Thursday, October 31, 2013

Buckwheat Kasha Stuffed Zucchini

Piece of stuffed zucchini on plate
Topped with Last of the Garden Basil for 2013

Recipe inspired by Mom & Old House Farm

At this time of year, as we approach Day of the Dead, the veil between the worlds gets thinner as we remember loved ones who have passed. Before my mom died, 10 years ago now, she reminded me of a stuffed zucchini I’d made for her way back when with buckwheat. I’d completely forgotten. During those early days I threw together whatever ingredients I had without much thought—or many ingredients. So this recipe is an approximation of the dish that Mom liked, and can be improvised upon freely.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garden Swiss Steak

With Wholewheat Pasta: Nontraditional and Yummy

Recipe adapted from Meals for One or Two

Swiss steak was all the rage in the 1950s. Our moms and grandmas made it, but today it’s distinctly out of fashion. And yet moist-cooking an inexpensive steak to tenderness is economical. The rich juices can be served over potatoes or noodles, making it a classic comfort food.  Slowly simmering Swiss Steak creates a voluptuous smell that permeates the senses long before dinner. And did I mention that it’s delicious? I’ve never blogged a beef recipe before, but Swiss Steak is worth celebrating. This recipe, from Mom’s cookbook, features the unusual addition of garden carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Applesauce Multigrain or Oatmeal Muffins

Plate of Muffins
Fragrant, Crunchy Breakfast Treat

Recipe adapted from Trader Joe’s

Muffins are simple to make, because you just throw the ingredients together, scoop them into the pans, and bake, right? Yes and no. Making good muffins is easy if you practice three things: mix the wet ingredients thoroughly, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, but then mix together wet and dry ingredients only until barely moistened. Follow this method, and your muffins will be light, evenly textured, and moist on the inside and crispy on the top. Overmix wet and dry ingredients, and your muffins can be tough, gluey, and/or dense. They will resist rising and look sad compared with what they might have been. Take heed and learn from my mistakes!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple Raisin Pecan Stuffed Delicata Squash

Closeup of piece of stuffed delicata squash
Fabulous Fruit and Nut Stuffing

Gluten Free Recipe by Robin

Two years ago I had no idea what delicata squash were, although I received them in my CSA farm share during fall deliveries. Delicatas are delightfully light-textured and sweet oblong-shaped winter squash. The skin is edible, but some people (my husband for example) don't want to eat it. So it's best to cook delicata so that the skin can be removed should someone choose to.  My maple glazed delicata squash rings were a big hit around Thanksgiving last year. This year baskets of apples overflowing onto kitchen counters gave me sudden inspiration to slice the delicatas in the opposite direction and stuff them with something akin to apple pie filling.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Garlic Ginger Green Bean Pods with Peanuts

Garlic Ginger Bean Pods on Plate Sprinkled with Peanuts
Scarlet Runner Beans from the Garden

Recipe adapted from Pacific Light Cooking

Like most schoolchildren, I experimented with growing beans and ended up with a vine that covered Mom’s kitchen window. This led to the conclusion that beans are easy to grow. So, in our square foot garden we planted “provider” bush beans, tricolor pole beans, and scarlet runner beans. Turns out that beans are not always that easy. Only the scarlet runners came up. We tried another planting, with the same result.  Scarlet runner pods are technically edible, but they are mostly grown as dried beans, many of which are used by schoolchildren to show how easy beans are to grow. Nonetheless, I harvested a few pods before they dried as an experiment.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Veggies and Recipes

Pumpkin in Store Window with Blessings and Books
Look for Blessings & You'll Find Them

Warm Days, Cool Nights

October is the quintessential transitional month as temperatures fluctuate from balmy to chilly. The beauty of a warm sunny day is all the more precious as we contemplate the imminent dark and cold. Let us take time for revelry, both in the garden and in the kitchen. Enjoy the last of the tomatoes, peppers, and beans, while welcoming wintry squashes and pumpkins. Try a different assortment of apples or pears from the Farmers’ Market. Take advantage of cooler weather to set small chard and kale plants out below the fading zucchini leaves. Check out the glorious October sunsets.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Santa Cruz Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes Santa Cruz Style: with Peels & Herbs

Recipe by Robin

Usually I’m all for the change of seasons. When fall and winter edge out summer, I’m a cheerleader for change, relentlessly annoying to friends who prefer warm weather. But this year, after an unexpected career ending and sudden hard drive death, shorter days and cooler temps will take some getting used to. In the meantime, while recovering bits and pieces of the old hard drive, I came across some mashed potato recipes I’d written almost a decade ago and completely forgotten about. Nothing works faster than warm comfort food to make the darker time of year seem brighter. Well, almost nothing.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Autumn Minestrone

Bowl of Autumn Minestrone
Autumn Colors and Flavors

Recipe Inspired by The Art of Simple Food

One of my favorite things about autumn is a steady supply of fresh butternut squash. Complimenting both savory and sweet dishes, often used in “pumpkin” pies, a sweet treat simply steamed with a touch of butter, it’s the quintessential fall vegetable. So when Alice Waters suggested, in her classic book The Art of Simple Food, to try butternut in place of zucchini to make a summery minestrone into a fall dish, I had to give it a whirl. Indeed, the soup is a delightfully autumn-like orange, and as full of chunky goodies as its warmer weather brethren.