Monthly Archives: May 2014

Baked Beans with Swiss Chard

Today was the day to thin the carrots, leeks and parsnips.

It was the day to pick the first strawberries and watch my son devour them.

It was the day to pick some cauliflower  and swiss chard.

…Today was a good day to cook from the garden.


Baked beans with swiss chard and smoked turkey.  Who thought this one up?  Of course my friends in Food Network Kitchens, who else?  It can be a main dish or a side dish, a lunch or a dinner.  We liked it best with some hot pepper sauce added; it made a really satisfying dinner with home-made rolls and borani esfanaaj (a Persian spinach and yogurt mixture – quite delicious spread on the rolls or as a dip).


As of now, the garden is growing well, everything looks very healthy.  I even found some empty space to add some pumpkin and watermelon plants; those are just for fun, if I get even one pumpkin I will be very happy. The garden has been well watered with our frequent rains.  We escaped unscathed when a tornado and hail storm hit a few miles down the road.

Baked Beans with Swiss Chard

from Food Network Kitchen

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped (from the garden)
1/2 cup diced smoked turkey (about 2 ounces)
1 15 -ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 15 -ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I used 1 can pinto, 1 can kidney beans)
1 15 -ounce can navy beans, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (from my neighbor’s garden)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (from my neighbor’s garden)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 7 minutes.


Add the chard, turkey and 1/4 cup water to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the chard wilts slightly, about 3 minutes.


Add the tomatoes with their juice, increase the heat to medium high and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans, then add the navy beans and their liquid.


Add the parsley, thyme and oregano and return to a simmer. Coarsely mash about one-quarter of the beans in the skillet with a potato masher or fork to thicken the mixture; season with salt.

Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.


Cover and bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes.’


Serve and enjoy!


Serves 6.
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Categories: Main Dish, Recipe, Swiss Chard | Tags: | 4 Comments

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp for Breakfast

It is always a good day when I get to stop at Filaskys Produce in Middletown, DE.  At first I was nervous because they only had a sign up for asparagus; but then I saw them, the beautiful Filasky strawberries!  After a conversation catching up with Cindy Filasky, I walked out with their strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus (and some Woodside Creamery ice cream).


Now it feels like May.


I went home and immediately got to work on the next day’s breakfast – strawberry rhubarb crisp.


But, crisp for breakfast?  Yes, instead of ice cream, I top it with some plain greek yogurt and a touch of honey. What a treat!


Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Adapted from Zoe Francois 


  • 1/2 pound strawberries, cut into slices (from Filaskys Produce)
  • cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch slices (from Filaskys Produce)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar,cornstarch, zest, and ginger.
Place the mixture in a shallow 4-cup baking dish. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
While the fruit mixture is baking, make the crisp topping. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger and butter, until the butter is distributed evenly.
After the fruit has baked for 20 minutes, remove the foil and cover with the crisp topping.
Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes. 


Serve room temperature as a dessert with ice cream or as breakfast with a dollop of greek yogurt and some honey.



Serves 4 – 5



Categories: Breakfast, Dessert, Kosher, Recipe, Strawberries | Tags: | 2 Comments

Potato, Leek & Swiss Chard Hash with Eggs

Cooking from the garden has begun again!  I got home from work and went out to the garden to pick some food for dinner.  Look at my beautiful swiss chard bouquet…


It made a really pretty bunch of sliced chard.


Unfortunately, I am not feeling very well, I am recovering from a spring cold that had knocked me for a loop.  So I was craving eggs, one of my favorite comfort foods.  Add to that some beautiful fingering potatoes that I found at the store…


and I had the ingredients for a fun, cheesy hash with eggs…


Breakfast for dinner, what is more comforting than that?  OK, chicken soup is, but I had soup last night.

Potato, Leek & Swiss Chard Hash with Eggs

1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large leek, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 bunch swiss chard, sliced (from the garden)

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground back pepper

4 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

2 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, grated


Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks.


Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish.  Add the water, cover and steam for 10 – 12 minutes, until tender.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes, until tender.


Add the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes start to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the paprika and stir.

Add the swiss chard and seasonings, stir constantly and cook for 4 more minutes.

Make 4 wells for the eggs.  Crack one egg into each well,


Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Top the eggs with the shredded cheese.


Cover and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, until the egg yolks just begin to firm up.  Divide among 4 plates, serve and enjoy!


Serves 4.




Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Leeks, Main Dish, Recipe, Swiss Chard, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Broccoli, Snap Peas, Snow Peas and Spaghetti with Lime Peanut Sauce

I love asian peanut sauce.  I am always trying to find the perfect version to make at home.  I had made one I was happy with for my Noodles with Zucchini and Carrots with Peanut Sauce.  But I have found a sauce I like even better – from Ellie Krieger’s Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce.  This may be the best one I have tasted.  It is peanutty, but also light.  It is unusual to eat a peanut sauce dish and be able to call it “refreshing”.


I picked the broccoli from the garden.  I am so happy to be able to start using veggies from my garden! We had such a short window for the broccoli – as soon as they started to get size on the heads, the weather turned hot and they would start to flower.  I find that I still enjoy using them in the early flowering stage, the flowers themselves are fairly sweet, so I do not worry about them.


By the way, I planted lima beans, green beans, sweet potato, eggplant and basil today.  The garden is fairly complete.  The next vegetable that will be ready to pick is swiss chard.  Probably later this week.

 Ellie Krieger’s Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce

3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups (about 9 ounces) broccoli florets (from the garden)
2 cups (about 6 ounces) snow peas, trimmed
2 cups (about 6 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 scallion, cut into pieces
3/4 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shelled unsalted peanuts


Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. While the pasta is cooking put the broccoli in a steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water and steam it for 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas and steam for 2 minutes more.


Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until they become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set them aside to cool, then chop them. (I used unsalted roasted peanuts in the shell, so all I had to do was shell them and chop them).


Make the sauce by pureeing the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, scallion, ginger, sugar and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender until smooth.


Right before serving, toss the pasta with 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce.



Divide into 6 serving bowls and top each serving with the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle the peanuts on top and serve. Enjoy!


Serves 4 – 6.








Categories: Broccoli, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

I am getting impatient for spring produce from my garden!

I have been craving sugar snap peas, so I broke down and bought some at a local farm market.


They were so tasty raw – sweet and juicy – that it was difficult to get myself to actually cook them.  But I really wanted to try out a recipe for roasted sugar snap peas that I had found.

My 5 year old is a snap pea purist, so I saved some raw for him for with his dinner, but the rest of us were treated to some tasty roasted snap peas with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Now I REALLY can’t wait until my snap peas start producing (still a few weeks off, I planted them really late).  I am hoping they do produce, they may not since it is getting very warm very quickly.  That would make me sad indeed.

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

Very slightly adapted from Rachael Ray’s Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Black Pepper

1 pound sugar snap peas
Olive oil, to coat
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Coat the snap peas lightly with olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.


Season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast until browned at the edges but still with some bite left to them, 10 to 12 minutes.

Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!


Serves 4.


Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Big Reds – Strawberry Muffins

While I was away from home for the strawberry harvest last year, my oldest, Arielle, was home, tending the garden.  As usual, we had a bumper crop of strawberries.  As one person with a lot of strawberries, she tried various uses for them.  She dried them, she made strawberry bread, and she decided to make my blueberry muffin recipe, “Big Blues”, as “Big Reds”.  She froze a few, so I was able to taste them after we came home.  I have to say, I think Big Reds are even better than Big Blues!


But since Arielle is not a food blogger, she did not visually document every step, so the post has had to wait until this year to be posted. My strawberry patch needed to be replanted, so my harvest will be smaller and the strawberries are not ready yet…


so I used strawberries I bought at a local orchard instead.


They came out great, especially when they are warm with a good dollop of chocolate hazelnut sauce (shown with Nutella, but I also use a dark chocolate hazelnut sauce I brought back from Israel).


A note – I have been using reusable silicone muffin cups instead of paper liners for muffins – I am very happy with them.


Big Reds

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1/2 cup milk

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups strawberries, chopped (from the garden)


Preheat oven to 350F

Mix together all ingredients except the strawberries.


Gently fold in the strawberries.


Pour batter into muffin tins, either lined with silicone or paper cups or sprayed with oil.


Bake 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.





Makes 1 dozen.


Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Strawberries, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Hummus with Za’atar and Garden Update

Today was a day of working in the garden – weeding and laying paper mulch.  Things are coming along nicely…

Carrots and parsnips have sprouted well.



The spinach is growing.


Kale has finally sprouted.


The swiss chard is ready for its first picking.


And even the cauliflower is on its way.


Laying the paper mulch was more tedious than usual this year.  I planted in narrower rows, so I had to cut the mulch roll lengthwise, sometimes into thirds.  That just took more time and it was hot outside. So when it was time for a snack, I went for some hummus, but I did not want plain hummus (looks pretty boring doesn’t it?).


I am still missing the flavors of Israel and simply adding a touch of good olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar makes all the difference.  The hummus becomes a flavor treat.


Za’atar is condiment made from the dried herb(s) (such as oregano, thyme and savory), mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, as well as other spices. To say it is very popular in the Middle East is an understatement.

So, my snack was a great way to get set for more time out in the garden 🙂








Categories: Kosher, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds

It is time to use two of the ingredients I brought back from Israel:  Dates and Almonds.


I have been eating both with my breakfast – greek yogurt with almonds and fresh fruit, with a date and a fig on the side.  But here was my opportunity to make them the stars at dinner-time… Yotam Ottolenghi’s spinach salad with dates and almonds from his Jerusalem cookbook. Pretty fitting given the origin of my dates and almonds.


The other star of this salad is sumac.  My husband brought sumac into my life with Persian cooking, now it is one of my favorite flavors.  I just wish I could capture the deep red of the spice better.


Pita is used to make the croutons for the salad.  I did not have any pita in the house, so I used flatbread.  The flatbread worked fairly well, so I would use either in the future.


For the crouton mixture, the flatbread and almonds are toasted in butter and olive oil, then seasoned with sumac, chili flakes and salt – this was out of this world!


Add to this, fresh baby spinach and the dates, which were marinated in vinegar with red onion and the resulting salad is phenomenal! I can say this since Ottolenghi came up with it, not me; but really, it is utterly delicious!  If you can get some good Medjool dates and almonds – do this, you won’t be sorry.

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds

from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook

1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 ounces dates (100 grams), preferably Medjool, pitted and quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small pitas (about 3 1/2 ounces, or 100 grams), roughly torn into 1 1/2 -inch pieces (I used 2 flatbreads)
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds (75 grams), coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
5 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves (150 grams)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Put vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard.


Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add pita and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until pita is golden. Add almonds and continue cooking until pita is crunchy and browned and almonds are toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes more.


Remove from heat and mix in sumac, chile flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.


When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with pita mix in a large mixing bowl.


Add dates and red onion, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.  Enjoy!


Serves 4 to 6 .
Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Pan-Charred Asparagus with Walnuts

It was Cam’s 5th birthday and we were going to have a meal of kid favorites – chicken nuggets, Mexican rice, and cupcakes.


For my husband and I, it just was not going to be satisfying, so I added charred asparagus to the menu.  Asparagus is one of the few green vegetables Cam will not eat, but it is in season and we love it. Still can’t get enough of it.


I have had walnut oil waiting for a good use, so the asparagus was tossed with walnut oil, lemon juice, salt and then sprinkled with some chopped walnuts.  Yum!!  We actually both finished off the asparagus before I even began plating the rest of the food.


Charred Asparagus with Walnuts

Adapted from Cooking Light

Olive oil cooking spray

1/2 – 1 lb asparagus, cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces, thicker asparagus works best for this (Fifer Orchards)

 1 1/2 tsp walnut oil

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp chopped walnuts


Heat a large heavy skillet (not non-stick) over high heat for 2 minutes.

 Coat pan with cooking spray. Immediately add the asparagus in a single layer.


Cook, without stirring for 2 minutes, or until lightly charred.


Flip the asparagus and cook, tossing occasionally, another 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender and even charred.  


Remove from pan.  Toss with walnut oil, lemon juice and salt.


Sprinkle with nuts.  Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serves 2 – 4.








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Cinnamon Toast Pancakes

My boys helped me prepare the garden for the second round of planting. When I returned from my trip, I was happy to see that my plants and seedlings had mostly survived the frost.  The garden is now ready for the main season plantings of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and the rest.


I made cinnamon toast pancakes as a treat to reward us for our work in the dirt.  This recipe comes from Daphne Oz.  I made a very slight modification to at a sprinkling on cinnamon sugar to the pancakes while they cook.


These pancakes use separated eggs, with the whites beaten stiff and then folded in.  This made them very fluffy…quite nice.


Cinnamon Toast Pancakes

very slightly adapted from Daphne Oz

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

2 Eggs; separated (from Farmer Kim)

1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter; melted

Non-Stick Cooking Spray or Butter; for greasing

Mixture of cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling


Preheat a griddle to medium-high.

Whisk together the Almond Milk and Egg Yolks, and melted butter.


In a large bowl, whisk together the Flours, Spices, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Stir in the Almond Milk mixture, making sure not to over mix.


In a clean bowl, whip the Egg Whites to stiff peaks.


Fold into the batter.


Grease the griddle with non-stick spray or butter. Ladle 3 ounces of batter onto griddle, making sure to leave space for spreading. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.


Allow batter to cook until edges are mostly dry and bubbles have popped on top. Flip and continue to cook for 1 more minute or until golden.


Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm while preparing remaining pancakes.  Serve with maple syrup. enjoy!



Serves 4.

Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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