Friday, April 19, 2013

CSA Recipe #4 - Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I always wanted to cook squash but I thought it was too hard to do or didn't know what to when I found three butternut squash in my CSA box I was a little concerned.  However, I thought, I have conquered a spaghetti squash!  I can do this!  So, I persevered!  I asked around and again, Foodie Friend Kim shared this recipe with me.  I thought it would be difficult to do all this but honestly, it was pretty easy.  I prepped the squash and popped it in the oven, then I taught a voice lesson and then it was done!  And then I made the soup and it was quite a pleasant experience.

Of course I made this dairy free (it's gluten free by nature) but you would never know.  I had it for dinner tonight and it was lovely!  Creamy and just divine!

Here's to recipe #4!  I am no longer afraid of squash!


    • 2 medium whole butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick) (I used ghee - to make it dairy free)
    • 1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces)
    • 1/2 medium yellow onion
    • 8 fresh sage leaves
    • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream ( I used unsweetened coconut milk or you could use unflavored coconut coffee creamer to make it dairy free like I did)
    • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)


    1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
    2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves (alternatively, you can rub it on evenly with your fingers). Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
    3. Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
    4. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sauteed apples and onions; discard the skins.
    5. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
    6. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the lid from popping off). Alternatively, use an immersion blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds, if using.
  • This was really good - more of an Autumn type of thing but it was still great flavor!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CSA Recipe #3 - Rustic Tuscan Cannelloni Bean and Kale Soup!

Kale is the new "IT" food for smoothies and what not but I wanted to try something else.  So I found a recipe for Tuscan Soup and modified it a bit.  I do think I will make it again and add some garlic, but for now here it is.

I enjoyed this hearty soup - it was super filling and a lot of flavor.  Darren wasn't sure about it but said he didn't dislike it.  That is was something that he had never had before.  Growing up in an Italian household, these flavors were more up my alley and I am still on the "MORE GARLIC" subject with it around the house.

That said - it is a great weeknight meal - about 60minutes from fridge to table and served with a crusty Italian or Sourdough bread and a glass of Vini Verdi, a dry sparkling white wine, it was good!  

Since I have left over kale I may try it again with the extra garlic and will update if that does the trick!

YUMMY Peaceful Pastures Bacon!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 slices thick cut farm fresh bacon (I get mine in TN at Peaceful Pastures – grass fed, humanely raised etc.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans organic diced tomatoes (I used the ones with italian spices in there already), undrained
  • 2C organic chicken broth (I used Better than Bouillon organic)
  • 6 cups loosely packed chopped kale

Simmerin' in the pot!
  1. In a dutoven (I used my ceramic coated cast iron pot), cook and stir bacon on medium heat until crisp. 
  2. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. 
  3. Discard all but 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings from pan. 
  4. Add onions to pan; cook and stir 5 min. or until crisp-tender. 
  5. Crumble the bacon and return bacon to pan along with the beans, tomatoes, broth and 1/4 cup of the remaining cheese; stir. Simmer on medium-low heat 20 min., stirring occasionally. 
  6. Add kale; cook 10 min.


Serve with a crusty bread dipped in olive oil and YUMMY!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

CSA recipe #2! - Kim's Famous Collard Greens!

Since I am a southern New Yorker, descended from Southern Italians but not a Southerner, I thought, I want to eat these collard greens I got in my first CSA box ever but had no idea at how to start or where.  

So I was at work and I hollered out, “Does anyone know what to do with collard greens?” in my office.  And got several, “I love those!” and then one lone voice from across the room, “I am famous for mine.  If you want, I can take them, make them and then bring them in for us all to try.”  I said SURE!  So long as I can take pictures and get your recipe for my blog.  Since Kim, my office mate and fellow foodie loves this kind of thing – she is my guest home chef recipe for this one.

Now I have had collards before and a lot of times they are very tangy or that je ne sais quoi that is just a little left of center of my taste buds.  HOWEVER, Kim's were AMAZING!  All of us lovely ladies at the office chowed down on some fabulous southern fare at lunch and I got Kim's recipe and am sharing it here with you.  I swear – if you didn't like collards before you will now!  Another plus - this recipe (when made with your right choices) is paleo friendly, gluten free and dairy free!

Here's what they look like alone
  • About 3 heads of collards
  • 4T – Vegetable Oil (I am thinking Olive would be good)
  • 6 slices bacon (real or turkey) or a whole ham hock
  • 4C warm water
  • ½t garlic salt (Kim says – don't get fancy and try fresh garlic b/c it won't taste the same)
  • 1t red pepper flakes
  • ½t ground black pepper

(NOTE: if you use real bacon you may want to half the amount of garlic salt) 

This was our lunch - grilled chicken, black-eyed peas &
Kim's Famous Collards!!  YUMMY SCRUMCIOUS!
  1. Soak the greens in a sink of cold water for a few minutes, to rinse off the dirt/debris.
  2. Place on dry towel and allow to air dry for about 15 minutes.
  3. Clean greens by removing the leaves from the ribbing, discard ribbing.
  4. In large pot, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  5. Render meat in oil until brown (turkey bacon/bacon should be diced, ham hock left whole.)
  6. Add 4 cups of warm water to pot and bring to boil.
  7. Add ½ of greens, tearing them in pieces as adding to pot.
  8. Sprinkle greens with garlic salt, red pepper flake and ground black pepper.
  9. Add the remainder of the greens.
  10. Sprinkle 2nd batch of greens with garlic salt, red pepper flake and ground black pepper.
  11. Make sure greens are covered with water, so add more if needed.
  12. After greens boil for 10 minutes, turn heat down to low boil or simmer.
  13. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring them occasionally.


Friday, April 12, 2013

CSA recipe #1 - Garlic Broccolini Pasta with Tomatoes - Clean Eating, gluten free, dairy free

When I picked up my first CSA box last Saturday the first thing I saw was the broccolini and I was like - I got this one!  I love Broccolini (aka Broccoli RabeRabe or baby broccoli).  It tastes like broccoli but not as strong and acts like asparagus when you cook it. 
Here is my broccolini after I trimmed it
Now the traditional route is to put it with sausage but I (a) wanted something different and (b) we didn't have any sausage.  So - I went with what I had - left over grilled chicken.  You can make this meat free if you are a veggie or vegan and it will still be awesome.  I also thought if you'd rather shrimp - that would be great too.  So here it goes:

2T Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic - sliced thin
2 medium tomatoes - diced
2C broccolini - washed and snipped to about 3-4inches from the tops
2t ghee (this is clarified butter for those of us who can't have dairy but if you can have dairy use 1T REAL butter)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast - grilled and diced (optional or can replace with shrimp)
1/4C white wine
1-2T lemon juice
1lb thin spaghetti (i used rice pasta - gluten free)
Here is were everything is cooking up!
1. heat oil in a saute pan and put in the garlic mash while sauteing - do not burn.
2. swirl in ghee (butter) until melted
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes
4. cook pasta as directed
5. add wine and lemon juice and simmer for 3-5 minutes
6. When you have 5mins left until your pasta is done - throw in the broccolini
7. Drain pasta when finished and then toss together with your saute.

OMG!  So yummy!  Darren isn't big on green veggies but went back twice - SO it had to be just as good as I thought it was. Add a glass of pinot grigio and a lovely summer meal.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Spring CSA Adventure!

First - you may ask - What is a CSA? It's Community Supported Agriculture. At the beginning of the season, you buy in a share and then over the harvesting (about 8-12wks depending on your CSA) you get about a bushel a week of what is harvested.

I decided we were going to try one this Spring and whatever was in the box, we would use. Well Here's my box: Collards, Kale, Scallions, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash & Broccoli Rabe. So I have NEVER eaten all of that except Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli Rabe. So I am going to attempt some new things. With my Kale I will make a Tuscan soup, my Broccoli Rabe a pasta dish and my Collards - something southern. I will post my recipes and let you know how I liked them.

Hopefully this will inspire you to challenge your tastebuds and support your local farmer as well. :) Welcome to Spring my little maters!