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.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Pistachios

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Pistachios

 

If the cool, crisp days of fall and the brilliant colors of the changing leaves are conjuring up images of delicious comfort foods that fill the air with rich aromas, then look no further than this recipe that uses a staple autumn vegetable like acorn squash and  combines it with healthy ingredients like quinoa to make a side dish or even main dish that is delicious and filling.  And because it comes from Martha Stewart, you know it has to be good!

 

Ingredients

  • 4 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • Pinch red-pepper flakes
  1.  Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush squash with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast cut side down on 2 baking sheets until tender and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then fluff with a fork. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, parsley, feta, pistachios, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and red-pepper flakes. Divide filling among squash.

 

Arugula and Kale Harvest Salad

Arugula and Kale Harvest Salad

Here is a great recipe that uses many of the fall veggies that are being harvested right now and combines them into a dish that is both healthy and delicious. This salad from Good Housekeeping uses some of those “super foods” (think avocado) that are being touted as the secret to good health and a slim waistline.  And because the dressing is home made and free of any the preservatives you find in the ones sold in grocery stores, this salad is perfect for serving for lunch or even a light supper.

Ingredients
Salad
8 c. arugula
2 c. kale
1 1/2 c. avocado
3/4 c. thinly sliced carrots
3/4 c. chopped cooked butternut squash
1/2 c. sliced apple
1/2 c. sliced bell pepper
2 oz. salami
1 c. croutons
Vinaigrette
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. lemon (or lime) juice
1 tbsp. vinegar (red wine, sherry, champagne, cider or white balsamic)
finely chopped small shallot (or garlic clove or green onion)

Directions

Make Salad:
In a large bowl, combine arugula, kale, avocado, carrots, butternut squash, apple, bell pepper, and salami.
Make Vinaigrette: 
  1. Whisk olive oil, Dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper with lemon juice, vinegar, and shallot. (Makes about 2/3 c.)
  2. Add just enough vinaigrette to salad to lightly coat, tossing. Garnish with croutons.

 

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.
Delicata Creamy Squash Soup

Delicata Creamy Squash Soup

September is here and that means temperatures will start to fall.  Warm soups should be on the menu to combat those cooler temperatures and there is just something so delicious and comforting about squash soup. With Colchester Neighborhood Farm harvesting wonderful delicata winter squash, this recipe for Delicata Creamy Squash Soup is sure to hit the spot on a cool autumn day. Add some grilled cheese sandwiches and you have all the makings of true comfort food!

Ingredients:

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place the squash, cut sides down, in a baking dish. Add 1/8 inch water in baking dish, cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes or until tender. Cool.

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until onion is softened but not brown.
  2. Scrape the squash out of the flesh and add to onions. Add the stock and heavy cream. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Fresh from the farm is an experience

Fresh from the farm is an experience

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from a local farm stand not only demonstrates healthy eating habits to children, it can teach them the value of supporting local agriculture. If we’re lucky, the trip to the farm can result in a few cherished memories. There is no denying that tomatoes or lettuce picked the same day  taste better than the produce purchased from the grocery store. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of harvesting food from a backyard garden rather than a refrigerator, you will agree that the “chore” itself could be as fun as the food was tasty. I remember picking vegetables with my grandfather; he taught me how to choose the ripest and sweetest tomatoes and how to determine when peppers were ready to be picked. Even sweeter than those tomatoes are the memories of the experience that I still carry with me today.

 

By today’s standards, however, we are not always as diligent about taking time to smell the roses…or as the case may be, the basil. In our rush to complete all of our errands, making a special trip to a local farm, exclusively for the purpose of buying cucumbers and tomatoes, can seem like an added chore and one that could easily be eliminated, if we just purchased our produce at the local grocery store, along with all of the other items on our list. But sometimes, these everyday chores are the same ones that create an experience and in the process, a lasting memory, for children and parents, alike. If we eliminate these so-called chores, we may be denying ourselves and our children the pleasure of true, quality time spent together.

 

When you buy your fruits and vegetables from Colchester Neighborhood Farm, consider blocking out an extra 15 minutes or 30 minutes for the “chore” because it could easily turn into a fun and wonderful experience. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is a social enterprise in every sense of the word. Employing adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities who are more than happy to wait on their customers at the farm stand, they are also eager to show off their farm, which includes chickens, a friendly donkey named Dapple, and some goats and their babies…yes the kids love the kids! A visit to Colchester Neighborhood Farm is more than just buying fresh fruits and vegetables, it is an opportunity for our children to learn about agriculture, to see how their food is grown and where it comes from. And going home with a few good memories along with some fresh tomatoes, organically grown cucumbers, and a bouquet of fresh flowers isn’t bad either.

Simple Pattypan Bake

Courtesy of Deana Morgan

Simple Pattypan Bake (or “Zucchini Bake,” depending on what’s available OR can be thought of as “Meatless, Pasta-less Lasagna”, that’s how I presented it to my family so I didn’t have to use the word “squash” which they would have turned up their noses at, instead, they loved it!) 

Two good-sized Patty Pan Squash
Jar of Goat Ricotta Cheese
1-2 jars of Marinara Sauce 15-16 oz size
12 oz. Italian Blend Shredded Cheese (parmesan, asiago, provolone, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the patty pan squash in half, now place each half on the cut end, and slice into half circles, about 1/8″ thick. [Tip: to reduce liquid in the final product, you can rub the slices with 1/2 teaspoon course salt, and place in strainer in the sink for 30 min.  I didn’t because I don’t mind it a little “juicy”.] 

Place a little sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 pan, just enough to cover.  Layer half the squash around the bottom of the pan, spoon sauce – about a cup — and spread it to cover the squash, sprinkle half the ricotta cheese, then sprinkle about 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Repeat layering of squash, ricotta, sauce and shredded cheese. 

You can really do some nice things with this, including using some of your fresh basil from the farm share!