Recipes from June and July Cooking Days with Chef Jen

COOKING DAY- June 1st:

Biscuits and gravy:

Jen started the morning with biscuits and gravy. She made the biscuits at home.  Heartmoss Farm sausage was browned until done. Add a handful of flour and stir until the flour is browned and fat is absorbed, making a quick roux.  Add milk gradually while stirring until thickened. Season with white pepper and serve on a biscuit.

Sirloin Tips with Shitake mushrooms:

The sirloin (Little River Farm) was tossed with flour and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Sautée the meat and mushrooms in butter with chopped green onions until the meat is browned. Add stock or water to cover and simmer until the meat is tender adding more liquid as needed.

Roasted Cauliflower:

Heat the grill or oven to 400 degrees.  Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and a big pinch of curry powder and place in a single layer on a pan and roast until browned.

Stuffed Nasturtium Flowers:

Blend together one parts sour cream and 2 parts cream cheese until smooth.  Add honey to taste and pipe into nasturtium flowers.

Quick Pickled Sugar Snap Peas:

Mix in a small saucepan 1 ¼ cups vinegar and 1 tablespoon each salt and sugar.  Bring to a boil and dissolve the spices.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cold cup water.  Pack a quart jar with sugar snap peas that have been washed and stems and strings removed.  Add 4 cloves garlic and 2 dried red peppers or some red pepper flakes in a sterilized quart jar. Pour in the vinegar mixture and keep in the fridge for 2 weeks before using.

Chorizo and White Bean Salad:

Soak 2 cups cannellini beans overnight in enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Pour off water and add 2 cloves of garlic and fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until tender.  Always salt beans after cooking or they will toughen.  Brown the chorizo (Olivia’s legacy) and mix with the cooked beans.  Fill a serving plate with fresh lettuce, top with bean mixture and a dollop of sour cream.  Top with dressing.  Jen’s dressing used a pint each of homemade roasted tomato sauce and sweet red pepper sauce, apple cider vinegar to taste, a dash of sriracha sauce and a drizzle of honey.

Lamb Sausage Meatball Sandwich:

Roll lamb sausage (Heartmoss Farm) into balls.  Brown until cooked through.  Add equal quantities of tomato and sweet pepper sauce and simmer until thickened.  Grate mozzarella on French baguette and toast (Stickboy’s in Boone) .  Top with meatballs.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry:

Cut the chicken into small, uniform size pieces and sauté in butter.  Remove from the heat.  Chop vegetables; add olive oil to the pan if needed and sauté.  Jen used carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and squash.  Add the chicken back to the pan when the veggies are almost done.  Season with a dash of sriracha and serve with a sprinkling of chives.

 

COOKING DAY JULY 1ST

Roasted Carrots:

Heat the grill or oven to 400 degrees.  Remove carrot tops and reserve for pesto. Toss scrubbed carrots with salt, pepper and olive oil.  Place in a single layer on heat proof pan and roast until golden brown.  Turn once after 10 to 15 minutes and roast the other side until fork tender.  Most vegetables can be roasted.

Carrot Top Pesto:

Put carrot tops, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a pinch of Aleppo pepper (Penzy’s spices) and salt into a food processor and puree.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  You can add grated parmesan and or nuts if desired but omit lemon juice if you do.

Cole Slaw:

Shred a small head of cabbage.  Shred 2 or 3 carrots.  Add the juice of a lemon, an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste, a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Taste and add a bit of honey or sugar.  You can also add onions, chives and garlic if desired.

Kale Chips:

Heat the oven or grill to 250-350 degrees. ( higher temps will roast faster and need closer attention) Remove the stem and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake on a sheet tray in a single layer for 10-20 minutes.  Flip and continue to roast until crisp.  You can add other seasonings if desired.  Try garlic powder, cayenne, parmesan, lemon zest, onion powder or seasoned salt.  Experiment!

Quick Cucumber Pickle:

Combine in a bowl or Ziploc bag: thinly sliced cucumbers, your preferred vinegar to cover (apple cider, rice wine or white), a bit of honey or sugar, salt and herbs.  Try one or 2 of the following: garlic, chives, parsley, cilantro, green onion, even seaweed.  Cover and leave at room temperature for a few hours for flavors to come together.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tzatziki:

Combine in the food processor: 8 ounces plain yogurt, 2 peeled and sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the juice of ½ a lemon, salt and pepper, a tablespoon chopped fresh dill, 2 cloves of garlic and a dash of sriracha sauce.  Process until smooth.   Jen served this over raw tender baby  beet greens and Heartmoss lamb burgers.

Blue Cheese Dressing:

Combine in a bowl: ¾ cup sour cream, 1 1/3 cup mayo, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper, 4 ounces blue cheese and a dash of sriracha sauce. Blend until smooth.  Best made the day before.  Best with assertive summer greens.

Great cooking ideas

Getting Hooked On Cooking With CSA

by Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have      

Friends of the Market, here is a a great article by Katherine Deumling .  It talks about using a CSA share, but it applies to using seasonal products from Farmers Markets too.

 

A CSA share offers a plethora of produce every week and with it varieties we may have never seen before, let alone cooked—a delight and a bit of a challenge, for sure.

Fresh, delicious vegetables chosen for me week after week is my idea of heaven. It hasn’t always been but I get more hooked every year. I’m hooked on the deliciousness, on not having to make any decisions about what vegetables to purchase, and on the creativity it inspires.

So, how does one get hooked?

Stock your Pantry, Two Ways:

Shop mostly to restock rather than for specific dishes. You’ll spend less time (and money) running to the store for last minute items and can instead spend your time cooking, eating, and creatively using what you already have.

This is a basic list but you certainly don’t need everything listed to cook many dishes. And, your pantry will reflect your particular taste. This is just a loose guide.

Purchased Goods for Pantry, Fridge and Freezer:

  • Lentils; French green, red, brown
  • Beans: black, pinto, white, chickpeas
  • Grains: brown and white rice, barley, farro, cornmeal/polenta, quinoa, pasta, couscous, bulgur
  • Seeds & nuts: sunflower, pumpkin, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, etc.
  • Spices: cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, dried chilies, turmeric, caraway, paprika, cardamom
  • Herbs: thyme, oregano
  • Vinegars: cider, rice and red wine
  • Oils: olive, sunflower, coconut, sesame
  • Hot sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Lemons and limes
  • Meat and fish in freezer: sausages, bacon, chicken, etc.

Semi-prepared Items:

When you have a little spare time you can add semi-prepared items to your fridge/ pantry that will make life much easier and tastier when you don’t have those extra few minutes to get a meal on the table.

  • Make a jar of vinaigrette and keep it in the fridge. Dress lettuces and greens as well as roasted vegetables or plain chickpeas/beans with the same vinaigrette, adding some chopped herbs and toasted seeds. Be creative!
  • Cook a good quantity of beans. Put beans out to soak before you go to work in the morning. Cook them that evening while you’re in the kitchen cooking something else for dinner anyway and have them ready for the next day or freeze half.
  • Cook twice as much rice, barley or farro as you need for any given meal and freeze half of it to make fried rice, rice and beans or a soup the following week on a particularly busy night when you need the head start.
  • Toast a cup of sunflower or pumpkin seeds and keep in a jar. Your salads will be better for them; your soups will have added crunch; your snacks will be cheaper and more nutritious!
  • Use a whole bunch of parsley or cilantro to make a quick, savory sauce with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar. Stir in some thick yogurt for a creamy version. Having a flavorful component like this on hand means a plain bowl of rice or beans or a fried egg turns into a meal in no time.
  • Make chicken or any other meat, fish or vegetable stock and freeze.

Free Yourself from Strictly Following a Recipe & Learn to Improvise and Substitute.

The more you cook—and you will be cooking (!)—the easier and more fun it is to substitute and adapt as you go. Families of vegetables such as brassicas and alliums have certain common characteristics that in many cases let you substitute one for another. However, there is no real shortcut to learning how to do this so experiment as much as you can—you’ll have plenty of opportunity. Here are a few general guidelines to get you started.

Root vegetables love to be roasted as do brassicas like kohlrabi, cauliflower, romanesco, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Cut up, tossed with a little oil and salt and roasted in a single layer, they are delicious as is or can serve as the foundation for soups, mashes, salads, etc.

Onions, like their allium compatriots, shallots, scallions, leeks and garlic, are pungent raw and quite sweet cooked. If you don’t have an onion by all means use a leek, though leeks are sweeter and you might add a little acidity to balance it out and leeks are not so good raw. Scallions (green onions) and shallots can be substituted for onions and vice versa in many recipes, raw or cooked.

Sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery root, rutabagas and turnips and sometimes winter squash can often stand in for one another in mashes, gratins, soups and stews.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spring rabe and romanesco, all brassicas, have similar flavors and behave similarly in many dishes, though certainly not all. Mashed cauliflower is delicious but I would not mash Brussel sprouts.

Leafy greens are eminently substitutable. Chards, beet greens, kale and collards, are all good raw (very thinly sliced) when young and tender. They behave quite similarly when cooked and can be mixed and substituted for each other at will. Turnip, radish, and mustard greens are all tender and often interchangeable, though radish tops are a bit fuzzy raw. Make sure to blanch those.

Get Good at a Handful of Dishes that Showcase most any Vegetable.

It’s not so hard to keep up when you have a handful of recipes that can accommodate most any vegetable and in a variety of combinations.

A simple frittata elevates most vegetables, from leafy greens to peppers, peas, herbs, potatoes and both summer and winter squash.

Pan-fried vegetable fritters/savory pancakes/patties transform mounds of vegetables of all kinds into savory nuggets. Broccoli with parmesan, leftover mashed potatoes, leeks and plenty of parsley, rutabaga and carrot latkes, Japanese-inspired cabbage pancakes with scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. . .

Fried rice with loads of finely chopped vegetables; simple Thai-style coconut milk curries; and soups and stir-fries, of course, are all good vehicles for delicious CSA produce.

A quick, stove top version of mac ‘n cheese with whatever vegetables you have, chopped finely, never fails to be devoured.

Finally, recipes can often accommodate way more vegetables than they call for. Perhaps a recipe calls for 1 lb of pasta and 3 cups of vegetables. Invert that ratio and use ½ lb of pasta and 6 cups of vegetables or just add more vegetables and have plenty of leftovers. You’ll figure out how to make such changes and have recipes and tips work for your particular selection of produce.

Get comfortable making a few of these dishes and make them your own, with different spices, herbs, cheeses.

CHEF JEN COOKS SEPTEMBER 4TH

CHEF JEN COOKS SEPTEMBER 4th

Poached Chicken:

Chef Jen started the morning by placing a whole chicken in a large stockpot and covering it with water, adding a dozen black peppercorns and bringing it to a boil.  Then she turned it down to simmer for 1-3l hours until the bird was completely tender and falling apart. ( a fresh tender chicken will take 1-2 hours, an older hen 2-3) Periodically, skim the scum and discard.

Roasted Cauliflower:

Break the cauliflower head into large florets, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of curry powder and put them in a pan and roast at 350 until golden brown.  This can also be done on the grill.

Hash Browns:

Shred/grate the potatoes, Jen used a box grater but a food processor works too.  Rinse them to remove the starch and then squeeze out all excess water so they don’t spatter and will brown better. Toss cleaned potatoes with a beaten egg and a tablespoon of flour, salt, pepper, paprika, minced onion and garlic. Sauté in a blend of butter and oil until crispy on one side and flip.  You can also slide onto a cookie sheet and brown under the broiler.

Fresh Breakfast Sausage:

Jen took fresh ground pork from Crosscreek Farm and added spices.  She made a seasoning mix  of cumin, Mexican oregano, marjoram, black peppercorns  and freshly ground dried hungarian paprika peppers from Windyhill Farm. She put it all in a coffee grinder and mixed it up.  She added this to the pork and made patties and fried them until done.

Roasted Summer Squash and Okra:

Jen added the seasoning mix to sliced pattypan squash with salt, pepper and olive oil and roasted on the grill to lightly charred on both sides.   Same recipe, sub the okra for the squash.

Pesto:

Niki washed and pulled off 6 cups of mixed basil leaves: thai, lemon and purple Italian.  She added a large handful of garlic cloves, 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds,  ¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese, and enough olive oil to form a paste into a blender.

Roasted Crowder Peas:

Shell fresh peas, season with season mix, salt and olive oil and roast at high heat  until hot and crispy.  They’ll be barely cooked.  Tastes very similar to roasted edamame(soybeans)

Fried Okra:

Chop the okra into ½ circles.  Place a beaten egg in one plate. Mix cornmeal, salt and seasoning mix well in another bowl.  Dip okra into egg and then cornmeal mix and fry until brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

Chicken Sandwich:

Jen shredded the poached chicken, reserving the liquid for soup, see the next recipe.  She sautéed garlic and and sliced shiitake mushrooms in butter.  She added a bit of the broth to moisten and added a spoon of roux( roux is equal parts flour and butter mixed together to a texture like peanut butter) and roasted peppers and salt.  She toasted a loaf of Honest loaves baguette, smeared it with roasted garlic and topped with the chicken mixture.

Chicken Soup:

Take the broth from poaching the chicken, add sauté mushrooms , shredded chicken ,and garlic and serve.

RECIPES FROM COOKING DAYS WITH CHEF JEN

1st COOKING DAY

Roasted asparagus, roasted carrots:

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil and a good shake of salt over 1 pound of asparagus. Toss well to coat. Jen used a pan in the grill and closed the lid and roasted until the asparagus began to brown, then stirred and continued until all sides were nicely charred. She used the same technique with the roasted carrots with the addition of a dash of Allepo Pepper which is a mildly hot pepper which can be purchased from Penzey’s spices. A nice Hungarian paprika would also work. You can also do it in your oven at 450 degrees.

Omelet:

Jen started by sautéing diced green garlic scapes, shitake mushrooms, and country ham until softened and then added finely chopped greens and continued to sautéed until they also softened. She put them in another container, wiped out the pan, added equal parts olive oil and butter and heated until quite hot. She poured in well beaten eggs and let set up. Then shake the egg free, flip it over add the filling, and fold the egg over the filling and serve.

Hominy grits:

Start with white hominy grits ( you can find them at the Amish store in Woodlawn)

Use 5 cups of water for every cup of grits. Jen made a big batch, so she brought 10 c water to a boil with a tsp salt. She whisked in 2 c grits and cooked over medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook til softened, about 25 minutes. For each cup of grits,add a ¼ cup butter and a ½ cup of parmesan cheese. In this double batch, that’s ½ c butter and 1 c parmesan. You can eat it now OR pour into a flat pan with tall sides ( a cake pan works well) and cool on the counter. Once completely cool, cover and place in fridge overnight. If you cover while hot, condensation will form on the plastic and your polenta will be soggy, not firm.

Fried polenta:

Slice your chilled grits into 1inch slices, season with salt and pepper and fry in a mix of butter and olive oil until browned on one side, flip and brown the remaining side.

Jen topped hers with sautéed greens.

Orzo with greens:

Cook the orzo according to package directions.

Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in a mix of butter and olive oil. Add chopped greens and continue to sauté until greens are tender and reduced. Then add marscapone cheese( or cottage cheese) stir till melted, then add salt, pepper and parmesan to taste and stir in the cooked orzo to reheat and mix well.

Sausage sandwich:

Jen cooked chirizo links on the grill. She split the sausage and layered it on a split and toasted Honest Bread baguette with sauted onions and cheese.

Sirloin Tips:

Jen sauted onions, shitake mushrooms and garlic scapes in a large pan she added the sirloin tips (Little River Farm) and browned them and then covered with water and covered the pan and cooked over low heat for 4 hours, added more water as needed.


RECIPES FROM JULY 3rd

Cucumber salad:

Jen used Suiyo Long Japanese cucumbers sliced into rounds. She added salt and pepper to taste and ¼ cup each olive oil and vinegar and 2 TB honey ( or to taste) ¼ tsp dried dill and 1 chopped garlic clove. Mix together and serve. You can garnish with lemon basil

Roasted squash:

Slice ¼ inch thick any variety of squash-Jen demonstrated with every kind of squash at the market that day and all were delicious- season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Don’t be skimpy on the oil.

Throw on the grill and leave until starting to brown. Flip and brown the other side. Yes it’s that easy!

Roasted Onions:

Cut an onion in half. Leave the root end on or the onion will fall apart. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil and grill until softened. Eat as is or mix with other grilled veggies.

Sautéed squash with grits:

Slice squash in ¼ inch rounds. Sauté with olive oil and butter. Add a dash of shiracha hot sauce. Serve with polenta. See recipe from 1st cooking day

Omelet with sautéed spiralized squash noodles:

Sauté squash with olive oil, butter, chopped clove of garlic,salt, pepper and siracha. In another bowl, beat 2 eggs very well. When the squash is softened, pour the eggs on top and let set. Flip or fold and garnish with minced chives and parsley

Lamb Stew:

Dredge chunks of lamb in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Jen used a pound of lamb. Sauté in a mix of butter and olive oil until browned. Add chopped onions, carrots, garlic and potatoes and continue to sauté until browned. Add 4 cups water and ½ cup peas. Simmer until tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Jen added a tsp of “better than boullion” to add some depth.

Yogurt with fruit:

Add chopped fresh fruit to yogurt, sprinkle with nuts and serve.

Homemade Gatoraid:

Juice 2 oranges and ½ a lemon. Add 2 TB honey and a pinch of salt and add water to thin and shake and serve with ice.


 

RECIPES FROM AUGUST 7th-TOMATO DAY

Gazpacho:

This is one of those recipes that is more of a guideline than an actual recipe.

You want 3 parts tomatoes to 1 part of a mix of cucumbers, peppers, onions green onions and garlic.  Put it all in a blender or food processor and add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste.  Blend, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

 

Sauteed Eggplant:

3 oriental eggplant sliced into rounds. Into a hot saute pan add olive oil, ¼ cup of garlic , a ¼ of a cayenne pepper, then add the eggplant rounds and saute until tender and browned.

 

Coleslaw:  

Finely chop cabbage.  Mince white onions and rinse under cold water.  Add lemon juice(or apple cider vinegar), olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and let sit so the flavors can come together.  Add shredded carrots if desired.

 

Meatloaf:

Rinse wheat berries, then place in a jar with water and soak 24 hours.  Rinse again and use.

Use equal parts ground pork and beef.  Heartmoss Farm sausage and Little River Beef worked well.  She added coleslaw, wheat berries salt and pepper. Mix well and put in oven proof pan, top with mustard, shiracha, worchestershire, and ketchup.  Jen actually used the condiment pack from Subway!

Roasted Peppers:

Place red or green peppers in a cast iron on high heat, turning to blacken all the skin, remove and cover, when it has cooled enough to handle remove the blackened skin. 

Yellow tomato Italian stew:

Add olive oil to a pan on medium heat, saute  onions and garlic for a moment then add chicken (French Family Farm) chopped into bite sized pieces and sausage removed from its casing.  Once cooked a bit, add white balsamic vinegar and chopped yellow tomatoes and simmer until the chicken is done.  Add chopped roasted peppers and fresh herbs-Jen used thyme and rosemary.

 

Soy glazed green beans:

Get a cast iron pan hot add olive oil and garlic and green beans and a bit of water.  When the water cooks off and the beans are still crunchy add soy sauce and some butter to the pan. Stir until the beans are nicely glazed and a bit burnt, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

 

Spaghetti squash with sausage:

Puncture the squash(Bird and Hopper Farm) and bake for an hour.  Turn 5 or 6 times if cooking in a grill to ensure even cooking.  Cut open and shred the innards.

For the sauce:  squeeze the sausage out of the casing.  Sauté with onions and garlic then add chopped tomatoes.  Cook until tomatoes break down and serve on the squash.

 

Salsas:

Peach Salsa:

To easily remove the skin, drop in boiling water for 1 minute.  The peel will slip off.  This also works for tomatoes.  Chop 8 peeled peaches, ¼ of a minced serrano, 1 medium minced, chopped, rinsed, white onion, a handful of minced cilantro, fresh lime juice and salt to taste.

 

Pineapple Salsa:  this won the “All other Salsa” category

Peel, core and chop a whole pineapple.  Mince ¼ of a cayenne pepper.  Add a handful of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of honey and some fresh lime juice.

 

Fresh tortilla chips:

Get fresh corn tortillas.  Cut into sixths.  Fry in rendered pork fat (Crosscreek farm) until crisp.  Sprinkle with salt while still hot.