Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

This is one of my favorite recipes. Even the fanatical of carnivores will eat this and feel satisfied at the end of the meal.
The recipe below is for the basic version. I'll often add ingredients to the squash mixture, such as sauteed greens, onions and/or mushrooms. Just make sure to use something soft so it doesn't upset the texture.


Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe:
Butternut Squash, 1 large or 2 small to medium- cooked and mashed til
creamy (I slice in half, lightly cover with oil and bake for apx 1 hr, til
pierces with fork easily)

Béchamel Sauce:
Butter 2 tbsp
Onion, raw, 1 medium
Flour, whole grain, 2 tbsp
Milk 1.5 cup
Spices to taste (Nutmeg, etc)

Lasagna noodles (~12 pieces) for a 9x11x3 pan: cooked, rinsed and cooled
Mozzarella 12-16 oz shredded

For sauce:
Thinly slice onion. Set milk out so comes to room temperature. In a
saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions until they are slightly
caramelized. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add warm milk and stir or
whisk to prevent clumps, add nutmeg/spices. Continue to stir as sauce
thickens. Set aside.

Line the lasagna pan with 1/3 of the béchamel sauce.
Layer with noodles.
Spoon half of the squash over the noodles and top with 1/3 of the cheese.
Layer with noodles.
Top with 1/3 of the sauce.
Spoon over the remaining squash and 1/3 of cheese.
Layer with noodles.
Spread remaining sauce over noodles, top with remaining cheese.

Bake covered approximately 1 hour on 375 degrees. Uncover and bake another
15 minutes or until top is browned.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Veggie Au Gratin

Here's a great way to use up a bunch of root vegetables. This can work with a number of varieties. I've used kohlrabi and turnips, but beets, rutabagas, or parsnips will also work well.

Clean or peel root vegetables, then thinly slice. Layer on bottom of 8"x8" pan.
Chop up one bunch of greens (I used tat soi, which is similar to spinach) and layer in pan.
Add another layer of vegetables.
Grate 1/3 pound of cheese (Pepper Jack works great, but any medium hard cheese will work nicely).
Sprinkle on goat cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

You won't believe how good this tastes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Iron Chef Enchiladas

I often find myself being a sort of iron chef with the secret ingredient "CSA Share". I try to rarely buy extra produce because I have plenty with what I get from my CSA.

Since we're still in the midst of winter, the shares have been consisting of mostly greens and root vegetables. I tend to chop up greens and add them to almost everything.

Here's a twist on cheese enchiladas. I took one bunch of greens and chopped it up and put inside the enchiladas along with some corn and chopped green chiles that had been frozen back when I had more than I knew what to do with. I topped it with homemade enchilada sauce and pepper jack cheese and backed at 375 for 45 minutes.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Food readings

Some of these are food articles, some are locavore articles, all pretty interesting.

About maximizing food per land use

Michael Pollan on health insurance
Michael Pollan on Food network (btw I love watching the food network in the evenings, it gives me all sorts of ideas).

And my take on being a locavore: some people put an exact mileage on what you can eat to be termed a "locavore". In reality you need to adjust this according to where you live. Sustainability is also an important factor in eating environmentally. Here's a decent article on that philosophy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shepard's Pie

The majority of my vegetables come from my local CSA. The vegetables come whenever they are in season and some of the time we get bumper crops of a particular vegetable causing a little bit of burn-out. Typically when that starts happening and the vegetable is one that freezes well (such as any root vegetables), I'll prep them (wash, peel, chop into useful size) and then freeze them in 1-2 cup containers. Then when the vegetable is no longer in season, I can still enjoy them. Right now, we're well into the summer and root vegetables are long gone from the CSA and farmer's markets in Arizona but I dragged out a bag of beets and carrots for this one.
1 lbs ground meat (I prefer lamb- grassfed from a local rancher)
Olive Oil
1 Medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp Flour
1-2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 Cup vegetable broth
2-3 Cups vegetables (various varieties, I typically use carrots, beets and other root vegetables, broccoli would also work well)
1 bunch greens (optional)
6 medium potatoes- mashed (add milk and butter to taste)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (an irish cheddar works great, but any medium hard cheese will work)

Heat up the olive oil in a pan (a skillet will work, but I try to minimize dirty dishes so I just cook everything in a 4 qt stockpan) and brown the meat with the onions and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the flour and mix til coated. Add tomato sauce, broth, vegetables and greens. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.
When done, put in large casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and then sprinkle cheese.

At this point you can either put the the cooled dish into the fridge and bake later in the week (this makes a great make-ahead meal) or put directly in the oven 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Apple Sauce and Butter

Making apple butter couldn't be easier.
Take 10 lbs of free apples.
Peel and core them.
Throw a few cups at a time into a food processor until it has the consistency of apple sauce. Put the apple sauce into a slow cooker.
Repeat until slow cooker is almost full. Add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup lemon juice (for 8-10 lbs of puree) to the slow cooker and spices to tast. Mix well. Set slow cooker to low, put lid on such that some steam can escape and let simmer for 8 hours.

If you wish to can your apple butter. Sterilize pint jars by placing jar and lid (but not ring) into boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Spoon apple butter into jar, seat lid and screw on ring. Boil jars for 10 minutes with water at least 1" above top of jar. Place jars in area free from drafts and disturbances until cooled.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

There are lots of options in the bread aisle at the grocery store. There's even probably some bakeries nearby that make some great bread. But I've found that I enjoy making my own bread. Even the locally baked stuff doesn't compare (probably because I can make it to suit my tastes) and I can use locally grown wheat and honey to make mine even more eco-friendly. A loaf of this bread costs about $1 to make compared to $4-$5 for a comparable loaf at the store or bakery.

Honey Wheat Bread:

1 Stick Butter
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Honey (I love mesquite, it goes wonderfully with the whole wheat flour)
Heat on stove until reaches about 150F (or basically until the butter melts and everything mixes well). Let cool til reaches room temperature

In mixer combine
1 packet yeast
1 cup warm water (around 105F)
1 tsp honey or sugar
Let sit 5-10 minutes

Mix in butter mixture and
20 oz bread flour

Knead with mixer until ball forms. This should take several minutes (8-10). If it's still not sticking together add a little more flour ~1Tbsp at a time until it gets the right texture.

Put in bowl, cover, and let rise until double the volume.

Punch down bread, and then place in one or two round balls on cookie sheet. Cover and let rise again. When the bread is done rising, place in pre-heated oven at 375F for about 25 minutes (crust should be evenly browned). Let cool and enjoy a some amazing bread.

A well risen loaf of bread (not yet cooked).