Farmers’ Market Box December 12th 2019


 

This week’s local produce and featured farms:

Arkansas Black Apples - Penryn Orchards
Green Dragon Apples - Dragon Berry Produce
Redbor Kale - Be Wise Ranch
Summer Mixed SquashD’Acquisto Family Farms
Maru(cinnamon) PersimmonPenryn Orchards
Baby Red Beets - Terra Madre Gardens
Garnet Yams - Kong Thao
Mixed Salad Greens - Terra Madre Gardens
Satsuma Tangerine - Ken’s Top Notch Produces

Farmer’s Choice:

Purple Brussel Sprouts - 2 Peas in a Pod Farm, Inc.
Oro Blanco - Garcia Farms Produce
Golden Russet Bosc Pears - Penryn Orchards

Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #specialtyproducefmb or share them with the FMB community on our facebook page http://facebook.com/specialtyproduce!

When it’s about food…#specialtyproduce
Click the links above & search for products on our website with recipes attached Below are some great recipes for you to try out with the produce from your box/bag. Let us know on our Facebook Page or through twitter if you tried any of them with the hashtag #SpecialtyProduceFMB!


Farmers’ Market Box Recipes

 
Mom’s Apple Pie Cake
Serves 8

8 medium-size apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1. To make the apple mixture, toss together the apples, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the apples to the prepared pan.
3. To mix the batter, combine the melted butter, flour, sugar, eggs, and pecans, stirring until blended. Pour over the apples and bake until the top is crisp and golden, and the apples are bubbling underneath, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 
Turkey Summer Squash Casserole
Serves 6

If you have leftover Thanksgiving turkey this is a great way to recycle those leftovers, if not, use cooked chicken in place of turkey.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
4 cups coarsely grated summer squash
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk
3 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded or cut into bite sized chunks
Salt and pepper
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat the inside of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. (you can also divide this in half and use two 8-inch casserole dishes)
2. In a large skillet, heat the butter, and oil, add the onion, sage and thyme, and cook until the onions begin to soften.
3. Add the squash, season liberally with salt and pepper, and saute until the liquid in the pan has evaporated.
4. Add the flour, and whisk (with a flat whisk) for 2 minutes.
5. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
6. Add the milk and chicken and bring to a boil.
7. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
8. Transfer to the baking dish.
9. In a small bowl, blend together the breadcrumbs, cheeses, and parsley. Drizzle with the oil, until the crumbs begin to come together.
10. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
11. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling, and the crumbs are golden brown. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. This is delicious over rice, or orzo pasta.

 
Marinated Beet Salad
Serves 4-6

The beet marinade is also terrific for carrots, celery, cucumbers and summer squash.

1 bunch beets, tops removed, and ends trimmed
1 cup white vinegar
1 ½ cups water
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley, fresh mint, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, goat cheese, for garnish—optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put the beets onto the baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 30 minutes (medium beets) to 60 minutes (large beets) until tender; a sharp paring knife will go into the beet easily. Allow the beets to cool, slip off the skins and cut the beets into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.
2. (INSTA-POT/PRESSURE COOKER: large beets 15 minutes, natural release)
3. While the beets are roasting, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt peppercorns and thyme in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let steep for another 15 minutes, then strain out the solids, reserving the marinade.
4. Pour the marinade over the beets and toss to coat. Cool and refrigerate the beets overnight. I usually put this in a zip-lock bag and turn it a few times in the refrigerator.
5. When ready to serve, drizzle olive oil into the beets, and toss to coat.
6. Transfer the beets to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, garnish with chopped parsley, mint, toasted sliced almonds or goat cheese.
7. Cook’s Note: Chef Jose Andres uses marinated beets as his ‘vegan’ poke, the beets standing in for the ahi.

 
Beet Carpaccio Salad with Buratta
Serves 4-6

1 bunch beets, scrubbed, and tops removed (see save the greens)
1/3 cup aged Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tangerine juice
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 bag mixed lettuces, washed spun dry and separated into leaves
2 balls buratta (if you can’t fine buratta, use fresh mozzarella)
3 tangerines, peeled and segmented
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put the beets onto the baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until the beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
2. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins, and thinly slice the beets, put them into a shallow bowl.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, tangerine juice and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the beets and marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Put the lettuce leaves into a salad bowl, toss with some of the dressing and put onto salad plates. Arrange beet slices on the lettuce and put pieces of buratta in the center of the salad. Arrange some tangerine segments around the outside of the plate, and drizzle with the remaining dressing,

 
Save the Greens Saute
Serves 4

Beet greens are a great source of iron, and they taste delicious. Saute them for a terrific side dish, or to serve on bruschetta with burrata.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch beet greens, tough stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
Salt and pepper

1. In a saute pan, heat the oil, saute the garlic until it is softened, but not browned.
2. Add the beet greens and saute until wilted.
3. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

 
Oro Blanco Sangria
Serves 4-6

1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup hot water
2 750-ounce bottles Sauvignon blanc
2 Oro Blanco grapefruits peel and pith removed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 Valencia oranges, peel and pit removed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup Triple Sec
One 750-ounce bottle sparkling water
Orange, lemon or lime slices for garnish

1. Put the sugar and hot water into a large bowl, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the wine, grapefruit, oranges, and Triple Sec. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
For each serving, pour 1/2 cup Sangria mixture into a wine glass, and top off with the sparkling water. Serve garnished with an orange, lemon or lime slice.


 
Pancetta Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
One 1/2-inch thick piece pancetta, cut into fine dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound purple Brussels sprouts, quartered
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment, aluminum foil, or silicone.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, pancetta, garlic, Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper.
3. Spread onto the baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes—the outer leaves should be a bit golden brown. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter/bowl, and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.

 
Pear Upside Down Cake
Serves 6-8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 to 3 medium firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, coat the inside of a 9-inch round baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a skillet, melt the butter, add the sugar, and cook until the sugar is dissolved, and bubbling.
3. Pour the butter mixture into the prepared pan and arrange the pears in a decorative pattern over the butter. Set aside while making the batter.

For the Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or extract

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar, until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and gradually add the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Stir in the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Carefully pour over the pears in the baking dish.
4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan.
5. Turn a cake plate upside down on top of the cake pan and, using potholders, carefully invert the cake pan onto the plate. Serve the cake warm with vanilla ice cream, or unsweetened whipped cream.

 
Not Your Mama’s Yams
Serves 4-6

1 pound Garnet Yams, scrubbed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 to 4 tablespoons milk or cream
4 strips thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prick the potatoes with the sharp tip of a paring knife several times. Roast the yams, for 1 hour until the yams are soft when squeezed with an oven mitt.
2. Cool slightly, slit the tip down the center, and remove the flesh to a mixing bowl.
3. In a skillet, heat the butter, and saute the onion until it is almost caramelized, turning a light golden brown.
4. Transfer to the bowl with the potatoes, mash the potatoes with a fork, or potato masher, add some cream or milk to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the bacon and cheese. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust.
5. Refill the potato skins and set onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are cooked through. Serve with poultry, pork or seafood.

 
Persimmon Salsa
Makes about 2 cups

3 persimmons, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 jalapeno, seeded, and de-ribbed, finely diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the persimmon, onion, parsley, jalapeno, oil, lemon or lime juice and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
2. If you have a garden full of persimmons, this salsa can be canned in a water bath (check online for canning instructions) it makes a great hostess/holiday gift.

 
Pasta with Redbor Kale
Serves 4-6

If you would like to add the beet greens to this, remove the stems, and saute with the kale
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 bunch redbor kale, tough stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound spaghetti or linguine, cooked 2 minutes short of al dente, saving some of the pasta water
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and saute the garlic and red pepper for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the kale to the skillet and toss in the garlic oil. Add the broth, cover and simmer 5 minutes until the kale is tender. Uncover, and simmer another 2 minutes, until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated.
2. Toss the pasta into the skillet, and turning it into the sauce, adding pasta water if necessary.
3. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs with the cheese.
4. Plate the pasta, and garnish with the bread crumb mixture.

 
Chicken Salad with Tangerines and Candied Almonds
Serves 6

1 head romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry and chopped
2 carrots, shredded
3 Tangerines, peel removed, and separated into segments
2 cups cooked chopped or shredded chicken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

1. In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, carrots, tangerines and chicken.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger and garlic. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish the salad with candied almonds and serve.

For the Almonds

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1. In a non-stick skillet, heat the sugar until it melts, then add the almonds, stirring to coat. Cook until the almonds begin to turn golden.
2. Remove from the skillet to a plate and when cool enough to handle, break them apart. The almonds will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

 
Tangerine Cheesecake Bars
Serves 6

For the Cheesecake Bars

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 18 whole crackers)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. To make the crust, in a large bowl, combine the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

Cream Cheese Filling

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup tangerine syrup (see below)

3. In a large bowl, using with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until the filling is smooth. Pour into the crust, dollop the filling with some of the tangerine mixture and swirl it through the filling, like marbling. Bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into squares. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before serving. Serve in a pool of the tangerine syrup.
5. Cheesecake is best at room temperature. To store the cheesecake, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

For the Tangerine Syrup

4 tangerines, peeled, segmented and chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup tangerine juice

1. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and syrupy. Cool completely.

 
@Diane Philips  www.dianephillips.com  Blog:  www.cucinadivina.blogspot.com

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Farmers’ Market Box December 5th 2019


 

This week’s local produce and featured farms:

Fuji Apples - Fairhill Apple Farms
Red Carrots - Weiser Family Farms
Spaghetti Squash - Tutti Frutti Farms
Russian Fingerling PotatoesWeiser Family Farms
Green CauliflowerBlack Sheep Produce
Purple Top Turnips - Terra Madre Gardens
Swiss Chard - Terra Madre Gardens
Mixed Salad Greens - Terra Madre Gardens
Shinko Asian Pears - Terry Ranch

Farmer’s Choice:

Green Dragon Apples - Dragonberry Produce
Hachiya Persimmons - 3Nuts Organic Produce
Arugula - Her Produce

Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #specialtyproducefmb or share them with the FMB community on our facebook page http://facebook.com/specialtyproduce!

When it’s about food…#specialtyproduce
Click the links above & search for products on our website with recipes attached Below are some great recipes for you to try out with the produce from your box/bag. Let us know on our Facebook Page or through twitter if you tried any of them with the hashtag #SpecialtyProduceFMB!


Farmers’ Market Box Recipes

 
Roasted Green Cauliflower
Serves 4-6

One green cauliflower
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner, parchment or aluminum foil, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Trim the cauliflower and cut into 1-inch florets. Try to keep them about the same size so they will cook evenly. Put the cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with 6 tablespoons of the oil, the salt, and pepper.
3. In another large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and oregano, stirring until blended.
4. Toss the florets into the crumbs, a few at a time, stirring to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
5. Bake the cauliflower until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.

 
Sformato of Cauliflower
Serves 8

One head cauliflower, cut into florets
salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
cracked or coarse black pepper, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and coat the inside of eight 6-ounce ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender.
3. Transfer to a food processor and puree.
4. In a saucepan, heat the butter, and whisk in the flour. Whisking for 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add the milk and bring to a boil.
6. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cauliflower puree, eggs, and Parmigiano.
7. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
8. Pour the mixture into eight 6-ounce ramekins. Put the ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the sfmorati are set.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding.

 
Potato Pizza
Serves 4

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
Salt and pepper

1. In a saucepan, heat the oil, and saute the garlic, onion and oregano until the onion is softened.
2. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and cool. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezes for 2 months.

For the Potatoes and Finishing

One pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, and thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sauce (see preceding recipe)
1 1/2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, coat the inside of a 14-inch pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, combine the potato slices, salt, pepper and oil. Toss to coat the potatoes.
3. Spread the potatoes evenly in the pizza pan.
4. Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes.
5. Spread the sauce over the potatoes, sprinkle with the cheeses, and bake another 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, and the cheeses are golden brown and bubbling. Allow the pizza to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

 
Spaghetti Squash Caccio Pepe Style
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
1/3 cup water
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut the squash in half, and lay each half cut side down in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour in the water and cover the baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until just tender. The tip of a sharp paring knife will go in easily. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard.
2. Scrape flesh with a fork to remove in long strands. Spread out on paper towels to drain.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook squash, lemon zest, and thyme, stirring to blend. When the squash is heated through, add the Pecorino, and ½ cup Parmigiano, stirring to combine Stir in pepper and season with salt. Serve topped with more Parmigiano.

 
Spaghetti Squash Gratin
Serves 6

1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
½ cup milk
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut the squash in half, and lay each half cut side down in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour in the water and cover the baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until just tender. The tip of a sharp paring knife will go in easily. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard. Run a fork through the squash flesh to loosen the strands and transfer the strands to a bowl.
2. Coat the inside of a 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large skillet, heat the butter, and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the spaghetti squash, season with salt and pepper and saute another 3 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, and milk, add the squash and onion mixture, 2 tablespoons of the basil and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere.
5. Mix together until the squash is coated with the mixture. Transfer to the baking dish.
6. In a small bowl, stir together the basil, gruyere, Parmigiano, breadcrumbs, and oil. Sprinkle over the squash mixture and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the gratin is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

 
Red Carrot Chocolate Cake
Serves 8

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 red carrots, scraped and shredded
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon espresso powder

1. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Coat the inside of two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray, or line muffin tins with paper liners. 
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the shredded carrots and the vanilla.
5. Dissolve the espresso powder in the water.
6. Slowly add half of the flour mixture, add the water and the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.
7. Bake the cakes, rotating halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes, or 15 to 20 minutes for cupcakes. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto racks. Let the cakes cool completely.

For the Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
Milk or water to thin the frosting

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Beat in the vanilla and some of the milk or water to thin to a spreading consistency.
3. Place one of the cakes on a cake plate and spread frosting evenly over the top. Top with the second cake and spread a generous 1/2 cup frosting over it. Frost the sides with the remaining frosting.
4. If you are frosting cupcakes, using a large star tip and a pastry bag to pipe a nice star onto the top of the cupcakes.
Cook’s Note: The cake can be made into cupcakes 15-20 minutes (about 24), or in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish (35 to 40 minutes)

 
Irish Stew
Serves 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sweet onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups red carrots, scraped and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups turnips, cut into1 inch wedges
2 cups petite size peas, either fresh or frozen and defrosted
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper

1. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown the lamb on all sides in batches removing the browned lamb to a plate.
2. Add the garlic, onions, thyme and bay leaf, and saute until the onions are almost caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the lamb and any accumulated juices back to the pot, pour in the broths, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the carrots and turnips, season the broth with salt and pepper, and simmer for 1 12 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender, and the vegetables are cooked through.
4. Add the peas to the stew, and simmer another minute for frozen, 5 minutes for fresh.
5. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
This stew is best made the day before to let the flavors get to know one another

 
Mixed Greens with Apples and Cider Vinaigrette
Serves 4

One bag salad mix, washed, and spun dry
2 apples, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1. Put the salad mix into a salad bowl with the apples. 
In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Pour over the salad greens and apples and toss to coat. Serve.

 
Tuscan Winter Soup
Serves 6-8

1/2 pound sweet Italian bulk sausage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped leek using the white part
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or sage)
1 bunch Swiss Chard, tough stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes and their juice
One 14.5-ounce can small white beans, or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup ditali or other small pasta (small shells work here)
1/4 cup chopped rind from Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish

1. In a Dutch oven, cook the sausage until it is no longer pink, breaking up any large pieces. Add the oil, and saute the garlic, leek, red pepper and rosemary until fragrant and the leek is beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the chard, and saute tossing in the garlic oil.
3. Add the tomatoes, beans and broth, and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes until the kale is tender.
Add the ditali and the rind from the Parmigiano and simmer another 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve the soup garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano.

 
Braised Pork with Apples
Serves 6

2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 4-pound boneless pork loin roast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large sweet onions, cut in half and thinly sliced into half-moons
4 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter mixed with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked to al dente for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter for the noodles
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sprinkle the pork roast evenly with the salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
2. Melt the butter in the same pan, add the onions, apples, nutmeg, ginger, and thyme, and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, and the apples begin to soften, about 4 to 6 minutes.
3. Add the brown sugar, cider, and both broths, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
4. Return the pork to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the pork is tender, 3 to 4 hours.
5. Do-Ahead: At this point, you can let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Gently reheat before continuing.
6. Remove the pork from the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the apples and onions from the sauce, reserving them, and bring the sauce to a boil.
7. Stir in the butter-and-flour mixture a bit at a time until the sauce is thickened to your taste. Taste the sauce and correct with salt and pepper, if necessary. Add the parsley, apples and onions back to the sauce.
8. Carve the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve garnished with some of the sauce and apples.
Slow Cooker Savvy: Prepare the pork on stovetop through step 2, then transfer everything to a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours. Add the parsley and the butter flour mixture, cook another 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened.

 
Slow Cooker Chicken with Pears and Apples
Serves 6

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 apples, and 2 firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
2 medium onions, cut into half moons
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons chicken stock base
8 slices thick cut (Applewood smoked) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 chicken breast halves, skin and bones removed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

1. In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apples, pears, onions and thyme until the onions begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard, sugar and cider, and transfer to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker. Add the bouillon cubes, crushing them to dissolve, and set the cooker on warm while you sauté the chicken.
2. Wipe out the skillet, and cook the bacon until crisp, draining it on paper towels. Sprinkle the chicken with the pepper, and brown the chicken in the bacon drippings, transferring to the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked though and the apples and pears are tender. Stir in the cream and parsley and serve on the warm setting garnished with crumbled bacon.

 
Farro Salad with Pancetta and Arugula
Serves 6

2 cups pearlized farro
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
One 1/2-inch piece pancetta, cut into fine dice
6 ounces soft fresh pecorino cheese, cut into a fine dice (if pecorino isn’t available, try Asiago, or another soft salty cheese)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 cup packed arugula, coarsely chopped

1. Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil and add the farro. Cook for 15 minutes, until barely tender. (Farro breaks apart a bit like wild rice) Drain and cool the farro transfer to a large bowl.
2. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the pancetta, cooking over medium high heat until crispy.
3. Remove from the pan and add to the farro.
4. Add the pecorino, and zest, and toss to combine.
5. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the remaining olive oil over the salad and toss to blend. Add more lemon juice if desired. Season with salt, pepper, and toss in the arugula. Serve the salad at room temperature.
Cook’s Note: If you want to make the salad ahead, do not add the lemon juice, oil or arugula. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving and toss with the remaining ingredients.
Note on Farro: Many people call farro spelt or emmer wheat, but farro is farro, not either of the others. It is a wheat-like grain but with a low gluten index. Pearlized farro cooks faster than the non-pearlized; although I have not found non-pearlized in the US. Farro was the grain that the Roman legions ate.

 
Persimmon Compote
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 persimmons, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

1. In a saucepan, combine the persimmons, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Simmer until the mixture is jam-like. Taste for sweetness and adjust. The compote is delicious served on toast or swirled into a cheesecake or as a complimentary taste on a cheese platter.

 
@Diane Philips  www.dianephillips.com  Blog:  www.cucinadivina.blogspot.com

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