Maple Glazed Delicata Squash


Delicata squash is a great way to begin to enjoy winter squash at this time of year. I think of it as a “gateway squash”, a kind of transition from juicy summer squash to the harder, heartier squash of colder days such as the acorn, butternut and pumpkin. Unlike most other winter squash, the Delicata can be eaten with the outside rind still on. This recipe today is from Simply Recipes online and it gives roasted veggies such a boost, they will please everyone at your table.

Maple Glazed Delicata Squash with Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Arils

Ingredients:

  • 1 large delicata squash
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 3 large shallots
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (You know me…I subbed vegetable broth and saved myself calories and fat)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, divided
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Then wash the outside of your squash.  Trim off the ends and then slice it down the middle, lengthwise so that you have two “boats” once you scrape out the seeds and strings.  Place it hollow side down and cut into little semi-circles about 1/2 an inch thick.  Next, make sure you trim your Brussels sprouts.  The best thing to do is slice off the end and pull off the outer leaves until you have a fresh looking sprout.  Slice up your shallots (or onion, let’s be honest here folks…if you don’t have shallots on hand can we all agree that subbing an onion is acceptable?).  Put all those veggies in a bowl and drizzle in the broth (or olive oil), maple syrup and cider vinegar.  Sprinkle on the salt.  Save the last tablespoon of syrup and the pomegranate arils for after the roasting.  Then stir it all up gently to distribute the glazed goodness.  Arrange it all in a single layer on a baking sheet (you can use a silpat, parchment, or cooking spray to prep your pans).  Roast these for 20-25 minutes and then shake the pan or stir the veggies to turn them over, then continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes.  When the roasting is complete place the veg all back into a bowl, add the pomegranate arils and the last tablespoon of maple syrup.  Fold these in and then serve.

For a pomegranate prep tip check out this video.  Getting the seeds out underwater makes a lot less mess!

For more posts about winter squash check out Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans and keep a look out for a butternut squash pie recipe, coming soon!

Green Beans Almondine

So, do you want to sound fancy when the inevitable question of, “What’s for dinner?”, strikes?  Here is a super simple way to make green beans in to Green Beans Almondine…

Major players in this recipe include green beans, in this case fresh organic green beans from Sage Mountain Farm’s weekly CSA box, lemon juice, and a wonderful little topping called almond parmesean.  I have mentioned almond parm before here, in the Summer Ratatouille post. Actually, they aren’t major players, they are the only players…or playa’z if you like.

Awesome, right?!  Take three ingredients and turn a run-of-the-mill side dish into a side dish with style!  Let’s get to it…

Green Beans Almondine

Ingredients:

1 pound of organic green beans

juice of 1 lemon

Almond Parmesan, for sprinkling (recipe found here at The Simple Veganista)

Method:

Begin by washing and trimming your green beans.  I like to snap both ends off and toss ’em in my chicken bowl. You could also place the ends into your scrap bag in the freezer for broth.  Next, cook your green beans how you like ’em.  I like mine steamed with just a bit of snap left, so that they are still bright green.  You could boil them too, but that usually drains the color from them and turns them much softer.

Once your green beans are warm and cooked according to your taste, you are ready to take them to a whole new level!  Bring on the lemon juice.  Sprinkle liberally as this will be the “glue” that makes the Almond Parm stick to the beans.  Then add your deliciously healthy almond Parmesan on top and mix in.  If you prefer dairy Parmesan, go ahead and substitute here, but you’ll be missing out on the “almondine” and instead a new green bean recipe will be born….Parmesan Green Beans!  Either way, the green beans from Sage Mountain Farm will sing and you’ll be a dinner-time side-dish hero!!!

P.S.  One confession, I made these for breakfast and ate them all.  No sharing, all mine!!!  Muahahaha!!!

Steve’s Snack Bread


The inspiration for this bread comes to us from my husband, Steve. He wanted a yummy snack with chocolate chips. Now you know, I love to bake, love love love it!  I love getting dressed in an apron, I love using every bowl in the house, and I can’t help but envy the looks of admiration and adoration on the faces of those old black and white television families when the mother whips up some delicious treat. Yeah, June Cleaver here I come… Anyway, this quick bread uses healthy ingredients, no fat, and a modern convenience, the blender.

Steve’s Snack Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

Ingredients:

2 cups of oats

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1T cinnamon

1 large apple, or two smaller ones

1 small zucchini (or a large one of those ball shaped summer squashes)

1t lemon juice

1t vanilla

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c chocolate chips

Method:

Place the first four ingredients into your blender(or food processor) and blend until finely ground like flour.  Put this dry mix into a bowl.  Next, place the chocolate chips into this dry mixture and stir to combine, then set this aside.  Trim your squash of it’s stem and end, then core your apple(s).  When presentation isn’t an issue I generally just cut chunks of the apple off of the core, leaving behind a long rectangular apple core.  Put the apple and squash into your blender and then add the remaining ingredients on the list.  Blend until smooth.  You should have “around” 2 cups of fragrant puree.

I use a silicone loaf pan, so no prep is needed.  If you are using a metal or glass loaf pan make sure that it is prepared ahead of time.

With a gentle hand stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture just until there are no dry spots left.  Over-mixing lets the air escape and will result in a denser quick bread.

Bake this bread for one hour.  Then, if you haven’t already, put on an apron to serve it to your family or friends.  (I am pretty sure the apron is a prerequisite for the looks of adoration.)

Summer Ratatouille

Sage Mountain Farm
Summer’s Bounty, Beautifully Layered!

When I saw the gorgeous purple and white Japanese eggplant this week in my CSA box, I was filled with longing and dread.  Let me explain… My favorite color is purple, so naturally I love the eggplant with it’s deeply purple skin.  A vegetable that’s purple, what could be better? (perhaps a purple cookie…I digress) So of course, this explains the longing.  I want to love the flavor of such a beauty as well.  Which leads to the dread.  I have NEVER been able to prepare eggplant myself that tasted any good.  It had become such a problem that I had been banned from ever buying an eggplant again.  Sometimes you just gotta cut and run.  Let things lie…you know, quit while you’re ahead and such.

Since this eggplant came to me via my weekly farm box, I didn’t feel like I was violating the eggplant ban because I didn’t choose it, it chose me, so to speak.  I knew that I had to try again to catch my unicorn…decent homemade eggplant.  This time I nailed it!  But what was different this time you might ask?  Two things were different, and both contributed to my new-found success.  First I had never tried Japanese eggplant before, always the big fatties.  This was a good change because one of the problems that I usually encounter with home cooked eggplant is the chewiness and I think eggplant texture is a good example of a little being good and too much being not so good.  Second, I finally took the time to prepare the eggplant ahead of time.  It is usually listed as optional in eggplant recipes, but I have found it to be completely mandatory!  You must salt, drain, squeeze, rinse and pat dry.  You must.  I promise that it makes a huge difference.

All of the summery goodness that I needed for ratatouille was at hand, thanks to Sage Mountain Farm.  I had eggplant, leeks, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and zucchini.  This dinner went over well with the fam and I have to say that the smell coming from my oven when this was baking was A. MAZE. ING!  Try it and you’ll see for yourself!

Summer Ratatouille

4-5 Japanese eggplant, sliced and prepared ahead of time (NOT OPTIONAL)

3 zucchini, sliced

5-6 small tomatoes, sliced

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced

2 leeks, sliced

1/2 c vegetable broth, divided (or olive oil, or a combination of both)

fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

First thing to do is to prepare your eggplant.

Sage Mountain Farm
Eggplant slices

Get out a colander and place a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom.  Salt this layer liberally.  Another layer of sliced eggplant, more salt.  Lots of salt.  The purpose of this is to draw out the excess moisture, which can give eggplant a slimy mouth-feel, and any bitterness that may be present.  You will end up rinsing this salt off so don’t worry about how much to use.  Continue to layer eggplant slices and salt until you have sliced and salted it all.  Let this drain in your sink, and walk past occasionally to press the whole thing lightly.  I put a bowl on top of the eggplant that fit inside my colander to do my pressing for me.

While this is going on slice up everything else.  Get out a glass casserole dish and put a little olive oil or broth in the bottom and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once everything is prepared and your eggplant has been draining for between 30 minutes and two hours you are ready!

Start your ratatouille with a layer of leeks.  Next, for the eggplant layer, you need to grab a handful of eggplant slices and squeeze hard under running water.  Pat these slices dryish and build your eggplant layer.  This will take several handfuls in my experience.  After the eggplant layer, put on zucchini slices followed by tomato slices.  Then salt, pepper, garlic and basil all over the tomatoes.  Continue making these layers until all of your ingredients are used up.  When that happens take the rest of your broth (or olive oil) and drizzle it all over the top.  Bake for about one hour and enjoy the smells coming from your oven!

Sage Mountain Farm
Another veggie packed meal!

We served this over brown rice with almond Parmesan on the top!  Try it out and let me know how you liked it!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade 

 This summery fresh recipe will knock your socks off!  Really!  It will change your whole concept of what lemonade can be.  Powdered mix, yellow or pink, be gone!  Once you give this a try you will never want anything else, it is truly an adventure!

Are you curious yet?!  I found this recipe on Chow.com and I knew that it would be great.  The smells when you are cooking the syrup are to die for!  Seriously, the syrup on its own could be poured over vanilla ice cream and that would be a delicious summery dessert.

Fresh CSA strawberries and basil really shine, giving this lemonade a tasty twist.  It will surely wow your family and friends.

Fingerling Oven Fries

Sage Mountain Farm
Potato Perfection!

Update:  Potatoes are in again at the farm and so I am re-posting this great recipe for fingerling potatoes.  If you have been following the blog for a while you may recognize it, if not please enjoy one of the easiest and tastiest snacks/side dish out there.  This recipe also works for new potatoes as well, or full sized potatoes for that matter, you just have to cut them more.

Fingerling potatoes were like super-hot in the food world a while back, and I am really just now discovering why.  The flavor is great but that’s not the biggest reason why I love them.

LAZINESS! That’s why.  Total laziness!

For a busy mom, oven fries are a healthy alternative to the frozen pre-fried kind, but they are a lot of scrubbing and slicing and turning, etc…in walks the fearless fingerling.  Mini sized means many things…less scrubbing, less slicing, less work post oven-insertion!  With the size of these tasty morsels being what they are, only about half of them even needed slicing.  The ones that were chubby, I cut in half lengthwise.  Most of them I just left whole.  This is another one of my non-recipe recipes.  You can vary the seasonings to fit your tastes.  Here we go…

Fingerling Oven Fries

Ingredients:

One bag of Sage Mountain Farm’s fingerling potatoes

3-4 Tablespoons of Homemade vegetable broth

A generous amount of Lemon Herb Salt

Method:

Sage Mountain Farm
Naked Taters in a Bowl!

Preheat oven to 425.  Wash your potatoes and slice the chubby ones in half, lengthwise.  Place your potatoes into a big bowl.  Over top of the potatoes spoon your broth (this could be olive oil if you like, but I like the cleaner, less calorific flavor of broth instead).  Now grab some salt.  Really, grab a good sized, chef-like pinch just like on Food Network.  Sprinkle this into your bowl and use your hands to make sure that each fry gets brothy and salty.  Spread these out on a baking tray.

Sage Mountain Farm
Waiting to be baked…

I used a silicon baking mat for maximum non-stick, another option would be parchment paper or a lightly sprayed sheet pan.  Pop these delicious taters into the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure that about halfway through the cooking time you open the oven and give the baking tray a few good shakes.  The great thing about the fingerlings versus the sliced full sized oven fries is that they are (mostly) round and so you really don’t need to use a spatula to turn them all individually.  You can just shakey-shake and move on to smelling them cook!

We have seriously eaten these for like three or four days in a row at lunch time!  Kids like them, I like them…all in a day’s work, hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Orange Banana

Sage Mountain Farm
Have a tasty S.O.B.!

When I opened my CSA box this week and saw strawberries and oranges, I knew what I wanted…S.O.B. of course!  Umm, Strawberry Orange Banana, what else?!  This recipe, like some others that I have posted, isn’t really a recipe, but an idea that may inspire you.  Basically I filled my blender with strawberries, bananas and oranges (just peeled because I have a high powered blender, but if you have a regular blender just squeeze the juice from the oranges and use that).  Then I added some ice cubes to chill it down and blended it up.  I know that this is simple, but simple is good.  It’s refreshing and sweet on a hot day, and it also makes an awesome breakfast.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  What have you been doing with the strawberries from our farm?  Share some inspiration in the comments below!

Strawberry Update 

  STRAWBERRY UPDATE!!

A lot of people have been asking about our wonderful strawberries…
Over the years, we’ve been known to grow some of the finest strawberries in the valley!!!
Our crop is coming in later this year for two reasons. First, our new farm property is at 4,000ft elevation, our crops come in later than our previous farm property at 2,000ft elevation. Second reason is our strawberry plants became confused this year and produced runners “new plants” instead of fruit. We believe this was due to the weather fluctuation of extreme cycles of cold then heat then cold and then heat……
  The unusual weather pattern most likely confused the plants into producing runners instead of fruit. Cutting the runners has tripled the cost of overall labor for the strawberry crop.
As of right now it looks like 10% of normal production is starting to produce fruit “YAAY” and hoping for a full recovery!!

(This update was written by Yadira Meza from Sage Mountain Farm. If you’ve ever called the farm, you’ve probably talked to her.  She’s very knowledgeable and really friendly!)

Panini with Greenies

Sage Mountain Farm
Panini…the answer to lunch!

Have you ever made panini at home?  It’s really quite easy, even if you don’t have a panini maker.  There are a lot of ways to make a delicious, super flat and crispy sandwich, some of which you probably have in your kitchen right now!  A panini is really just a grilled sandwich, but let’s move beyond grilled cheese here and consider the greens that you get in the CSA box.  Imagine a toasty savory way to enjoy the bountiful nutrition of chard in an easy to carry, portable package!  Panini…the answer to lunch.

So the panini can be made with a griddle pan and another heavy pan, such as I will talk about below in my recipe.  It can also be made in any type of grilly-pressy kitchen gadget; George Foreman grill, sandwich maker, even waffle irons!  The main thing is to grill it and press it flat so that as the greens cook, the sandwich compresses to contain the awesome tastiness!

I was inspired to do this when I saw a video of Rip Esselstyn, the guy from the Engine 2 Diet, making a similar panini for some people.  It looked so delicious, I just had to try it with the ingredients that I had on hand in my kitchen.  A little while later I was eating the rewards of this inspiration and today I want to inspire you as well.

Panini with Greenies

Ingredients:

Two slices of bread, I used Ezekiel bread but you could use any bread you like.  Just make sure that it is a sturdy bread, otherwise it may not hold up to the process.

Hummus, I used homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, but you can use whatever hummus you like.

Sliced tomato

A large handful of chopped greens, I used kale but chard and collards would also work brilliantly!

Salt and pepperSage Mountain FarmSage Mountain FarmsSage Mountain Farm

Method:

Begin by preheating your panini making item of choice, for this recipe I will talk about a cast iron grill pan.

I always tell my kids that the first ingredient of any sandwich is a plate!  This saves me from the mess that generally follows if they are allowed to make their sandwich directly on the countertop.  So, on top of your plate lay out your bread of choice and spread on some hummus, a good amount on each piece, and then salt and pepper generously.  On one piece of bread lay out some sliced tomato and on the other side a mountain of chopped greens, don’t worry it will cook down to a nice flat panini!  Then carefully smoosh both halves together.

Place the sandwich on your grill pan.  Get another cast iron pan and place it on the top of the sandwich.  In the top pan place more cast iron or, as in the demo by Rip, a barbell!  Let the sandwich cook like this for several minutes.  Remove the top pan and flip your panini carefully then replace the top pan and continue cooking for several more minutes until your sandwich is perfectly grilled and lunch ready!

During the cooking process the greens will wilt and compress, releasing liquid.  This may cause sputtering noises as the liquid drips onto your pan, totally normal…no worries!

I love to slice my panini on the opposite diagonal as the grill marks, it looks restaurant fancy that way!  🙂

Let me know if you try this out and what you thought of it in the comment section below!