog, she has some awesome stuff there and the cutest bunch! I've sung Cabot's praises on this blog before, their products are top notch and I love the Vermont dairy farmers they support.

On a side note - I was psyched to see my Pumpkin Roll with Ginger Cream Cheese Filling on Foodbuzz's Top 9 this week! Foodbuzz is the lovely company that places those ads on the side of my site. They pick 9 great recipes and food photos a day out of all of the submissions they get in 24 hours. It's a cool little accomplishment and if you're reading my blog because you found it through the Top 9 this week, welcome!!

Cabot's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Source: Cabot Cheese
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons Cabot Salted Butter (I only had the unsalted Cabot, so I added a teaspoon of salt)
2 cups peeled and diced boiling potatoes (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can chicken broth (14.5 ounces)
2 cups milk
3 cups broccoli (chopped florets and thinly sliced stems)
8 ounces Cabot Sharp or Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (omitted, since I was out of lemon)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional and added to the Cabot recipe)

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt butter (and a teaspoon of salt if you're using unsalted butter) over medium heat. Add potatoes and onion and stir until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and cook, stir for 2 minutes longer. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and stir in cheese. Add smoked paprika and lemon juice if using and finally, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crusty bread or crispy crackers and enjoy! Pin It