Category Archives: cooking

Using Garden Veggies – Two Recipes Worth Sharing

‘Tis the season of vegetables fresh from the garden, so I thought I’d share a couple of recipes that I made last week that we really enjoyed.

The first one was made with yellow squash. Generally it only takes one or two yellow squash plants to produce enough squash that you can eat it every day. More plants will have you sending it home with friends and family or the delivery man, and when no one shows up at your house you might resort to leaving a few on the doorsteps of random strangers and rushing off before you are caught.

With the yellow squash coming on fast and furious, and with no visitors in sight, I decided to look for new recipes for yellow squash. An internet search led me to this recipe.  http://diethood.com/garlic-parmesan-yellow-squash-chips/

I decided to make this (or something similar) as a side dish for our dinner one night. The ingredients were simple –

Yellow Squash cut into 1/4 inch slices

About 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs)

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

I put the olive oil in one bowl and mixed the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder in a second bowl. I dipped the squash slices first in olive oil coating both sides, then in the bread crumb mixture.

At this point my instructions vary from the original recipe. Rather than a metal baking pan lined with parchment paper, I placed the slices in my 9×13 Pyrex  baking dish. Since I didn’t know if my Pyrex could handle the 450 cooking temperature, I set my oven at 350. I baked them for about 15 minutes flipped each one over and baked for another 15 minutes.

These didn’t turn out crispy like the original recipe, nor did I want them to. Since they were a side dish we would be eating them with a fork not as a finger food. The breaded yellow squash was a delightful side dish.  When my husband repeated several times how good it was and went back for a second helping, I decided this recipe was a keeper and good enough to share with you.

Swiss chard is another garden vegetable that is very prolific. We start picking the green leaves when they are young and tender and they continue to grow back throughout the summer. We sauté them with garlic, use in stir fries and soups and eat raw in salads. If we try to give swiss chard to friends or neighbors they often reply that they don’t know what swiss chard is or have never eaten it. We describe it as being like a hardy spinach. That’s what trigger this next recipe idea.

We do like a good spinach artichoke dip but we don’t grow spinach. I decided to find a good recipe for spinach-artichoke dip and substitute swiss chard for the spinach. I started with this recipe   http://www.food.com/recipe/spinach-artichoke-dip-1209 . I read the reviews and suggestion’s for changes that people made then I came up with this recipe.

1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

10 oz. fresh swiss chard finely chopped

1 can artichoke hearts drained and chopped

8 oz. cream cheese softened

2/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

several garlic cloves minced equal to about 2 or 3 teaspoons

about 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

I mixed together the first 5 ingredients in one bowl and mixed the last 5 ingredient in a second bowl. Then I mixed the two mixtures together. I put it in a one quart casserole dish and baked it at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

We ate this with tortilla chips. “That’s really good” was my husbands response. He was right. “I’m not sure I will ever want to order spinach dip at a restaurant again” he said. We both had seconds and left overs were eaten the following day with lunch. Can you make it and freeze it he asked me last night, and I am planning on doing just that later this week. Obviously this is another recipe that I want to keep around, and in recording it here I have accomplished that and shared it with you as well.

If you decide to try either of these recipes please let me know what you think by leaving your comments on this page, and if you have a recipe that is worth sharing I would love for you to do so.

 

A Garden Dinner

Over the last week we have been so busy with digging and storing garlic to dry that some of the things we would normally do fell by the wayside. Two of those things include planning and preparing a good dinner and tending the garden. We finished up the garlic tasks yesterday morning and decided it was time to play catch up. My husband worked in the garden – weeding, harvesting, and thinning rows. He brought home a nice size bag of fresh veggies that we decided to incorporate into our dinner. I cleaned the veggies and prepared them for our meal. This is what was on the menu. All of the vegetables and herbs were home grown.

Salad – Three types of lettuce, radish, cucumber

Salad Dressing – Basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, garlic, onion powder, sea salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar

Garlic mashed potatoes – I minced several cloves of garlic, mixed the minced garlic with 1/2 stick of butter, then mixed it into the mashed potatoes.

Baby beets with beet greens – The beets in the garden needed to be thinned so even though the beets were only about 1 inch my husband brought them home. After cleaning them I trimmed the long roots off the cut the leaves off leaving a couple inches of the stem attached to the beet. I put the greens and the beets in the steamer and cooked until the beets were tender.

Grilled pork chops – Since we don’t raise our own pork (yet) the pork chops were not something we produced, but they were seasoned with minced garlic and fresh dill. They complimented our garden dinner nicely.

My husband and I MMM’ed and wowed as we ate our dinner and even after dinner we continued to rave about how much we enjoyed the meal. We could truly taste the nutrition in the foods we were eating. Honestly, my favorite fresh garden vegetable is probably potatoes. They have flavor and texture that I have never found in store bought potatoes and are definitely worth the work it takes to grow them.

If you are growing a garden this year I hope that you too are enjoying the fruits or vegetables of your labor.

Tonight’s menu will include potato salad, sautéed swiss chard with garlic and grilled Italian sausage.

Mint Brownies

When I make brownies I usually use a box mix, whatever brand is cheapest,  sometimes it’s fudge brownie mix and sometimes it’s dark chocolate, but rather than just plain old brownies, I try to turn them into something special. In the past I’ve done this  by adding nuts, raisins or marsh mallows, or adding a peanut butter/ powdered sugar combination, or sometimes melting chocolate chips on top. Last week I decided to try something new.

I decided to make mint brownies. Instead of running to the internet for a recipe, like I would normally do when I want to try a new recipe, I went to my stash of dried herbs. Among the herbs that we grew and dried this year were both spearmint and chocolate mint. For brownies I decided to use chocolate mint. Using my fingers I crushed up some of the mint leaves until they were like powder. I then added about a teaspoon of the crushed mint to the dark chocolate brownie batter. Other than that I follow the directions on the box.

While the brownies were baking, my husband came in the kitchen and spotted the empty brownie box. “Yum” he said.

“But I added a surprise,” I said teasingly.

“I guess I’ll have to wait,” he pretended to sulk.

Then the detective in him took over and within a couple minutes I saw him sniffing around, “What’s that I smell?” he asked.

“What does it smell like?” I asked, testing his investigative skills.

“Mint,” he said with a bit of question in he voice.

I had hoped to gage his reaction when he tasted the brownies, but I felt forced to reveal the secret, “I made mint brownies.”

We waited until after dinner to try the brownies. The flavor was all that I hoped for. My husband compared them to Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, and the flavor reminded me very much of Andes mints, those irresistible little chocolate mints wrapped in the green foil paper.

So if you are wondering how to use some of the mint that is threatening to take over your garden this is a simple recipe that will give you a great appreciation for your mint. If you are not yet growing your own mint then you may find it tempting when you hear that mint is fairly easy to grow. It requires at least a partially sunny area and moist but not overly wet soil. I have read that it can be grown as an indoor plant, it can be grown as a potted patio plant or grown in any garden. Some people may be reluctant to plant mint as it is know to be invasive. One option that is recommended is to put the mint plant in a deep pot and then plant the pot and all to restrict mint to certain area. My recommendation, if you want to restrict mint growth, is to harvest the outer edges of the plant by the roots, or dig up a portion or several portions of the mint plant and give it to a friend or several friends. You could also present them with this simple recipe.

1 box brownie mix

1 teaspoon dried mint leaved (crushed into powder)

Mix brownies as instructed on package then mix in mint leaves. Bake as instructed on brownie package.

🙂 Enjoy!!!

 

For Garlic Lovers

I am a bit afraid that things are getting somewhat confusing on my blog since I’ve recently written about soap and sap, but I still feel the need to add this post about a soup that I made recently. To be clear this is definitely a recipe to eat but I would not recommend bathing with it 🙂 .

The soup which I might call cream of potato with mushroom and garlic was loosely based on this recipe  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/13131/cream-of-garlic-soup/ . I’m really not sure how much you have to change a recipe before it can become your own, but I am fairly sure that the original recipe would be good as well. I didn’t precisely measure most of the ingredients so I’ll just share with you the changes that I made to this recipe.

I started with three medium size bulbs of garlic, I peeled each clove and minced it in the garlic press, this was at least 3/4 of a cup maybe more. I heated the olive oil in a pan and then added the minced garlic to the hot olive oil and turned off the heat. I had also peeled, cubed and boiled three good size potatoes. Instead of white wine (in the original recipe) I increased the amount of chicken broth to about 3 1/2 cups. I added the garlic/olive oil to the chicken broth. I drained and mashed the potatoes. I then began using a mixer to beat the potatoes and slowly adding the broth. If you decide to use the mixer like I did, instead of a blender that is recommended in the original recipe, it is important to add the broth slowly because at some point the mixture might become so thin that it begins to splatter. Take it from me, you really don’t want to find yourself washing it off the counter, walls,  your shirt and anywhere else it happens to land. When the mixture did get too thin to use the mixer I found that I was able to stir in the rest of the broth. I put this mixture on the stove over medium heat, stirred in about 3 cups of half and half and added about one teaspoon of salt.

While that was cooking I washed, sliced and sautéed about 12 ounces of fresh mushrooms. I then added them to the soup. I let this cook over low heat for about an hour, stirring every now and then to make sure it was not scorching.

As my title says this soup is for garlic lovers. It does have a very strong garlic flavor. Yumm!  I am not sure that I would like it as much without the mushrooms and it might even be better with cheese melted on top.

As garlic farmers we are interested in all things garlic, so I invite you to share how you like to use garlic. Do you use it medicinally? Do you have a favorite recipe? Please feel free to comment on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember The Recipe

I made a dish for dinner the other night, and as I often do, I did it without using a recipe. My husband liked it so much he asked me if I remembered the recipe. My answer was yes, but that’s not to say that I will always remember or be able to recall the recipe. I thought I would write here so I will know where to find it.

My goal was to use up a chicken breast that was leftover from the previous nights dinner. I also thought I wanted to make a Mexican style dish.

So in a 2 quart casserole dish I layered the following:

1 can refried beans

1 can whole kernel corn

1 cup cooked white rice

1 can chopped green chili peppers

1 cooked and cubed chicken breast

I then poured 1 can of green chili enchilada sauce over it

I topped it with a mix of shredded cheddar and shredded Colby jack cheese

I put it in the oven and baked at 300 until it was warmed through probably about a half hour. I severed it with tortilla chips. I spiced mine up by adding salsa and my husband enjoyed his with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

This simple recipe made a nice dinner and was easily reheated for lunch the next day as well.