Tag Archives: Recipes

Sweet Potato-Chipotle Bisque

24 Nov

I decided to try my hand at Terry Hope Romero’s vegan and gluten-free Sweet Potato-Chipotle Bisque from Viva Vegan! as part of our blog cookbook give away. With the arrival of sweet potatoes in The Farm Table box, and a can of chipotles in adobo sauce that a friend left in my pantry, it seemed like the perfect dish to try this time of year. Served with warm tortillas or corn bread, you can make this bisque with whatever level of spicy heat you can handle.

I have not had the chance to cook with chipotles, adobo sauce, or coconut milk, so this was the perfect level of adventure given the amount of time I had to devote to making this meal, which was not a lot. The recipe calls for a nondairy, heavy cream substitute, which could be unflavored soy creamer, nut-based nondairy cream, coconut milk, or your preferred nondairy milk.

As always, take care when working with chiles, and do not rub your eyes!

I started out with 2 chipotles, but will likely add 1-2 more the next time I make this dish, just to bring the heat up a few notches. Terry’s bisque is the perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and heat, and my husband had no idea that it was sans the heavy cream — in fact, he was really surprised when I told him I made it with low-fat coconut milk.

I encourage you to try out what Terry calls a, “sophisticated Nuevo Latino-style, creamy dairy-free bisque.”

Sweet Potato-Chipotle Bisque

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs olive or peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or epazote, crumbled
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth, or a combination of both
  • 1/2 pound white waxy potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and diced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and diced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 or more canned chipotles in adobo, sliced open and seeded, plus 1 to 2 Tbs of the sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream substitute
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Combine the oil and garlic in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to sizzle, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the onion and saute until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the cumin and oregano. Pour in the water and add the chopped potatoes and sweet potatoes. Partially cover and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until both the white and sweet potatoes easily mash when pressed against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
  • With an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until it is very smooth and silky. If you prefer to use a blender, make sure to let the soup cool slightly first.
  • Add the chipotle and adobo sauce and puree until completely incorporated. If you are unsure about how much heat you prefer, start with just 1 chipotle and a drizzle of adobo sauce. The soup should  now have pretty little red flakes of chipotle.
  • If you prepare with a blender, return the soup to the pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  • Stir in the cream substitute, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust with more lime juice, salt, and pepper if desired.
  • Stir in the cilantro, and garnish with a swirl of Cashew Crema (recipe in cookbook), if desired, and serve hot.

From the book Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright (c) 2010. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

Serves 4-5 people. 45-min to prepare, most of which is inactive while potatoes cook.

I “eye-balled” the number of sweet potatoes to cook with, and ended up making a bisque that was way too thick. The recipe was easily adaptable with the addition of extra coconut milk, vegetable broth, and lemon juice, making the consistency much thinner.

I also used Farm Table cilantro that I had previously chopped, placed in two ice-cube trays (1 tsp per cube), froze in water, and stored in a gallon size freezer bag for such an occasion as this. I added two frozen cubes of cilantro which melted quickly into the bisque. It worked perfectly, but agree with Terry that fresh cilantro would be best for a more pronounced contrast in flavor.

Leftover Bisque, Coconut Milk, and Chipotles are easily stored in the fridge.

Terry’s collection of Vegan Latin recipes in Viva Vegan! is impressive, and I look forward to trying out more from this cookbook, especially the Mexican Side-Street Corn, Arroz con Coco (Savory Coconut Rice), Spicy Tortilla Casserole with Roasted Poblanos, Mojito’s, and the Coconut Tres Leches Cake. If you would like to try a healthier, meat and dairy free take on classic Latin dishes, I encourage you to turn to Viva Vegan!

Don’t forget that you have until 9:00 pm EST on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to enter to win either Viva Vegan!, or Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero in our blog give away

Stay tuned for one more of Terry’s recipes from Vegan Eats World, the perfect recipe for your next holiday meal which I will reveal later this week!

Vegan Cuisine meets The Farm Table: A Blog Give Away

18 Nov

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to review Vegan Eats World (2013), and Viva Vegan! (2010) by Terry Hope Romero, a Venezuelan-American, award-winning vegan chef, living in Queens, NYC, who is known for her bestselling cookbooks, including Veganomicon, and her blog Vegan Latina.

When the cookbooks arrived at my doorstep a few weeks ago, I put my boys down for a nap, made a hot cup of tea, and sat down to pour over the recipes, (I’ll take a good cookbook over 50 shades of you know what any day…).

What I appreciate most about both cookbooks is that you don’t have to be a vegan to appreciate vegan food, rather, Terry gives you the tools to treat vegan cooking as any other cuisine, opening the door to so many possibilities. Whether you are looking to get a few meat-free meals on the dinner table during the week, have dairy-challenged members in your family, are a seasoned vegan cook, or are looking to make a lifestyle change, these cookbooks give you the basic vegan cooking know-how to expand your culinary repertoire. Secondly, Terry talks to you, not at you, which makes a cookbook like this accessible to everyone.

Vegan Eats World is a collection of recipes pulling from cooking traditions around the planet, and allows you to experience Italian, Mediterranean, Asian and many other traditions in a new, surprising, and potentially more healthful way. Vegan Eats World is broken down into three sections:

  • Kitchen Cartography: a guide to vegan pantry basics, cooking terminology, and cooking techniques. Terry guides you through the basic ingredients to keep on hand for easy vegan cooking, such as masa harina for Mexican cooking, hoisin sauce for Asian cooking, cous cous for African cooking, and aleppo-pepper flakes for Middle Eastern cooking.
  • Recipes: Terry provides a basic introduction to each recipe, giving the reader a background for each dish, variations you can try out, suggested pairings with other recipes in the book — all of which entice you to try out a dish that might otherwise intimidate. The recipe section includes, among many others: spice blends, proteins, sauces, sandwiches, entrees,  and desserts. Terry even put together easy markers, so you know if a recipe is for the beginner, if it is gluten-free, or if it is easy on the wallet.
  • Menus, Online Resources, etc: Terry crafted together menu suggestions so that the amateur or seasoned vegan cook can easily round out a meal.

Vegan Eats World helps answer the question, “What if the world was vegan?” and would be a wonderful addition to even the world’s biggest “meat-and-potatoes” cookbook library, and is a fabulous option for people with gluten allergies.

Viva Vegan! reads like a novel, and I am especially drawn to it given my affinity for Latin food. The format to Viva Vegan! is very similar to Vegan Eats World, only with a guide to creating a “Vegan Latin Pantry,” and recipes focusing solely on Latin cooking (not just Mexican cooking). The cookbook offers essential “Latino Vegan” recipes like Annatto-Infused Oil or a Basic Onion-Pepper Sofrito, to Salsas, Empanadas, Ensaladas, and mouth-watering concoctions that combine what Terry calls, “Los Dos Amigos,” also known as beans and rice.

Terry has an entire section on making vegan tamales, which includes shopping for ingredients, preparing corn husks, and prepping your work station, so that this laborious food option becomes a little less intimidating. Want to make Black Bean-Sweet Potato Tamales with Farm Table produce? Terry will walk you through it. 

Viva Vegan! is also a great option for people who would like to eat Latin food, but fear that it is too spicy. Guess what? Not all Latin food is spicy, and Terry includes these non-spicy options for those who can’t stand the heat. 

There are not a lot of photos in this cookbook, so if that is something that is important to you, know that before purchasing. My two cents? The introduction she gives to each recipe, and the way she walks you through each ingredient and how to create each dish makes the amount of photos the book contains unnecessary. 

Many thanks to Terry Hope Romero and her publishers for allowing us to present these two cookbooks to you, and to offer you the opportunity to own Vegan Eats World and Viva Vegan! in our blog give away. We are also pleased to be able to share one recipe from each book, which I will test out and post here in the coming weeks! Stay Tuned!

The outcome of my first Vegan recipe from Vegan Eats World using Shiitake Mushrooms from the The Farm Table’s Garden Box  “Takeout Stir-Fry Noodles with Mushrooms and Greens.”

To enter our Blog Give Away:

  • Farm Table members get 1 entry for simply being a Farm Table member. Just comment on this post telling us you are a current Farm Table member, and which book you would prefer if you won the give away.
  • Sign up for this blog  to the right under “Follow The Tractor” to receive email updates on future posts, then comment letting us know you’ve done so. If you already follow us, just let us know in your comment.
  • “Like” us on Facebook and then comment under this post letting us know you’ve done so.
  • Follow us on Twitter @TheFarmTable, and then comment under this post letting us know.
  • Follow us on Pinterest, and then comment under this post letting us know.
  • “Like” this post and then comment below letting us know you’ve done so.

Blog Give Away Details: Each comment counts as one entry and you have up to 6 chances to enter if you are Farm Table member, and 5 chances to enter if you are a non-member. We will choose two winners at random. One winner will receive Vegan Eats World, and a separate winner will receive Viva Vegan! Entries must be submitted by 9:00pm EST, Wednesday, November 28, 2012. The give away is open to The Farm Table blog readers in the US and Canada only. 

The give away is closed.

Congratulations to Kathleen Bowden who will be sent Viva Vegan! and Jessica Clarke who will be sent Vegan Eats World. Look for your copies in the mail!

Giving Thanks through Food

10 Nov

When my husband and I visited Monticello for the first time and came home with a packet of seeds from their gift shop, we never imagined the harvest that would come from this souvenir.

I mentioned several posts ago that my husband’s pride and joy from our garden this year were the Long Island Cheese Squash. He grew a little about a dozen of these beautiful pumpkins, and we have since gone on to make soup, desserts, pumpkin gnocchi, and bread with them.

We were excited about the opportunity to turn these tasty vegetables into an offering of thanks to our close neighbors who helped us with the arrival of our third child in September. Most of our family lives in the Pacific Northwest, so we relied on the kindness and support of our tight-knit neighborhood  to help us with our children while we were at the hospital bringing our now 2 month old into the world. They have since brought us dinners, desserts, homemade salsa’s, among a myriad of other thoughtful gestures. Seriously. You should move here.

How were we going to show our appreciation and gratitude? Through food, of course!

Needing a creative outlet, I decided to turn these glorious pumpkins into pies, and to bake a cake for our son’s 2nd birthday. How in the world was that supposed to happen with 3 children at home? Well, I did it over the course of 3 days, and enjoyed every minute of it. I am certain it could be done in 1-2 days, but not in this house!

I used Martha Stewart’s Brown-Sugar Pumpkin Pie recipe to treat our neighbors, and this Pumpkin Layer Cake recipe to celebrate our beautiful boy.

Day One: I halved 3 pumpkins total, scooped out the seeds, quartered them, and baked them individually, cut side up in the oven for 1-hour at 350 degrees. I placed a baking dish full of hot water on the bottom rack.

Out came this:

After cooling, I scooped  the pumpkin away from the skin and placed in our food processor.

I blended the squash for a few minutes and out came this  brilliant, bright orange, creamy puree. 3 pumpkins gave me approximately 13-cups of puree.

Day 2 and 3: I turned the puree into 6 desserts. One for each neighbor, and one for the birthday boy.

I had about 1 cup of puree left, and noticed after 2 days in the fridge that the puree lost its color, so recommend using the puree soon after you make it. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, or you can freeze it for a couple of months.

A local friend who attended the New England Culinary Institute, and was the head chef and manager of a Bed & Breakfast in Vermont imparted this bit of knowledge along to me, “Pumpkins that come out of the can are drained of excess moisture before they are canned. This intensifies the pumpkin taste and ensures a great pie crust. When you cook a pumpkin at home, once its out of the oven and you can safely handle it (it should still be warm), you should puree it and then put it into a strainer lined with cheesecloth – this extracts some of the excess moisture in it and intensifies the flavor. This can all be done on the counter top.”

I recommend both recipes for your upcoming holiday meals, and encourage you to purchase a packet of these happy little seeds for your garden next year. You will not be disappointed, unless of course they don’t grow. In that case — try again.

I know at least one green-thumbed friend who is getting a packet of these seeds in her holiday card this year!

What sorts of things do you make to give thanks to those around you?

Here are some suggestions I found using pumpkins:

I do believe there are Pie Pumpkins available this week as an add-on.

Hmmm. How convenient!

Sun & Sangria at Grayhaven Winery, and an Apple Butter Recipe

26 Oct

Many thanks to everyone who joined us at our 2nd annual Farm Table event at Grayhaven Winery last Sunday. We loved the food, the wine, and the company!

Here are some highlights:

Grayhaven Winery

The corn pool was a hit with the kids

The food was a hit with the adults

Face painting by Ingrid

Small batch cooking of apple butter by Heather

Farm Table produce shared among friends

Farm Table members, check your newsletter for recipes of some of the tasty dips we enjoyed. If you joined us on Sunday, you undoubtedly took home some of The Farm Table’s slow batch apple butter — delicious! If you missed out, here is Area Manager, Heather Jeffrey’s recipe, handed down from her Grandmother “Baba”, so you can make your own! When asked if she made any adaptations to this recipe recipe she responded, “use a food processor rather than a sieve or mill, use Virginia apples rather than Vermont, and use a chilled plate rather than a dish of snow.”

Enjoy!

BABA’S APPLE BUTTER

INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • 4 lbs of good cooking apples 
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Honey (about 4 cups)
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining)
  • A food mill/processor

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepping your fruit

  •  Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them.

2. First Stage of Cooking

  • Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Ladle apple mixture into your food processor. 
  • Measure out purée adding 1/2 cup of honey for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve the honey.
  • Add a dash of salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

3. Second Stage of Cooking

  • Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir, making sure nothing is crusting to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook until thick and smooth, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation.

Baba Ghanoush

14 Oct

Guest Blogger and Farm Table member, Christen Miller, is back to follow up her Dirty Rice recipe with this healthy, simple, and tasty dish that you can whip up easily and enjoy today:

Baba Ghanoush – it’s fun to say,  and good to eat.

There are some foods that you want to serve because they sound just as good rolling off the tongue as they taste on it. When I opened my Farm Table box this week I was so excited to find eggplant and the prettiest parsley I have ever seen. My thoughts went to one of my favorite dishes – Baba Ghanoush.

This flavorful dish, with its wonderful blend of rich flavors, is not only complex and delicious, but is also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, fiber, calcium,phosphorus, selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, and manganese. To top it off — it’s ridiculously easy to make!

My earliest memories of it stem from a New Year’s eve party I attended as a child in the home of some of my parents’ artist-friends in Austin. Texas. While eggplant was a staple in our kitchen garden, I’d never eaten it prepared like that. The rich, smoky flavor of the eggplant, sharp bite of fresh garlic, bright, fresh parsley, and tart lemon blended so well with creamy tahini and salt. I loved it so much I ate an impolite amount which amused our hosts, and embarrassed my parents.

Serve this dish as an appetizer, side or salad. I like it with pita chips or naan, or if I’m feeling like I want to go lighter, then I use cucumbers or celery to scoop up the dip.

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 smaller eggplants
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Place the eggplants whole on the grill and roast until the skin is blackened and the insides are mushy to the touch.
  • When they are cool enough to handle, break into them and scoop out the inside.
  • Add all the other ingredients, reserving some parsley and olive oil as a garnish. I use an immersion blender to smooth everything out. You can just mash with a fork, but I like the creamy texture of it blended.
  • Garnish with the reserved olive oil and parsley.
  • Add-ons can include chopped kalamata olives, cayenne pepper or hot sauce, pine nuts or feta cheese.

Try your hand at this recipe, or create your own dip and bring to Grayhaven Winery on Sunday, October 21st at 1:00pm, for our second annual dip-off! Bring a picnic blanket and the kids while you enjoy  food, stories, wine, recipes – and more food! Observe or participate as we create our own batch of homemade apple butter to jar and send home with our members. Kids will enjoy face painting, a corn pool, nature trails, and will get to interact with the farm animals. Adults, you can kick off your shoes while sipping a glass of small-batch crafted wine by the masters at Grayhaven.  Dogs are welcome. RSVP here.

Dinner Time Woes? 14 Free Printables For Your Kids

9 Oct

You’ve received your weekly Farm Table box.

You’ve written your weekly meal plan.

You’ve washed, sorted, and properly stored your produce . 

Now it’s time to actually prepare dinner and you find that adults and kids alike are running on empty. Everyone is a tad cranky, the kids are bouncing off of the walls, and you are gritting your teeth trying to get something that resembles a meal on the table for your family to enjoy and not lose your mind.

We think getting children involved in the meal and table preparation is a great way to teach them new skills, foster independence and confidence, and create lasting memories for everyone. We also know that sometimes that task is unrealistic, especially with more complicated meals, and those nights when you are short on patience and time.

Check out these 14 fun printables that you can print now, prep, and pull out when you need the extra help — that’s 2 weeks worth of extra help! They are fun, seasonal, and educational. You’re welcome!

We still think they should help set the table though!

You can make an appetizer plate to stave off hunger with sliced fruit, veggies, and dip. Don’t worry about it spoiling dinner. Who cares as long as you are eating fruits and vegetables!

What dinner time tricks do you have up your sleeve?

The Joys of Dirty Rice

24 Sep

Farm Table member and guest blogger Christen Miller, who shared her Maque Choux recipe in her last post, is back to teach us how to make another regional dish, “Dirty Rice,” substituting eggplant for the more traditional pork liver. Christen’s food mentor, Gussie Thibodaux (originally from Louisiana), taught her how to make this dish when they were neighbors living in Texas :

One of the things I love about regional cooking is sometimes the names are…colorful. 

A favorite of mine for years is that classic Cajun dish, Dirty Rice, also known as Rice Dressing, but that’s not nearly as fun to say or serve!

I learned my version in Gussie’s kitchen in Galveston, and I’ll give it to you just as she taught me, and add my changes as notes…either way it’s delicious and you’ll love it.

Traditionally dirty rice is made with chicken or pork liver. As this cooks, it breaks down, giving it the “dirty” look it’s named after. Gussie told me she couldn’t stand liver in any way, shape or form, so she substituted a surprising ingredient — eggplant. As eggplant always has and always will be one of my favorite foods, I was thrilled. 

The trick is to brown everything well as it adds a richness to the dish, and of course use the “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper!

Gussie Thibodaux’s Dirty Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I use veggie crumbles)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped (I use red also if I have it)
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole or ½ large eggplant, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (I use long grain brown rice or brown basmati)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I use vegetable broth), plus a little extra

Directions:

  • Cook the rice with the broth according to package directions. This can be done while you are cooking everything else.
  • In a non-stick or cast iron skillet brown the meat or veggie crumbles well, and chop with the spatula while cooking to make sure it’s finely broken. Once it’s cooked, remove to a bowl and remove any excess fat from the pan.
  • Add some good oil if needed (coconut or Extra Virgin Olive Oil), and add all the vegetables at once along with the seasoning. Cook and stir until they are all nicely browned, then remove from the pan and add to the meat/veggie crumbles you have set to the side. You can leave any left over oil in the pan at this point.
  • Now you make a roux! Heat the 2 Tbs of oil in the pan on medium heat, then add the flour. Cook and stir continuously until the flour is a lovely brown color – almost as dark as a copper penny. Do not rush this, and don’t use too high heat or it will burn before it browns!
  • Add the meat/veggie crumble and browned vegetables back in to the pan, and stir to coat with the roux. Gently stir in the cooked rice, and if it seems a bit dry, add some broth a little at a time.
  • Serve as a side, but it also makes a great main dish with a salad and some bread.

Enjoy!

A Northwest Chowder

19 Sep

Let me first say that I’m sorry.

I don’t have any appetizing photos of farm fresh produce, or photos of a just prepared meal to share with you in this post. Nothing visual to make your mouth water, or inspire you to get in the kitchen.

You see, we’ve been taking care of a brand new human being around here. 

Now, I do have a picture of him:

Do you forgive me now?

What I have to share in the way of food is a hearty chowder recipe that my husband and I learned to make from The Northwest Best Places Cook Book when we lived in our home state of Oregon. The addition of Tillamook Cheese is what makes this a truly Northwestern Chowder, but you can pick out a local cheese of your liking to make this chowder as “local” as possible.  Just make sure it is a sharp cheddar cheese. It goes really well with The Flour Garden Bakery Rustic Bread.

A cozy meal for a cozy night at home — especially while holding a cozy newborn baby.

Enjoy!

Northwest Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled potatoes, diced
  • 4 cups water
  •  1-2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 8 to 10 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Combine potatoes, water, and cumin in a large pot. Bring the water to boil. 
  • Lower the heat to a decent simmer until the potatoes are just tender (about 15 minutes).
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and continue cooking for a few minutes until well mixed.
  • Add the onions to the potatoes and water, then add the milk, corn, salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Simmer the chowder for about 20 minutes, until it thickens, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle some cheese in the bottom of individual soup bowls, then ladle the chowder over the top. Serve with remaining cheese over the top of each bowl, allowing each person to stir their own cheese into the chowder.
  • Serve with a nice loaf of bread.

What is your favorite soup to make? Share it with us in the comment section of this post, or on Facebook.

The Apple Draws the Earth

5 Sep

School is back in session.

Virginia’s 2012 Fall Harvest Festivals are scheduled.

With the addition of apples in your Farm Table box this week, there is so much potential for creating a fall-inspired dish that will make you eager for a sunny and crisp autumn day.

In honor of our “Back-To-School Garden Box“, we put together a collection of our favorite links directing you to creative apple recipes that even Sir Isaac Newton would appreciate:

We’ve also heard “the buzz” about a new apple cidery opening in Richmond this Fall, and look forward to sharing more about how you can also “drink local” in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!

Maque Choux

22 Aug

This recipe comes from Farm Table member, Christen Miller, a nostalgic recipe from her days in Texas, learning to cook from her Louisiana-born neighbor who infused Cajun-inspired dishes into Christen’s life. Christen’s food talents include: vegan and vegetarian, wild foods, Cajun and tex-mex, historic (Native American, civil war era, colonial era), healthy recipes, and campfire cooking, including dutch oven, cast iron skillet, grill, and foil. We look forward to Christen contributing more recipes to our blog for your enjoyment. 

Christen swears by Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, and you can almost taste the dish below as she describes how to make it. With corn on the menu last week and in the Chef box this week, why not try this recipe out?

Some of my earliest memories are from the garden of my youth. Hot Texas sun, red clay dirt, the drone of cicadas and the smell of warm pine needles will always invoke memories of sweet tomatoes, a cucumber tee-pee, and that particular shade of purple you can only find in an eggplant. We planted our garden in March, and we were still pulling tomatoes in December. What we didn’t get from our own piece of land often came from close by. We lived in an agricultural society. Sweet corn and rice were cash crops in Waller County. Most of the kids in my school were in Future Farmers of America or 4-H, and raised cows, sheep, goats and chickens to show in fairs. It was just how we lived.

But agriculture wasn’t the only food source in our house — my father is an avid fisherman, and the main source of animal protein on our table was fresh caught bass or perch, speckled trout or red snapper. We had eggs from our chickens, and blackberries and muscadine grapes picked from the road sides. And of course…we had barbecue!

I don’t live in Texas any more, I don’t have a garden, and there is rarely time to fish. But the values I learned in childhood of the importance of eating local and close to the earth have stayed with me. I was thrilled when I found out about The Farm Table from a flyer at my child’s school. An opportunity to participate in a community run organization that delivers local produce to your door? Sounded to good to be true! Thank goodness it isn’t– I feel like it’s Christmas every Thursday when I get home and find “The Box” on my doorstep, and the smell of fresh produce takes me back to childhood, and stirs both my creativity in the kitchen and my memories of all my kitchen mentors who’ve been in my life.

The first day my husband and I moved into our house in Galveston, TX, we met our next door neighbors Gussie and Emery Thibodaux. They hailed from Louisiana and were some of the kindest, generous, and most genuine folks I’ve ever known. And Gussie could cook like no one I’d ever met. I hope to share many of her recipes, but one of my favorites is her corn Maque Choux  (pronounced mock shoe) – I’ve read that the origin of the name is not French as it seems, but a variation of an American Indian name. Gussie never measured anything, and so I learned to cook like her with a dash of this and some of that, going by smell and taste to determine if it was right. Maque Choux is one of those regional dishes that has as many variations as there are families that make it. It showcases corn in a unique and wonderful way. I don’t know how true that is, but I like the story. Every time I cook it up I can picture her stirring and stirring the pot and telling me, “You gots to stirl and stirl and stirl it!”

Gussie’s Maque Choux

Ingredients:

  • Fresh corn, at least 1 ear per person
  • Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
  • Oil, 1/2 cup corn oil or more OR about 2 Tbs of coconut oil
  • Water, as directed

Directions:

  • Start with the freshest corn, but you can use frozen if you must. At least one ear per person will do, but more is recommended.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut the corn off the cob in two thin layers, then flip the knife over and use the back to scrape every bit off the cob. Squeeze the cob to get every bit of milk out. Season with Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning to taste. Don’t skimp on this.
  • Put enough oil in a heavy pot to coat the bottom. (This is the one area in which I don’t do just what Gussie said. She put at least half a cup of corn oil or more. I use about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.) Get the oil nice and hot – medium heat is best.
  • Add the corn all at once. Cook and stir until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, but don’t let it burn. When you have some nice browned bits add enough water to cover the corn, then scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Let the water cook down until the pan is almost dry. Do that again – water to cover, scrape up browned bits, simmer down until almost dry. Your corn should put off a roasted aroma, and smell so good your mouth is watering. This process caramelizes the corn and brings out all the natural sweetness.
  • Add water a third time, but this time not as much and don’t let it cook all away – you want some moisture in there. Taste for seasoning, and you are done.
  • This dish goes with just about anything, and leftovers (if there are any) are fantastic as a condiment on burritos or tacos, stirred into pasta salads or casseroles.

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