Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ground Cherry Pie

No picture, sorry. I have been completely forgetting on a few recipes lately like my spicy eggplant and tofu. Whoopsies. But it was good nonetheless, despite the fact that I fell well short of the amount of cherries designated for in the recipe (by perhaps a cup). It was a hit at the house-show that I brought it to as well, and by the time I remembered I needed a photo, it was gone! Made for great small talk conversation with strangers as it looked odd, but tasted a lot like apple pie.

Ground cherries look like tiny tomatillos, are wrapped in a husk, but then remind you most of a tiny green tomato when husked. When raw, the initial flavor is cherry with an aftertaste of tomato. The hubs did not like it, neither did G's, though we found it intriguing. You pick them from the ground, hence their name. They are green while on the stem, but turn a yellow pinkish color once they fall. Somewhat messy to pick and husk, but a good marriage task that gets you talking ;)

I got the recipe from AllRecipes, apparently it is a Mennonite recipe. Now, I had lots of people ask me where to buy them. That is a whole different ballgame, I have never seen them, not even at my local farmers market. I would venture to say to those in the Philly area should check out The Food Trust and ask around at the local farmers markets listed or on their blog.

Ground Cherry Pie Ingredients

2 1/2 cups ground cherries

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons water

1 (9 inch) pie shell

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell. Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top. Mix together 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hungarian Hot Peppers

This is a food blunder type of post. I got a handful of Hungarian hot peppers, thought they were called Italian hot frying peppers for some reason, and cooked them in entirely the wrong way. Just a reminder to you who read this blog: I am no chef, I am no culinary master. I am simply using this blog as a way to hopefully help others feel more bold in exploring seasonal cooking and CSA's and perhaps expand their cooking menus. I am a novice and just love creating in the kitchen, so do not think that my recipes are fail-safe, even though many of them are really just recipe reviews from actual chefs.
Anywho, I made the most spicy dinner the other night. I literally yelled when it only touched my mouth! I sauted some onions and hungarian hot peppers, adding some pepper and italian sausages. This is an easy meal we have often, though usually with bell peppers. This time I thought it would be nice to have some heat, and thinking that most italian peppers are just a tad spicy, I could use 4! Bad idea!!! It was so hot that I did not even eat them and the sausage still burned my mouth. I have a better use of them forthcoming in this week's menu.
BUT, the tomatoes on toast with cheese were fantabulous! I took good bread and toasted it, spreading Boursin (a soft french spreadable herb cheese found in most supermarkets) on top. Then I topped it with some of my wonderful heirloom tomatoes. So good I have bought 3 more packs of Boursin and had that for dinner about every Tuesday night. And Wednesday for lunch. It is addicting, I am forewarning you.

Pasta Salad

The hubs raved about this recipe. Funny that those recipes I throw together because I don't know what to make and have no desire to make what is actually on the menu are the recipes that he loves the most. This may have been one where I did not plan enough ahead and happened to buy ravioli because it sounded good during a recent trip to the store. He ate it for lunch for 2 days afterward and each day texted me to tell me how much he liked it. Guess it is a keeper ;)

This is a great way to use up all of the cherry tomatoes that are not all that good for salsas or sauces due to their skin. I simply did not have fresh peas or spinach or I would have used them.

Pasta Salad (printable recipe)

1 pkg cheese ravioli

1 c frozen peas (or fresh)

1 c frozen spinach (or fresh)

2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved


3 T white wine vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

2 T honey

1 t dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Cook ravioli according to directions. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add peas and spinach. Drain.

Toss with tomatoes and dressing and chill for at least an hour. Mix dressing ingredients well. Toss with dressing before serving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Tacos! This is one of our staple meals, the hubs asks for it just a little bit less than he asks for burritos in our house. It is a bit easier as there is no need to think ahead and make the rice, a great last minute meal! I did make the salsa for these tacos too, but I have not posted a recipe as I am still refining my methods. Biggest problem faced: no food processor. And I am lazy so I just throw everything into the blender instead of chopping. This has generally led to watery salsa, though I do like the consistency mostly. It could be a bit chunkier, but I tend to like smoother salsas. I have tried seeding the tomatoes (a pain in the but), and using my small holed-strainer (holes were still a but too large, I need a mesh strainer I think). We shall see how this most recent endeavor has worked out shortly. In general though, I take tomatoes, a jalapeno, juice from a lime, 1/2 an onion, and a large handful of cilantro to make my salsa, add salt and pepper, and taste. My tacos turned out nicely, despite the watery salsa. And the lighting in my kitchen was oh so nice I just had to post 2 photos. This is one of the fastest, best meals in our repertoire. Tacos 1 pkg Tempeh 1 T olive oil 1 can black beans, drained 1 t smoked paprika 1 T chili powder 1 T cumin 1 t oregano Heat olive oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Break apart the tempeh into crumbles into the pan and saute until slightly browning. Add black beans and seasoning along with 3 T of water or so. Saute until water evaporates.


Just thought I would share a photo of the gorgeous flowers we are getting every week from the farm:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ratatouille Crepes

While not my best attempt, this recipe is one of our staples. Now, staple in my household generally means it may make an appearance once a month. I perhaps should think of another word as there are things that occur much more frequently and this includes burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and probably pasta of some sort.

I found a book on crepes at a rummage sale last year that the hubs and I always come home from with a stack of books about half as tall as me. I love it. And I love this book. It is called "Crepe Cookery" and it is by Mable Hoffman who looks a bit like a pudgier Julia Child with huge 1970's glasses. Makes sense since the book was published in 1976. This book has numerous crepe batter recipes and tons of filling options, 168 pages chock full of crepe ideas! I have yet to be too adventerous with them though, perhaps this blog is a cause to broaden my crepe horizons. I did miss my nutella and banana crepe that traditionally follows a crepe main course as I was out of nutella. Next time perhaps.

What follows is the general recipe that I sometimes stray from depending on what I have, and I think that is completely allowable for ratatouille as I am sure the recipe was developed as a way to use up the fruits of the harvest.

Crepe Batter(Printable Recipe) 
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
2 c flour (i use one white and one whole wheat)
2 c milk
1/4 c melted butter or cooking oil

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and salt. Gradually add flour alternatively with milk, beating with a whisk until smooth. Beat in melted butter or oil. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

To cook, place a non-stick pan over medium high heat. I still grease my pan with spray as I find it easier, but I am sure it depends on your pans. Pour in 3 T of batter and while lifitng pan, swirl batter around pan until it completely covers the bottom.
Cook until bottom is slightly browned, then flip. Cook another minute or so. My most common problem for crepes is the outside edges getting crispy. If this happens, your batter is too thin, thicken it up by adding 1T at a time of additional flour until you reach the desired consistency. Your pan could also be too hot. If you are having trouble swirling the batter around before it cooks too much, reduce the heat.

1 lb zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 onion
1/4 c evoo
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 t salt       
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t basil (more if fresh- use 8 or so leaves)
1/4 t thyme (more if fresh- use 3 or so sprigs)

Dice the vegetables all a uniformed size. Here a food processor or vadalia chop wizard come in handy. The more uniform the size, the more uniform they cook. I prefer smaller cubes, about 1/4 inch in size as they produce a great texture for crepes.

In a large skillet, add the vegetables except for tomatoes and oil. Saute for 5 minutes before adding tomatoes, garlic, and spices/herbs. Cook covered for 10 additional minutes or until veggies are tender. Top with feta cheese if desired.

Step by step help: 1. mix crepe batter as it needs to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 2. chop veggies and begin ratatouille 3. once ratatouille is cooking, begin making crepes 4. cover crepes and place in the microwave in between to help maintain heat

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Masala Tofu

This one was a new one, though I was a bit hesitant to try indian cuisine again. The last time I tried to make palak paneer and it did not go well, it was trash worthy. Recently I was intrigued by Ethiopian cooking as I went for my first 2 times within the same month. So good. So, in an attempt to expand my cooking repotoire, I went online and bought their main spice: berbere. It was cheaper in bulk, so I bought an entire pound. Now, after trying to find additional recipes to use the spice, I found that most were stews that I did not want to make during summer heat. But by searching the web for recipes, I stumbled across a page that stated the history of Ethiopian cuisine and said that it had roots in Indian cuisine. Hmmm...And further, berbere spice was a good substitute for garam masala as the spices were extremely similar. Oooh, even better. Now my ability for using the berbere spice was greatly expanded.
This past week I tried to find recipes to use the vast quantity of tomatoes we had acquired. This recipe called for canned diced tomatoes, so I thought that my fresh ones could do the trick. This recipe was so tasty, and very similar to perhaps a korma sauce, that it is a keeper to go into my recipe booklet that is reserved for only our favorite recipes. Be warned: it is spicy! It fools you at first, with just a nice heat in the back of your mouth, but just wait, it builds. And builds. So, I would recommend for those less heat loving palates to decrease the amount of berbere spice a bit and drop the cayenne alotgether.
Masala Tofu
Spice Blend: 1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning (or berbere which is what i used) 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Sauce 3 tablespoons butter 2 T veg oil 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup) 2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice 1 pkg tofu, pressed and cubed
8-10 leaves swiss chard, torn from the stem and into pieces 1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, placed in a colander and run under hot water to thaw 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream Hot basmati rice, for serving Pita bread, warmed according to package directions, for serving
To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Drain the tofu, press out extra water, then cut into 1/2" cubes. Saute tofu in skilled with a pinch of the spice blend and 2 T veggie oil. Saute on high heat (preferably in a wok) until the outside is browned.
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir will. Add the tofu, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the tofu is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the swiss chard towards the 5 minute mark to allow to wilt.
Shake any excess water from the peas. Add the peas and cream to the sauce in the pan, stir well and heat through. Do not boil. Serve with rice and warmed pita bread.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Caprese Salad and Margarita Pizza

With the new abundance of tomatoes and my hubs general aversion to just plain ol' tomatoes, I have resorted to some simple recipes that pack on the flavor and bring out the juiciness of garden fresh tomatoes. I am resolved to think that his general aversion is really to mealy store-bought tomatoes that are picked way before their prime, not the real tomatoes that grow in your backyard or local farm. These recipes are great, super easy, and use little else than what you find in your garden. G likes some balsamic vinegar on her caprese salad for some extra kick.
Caprese Salad
2 tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
8 medallions of fresh mozzarella cheese
8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade style
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and layer. Drizzle with good quality olive oil (improves the taste oh so much). Sprinkle with some of the basil as well as salt and pepper to taste. To slice the basil prettily, pile the leaves atop each other and roll. Then take a sharp knife and cut into thin slices. You can nix the salt, it is not all that necessary due to the abundance of flavor.
Margarita Pizza
2 dough balls 3-4 thinly sliced tomatoes
1 c shredded mozzarella
5-6 T olive oil
2 t crushed garlic
8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade style
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400.
Roll out the dough using a bit of flour or cornmeal on the counter. Heat the olive oil over medium heat with the crushed garlic until the garlic is slightly golden colored. Brush olive oil over the crust, and sprinkle pepper over top. Layer the tomatoes on the dough (use more if so desired), then sprinkle with mozzarella or use fresh sliced mozzarella (which i was out of). I put the basil on here, though I think it would have been better to put in on after baking, up to you. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is brown.