Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets

Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets

I was never served beets as a child, perhaps because it was one of the few foods my father refused to eat. Even as an adult, I am reluctant to eat beets; perhaps because they look so much like cranberry sauce, which is a favorite of mine, but their taste and texture is very different.  I like this recipe for Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets from Allrecipes for a number of reasons.  Not only does it make good use of this seasonal vegetable, and contains all of the beautiful purple and orange colors of autumn, but it also includes that  that superfood, Sweet Potatoes.  This recipe is also very versatile–it can be used to top a salad or makes a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving. Stop by Colchester Neighborhood Farm today and pick up some freshly harvested beets.

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.
  4. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.
Buttercup Squash with Apples

Buttercup Squash with Apples

Now that the trees are bursting with color,  we can be assured that autumn is officially here.  And nothing smells or tastes better at this time of year than winter squashes baking in the oven.  This recipe kicks it up a notch and really brings out the fall flavors by adding in some apples. Courtesy of Betty Crocker, this side dish is as delicious as it is easy to make.  Using just a few ingredients,  you are going to question whether it should be served as a side dish or dessert!  Feel free to use the buttercup or acorn squash when making this recipe–either one will taste wonderful and both are available at Colchester Neighborhood Farm’s farm stand this week.

Ingredients

1 small buttercup or other winter squash (1 pound)

1/2 cup chopped tart cooking apple

2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter or margarine, softened SAVE $
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half; remove seeds and fibers. Place squash halves, cut side up, in ungreased baking dish, 11x7x1 1/2 inches. Mix remaining ingredients; spoon into squash halves.
Cover and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is tender.
Green Tomato Pie III

Green Tomato Pie III

Well, if you can make a mock apple pie using Ritz Crackers, then it doesn’t seem like a big stretch to bake up a similar pie using green tomatoes.  Once again, Allrecipes offered up this variation of a non-apple, apple pie and the reviews on it are very good.  So, if you haven’t gone apple picking yet but still want an apple pie or if you are just looking for a different way to cook up the green tomatoes, give this Green Tomato Pie III a try.  Warning, some people indicated that they used a little more flour than called for in the recipe to cut down on the wateriness. If you do try this recipe, please let us know if you liked it.

Ingredients

5 green tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place diced green tomatoes and vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and flour. Sprinkle over tomatoes and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Pour into pie crust and cover with criss-cross lattice crust.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and crust is brown.
Grilled Apple Tossed Salad

Grilled Apple Tossed Salad

There is just so much to like about this salad from Taste of Home. Not only does it taste good, it’s good for you. And nearly all of the ingredients can purchased at Colchester Neighborhood Farm including the fresh lettuce, Red Russian Kale and Curly Kale for the greens, apples, raw honey, and Blue Cheese. So why not stop into Colchester Farm today and make this sweet and tasty salad tonight. Feel free to grill up some fresh chicken to add a little protein. 

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
  • 2 large apples, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
  • 1 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions

  • For dressing, whisk together first eight ingredients. In a bowl, toss apples with 1/4 cup dressing.
  • Place apple slices on a grill rack over medium heat; reserve dressing left in bowl. Grill apples, covered, until tender and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes per side, brushing with reserved marinade.
  • To serve, toss greens with remaining dressing. Top with grilled apples, walnuts and cheese.
Health Tip: Lighten this salad by leaving off the walnuts and blue cheese. You’ll save 150 calories per serving, but the grilled apples and homemade dressing will still make it taste as if it came from a restaurant.

Editor’s Note

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

As soon as the calendar turns to September, pumpkin season officially begins. Coffee shops immediately add pumpkin lattes back onto the menu. (I believe there was even a little controversy this year, when a few chain coffee brewers began offering the autumn treat at the end of August!) While most people only ever use pumpkins for decorating, this gourd really is capable of so much more. It can be used for everything from acting as a decorative vase and holding a floral display to filling the role of a serving bowl for dips or even soups. Making a batch of puree is as simple as cutting the gourd in half, roasting it, and then scooping out the flesh and pureeing it. A four pound pumpkin will yield about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree which can be used in an endless number of delicious recipes.  One such recipe is Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.  These delicious treats with their streusel topping are sure to impress, whether you serve them up for Brunch or as a dessert or snack for the family.

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
  2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
  3. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
  4. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
  5. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
Blueberry Coffee Cake (AKA Blueberry Boy Bait)

Blueberry Coffee Cake (AKA Blueberry Boy Bait)

Well here is a delicious coffee cake that is sure to get accolades from family friends and friends. Its alias name of Boy Bait comes from a 15-year-old girl from Chicago named Renny Powell who, in 1954, submitted a blueberry coffee cake recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (the precursor to today’s Pillsbury Bake-Off). Renny took second place in the junior division for her recipe, cleverly named “Boy Bait” for its habit-forming effect on young men. Try making this cake for your next Sunday Brunch get together or any Sunday morning, for that matter.
Ingredients

For the Streusel Topping

  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen may be used but do not defrost)

Instructions

  1. Make the Streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips or cut it in with two knives or a pastry cutter until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch square pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan.
  7. This cake is best served on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well for a few days wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.
No Bake Peach Pie

No Bake Peach Pie

We are so excited that Colchester Neighborhood Farm is selling freshly harvested peaches from Kimball Farm in Pepperell this week. While the fruit is delicious eaten just as is, it’s also yummy in a pie. But with the hazy, hot, and humid days of August upon us, we like this No Bake Peach Pie from Allrecipes–it’s simple and easy, and doesn’t require using the oven. We suggest serving this with a little whipped cream on top.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

6 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced

1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust
Instructions
  1. Stir together the water, sugar, cornstarch, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the mixture has come to a boil, add a few slices of the peaches, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely.
  2. Place the remaining peach slices into the pie crust, and spread the sauce all over them, covering completely. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until firm before serving.
Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Take your grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with this wonderful variation of a traditional favorite. We like this recipe  from Amanda k. by the Bay because it uses fresh in-season blueberries and mozzarella (or even goat cheese), along with argula–all of which can be purchased at Colchester Neighborhood Farm.  Use the leftover blueberry syrup to make a blueberry lemonade, to round out the perfect summer lunch.

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
Plenty of white cheese (I used Havarti, but lots of different  cheeses would be good! Mozzarella, Monterey, Swiss, or Sharp White Cheddar would be yummy. I have been meaning to try goat cheese!)
Fresh spinach or arugala
1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbs. brown sugar
1. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and vinegar. Turn on medium heat and let come to a slow boil. Use a utensil to crush berries as you stir. After boiling for about 5 minutes, pour mixture into a mesh strainer and let the juice syrup separate from the solid berries. Save the syrup for cocktails, pancakes or both!
2. Spread blueberries onto a piece of bread, top with cheese, some spinach, then more cheese! Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Top with your other slice of bread and toast. Enjoy!
Easy and Cool Summer Salad

Easy and Cool Summer Salad

With temperatures hovering well into the 80s and the dew point inching toward the 70s, nobody wants to cook on the grill or the stove, for that matter.  These are the days when cool summer salads really hit the spot and nothing tastes better than a salad made with veggies picked right from the garden. Fortunately, all of the main ingredients in this salad from Allrecipes can be purchased at Colchester Neighborhood Farm, which has plenty of freshly harvested zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers for sale.

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Zucchini and Black Olives in Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

 

Roasted Hakurei Turnips and Radishes

Roasted Hakurei Turnips and Radishes

Here’s a recipe that offers you the opportunity to cook up some freshly harvested turnips and radishes.  From the website just a little bit of bacon, please feel free to add a little bit of bacon to the roasted turnips and radishes.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch Hakurei turnips, or other mild salad turnips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Move the rack in the oven to the lower middle position. Place the roasting pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Slice the greens off the turnips and radishes. Scrub the turnips and radishes well to remove all the dirt and grit from the vegetables, and rinse the greens repeatedly until they are grit free. If you left a little bit of the stem on the radishes and turnips, make sure you clean around it well since dirt collects there. I find scraping around the stem as I wash cleans it up nicely.
  3. Cut the turnips and radishes into wedges. Halve the small ones, and quarter or sixth the larger ones. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour the vegetables into the roasting pan, arranging them so most have a flat side down in the pan. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring and turning the vegetables at 7 minutes.
  4. Dry the washed greens to remove most of the water. Roughly chop the greens into bite-sized pieces, then toss them in the large bowl with the rest of the olive oil and the salt. Pull the roasting pan out of the oven, turn and stir the vegetables again and then make a space for the greens. Spread out the greens in the space and return the pan to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes more.
Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad

Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad

If you are searching for a wonderful summer salad to serve that uses freshly harvested produce such as Fennel and Kohlrabi, then you have to check out this recipe. The spicy flavors of the kohlrabi and greens combined with tart apples and sweet roasted pecans make this a dish that is sure to delight the taste buds. We found this recipe at wildgreensandsardines and it is, by far, one of the best ways to serve up kohlrabi and fennel on a warm summer night.

Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad with Maple-Roasted Pecans

serves 4 
1 tart apple
1 medium fennel bulb
1 small kohlrabi
2 medium-sized carrots
Bunch of of mizuna leaves or other spicy greens (such as arugula, watercress)
White wine caraway vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Maple Roasted Pecans (recipe to follow)

Thinly slice the apple, fennel, kohlrabi (with a mandolin or sharp knife).  Julienne or thinly slice the carrots.  Chop the mizuna.  Add all the vegetables to a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with maple roasted pecans.

White Wine Caraway Vinaigrette

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon *toasted and ground caraway seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon ground dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl.  Whisk until well combined.

*To toast the caraway seeds: Heat a small skillet over high heat.  When hot, add the whole caraway seeds to the dry skillet.  Shake the pan to keep the seeds moving around until they darken slightly and give off an earthy aroma, about 1 minute.  Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice/coffee grinder.  Grind to a powder.

Maple-Roasted Pecans

2 cups pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown and toasty.

Heat the maple syrup in a small pot or pan until warmed through, 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle the warm maple syrup over the pecans.  Season with salt and pepper, and cayenne to taste.  Stir to combine.

Spread out with a spatula so the pecans are in a single layer.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit until the maple syrup hardens.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Here is a recipe that is sure to impress at this year’s Fourth of July parties and other summer gatherings. With ingredients such as cream cheese, Nutella, and raspberries, what’s not to love? We found this tasty dessert in tasteofhome.com and it is as easy to make as it is to eat! If you are looking for some wonderful, fresh raspberries, look no further than the farm stand at Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton, which is selling the berries from Keirstead Farm in Plympton.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

 

  • FILLING:
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup Nutella

Directions

  • Process cream cheese and butter in a food processor until blended. Add flour; process just until a dough forms. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, toss raspberries, sugar and cornstarch with a fork, mashing some of the berries slightly.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×8-in. rectangle. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread with Nutella to within 1 in. of edges. Top with raspberry mixture. Fold pastry edge toward center of tart, pleating and pinching as needed.
  • Bake until crust is golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Transfer tart to a wire rack to cool.

 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

It doesn’t get any easier or tastier than this.  These Baked Parmesan Zucchini, from FiveHeartHome.com make a great summer time snack–and they are both healthy and delicious! Stop by Colchester Neighborhood Farm today to purchase some freshly-harvested organically-grown zucchini and cook up these wonderful treats tonight.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper, optional

Instructions

Place oven rack in center position of oven. Preheat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil (lightly misted with cooking spray) OR parchment paper.

  1. Wash and dry zucchini, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange zucchini rounds on prepared pan, with little to no space between them. If desired, lightly sprinkle zucchini with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use a small spoon to spread a thin layer of Parmesan cheese on each slice of zucchini. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until Parmesan turns a light golden brown. (Watch these closely the first time you make them and pull them out of the oven early if the Parmesan is golden before 15 minutes!) Serve immediately.
Purple Top Turnip & Apple Slaw

Purple Top Turnip & Apple Slaw

This Purple Top Turnip & Apple Slaw from Early Morning Farm has a combination of spicy and sweet flavors that will complement everything from a burger or hot dog to salmon cooked on the grill.  So good and so healthy!
1 apple (whatever variety you prefer)
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon

Dressing:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey (substitute agave or maple syrup if you don’t use honey)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt + pepper to taste

Julienne apples and turnips.  Peel turnips and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Stack slices on top of each other cut as thin as you can into “matchsticks”.  Repeat with unpeeled apple.  (or use mandolin).  Place in large bowl, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over so apples don’t turn brown.

Make dressing.  Combine remaining ingredients except pumpkin seeds in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until combined.

Pour dressing over slaw.   Mix pumpkin seeds, dressing, and slaw until combined.

The tradition of Groundhog Day

The tradition of Groundhog Day

Despite a cold and cloudy day in a small town just northeast of Pittsburgh, the  plump marmot affectionately known as Punxsutawney Phil peeked his head out from the warm quarters where he hibernates during the winter months, saw his shadow, turned around, and went back to sleep…presumably signaling another six weeks of winter. Exactly how does this particular groundhog’s aversion to heading out into the cold equate to a longer-than-usual winter?  Who among us doesn’t react to a bleak and cloudy day by pulling the covers up over our heads and returning to our restful slumber for “just five more minutes?”

While many may argue the scientific accuracy of Phil’s prediction, others consider his forecast to be as accurate and reliable as the Farmer’s Almanac. Ignore the fact that, according to the calendar, Spring does not officially arrive until the vernal equinox on March 21st which is approximately six weeks from February 2. If Phil hadn’t seen his shadow (which may or may not have been caused by the lights from the many television cameras that were pointed in his direction), he would have ventured out of his warm sleeping quarters,  indicating that spring would arrive sooner than its mid-March due date.

Whether you trust Phil’s calculation or the weatherman’s prediction, it begs the question,  “how did we come to rely on a groundhog to determine whether the next season would arrive earlier than expected?” Just what are the origins of Groundhog Day?

After some not-so-extensive research that brought me no further than Wikipedia, here are some interesting “facts” that I have gathered about Groundhog Day and its tradition. Turning to a groundhog to predict the length of our winters is a German custom and the celebration in Pennsylvania dates back to the 18th century. It’s origins are rooted in ancient European lore in which a badger was used to predict the length of the winter. The practice is also very similar to the pagan festival of Imbolc, which is celebrated on February 2 and involves weather forecasting. The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day was found in a diary entry dated February 4, 1841, written by storekeeper James Moorris of Morgantown, Pennsylvania.

Whether we have an early Spring or cold winter days remain with us until the end of March, there are a few things we can be sure of. Spring will officially arrive on March 21; warmer days are headed our way; and the crew at Colchester Neighborhood Farm will soon be filling the greenhouses with small seedlings of organically grown fruits and vegetables in preparation for a stellar crop this summer.