We will be cooking some food from the farm this Sunday 2-6pm at Wildflowers Solstice Party! http://www.wildflowersfarmsolstice.com It’s only $10 (advance tickets) and $15 at the door – chock full of fun music, local food and artisan vendors. Come say hi – and eat some black bean and roasted carrot salad, or an ancho chile pulled pork sando on a Houlette de Vie bun!

It’s been a busy month on the farm! I went to Italy for a week and a half – helping my old boss and friend teach a cooking class at a villa in Tuscany – a lovely place, an organic farm with olives, a vegetable garden and some livestock.  http://www.montecastelli.com/home/

IMG_9872The first day there we made coq au vin with 3 roosters that the grandmother deemed ‘no good’ (the younger generation still hasn’t worked out what exactly puts a rooster in this category). It was a lovely week and I came back refreshed and newly appreciative of the support that I have here to make it all possible. Maybe a little guilty, too, because it was a doozy of a week – the strawberries are ready, they baled hay in the first round of really hot weather, there were birthdays to celebrate, and the zucchini started! And of course, they got the second flat tire on the tractor in a week, the squash all had to be weeded and mulched and all the fall seeds were ready to go in the ground. But what a team! They did it! I am extremely grateful, too, that I have a husband that can wrangle a 10-kid 5 year old birthday party (and deal with the fall out the next day).

And when I came back – summer had sprung! It’s so inspiring to have a new ingredient to work with each week – when I was planning for this year, I thought a lot about what I would be excited about at the farmers market in Portland, and I was always excited to get the first zucchini – I know, I know – zucchini gets a bad rap because everyone gets sick of it by the end of the season – but I made an effort this year to have EARLY zucchini, because that’s when I’m the most excited to see it (a grill-able vegetable when it’s first time to grill! Something that tastes great smothered with the herbs that are just starting to come on – i.e. parsley and basil!). So we planted the zucchini in April in the hoophouse and after a rough start – it was overly mature when it first went in the ground because I thought we would move and plant the hoophouse even earlier, so it was flowering when we finally got it in there and then it frosted hard for two nights in a row! So they were hating it and I was kicking myself for making such a big production for zucchini….but now, after some fertilization and some TLC, they look great! The other thing about zucchini is that it often poops out (gets diseased/weird and we stop picking it) before the glut of the peppers and tomatoes and eggplant are ready, and so all of the ratatouille dreams I have shrivel up like the diseased plants. So this year there will be a late planting too – for ratatouille! Ha! We will now refer to this summer as ‘2017, the year Ellen went nuts with the zucchini’.

Recent favourite zucchini recipes –

  • blacken them on the grill to eat as is  – slice them thick – 3/4-1″ thick, brush with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, throw them on a hot grill until charred well – either on one side, or two.
  • pasta sauce/dip – blend up blackened slices in a food processor or blender with some garlic scapes (I know you have some of those), toasted nuts, salt, pepper, a handful of parsley and/or basil and then add olive oil slowly while it’s running. Toss with hot pasta, or chick peas for a fast, veggie dinner.

IMG_9917In other garden news – there are still strawberries out there to pick! Both varieties are ready now (Annapolis and Jewel). The winter squash plants look great – last year we had a tough season for the squash, but this year they’re off to a great start. We gave them a heavy dose of nutrients when we planted them, covered them with row cover to protect them from the cucumber beetles and now have uncovered them (they can handle some beetles when they get a little bigger and stronger), mulched them with hay from barn and now they’re growing like gangbusters. IMG_9921

 

One of the first things we have this year is Hakurei (HACK-er-eye), a Japanese salad turnip. It’s crunchy and sweet, and best fresh or barely cooked. You can sauté it briefly, or add it to a soup, but really it’s best eaten the way it is, or with some hummus or your favourite dip. IMG_9201Don’t throw out those greens, either! They’re highly nutritious and really lovely added to a soup at the last moment – they have a peppery flavour that really livens up a root vegetable soup, or a chicken noodle soup.   The greens are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C, carotenoid, xanthin, vitamin-K and lutein.

Rhubarb Lemonade

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to have a pile of rhubarb if you’re not a big baker – but it’s really easy to make rhubarb lemonade – just roughly chop the rhubarb and throw it in a pot with just an inch of water in the bottom. Put a lid on it and cook it over medium heat until the rhubarb has collapsed. Use a colander over a bowl to strain the rhubarb from the juice. Toss the rhubarb out, and put the juice back in the pot. Add a healthy handful of sugar and heat to dissolve the sugar. Taste and add more sugar until it’s as sweet as you like! Depending on how much rhubarb you start with, it may be very concentrated – keep it as a concentrate in the fridge (it will keep for a couple of weeks), and add water (or sparkling water!) to taste. Also good with vodka 😉

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I love pick up day! It’s so fun to harvest and watch people take home vegetables. I’m happy that it’s that time again – rather than early spring, when you don’t know when you’re going to be able to plant things, or if everything is going to get eaten by slugs, flea beetles or voles…phew! We are getting ready to plant a few rounds of corn – sweet and polenta varieties, and some squash and melons. Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much this week and we can get them in the ground. It was nice to get some moisture this weekend though – to encourage the plants that are out there to keep growing!

We have a great team on the farm this year, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about them – here are their faces – Yoan and Maike are married and have already worked together on other farms in Australia and Germany. Connor is the one in the front.

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Yoan is an Electrical Engineer who believes that there is more in life than Ohm’s law. He started learning about permaculture, herbal medicine and gardening many years ago volunteering on farms on three different continents and is now in his third full time season of working at organic market garden farms. He really likes picking vegetables straight from the field and eating them when they are still sun-warm, fixing and improving tools on the farm in creative ways, and working the soil with his hands rather than a computer keyboard.

Maike is a trained anthropologist, but rather than starting a research project on young professionals who decide to move from the city to the country, she decided to give it a go herself. After a first year of interning on horse-powered CSA farms in Germany, she is very happy to keep learning about market gardening, driving horses, and managing a CSA farm at Orchard Hill. She particularly likes entering the stable early in the morning and being greeted by horses whinnying, helping to grow vegetable from seed to harvest, and finishing the day with a delicious homegrown, home cooked meal.

Connor came to Orchard Hill with high recommendation from a restaurant in Guelph called ‘Artisanale’, where he worked for 2 years. He’s 23, and grew up in Hamilton and Port Coburn, Ontario. He loves dogs, making desserts and rolling his eyes at the political ‘admin’ in the States.

I’m so grateful for their enthusiasm and hard work!

As promised, here is Maike’s mother’s rhubarb cake recipe…

Regina’s Rhubarb Cake

This is what Maike describes as her mother’s ‘best’ rhubarb cake. Recently she made the cake a little soft in the center and I thought it was even better – kind of like a cake batter custard!

Cake

½ C butter

½ C + 2 Tbsp sugar

3 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp lemon zest

2 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ C all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp milk

3-4 stems of rhubarb

1 tbsp. brown sugar

Meringue

2 egg whites

½ C sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F

To make the dough:

  • Whisk together butter, sugar, and 3 eggs until smooth and creamy
  • Add vanilla, salt, lemon zest, and milk to the mixture
  • Combine baking powder and flour and add to the mixture
  • Pour dough into a buttered 9” springform pan

For the rhubarb filling:

  • Cut rhubarb stems into 3-4cm long chunks (pealing the rhubarb is not necessary)
  • Place rhubarb unto the dough in the baking tin
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over the rhubarb
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

For the meringue topping:

  • While the cake is baking, beat 2 egg whites until frothy.
  • While whisking, add ½ C sugar slowly and continue to beat to stiff peaks.
  • Spread on cake
  • Bake cake with meringue for an additional 15-20 minutes

It’s asparagus season! Here are a few recipes to get you started. At the Open House on Saturday, I made the Asparagus and Ramp soup – it’s delicious and the most vibrant green.

Pick ups start next Wednesday! It’s been so cool recently that the crops have really slowed down, but we’ve got asparagus and rhubarb and some really gorgeous green onions as well as some other things. Just remember that the season starts slow, but makes up for it in the summer and fall!

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Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt

This is a quick but elegant soup, featuring asparagus and ramps (wild leeks – if you pick only the leaves, they’ll come back year after year – pulling the whole plant devastates the population). You can also use green garlic, leeks, or green onions.

2 pounds asparagus, root end trimmed

salt

1 pound ramps (only need the leaves), green garlic or green onions

2 Tbsp butter

pepper

2 C veg or chicken broth

1 C plain (full fat is best) yogurt

¼ C olive oil

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp chopped mint

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Prepare an ice bath (or at least a cold water bath – I don’t always bother with the ice) to cool the asparagus as it comes out of the pot.

Cut the tips (about an inch or two) off the tips of the asparagus and blanch them in the salted water – about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath til cool, then transfer them to a plate and set aside as a garnish for the soup. Add the asparagus stalks to the blanching water and cook them until just tender – about 2 minutes. Chill in the ice bath and then transfer to your blender.

Separate the ramps – set aside a quarter of them as the garnish. Heat a large skillet and chop the remaining three quarters ramps roughly and sauté in 1 Tablespoon butter until tender and lightly browned. Throw them into the blender jar with the asparagus. Add the broth and yogurt, and blend on high speed until totally smooth. With blender running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a pot and heat gently (not too long or it will turn army green). When ready to serve, stir in lemon juice. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in skillet and sauté the asparagus and the garnish ramps together.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with asparagus tips and ramps, as well as chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Asparagus and White Bean Salad

You may remember this salad from a few years ago – I first started making it in Portland. Make your own beans for the very best salad possible, but use canned if you must. Any type of slightly salty, firm-ish cheese will do – cotija (kind of like Mexican feta – salty and crumbly) is lovely but you can also use feta, pecorino, or a fresh water buffalo cheese from Monforte Dairy.

1 bunch (1 – 1 ½ pound) asparagus, cut in pieces about twice the size of the beans

2 C cooked white beans (cannellini or navy beans), drained of liquid

1/3 C cubed or crumbled cotija cheese

¼ tsp lemon zest

Juice of at least half a lemon, more if you like

1 small shallot, minced

¼ C parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp mint, chopped

3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. It seems like a lot, but the asparagus is only in the water for a short time, so the seasoning has to be aggressive to have an effect. Also prepare an ice bath – a bowl of cold water with a cup or two of ice in it to cool the hot asparagus and halt the cooking process.

Blanch the asparagus for a short amount of time – like 30 seconds. You want it to still taste fresh and not at all mushy, so when it’s turned bright green after 30 seconds, it might be done! Pull it out with a slotted spoon into the ice bath. When cool, remove to a plate lined with a towel to dry.

Place everything in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Add a little more lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

 

Lacto-Fermented Asparagus Pickles

Just like all fermented pickles, there’s not much to these aside from the process, time and my favorite – air locks! An air lock jar allows the gases created during the fermentation process to escape, while ensuring that no air gets in to the jar to feed the bacteria (and mold) that you don’t want in there. Harvest Pantry – a stall at the Western Fair – sells gallon jars with an air lock for $16 or so and they’re perfect.

 

Asaparagus – as much as you think you’ll eat! Leave whole or chop

Garlic – green garlic, or a clove or two of regular garlic

Lemon (optional – a slice or two)

Dill (a big sprig – also optional – but if you love dill pickles, why not dilly asparagus?)

5 Tbsp salt

8 C water

Place the asparagus in the jar and pack as tightly as possible. Throw the garlic and/ or lemon in there too.

Dissolve the salt (use Himalayan or a pure sea salt, no iodine) in the water (use natural spring water – well water is good, not treated city water) and pour over the asparagus until submerged. Don’t worry too much about the asparagus poking out of the brine, if you’re using an airlock, it should be fine.

Sit it in a dark corner or cupboard for 3-5 days. The longer it sits, the more ‘vinegar-y’ they will taste. Then refrigerate and enjoy for the next month or two.

See you soon!

 

HouseCome visit the farm next Saturday May 6th and celebrate spring! RSVP to info@orchardhillfarm.ca if you can make it, but if you forget – come anyway. We will have wagon rides, an asparagus cooking demo at 3pm and snacks! There will be plants, eggs, honey and bread for sale, and it’s a great chance to check out the farm if you’re thinking of joining the CSA – there’s still room. If you’re already a member, it’s a great time to drop off payment and visit with fellow members.

The pick ups will start Wednesday, May 17th (or 24th for some half shares)! If you’re signed up and haven’t gotten an email from info@orchardhillfarm.ca, please let me know!

We have planted a lot of the early crops, and the first few weeks were full of tests – we tasted all the varieties of potatoes that did well against leaf hoppers, performed well in storage and chose 3 to plant again this year. We are participating in a potato trial run by the Bauta Seed Initiative to try and come up with new varieties of potatoes that grow well under organic conditions (and taste good!). We will be receiving some new varieties to trial again this year. Here’s a photo of our three interns for the 2017 season, and the line up for tasting – their name’s are Yoan, Maike and Connor. They have already been a great help with all of the early season work and are getting along well with the horses.

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Another trial that we’re running this year is in the garlic field that was planted last fall – we have divided it into 15 sections, and there are 3 different tests on randomly selected plots within the field – we will attempt to control weeds using a living cover crop (oats), mulch (hay) and standard cultivation. Here is a hill view of the field with the mulched sections visible.

IMG_8877Ken and Martha are all moved in to their new(ish) house, the one on the laneway that was under construction in the fall. There are still a few pieces to keep them busy next winter (tiling floors, doors, railings, etc), but the kitchen drawers and counters that Ken built from raw edged walnut slabs are absolutely beautiful.

IMG_8890Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather and we’ll see you soon!

Ellen

 

IMG_8719Is it spring? It must be because there are English Violets (so fragrant it’s incredible – here infusing some sugar to be used for a future project – perhaps a FARM DINNER in June??!), apprentices and the greenhouse is looking – well, green.

Come see us this Saturday, April 8th at the Go Wild Grow Wild event in London at the Western Fairgrounds! There are tons of fun people to see and things to do (hawks, snakes, climbing wall) – we will be there spreading the word about the CSA and handing out popcorn. If any of you members need some popcorn – stop by and pick up some at the farm or at Go Wild!IMG_8372

We also have a lot of eggs from some enthusiastic new laying hens – the eggs are $6/dozen and they’re in the white cooler, just drop the money in the (plastic) jar! Last week Martha and I, with baby Frankie, went to get some new laying hens – organic pullets from around Kitchener.  A pullet is a young hen that’s ready to lay. We’ve got 50 new chickens – hopefully they’re more obedient than the chickens that we have now – we have 20 chickens that we got in the fall that will not stay in the beautiful huge pastured area that they have to explore, because they’ve discovered the rest of the barnyard and feel as though they are being ripped off if they can’t eat blueberry roots, dropped grain and all the roots of the flowers in the flower beds.

Greenhouse is filling up, but there’s still more to go in for another couple of weeks. Onions, leeks, shallots, hoophouse tomatoes, ground cherries, tomatillos, herbs and lots of flowers have been started, along with some sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi. We just planted out the first pok choi and head lettuce into hoop houses. We plant head lettuce every 2 weeks from now until September so that we can offer lettuce every week to our members.

When it gets really cold, we have to stoke the fire in the greenhouse in the middle of the night, as well as before bed and right away in the morning. Not having to keep all the plants warm makes spring that much sweeter!

Ken and Martha have made a lot of progress on the massive bunkhouse renovation in the last few weeks – they’ve got the propane hooked up for hot water and a working stove. Martha did all of the drywall, mudding and painting. Ken has made all of the trim for the window sills. They have a bathroom that’s awaiting tiling, and a kitchen that is gradually getting cabinets, drawers and counters – there’s a lot of beautiful raw edged walnut from the farm. Martha loves it that it’s been raining because it means that Ken wasn’t been pulled away from construction and wood working to do farm work quite as soon as he might have been. Here is the fancy moving equipment that we use here on the farm! IMG_8495

Now we have 3 new members of the team – the interns Connor, Yoan and Maike! They just arrived last week and have been settling in – today they started working with the horses and they did great! It’s always fun to meet the new people that we will be working and (mostly) living with for the season, and to see things from their perspective for a while.IMG_8697

 

Bunkhouse Construction  ~  Seeds Ordered  ~  Farm Dinners ~

It finally feels like winter here on the farm. It’s been nice to have some snow stick around for a few days and give us a break from the never-ending mud! I’ve been enjoying seeing familiar names roll in for the CSA, and a few new ones – there is still room to sign up if you haven’t.

Winter Fun

Winter Fun

We are keeping busier than normal this winter with the slow and steady construction on the bunkhouse (Martha’s been wondering if we should call it something different, but Ken’s happy to keep calling it the bunkhouse). We have installed the rest of the second floor, which involved cutting down trees in the woodlot and sawing them, making them into beams and installing them in the timberframe already standing, and then laying the floorboards. The floorboards were dried in the woodkiln that you CSA members last year may remembered being constructed in August. Now we have electricians running the wire to install the electricity, and when that is finished, we are going to get busy with insulation, vapor barrier, drywall, taping, mudding and painting! Martha and Ken are hoping to have an operational kitchen and bathroom by April, when the interns arrive.

Mulching strawberries in a onesie!

Mulching strawberries in a onesie!

In January, we mulched the strawberries – it’s always one of the last outdoor jobs of the season – we got to it a little bit late this year, but they’re pretty forgiving. We use our own organic straw for the mulching, which is nice because sometimes it’s hard to find organic straw to buy for that sort of thing. The straw is from the oats, wheat, spelt or rye that we use on the farm to feed to the animals, and for Seth’s bread at La Houlette de Vie. The strawberries like to be protected from the wind and from the freeze/thaw cycles that often accompany the warm up in the spring. When it warms and the plants start to grow again in the spring, we rake the straw from the top of the rows into the aisles and it helps to insulate the soil, prevent erosion, keep the strawberries clean and provides a nice soft place for us to kneel while we pick the berries in June.

We have hired three new interns for this season – a couple with quite a bit of farming experience in Quebec and Germany, and a fellow from Guelph with a culinary background. It’s always interesting to get to know a new crew of people and see what they have to bring to the table. They will arrive April 2nd and stay until October.

 

Frannie garden planning

Frannie garden planning

I’ve been planning the garden – what will go where, what seeds we have, what we need to order. I ordered seeds this year from Tourne Sol, which is a co-operative organic farm in Quebec, founded by one of our past apprentices. Here are some of the new things that I’ve ordered this year – fava and edamame beans, ground cherries, flint corn – a relatively rare variety called Roy Calais – that has both red and yellow kernels and a really lovely corn-y flavor to the cornmeal…the dry corn is a test and you’ll probably only get a small portion of cornmeal, but it will be fun to try and may show up in some farm dinners in the future. We also have poblano peppers (when they’re red and dried we call them ‘ancho’ peppers – same pepper though) in the order, and some ‘snow leopard’ melons that are white with green markings on the outside, with a fragrant orange flesh. I also went a little nuts with the flower order – as long as I can get them to grow into plants, you should expect a new and different variety of flowers in the garden for picking this year! I love architectural plants and so I’ve ordered some that I will use the foliage or seeds as décor, and some more flowers suitable for drying. I love love love having flowers in the pick up room and in the house in the summer. It’s got to be one of my top 10 favorite things about living on the farm, which I think is a little silly sometimes, but the heart wants what the wants!

The other thing in the works is some loose planning of the farm dinners for 2017! I’ve got a 50 seat dinners planned for Saturdays June 17th, July 8th and September 23rd. I expect tickets will go fast, and CSA members will get first dibs. Stayed tuned for more details!

Two Potato Vindaloo

Two Potato Vindaloo

What have you been cooking this winter? A few members have said that they’re just working through the last of their squash, or root vegetables. We have been eating well here on the farm, with a lot of vegetables in the root cellar and cooler. Last week I made root vegetable latkes – like potato pancakes, but with potato, celeriac, rutabaga and onion, bound with egg and cornstarch. We have been eating corn and peas from the freezer and just unearthed a motherlode of strawberries, so we’ve been making smoothies and ‘strawberry shakes’ – a staple of my childhood – growing up on a strawberry farm had its perks! We have also been enjoying the ‘fruits’ of our preserving labor – tomato soup made from tomato sauce that we canned, jams and jellies and juices, that eggplant pickle that I wouldn’t shut up about in August – so delicious! I also find a lot more time to ferment in the winter – seems like the wrong season, but we still have so many root vegetables that are perfect for fermenting into pickles and krauts.

Take care and stay warm.

Ellen

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Last Pick up of the Season is Saturday!img_7284

Here it is almost December and we just picked the last of the tomatoes – I know, every pick up I say it’s going to be the last of the tomatoes, but this time it’s for real! Last night they got frozen, so it’s really over. But yesterday we picked the last of them, and although they won’t win any blind taste test awards, they still add a little juicy something to a salad. But it’s amazing that in the same day, we were picking herbs in the snow! The large hoophouse that the tomatoes were in holds a lot of residual heat and kept them from freezing for a few days. We also grew the head lettuce in the large hoophouse.

The bunkhouse renovation continues to creep along – the siding is almost all up, and now we are in the process of installing the electrical line. Today is Ken’s 66th birthday and he’s spent it on a mini back-hoe, digging the trench for the electric line. I mean, it’s a toy, right?

image1Next week, Aaron and I are going with the girls to an ecological farmers conference (EFAO) in Kingston – it’s the farmer’s version of a vacation! But it’s always fun to spend time with fellow farmers, and it really only happens in the winter, and I look forward to it. I’m also looking forward to a few months of recharging and undertaking some maintenance and creative projects. And recreational exercise! Then planning the garden & projects for next year!

We will keep you posted on our winter projects. Keep warm!

As I sit at my computer, the wind is blustering outside and the occasional sheet of rain blows against the window. But the fire is warm and I’m getting hungry typing up the Pumpkin Breakfast Cake recipe. And I’m so surprised/appalled/relieved that Trump is the president of the United States and my little family has moved to Canada. You can guess which emotions are riding on which facts…it’s hard to concentrate on harvesting vegetables or which photo to put on the blog. However, there will be a lot of vegetables to pick up on Saturday and I want you to feel secure and confident that you have a plan for those vegetables! So here are a few recipes to get you excited.Martha 'profile' for documentary

Some of you noticed (or couldn’t help but notice) the film crew here last pick-up. They have been here a number of times, filming a documentary about working horses – people like us that use them for farming, as well as people that use horses for logging, or heavy horse pulling and shows. Ken, a seeming introvert, loves to spread the good word on horse farming and isn’t camera shy at all! Thanks for your patience with the filming – they won’t be here on pick-up day again.

We have been making (slow) steady progress on the bunkhouse renovation – you will notice on Saturday that all of the outside walls have been removed and replaced with stud walls. We have begun to replace the windows, and are awaiting the delivery of the new windows that we have ordered. Martha is planning the kitchen now. Next a mason is going to install a short stone wall around the bottom of the outside.

Finally, I would like to give a little shout out to Kelsey! She’s the remaining intern – she’s worked so hard this season, and she’s been putting up with the shoulder season odd ball work schedule. When she got into this, she didn’t even know she was signing up to drive horses, let alone plow! Lately she’s been the number one teamster and is taking care of all the chores. Also she might have to be the only intern (reluctantly) interviewed by the documentary team because she’s the only one left! If you see her, give her a fist bump of thanks and tell her she’s the best.Kelsey

 

Roasted Squash with Sweet Spices and Lime

Another recipe from Plenty – the lime and cilantro are a nice way to play down the sweetness of the squash. If you’re not into the idea of cardamom, just do the squash slices plain, or with a little cumin and coriander (2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander). The lime, though, is critical and so delicious. Serves 4-6.

2 limes, skin cut off, quartered and thinly sliced

Salt

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp green cardamom pods (or sub 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom)

1 tsp allspice

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium butternut squash

½ C whole milk yogurt

2 ½ Tbsp tahini

big pinch salt

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp water

1 green chile, thinly sliced (optional)

2/3 cup cilantro leaves, picked from the stems

Toss together the little peeled lime slices with a good pinch of salt and the olive oil. Set aside.

Pound the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle until the pods split open. Remove the little black seeds and pound or grind in a spice grinder until finely ground. Place in a bowl with the allspice and 3 Tbsp olive oil.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then slice into ½ inch thick slices. Leave the skin on (it’s easier to remove, if you wish, after it’s roasted – or just leave it on). Brush with all of the spiced olive oil mixture and sprinkle with salt. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast at 400˚ for about 15 minutes, until the squash is tender.

While it’s roasting, mix together the yogurt drizzle. Mix in a bowl the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, salt and water. It should be a pourable consistency.

When the squash is done, move it to a large platter. Sprinkle with the lime slices, the yogurt drizzle and then garnish with the green chile slices and the sprigs of cilantro. It’s very pretty.

 

Pumpkin and Orange Breakfast Cake

My favorite sweet pumpkin treat! I don’t know why it’s called ‘Breakfast Cake’ except to give you an excuse to eat it for breakfast. From ‘In the Sweet Kitchen’ by Regan Daley.

You can use any squash or pumpkin for this recipe, just bake it and scoop the flesh (no seeds or skin). My favorite lazy way to prepare squash or pumpkin is to stab it a few times and throw it in the oven on a cookie sheet (about 375˚) until it’s soft. It’s much easier to remove the seeds after it’s cooked because you don’t have to cut it open.

1 C butter, room temp

1 C sugar

2 Tbsp grated orange zest

3 eggs, room temp

1 C pumpkin or squash puree

1 ½ C all purpose flour

½ C pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350˚

Butter a 9 inch fluted tube pan (or a few small loaf pans) and set aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the pumpkin puree.

Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add to the pumpkin batter in 3 or 4 stages, blending gently but thoroughly after each addition.

Scrape into the prepared pan(s).

Bake for 50-60 minutes (for a large pan), or 30ish minutes for smaller pans. The sides of the cake should be pulling away from the pan and a wooden skewer poked into the center should come out clean.

Orange Syrup (optional! It’s really good without it)

Juice of 1 large orange

½ C sugar

Combine the juice and the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat, bringing the syrup to a boil. Boil without stirring for 2 minutes, then use immediately, or allow to cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Spoon warm over individual slices of cake.

 

Baked Root Fries with Rosemary and Garlic

Why have potato fries when you could use rutabaga or parsnip? Rutabagas are a high source of zinc and just a half cup of parsnips provide us with 3 grams of fiber – and a high percentage of that is soluble fiber.

2 ½ Lb parsnip, rutabaga or carrot

3 tbsp. olive oil

½ – 1 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. black pepper

4 cloves of garlic [minced]

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash and peel the root, then cut into french fry-sized pieces, about ¼” by ¼”.

In a large bowl, toss chopped root veg with minced garlic, olive oil, rosemary, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Mix together using hands under the fries are lightly coated.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, removing once or twice to stir fries around on baking sheet.

Taste and sprinkle with additional salt if desired.

 

Dipping Sauce Ideas

 

Chipotle-Mayo Dip

¼ C veganaise or mayonnaise

2 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp chipotle pd (or 1 tsp minced canned chipotle)

½ tsp chile powder

¼ tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl

 

Sriracha Ketchup Dip

2 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce

2 Tbsp ketchup

 

Tahini-Yogurt Dip

½ C yogurt

2 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt