Eggplant Casserole

While trying to figure out how to use up some vegetables from our weekly CSA basket, we improvised the following, which was inspired by a time-tested eggplant Parmesan recipe and a cheese-less savory tart that mom makes.

Ingredients
1 large eggplant
1 bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
8 medium tomatoes
1 jalapeno
olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 slices stale bread
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1 egg
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper

Preparations
Preheat your oven to 425F. Slice the eggplant thinly and salt well. Place in a colander to drain. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. Lay the tomato halves on a baking sheet or in a glass baking pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skins begin to brown and the juices caremalize. Place the tomatoes in a food processor, add the jalapeno and puree.

Rinse the eggplant slices to remove the salt and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange slices on baking sheets and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the slices once halfway through.

In a medium skillet, saute the onion and bell pepper in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until tender.

Toast the stale bread. In a microwave-safe container, nuke the butter and the garlic for 30 seconds, or until the butter is melted. Brush the garlic butter onto the toast, then tear the bread into pieces. Spread these on a tray and bake them in the oven at 300F until they are dried. Remove, allow to cool a bit and then place in a paper or plastic bag and crush them into breadcrumbs.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, basil, egg, and a quarter of a cup of the garlic breadcrumbs.

In a 9″ by 9″ baking pan, layer all of the ingredients as follows: One tablespoon of the tomato sauce spread around the bottom of the pan. One third of the eggplant slices, layered One third of the cheese mixture, dolloped around One quarter of the pepper and onion mixture, sprinkled on One quarter of the remaining tomato sauce, dolloped on Another third of the eggplant a third of the cheese mixture a quarter of the vegetable mixture one quarter of the sauce final third of the eggplant final third of the cheese one quarter of the veggies several dollops of sauce ultimate veggies breadcrumbs Bake covered at 350 for thirty minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool for five minutes before slicing.

Easy Vegetarian Cottage Pie

This is a quick and easy dish that captures the essence of the meat-based original. In our home it is often made on the weekend for a few days of quick suppers or portable lunches.

INGREDIENTS
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Large yellow onion (diced)
2 Medium carrots (sliced or diced)
3 Medium crimini mushrooms
2 Cups peas (thawed if frozen)
5 Large russet potatoes cut into large chunks
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon dried sage (ground)
1 Teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves of garlic (whole)
12-ounces Condensed cream of celery soup (we use Pacific Foods organic)
1/4 Cup milk
12-ounce Package of Morningstar “meal starter” crumbles
Salt & Pepper

PROCEDURE

  • Boil water in a large pot and pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC)
  • Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is heated add the diced onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the meal starter crumbles to the saucepan and stir them into the mix.
  • Add the carrots and mushrooms and stir the mixture.
  • Once the mixture is heated through add the condensed soup and milk and stir until combined.
  • Add the sage and thyme and turn up heat to a simmer and thicken.
  • While the mixture is cooking, add the cut potatoes and garlic cloves to the boiling water, and cook until potatoes are cooked.
  • Drain the water from the potatoes and mash the potatoes slightly.
  • Add the butter and sour cream to the potatoes and mix or mash until blended.
  • Remove the “meat” and vegetable mixture from the heat and stir in the peas.
  • Spread the mixture into a glass Pyrex dish.
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over top of the “meat” and vegetable mixture until covered.

Place dish in oven and turn heat up to broil setting. Depending on your broiler’s power, leave in oven until potatoes on top are slightly browned, but not burnt!

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Hearty Vegetarian “Shepherd’s” Pie

This shepherd’s pie gets its heartiness from the mushrooms and its richness from the red wine and butter. Use the vegetable broth version to make it creamier. It is full-bodied comfort food, and guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest carnivores. Serve with a full-bodied red wine or your favorite stout. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
7 medium-sized red potatoes
1 whole package Gimme Lean! faux beef (or other crumble-style), browned (optional)
1 red or yellow onion
3 large portabella mushrooms, sliced (stems removed)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, or sliced carrots
3-6 cloves of garlic (depending on mashed potato recipe used)
3 Tablespoons real butter
1.5 cups red wine*
1.5 cups vegetable broth (water can be substituted. See above.)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparations:
1) Use the potatoes to make your favorite mashed potato recipe. Adding fresh roasted garlic adds a little something to the dish, but is optional. As a time saver, consider making the mashed potatoes ahead of time and thinning them with milk (if necessary) when it is time to use them in the recipe.

2) Over medium heat, in a 4-quart saucepan caramelize the onions. Lower the temperature, add the garlic, and stir for about 1 minute. Add the butter and mushrooms, and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until the butter is completely melted and the mushrooms are thoroughly covered. Pour the wine and the vegetable broth into the mixture. If adding the faux beef, stir it into the mixture at this point. Last, add the tomato paste and the flour. Simmer over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens. Stir in the basil, sage and peas, and remove from heat.

3) Using your fingers, press a portion of the mashed potato mixture into the bottom—and up the sides—of an 8×12 inch glass baking dish (or into 6 smaller individual baking dishes). Spoon the mushroom mixture into the baking dish(es). Carefully cover the top(s) of the dish(es) with the remaining mashed potatoes, and sprinkle the top with the grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the the top(s) begin to brown.

Serve with a hearty red wine. There should be enough left from the bottle used for the recipe for at least 2 glasses with dinner. Reheat the rest later if need be, it stores well.

* We used Our Daily Red the first time we made this recipe and we were happy with the choice. Our Daily Red is an organic red wine with no sulfites. It is a blend of Fresno Syrah and Carignan and Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon according to its makers.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers with Guacamole ... and Gin & TonicThis is a fairly standard stuffed pepper recipe, but I wanted to write it down with the proportions I used, since I just made this off the top of my head. This goes well with fresh guacamole and a little salad on the side. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:
2 Poblano peppers (substitute bell peppers if you can’t find Poblanos or prefer a dish without any “heat”)
2/3 cup ground pork sausage*
1 cup cooked rice
3 scallions, white and half of green parts chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
1 small tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 pinch cinnamon

Instructions:
Break up the sausage into small pieces and place into a non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the meat is browned. Add the chopped vegetables and spices, and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the cooked rice, mixing well to combine. The filling can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two if you want to make this ahead of time.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash the Poblano peppers and slice each in half from top to bottom. Carefully cut out the stem and pinch out the white ribs inside. Roll up four pieces of aluminum foil and form into rings. Place rings in a 9-inch square baking dish (or larger). Divide the filling into four equal portions and fill each pepper half. Place each filled pepper on one of the rings in the baking dish (this keeps them from tipping over during baking). Pour a little water in the bottom of the baking dish and cover the entire dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the peppers are slightly tender and the filling is heated through.

*I used free-range, Certified Naturally Grown pork purchased directly from Walter Jeffries and his family at Sugar Mountain Farm. If you are using a pre-cooked sausage, cook the vegetables in a little olive oil first, then add the sausage and the rice together with the heat turned off. Vegetarians can substitute their favorite faux-meat product for the pork sausage.

Pesto Pasta with Peas

This alliterative recipe is a quick, easy summertime favorite. Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish.

Ingredients:
1 lb dried pasta, any shape
2 cups fresh English peas, shelled and blanched
1/3 cup fresh basil pesto (adjust to taste)
1 small in-season tomato or a small handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped (optional – omit if fresh tomatoes are not available)
grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
In a large pot cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Do not overcook! While pasta is cooking, in a small bowl combine pesto with two tablespoons of boiling water to thin the sauce out just a bit.

When pasta is done, drain thoroughly (do NOT rinse) and replace in cooking pot. Add pesto, peas, and chopped tomatoes, and toss well so that all of the noodles are completely coated with pesto. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh grated Parmesan on top.

Veggie Sausage and Swiss Chard Soup

This recipe is adapted from one found in the Willams-Sonoma catalog. The quality of the soup depends a great deal on the quality of the faux sausage used. Of course, carnivores are welcome to use andouille sausage if they prefer. This soup is a great winter warmer, and can be served with the remaining wine from the recipe or a crisp hoppy IPA. Fresh garlic bread makes a nice accompanying side. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients
1 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb veggie sausage (Tofurky brand Kielbasa sausage)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced (optional)
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 leek, diced (white portion only)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme (dried can be substituted, but only if add at the end)
6 cups vegetable broth (warmed)
1 cup water (warmed)
2 cups white beans (drained)
4 ounces Swiss chard, leaves cup into 1/2″ strips
Salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Preparation
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, boil the white wine until reduced to 1/2 cup (7-10 minutes).

In a soup pot, over medium heat, warm the olive oil, and brown the sausage for about 3 minutes on each side (more if using real meat). Let the sausage cool; cut diagonally into 1/2″ slices and set aside.

In the same pot, over medium-low heat,cook the onion, celery, carrot and leek until soft (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and thyme (only if using the fresh stuff!) and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reduced wine, vegetable broth and water and simmer on medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes. Add the sausage, beans and Swiss chard and cook until the chard wilts (5-8 minutes). Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Bean Sprout Pancakes

I love savory pancakes, and these are a great Korean version. They are tasty served hot or at room temperature. Serves 6. [Inspired by: Flavors of Korea by Deborah Coultrip-Davis and Young Sook Ramsay.]

Spicy Dipping Sauce
3 Tbsp Gochujang*
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Whisk ingredients together.

Mild Dipping Sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
Whisk ingredients together.

Pancake Ingredients
12 oz. fresh mung or soy bean sprouts
1 bunch (approximately 7) scallions
2 Tbsp Gochujang
1 egg
3/4 cup rice flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 cups water
vegetable oil for cooking

*Gochujang (pronounced: go-chew-jang) is a seasoning paste commonly used in Korean cuisine. It is made from fermented rice and Korean hot pepper powder, and has an earthy and mildly spicy flavor. You can purchase it in any Korean market, and many other Asian markets (ask for it by name if the products for sale do not have English writing on them). If you can not find Gochujang, you can substitute brown miso paste mixed with a little bit of Cayenne pepper powder, but I recommend searching for a Korean market. If you live near a large city it should be easy to find one and it’s a fun adventure to see all the different items that you can’t get at a regular supermarket. Plus, the produce is usually high quality and very inexpensive.

Preparation
Heat a pot of water to boiling. Rinse the sprouts and add them to the boiling water and cover immediately (use a light-weight lid so steam can escape, and turn down the heat to prevent spill-over). Boil the sprouts for 2 minutes, then drain and shock in a bowl of cold water, and drain again.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg and add one cup of the water and the two flours. Mix well. This mixture should be thin like pancake batter. Add more water if necessary. Rinse the scallions and trim off the top 2 inches of the green parts and the roots, then slice finely. Add the scallions and Gochujang to the batter and mix well. Finally, add the cooked sprouts and mix until coated with the batter.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet for several minutes until the pan is hot. Use a 1/3 cup measuring scoop to ladle out the pancake mix. As soon as you place a scoop of batter in the pan, use the back of a wooden spoon to spread the mix out and flatten. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the edges are brown and begin to crisp, then flip the pancake and cook for about 2 minutes more. If your pan is large enough you can cook two or even three pancakes at once. When all pancakes are cooked, stack them in piles of 2 or 3 on a cutting board and chop them into pieces approximately 1-inch square. This makes them easier to handle with chopsticks. Serve with the dipping sauces.

Wilted Cucumber Salad

This Korean side-dish is cool and crisp, a great accompaniment to any spicy meal. The recipe may seem complicated, but the steps are quite easy and this dish can be prepared with little effort while you are making the main part of the meal. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients
5-6 small pickling cucumbers, OR 3 large
1/3 cup kosher or sea salt (NOT iodized table salt)
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
a pinch of dried chili flakes for garnish (preferably the mild Korean pepper found in Asian markets)

Preparation
Wash the cucumbers thoroughly to remove any wax on the skin. If using the large cucumbers, slice them lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the cucumbers into paper-thin wafers. (A slicing mandolin makes the work faster, but always remember to use the guard as the blades on these are very sharp and dangerous.)
Fill a large bowl with filtered water and add the salt. Stir to dissolve, then add the cucumbers. Let sit for 2 hours, or until the cucumbers are wilted and flexible.

To remove the excess salt from the cucumbers, rinse them in a colander and then rinse out the bowl. Refill the bowl with fresh water and add the cucumbers to the unsalted water. Let stand for about 15 minutes. The excess salt will migrate into the water and leave the cucumbers unsalted. Taste one to make sure the salty flavor is gone. When the cucumbers are ready, pour them in a colander and rinse one more time, then rinse out your bowl again.

Next, grab a handful of the wilted cucumbers slices and squeeze out the extra water. Don’t be afraid to squeeze hard! Remove as much water as you can and put the cucumber ball into the bowl. Continue in this way until you have wrung out all of your cucumbers. Add the vinegar, sugar and chili flakes to the bowl, then stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the ratio of tart to sweet to your liking. Transfer to a serving dish; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This dish may be made ahead of time as it keeps well in the fridge for several days.

Black Bean Soup

Normally I am not a box-of-this, can-of-that type of cook, but sometimes you hit upon a shortcut that is truly tasty and healthy. I hope you enjoy this as much and Rick and I have. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients
1 box Fantastic Foods “Instant Black Bean” mix
[This is essentially refried beans that have been dehydrated. It comes with some spices already mixed in, so you can use it for dip, as a veggie filling for tostadas, etc. I found it in my local health-food oriented grocery store but some major chains are starting to carry the Fantastic Foods line now.]

1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4-5 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced (white parts and about 5 inches of green parts)
1 14oz. can diced tomatos (fire-roasted preferred)
1 Tbsp. chile powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
4-6 cups hot water

Optional Toppings
sour cream
salsa (smoked jalapeno is a nice match)
chopped cilantro
sliced scallions
your favorite hot sauce

Preparation
In a soup pot, saute the onions, garlic and carrot in the oil until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, scallions, chile powder and ground cumin, and cook for another minute. Next, pour in 4 cups of hot water, toss in the bay leaves, and sprinkle in the box of bean mix. Stir thoroughly so that the beans get completely rehydrated in the water (no clumps).

It will take about 8 minutes for the beans to soak up the water and start to thicken the soup. If it starts getting too thick, add a little more water. Taste the soup and add some salt if you wish. Continue cooking for at least 15 minutes over low heat, to give the flavors a chance to combine. Wait until just before serving before you add the cilantro; you don’t want to overcook the fresh herbs. Serve with any of the optional toppings and fresh cornbread.

Hearty Meatless Enchiladas

Most vegetarian enchiladas are simply cheese and onion. These enchiladas are stick-to-your-ribs hearty because of the faux meat. This is a dish that can easily be made early and popped into the oven for a quick meal. Great with a lager or ale. Serves 6.

Ingredients:
6 6″ flour tortillas (Whole wheat, regular flour or some other if available. We prefer Mission brand.)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper (any color)
1-2 green onions chopped
1 whole package Gimme Lean! faux beef (or other crumble-style)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of fresh black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp crushed red chili flakes.
15 oz can black beans
2 cups enchilada sauce*
1/4 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese (preferably from Vermont, of course)

Preparation
In a skillet or saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil, add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion softens. Add the salt and pepper, and faux meat. Break up the meat and continue to stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, pepper flakes and black beans to the mixture and continue to cook. Add about 3/4 of the enchilada sauce, and allow to simmer and reduce a bit. Add the diced bell pepper just before you are ready to start filling the tortillas.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degree Farenheit.

Spoon some of the mixture into the center each of the tortillas, and add a little grated cheese, and fold. Folding methods varies, but the key is to not overfill the tortilla. Pour a little of the sauce into the bottom of a 9″x13″ glass casserole dish and then place each enchillada into the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchilladas, making sure that all of the tortilla is covered but not saturated. Sprinkle the tops with enchilladas with the remaining cheese and some chopped green onions.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven carefully, remove the foil and continue to bake for additional 10 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with dollops of sour cream or guacamole (optional).

* If you can’t find enchilada sauce, look for a can of adobo sauce and wisk in vegetable broth. Or make your own some other way.

Steamed Kale with Balsamic Vinegar

This easy side dish is a great way to hike up the nutrient content of any meal without adding extra calories. You can also substitute other hearty greens such as collards, spinach, bok choi, or chard. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients
2 large bunches kale (or other greens)
1 large white onion, medium dice
2-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Wash the kale thoroughly, removing all of the sand. Then tear out the central thick stem from each leaf and discard (this woody stem does not soften when cooked). Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and pile them into a deep 14-16 inch, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Heat over medium-low heat and add a couple tablespoons of water to steam the greens. Sprinkle the onion on the top of the pile of greens to weigh them down. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Check the greens and if they have wilted enough, toss the greens with the onion (you may have to cover the greens again and cook for a few minutes until the pile has shrunk enough to allow you to stir). Continue to gently sauté the greens and onion for several minutes and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Pick out a leaf and taste to see if it is tender enough. When the kale is tender, remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the vinegar over the kale, then toss and taste again, adding more vinegar if you wish. DO NOT put the pan back on the heat as this will cook the vinegar and make it taste bitter.

NOTE
If using collard greens, remove the center stem as noted above. For spinach, bok choi, and chard just chop the stem into one inch pieces and cook with the leaves.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I first had this dish when Josh made it for his pre-Thanksgiving party. It was so easy and delicious I had to make it again a week later. It’s a great twist on traditional mashed spuds – the perfect way to perk them up for the holidays. Serves 4-6, and can be easily doubled for more guests.

Ingredients
2 lbs. red or roasting potatoes, scrubbed
2 heads garlic, peeled (cloves left whole)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (more or less)
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Quarter the potatoes and add them and the garlic cloves to the boiling water; cook 25-30 minutes, until tender. Drain completely and return to the pot. Slightly mash the potatoes before adding the sour cream and horseradish. Mash a bit more and then add enough milk to get the consistency you like. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve warm.

Keywords
potatoes, garlic, sour cream

Thai Butternut Squash Curry

This is a fabulous recipe that works well served over basmati rice and with a nice cold beer. One can eliminate the seafood altogether—or replace with tofu—for a vegetarian version, although I personally have never tried it this way. This is adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe, and you will not believe how easy it is—and delicious!

Ingredients
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
1-2 Tbsp. Red Thai curry paste (gauge on how spicy you like it)
1 1/2 cups fish or vegetable stock (easiest to use the stock cubes boiled in water)
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, each cut into three and bruised with the flat of a knife
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 1/4 lbs. butternut squash (peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks)
1 lb. salmon fillet, preferably organic, skinned and cut into large bite-size chunks
1 lb. of peeled raw shrimp
(OR substitute 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed, for the seafood)
1 bunch Bok choi
Juice of 1/2 lime (use up to a full lime to taste)
Chopped fresh cilantro (for serving only)

Preparation

  1. Skim the creamy (semi-solid) top off the can of coconut milk and put it—over medium heat—into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a whisk, beat the coconut milk and paste together until combined. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, and turmeric.
  2. Bring to a boil and then add the butternut squash. Cook on a fast simmer until the squash is tender (about 5-10 minutes). You will want to gauge this yourself.
  3. To the simmering curry/squash mixture add the salmon and shrimp. Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes or until done.
  4. Stir in the bok choy, and push down into the curry with a wooden spoon. You want to just wilt the bok choy.
  5. Next, squeeze in the juice of half a lime and stir.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and add the cilantro right before serving.

Enjoy!!

Savory Veggie Gravy

A holiday hit that will please vegetarians and carnivores alike! Makes approximately 2 quarts of gravy.

Primary Ingredients:
6 cups vegetable stock (if buying prepared broth, get a low-sodium or no-sodium variety)
OR
6 cups water and 2-3 vegetable bullion cubes (no-sodium variety)
1/2 cup good wine (white or red)
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour

Optional Seasoning:
Black pepper
Sage
Thyme
Parsley
Tamari (soy) sauce

In a pan, heat the broth and wine on low until warm but not boiling, and maintain the temperature. In a separate sauce pan, make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat. Then add the flour a little at a time. Cook over low heat until the flour is well mixed and toasted and the roux turns golden. It may begin to get stretchy and thick, which is fine.

Remove the roux from the heat for a few seconds and add a few tablespoons of broth. Mix well and return to heat, then repeat this process, mixing well each time. At first the gravy will look like library paste. Again, don’t worry. It is important to add the liquid slowly and mix each addition of broth thoroughly to avoid lumps. Gradually increase the amount of liquid until the desired thickness and consistency is reached, then season to taste with any combination of the optional ingredients.

Leftover gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days and while it congeals when cold, it reheats nicely in the microwave.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale

Adapted from this recipe posted on the Old Shaw Farm blog. When we tried the original recipe I found the sauce a bit too rich. Cutting back on the peanut butter should help. This dish is fairly simple and a great way to get more kale in your diet! Serves 2 for a main dish or 4 for a side dish.

Ingredients
1 large or 2 small bunches kale, washed and de-stemmed
1/2 lb. pasta (thin rice noodles or regular spaghetti)
2 Tbsp. all-natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce
2 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
a splash of water

Preparation
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, chili sauce, tamari and sugar. Add a little water to thin out the sauce a bit. Set aside.

Rinse the kale and cook it wet in a large frying pan (no oil needed). Cook on medium heat until tender. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions and drain, then add them to the pan with the cooked kale. Pour the sauce in and toss well. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Vermont Maple Syrup Corn Bread

This cornbread is perfect with chili, but also compliments any hearty soup or stew. The maple syrup adds richness without making it too sweet. Takes about an hour to prepare, serves 6-8.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup corn meal (medium ground is best)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil + 1 Tbsp.
1/2 cup Vermont maple syrup (or substitute honey or Grandma’s molasses)
1 & 1/2 cups milk or soymilk

Preparation
Add the tablespoon of vegetable oil to a 10-inch cast iron frying pan that has at least a 2-inch lip on it. Put this in your cold oven and preheat to 350° F.

In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, scramble the egg, then whisk in the oil. Whisk in the maple syrup next, and when that is combined stir in the milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and whisk gently just until combined. Small lumps are fine.

When oven and frying pan are heated, carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and pour in the batter, then gently place this back in the oven (on the middle oven rack). Bake for 35 minutes and check for doneness – if a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean it’s done, if it’s gooey it needs more time. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 8 generous pieces.

Alternate method: distribute batter evenly in an oiled or lined 12-space muffin tin. Check for doneness at about 20-25 minutes.

Scullys’ Slow-Cook Veggie Chili

This winter favorite is a truely a labor of love. It was created by Rick and Sarah and is based on their respective family recipes. The recipe is quite flexible, and despite the name it can be ready in just under two hours. Though slow-cooking enhances the flavor and we even prefer it as leftovers. The dish ages that well. While the suggested toppings are optional, cornbread is a must! Serves approximately 10 people.

Wet Ingredients:
2 tbs. olive oil
2 medium yellow onion (chopped)
3-4 medium cloves garlic (grated or minced)
2 large red bell peppers (chopped)
15 oz. red kidney beans (cooked)
15 oz. pinto beans (cooked)
15 oz. black beans (cooked)
28 oz. tomatoes (crushed) (“Fire-roasted” suggested)
30 oz. tomatoes (diced)
1 can tomato paste
3 tbs. cayenne pepper sauce
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 medium habanero pepper (pureed)
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 pint (16 oz.) Guinness Draft (substitute stouts or porters)
1 (12-oz.) package textured vegetable protein (TVP) crumbles (Boca brand suggested)
15 oz. whole kernel corn

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 tbs. cumin
3 bay leaves
2 tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. crushed black pepper

Suggested Toppings:
Fresh cilantro (chopped)
Fresh spring onions / scallions (chopped)
Fresh mild onions (chopped)
Sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

In a large stock pot combine the olive oil, onions, garlic, and dry ingredients. Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, adding a small amount of water if necessary.

Add all of the beans, tomatoes and tomato paste. Carefully add the cayenne pepper sauce, soy sauce, and habanero puree. Add the bay leaves, brown sugar, and slowly pour the Guinness into the mixture. Mix thoroughly and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer slowly for 15 minutes, stirring at least once. Try not to allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Next, add the crumbles and corn and stir slowly and thoroughly. Allow to simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring thoroughly every 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve with toppings of your choice.