Baked Sweet Potatoes with Raisins

This is a sweet, but savory sweet potato recipe, pairing the richness of the sweet potatoes with the onion, raisin and nut flavors. It is a favorite of many and promises to be a regular in your real food recipe box.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread your organic sweet potatoes out in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped onions, raisins and pecans on the top. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Melt your butter on low in a small metal dish on the stove. Then mix in the butter, syrup and water. Salt to taste.
Pour the fabulously delicious mixture evenly over the sweet potatoes.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (a glass lid would be preferable for real food recipes). Bake in the preheated oven 50 minutes to an hour or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Please do not add marshmallows to this recipe.

Green Bean Salad with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

The key to this dish is starting with great summertime produce. The cherry tomatoes should taste like candy!

In a large pot over high heat, combine water and 2 tbsp sea salt. Bring to a boil and add green beans. Return to a boil and continue boiling for 3 minutes.
While beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water. After 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop the beans out of the boiling water and into the ice water. Allow beans to chill for 2 minutes, strain and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Whisk well to combine. Add garlic, red onion, Fresno pepper and herbs to the olive oil mixture. Whisk well to combine.
In a medium bowl, combine green beans and cherry tomatoes.
Pour dressing over vegetables and using a large spoon, gently toss to coat well.
Right before service, sprinkle bacon on top of green bean mixture and using a large spoon, gently toss to coat. (See Note.)
* Crushing garlic is quick with a kitchen tool called a garlic press. Or to crush with your knife: Mince the garlic. Once minced, sprinkle a little coarse sea salt overtop. Chop some more. Then using the flat side of your knife, carefully press down firmly on the garlic and drag the knife towards you until the knife is no longer on top of the garlic. Lift the knife. Re-pile the garlic and start again, until it forms a paste. If you don’t have fresh garlic, two dashes of garlic powder will achieve similar results.
** If fresh Fresno peppers are unavailable, Dried Red Pepper Flakes in equal measure may be subsituted.
*** Essentially, a mix of 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil and 1 tsp parsley is desired, but I prefer to pluck a bit of each herb from my herb garden and simply chop them all together. I then measure 1 tbsp from the mixture.
Note – If making this dish several hours ahead of time, do not refrigerate the beans & tomatoes or the bacon, which will make them all go limp. Instead refrigerate the dressing and combine right before service.

French Cut Green Beans with Bacon

A comfort-food dish that pleases the whole family by satisfying with lots of quality saturated fat.

Bacon Instructions:
In a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook bacon covered, stirring frequently, until crispy.
Remove bacon with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Pour drippings into a heatproof ceramic or glass container and set aside.
Green Bean Instructions:
Snip the vine-end tail from the green bean.
Assemble a food processor with the slicing attachment.
Turn on the machine, and using the shoot, add the beans a small handful at a time.
The processed beans will be reminiscent of the diagonal French-cut green beans that we used to eat from the can!
Pour sliced beans into a large pot with stock and 1 tsp sea salt.
Over high heat, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to medium and maintain a rolling simmer for 10 minutes.
Once cooked, pour into a large colander and strain well. (See Note.)
While beans are straining, return the pot to the stovetop over low heat.
To the pot, add 2 tbsp reserved bacon drippings (the rest may be stored tightly covered in the fridge for other uses), butter, remaining ½ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
Once butter has melted, add strained beans and bacon to the pot and use tongs to coat the beans in the seasoned fat.
Serve warm.

Note –
I like to place the strainer over a large bowl in order to catch the discarded chicken stock. I pour it into a mug and sip on it while I finish making dinner. Delish!

Zucchini Casserole with Tomatillo Sauce

This recipe turns zucchini into a feast. If you have followed our recipe for tomatillo sauce, this dish will go together in a jiffy. Add some leftover cooked meat or poultry and you have a main dish you will be remembered for.

Select young slender zucchini no more than 6 inches long. These young squash will be firm with minimum seed development.
Wash, drain, and slice the zucchini.
Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of a large skillet to generously coat it.
When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and toss in the oil for about 30 seconds. You want just enough time to get the roasted flavor without burning your garlic.
Add the zucchini with a sprinkle of salt and toss to coat all the zucchini rounds with the garlic oil.
Saute the squash until tender.
Add the tomatillo sauce that you have warmed in a separate pan. Toss well.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top and cover pan until the cheese is melted.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

No longer the less appealing substitute for starchy potatoes, mashed cauliflower, I do believe, has finally found her style.

Roasted Garlic Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400˚.
Cut each garlic bulb in half horizontally. Smear 1 tsp butter on the bottom of each half and replace the top.
Tightly wrap each reassembled bulb in aluminum foil that has been lined with parchment paper. Place wrapped bulbs onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Remove bulbs from the foil and cool for an additional 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.

Cauliflower Instructions:
Remove the stem from the cauliflower and cut into florets (approx 15 cups.)
In a large pot, combine cauliflower, chicken stock and 1 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until fork tender. In a large colander, drain well.
Return the drained cauliflower to the hot pot over low heat. Add butter, remaining 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper and cayenne. Cover until butter has melted. Remove cover and mash with a potato masher until well combined.
Leave cauliflower covered over low heat until roasted garlic is cool.
When roasted garlic is ready, remove the lid to the cauliflower and squeeze roasted garlic bulbs over the pot, allowing the individual cloves to squeeze out and land in the pot. Once garlic is emptied of roasted cloves, discard the empty shells.
Use the potato masher to combine the roasted garlic into the cauliflower. Right before service, stir in 2 tbsp chives. Serve warm.

Carmelized Beets with Fresh Chives

The beets sweeten and caramelize in this simple saute making a bright and flavorful side dish.

Peel the beets and slice as thin as possible, approx 1/16″ slices. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp bacon drippings.
Once melted, add sliced beets and turn with a spatula to coat in the fat. Reduce heat to low, cover and gently cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and increase heat to medium. Saute for 5 additional minutes without stirring. After five minutes, remove from heat.
Add sea salt, pepper and chives. Toss to combine and serve warm.

Chard & Feta

Combine beautiful and colorful spring chard with feta, for a greens dish even kids love!

Steam the chard until just wilted, yet still colorful. Discard the cooking water (it contains the oxalic acid) and transfer the chard to a serving bowl. Drizzle on melted butter. Sprinkle with seasonings. Toss and adjust seasonings to taste. When cooled, toss with feta cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Tuscan Sourdough Stuffing

My stuffing is a labor of love. I love making the sourdough bread mixed with Tuscan and sage seasonings. Then taking that bread and making it into stuffing. I feel as though I am walking in the footsteps of cooks from years gone by. I start a few days before Thanksgiving and make my delicious rosemary bread for the stuffing. Then I cut it in to cubes and let it sit out to dry and become crusty.

Tuscan Rosemary Bread
8 ounces sourdough starter
1 cup water
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tbsp basil olive oil or if not available regular olive oil
Add starter and water to bowl. Slowly add other ingredients and mix until dough no longer sticks to bowl or hand about for 8 minutes. Then transfer to a greased bowl and cover. Then let rise in a draft free place till double in size for about 4 to 5 hours. Turn out dough and knead a few times to deflate. Then form into loaf and place in greased bread pan. Cover and let rise for an hour or two or until puffy and close to desired size. Then slash top of loaf and place in a preheated oven at 425º for 20 minutes then turn down heat to 400º and bake 20 minutes more or until brown and firm.Thoroughly cool bread on a rack before slicing.
Directions for stuffing:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the sourdough into 3/4-inch squares and place in large bowl. Melt half the butter add sage.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sage butter over the bread and toss gently but swiftly. Spread out on 2 cooking sheets and place in the oven until light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place back into the bowl.
Meanwhile, place the dried fruit in a large bowl; add boiling water to cover and then set aside for at least 10 minutes. This will plump and soften the fruit for cooking. Drain fruit once plumped.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Melt the remaining butter and add onion, celery, and carrot. Saute on medium-low heat until soft. Add dried fruit and remaining sage. Toss into cooled croutons. Gently toss and add chicken broth to moisten; add more broth if you like a softer stuffing. Stir in beaten eggs now, if using. Adjust salt and pepper, to your liking. Turn out into an oven-proof casserole.
Bake uncovered until golden brown on top, about 40 minutes.

Roasted Eggplant

When summer is here and the garden is in full swing, you can sometimes get overloaded with eggplant. After using your three favorite recipes a couple of times each, you need a new plan. Here is a primo suggestion for enjoying eggplant today or saving it for winter. These are roasted eggplant cubes that serve as a side dish with beef, top a salad in fine style, or get dropped in one of your homemade soups just before serving time.

Cut the eggplant into 1″ cubes and place in a bowl.
Sprinkle on the salt, garlic, and oil.
Toss well and allow to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
Spread cubes in a single layer on a cooky sheet. A little space between the cubes allows for better roasting.
Roast at 450-475 degrees for about a half hour. Time can vary depending on climate and the density of your eggplant. Toss the cubes a couple of times during the roasting process. Roast until the cubes are brown and the insides creamy.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Zucchini Pancakes With Goat Cheese & Marinara Sauce

This is one of those recipes I serve for company. In the summer time when zucchini is abundant. Every time I serve it I am asked for the recipe. Family favorite.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, onions, basil, zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the eggs and flour mixture to the vegetables and stir just until combined.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. When hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the batter by tablespoons into the skillet (making sure to spoon both batter and vegetables), leaving 1-inch between the cakes. Immediately drop a round of cheese into the center of each pancake. Top with another tablespoon of batter to enclose the cheese. Cook until golden brown on the bottom side, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook on the 2nd side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove from the pan and place on a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while preparing the remaining pancakes.
Arrange the pancakes on a platter, drizzle with the marinara sauce, and serve immediately.

Greek Roasted Potatoes

As potato lovers, these Greek roasted potatoes may be the best potatoes we have ever eaten. This recipe is adapted from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant. This succulent concoction takes a while to bake, so save it for some time when you will be puttering around the house to give it its occasional stir.

Scrub and slice potatoes. Place them in a 9×13 glass baking dish.
Mince the garlic and herbs and sprinkle over the potatoes.
Sprinkle with salt.
Pour on the oil and lemon juice.
Toss until every slice is coated with the marinade you just created.
Add the water gently by pouring down the side of the pan. Don’t wash the marinade off the vegetables by pouring the water over the top.
Bake uncovered in a 450 degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Stir about every 20 minutes and add a bit of water as needed. In the last 30 minutes let the water evaporate until there is only oil left in the pan.
When you remove the pan from the oven, gently toss the potatoes to coat with the fragrant garlic oil from the bottom of the pan. Each slice will glisten as it retains its shape and texture. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley to serve.

Grilled Pattypan (Scallop) Squash

Simple. Easy. Blistered, sweet outside and cooked al-dente, these are a great side for just about any meal.

Slice pattypans into discs and heat a cast iron griddle on high heat.
Melt a thin layer of ghee on the surface and place pattypans. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Reapply ghee if necessary between batches. Alternately, you could do these on the grill outside and just forget the ghee step.
Place cooked pattypans on serving dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.