Category Archives: recipes

Vegetarian sausage stew with purple cabbage and kale

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It is officially September, which means that even though it is still routinely in the 90s over here in Colorado, soup recipes are finally fair game.

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Can I tell you how much I like stew, soup, and all other foods of that ilk? They are one-pot meals that come together quickly, and are infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand. This recipe came out of an attempt to use up some leftover CSA vegetables, I was exceedingly happy with the result. You can use real sausage, of course, if you’re not vegetarian, or sub in chard or spinach instead of kale, or carrots instead of potatoes. You could add in some pasta or some more beans or some tomatoes, and that would all be delicious, too. But I really loved this soup as-is – you get the color of the purple cabbage, green kale and white beans with the heartiness of the sausage and potatoes, and there is no bad there.

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Vegetarian sausage stew with purple cabbage and kale

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound vegetarian sausage, crumbled or sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes, chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1 small purple cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
6 cups of vegetable stock, or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes and 6 cups of water
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Italian seasoning or dried basil
1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, brown the vegetarian sausage. When the sausage has almost finished browning, add the onions, along with a smidge more oil if needed. Cook for a few more minutes until the sausage has browned and the onions are tender and almost translucent. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for just a minute, then add the cabbage, kale, potatoes, broth, and spices. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the beans, then cook for just a few more minutes. Serve with some good bread. Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Sticks

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Before I forget, a note about those peach muffins last week: Whoops! When that post first went up, it had a different recipe for peach muffins. They were ones I made and liked, but I like the ricotta version better, and also that’s the muffin shown in the photo. I’ve now updated the post so that the recipe reflects the product in the photo, and apologies for the error.

Now, on to the next thing! We have been getting eggplants galore from our CSA share, and these eggplant sticks are a delicious, kid-friendly way to eat them all. The way I make them is egg-free (though I’ve included the instructions with egg, too), and they can be made vegan by skipping the Parmesan cheese, too! My son loves these, and there are never any leftovers.

baked eggplant sticks

Baked Eggplant Sticks
(Adapted from Skinny Taste)

1 medium eggplant, or 2 small eggplants
1 cup of bean brine OR 1 large egg
1/2 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400°. Oil two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.

Now, prep your eggplant! Halve the eggplant and then slice about a quarter-inch thick. Make sticks by cutting each slice into long pieces. Try to cut your pieces evenly, so that they will all cook in the same time.

Now, create your breading station. In a flat dish at least as long as your eggplant sticks, mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, if using. In another dish, pour your bean liquid or your mixed egg.

Dip a few strips of eggplant at a time into the bean liquid/egg. Let any extra liquid drip off, and then move them into the breadcrumbs to coat. Place breaded eggplant on the baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes in the middle rack.

After 10 minutes, turn the eggplant so that they brown evenly on both sides. Bake another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven.

I like to serve this with some tomato sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Ricotta Peach Muffins

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9/7/2015 – Whoops! When this post first went up, I had a different recipe for peach muffins here. They were ones I made and liked, but I like the ricotta version better, and also that’s the muffin shown in the photo. I’ve now updated the post so that the recipe reflects the product in the photo, and apologies for the error.

Continuing our effort to use all of the peaches our CSA sends home with us, I have been making these ricotta peach muffins a lot. They’re easy to throw together and have a gorgeous, soft crumb. I dice the peaches finely to get a good peach flavor without too many lumps, but you can cut yours bigger if you like to bite into the fruit. My son loves to help measure out the flour and leavening, so I can assure you that this is a very forgiving recipe.

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Ricotta Peach Muffins
(Adapted from Food Network Canada)

2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peaches, finely diced

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line your muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the two eggs lightly, then add the sugar, ricotta, oil, and vanilla. Once the mixture is homogeneous, add in the flour mixture. Mix until the flour is mostly incorporated, then add the peaches, stirring gently just a few more times to combine.

Use an ice cream scoop or spoons to fill your muffin tins 2/3 of the way full with batter, leaving a little room for them to expand. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes. They will spring back after being touched when they are done, or you can check them with a toothpick. Enjoy!

Peach Basil Ice Cream

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As I mentioned last week, peaches are in season here in Colorado, and thanks to our CSA membership, we are drowning in them. We also have a ton of basil, and it’s quite hot outside, which means it’s time for peach basil ice cream!

Basil is a gorgeous herb, and it works wonderfully in this ice cream. It lends a slightly minty, herbaceous excitement to a basic, sweet peach and vanilla ice cream. It’s really something special!

peach basil ice creamPeach Basil Ice Cream

3-4 ripe peaches
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 cup of chopped, fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, we’ll handle the peaches. Fill a big pot of water and bring it to a boil. While it’s heating, prepare another big bowl with an ice bath – cold water and ice. Once your pot is boiling, drop the peaches in carefully, and leave them in the water for just 30 seconds. Remove and immediately drop them into the ice water. Give them a few minutes to cool down, and then remove them from the ice bath. Their skins should slide right off Hooray!

Now you can pit your peaches. Add them to a bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar and mash them. You can puree them if you want a very fine texture, but I like to have some pieces of fruit in my ice cream.

Set the peaches aside and get to work on the ice cream base. Heat the whole milk and 1 cup of cream over medium heat until it scalds. You’ll see bubbles around the edges, but it shouldn’t boil. Add in your sugar, salt and your basil leaves, give it a stir, and turn the heat off. Leave this to steep for 10 minutes.

Once it’s steeped, carefully pour the milk mixture through a fine strainer into a large bowl, to remove the basil leaves. Add in the other half of the cream, the peach mixture, and the vanilla, and stir to combine. Refrigerate this mixture at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, and then put it through your ice cream machine according to the machine’s directions.

Fresh Peach Cake

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Colorado is known for its peaches, and peach season started with a bang two weeks ago when our CSA sent me home with a 10 lb flat of them. 10 pounds! 10 pounds of peaches! We ate a lot of them raw, but I baked many desserts as well to use them all before they got too soft.

My favorite one was Ina Garten’s fresh peach cake – can that woman do no wrong? It’s not overly sweet and allows the peaches to really shine, but the cake is still moist, and texturally perfect for my palate. I made a few small changes, but her recipes are always wonderful.

Fresh Peach Cake
(Adapted from Ina Garten/ Barefoot Contessa)

1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar,
2 extra-large eggs
½  cup sour cream
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with high sides, or put a cookie sheet under your pan to catch any drips.

Fit an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter and the sugar on medium-high for about 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and then add the eggs, one at a time. Once the eggs are incorporated, add your sour cream, yogurt, and vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Turn the mixer off, then sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on top of the wet ingredients. This is not the right way to do it, but it will save you a bowl. Then turn your mixer on low and mix until everything is just combined.

Spread half of the batter down into the greased pan. Pour about half of the peaches on top, spreading as evenly as possible. Add the remaining half of the batter on top,  and then arrange the rest of the peaches on top.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, and check it with a toothpick to make sure it’s done. Enjoy!

(As you may have noticed, my camera is temporarily out of commission, so you are looking at a blurry phone photo. Better ones coming soon, I hope!)

Danielle’s Purple Smoothie (with sneaky greens)

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It’s accidentally been almost three weeks since I last posted about food. What is wrong with me?

I should come back with bang, so here is something I’ve been making pretty much every day since my chard started coming in: a green smoothie. I know, I know, some of you out there are making that face, with the wrinkled nose and a stuck-out tongue, but this smoothie is sooo good. I know there are a lot of recipes out there where the person says, “And you won’t even know there’s spinach in it!” and then you try it, and it’s incredibly obvious that there’s spinach in it, and maybe you are sad. But this will make you happy, because you really won’t know there are greens in it, and if you drink it in the morning, you can worry a little less about getting all your veggies in over the course of the day.

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Danielle’s Purple Smoothie

1/3 a medium banana (about 2-3 inches)
1 cup of chopped greens (chard, spinach, and kale all work well)
1/3 cup of chopped pineapple
1/3 cup of strawberries, raspberries, or other fruit of your choice
1/3-1/2 cup of milk or milk alternative (I use soy milk)
1/4 cup of orange juice
a 1-inch chunk of beet (optional, see note)

Add all the ingredients to your blender, and blend until smooth. Add more juice or milk if needed. Enjoy!

Some notes: This recipe makes one 16 oz glass. I find that if you freeze your bananas in chunks, you don’t need ice. I also find that frozen greens blend a lot more smoothly than raw ones, but you can use raw too if your blender is good enough. I use a little beet for the color, which I roast ahead of time, cut into chunks, and then freeze in portions so I can just grab a chunk and go. You can leave out the beet, but your smoothie will be sort of brown instead of purple. The purple’s a lot more appetizing.

I sometimes add yogurt, peanut butter, or even leftover oatmeal if I have it, but this is a surprisingly filling smoothie as is.

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

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To be honest, this barely counts as a recipe, but remember how I said that everything is better with balsamic vinegar? Well, it struck me that maybe some of you don’t know how amazing balsamic vinegar is with strawberries, and if that’s the case, well, that’s something we need to fix right this very minute.

Good balsamic vinegar is syrupy and sweet and acidic all at once, and it plays so, so well the with the tartness of a good strawberry. Add a little bit of lightly-sweetened whipped cream and you have an easy, delicious, sophisticated dessert (or mid-afternoon snack) that is eminently satisfying *and* took no time at all. I don’t think we can beat that – do you?

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Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

This is barely a recipe. Find some nice strawberries, take the greens off, and slice the berries thinly. Drizzle some good balsamic vinegar on top. (There’s a place in Denver that sells these amazing flavored vinegars, so I use those a lot.) Top with whipped cream if desired – homemade is nice, but it’s not something I always have time for. Enjoy!