Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dark Day Challenge Week 4 Crockpot Chicken Chutney

I defrosted some chicken yesterday wanting to do a crock pot recipe, but of course I started too late in the day to have it for dinner. Sometimes it's actually better that way, because then it's almost like I'm planning ahead.  So I knew that I wanted to do Chicken in the crock pot, but what else could I throw in with it... peaches, apples, potatoes w/carrots? How about Peach Chutney? It is one of my staples that I can every season. Peaches, onions, vinegar, garlic, spices, and raisins make up this amazing accompaniment to chicken, pork, or turkey.  So here's to the fastest thrown together crock pot meal- Cheers!

Chicken (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
Peach Chutney (home canned goodness)

Place chicken in crock pot and add enough chutney to cover chicken. Cook on low for 6-9hours.

Enjoy with rice or pasta or by itself, but don't forget to include some saute green beans on the side.

Green beans (homegrown)- heat up some butter in a saucepan, thrown in 3 garlic cloves sliced, add your beans and saute till a bit browned. Add salt and serve warm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 3 Lamb Stew

Lamb is one of those meats that have to cooked correctly to be fully enjoyed. It took me a few tries to get it right. Marinating and the crock pot are the two best ways to prepare lamb.  Lamb meatballs, leg of lamb marinated in red wine, and lamb stew in a crock pot are my favorite ways to prepare this tasty meat.  Whenever this chilly weather rolls around I can't help but to take out the crock pot to make delicious, easy, and time saving meals.

Lamb Stew

1 lb of lamb stew meat or lamb shanks (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
1 large onion chopped (from our garden)
3 carrots chopped (from our garden)
2 ribs of celery chopped (not local, but organic)
4-6 cups of chicken broth (homemade)
Rosemary, salt, pepper -to taste
olive oil

Saute onions, celery, and carrots till tender in a pan with oil olive. Transfer to a crock pot. In the same pan, saute up the lamb meat till browned on all sides. Transfer to crock pot. Add in the stock and spices to the crock pot and turn on low for at least 8 hours. Serve with warm bread and some good homebrew (espresso chocolate stout made by Chris with local malt from Hadley, MA).

Italian Bread

3 cups of water
1 1/2 tbsp of yeast
6 cups of bread flour (organic from Westport, NY)
1 1/2 tbsp of salt

Add the ingredients into a mixer with a dough hook, in the order of ingredients. (Never add salt directly on the yeast or it will fight). The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Let it rise for about 2 hrs. This recipe will make about 4 pounds of dough so use as much as you want to make rolls, baguette, loaf, etc. Whatever dough you don't use, you can place into the fridge in a plastic container with a lid for up to a week. Once you shape the dough let it rise for about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 and slide bread onto a hot pizza stone or let it rise on a metal pan w/parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes depending on the size of the bread.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 2 Pork Schnitzel

Gotta love deadlines. This post is due by 5pm Tuesday and here I am Monday evening 8:30 whipping up something to feed myself and husband that qualifies for this challenge. After baking 48 loaves of bread (for a market tomorrow) we decided on Pork Schnitzel (isn't it just too much fun saying Schnitzel?).

2 pieces of Pork Loin Cutlets (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
1/4 cup of flour (Champlain Valley Westport, NY)
1 egg (local farm Rutland, MA)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (homemade)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
3 tbsp of olive oil
3/4 cup of Chicken Stock (homemade)
1/2 cup of sour cream (Cabot- VT)

Dredge the cutlets through the flour (add your salt and pepper in here), then egg, and lastly bread crumb mixture.
Heat up a cast iron skillet with olive oil and cook each cutlet about 5-7 minutes on each side, till crispy.
Remove the Schnitzel and place on plate.
Add the chicken stock in your skillet and scrape up of those yummy brown bits.
Next add the sour cream and stir till it thickens (but not boiling). Serve with the Schnitzel and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Curried Pork Empanadas

Curried Pork Empanadas

This is one fantastic recipe that I came across. I found it at Simply Recipes and have made it several times since. You can make these for dinner, to freeze, for parties, etc... The recipe also allows you to be creative with whatever you want to fill the Empanada with.  The Pastry recipe is incredible and very versatile. 

Pastry Ingredients 
8 ounces cream cheese (do not use light), room temperature
4 ounces (1 sticks, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5-2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten, for pastry egg wash
Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and  salt, until well blended. Slowly add in the flour, mixing until incorporated. Form two balls (it will be easier to work with 2 separate pieces of dough), then flatten each into a disk. Dust with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
While dough is chilling, heat a large frying pan on medium high/high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon or so of salt on the bottom of the pan and add the pork. Once the pork is nicely browned, reduce the heat on the pan to medium, and remove the pork to a bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Then add the chopped onion. Let onions gently cook on medium heat for a few minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant.  Add the curry powder, ground coriander, and cardamom to the pan. Mix the spices in with the onion mix. Add the ground pork back to the pan, mixing in the seasoned onion mix. Add the raisins. Add the sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and corn starch, mixing well.  Remove from heat, and chill until time to stuff the pastries.

Stuffing the Pastries:
Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured, smooth, clean surface, roll out one of the dough rounds to a thin 1/8-inch thickness. (If refrigerated for more than an hour, you may need to let it sit for 10 minutes to soften it enough to roll it out more easily.) Use a wide-mouthed jar (about 3 inches wide) to cut out rounds. Place them on a baking sheet.

During this and the next step, if the dough becomes too soft and therefore difficult to work with, put whatever you are working on in the refrigerator to chill for 5 or 10 minutes.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the inside edge of the rounds with egg wash (to help the empanadas seal). Place a teaspoon of meat inside each round. Fold the round over to and press the edges to seal shut. Use the tines of a fork to flute the edges. Place standing upright on a baking sheet, spaced an inch apart. (You can also lie them down, but with them upright, you'll fit more on a pan.) Use a pastry brush to brush the sides (not the bottom) of the empanadas with more egg wash.

Working in batches, cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 3 dozen empanada turnovers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dark Days Challenge #1 Burritos

My friend Rachel forwarded me a link to the 5th Annual Dark Days Challenge.
The challenge runs from Sunday, November 27th, 2011 to Saturday, March 31st, 2012.
So what's the challenge? Cooking once a week a meal that is SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) and posting about on my blog.
Local means about 150 mile radius with a few minor exemptions that are set up ahead of time (i.e. oil, spices, coffee, and chocolate). I am ready and this will keep me posting weekly recipes (I've been slacking).
My exemptions will include: spices, citrus (who can go all winter without Oranges or Grapefruit?), olive oil, yeast, baking powder/soda, and salt.

Who doesn't love Mexican food? Only if I had tequila to make some Margaritas would make this meal perfect (although not local).  The Homemade Tortillas really make the Burrito.  It has been a really long time since I have bought pitas, flat bread, or tortillas from the grocery store. They always are bland tasting and stale. I can guide you on making very simple, but delicious tortillas to go with your favorite style Burritos.

Homemade Tortillas
2/3 cup of water
~2 cups of flour (Mt. Marcy Organic Flour from Westport, NY)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of soften butter (Cabot, from VT)

Mix together your flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Place your water and flour mixture into your Kitchen Aid mixer and add in the butter.  Knead with a dough hook until dough is soft and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Add in additional flour if needed. Cover with a towel for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 6-8 balls. Roll out each one with flour while heating up a griddle. Cook each one a couple minutes on each side till you get some lightly brown spots. If you cook them too long they will get hard and not really good for the next day. As you are cooking the next ones, place the cooked ones on a plate and keep covered with a kitchen towel. 

1 lb of ground beef (Chestnut Farms CSA Hardwick, MA)
1 medium onion diced (from our garden)
3 cloves of garlic diced (from our garden)
Chili Powder -to taste
~ 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add in your onions and garlic. Saute till tender and the beginning stages of caramelizing.  Add in your beef and cook till the pink is almost gone. Next add in your Chili Powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt to taste. Cook till the meat is all brown.

Now it's time to create and layer your Burrito. My Favorite starts with sour cream, next comes the beef, then the Cabot cheese, and lastly the home canned peach salsa.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lemon Curd

It was about a couple years ago when I first discovered Lemon Curd. It called for it in a bread/pastry recipe I was making. Trader Joe's (one of my favorite stores) fortunately carried it and I was hooked. I would try to stock up when I went every couple of months, but there would be a time when I needed it and there was no way I was driving 45 minutes one way for it. So I searched and searched recipes online till I came across one that I liked. The Joy of Cooking website seemed to have the best method and ingredients. After following it a few times, I of course had to tweak it. Who wants to do a double boiler or strain it? I have the recipe down to using one pot.

3 large eggs
~1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice ( 1-2 large lemons)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon zest ( basically the zest from the lemons you use- I don't measure)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Melt the butter and sugar in a sauce pan, stir till blended. Let the mixture cool down, so when  you add the eggs they aren't cooked. Beat in one egg at a time. Next, stir in the lemon juice and zest and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring the curd till it thickens.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. 
It will last about a week in the fridge. Use with pies, tarts, pastries, muffins, etc.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

This is seriously one of my all time favorite soups (next to French Onion). It's a super quick and easy soup that can be done during the week. Throw in some fresh hot bread from the oven and you're all set.

1 onion chopped or leeks
3 ribs of celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 tbsp of butter
1 butternut squash (or whatever kind you have on hand) roasted
1 apple (the tarter the better ... say that three times fast!) peeled, chopped, and cored
***You are looking for about a 3 to 1 ratio of Squash to Apple***
3 cups of chicken or veggie stock or whey (from when you make cheese)
cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, and salt

Cut up the squash, place face down in a pan with some water and roast in your oven at 350F till tender (about an hour). Scoop out the flesh (once cooled) and place in a separate bowl. 
Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in butter till tender in the pot you're cooking the soup in. Add in the stock, squash, and apple. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend all the ingredients and add the spices to your liking.
Enjoy with some fresh hot bread and good company!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apple Cranberry Oat Crisp

Besides apples, cranberries is one of the fruits I really look forward to in the fall. When I used to live in Westford there was this land behind the house where we hiked everyday. My landlord showed us this random spot where wild cranberries grew. I have no clue how they started there, but it was fantastic.  So for three years in a row I went out there to pick cranberries.  This also included last year when I was no longer living there and they also had "developed"  this beautiful land so my friend Amy and I had to sneak through to get to the trails. It's a bit tedious picking cranberries, but also relaxing. And no, you don't have to wade through a bog to pick them. These cranberries are much tarter than your store variety, but oh so tasty.  I would use them to make cranberry vodka or gin, cranberry apple jam, Thanksgiving stuffing, or put a twist on the classic apple crisp.

Apple Cranberry Oat Crisp

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup of melted butter

6 medium apples sliced, peeled, and cored
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of tapioca
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter the dish your cooking it in.
Prep your apples and place them in a bowl. Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients and place in your buttered dish.
Mix all of your dry topping ingredients together before you add in the melted butter. Crumble the topping over the apple mixture and place in your oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Squash Ravioli w/ Sage Butter Cream Sauce

I know I'm a bit behind, but that wicked October snow storm knocked us out of power for five days. We are fortunate to have a wood stove so Miss Rosalie would not be too chilly.  Even without power we are stubborn enough to cook (thank you gas stove).  We made pizza and potato wedges for dinner one night.  The storm brought 18" of snow and luckily our neighbor lent us his smaller generator. Chris made a snow fridge to keep our food cold and the chest freezer remained frozen as long as our generator ran every so often.  Central, MA has been kicked around by mother nature really recently- tornadoes, hurricanes, and early snowstorms (snow days in October?), so we are overdue to purchase our own generator that can run at least our well, freezer, boiler, and a few other amenities. 
Anyway back to the recipe.

Squash Ravioli w/ Sage Butter Cream Sauce 

Your favorite squash
1-2 eggs
Ricotta Cheese
Parm Cheese
Homemade Pasta
Flour/Corn Starch

Take your favorite kind of squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, etc..) cut it in half, scoop out the seeds (save these), place upside down on a pan w/water and roast it at 350 F until soft.  Scoop out the squash once it has cooled a bit and puree it in a food processor.
Next add in 1 or 2 eggs, 1 cup or so of Ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parm, and some cream until you get a nice consistency- not too watery, not too thick.
Roll out your pasta (see pasta recipe on previous post) to nice thin sheets ( I go to number 5 on my pasta machine).
Add a teaspoon of you squash mixture onto the pasta sheets going down the line. I typically will fold it over and cut them into nice squares.
Make sure to press the pasta down around the pocket to seal in the squash. Use a fork to press around the edges. Then place the ravioli on a rack to dry (about 30 mins at least).
Get your water up to a boil (don't forget to add some salt to make it boil faster) and add in the ravioli.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes. You can see the past turning a lighter color.  Take out the pasta and place on a plate.

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Next add in some sage (about 1 teaspoon).
Pour in some cream (1- 1 1/2 cups of cream) and bring to a simmer. Add a teaspoon of flour or corn starch to a separate cup with a tablespoon of water and mix together.  Combine with the sauce and continue to cook till thickened.

Serve the pasta with cream sauce and enjoy! I'll be posting some recipes soon on making your own Ricotta and Mozzarella.
****Squash Seeds**** Take your seeds, rinse off the squash gunk and place them in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and Franks Red Hot sauce. Place on a cookie sheet and cook for about 20 minutes at 350 F until crispy. Make sure to stir every so often.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wedding Quilts

 I have been feasting on my leftover Chicken Corn Chowder and Sourdough Bread so no new recipes for today. I've decided to post a few pictures of the recent quilts I made as wedding gifts. I am new to quilting and learning heaps as I go. It's nice to work on when it's cold and snowy outside, like today. (Seriously it's October and the plows out. ) I'm currently working on a new one for my bedroom, so I will post pictures once I get further along.

 This quilt I made for my good friends Sara and Matt.  Sara and I have known each other since grade school and remained friends after she moved to Virginia. Fortunately she married Matt who has family in New Hampshire, so we get the chance to see each other just about every year now.
I started the quilt back in January when I was pregnant with Rosalie. Even though the wedding wasn't till August, I had a feeling that I wouldn't get much accomplished with a newborn. Besides it was nice to work on when it was cold and snowy and there wasn't a whole lot of skiing I could do.  The three blocks I appliqued are a bush clover, peony, and iris. The patterns were an inspiration from a Japanese quilting book I borrowed. They were individual pieces that I brought together and repeated as the center block. I had to keep bringing the quilt out with me so I could figure out which fabrics would the borders and pull the whole thing together. Plus purple and green were her wedding colors and I wanted to incorporate them as much as possible.

 This quilt I made in September for Ben and Jen's wedding.  I wanted the quilt to be cozy and though I loved the Cathedral Window Quilt pattern (here is the link for the pattern: wasn't a blanket you would want to curl up with. So I decided to make it into the border and use fleece on the back.  I also machined appliqued Ginkgo leaves since they symbolize love, peace, hope and longevity.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

There is something about the cool fall weather that brings on the hot soups and rustic breads. Even though we just finished off our vat of French Onion Soup, Chicken Corn Chowder was calling my name.  At the end of summer I try to get a few dozen ears of corn just to freeze their tasty kernels for Corn Chowder.  It brings back thoughts of summer and adds the warmth to your kitchen. So here we go...

Chicken (optional, you can make it without, but so much better with)
Bacon (once again optional, but who doesn't love bacon)
2 medium Onions chopped
3 Ribs of Celery chopped
5-6cups combo of milk and stock (whatever you have on hand and your preference)
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 large potatoes chopped
butter (seriously who cooks without it)

Roast, grill, or fry your chicken. I had a whole chicken in the freezer so I opted to roast it.
Cook up your bacon and try not eat it all before you finish making your chowder
Reserve a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in your pan and saute your onions and celery. If you didn't have bacon, this is where you use butter instead.
Saute the onions and celery till browned, then add your milk/stock and potatoes. I used about 3 cups of  stock and 2 cups of milk
Bring to a boil and cook till the potatoes are tender
Add in the corn and cook for another 7minutes
Then break out the blender or food processor and blend the soup. I typically blend about 1/2-3/4 of the soup and leave the rest. If you want the soup to be thicker add in 2 tablespoons of flour mixed with cold water. Next add the chicken and bacon (hopefully there is some left) and Serve warm. Even better serve in a bread bowl mmm...

Monday, October 24, 2011

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my all time favorites. It's hard to find a restaurant that can actually make a decent bowl of French Onion Soup.  Who can resist the melted, bubbly cheese over crusty bread.  The real key to French Onion is the broth. Sure you can use Beef Broth from a can, but it will no where be as good as if you make the broth from scratch.  Every year I look forward to our St. Patty's Day celebration not only because of the corned beef that I cure for 8 days, but the broth left over from boiling the corned beef and veggies. It is hands down the best broth I have ever tasted.
So yesterday I pulled out of my freezer a package of marrow bones from the farm (You can buy these at the grocery store too) for two reasons:
1. to make my dogs happy

2. to make soup stock

Soup Stock:
Roast marrow bones, carrots, onions, turnips, rutabaga, and garlic with olive oil in a pan at 350 F for 1-2 hours
Next take out your biggest stock pot and fill it up with all those roasted bones and veggies.
Throw in some celery, head of cabbage chopped up, zucchini, summer squash, 2 bay leaves, etc.
If you have some stew beef or chuck roast throw in too. 
Fill the rest up with water and let boil for 5-6  hours.
The key to a good stock is the huge combo of veggies. You might not like turnips or rutabaga or cabbage, but they really make the soup stock delicious. It might smell funny at first, but as it cooks on the smell will become amazing.
Separate the broth from all the veggies with a colander and let the remaining stock boil down till it reaches your taste. Add as much salt to taste.

Next slice up at least 8 large onions and saute them in a preferably cast iron pot with butter.
Stir them every so often so they don't stick.
Cook until they are almost caramelized.
Add the broth and you can either do 1/2 cup of white wine or 2 tablespoons of Marsala or Sherry wine. This time I had some Marsala and it did the trick.
Next you want to slice up some good crusty bread and place it over your soup an oven proof bowl.
Then you want to layer on some Swiss or Gruyere cheese and place it under the broiler for a few minutes. Stay close you do not want to burn the cheese!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

What better to follow homemade granola than homemade yogurt.  Yogurt is another one of those simple, non-time consuming, money saving foods.  There are a variety of different methods from an electric yogurt maker (pricey) to a crock pot to a wood stove. The method that I like involves a heating pad.

So here we go:

On the stove, heat up 1/2 gallon of milk (preferably whole, it makes it thicker) to 185 F. Make sure to stir every so often to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once it reaches 185 F turn off the stove and cool it down to 110 F.
You have two options here:
1. cool it down in the sink with ice water ... or
2. just let it cool down on its own (that definitely takes longer)

Next you add 3 tablespoons of yogurt (preferably plain; french vanilla works fine too) and stir. Then place the lid on your pot and put on top of your heating pad. Place a kitchen towel under the pot and over it too.
Keep on Medium heat for 7 hours. That's it; then you have your yogurt.
It's a 1:1 ratio, so 1/2 gallon of milk=1/2 gallon of yogurt. Just a fraction of the cost.
Add maple syrup, brown sugar, jam, vanilla, or honey to give it your favorite flavor.
***Just remember to leave 3 tablespoons of yogurt for your next batch. This yogurt will last about 1-2 weeks.


Granola is not only tasty, healthy, and versatile, but really easy to make. I have tried other recipes, but really wasn't that happy with them.  This recipe has the perfect amount of sweetness and takes only 40 minutes from start to finish. Plus it is really inexpensive to make. It's hard to believe that they can really charge that much in the store for a box of granola. So try it out and you'll wonder why you haven't done this before.

1/3 cup olive oil (calls for canola, but I'll have in the house is Olive)
1/3 cup honey
1.4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 salt
4 cups of rolled oats
3/4 cup of chopped pecans or the nut of your choice
3/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or any other fruit
(makes about 6 cups)

Preheat oven to 350, line a large baking/roasting pan (with sides) with parchment paper, or oil, or butter.
Mix the honey, oil, maple syrup, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together.
In a large bowl mix together the oats, coconut, and pecans.  Then coat the dry ingredients with the syrup mixture until evenly distributed.
Spread mixture onto a pan and place in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown.
When the granola is cooled add the fruit and enjoy! Store in jars or ziplock bags.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homemade Pasta w/Sun Dried Tomatoes, Leeks, Artichokes, and Goat Cheese

There is nothing better than homemade pasta, seriously. If you have never had it, well just prepare yourself if you ever do, you will become spoiled. I promise. Plus if you have a pasta roller it makes it much easier and faster.

Pasta Dough Recipe:
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
pour of olive oil ( ~ 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup of Semolina (Durham) Flour
1/2 cup of Bread Flour

I start out by mixing them together in my Kitchen Aid mixer and add more flour as needed. I finish kneading the dough by hand. I just find it gives me a better consistency. You are looking for a dough that is soft but doesn't stick to your fingers.
Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes minimum.

Then if you are lucky to have a pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid (or some other pasta roller) it will save you time and energy. I typically roll my pasta out till a number 4,  I find it to be not too thick or thin.

Get your water to a boil and place your pasta in. Stir it a bit and keep an eye on it, it only needs about 5 minutes to cook or so. (Another benefit of homemade pasta- short cooking time.) You are looking for the color of the pasta to be lighter. 

Deliciousness Sauce
Saute leeks in a couple tablespoons of butter.
Then throw in some chopped up zucchini.
And some more butter (starting to feel like Julia Child).
Next add chopped artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.
Then pour in some milk or cream or both, but enough to cover all the deliciousness.  I only used milk (whole milk) because I didn't have any cream. It all depends on how you feel about cream and what you have in your fridge. But it really tasted fantastic without the cream.
Next add 1 teaspoon of corn starch to some water in a cup and mix well, then add to the deliciousness.
Sprinkle some salt and let the sauce simmer till it thickens up a bit.

Serve over fresh pasta and you won't be disappointed. And most importantly, Sprinkle generous amounts of goat cheese on top. I love, love, love goat cheese.

Feel free to change up the combo of veggies for the sauce-use what you have and what you like.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Pitas

Chris and I have belonged to a meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) now for a couple years. Its a wonderful farm out in Hardwick, MA where the animals graze on green grass and frolic in open pastures. Once a month we pick up 10lbs of meat from the farm that includes beef, pork (mmm bacon), chicken, and lamb (if you so choose).  It's a variety of different cuts that allows the cook to be creative. No longer am I looking at a recipe and then going to the grocery store, instead I pull from the freezer, garden, or pantry to inspire dinner.

Tonight's dinner: Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Pitas
-Ground Lamb (1lb)
-Chopped Onion
-1 Large Egg
-Bread Crumbs (1/2-1 cup)
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp coriander
-1/8 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 cloves of chopped garlic

Mixed all the ingredients together and form into balls. Place into a cast iron frying pan (preferably) greased with olive oil. Bake at 350 F for 45 mins-1 hr. 

Pita Bread
-1 1/4 warm water
-1 tbsp yeast
-2 tbsp sugar
-3 1/2 cups bread flour
-2 tsp salt
*Tips* don't put your salt right on top of your yeast; they'll fight and the salt will win= flat bread. Instead add your salt at the end.

Mix ingredients together. I typically use my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook ( you can knead by hand). You are looking for a soft dough that doesn't stick to your fingers.
Let the dough rise for 1hr.
Separate the dough into 7-8 pitas and form into balls.
Roll out each with plenty of flour and let them rise for 30mins.
Oven should be heated  to 500 F
Place the pitas onto a pizza stone for about 2 minutes. They should inflate, but not cooked so long that they turn brown. Keep a close eye on them, really don't move too far from your oven.

Serve meatballs inside pitas and serve with sour cream or plain/Greek yogurt with a little bit of curry powder mix in.  Enjoy!