I’ve recently moved home to Michigan due to unforeseen circumstances. The weather here has ranged from blistering hot to hokey toot get out the slippers and the sweatshirts. That may not seem weird at the changing of the seasons, but it is weird when it’s happening in the same day.
Despite the radical weather that mimics the falling rain at Herb and Plow Farms, the CSA’s here are equally abundant with their enticing seasonal fare. This week, I’m sharing a family favorite of ours (Spaghetti Squash Casserole), a forgiving Kale/Swiss Chard recipe, a quick Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard, and a One bowl vegan apple gingerbread cake. May the calories not go to waist.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 spaghetti squash (about 8 inches long)
2 T. butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves minced garlic
½ pound fresh, sliced mushrooms
½ t. oregano
1 t. basil
Dash of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 c. cottage or ricotta cheese (I like the cottage best)
1 c. grated mozzarella
1 cup fine bread crumbs (Italian style is a staple)
¼ c fresh chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds. Bake face-down on oiled sheet until easily pierced by a fork about 30 minutes. (Placing the halves on parchment paper before baking will make your clean-up SO much easier)
Let stand until cool enough to handle, then scoop out pulp and place in large bowl. Meanwhile, heat butter and sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with herbs, salt, and pepper. When onions are soft, add tomatoes and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir this mixture into squash pulp with remaining ingredients except Parmesan. Spread into buttered 2-quart casserole. Top with Parmesan. Bake uncovered, 30-40 minutes. (Makes 4-6 servings)
Savory Kale/Swiss Chard
(NOTE from contributor Nancy Brubaker: “A tasty side dish that can be tucked into wrap-type sandwiches. “Refried beans, shredded cheese and kale in a whole-wheat, homemade chapatti is a favorite combination at our house. Swiss Chard can be used interchangeably with Kale to help use up the plentiful greens.”)
1 thinly sliced onion
In a large frypan sauté in 1-2 T. olive oil over medium heat until brown and crisp, not just soft. Remove to a serving dish
1 large bunch fresh kale, collards, or Swiss chard
Stack leaves, roll together and slice about ¼”/5 mm thick. Sauté in the frypan for 1 minute. Add several Tablespoons water ¼ t. salt to taste. Add cover, reduce heat and steam until tender. Add water as needed. Kale and collards cook in 10-15 minutes, Swiss chard a bit faster. When the greens are tender, drain in a colander. Return onions to pan and heat to sizzling!
1 T. Tomato paste
Add and stir. When this mixture is hot, return the greens to the pan. Mix, heat through, and serve.
Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard
(NOTE from contributor Alison Froese-Stoddard, Winnipeg, Manitoba: “The first year we bought a share of an organic co-op garden we were astounded by the quality and sheer quantity of greens we received. We had to find ways to eat several pounds of lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard every week! This recipe became a quick favorite.” Side note: It’s easy to see why after tasting this dish.
1 lb Swiss chard
Rinse, pat dry, and remove stems. Chop stems diagonally into small pieces. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1-inch strips; keep separate from stems. Set aside.
1 medium diced onion
In deep frypan sauté in 2 t. olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins (diced apple chunks will work too)
2 cloves minced garlic
3 T. white or cider vinegar
1 ½ t. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Add along with chard stems, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture (DO NOT STIR IN), cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir, and serve.
1 Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake
Prep time 25 mins
Cook time 35 mins
Total time 1 hour
A hearty, 1-bowl vegan apple cake infused with gingerbread flavors and rolled oats. A healthier cake perfect for holiday gatherings and cozy afternoons alongside tea.
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp water)
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 T. molasses
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or sub canola, olive or melted coconut with varied results)
- 1 1/4 cup grated apple, loosely packed (~3 apples, a mix of sweet + tart)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (sub up to 1/2 cup with water)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Tofutti or Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance | butter sticks are best, not the spreadable tub)
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup flour (this is optional for thickening | alternatively sub more powdered sugar)
- 1 cup chopped pecans for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and butter two round cake pans, or an 8×8 baking dish. Add flour to coat, then shake out excess and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax eggs by mixing flaxseed and water and let rest.
- Core apples (no need to peel) and grate. I recommend a mix of finely grated, and coarsely grated. Place grated apple on a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove about half of the juice. Set aside. (P.S. you should totally drink that apple juice.)
- To the flax egg, add sugars, molasses, oil, vanilla, almond milk, grated apples, and whisk.
- Set a sifter over something to catch fall out and add dry ingredients in this order: 1 cup whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Stir gently with a spoon, then sift over wet ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix).
- Lastly, add oats and stir again to combine, being careful not to over mix. The batter should be thick but pourable. If it appears too thick, add a bit more almond milk to thin and stir.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan(s). If you’re dividing between two pans, it may look like there’s not enough batter but there is! Spread it in an even layer and it will rise while baking.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes if using 2 round cake pans, or about 40-50 minutes for an 8×8. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and the edges should be visibly browned. Remove from oven and set out on counter to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare frosting. To the same mixing bowl (rinsed clean), add softened cream cheese, softened butter and beat or whisk vigorously to combine. Then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until thick and spreadable.
- Add flour at the end to thicken (optional – or just more powdered sugar). You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it won’t slide off the cake, so keep adding flour and/or powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, add 1/3 of the frosting to the top of the bottom layer and spread into an even layer. Then add the top layer of cake and frost generously with remaining frosting, coating sides last. Add crushed pecans on the edges (optional), slice and serve.
- The cake should be stored covered in the fridge for optimal freshness, and should keep for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that, and thaw at room temp before serving.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 10 slices with a generous amount of frosting and pecans.
* Recipe adapted from my Vegan Gluten Free Apple Muffins
* Frosting recipe from my Gluten Free Zucchini Cake
WHOOSH! It’s Eggplant!
Last week Tuesday I asked my Michigan living parents how they felt about becoming landlords. This week Thursday my entire Tennessee household is stored in their garage and I am still reeling. So far, I’ve learned that things can change faster than the blink of an eye. To reflect that, here are two recipes that will take you about 30 minutes or less to prepare.
Eggplant – 2 cups
Onion – Sliced thin and long – 1/2 cup
Tomato – Chopped fine- 1 cup
Cilantro – 2 table spoons – finely chopped
Coriander powder – 1 table spoon
Cumin powder – 1 tea spoon
Turmeric powder – 1 tea spoon
Garlic – finely chopped – 1 table spoon
Salt – 1 table spoon (add per taste)
Red chili powder – 1 table spoon (add per taste)
Olive oil – 1 table spoon
Water – 1 cup (add additional per desired consistency)
Method: To a pan on medium heat, add onions. Saute till translucent. Add Tomatoes and saute till soft. Add all other ingredients and close the lid. Cook until the eggplant is soft. This will take about 15 minutes. Serve it with some Chapati, Roti or Rice.
Recipe by Jessie:
PREP 5 mins /COOK 10 mins /READY IN 15 mins
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs, seasoned
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- In a small bowl beat the egg and water together. Place the bread crumbs in shallow dish. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture then in crumbs, being sure to coat thoroughly.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add eggplant slices and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and tender. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over eggplant during last minute of cooking to melt.
- While eggplant is cooking, combine spaghetti sauce and pepper flakes in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and cook at high power for 2 minutes or until heated through.
- Top eggplant with sauce and Parmesan cheese and serve.
Quick, fast, to the point. Meals on a tight time frame because when you least expect it, life happens right now.
Blackberries and Celery
As a younger woman, around 26 or so, I moved in with my Gram due to unforeseen circumstances. She lived on 13 acres about 10 minutes from town. Country convenience she used to call it. In early summer along the back acres there were lines and rows of blackberry and raspberry bushes ripe with luscious fat black and red juiciness. She’d send me out with a colander to collect enough for the three of us for dessert (My Grandpa Pat, too). Dutifully, off I’d trudge.
When we got our berries this week, I dang near wept. They looked like one of the safest times in my life. They were bursting juice out of the containers as if they’d been styled by a food artist. Purple tartness pooling in the bottom of my bucket. I could hardly wait to gorge myself. But. I didn’t.
Instead, I found a non dessert way to experience the tasty goodness of Blackberries. I found the recipe HERE.
Pork Chops with Blackberry Port Sauce
- 6 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, minced (onions work too)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup sweet port wine
- 3/4 cup blackberry juice
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and pan fry the chops until they are lightly browned and no longer pink in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Set the chops aside.
- Heat 1 more teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet, and cook and stir the shallots and thyme until the shallots start to become translucent, about 1 minute. Pour in the port wine, blackberry juice, chicken broth, and balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping off and dissolving any brown flavor bits from the skillet into the sauce. Cook until reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water into a paste, and stir into the sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and stir in the blackberries. Simmer until berries are hot.
- Return the chops to the skillet, and turn to coat with sauce. Serve hot, topped with sauce.
This was incredibly flavorful with the rich blend of flavors dancing in a delectable sauce. OH BOY!
I still had celery left from the last time. It was still crisp and fresh. Martha Stewart had a tip to wrap the celery tightly in aluminum foil and it keeps the celery the way we like it. But truthfully, I’m overwhelmed with celery. I thought it only for sticks that you put dips and peanut butter on as snacks. I never really thought of making other things with it being the primary ingredient. Here are a couple really easy ideas.
HINT: If you’re going to make this cream soup, put together all the ingredients (you can also use vegetable stock which works just fine) but the milk and freeze. Thaw out the starter, add the milk to the thawed product and you’ll have “store” quality with homemade taste cream of celery soup. Further, keep in mind that this celery we’re getting is really fresh so the flavor is incredibly tasty. A little goes a long way, so adjust accordingly.
3 quarts chicken stock
3 pounds celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound carrots, julienned
1/2 pound onions, chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 quarts hot milk
- 1 cup margarine (I use real butter and the flavor is way better)
- Pour the chicken stock into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and milk; add to the pot along with the margarine.
- Boil for 10 minutes, then strain out the vegetables by pouring through a sieve, or if the vegetables are large enough, a colander may be used.
- 1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Arrange the celery in a single layer on the bottom of a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Dissolve the bouillon cube in boiling water, and pour over the celery.
- Cover pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
I have not tried this one yet, but it looks easy enough for even a hot day quick cook side. Plus, it also appears to have a great deal of potential as far as “doctoring” to my families likes (garlic and onion with a zing of peppers, for example). Any comments if you try it, would be appreciated. See if you can beat me to it. 🙂
www.allrecipes.com (One of the best recipe sites I’ve found. The comments really bring life to each dish.)
This summer has been a crash course for me in what vegetables actually look like, cook like, and what those “exotic” veggies in the grocery store actually taste like. I’ll admit, I’m fond of just sticking to what I know in the food department. I rarely scoop up anything that isn’t in the bargain bin anyway, so this has been quite the adventure.
I had no idea what arugula is. I really had to look it up. Go ahead and say it, “Who doesn’t know what arugula is?” I’ll raise my hand and let you know, I’m one of the ignorant. I’m looking forward to trying this. I found an easy quick (as in you can prepare it an hour in advance) pasta dish by Martha Stewart Living. Although her recipes tend to the higher end, this one seems to meet my beer budget while indulging in champagne taste.
Spinach Linguine With Walnut-Arugula Pesto
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 3 ounces walnut pieces (about 3/4 cup), toasted and cooled
- 4 ounces arugula, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 pound spinach linguine
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse garlic until very finely chopped. Add walnut pieces and arugula; process until a coarse paste forms, about 5 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in the salt and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, and immediately add to bowl with walnut-arugula mixture. Drizzle with the oil, and season with pepper. Toss thoroughly until coated evenly. Serve immediately.
I am a huge fan of bacon. I say that as I sit here with my well rounded bottom at a computer where my limited mobility talks to my need to be creative instead of active. But, bacon reminds me of family (No, I was not raised by pigs despite my brother’s prodding insults.) I’m originally from Michigan. We’re a hearty stock with rich curves on the women and strong backs on the men. Bacon was served commonly for breakfast, so to me, it feels like home. Here is a Paleo Recipe I found that will help the abundance of summer squash have a rich flavorful compliment.
Summer Squash and Bacon Bits Recipe
SERVES: 4 PREP: 15 min. COOK: 40 min.
- 2 lb. summer squash, sliced;
- 8 slices of bacon cut into tiny pieces;
- ¾ cups green onions, sliced;
- 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves;
- ¼ cup mint, coarsely chopped;
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped;
- ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil;
- 1 clove garlic, minced;
- 1tbsp. capers;
- The juice of half a lemon;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the oregano, the mint, and the parsley, and transfer to a bowl.
- Grind the capers and the garlic. Add them to the herb mixture, and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a big bowl, mix in the squash, the green onions, the bacon bits, and the fresh herb sauce.
- Empty the bowl into a baking dish or a big skillet and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash and the bacon bits are nicely cooked.
Hey check out the link so you can catch me fidgeting all over the place, showcasing my art, and generally being me. (I didn’t get to speak, but I sure wanted to!)
All The Bumpy Bits is a compilation of over a year’s worth of work. It includes art, essays, articles, poems and holds the entire body of work I wanted to put into it. Poetry Edition of All The Bumpy Bits includes ONLY the art and poems found in the complete book. Arts and Essays Edition of All The Bumpy Bits includes ONLY the art and essays found in the complete book. I’m listing them here to make it ease of use. 🙂
Hard Cover Versions:
All The Bumpy Bits and Arts and Articles Edition (Same as Arts and Essays) are found HERE with more to come soon!
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