Tag Archives: soup

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!

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.


Northwest Chowder


  • 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


  • 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!

A Horticultural Victory

28 Aug

Long Island Cheese Squash.

My husband’s pride and joy from our garden this year.

Long Island Cheese Squash

We picked up the seed packet during a visit to Monticello (part of The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants collection) and planted some for the first time last year. Unfortunately, we grew only one lonesome “Cheese Wheel,” most of which was enjoyed by our backyard squirrels. This year was different, though. To our delight, this old, Long Island Heirloom has been prolific and grew ten plump, delicious, and versatile winter squash that made my husband’s gardening efforts more than worthwhile this year.

We look forward to making soups and pies, and sneaking the puree of this vegetable into our children’s macaroni and cheese, muffins, and anything else we can imagine.

You can pick up your own packet of this heirloom variety at Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival coming up on September 14th and 15th. 

What is the pride and joy of your garden? Post a picture for us on Facebook and tell us about it!

Seasonal Soup & Bread at D’Lish Bakery and Cafe

25 Jun

In case you missed our last Farm Table event, here is another chance to participate in your food community. 

Join us for an evening of light, seasonal fare at D’lish Bakery and Cafe in Chester this Friday, June 29th from 5:30-7:00pm. Members of The Farm Table will enjoy soup and bread prepared from local produce provided by The Farm Table, dished into fantastic creations by the chefs at D’lish. Cost is $5/person.

Any guests interested in joining The Farm Table will receive a discount on membership during the evening. 

You can view and RSVP to the EVITE HERE.

Be sure to check in later this week for some tasty and versatile recipes focusing on the amazing bounty of corn coming your way, just in time for the 4th of July!

Kale, the Queen of Greens

3 May

If you are a Farm Table member, we hope you find the newsletter full of recipes that accompany your food boxes each week to be helpful. We are excited to share with you an additional way to add new recipes to your repertoire via our Farm Table Board on Pinterest.  Not sure what to do with a particular vegetable, fruit, or herb in your box? This is a relatively easy way to find recipes on the web, collected in one easy and accessible place to help you with your meal plan each week. Please note: There is absolutely no requirement to join Pinterest if all you want to do is look around. Pinterest is a free site that anyone can access if they choose. You would only join if you indeed wanted to build a personal Pinterest board or if you wanted to re-pin from The Farm Table’s Pinterest board. 

Are you wondering what to do with kale? We brought back 3 recipes from our 2010 season that will surely put this delicious cruciferous leafy green to good use. We think the nutritional perks of kale, and the rich flavor it adds to dishes make this vegetable worth learning about. Enjoy!

Kale with Pork Chops (or Pork Sausage)


  • 1 bunch of curly or flat kale chopped coarsely
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Slices of meaty bacon, sliced into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 Medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 boiling potatoes (Yukon Gold) or baked potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 lean Pork Chops, sprinkled with a dry rub of your choice (recommend a mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, and paprika).


  • Place the bacon into a pot and fry until pieces are crispy. Remove most of the fat.
  • Place the butter into the same pot and sauté the onion.
  • Add the kale into the pot and mix with the butter, sautéed onion, and bacon fat.
  • Place a lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes. You may need to add some water if you cannot get a simmer.
  • Next add the vinegar, honey, cover again and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Delicious with a baked or boiled potato.

Baked Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch (about 10 ounces) of Kale
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Sea salt, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees, F.
  • Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs.
  • Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl, then sprinkle with salt.
  • Arrange leaves in a  single layer on a large baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. 
  • Place the baking sheet on a rack to cool.
Kale and Potato Soup or Caldo Verde Soup

 You can make the vegetarian version of this classic Portuguese soup by omitting the addition of sausage, but a traditional Caldo Verde soup includes chorizo sausage.

Kale and Potato Soup:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adds just enough kick to this soup!)
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 Lb Kale, leaves ripped off and stems finely shredded (about 7 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute (do not let garlic turn brown).
  • Pour in the stock, raise the heat to high, then bring to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes, lower the heat to a simmer, then cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the Kale, Salt, and cook the soup 15 more minutes.

Caldo Verde:

  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then diced
  • 2 cups potatoes, chopped or sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb – 1 lb Kale, leaves ripped off and stems finely shredded
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or in a pinch, 2 quarts of water
  • 6 ounces of chorizo, sliced thin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Saute the onions, carrot and garlic in 3 Tbs of olive oil, until translucent. 
  • Add the potatoes and the stock, cover and simmer over medium for about 15-20 minutes
  • While the potatoes are cooking, cook the sausage in a separate skilled, until most of the fat has burned off. Drain fat and reserve.
  • Once potatoes have soften, mash them right in the pot.
  • Add the sausage, and then the kale. Cook for about 5 more minutes. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.