This past Sunday we were blessed to be able to attend The Monroe Organic Farm’s Annual Harvest Festival for the first time. I vow to never miss it again. We are members of Monroe’s CSA, all CSA members are invited to the farm for this festival and celebration. There are contests and games for the children, a giant potluck, hayride, plus a lot of u-pick options. This year we were able to pick bell peppers, eggplant, anaheim peppers, and poblano peppers. If you have never been to a farm to pick your own produce, you are missing out. It is such an amazing feeling to be so in touch with the earth and what goes on your plate, and eventually into your mouth! I find myself very relaxed and at peace each time I get to the farm. There was also an area where we could peruse the leftover produce and grab what we needed/wanted…stocked up on fresh corn, potatoes, onions, and watermelon.
So Scott and I were out in the fields picking eggplant and bell peppers in every color you could imagine. I couldn’t help but think that in just a month or less we would have to start buying produce from Whole Foods again and how it would never compare to the produce we receive from the farm. Then the wheels starting turning some more, one of the nurses that I work with once mentioned that she dehydrates peppers and uses them all winter long….hmmm…we can do this, we can totally do this! Why should I pay around $3 per pepper when we could dehydrate some of these fresh ones and maybe even freeze some? They would surely taste better than a pepper that had traveled the world in its short life span.
There are a few ways to dry peppers: 1. old school – in the sun! 2. in the oven 3. food dehydrator. We opted for #3 because we could leave it running when we werent home and would not have to worry about rotating and flipping the peppers, it was the most efficient option for us. We didnt have a food dehydrator, but Scott has been wanting one, so off to Bed Bath and Beyond I went (with 20% off coupon in hand!). We cut the peppers in about 1/2 inch rings, the dehydrator seemed to work most efficiently with this rather than chunks. They seemed to take around 10-12 hours at 135 degrees. We filled up the dehydrator around dinner time, emptied it in the morning, and refilled it again. and again. and again. If you give this a whirl, be prepared for your home to smell like peppers.
How would we store these little beautiful crunchy pieces of goodness? No problem, we have a food saver. It wouldnt make sense to bag them all though and have to keep using new bags all winter long. Oh look, food saver makes an attachment that allows you to vacuum seal mason jars shut. The cost of this accessory was around $10-11 at bass pro shop (BBB doesnt carry them in stores, but you can order them online).
Seriously, where has that thing been my whole life? Do you know how much stuff i can vacuum seal now and keep fresh longer? AWESOME! You are probably thinking I am a huge cheap skate by now, but that really isnt the case, i would call it resourceful, why would you want to throw away the bounty of your garden because you werent able to eat all of it before it spoiled? That is nonsense. Scott says we are being crafty with food. He has enjoyed putting dried peppers on sandwiches, he said it adds great crunch and flavor. Who would have thought?
Here is the finished product, well 3 of the jars anyways, i think there will be about 8 total. We are also going to try to infuse some olive oil with peppers and….VODKA! It is officially football season, nothing better than a bloody mary on a sunday morning 🙂 Go Pack Go!
stay tuned…i think watermelon sorbet is on the menu for tomorrow
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its been so long, we bought a house back in october. happy 1st wedding anniversary to us! its been a whirlwind ever since. lots of painting, furniture buying, attempts at saving money to just invest it in this money pit. our challenges and goals for this summer include starting to create a yard for ourselves. let me tell you a bit about this old old victorian house…
it was built in 1906 by a Jewish carpenter and his sons. they also built several of the other homes on our block and in our neighborhood. there used to be a house next to ours that was very similar. it is unclear if it burned down in the 80’s or 90’s but it does sound like some scandal was involved. the lot was never rebuilt on, thankfully, because we were able to buy a double lot in the city of Denver as a result! the owners of the home prior to when the flipping guys took over were “gardeners.” they planted a few expensive rare things and a ton of very common things but it is our impression that they were really druggies because none of the places they planted things seemed to make sense. the neighbors tell us the hedges that line the property have thorns because they were paranoid that people would jump the fence and rob them, i guess they used to be so high you couldnt even see the house! one neighbor says it used to appear to be some kind of compound…creepy. anyway, we are blessed to have 12000 sq feet of outdoor space. the backyard has garden beds that are beautiful but random, its mostly dirt and weeds surrounding the gardens, no patio, no firepit, no space to entertain. our front yard is not too bad, new sod, struggling to keep that alive with 2 dogs, but thankful for the recent abundance of rain. there are trees everywhere, which is awesome! im not sure what kinds of trees because, lets face it, i didnt study botany. we have a curbside garden space, which is very popular in denver. the problem is that the garden is banked and all of the mulch is lost into the street. scott finished up building a retaining wall last evening to help keep our mulch where it belongs! it looks marvelous. we struggle with figuring out what plants are what, how to maintain them, and a design for our yard so that we can have you all over to BBQ. Mostly, we have a GREAT space, but need to develop it to enjoy it. Its a good thing we dont mind physical labor too much…my muscles are pretty darn sore after weeding, planting, and mulching the front garden bed next to our porch. Im hoping to take a video walk through of the property because i think seeing it will make more sense, but it looks like its going to rain any minute now so that will be at a later date.
here are some pictures to hold you over:
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whats for dinner tonight? how about breakfast for dinner? today in my facebook news feed i read about it being national blueberry pancake day! funny, because i was craving pancakes yesterday and whipped up my 1st ever batch of gluten free blueberry vanilla pancakes for the hubby and i. delish! anyways, after reading “the news” i figured it was only appropriate that i share with you all.
since i have heard tons of positive feedback on the cookbook “cooking for isaiah” i decided to make silvana’s all purpose flour which can be used to create a pancake mix. you can view these recipes by going to page 15 of this link: http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Isaiah-Gluten-Free-Dairy-Free-Delicious/dp/1606521659/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1296257117&sr=1-1#reader_1606521659
Gluten Free Blueberry Vanilla Pancakes makes about 12 medium sized pancakes
2 cups silvana’s pancake mix
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pint to 1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed
Preheat griddle over medium- high heat. Mix all ingredients except blueberries until fairly smooth, ok for some lumps. Fold in blueberries. Batter will be slightly thick. Use about 2-3 tablespoons of batter per pancake. Cook over medium-high heat until edges bubble and pancake is golden brown on griddle side, flip, repeat. Enjoy!
Does anyone have any good recipes for sweet dumpling squash? I have a winter squash chowder on deck for this week and a stew with beef and butternut squash…to be continued….
Filed under: csa, recipe | Tags: cascadian farm, food, inspiration, monroe organic farms, recipe, squash
Many times I am asked where I get my recipe ideas from, I find inspiration by checking out other recipes and then think about how I can make it my own and/or what ingredients I already have that I could possibly substitute in. Last nights dinner was inspired by Cascadian Farm’s blog (http://blog.cascadianfarm.com/category/food/sausage-stuffed-spaghetti-squash.aspx).
Here is my twist on it:
Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half
4 turkey and chicken italian sausages, casing removed and discarded. Dice meat.
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini)
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons oregano
salt and pepper
crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375, scoop out seeds and fibers of spaghetti squash -discard. Place squash flesh side down in a roasting dish. Add water to dish until it comes about 1/4 inch up the side of the squash. Roast in 375 degree oven about 30-40 minutes until flesh easily pulls away with a fork – it should pull away and look just like spaghetti.
2. While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook through. Of note, I had to use a sweet italian sausage because it was the only kind that I could find that is gluten-free. I really wanted some heat so I added red pepper flakes while cooking the sausage. You could easily buy bulk sausage to avoid removing casing and dicing the meat as well as being able to buy spicy italian. Either types will do just fine. You can skip the red pepper flakes if don’t like some heat. Make it yours!
3. Add another tablespoon of oil to skillet, let that heat up a bit. Add onion and salt, cook until just starting to turn transparent. Add garlic. Make sure you cook this over medium heat and stir frequently so garlic doesn’t burn. Add in the pepper, mushrooms, and oregano. Cook until veggies start to soften. Add in tomatoes, stir through. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Once at a simmer, add the sausage in, bring back to a simmer, stir frequently.
4. When squash is done roasting, place it flesh side up on a plate, fill with sausage and veggies, and top with feta cheese. Serve warm.
I hope you enjoy this one! It was truly delicious and a great way to utilize some winter squash. I also think you may be able to get the kids to eat it because the “spaghetti” squash is just so darn fun!
well i have mostly been dreading this holiday season which is unfortunate because it has always been my favorite time of year. what will i ever be able to eat? i can pretty much count on not being invited to anyones house again because being gluten free is just inconvenient, for the cook and for me. if you dont understand the in’s and out’s of what is off limits it will be frustrating for you. for me, i just have to stress out about cross contamination in your kitchen. will i get sick? will it be worth it? it just doesnt sound like fun. the good news is that i like to cook, in case you couldnt tell from my waistline, i love food!
i dream of someday being able to host large dinners and have gatherings where massive amounts of wine and cheer are served. and to have special dishes for each holiday (and the space to store them!). this year i am thankful that my husband and i are homeowners and we now have the space to make that dream a reality…well, when it is cleared of boxes and everything related to moving.
since we arent quite settled in our new home yet, we will be celebrating thanksgiving alone, just the two of us and our fur babies. which is alright with me as this is my first major holiday being gluten free, it will be my first time creating gluten free holiday food. i fully intend on rocking the crap out of this menu:
butternut squash soup
cranberry holiday relish
stuffing using Udi’s GF bread
yukon gold mashed potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese…yum!
roasted pheasant with thanksgiving herbs and bacon
maple pumpkin cream pie
i am thankful for farm fresh produce to make most of these dishes possible. and for whole foods who provided us with a pheasant since my husband cant seem to shoot one. love you.
Wondering what to do with all of the leeks, potatoes, carrots, and turnips piling up in your kitchen? Nothing says fall like a great stew. I have been dreading trying to revamp my fall and winter recipes to be gluten free but I am quickly learning that rice flour will become a close friend of mine. Here is what i was up to tonight…chicken and mixed veggie stew…mmmmmmmm…
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp butter
5 turnips, peeled and sliced
3 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced (dont forget to wash these thoroughly or your stew will be gritty)
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1-2 celery stalks, sliced (include the leaves, they have TONS of flavor!)
1 pound of baby new potatoes, sliced (leave the skins on for their rustic appeal)
3 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp brown rice flour
2 tea dried thyme (if using fresh, you will need 2 tbsp)
2 bay leaves
1. heat 3 tbsp oil in large heavy dutch oven over medium heat. season chicken with salt and pepper. cook chicken in oil until light brown on both sides, about 5 min per side. remove chicken and place on plate, drain fat from pan.
2. add butter (you could substitute with oil if you wanted to try to cut some fat, but i believe in making Paula proud) to the same pan and melt over medium heat. add your veggies and cook until slightly soft, about 8 minutes. add flour, stir 2 minutes. slowly mix in chicken broth. turn up to med-high heat and bring to a boil. once boiling, add chicken, bay leaves, and thyme. reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cooked through, approximately 30 minutes.
3. serve in a bowl and enjoy that thanksgiving smell in your home.
side notes: you can probably use any cut of chicken you have available (organic, free-range of course), it would be just as easy to use a few breasts or thighs although they tend to cost more in grocery stores when purchased that way. its much cheaper to buy the whole bird and butcher it yourself. use what you like and freeze the rest.
leeks: the dirtiest part is between all of the layers. its best to cut them and soak them in cold water. mix well in water and the dirt and grim will settle in the bottom of the bowl. if you have a salad spinner you could use something like that too.
broth: i ran out of chicken broth (only had about 2 1/4 cups on hand) so i finished with veggie stock. i think the two can easily be interchanged in this recipe, use whats on hand. oh, if you do get the whole chicken, save the scraps and make broth for later use.
i hope everyone is having a great fall…
Filed under: csa
WOW! Where did the summer go? I feel like i have completely failed at this blog. But in my defense, alot of things have happened since i last posted…my apologies! Let me get you caught up on whats been happening in the Prosen kitchen, all 83 square feet of it!
Pickles, peaches, pears, apples, dilly beans….there ya have it! We have made pickles of all varieties – dill, garlic, spicy dill, bread & butter, sweet relish. Peach jam, peach BBQ sauce, & peach sauce which has been delicious on yogurt and ice cream. I made a pear ginger sauce that we going to try out with pork chops tonight. Last week I made a batch of apple butter and not to sound bias but i think it offers the elegant farmer some competition! colorado doesnt do fall quite like the midwest, there are not alot of pumpkin farms around, im guessing because pumpkins probably dont grow that easily in this climate. the farms that are around dont offer caramel apples, hayrides, mazes, fresh apple cider, and the treasured apple butter…well i havent found one anyways…please feel free to enlighten me if you know of a place!
its week 15 of 18 for our summer produce, the picture at the top are todays goodies. new for us is butternut squash and daikon radishes. not sure what we will do with the daikon radishes yet but i think the butternut squash will get preserved and used this winter. we have been very blessed to be a part of this CSA and have gotten to try many new things we would have never imagined we liked…heirloom tomatoes, turnips, japanese eggplant, peppers of all colors, cabbage! you name it, we tried it. our CSA offers a winter share where we can get produce throughout the winter, things like onions, potatoes, beans, garlic, popcorn, squash…it is up for debate still whether we will commit or not but honestly the thought of trying to find quality produce in a grocery store again just aggravates me…
i think thats it in a nut shell. ill try to be better at posting recipes and keeping things more up to date. i know there are some folks out there trying out gluten free diets so i hope to be a better resource for those people.