Riverbend Organic Farm Box Oct. 6th.
This squash, that looks like Cinderella's fairy tale pumpkin, is easy to halve and peel.
Jacob's Red Cattle Beans, Sorted.
I like to use a big white plate to sort beans.  Here I'm only doing a cup, so they can all be on the plate at once.  If you're doing more, just sort them a handful at a time.  You're looking for misfits,  dark or off color beans, bits of chaff, and any small stones or bits of dirt.
Fall Harvest Squash and Bean Stew
This stew may not be the most beautiful thing in the world, but it tastes great.  It's warm and comforting on a chilly day.  All of those fall flavors come together nicely.
Fall Harvest Squash and Bean Stew

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry beans (Jacob's cattle or pinto)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens
4 cups peeled and cubed winter squash
1 cup chopped red sweet pepper
salt and pepper to taste
pinch hot pepper flakes

  1. In a large pot, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add beans, broth and one tsp. thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer an hour.  Add collards, cover, and continue cooking until beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.  Add a little water if needed.
  3. Stir in squash and peppers.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until squash is tender.  Gently stir in remaining tsp. of thyme, hot pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings

NOTE:   I made this with beans from a local farm that were not completely dry.  If you are using beans from a grocery you should soak the beans in water over night or for an hour in boiling water.  Then drain and procede.

soufflé dish in water bath in the oven
Sweet Squash Custard
I'm not entirely sure about this pudding.  I think it tastes good.  The squash carries a fair amount of water in it.  After I roasted the squash cut side down  for about 45 minutes, I scooped the squash flesh into a strainer and let the water drip away into a bowl.  The flesh of this squash separates into fine fibers.  My son wanted it to be smooth like pumpkin, so he is not a fan of this one.  the squash floats to the top of the custard baking into a sweet spicy layer.  I could fix this by partially cooking the custard in a saucepan before baking it, but I think that's too much fuss for such a homey dessert.
Squash Custard Pudding

1 1/2 cups half and half
4 eggs
3/4 cup baked squash puree, drained
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch cloves
pinch salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together half and half and eggs.  Whisk in squash.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until no lumps of spice are present in the sugar.  Whisk sugar mixture into custard. 
  4. Pour custard into a 4 cup soufflé dish or casserole OR into 6 (3/4-cup) ramekins.  Place dishes in a roasting pan in the oven.  Pour boiling water into roaster until it comes up about half way on the dish.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes for the large dish or 30 for the ramekins.  Bake until center is just set but still quivers when you shake the dish.  Cool about 45 minutes before serving.  This is nice both warm and chilled.

Makes 6 servings

Pickled Collard Greens
These are perfect with a charcuterie and cheese board or on a sandwich.
1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. red chile flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 lb. collard greens, stemmed and chopped
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring everything but the greens to a simmer.  Add greens and stir until they wilt.  Simmer 5 minutes over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Spoon into a jar and chill at least an hour before serving.  These will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Makes about one quart.
Butternut squash is such a fine thing.  It roasts up creamy and sweet.  While peeling a squash is kind of a pain, the resulting container of roasted cubes in my fridge is worth it.  And shelly beans are a lovely thing.  In the south towns build whole festivals around their harvest.  It's going to be a delicious week.
Fried Egg, Bacon and Arugula Sandwich on Toast.
Arugula: prime for additions to salads and sandwiches
Kale:  Strip out the center rib, chop and add to salads.  It also cooks up beautifully and would be wonderful braised with the shelly beans
Butternut squash:  peel and cube, then toss with oil, salt and pepper.  Roast on a parchment lined pan at 375 degrees F. for about 45 minutes or until tender.  Or I have another idea below.
 Onions: nice size.  Add one chopped up to the shelley beans
Potatoes: Smashed are so good
Celery:  Great for soup and seasonings
Sage:  perfect with beans.  I'm going to crisp some up in brown butter 
Shell beans: Here is a great little article about them with a good recipe.  they are great cooked with tomatoes and tossed with hot pasta for pasta fagiole.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter, Sage and Parmesan.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage
This may not win any beauty contests but the flavor is homey and sublime.  It makes a nice meal with a fresh salad.  It is also nice tossed with hot cooked fettuccine.  

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Wash butternut squash.  With a large heavy knife, split squash in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds and stringy innards.
  2. Put squash, cut side down on a parchment lined or oiled rimmed baking sheet.  Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until you can pierce squash easily with a knife.
  3. When ready to serve, scoop squash out of skin and into a serving bowl.  I like to leave it in large, chunky spoonfuls.
  4. Pull off about 6 whole leaves of fresh sage and set aside.  Heat about 3 Tbsp. butter in a skillet.  When it melts watch it closely.  Let it boil up and foam.  Soon it will begin to brown.  When it is the color of hazelnuts, drop in the sage.  It will sizzle and turn bright green.  When sage is crisp, drizzle the sage and butter over squash.  Season with salt and lots of black pepper.  
  5. Top with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.
Onion:  If you have a party coming up, use your onions to make the Pan Fried Onion Dip recipe below.  I make it when I'm going to have a big crowd around to eat it...or I'll just eat it all myself.  Yum.
Carrots:  Look what I found out about the nutrition of colorful carrots:
  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Beets: I love these as a side dressed with honey, butter, a splash of vinegar and salt.
Paste Tomatoes and other tomatoes:  why not make Julia Child's stuffed tomatoes?  I posted the recipe below. My mom made something like this as a side dish, but I can make a whole meal of them.
Broccoli:  I made some broccoli pesto today.  It's awfully good on hot pasta, but would make a decent sandwich spread, too.
New Yellow Potatoes:  These are perfect for potato salad, chunky soups or any other recipe where you want the potato to keep it's shape
Arugula: Make BATs (Bacon Lettuce and Arugula sandwiches)
Radishes:  Make Do Chua (Vietnamese radish and carrot pickles),  The are great on sandwiches (try them on grilled pork burgers), or on top of salads
Broccoli Pesto on homemade orecchiette pasta.
Broccoli Pesto
Pesto may not be the best word for this.  It is creamy and fragrant with fresh basil and garlic.  It would be nice spread on crackers.  I enjoy it dolloped onto hot pasta.  Spread it on toast and top with sliced tomatoes for a nice little lunch or snack.  This is a great way to use up last night's steamed broccoli.
2 cups steamed broccoli, cooled 
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp.)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until very smooth.  Taste and add salt as needed.

Makes about 1 1 /4 cups
Do Chua 
(pickled carrot and radish slaw)
Makes about 3 cups

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound radishes,  cut into thick matchsticks 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar 
1  1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. Let stand 10 minutes longer.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. Return the vegetables to the bowl if you plan to eat them soon, or transfer them to a 1-quart jar for longer storage.

2. To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Beyond that point, they get tired.

Julia’s Stuffed Tomatoes Provencal If you can’t find dried herbes de Provence at your grocery, feel free to use other fresh or dried herbs, like basil, oregano and thyme.

Excerpted from “Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home” by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin

Yield: 6 tomato halves

For the stuffing

Special equipment

  1. Set a rack on the upper-middle level, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Preparing the tomatoes: Core the tomatoes, and cut them in half crosswise. Over a plate or bowl, squeeze each half gently to force out the seeds and juice. With your fingers, clean the cavities of any clinging seeds. Arrange in the baking dish cut side up. If any halves are wobbly or tilted, trim a bit off the bottom so that they sit flat in the pan. Season with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  3. Stuffing and baking the tomatoes: Stir together the bread crumbs, shallots, dried herbs, grated cheese, and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, tossing well to moisten the crumbs evenly.
  4. Spoon the stuffing into the tomato halves, pushing it down into the cavities and mounding on top. Drizzle a scant teaspoon of oil over the top of each half.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the topping has browned and the tomatoes are hot but still keep their shape. Serve hot in the baking dish, or move them carefully to a clean platter.
Note on Bread Crumbs: Start with homemade-style white bread, crusts removed, either genuinely home-baked or a commercial variety like Pepperidge Farm. Tear the bread into small chunks, then pulse them, about 2 cups at a time, in a food processor until the crumbs have the texture you want.

Do-Ahead Note: The tomato halves can be stuffed several hours in advance and refrigerated before baking.

Copyright © 1999 by A La Carte Communications. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Pan Fried Onion Dip
I took this to a party last weekend and was mobbed for the recipe.  It always get rave reviews.  It is based on a recipe by Ina Garten.
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonaisse
  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil until foamy over medium heat.  Add onions, cayenne, salt, and black pepper and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are a deep caramelized brown, at least 20 minutes.  Let Cool.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo together until smooth.  Stir in onions.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 cups

We survived the MN Garlic Festival and my supplies are mostly put away.  Whew.

 Wanna read something kind of funny.  Check out my latest post in my Kitchen Journal.  The tab is at the top of the page.
Yellow Tomatoes:  chop and toss with hot cooked pasta, chopped basil, butter and salt and pepper.   Top with Parm.

Sweet Corn:  We like to cook it in the microwave--husks and all--for 4 minutes.  Protect your hands with a towel when you pull the husk off.

Potatoes:  There is a reason new potatoes with parsley is a classic.  Boil whole until tender.  When just cool enough to handle, cut into chunks.  Brown in butter.  Toss in a handful of chopped parsley just before they are done and season with salt and pepper.

Broccoli:  Soak in cold salted water.  Cabbage worms will let go and float up to the top of the water.   I'm going to use some of this in soup, just swap out broccoli for the radishes-peeled stems are great this way.

Husk Cherries:  a.k.a. ground cherries.  These are my new favorite.  So tropical!  They are related to tomatillos, so they'd be nice in a fruity salsa.  I'm just going to eat them.  Here is a good post about them.   

 Onion:  I think you can figure this out

Garlic:  this is new crop garlic and may be a bit more difficult to peel.  Try this trick for peeling a lot of garlic.  Separate cloves by smashing the head.  Put cloves in a quart mason jar and put on the lid.  Shake it hard and the skins should come off....mostly.

Swiss Chard:  Slice the stems and leaves separately.  Sautee stems with garlic in olive oil until almost tender.  Drop in chopped leaves...salt and sautee until wilted.  Add a few drops of water if there wasn't mush clinging to the leaves.  Add a pinch of crushed red pepper--taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.   Enjoy!
Like Greg said, The Minnesota Garlic Festival is this Saturday in Hutchinson, MN.  It is consuming most of my time right now, so I've linked you up to a bunch of good recipes instead of doing my own.  Come out to Hutch and watch the chefs in action, enjoy free samples from the demos and have lunch at the best restaurant in Minnesota, the Great Scape Cafe.  New this year is the addition of wood fired pizza by Red Wagon Pizza and Victor's on Water.  We also are having a pig roast done by the King of Porc, Thomas Boemer, to be served at 5, the end of the day.
Cabbage: dress shreds with your favorite vinaigrette or creamy dressing, sauté shreds in butter and season with salt and pepper 
Scallions:  slice into salads, add to stir fry, brush with oil and grill whole
 Eggplant: roast cubes in olive oil with garlic and salt--you can freeze any extra, layer sautéed slices with cheese and marinara like lasagna, make baba ganoush or caponata for your toast
Tomatoes: we eat these like candy,  cut in half and cook cut side down in the pan you've just cooked bacon in for your breakfast until they brown a bit
 Zucchini:  cook slices in a hot pan with a little olive oil until they blister and brown a bit, make muffins, make ratatouille
mild mustard greens: eat like lettuce, it's nice on sandwiches.  Add to stir fries--I like to make my stir fry of chicken and veggies then turn off the heat and toss in the sliced greens letting the residual heat wilt them, stir into good ramen soup.
I'm making Chicken Shwarma for dinner tonight.  I'll grill the marinated chicken.  While I've got the grill going, I'll cook some eggplant, and scallions that I've brushed with olive oil.  For the meal, I'll just slice the grilled chicken and stuff it into pitas along with shreds of grilled eggplant and sliced scallions and drizzle the whole thing with creamy yogurt cucumber sauce.   Here is another good-looking recipe for it. 
My friend and fellow food pro Meredith Deeds just returned from Spain where they enjoyed Pan Con Tomate for breakfast.  The photo below is of her  breakfast back at home last week.  I had the same this morning, but I used a yellow tomato that, while delish, was less photogenic.  Pan Con Tomate or tomato toast is one of the best and simplest ways to celebrate the summer tomato.
  1. Toast slices of nice sturdy bread.
  2. Cut a very ripe tomato in half, crosswise.
  3. Scrub the cut side of the tomato on the bread.  The toast with grate the tomato flesh, covering it with a rich jammy topping and leaving the skin in your hands. Discard the skin.
  4. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  
Meredith Deeds' Pan Con Tomate or Tomato Toast.
quinoa tabouleh salad
Quinoa Tabouleh Salad
Based on a recipe from Bon Apetit Magazine 2012
I love having a big bowl of this on hand for quick meals.  It tastes event better the second day and will keep for 4 days in the fridge.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large English hothouse cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 
2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Cook quinoa as directed on package adding 1/2 tsp. salt to the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl. Season  to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Makes 6 servings

It took me a while to warm to fennel.  Now I love it's bracing licorice flavor that takes to well to a citrus vinaigrette.  I learned to love it when my sister-in-law, Lisa, brought a big pan of roasted veggies to a family meal.  The fennel was sweet and mellow.  I've loved it ever since.  When it's too warm to oven roast, I turn to my trusty iron skillet.
Pan Roasted Fennel
  1. Trim off top and bottom of the fennel bulb.
  2. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.  Wash well, sand likes to hide in the "petals".
  3. Heat a film of olive oil until hot over medium high heat in a heavy skillet, preferable cast iron.
  4. Add fennel in a single layer, and cook until browned on both sides, turning with a spatula.
  5. Lift to a serving plate and season with salt.  Garnish with chopped fennel fronds, if desired.

onion, new potatoes, arugula, Napa cabbage, cucumbers, Hungarian hot wax peppers, tomatoes, basil, eggplant
I walked around the farm with Greg last night.  What a magical place.  We tasted our way through early tomatoes and green grains of wheat.  I've always known the food we grow close to home is better.  Fragile ripe strawberries  can't make it to a far away market.  If you've only ever tasted a California strawberry, it's a revelation to taste it's homegrown counterpart.  I pity the person who's never tasted a ripe tomato just picked from the vine.  It used to be simply a matter of quality for me.  But for the last month and a half I've been walking the walk and eating really well.  Nothing crazy.  Just foods with 5 ingredients or less, mostly organic, 7 or more fruits and veg. a day, a lot less meat.  I eat full fat dairy: yogurt, cottage cheese, butter and cheese.  Good pasture raised meats when I can get it and lots of local organic eggs.  Quinoa and kale are my friends.   I've had an oatmeal cookie or two--homemade with good ingredients.  I actually go to the gym.  I've had significant help from a wellness coach that I see weekly.  I've done nothing earth shattering or too strenuous.  My food is delicious.   I know I can't compromise on that.  I've lost 20 lbs. with more to go.  I just got back some blood test results that show my numbers are all better by about 25%.  I feel like I've got a handle on this.  I'm still struggling with the gym part...but it's manageable.  What it boils down to is I"m not going to settle for mediocre food.  The stuff in this CSA box is vibrant and full of life and when I eat it, I am too.
how about that cabbage?!  Isn't it a honey?  I pulled off the big outer leaves and stuffed them with a pork and rice filling like I'd use in a Chinese dumpling.  I used my dandy steamer basket to cook them and drizzled them with a bit of a dipping sauce.  Three  make a nice meal.  One would be a tasty appetizer.
Cabbage Leaf Pork Dumplings
2 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 oz. sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup sliced green onions, white part only, tops reserved
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. tamari sauce
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
12 large Napa cabbage leaves
dipping sauce
  1. Wash cabbage well.  Working with three leaves at a time, wrap wet cabbage leaves in a dish towel or paper towels.  Microwave on HIGH for one minute to wilt the leaves.  Trim off the stalk of each leaf, about 2 to 4 inches.  Chop stalks and reserve 1 cup for filling.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat oils over medium heat until hot.  Add ginger and garlic and cook about 10 seconds or until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally  until beginning to brown.  
  3. In a large bowl, combine, pork, chopped cabbage stems, mushroom mixture, green onions, red pepper flakes, tamari and vinegar.  Use your hands to mix it well.
  4. Lay out the leaves on a work surface with the stems toward you.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling on the bottom third of each leaf.  Fold up the stem over the filling.  Fold each side in and roll up like a burrito, shaping each into a neat bundle.  If you want to be fancy, you can tie up your bundle with a strip of green onion.  Wrap the onion spears in a towel and microwave for a minute to blanch.
  5. Line a metal or bamboo steamer basket with cabbage leaves.  use imperfect ones or extra stems for this.  Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down in a single layer in the basket.  If you need to double up a couple to fit, that's OK.  Top with another loose leaf.  
  6. Steam over a pot of boiling water, covered, for 30 minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Serve drizzled with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
Stir together

Makes 12 rolls, about 4 servings

Spicy Napa Slaw
Vinaigrette for Spicy Napa Slaw
This is adapted from a recipe by Alex Roberts that he serves in his Restaurant, Brasa.    Keeping the dressing separate until your ready to serve it preserves the leafy texture of the Napa cabbage.

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped shallots or onion 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes) 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped, seeded if desired 
1/3 cup sunflower seed oil or other neutral oil 
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Blend everything in the jar of a blender until herbs are finely chopped but still recognizable.  Drizzle over thinly sliced Napa cabbage.
To make it exactly like Brasa's: chop the herbs separately,  use regular cabbage, very finely shredded, and toss with the dressing. Let it chill a while before you serve it.

Kohlrabi, kale, zucchini, stunt radishes from Liz Otto's garden standing in, green beans
As I was making the two recipes for this week's post, I realized these are basic techniques.  You can swap out dozens of veggies for the radishes and zucchini I used.  

This soup is perfect for summer radishes that are getting a bit hot and spicy.  I'm in love with the pale rose color.  Smaller radishes will make a rosier soup.  A creamy soup based on a vegetable is a staple recipe.   2 cups of turnips, broccoli, spinach, winter squash can all be used in place of the radishes in their own season.  I always add a potato to the cooked veggies to smooth and thicken the soup instead of relying on flour.

The fritters are a favorite lunch, side dish or welcome appetizer.  Once again, today's zucchini could easily be swapped out with the kohlrabi, cabbage, or sweet potatoes.  I used garbanzo bean flour to bind the shreds for a little boost of nutrition and because it tastes so good.  This makes them a lot like the Indian socca.  Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour is probably the easiest brand to find.  You can get a better price at an Asian food store where it may be labeled besan or gram flour.  Just read the label.  White flour works, too, it's just a little heavier, so you should add a pinch of baking powder.
Creamy Radish Soup
Creamy Radish Soup
This is perfect for spicy radishes.  Cooking them mellows the heat.  Serve hot or chilled. 
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 bunch radishes, root and stems trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Yukon gold or white potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) or water
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
  1. In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add radish, onion and garlic.  Stir to coat with butter.  Add salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add potato and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.  
  3. Add milk and pepper.  Use an immersion blender to puree soup until very smooth.  If you use a standard blender, blend it in batches and remove center plug from lid.  Cover top with kitchen towel as hot soup can spurt out while blending.
  4. Spoon into bowls and serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, slivers of radish and chopped herbs, if desired.
  • This is great chilled, too.  Whisk in a bit more cold milk if it gets too thick.
  • Sub 2 cups of virtually any vegetable for the radishes.

Makes 4 servings

Yellow Zucchini & Garbanzo Bean Pancakes
Zucchini & Garbanzo Bean Pancakes
Serve as an appetizer, a side dish, or a light supper with a salad.

1 medium zucchini, shredded with the large holes of a box grater
2 Tbsp. grated onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (also known as besan or gram flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
sunflower or other vegetable oil
  1. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until no dry bits of flour remain.
  2. in a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat.  Drop a tiny bit of batter into skillet, if it sizzles the oil is hot enough.
  3. Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into pan and use back of spoon to spread batter to 1/2-inch thickness.  Cook about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  
  4. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Serve immediately.

  • Use any veggie you like: shredded butternut squash, sweet corn, slivered cabbage, chopped broccoli...or a combo of these, get creative.
  • These will hold in a warm oven for up to 30 minutes.
  • The simple flavor of these pancakes is a great foundation for spicy salsa, slivers of ham, or smoked salmon.
  • If you can't find garbanzo bean flour, use 1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus a 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

Makes about 8 (3-inch) pancakes

Bastille Day, July 14th is my birthday.  July 15th is my daughter's birthday.  Wed. some dear friends who are moving to Florida has a going away party... then Thursday another good friend had a big barn bash.  I didn't get much done this week.....

But I did buy myself a present.  A Vegetti!  As seen on TV!
I looked at the hand cranked kind and didn't want to devote that much cupboard space to this contraption.

This works like a pencil sharpener.  Choose a zucchini that fits the opening.  Using a larger veg or trying to cut one down to fit does not work well.  You just twist it through either the small or big end and you get a pile of zucchini "noodles"....zoodles.  Plus a weird worm looking core.

I made my zoodles into pad thai.  Very satisfying.  They still tasted like zucchini, but luckily I like zucchini.  

Pad Thai Zoodles
2 medium zucchini cut into noodles 
sunflower seed oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 medium green onions, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp.sugar
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
2 Tbsp. crushed peanuts
 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil. Then add zucchini noodles and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini noodles are tender. Don't overcook the noodles. The zucchini noodles should be slightly crunchy with a tender bite. 
  2. Dump noodles into a colander to rest and drain about 5 minutes.  Wipe out skillet and add another film of oil.  Add garlic, chicken and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until cooked through and no longer pink inside.  Remove to a dish and keep warm.
  3. Add more oil, if needed.  Add egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled.  Return chicken, zucchini noodles to pan.  Add bean sprouts and green onions.
  4. Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a small dish and pour into pan.  Stir, cooking a few minutes until bean sprouts are just tender.
  5. Pile onto a serving platter and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

makes 2 generous servings

Green Beans, Lettuce (red and bronze), snap peas, zucchini, cucumbers, and arugula.
Take a look back to previous summer blogs for lots of recipes and ideas.  I've got a new recipe below for Sautéed Cucumbers.  I've seen them on menus before, but have never tried it until last night.  They were sooooo good.  Mark pronounced them the best non-pickle cucumbers he's ever had.  He's only 21, so....  The flavor of the cucumbers becomes sweet and nutty.  This preparation is very French, so it's appropriate for the fast approaching Bastille Day (July 14th and my birthday....)
Sautéed Cucumbers
A nice change of pace on the side of a spicy barbecue.
  1. Peel cucumbers.  If they are very fresh and young you can skip this.
  2. Cut into 1/2inch thick chunks or slice for a silkier finished dish.
  3. Melt a little butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  4. When butter is foamy, add cucumbers and cook, turning occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots.  
  5. Season with salt and pepper.  Add chopped herbs (dill, tarragon, parsley are all nice), and serve.