Category Archives: 52Weeks

Come True

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

acorn_squash

When I saw the challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking was Native American – I was a bit nervous but not for any of the normal reasons.  Recently there has been some uproar on blogger “feedback” sites about the insensitivity of bloggers as it relates to other cultures/religions/practices with a focus on cultural approbation.  While I would hope that posting a recipe would not be considered cultural stealing,  I still paused to weigh if it would be worth being a potential target on one of those more venomous sites, especially after “yelpgate” a few weeks ago.   In the end I decided that sharing recipes should always be allowed, regardless of where (or where not) a person is from.  After all, everyone has to eat!

 

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 lb acorn squash, partially peeled and diced (reserve 1/4 cup of the seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, squash seeds, and onion and cook for 7 minutes before adding the herbs. Stir well and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the diced acorn squash and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and shiny - stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the wild rice, stir well and allow to soak up some of the liquid in the pan before adding the water/stock. Bring to a boil, then cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, stir, and add the cranberries along with the raisins. For a more "stewlike" option serve now - or wait 5 minutes and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/come_true.html

 In the end,  it’s a balancing act – and I can only hope that this post strikes the right note as I would really like to avoid getting messages (again) about how I need to be hit by a truck.  I enjoyed this dish as is, while my cheese loving spouse adding some Parmesan Cheese to his.  I think in the future I’ll go full stew, instead of debating back and forth while making the dish.

I’m also sending this over to Simple and in Season, hosted by the always fabulous Ren Behan since Acorn Squash is in its prime right now – and there is something very fall-like when it comes to dried fruit treats.

Life is a

Potato Corn Chowder

potato_corn_chowder

I first started to “really” cook when I was in college, thanks to the lack of a meal plan and a dorm room that included a full kitchen.  Most of my dishes were the results of experiments, tossing various ingredients in to a pot to see if the results were edible.  Then I started getting serious, picking up recipe books in the clearance department of Barnes and Noble and using those as the basis for continued experiments.  One such clearance book was all about using canned vegetables – and for a fair amount of time I was convinced that the potato chowder in that book was the be all, end all potato corn chowder recipe.  Then I left college, went up north, and realized what potato chowder really was.  Which is why this is the perfect recipe for /r/52weeksofcooking “screw ups revisited” challenge.  Once I had real chowder, I cut the cord on the recipe which required, no joke, 7 different cans.  It wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t good and the sodium level was insane.  My first attempts to improve this dish involved me switching out some of the cans for fresh ingredients, replacing more and more as my skill level increased.  As a bonus, the recipe wound up being dairy free as well as gluten free.

Potato Corn Chowder

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 butter potatoes, partially skinned and quartered (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (plus extra just in case)
  • 1 cup corn off the cob
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek Yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut milk plain)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 10 minutes before adding the spices. Cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, allowing the potatoes to slight brown. Then pour in the stock and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, then turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, adding more stock as needed.
  4. Add in the corn, then stir in the yogurt. Cook for a final 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/life-is-a.html

I’m sure this recipe will continue to evolve, but thrilled to say that my potato corn chowder is no longer a canned screw up.   This recipe can also be easily adapted for the slow cooker, just cook the onion and garlic in advance then toss everything in on low for 7 hours.  This chowder can also easily transition to a sweet potato corn chowder by swapping out the potatoes – for a real treat add some curry powder for a samosa like taste!

ABC

Apple Basil Cake

Apple Basil Cake

Welcome to my Secret Recipe Club post for October!  This month I was sent over to LeAndra’s Love and Flour  – a blogger with a taste for the sweeter things in life.  For a hot moment I debated trying one of her many savory treats, but then realized that would be cheating and so I happily went off to explore all the potential treats.  I was immediately drawn to her Apple Basil Cake, featuring seasonal apples and fresh basil it was an easy pick.  Though her cheescake muffins with homemade vanilla wafers deserves an honorable mention as they look insanely delicious and easy – after all she calls them a “cheatcake” which is one of the best nicknames ever.   The only change I made to the recipe was switching the Granny Smiths for Crispins as that’s what my farmer’s market had, which is a taste preference as either apple (or my usual favorite Pink Lady) would be perfect for this cake.

ABC

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp packed basil (used a mix of sweet and Italian)
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups Pink Lady apples, diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and basil in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Beat the oil and sugar together on low speed until mixed.
  3. Increase to medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 7 minutes.
  4. Return to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture until blended, then fold in the apples.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch bundt pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the middle of the ring.

Notes

I've been switching to longer beating times following a recipe of "Mind of the Chef" and so far it seems to result in a lighter batter!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/10/abc.html

I brought this cake over to a family lunch gathering where it was a MASSIVE hit with only one slice making it back to our house.  I skipped the glaze for fear of it not traveling well and simply topped it with some powdered sugar as an easy cheat.  The apples were crisp and the basil provided the perfect contrast to the sweetness resulting in perfection.   We served the cake as dessert, but would also make a great treat for a brunch or tea as the sweetness is  (thankfully) not the dominant feature of the cake.  All of the apples came from Pong’s Orchard which is owned and operated by one of the sweetest families ever – I’m going to be beyond sad when our market ends in a few weeks.

I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their apple challenge as a replacement for the mulligatawny soup that I made and never photographed.  This is a cake that deserves to be shared and loved by as many people as possible – but what do you expect when it comes from a blog named LOVE and Flour!

Break of Dawn

Sweet Potato Corn Stew

 Sweet Potato Corn Stew

I mentioned in a post last week that I recently received a LARGE amount of tomatoes from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm.  Today’s post shows were the vast majority of those tomatoes wound up – in a delicious stew perfect for /52weeksofcooking’s stew theme.  Since the tomatoes were all seconds I knew that I had very limited time to use them, and while the sauce took care of a fair amount, I still had a few pounds left.  With the clock ticking I decided to improvise and figure out what I could make with the little produce left in my fridge.  A sweet potato, the last of our Eastern Shore Corn, and a bunch of fresh herbs – perfect for a hardy soup.  Plus the weather has taken a clear turn for the cold so no worries of overheating the kitchen!  I debated roasting the tomatoes before hand, but decided that one-pot clean up was the right answer.

 

Sweet Potato Corn Stew

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 lbs tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh corn off the cob
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cups no salt added vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 7 minutes, or until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to help break down the tomatoes.
  2. Add the corn along with the diced potatoes and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, still stirring the tomatoes but allowing the sweet potato to slightly roast.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Stir, then cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer the stew for 20 minutes, then use a hand immersion to blend the ingredients until desired thickness. For those with a stand blender, move the soup a 1/4 at a time, leaving at least 1/4 of the soup unblended.
  4. Cook for a final 10 minutes, adding pepper if needed. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/break_of_dawn.html

I served this stew with some French Honey bread, which is staple this time of year – along with my favorite Apple Cider Bread.   This stew also included a variety of tomatoes, including the green zebra variety I mentioned the other day!

Note: For all my Jewish friends (and family), L’shannah Tovah! 

Counting Seconds

Plov: Vegetarian Style

Plov

Sometimes I make a dish with no idea what is going to happen at the end – to include if it will even be edible.  I had heard of Plov before, thanks to Silk Road Bistro, but wanted to make it more of a main dish without the standard lamb.   Lots of googling gave me a good list of vegetables to start with: carrots, onions, and garlic  - along with the addition of some variety of currant.  When it came to the main protein all I knew is that I didn’t want to go with tofu, I wanted something with a firm bite to it as a contrast to the soft vegetables.  I decided to go with chickpeas since their origins in Turkey led me to believe they would have easily spread to the Central Asia region that I was focusing on for this dish.

Counting Seconds

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute before adding the onion and garlic.
  2. Continue cooking the onion and garlic for 15 minutes, the onion should start to caramelize and the garlic should be a rich golden color. Add the rice and stir, until coated in the oil then add the water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then cover and turn heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the chickpeas and recover.
  4. Cook for a final 5 minutes then stir in the cranberries and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/counting-seconds.html

Another thanks to /r/52weeksofcooking for sending me on another delicious food journey – I’ve learned so much in doing these weekly challenges and can’t wait til the next one! Though of all the dishes I’ve made for this challenge, this one is easily in the top 5 as the ingredients are all standard ones making it super easy to prepare.  Ever since Wegmans added cranberries to their bulk food section I’ve had a fresh supply in my pantry – and while they aren’t burberries they are delicious.