Monday, October 8, 2012

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Here's another great fall recipe, perfect for these cold rainy days we seem to be having. Sweet potatoes make a great substitute for the squash, if you don't have any on hand. Serve with crusty bread.


  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped (use a sharp knife!)
  • 2-3 apples, cored and chopped (use whatever type of apples you have on hand - I don't bother peeling them)
  • 1 Tbps. curry powder
  • 4 C. vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream or nonfat greek yogurt, for serving
  • chopped green onions, for garnish
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and celery, and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the squash, apples, and curry powder, and saute for 5 more minutes until lightly browned.

 Add the vegetable stock and cover the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the soup for about 20-30 minutes, until the squash and apples are very tender. 

Move the soup to a blender to puree (I love my Vitamix) or use an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped green onions.

Baked Steel Cut Oats with Pumpkin

I first got this recipe from my sister Karen, who actually made it for me over the summer with blueberries and coconut. But since it's fall now, pumpkin is the perfect ingredient. This makes 6-8 servings, so it was easy to reheat some of the leftovers for a quick, filling breakfast on a busy weekday morning. Karen loves to have hers with a splash of almond milk on top, but regular milk also makes a nice compliment.


2 Tbsp. butter
1.5 C steel-cut (Irish) oats
1 C. pureed pumpkin
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
pinch of salt
2 C. milk
2 C. water

Heat a dutch oven, or other large oven-safe saucepan with lid, over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the oats and saute about 1 minute, until they begin to smell a little nutty.

Add the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt, and cook for a minute or two. Add the milk and water and stir to combine. Cover and place in an oven heated to 350 degrees. Cook for about 25-30 minutes in the oven, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are tender. Serve hot, with a splash of milk on top.

Pumpkin-Filled Crepes

I made these crepes for breakfast on a chilly fall morning. The filling isn't too sweet, but it does sort of remind me of pumpkin pie!


for the crepes (based on Emmy's recipe):
  • 1 C. AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. each of nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 C. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted (plus a little extra melted better for the pan)
for the filling:
  • 1 C. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 C. nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each of nutmeg and cloves
  • cinnamon sugar, for garnish
To make the crepe batter: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, and spices. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking continuously to be sure there are no lumps. Set the batter aside while you make the filling.

To make the filling: mix the pumpkin, yogurt, maple syrup, and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make the crepes: Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Brush the bottom with melted butter. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan and swirl it evenly around the bottom. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes, until the edges begin to lift up from the pan. Use a spatula to flip the crepe. 

While the second side cooks (about 30-60 seconds), spread 1 Tbsp. of filling over the crepe. 

Fold the crepe into quarters and remove to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Sprinkle the crepes with cinnamon sugar before serving.

P.S. My first crepe never turns out pretty, so I just sprinkle it with sugar and eat it while I make the rest. :)

Makes about 8 crepes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quick and Easy Tofu Salad with Summer Vegetables

I typically use tofu in an Asian-style stir-fry, so I decided to switch things up and use it as the protein in a salad instead. For this salad, I used what I had from the CSA and garden, but you could easily substitute whatever you have on hand. For a completely vegan meal, leave off the goat cheese.


  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, completely drained and diced into cubes
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • corn kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • salad greens, for serving
  • crumbled goat cheese, for serving
Dice the tofu and drain in a kitchen towel for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze the towel to remove excess moisture. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tofu and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. 

With a sharp knife, cut the corn off the cobs and add to the pan with the tofu and zucchini. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add tomatoes, parsley, and lemon juice. 

Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary. Serve warm or cold over salad greens, with a crumble of goat cheese on top and a crusty loaf of bread on the side.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Zucchini Coffee Cake

I find that I am making something with zucchini (or other summer squash) just about every day. The zucchini makes this coffee cake moist - you can barely taste it in there, and since I used yellow zucchini, you can't really see it either!


  • 1/4 C. unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C. skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C. grated zucchini (about one medium)
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
For the streusel topping:
  • 1/4 C. unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • 1/3 C. flour
  • 1/3 C. brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. sliced almonds (or use other chopped nuts or substitute rolled oats)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, sugars, milk, and egg. Add the zucchini, flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan.

In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the streusel topping: melted butter, flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use your fingers to crumble the topping over the top of the batter in the pan.

Bake for 40 minutes at 375, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Fresh Melon and Cucumber Salad

We eat a lot of salads, both as a side dish and as an entree. I especially love making salads in the summer since it means I don't have to use the stove or oven, and I can include whatever farm-fresh produce I happen to have on hand.

I love using fruit in savory salads (see this Watermelon Salad) - the juicy, sweet flavor enables you to skimp on the dressing, which can be the most caloric part of a salad.

This salad is meant to be a side dish. I used musk melon, which is like cantaloupe. If you've never had a locally grown summer melon, you have no idea what you're missing. You will never buy one in a grocery store again!

Makes 4 side dish servings


  • 1 small, fresh summer melon, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 small cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste (be generous)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Divide the melon, cucumber, and shallot between 4 salad bowls. Season each generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, and olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over each salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles

Have you ever made homemade pickles? They are so easy to make and taste so much fresher than the store bought variety. It's a great use for the abundance of locally grown cucumbers that are popping up here on the east coast. These can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 months, although I doubt they will last that long!


  • 2 C. water
  • 1 C. cider vinegar
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. pickling spice (or use a combo of mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns)
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. dill seed
  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, garlic, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the salt has dissolved and the spices are fragrant.

Meanwhile, slice the cucumbers and place them in a quart sized mason jar (or you can use several smaller jars). Take the vinegar mixture off the heat and slowly pour it over the cucumbers, making sure to scrape the spices into the jar. You might have a little liquid left over, depending on how tightly you filled your jar. Allow to cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate.

I think these taste best after a week in the refrigerator, but there's no harm in tasting them before that. :)

Apricot Jam

Summer is in full swing, and that means lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables from our CSA. We got a small container of apricots this week, and while they are delicious out of hand, my favorite thing to do with them is make jam.

What's great about apricots (and plums) is that their skins have plenty of pectin, which means that making jam with them is so easy. It's also easy to scale the recipe, depending on how much of the fruit you have. So feel free to double or triple or quadruple, depending on your quantities. One of these days, I'll do some full scale canning and write that up for you, but this time, I only had enough fruit for one jar of jam, which will keep for a few weeks in the fridge (if it lasts that long).

The important thing to remember is that you need 3/4 of a cup of sugar for every cup of fruit.


  • 2 C. diced fresh apricots (leave the skins on, just remove the pits)
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the apricots, sugar, and lemon juice. When it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. The apricots will mostly disappear as the mixture reduces. It will be nice and syrupy.

Pour the hot jam into a mason jar. Screw on the lid and refrigerate. The jam will set as it cools.

I had a little extra hot jam left, which I used as a sauce for crepes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Homemade Ranch-Style Dressing

As I have mentioned before, I like to make my own salad dressing. I was never a fan of ranch dressing, at least not the type you could buy at the store. A local restaurant makes a great homemade version, however, and this is my attempt to replicate it. You could easily use fresh herbs if you have them.

Makes 4-8 servings, depending on how much dressing you like


  • 1/4 C. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C. fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill 
  • 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. water
Mix the mayo, yogurt, and spices in a small bowl. Slowly add the water to thin the dressing to the desired consistency.

 Keep any extra dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator. You may need to allow it to sit out for a few minutes, then shake or stir before serving.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Healthy Chocolate "Shake"

This is technically not a milkshake, because there isn't any ice cream in it. It has the consistency of a smoothie, and the peanut butter and bananas make it a filling and healthy snack. Perfect as a cool treat after getting home from an afternoon at the pool!

Makes 2 large shakes or 4 child-sized shakes


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
  • 2 C. skim milk
  • handful of ice
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve cold.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

White Bean Cucumber Soup

So sorry I disappeared for a few weeks. First, we had an insane heat wave and a crazy storm called a "derecho", which caused much of our area to be without power for a week! And we just said good-bye to some house-guests yesterday, so I'm now catching up.

Our CSA is having a bumper year, and we have been inundated with so much produce, especially squash and cucumbers. I'm compiling a list of new summer squash recipes to try, so be on the look out for some of those soon. 

In the meantime, I decided to use some of those cucumbers in a soup. It is sort of like a gazpacho without tomatoes, cool and creamy - perfect for a hot summer day!

This makes just 2-3 servings, so you'll need to double it if you're feeding a crowd.

  • 2 regular sized cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped - reserve 1/2 C. for garnish
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 can of white beans (cannelloni or great northern), drained
  • 1 C. greek yogurt or sour cream
  • black pepper, to taste (I don't add salt because I use canned beans)
  • homemade croutons, for garnish
Add the cucumbers, garlic, onion, lemon juice, beans, and yogurt to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste and season with pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Garnish with the reserved cucumber and with homemade croutons. If it is too hot to turn on the oven, you can use a toaster oven. Or just toast some bread in a regular toaster, then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

If you can, make it the night before. I think it tastes even better the second day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

These are almost like a less-sweet version of a chocolate cupcake. The zucchini keeps them so moist, you don't need any frosting or glaze. If you want to pretty them up, you could sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving, but I think they're perfect the way they are!

Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. grated zucchini (about one medium zucchini)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the zucchini and stir to distribute evenly. Add the melted butter, beaten egg, and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Pour into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 17-20 minutes at 350, until the tops spring back and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. These are great warm!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Individual Cherry Crisps

I love my ramekin set. I think I bought them on Amazon for about $10. They are great for portion control and also make a nice presentation. A lot of people think ramekins are for making creme brulee, but they are also great for making little baked desserts like this one.

I used tart cherries to make these, so if you happen to have sweet cherries, you'll want to cut down on the sugar.

This recipe is for 4 individual servings.


  • 2 C. cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 tsp. flour, divided
  • 1/2 C. oats
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
Divide the cherries between 4 ramekins. Add 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. flour to each ramekin and stir to coat the cherries. In a small bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, and melted butter. Divide it between the 4 ramekins and press down lightly to form a crust on the top.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homemade Fudge Pops

My 6 year old absolutely loves those fudge pops you can buy at the grocery store. But I just cannot stand all of the additives and artificial sweeteners they put in those things. So this summer, we tried to make our own.

It is really easy. I bought these rocket ship ice pop molds on Amazon, and they work great!

The basic recipe is like making hot cocoa. I used skim milk, so the pops were a little icy. You could try using  2% or whole milk to make them more creamy, but then they won't be fat free.


  • 2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan over low heat, simmer the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla, stirring constantly, until everything is dissolved. It should take 5-10 minutes. Keep the heat low, so that the milk doesn't scald.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a measuring cup or other container with a spout. Carefully, pour the hot liquid into the molds, leaving a little space at the top for the pop to expand. Affix the lids tightly and freeze overnight.

Pull gently on the tops to remove the pops from the molds. If you have trouble, run a little warm water along the outside to loosen it.

Note: This makes 12 pops in the small molds we have. The same company makes larger molds, but I think these are the perfect size.

Sauteed Cod with Homemade Spinach Pesto

Tonight's dinner was brought to you by the goodness of in-season and local veggies! I made a delicious spinach pesto to serve over some cod fillets. I served the fish with sauteed squash and corn on the cob (first of the season). Yum!

For the Pesto:

  • 2 C. spinach leaves, washed and dried (could also use arugula)
  • 1/2 C. basil leaves (could use parsley)
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1/4 C. grated parmigiano reggiano (or other hard cheese like pecorino or romano)
  • 1/4 C. chopped walnuts (could also use pine nuts or almonds)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 C. good-quality extra virgin olive oil
In a blender or food processor, blend the spinach, basil, garlic, cheese, nuts, and salt. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until the pesto is smooth. This makes lots of extra pesto, which you can use on pasta, eggs, sandwiches, pizza, bruschetta, etc. Or you can freeze the extra - I use small 1/4 or 1/2 cup plastic containers, so I can thaw only what I need.

For the Fish:
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or oil
  • 2 cod fillets (or other white fish)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. pesto sauce
In a small saute pan, heat the butter or oil over medium heat. Add the fish, season it with salt and pepper in the pan, and cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. Spoon the pesto over the top of each fillet, then cook for 1 minute more, to just heat the sauce.

I sauteed the squash in a little oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. It's great with a little sprinkle of feta, goat, or parmesan cheese.

I steam the corn in the microwave. I take off the outer husks and trim the silk at the top. Then I microwave it for 6 minutes (for 2 ears), then allow to stand in the microwave for 5 minutes. It turns out perfect every time (and it is so easy to remove the remaining husks and silk).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zucchini Quiche

I modified my Potato and Onion Quiche recipe so that I could use up some more zucchini. I used yellow zucchini, but you could use regular green zucchini or other sliced summer squash.

For the crust:
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water       

In a medium size bowl, combine flour and salt with fork. In a measuring cup, whisk oil and water to thicken. Pour into flour and mix with fork, until combined. 

Press into pie plate.

For the filling:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, or other summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced (could also use half of a regular onion)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the zucchini and onions for about 10-15 minutes, until they become softened and slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the zucchini and onions are cooking, whisk together eggs and milk.

Pour the cooked zucchini mixture into the prepared pie crust. Pour the egg mixture onto the zucchini, then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until brown and set throughout.

Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Breakfast Pancakes

Once again, I'm looking for ways to use up the massive amounts of zucchini that we've gotten from our farm share so far this year.

Normally, when I think of zucchini pancakes, I think of fritters or latkes. But these are traditional buttermilk breakfast pancakes. I modified my basic Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes recipe to add zucchini, and boy, are they yummy. You could easily add chopped nuts or chocolate chips, or add some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.


  • 1 C. AP flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. grated zucchini (about half of a medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1/4 C. butter (half a stick), melted
  • 1 C. buttermilk (can substitute regular milk, but the pancakes won't be as fluffly)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the zucchini, and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, mix the melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. If you over-mix, the pancakes will be tough.

Heat a griddle (or a large pan) over medium heat. Grease with oil or butter if desired. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle.

Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook just slightly more. Keep warm until ready to serve. Spread with butter, if desired, and serve with maple syrup.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Zucchini Muffins with Chocolate Chips

I currently have an entire crisper drawer full of squash in my refrigerator, including some mammoth zucchini. This comes courtesy of the past two weeks of CSA deliveries. The warm winter and spring here on the East Coast has contributed to some really early harvest times (we already have peaches!) so this is the first of several zucchini recipes to come.

These muffins are super moist and delicious. You could easily substitute chopped nuts for the chocolate chips.


  • 1 C. AP flour
  • 1/2 C. white whole-wheat flour (could use all AP flour if you want)
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. grated zucchini (about half of a medium zucchini)
  • 1/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt) in a medium sized bowl. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened. Do not over-mix. Carefully add the zucchini and chocolate chips and stir just to combine.

Fill greased muffin tins about halfway with the batter. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Makes 10-12 muffins.

These are super served warm. They will keep for several days in a sealed container, but they won't last more than a day around here.

Here are some shots of our last two weeks of CSA deliveries. Huge haul of squash!