Thursday, December 30, 2010

Butternut Squash & Collard Greens Pasta with Pistachios and Brown Butter

1 lb dry pasta
1 medium butternut squash (about 3 cups cubed)
2 Tbs diced shallots or 1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups packed baby greens, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon (or 3 Tbs white wine + 1 Tbs white wine vinegar)
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles (substitute feta cheese or parmesan/romano shavings)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Smaller pasta like penne or bow-ties work best for this dish. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs olive oil and saute shallots or onions just until they start to wilt. Add cubed squash and cook over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until squash starts to brown and is cooked through. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add chopped greens and saute until wilted and bright green. Add lemon juice and pasta water and stir, scraping any browned bits from the pan, until liquid is reduced by half. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it starts to brown. Stir in pistachios and saute 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss into veggies. Toss in pasta and garnish with cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spaghettini with Checca Sauce


  • 8 ounces spaghettini or angel hair pasta
  • 4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (12-ounce container) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan, coarsely chopped
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (do not puree). Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce looks dry. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Recommended by Betsy Buford 'Sooo good. Err on the side of too many tomatoes, or it could get onion-y'

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Beet Hummus

Here's a recipe for beet hummus that I adapted it a bit - the original recipe link is at the bottom of the post. It turned out really good. Next time, I think I'll add a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro in the last couple pulses of the food processor. Fresh mint would be nice, too.


* 1/2 pound beets (about 4 medium sized beets), scrubbed clean, cooked, peeled, and cubed*
* 4 Tbsp tahini sesame seed paste
* 2 Tbsp lemon juice
* 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
* Generous pinch of sea salt or Kosher salt
* Fresh ground pepper to taste

*To cook the beets - boil whole, scrubbed, unskinned beets (tops removed about 1/2 inch above the root) until tender. Drain the water and let them cool until you can handle them (or run under cold water), then slip the skins off with your hands. If you don't want red hands, use a paper towel to slip the skins off.


Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and ingredients as desired. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavors to fully blend. Serve with pita chips, or with sliced cucumber or celery, or on a crostini with goat cheese and shaved mint.

Chill and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.

Makes 2 cups.

Original recipe:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Simple, Comforting Stew: Spinach, Carrots and Rice

I bypassed this recipe because, by nature, I tend to look for recipes that are intriguing and innovative (through the use of various combinations of ingredients and flavors), but I had to remind myself that this is what I need more of: simple, quick dinner ideas that highlight CSA veggies!

The recipe comes from Mark Bittman (the King of simple, straightforward recipes) and he indicates you can add some heft to the meal by adding some meat (leftover roast chicken, etc.) and enhance the seasonings to suit your taste (dill, cilantro, cumin, etc. would be tasty).

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup long-grain rice, like Basmati
Salt and pepper
1 pound fresh spinach, thick stems removed, washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves minced garlic, optional
2 tablespoons butter, optional

1. Combine carrots with 6 cups of water (or broth) in a saucepan and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice and a large pinch of salt. When the mixture returns to the boil, add spinach, then adjust heat so that it simmers gently.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice and carrots are very tender, about 1/2 hour, and the mixture takes on the consistency of a thick stew. Stir in garlic or butter (if you're using either or both), and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mashed Yellow Turnips (Rutabagas) With Crispy Shallots

This recipe is also from Barefoot Contessa: Family Style by Ina Garten, p 113, but I found the link so I didn’t have to type it all out. 

~ Posted for Betsy Buford.   

Sautéed Carrots

from Barefoot Contessa: Family Style by Ina Garten, p 122
Serves 6

2 lbs carrots
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 tbsp chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley

Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4 inch slices (I didn’t bother to peel). You should have about 6 cups in total. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large 10-12 inch sauté pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium low heat for 7-8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. Add the butter and sauté for another minute until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter. Off the heat, toss with the dill/parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

A note on the cookbook:
I love this cookbook. Family Style is great because it has a whole section on veggies that make them all so good! When I was a kid, my mom (over) steamed everything and I hated eating things like asparagus and cooked carrots because they were limp and slimy and all the flavor had been cooked out of them. These recipes make veggies feel like a treat :) Most of her recipes are also available at the Food Network website, so you probably don’t need to buy the book.

~ Posted for Betsy Buford.  

Smashed Veg

from Jamie at Home, by Jamie Oliver, p.49
Serves 6

1.5lbs of peeled potatoes (I was lazy and didn’t peel – turned out fine), cut into small chunks
3 large carrots, cut into small chunks
1/2 a large rutabaga (I used a much larger proportion of rutabaga probably the same amount as the potatoes)
6 tbsp butter

Put the veggies in a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil hard for 20 min, or until you can slide a knife easily into the rutabaga. Then drain and allow to steam dry. Reserve some of the cooking water to mix in later if you like a smoother consistency. Smash them up in the pot with most of the butter. To keep warm: spoon into a bowl, cover with foil or a lid and place over a pot of simmering water. So good.

A note on the cookbook:
Jamie at Home does not have many recipes posted on the Food Network site, and the book is expensive ($37!!) and hard-to-find used. Its organized by season and then by ingredients. So, it has short chapters on things like beets, carrots, potatoes, orchard fruits, tomatoes and lamb and then information about how to grow them and suggested varieties. His book is based on what’s coming out of his garden at any given time, so the recipes won’t call for fresh basil or strawberries in the middle of winter. I love that.

~ Posted for Betsy Buford.

Winter Greens

 For some recipes and an article about using yummy winter greens: 

~ Posted for Betsy Buford.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chicken and Greens with Coriander

I haven't tried this dish yet, but it sounds delightfully simple! Served with a side of wheat berry pilaf it would make a complete meal.

Note: it seems like it calls for an awful lot of coriander; I would suggest starting out with 3 TEAspoons, in case it was a typo and go up from there.

Adapted from the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook

1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
1 whole chicken, boiled and removed from bone
2 cups chopped spinach, chard, beet greens, etc.
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tbs salt
3 Tbs ground coriander
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Saute garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Squash Soup with Tomato Salsa

This comes from a CSA member, and while it calls for butternut squash, any sweet, flavorful squash will do.

  • 2 heads (bulbs) garlic, outer papery skin removed
  • 5 Tbs olive oil
  • A few fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 large butternut squash, halved & seeded
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2-3 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the Salsa:

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 large fresh red chile, halved and seeded
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place garlic bulbs on a piece of foil and pour half of the olive oil over them. Add thyme sprigs then fold foil around bulbs to enclose them completely. Place the foil parcel on a baking sheet with the squash halves. Brush squash halves with 1 Tbs of the remaining oil. Add tomatoes, pepper and chile to the baking sheet. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes; remove tomatoes, pepper and chile and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Cook squash and garlic 20-25 minutes more until squash is tender.

Heat remaining oil in large heavy pot over medium-low heat and cook onions and ground coriander until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the pepper and chile. Blend in blender with tomatoes and 2 Tbs of the olive oil. Stir in vinegar and seasoning to taste. Add remaining oil if desired.

Squeeze the roasted garlic paste out of its papery skins into the onions. Scoop the squash out of its skin and add it to the pan. Add stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in hlaf of the chopped fresh herbs and allow the soup to cool slightly, then blend until smooth, working in batches if necesssary. Alternatively, press the soup through a fine-meshed sieve. Reheat the soup gently and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve topped with remaining fresh herbs and tomato salsa.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Broccoli Rabe with Carrots and Ginger

This is a nice side dish. I served it with Creamy Winter Squash & Carrot soup and home-raised turkey. The ginger gives a fresh, aromatic taste, and the carrots sweeten up the slightly bitter greens.

1 cup grated carrot (3 medium carrots)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1.5 inch section fresh ginger, finely grated
8 cups chopped broccoli rabe (rapini)
olive oil

A large, heavy-bottomed skillet with lid

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, ginger and garlic. Saute, stirring constantly, until the aromatics are released and the carrots start to get tender (your kitchen will fill with the wonderful smells of ginger and garlic). Add the greens and cover. After a minute, lift the lid and stir the wilted greens and other ingredients until mixed. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Add 3-4 tablespoons of water (or stock if available). Turn heat down to medium-low and cover. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. Add liquid if the greens start to sizzle.

Optional: Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil before serving, or stir in a pat of butter. This mellows the flavor of the ginger.

Creamy Winter Squash & Carrot Soup

I used one of the large green squash from last week's CSA. Was it a Kombucha?

First, I cooked the squash. I scrubbed the outside of it, then cut it in half and scraped the seeds out. I cut each half into four sections and laid them out onto two cookie sheets, skin side up. They overlapped a little bit. I covered the squash with foil and baked at 300 degrees for about an hour and a half. Halfway through, I moved the bottom cookie sheet to the top rack and the top one to the bottom rack. I baked the squash until it was tender when pressed (I used a potholder to press through the foil). I let the squash cool on the baking sheets, then scraped the squash out of the skin. I ended up with four 1-quart containers of cooked squash, which smelled and tasted like pumpkin. Two quarts went into the freezer for later use; two went into the fridge.

Here's the recipe for the soup:

3 large carrots, sliced lengthwise into fourths, then cut into 1/2" chunks
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme or two fresh thyme sprigs
olive oil
1 quart cooked winter squash
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup half and half
fresh nutmeg (ground is OK but fresh has stronger flavor)

Heat 2-3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed medium sauce pan. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and thyme and saute until the carrots start to get tender. Don't let the garlic brown.

Stir in he squash and cook another couple minutes. It's OK if the squash is chunky at this point. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat up until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn back down to medium and add cinnamon, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Puree using a hand blender, or you can put it into a stand blender to smooth it out. Return to the pan and keep hot over low heat. Just before serving, stir in the half and half. Serve immediately and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh ground nutmeg.

Remove the pan from the heat after adding the half and half. This soup can be reheated on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir often while reheating and bring to steaming but not to a boil.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beets with Mint and Yogurt

I'm cleaning out the last of the veggies, looking forward to this week's CSA share after the holiday break. The turnips were used in a soup last week; all that was left today were a few beets. Hmm... what to do with the beets? I'm perfectly happy boiling them up and eating them with a dab of butter and salt and pepper, but today I went in search of something more creative.

I found this recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, just right to use up the beets and the last of the fresh mint in the crisper drawer. Don't let the color of this refreshing side dish put you off - it's delicious!

1 (8oz) beet or two smaller ones, boiled or roasted in foil until tender
2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
2 1/2 TBSP finely chopped fresh mint
1 TBSP olive oil
3 small garlic cloves, peeled (or one large clove, cut lengthwise into 3 sections)

Peel the cooked beet and grate it coarsely.

Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat it lightly with a fork or whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add the salt, pepper to taste, and cayenne. Mix. Add the mint and beet. Mix gently.

Put the oil and garlic into a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. The garlic will eventually begin to sizzle. Press down on the garlic with a spatula and let it sizzle some more, turning the pieces once or twice, until they turn a medium brown. Now pour the flavored oil and garlic into the bowl with the yogurt and mix (the recipe doesn't call for it but I chopped the garlic before putting it into the yogurt)

Serves 6-8 people; serve cold or at room temperature. I garnished with fresh chopped mint.