Winter Squash Vegetable Medley

Recently I designed a recipe using winter squash. I like it with ingredients we have saved from the garden. But it can be made with any 6 cups of veggies + the winter squash. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2 in. thick slices; other squashes or pumpkins will also work
  • 2 cups snowpeas, in bite size pieces
  • 2 cups green beans, in bite size pieces
  • 2 cups Swiss chard or other leafy green veggie, in bite size pieces
  • Olive oil or other fat

Instructions

  • Prep veggies.
  • Put oil in Dutch oven, covering the bottom well. Heat over medium to high heat. Saute squash in 1 layer for 2-3 minutes one side and about 2 min on other side. Move squash to another dish or plate, do more squash, repeat until all squash is sauteed. If other veggies are not cooked, lightly saute them in batches, adding oil as needed.
  • Mix all veggies together, adding oil. Stir or toss as best you can.
  • Cover and cook over low heat. Check and stir every 5-10 minutes, until all are cooked and soft, probably around 30 minutes.
  • OR Put in a crockpot and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low until ready to serve.

Variations

  • This can be made with any 6 cups of veggies – frozen veggies, sauteed veggies, canned veggies, fresh veggies – whatever you have available.
  • This can also be doubled or halved and still taste good.

Notes

This was fashioned after reading about sauteing winter squash in Ruffage: a practical guide to vegetables by Abra Berens. 

Garlic Scapes

It is garlic scape season again!  This is a 2-3 week period in June and July about a month before the garlic is ready to harvest.  Scapes are the flower umbrel of a hardnecked garlic. Since we want the energy of the plant to go into the garlic clove, we remove these and eat them.

Garlic scape in the garlic bed

  • Uses for Scapes –  We use scapes in 2 ways – as a green vegetable and as a major ingredient in pesto. Raw, scapes taste like a solid green garlic. They are rather strong. Cooked, they mellow in flavor. The texture is somewhere between cooked green beans and cooked asparagus. The flavor sort of resembles a garlic-y green bean.
    • Green Vegetable – We chop the scapes to a size similar to green beans and cook them in a similar manner. They can be steamed, sauteed or boiled. They can be added to soups, stews or stir-fries. They can also be blanched and frozen – we blanch them for 2 minutes.
    • Pesto – For our family, I take 1 part scapes to 1 part nut or seed to 1 part cheese to 1/2 part oil. I blend these together in the blender or food processor. The blender takes more oil, the food processor less. I have found that any nut/seed, cheese or oil will work. We don’t like the traditional pesto nuts and cheeses, so we use the ones we have, usually walnuts, cheddar cheese and olive oil. The flavor of this mellows with refrigeration. It can also be frozen. We eat it with veggies, crackers or bread OR eat it plain.
  • Just for reference or planning, 1/2 lb scapes chopped = about 2 cups.

Pie crust recipe

Here is the current pie crust recipe of choice.  It works well and gives a consistent crust. It came from a friend who likes to bake.

Pie Crust

This uses flour, oil and water for a consistent crust.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour Can use all-purpose
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour Can use whole wheat
  • 2 pieces wax paper

Instructions

  • Mix oil and water until frothy.  2 cup liquid measuring cup is a good place to mix it.
  • Put frothy oil and water into bowl and add flour.  Stir with fork or spoon until it sticks together.  Try to touch as little as possible.
  • Separate into 2 lumps.  Put one lump between wax paper and roll out to size of pie pan.  Put in pie pan and proceed according to pie recipe.  Do the same with 2nd lump of dough.

Notes

You can divide the recipe in half for 1 pie crust - 1/3 cup oil, 3 tbsp water, 1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour.  Follow the directions above.
I like this with a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour.  You can also do just one or the other.

Pumpkin Pie

Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  It came from the back of a no-name brand of canned pumpkin.  I cook down my pumpkin and use that in place of the canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie - Makes 2 pies

This pumpkin pie uses milk, eggs, pumpkin, sugar and spices, nice and straightforward.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin, or pureed squash or sweet potato
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions

  • Mix pumpkin, sugar, spices and eggs together.  Stir in milk.
  • Pour into 2 uncooked pie crusts. Bake for 400F until knife comes out clean.  It may take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cool and eat.

Notes

I use something between 3 and 4 cups of pumpkin, depending on how much I have.
Nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for some of these spices.

Here is the pie crust recipe that I like to use.  Enjoy!

Cooking a Pumpkin – Oven Method

Recently I cooked a pumpkin in the oven to prepare it for making a pie. Here is how I did it:

First I washed the outside of the pumpkin.  I poked it 3 or 4 times with  a fork.

Jarrhdale Pumpkin ready to go in the oven

Next I put it on a pan with sides and put some water in the bottom.  I baked it at 400F until it was soft, probably about 2 hours.

Cooked pumpkin

 

 

 

I removed it from the oven and let it cool.  Then I peeled it.

 

Peeled pumpkin from side

Peeled pumpkin from top

 

Cooked pumpkin wedge

 

 

Cooked pumpkin in blender covered with water

Blended pumpkin ready to use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next I cut it into pieces and put about 4 cups in the blender.

 

 

I added water to the top of the pumpkin.  I blended it until I had a nice puree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I set it aside and blended some more.  Once it was all blended I could use it or refrigerate or freeze it until I had something to do with it.

 

 

Cooking a Pumpkin - Oven Method

Here is a way to cook a pumpkin or winter squash in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin or winter squash

Instructions

  • Wash the outside of the pumpkin, poke it with a fork 3-4 times, put in a pan with sides, like a 13x9 pan, cover the bottom with water, put in the oven, bake at 400F.
  • Cook until it is soft. This could take 2 hours. I check it at 1 hour and every 15-20 minutes after that. It will feel soft and it could shrink and sort of fall in on itself.
  • Once it is soft, remove from the oven and let it cool at least 10-15 minutes. Cut it open. If it is still hot inside, let it cool some more.
  • Once it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the seeds. Pull off the skin or scoop out the meat of the pumpkin.
  • Put about 4 cups of pumpkin in the blender. Add water to the top of the pumpkin. Blend until smooth. Add water if all of it can't rotate through the blending.
  • Empty the blender and do another batch, repeating until it is completed.  Refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use it.

Shave Steaks

Shave steaks are thinly sliced steaks, cut from sirlion tips.  If used for sandwiches, 2 steaks take about 5 minutes or less to cook.  This batch of shave steaks has 8 steaks in a package and the package weighs about 1 lb.  We eat the steaks on rolls with lettuce, cheese, tomato, and condiments.

Here is how I cook them: I put 2 shave steaks on a skillet over medium heat.  They will start cooking and will visibly shrink.  They will also turn gray/brown and will have red liquid sort of pool on top.  At that point I flip them over and cook the other side.  If red liquid comes up again, then I flip them one more time.  And usually then they are done.  I remove them to a plate and do 2 more.

This is the meat that you would make a Philly Sandwich with.  You can also cut the uncooked meat into small squares and use as the meat of a stir fry. Enjoy!

Pot Roast with Maple Syrup and Mustard Sauce

Recently I made this tasty chuck roast in the crockpot.  It has a mustard, maple syrup and vinegar sauce to flavor it.  It is based on this recipe.

Pot Roast with Maple Syrup and Mustard Sauce

This recipe is based on this recipe from the Kitchn.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound beef chuck roast or arm roast - whatever will fit in the crockpot
  • 2 tbsp oil, butter or available fat
  • 3 large onions, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • Or other veggies to equal about 3 cups - could include onions, mushrooms, celery, garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth or available broth
  • 1 tbsp mustard - whichever variety is available
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vinegar - whichever variety is available
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and/or pepper, opt.

Instructions

  • Set a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Sear both sides of roast until golden-brown, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a 6-quart crockpot.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and/or other vegetables and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in a few tablespoons of chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the onions and pan juices into the bowl of the slow cooker.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining chicken broth, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour the liquid mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the meat falls apart and is meltingly tender, about 8 hours. If you only have 6 hours, you can do this 3 hours on high and 3 hours on low and it will still turn out fine.  If you only have 2 hours, see Dutch oven directions below.
  • Transfer the roast to a serving bowl or platter and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut the roast into chunks or shred the meat and add back to the liquid.  Serve over rice, potatoes, or bread.

Notes

Other variations:
  •  Bacon - Before searing the meat, replace the fat with 4-5 slices of diced bacon. Cook it until some fat starts rendering and it begins to turn golden-brown. Push the bacon to the sides and add the beef and sear it.
  • Gravy - Pour the cooking liquid into large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the gravy is reduced to desired thickness.  OR Once the sauce boils add flour dissolved in water (1/2 cup water with 1/4 flour dissolved in it) and stir until it is thickened.  Return gravy to crockpot and add chopped meat.
  • Dutch oven - (Not tested yet, but I like the idea!) Prepare the meat  for the pot roast in the bottom of a Dutch oven, then place all the ingredients on top of the seared roast. Cover and bring to boil. Then either simmer over very low heat OR cook in a 325°F oven until the pot roast is tender. Cooking time will be reduced, so begin checking the roast after about 2 hours.

Enjoy!

 

Chicken in Milk

Recently I made Chicken in Milk based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe.  Here is my variation:

Chicken in Milk - EAS Variation

The original recipe came from here.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb. chicken, or one that will fit in the closed pot.
  • Olive oil, butter or other fat
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried sage or a good handful of fresh sage
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 10 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Fry the chicken in a snug-fitting pot with a little oil, butter, or fat until golden, turning the chicken as best you can to get an even color all over.
  • Remove from the heat and put the chicken on a plate. You'll be left with fryings at the bottom of the pan which may give you a lovely caramel flavor later on.
  • Put the milk in the pan and mix with the fryings on the bottom of the pan. Add the cinnamon stick, sage leaves, lemon juice, unpeeled garlic cloves and stir. Put your chicken breast-side down back in the pot.
  • Cover and cook in the hot oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until cooked through. The lemon juice will sort of curdle the milk, making a tasty sauce.
  • Take the chicken out of the pan and put on a plate. Let it rest.
  • To thicken the sauce in the pan, put the pan on the stove top and bring the sauce to a boil.  Meanwhile, take 1/2 cup water and add 1/4 cup flour.  Stir until it is mostly smooth.  Once the sauce is (close to) boiling, add the flour and water mixture, stirring all the time.  When it thickens, turn off the heat.
  • Divide the chicken as you normally would.  Put it on the plates. Spoon the white gravy over the meat.  Serve with rice or potatoes and put the gravy over them as well.

This was yummy and well-received!  Enjoy!

Bone Broth – Part 2

Last time we talked about bone broth.   Specifically, we talked about using marrow bones to get a nice beefy broth good to drink or to use in smoothies or soups.  But there are more bones out there than just marrow bones.  Chicken, venison, pork, and goat are some of the ones available.  All of these can be cooked together or by species in the crockpot for 36-48 hours and will produce a nice broth.

I tend to make my broths on the stove top and I do it for a shorter time period.  Earlier this week we had chicken in milk.  After we ate the chicken, I took all the bones, the carcass, the meat that was still on the bones and any skin and put it in a 4 quart pot.  I filled it up with water to within 1 1/2 in. from the top. (If I can’t cover my bones with water, then I will use the 8 qt. stockpan.)

Then I put the lid on and brought it to a boil.  Once it started to boil I turned it down to low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours.  (I cook over gas and tend to have a hot stove top.  If low doesn’t let you simmer the broth, then you need to turn the heat up a little so that it simmers.)

Then I turned it off to cool, so that I could handle it.  And this time since I didn’t have time to handle it, I put it in the refrigerator so that it wouldn’t spoil.

Chicken bone broth that is cold and gelatinous

When I pulled it out several days later, the broth had become soupy solid,  a gelatin.  As I wanted to use it and it is easier to get out of the container when it is a liquid, I heated it up again until it was not longer a solid.  Then I added it to the soup pot, thinned it with some water and set my soup to boiling.  I picked the bones over to get the rest of the meat off and set the meat aside for another meal for another day.

Chicken bone broth after it has been rewarmed

This method is a touch faster than the crockpot method. However, it doesn’t pull as many nutrients out as it could. But if the broth gets to the gelatinous stage, I consider it adequate. And the only way to tell if it is a gelatin is to cool it. In my experience 3 hours tends to be sufficient. Even if it doesn’t get gelatinous, I will still use it and won’t try to cook it down longer.

Once I make a broth I like to use it or freeze it. All broths can be used for all things. Chicken broth has the mildest flavor and is the most versatile. Beef broth or venison broth is good for vegetable soups. Pork broth or goat broth is good for bean soups. Smoked ham broth is good for bean soup or for split pea soup. All broths can be used for soups or as the liquid to cook rice or as liquid with veggies that you would put over rice.

If you purchase meat, look at it as being several meals, especially if it has bones.  The meat proper is one meal, leftovers are for a second (or more) meal, and the broth is part of a third meal.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is mentioned a lot on health and natural food websites. What is it used for and how does one make it?  I recently interviewed Griffin, a SU Ph.D student who loves to rock climb. He shared with me that he takes bone broth on his hikes to give him an energy boost. He finds that it can quickly heal collagen tears and can help maintain the tendons. If used regularly apart from hiking, it helps with gut health and helps the skin and hair with the nutrition that they need.

Cooking the bones with a splash of vinegar helps to get the collagen and marrow out of them.  If you want minerals and vitamins, then you need to include some veggies and/or herbs in your broth as this is where the minerals and vitamins come from. 1

Here is his recipe with my comments:

Griffin's Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 4-5 marrow bones
  • 1 splash vinegar, whatever variety you have Splash is about 2-4 Tbsp.
  • 1 cup veggies - onions, celery, carrots, whatever you have available
  • 1/2 bunch herbs - whatever you have available and what you like
  • 1 shake salt; 1 tsp is good amount to start with
  • Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover, leave 1 inch head room

Instructions

  • Put bones in 6 quart crockpot. Add veggies, herbs, salt, pepper and vinegar. Add water to cover leaving 1 inch head room. 
  • Turn on low for 36 hours. You can start it on high for an hour or two to get it warmed up and then turn it down to low for the remainder of the time.
  • After 36 hours, if the water has steamed off, then add more water. Check flavor and add seasonings as desired. Continue cooking for 8 more hours.
  • Turn off and allow to cool some.
  • Take bones out of broth.  If there is any meat on them or marrow in them, remove it, cut it up, and add it back to the broth.
  • Pour the broth into containers.  Glass containers will store in the refrigerator, plastic in the freezer.  Let the broth cool in the refrigerator.  Once it has gelled, take the fat off the top and use it to cook food in or to add to dishes for flavor.
  • Label and freeze. 

Make sure you leave 1 inch of head space when you add the water.  If you don’t, you will end up with a layer of fat on the counter.

I like the glass containers in principle. However, a plastic container is easier to get the fat out of. If you let the broth cool until the fat is solid, then you can gently squeeze the container which lets the fat pull away from the sides. You can then lift this up and out and put it in another container to use on bread or as the fat for sauteing veggies.

The broth can be the base for soups, can be added to stir-fries,  or can be part of a daily drink. Because it is concentrated, you will want to dilute it.  In soups or stir-fries you could use it for up to 1/2 of the liquid.  For a drink it could be up to 1/8 or 1/4 of the liquid.  It will have a slightly salty, meaty taste, although depending on the other ingredients, that could be masked.

This broth is tasty. It is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of attention. It will take up the space and use of the crockpot, so you need to plan around that. But this works well.

This would be the point where I should say – Do you want to try this? Contact me to get your bones today! – but unfortunately, my marrow bones are sold out for this year. Next time I will share my personal bone broth method. It doesn’t extract as much collagen as this recipe would, but it works well enough for me. Stay tuned.