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Monthly Archives: July 2012

White Bean and Fried Herb Dip

Community garden training session, 7/11/12

This dip is delicious with fresh vegetables, crackers, or toasted bread. If you don’t have time to fry the herbs, just chop fresh herbs up and use regular olive oil. But if you do have time to fry the herbs, it makes a delicious difference.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 sprigs sage, rosemary, or a combination*
  • 1 can white beans or 1 1/2 cup cooked beans
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt

Frying the herbs:
Place a towel or paper towel over a plate.

In a very small saucepan, heat the oil. When hot (make sure you don’t let it smoke), add the herbs. Cook for about 30 seconds, until leaves are crisp but not browned. Remove the herbs immediately and place on towel-lined plate to drain.

Turn off the heat under the oil and allow it to cool.

Making the puree:
In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, the fried herbs (or use fresh, chopped – see note), the lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of the cooled oil that you fried the herbs in (save the rest for another use – it is very flavorful and great in salad dressing). Blend thoroughly, taste, and add salt as needed.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

*Herbs can be grown in your garden. They’re expensive in the store, but when you grow them at home, they are a cheap and delicious way to brighten up many dishes.

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Zucchini Cookies

Community garden training session, 7/11/12

You’ve heard of zucchini bread, but what about zucchini cookies? These cookies are soft and cake-like, and quite delicious.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini*
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2-3 cookie sheets.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and continue to beat, then add honey and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add this mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add zucchini and chocolate and mix to evenly distribute.

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until golden and set.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

VARIATION: Zucchini Bars – Prepare batter as directed. Grease a rimmed baking sheet or a 9×13 baking pan and spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until bars spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into them comes out clean.

 

*Grow your own cookies! Zucchini can be grown in your garden.

Salad with Roasted Beets

In this recipe, the beets are into bite-sized pieces before roasting. This helps them cook faster, and it also creates more delicious caramelized edges. This salad is another version of the basic “salad with roasted vegetables.”

Roasted beets:

  • 2 medium or 4 small beets*
  • 1 teaspoon olive, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large pinch salt

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive, canola, or vegetable oil

Salad:

  • 6 ounces lettuce or mixed baby greens*, washed and dried
  • 2 ounces goat, feta, or blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 ounces walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
  • roasted beets
  • vinaigrette

Roasted beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and peel the beets. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place in a small bowl. Add oil and salt, then toss to coat. Place beets on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, until a fork or knife inserted in the beets meets no resistance. Allow to cool.

Vinaigrette: In a small bowl (you can use the same one as above), whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the oil in a slow stream while whisking.

Salad: To a large bowl, add the washed and dried lettuce, cheese, nut, and cooled beets. Add about ¾ of the vinaigrette (whisk it up again if it has separated) and toss to coat. If you want heavier dressing, add the rest. If not, save it for another salad.

Serves 4-6.

*Beets and lettuce can both be grown in your own garden.

Sauteed Beet (or any other) Greens
adapted from The New York Times

This is a very simple dish you can actually make with any type of green. In Italian, this preparation of greens is called “ripassata,” meaning “passed again.” This is because the greens are actually cooked twice – first blanched in boiling water, then sauteed in olive oil.

  • 1 pound beet greens* (from 2-3 bunches)
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic*, minced
  • 1 large pinch red pepper flakes** (optional)
  • fresh lemon juice (optional)

Fill a large pot or saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, then add 1 tablespoon salt.

While the water is coming to a boil, break off the stems from the beet greens (discard stems). Then, wash greens thoroughly. When the water is boiling, add the beet greens and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove beets from the water and place in a strainer (or bowl of ice water, to move more quickly) until cool. When greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out all excess water.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add garlic and red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the squeezed-out beet greens and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring, until greens are heated through and coated with the garlicky oil.

Add salt to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice (if desired).

*Beets and garlic are easy to grow in the garden.

**You can also grow hot peppers and dry them to have hot pepper flakes from your own garden.

Potato Salad with Eggs and Dill

Garden or farmers market potatoes and farmers market eggs are far more flavorful than what you find in the grocery. Show them off in this dish. For a slightly lighter version of this dish, see here.

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • salt, divided between cooking water and dressing
  • black pepper, to taste

Thoroughly wash potatoes and cut into bit-sized pieces. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover by two inches. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 8-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (timing will depend on the size of your pieces). When done, drain and allow to cool.

Roughly chop hard boiled eggs and combine with cooled potatoes in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk or stir together mustard, chopped dill, lemon juice or vinegar, mayonnaise, a large pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour over potatoes and eggs. Toss to combine. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Basil

Committee meeting working lunch 7/19/12 – served with honey mustard chicken sandwiches

This refreshing salad shows off fresh garden or farmers market ingredients at their very best.

  • 2 medium cucumbers*
  • 3 medium tomatoes*
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil* leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Large pinch salt, more to taste

Chop cucumbers and tomatoes into bite sized pieces and combine in a large bowl. Use your hands to tear the basil into the bowl – each leaf should end up in 2-3 pieces.

Add oil, vinegar, and salt. Toss to coat. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Serves 4-6.

*Cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil are all easy to grow in your summer garden.

Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwiches

Committee meeting working lunch 7/19/12 – served with tomato and cucumber salad with basil.

These sandwiches are a perfect way to use leftover roast chicken. If you can use local chicken and honey from the farmers market, you’ll make something far more flavorful than your average sandwich.

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 sandwich rolls or hamburger buns
  • 10-12 oz leftover roast chicken
  • Your choice of lettuce, spinach, arugula, shredded cabbage, or other greens*

In a small bowl, combine honey and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread a tablespoon of the honey mustard mixture onto each roll. Add roast chicken and greens.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

*All of these greens can be grown in your garden.