Monthly Archives: December 2013

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccini

In Delaware, one of our great year-round local treats are mushrooms.  Kennet Square, PA is the mushroom capital of the U.S.; with it so close, we get great fresh mushrooms.  Still not quite as good as when I grew my own, but I don’t know when I will get the chance to do that again.  So, local fresh mushrooms it is.


For this recipe, I used baby bellas.  I love their earthier quality and firmer texture. Since I used champagne instead of wine, I realized that this is a perfect New Year’s Day recipe to use some of your leftover champagne.  And a nice dinner to start off the year.  I actually made it as the welcome home dinner for Lauren after her study abroad, and it was a great hit.


This is a very rich tasting dish, but since it is adapted from Cooking Light, it is relatively easy on your waistline.  A welcome thing after the indulgence of the holidays.

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccini

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 9-ounce package refrigerated fresh fettuccini

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced (locally grown)

2 garlic cloves, minced (from the garden)

3/4 tsp Kosher salt, divided

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup champagne or white wine

1/4 tsp dried thyme (from the garden)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper; saute 10 minutes, til mushrooms have browned and released their liquid.  Add wine and thyme; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.


Remove pan from heat.  Add hot pasta, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, cream and Parmesan cheese to the pan, tossing to combine.  Sprinkel with chopped parsley.


Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 4 Comments

Nutella Banana White Chocolate Granola

It has been a while since I last posted a granola recipe.  To be honest, it has been a while since I have made granola.  I guess it is something I tend to do more in the winter.


This one was worth the wait, I had to pour myself a bowl as soon as it cooled and was ready for the white chocolate chips to be added.


Honestly, how could you go wrong:  banana, nutella, almonds, coconut and white chocolate?  Add in some flax for health and viola!  Yummy goodness!


Enough talking about it, here it is…

Nutella Banana White Chocolate Granola

Based on banana nutella granola from

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup flax (seeds, flakes, or ground)

1/2 cup dried coconut

1 cup almonds, chopped or sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

1 large banana, mashed

1/4 cup Nutella

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup salt

1/2 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together the dry ingredients:  oats, flax, coconut, almonds, cinnamon.


Heat the banana, Nutella, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well blended, about 2- 3 minutes.


Stir the Nutella mix into the dry ingredients.  Stir until the oats are all well moistened.


Spread the granola mix onto the baking sheet in an even layer.


Bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake another 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, open the oven door and allow the granola to sit in the oven as it cools.  It should get light brown, if it gets too dark, remove it from the oven.


Allow the granola to cool completely, then add the white chocolate chips.


Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Enjoy!


Makes about 1 quart.



Categories: Breakfast, Recipe | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Winter Vegetable Stew

I had a winter squash plant growing in my compost pile.  I think they were from the Kabocha squash, they were the right shape, but they never changed from green.  Some aged and wilted before ever turning orange, so I rescued the biggest, healthiest looking one and figured I would see what would happen when I tried to cook with my mystery squash.


It was the perfect size, 3 1/2 pounds, for the winter harvest stew in Anna Thomas’ The New Vegetarian Epicure. This is one of the cookbooks I pull out in the winter to use my winter squash and sweet potatoes. I have made only minor adaptations of the recipe (for instance, I do not peel my potatoes), so I will use her original recipe in this post.


I made a basmati rice & orzo pilaf as the substrate.  Couscous or rice would also work well.

The stew is very tasty and surprisingly refreshing.  Not heavy at all, but quite satisfying.  The only downside is the number of pots you have going at once.  It seems like there are always 3 pans on the stove; when one step finishes, it is replaced by another.  Luckily the pots gets to multi-task, so I only had 3 pots/pans to be washed in the end.


Winter Vegetable Stew

From The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas 

1 medium to large Kabocha squash, 3 – 3 1/2 lbs (from the garden) note: if Kabocha squash is unavailable, use buttercup, Hubbard, or acorn squash.

2 large onions

2 fennel bulbs

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

2 medium russet potatoes

3 cups light vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup white wine

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (from the garden)

1 lb mushrooms, preferable wild, thickly sliced (I just used local white button mushrooms)

1/4 tsp cayenne

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (from the garden, frozen)

1 bunch kale

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 – 2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp soy sauce


Cut the squash in half, scrape out all the seeds, and, using your biggest, sharpest knife, cut it into inch-thick slices.


Pointing your knife always away from you, cut away the thick green peel, and cut the orange flesh into 1-by-2 inch chunks.


Peel the onions and cut them into thin wedges.  Wash and trim the fennel, halve the bulbs lengthwise, and cut them into thick slices.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a large heavy non-stick saute pan (I did not use non-stick and has no problems, but you do have to keep more of an eye on things) and add the squash, onions, fennel, about 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook the vegetables over medium heat, stirring and turning them often, until the onions and fennel are limp and all the vegetables are begeinning to color in spots – about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, peel (I did not peel them) and cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks.  Put them in a small pot with the broth and white wine, bring the liquid to an easy boil, and cook them for about 10 minutes.

In another non-stick pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olie oil, add 1 chopped garlic clove, and stir it in the hot oil for a minute.  Add the sliced mushrooms, a dash of salt, and the cayenne pepper, and saute the mushrooms, stirring often, until they release their juice, it cooks away, and the mushrooms are beginning to brown.


Add the mushrooms, the tomatoes, and the potatoes in the broth to the squash mixture.  Lower the heat , cover tightly, and let the stey simmer for about 30 minutes.  The vegetables should be tender, and the potatoes and squash will fall apart around the edges just enough to thisken the juices slightly.  If the mixture seems dry, add a drop of water or wine.


Wash the kale thoroughly, slice it off its stems, and cut the leaves into big pieces.


Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan you used for the mushrooms, and stir the rest of the garlic in it for a minute.  Add the kale and toss it with the garlic and oil and a little salt just until it wilts, then stir it into the stew.



Add the cider vinegar, honey, and soy sauce to the stew and turn up the flame.  Stir everything together for a few minutes as the juices cook down a little and form a glaze.


Taste, correct the seasoning with more salt or pepper if needed, and serve on big deep plates, with couscous or any rice pilaf. Enjoy!


Serves 6 – 8

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts Chiffonade

Have I told you that I love Brussels sprouts?  Yes, I know, probably every time I post a Brussels sprout recipe.  I can’t help it, I love these little guys.  I think it started with the dollhouse aspect; they are the just the right size to be cabbages for Barbie dolls.  Growing them, however, continues to elude me; my plants may look healthy, but have never sprouted the spikes of sprouts.


So, I may not grow them, but they are a regular visitor to my kitchen in the fall and early winter.  The best secret about Brussels sprouts is that when they are cooked just right, Brussels sprouts are actually quite sweet. And this recipe does just that, it makes a wonderfully sweet side dish.  It is from a delightful little cookbook I found, The Gatrokid Cookbook by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans.  It is filled with recipes that bring out both great flavors and textures in foods.


Sauteed Brussels Sprouts Chiffonade

from The Gastrokids Cookbook (my notes on the recipe are in parentheses)

Olive oil (1 – 2 Tbsp)

4 cups Brussels Sprouts, sliced thin

A couple cloves garlic, chopped (from the garden)

Salt (Kosher)

Freshly ground black pepper

Water or stock (about 1/4 – 1/2 cup)

Fresh lemon juice (just a splash)


Add some olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the Burssels sprouts, garlic, and some salt and pepper and cook until it’s a bit caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes.


Add a bit of water or stock.  Simmer over medium heat until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer (shorter is better), the color should remain vibrant.  If you cook until the color goes drab, it’s gone too far, the sweetness diminishes and that nasty sulfury taste begins.  It’s okay if they are a bit al dente.  You’ll be surprised by the sweetness.  Add a spritz of lemon juice to balance flavor if you feel like it. (Be careful not to add to much, really just a touch).


Serves 4

Categories: Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas, Sauteed Greens, Feta and Couscous

I love volunteers in my garden!  In this case I mean plant volunteers, but human volunteers are always welcome!

The volunteer I am referring to was a spaghetti squash.  I only planted butternut squash this year, but a variety of squashes grew in both the garden and the compost pile, babies from last years crop.


Last year I made a nice side dish, spaghetti squash with honey and feta.  This dish is related to that one, but uses the squghetti squash as the featured item in the main dish.  It is an adaptation of the Smitten Kitchen’s Moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash, using some of her suggestions and some of my own.


To be honest, when I first made it and tasted the spiced spaghetti squash alone, I wasn’t sure about it, it didn’t seem all that flavorful.  But once all the ingredients were added together, it was a treat to eat and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas, Sauteed Greens, Feta and Couscous

1 (3.5-4 lb) spaghetti squash (from the garden)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced (from the garden)

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp cayenne

3/4 tsp salt

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbsp olive oil

10 oz greens (I used a mix of spinach and kale)

4 oz feta, crumbled

1 cup couscous, preferably whole wheat

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Remove and discard the seeds. Place face-down on an oiled baking pan or sheet.  Cook for 40 minutes.


Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is just golden.  Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.


Cook the couscous according to package directions.  Fluff with a fork.

Scrape the spaghetti squash pulp into a large bowl, separating the strands as they are removed.


If there is a lot of moisture in the bottom of the bowl, place the spaghetti qhash in a colander to drain some of it off.  Then, toss with the spiced butter and the chickpeas.


Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the greens and a dash of salt and saute til just wilted (only a minute or 2).  Remove from heat.

For each serving, place couscous in the bottom of a shallow bowl or on a plate.  Top with 1/4 of the greens and 1/4 of the spaghetti squash mixture.  Pass the feta for  people to add at their place.  Enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Persian Macaroni (Spaghetti with Meat Sauce)

On my first trip to Iran, my sister-in-law took a break from traditional Persian food and made macaroni for dinner one night.  It was a cross between the very americanized spaghetti  my mother made and persian flavorings.  It was just a great comfort food, but quite tasty.  Just don’t think “Italian”.


I recently found a recipe for Persian macaroni, complete with Tah Dig (the wonderful crunchy crust) on  This is a slight variation on that recipe.  I made it and after declaring that he wouldn’t like it because there was meat in it, Cam wolfed down a large portion.


It in not a quick dish, all in all, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes.  But I guess that is considered “fast” for a Persian dish.

I think you could make this vegetarian by using soy granules, but this is one dish that I think really needs the beef.

Persian Macaroni

Adapted from

2 Tbsp canola oil, separated

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

1/3 tsp turmeric

1-lb extra lean ground beef

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

15-oz can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand

16-oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1-lb spaghetti

1-2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley (from the garden) (I skipped it this time in deference to Cam)


In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of oil and saute onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add turmeric, stir and continue cooking another minute or two.


Add beef; brown and break into small pieces. Drain excess fat. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and water.


Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes shorter than package directions for al dente (the pasta will continue to cook when combined with the sauce).  Drain pasta and rinse (without rinsing the pasta will clump together before the next step).


In a non-stick pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil.  Add a pinch of turmeric and swirl to coat the bottom evenly.  Add a layer of spaghetti, then a layer of the meat sauce.


Repeat several times, ending with sauce.


Cover tightly and cook on medium-low for 40-50 minutes.  The longer it cooks, the thicker the tah dig, but you also risk burning it.

To serve, scoop out the pasta and sauce into a serving bowl.


Gently remove the tah dig.


Top with parsley and serve with a piece of tah dig.


Serves 6.





Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Persian, Recipe | 3 Comments

Sweet Potato Baked Ziti

Welcome to my world of experimenting with sweet potatoes.  Stews, ravioli, latkes, casseroles, cassoulets…why not baked ziti?


The sweet potatoes added a nice bright flavor to the ricotta cheese.  I could have eaten the cheese mixture by itself – really, taste it when you mix the sweet potatoes and cheese, you’ll see what I mean.


Adding the sweet potatoes means more sauce is needed.  I thought I had compensated enough, but more sauce was needed.  We solved this by heating and passing additional sauce, but next time I may add more sauce to the ziti itself. I have noted both approaches in the recipe.


Since I was mashing the sweet potato, this was a good recipe to use some of the “ugly” odd sized sweet potatoes.


I have been a bit obsessed with sweet potato dishes this week.  I think I need to force myself to make other foods before we all turn orange.

Sweet Potato Baked Ziti

1 lb sweet potato (from the garden)

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

15-oz container of part-skim ricotta cheese

1 lb ziti

2 24-oz jars of marinara or other sauce (or home-made)

4 – 6 oz mozzarella, grated.


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the ziti according to package directions.  Drain, but do not rinse.

Meanwhile, prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork.  Place on a microwave safe dish and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes or until soft (cooking time will vary depending upon the size of your sweet potatoes).  Let cool, then scrape out the insides of the potatoes into a mixing bowl.  Mash with garlic and salt and pepper to taste.


Mix in the ricotta.  (Taste this mixture, it is yummy)


In a large flat casserole (or 9×13 pan), mix the warm pasta with the cheese/sweet potato mixture.


Stir in 1 or 2 jars of sauce.  Top with the grated mozzarella.


Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.


Serve.  If you only used 1 jar of sauce, heat the remaining jar and pass it for adding at the table.  Enjoy!


Serves 8.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Fall Harvest Cassoulet

Emily was home after a food-filled Thanksgiving with her grandparents.  She was complaining about feeling stuffed and gaining weight, so I wanted to make a healthy, tasty vegetarian dinner using some of the sweet potatoes from my garden to get her off to a good start this month.


Aside from the sweet potatoes, I had Brussels sprouts and celery in the fridge and cans of tomatoes and cannellini beans in the pantry. I was all set to play around with (adapt) a recipe I had for a french harvest cassoulet from Sur la Table.  In addition to my other changes, I  added feta cheese as a topping, which we all agreed was a very positive touch (although I guess the addition of feta might make this no longer a cassoulet).


Fall Harvest Cassoulet

Adapted from Sur la Table 

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 doz. Brussels sprouts, cut in 1/2 if small, 1/4 if large

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (from the garden)

1 onion, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, sliced (from the garden)

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cans cannellini beans, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved

1/2 tsp thyme (from the garden)

2 bay leaves

Feta cheese for topping.


Heat oven to 400F.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  Add vegetables, salt and pepper and cook about 8 minutes, or until soft.  Mix in garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Mix in the tomatoes, beans, bean liquid, thyme and bay leaves.


Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove cover and cook another 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.


Remove bay leaves and serve.


Sprinkle with feta and enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Savory Caprese Bread

Fresh basil from the garden, sun-dried tomatoes from last year’s harvest, olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella – sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Now put them all in a bread…oh my!


I doubled the recipe to make one to eat and one to share.  That worked very well.


This bread can be a meal in itself (and we have used it as such), but it would be fantastic with a big salad!

Savory Caprese Bread
1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of bread flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp of salt
3 1/2 to 4 oz of cubed, fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tbs of chopped fresh basil (from the garden)
1/3 cup of chopped sun-dried-tomatoes (not packed)
2 eggs (form Farmer Kim)
2 1/2 tbs grape-seed oil (I used the extra-virgin olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×4 inch bread pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add the basil, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes to the four and mix until all incorporated.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and buttermilk.


Pour the liquids into the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well combined. (The dough will be sticky.)

Transfer the dough into the bread pan and spread it evenly.
Bake for 40-45 minutes (until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)


Let cool a bit and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.20130913-212412.jpg

Slice and enjoy!


Makes 1 loaf.

Categories: Bread, Kosher, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Sweet Potato Latkes

For anyone who has not had enough sweet potato casserole, here are some latkes that are perfect for you. These sweet potato latkes are less savory than most of the latkes I make, so they are best as a snack or side dish.  We had them with applesauce, but I was really tempted to melt some marshmallows on top just for fun.


To make them, I got to one of the large sweet potatoes form my garden, and that always makes me happy.


I am not sure where I found the original version of this recipe, I have adapted it slightly to our taste.  This recipe makes about 10 latkes, but can easily be doubled or tripled if needed.

Sweet Potato Latkes

1 lb sweet potato, from the garden

1-2 Tbsp matzoh meal or flour

1-2 eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

safflower oil for frying


Peel and grate the sweet potato.  Wrap in cheesecloth or a dishtowel and squeeze out the excess liquid.


Beat the egg(s) and add one at a time, mixing well.  Add the matzoh meal/flour and baking powder.  Add the spices and salt.


Mix well.


Heat oil in a non-stick skillet until hot.  Shape the latkes into 2-inch diameter patties and put in the oil.  Cook until browned and flip.

Cook the other side until browned.


Drain on paper towels.  Serve and enjoy!


Serves 2-3.

Categories: Hanukah, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

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