Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! Don't Forget The Sock of Colcannon!

I'm part Irish and I was a goth kid, so Halloween is kinda a big deal for me.  I will always dress up and go somewhere, no matter how old I get.  But another tradition is always whipping up a big batch of colcannon, because it's just the Irish thing to do...and it's an excuse to eat potato product.  Colcannon is mashed potatoes that become a vehicle for cabbage, leeks, chives, and lots and lots of butter.  There's really no magical reason why the Irish traditionally made colcannon for Halloween other than it's made with ingredients that are in season and plentiful right now.  However, legend says that, for all  you single ladies, if you stuff a sock with colcannon into a sock and hang it on your front door tonight, it will bring love your way.  It may also bring stray animals, but hey mashed potatoes in a sock might actually be less crazy than most of the attempts we make to try and attract love.

So enjoy this most spooky of nights, and fuel your inner ghoul with our oldie but a goodie recipe for colcannon!


Stewed Collard Greens, Kenyan Style: Sukuma Wiki

A few weeks ago I mentioned in the Crop Share spoiler e-mail that I'd be posting my results of a big Kenyan feast I was cooking up, as that was how I planned to use up the last of that delicious sweet corn.  I did make the feast, but I'm just now getting around to the blogging part.  Ah well, I run on Irish time!

Wait, so what's this Youngstown born, Irish American gal doing making a Kenyan feast and getting all misty eyed over the dishes?  Isn't Kenyan cuisine thin on the ground in NE Ohio and in Ireland?  It is, but I was blessed to be able to fall in love with these flavors in Nairobi, Kenya.  To make a very long, and very awesome story short...there was a man from Nairobi named Mo Amin, who was one of the most influential photojournalists of the 70s, 80s and early 90s (remember the NBC Nightly News segment in 1984 on the Ethiopian famine that spawned USA For Africa, We Are The World, Live Aid and Band Aid -- that was Mo's footage).  There was another man named John from Youngstown, OH, who was one of the pioneers in upper limb prosthetic technology.  John also had a curious, adventurous, ginger-haired little girl named Tara.  The three of them met due to an ammunitions depot explosion and a stray missile in Ethiopia.  Thanks to John's expertise, Mo was able to go back to work doing what he did best, and thanks to Mo, John and his family had their lives changed forever, especially little Tara.  Finally in 1995, they got to visit Mo in Nairobi and thus 13 year old Tara's love affair with the flavors of Kenya was born.

There is way more awesomeness to the story, and even more tears because in '96 I lost my friend and mentor when the Ethiopian Airways flight he was on was hijacked and crashed off the Seychelles.  Maybe it's solely due to Mo, but despite only spending about a month in Kenya, it has remained a place I will get legitimately homesick for.  But there is something magical about that country, and while Mo was hands down the most incredible person I've ever met, I know he's not the sole reason why there are times my heart just aches to be back there.  And until I finally sat down to do some serious research on some of my most beloved dishes from my time there, my stomach has been aching for nearly 20 years for those foods!  But oh thanks to the magic of some collards, white corn meal, corn, beans, and then a delicious curried beef stew, I got to transport myself and the Mister to Kenya for an evening.  And yes, I cried with the very first bite.  I'm a total foodie sap.

So since collards have made their way into this week's Crop Share, I give you two of my favorite dishes...sukuma wiki and ugali.  There's a reason why "sukuma wiki" is Swahili for "stretch the week" because you will have a mountain of greens...dare I say a Mount Kilimanjaro of greens!

Stewed Collard Greens, Kenyan Style: Sukuma Wiki

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 bundle collard greens, rough chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes
1-2 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan.  Add in onions and saute until translucent.  Toss in greens, and you'll likely  have to do this in stages to allow them to wilt down and make room for the rest.  Once greens have wilted down to make enough room, stir in tomatoes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Add in water or stock, and simmer on low for about an hour.  Season with salt & pepper to taste before serving.

To really keep it traditional, serve with ugali (big ball of awesome in the center of the photo below).

The ugali, which is just cooked white corn meal, is the vehicle you use to sop up and scoop up all the loveliness on your plate.  Just bring 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil, then stir in 2 cups of finely ground white corn meal (if you have trouble finding it, check the Hispanic food section of your grocery or head to a Hispanic market, as white while corn meal/masa for arepas is exactly what you'll need).  Reduce heat right away lest you want to be pelted with bubbling corn meal.  Then stir off and on for about 10 minutes until the ugali pulls from the sides of the pan and begins to form a ball in the pan.  You'll think its done much earlier, but trust me, you need 10 minutes, as you want to get a bit of a crisp on the outside. Not a burn, just a light crisp.  Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.  Then wet your hands with water, pull out a hunk of the ugali and roll into a ball the size of your palm to place on each dish.  It actually does reheat well, so if you're only cooking for 1 or 2, you'll be able to stash the rest away and eat it as you go through the week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pin It, Just Pin It!

Clearly all this talk about beets has led me to start singing "Beat It" and now it's morphed into "Pin It."  After midnight is when my brain tends to descend into madness.  It also means that recipe blogging becomes a very, very bad idea lest I fall asleep in the middle of a post and not wake up until 4 am face down on my laptop...again.  So since the Mister is no longer on the night shift and we're enjoying actually being able to spend time together, I didn't get to posting till much later into this evening.  Ah well!

But while you wait for additional Crop Share recipe inspiration, for all of you pinners, get to pinning!  Did you know Nalls Produce is on Pinterest?  Indeed we are!  And along with a bunch of gardening boards, we have a whole series of boards dedicated to each seasonal round of Crop Share.  So be sure to regularly stop and check out our Fall Crop Share Recipes board for more Fall cooking inspiration.  And those of you who send us your Crop Share photos or tag us on Instagram with #onlyatnalls, your photos eventually make their way to our CropShareLove board.  So, from now on when you're faffing about late at night on Pinterest, you can use the excuse that you're just doing Crop Share research.

Happy pinning!

Laying Down Some Rad...ish Beets!

This week we're hitting you with beets and radishes.  Okay, we're not literally going to hit you with them, but for those of you who are cringing over either or both of these veggies, you may be feeling like this is a human rights violation.  Thankfully, they are much more versatile than things that get sliced and placed on a sad, side salad.

So here are two sweet treat takes on radishes and beets, one a healthy and detoxifying smoothie, and the other...cupcakes, awesome Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Because everything is better with cream cheese frosting.  And the cupcakes are vegan, so really they're practically a health food.

Rawkin Radish Smoothie via Young and Raw

Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes Made With Beets via Je Suis Alimentageuse

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Juice It Up!

So this Monday I had the pleasure of partnering with Pat Backe of Senior Fall Prevention and Kingstowne Pilates to host a Juicing With Greens workshop at the Kingstowne Center for Active Adults.  It was a fantastic class with lots of hilarity (a juiced apple spurting across the room) and extreme randomness (ginger root pilfering), but the juices that Pat whipped up for all of us were fantastic.  So since much of the ingredients focused on seasonal items that we're all getting right now, I thought I'd share the two recipes from Monday with you.  If you don't have a juicer, you can still use a blender to make these items, though I'd recommend peeling the items first, and just know that they won't be as smooth and pulp free as if you were using a juicer.  But no matter what equipment you have, just be sure to wash all of your fruits and vegetables well beforehand.

ABC (Apple-Beet-Carrot) Juice

Serves 1

1 apple (we used Suncrisp)
2 beets
3 large carrots
1" knob of ginger, peeled
Handful of kale, spinach or even toss in the beet greens

Kale-Aid Juice

Serves 1-2

5 large kale leaves
1-2 cucumbers
1 lemon, peeled
1 apple (we used Suncrisp)
1" knob of ginger, peeled (for more kick add 2 or 3 pieces of ginger)
1-2 large celery ribs

For both recipes, wash your ingredients well, then cup them up as needed to fit through the chute of your juicer or to make blending easier.  Juice the ingredients in the order they're listed and serve immediately with or without ice.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Broccoli Blitz

I probably get way more excited than I should when we get broccoli in the Crop Share, but so many of my current favorite dishes are chock full of this cruciferous veg.  So here's the recipes that have been in heavy rotation in my kitchen every single time broccoli comes my way!

Homemade Take-Away: Beef with Broccoli

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Sausage & Hot Peppers

Szechauan Noodles with Cabbage & Broccoli

Baked Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

Spicy Chicken & Broccoli via Tash's Noshes

Sausage & Pumpkin Pasta

Don't get too excited, there won't be any pie pumpkins in this week's Crop Share, but I suspect some of you still have your pie pumpkin sitting around just begging to be turned into something yummy.  Either that any of the hard squash you've received, like the butternut, acorn or this week's carnival squash can be used in place of pumpkin.  Just follow the same basic steps for making your own pumpkin puree whether you're using any type of pumpkin or hard squash (just not spaghetti squash, too sinewy).  But this dish is our absolute Fall go-to meal!  Not only is it quick and easy, but holy mother of pearl it is goooooooooood!  Kind of makes me want to hoard pumpkin puree so that I can make this dish in August, because every time I make it I wonder why I haven't been making this every single week.  So if you enjoy all things pumpkin, prepare to fall in love with this pasta!

Sausage & Pumpkin Pasta


1 box pasta (farfalle or rotini work best, and I use Bio Naturae gluten free rotini)
6 links hot Italian-style turkey sausage (casing removed and crumbled)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup pumpkin puree, or puree of other like hard squash (make your own!)
1 1/4 tsp dried, rubbed sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Cook pasta to package directions.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in crumbled sausage and onion.  Once sausage begins to brown add in garlic.  Once sausage is cooked through and browned on the outsides, deglaze pan with chicken broth and wine.  Bring liquid to a light simmer and stir in pumpkin, sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cook for an additional minute or two, just enough to thoroughly heat the pumpkin.  Remove from  heat and stir in parsley.  Toss with pasta to serve.

A Carnival of Squash!

I love, love, love, carnival squash, so I'm really excited we're getting in the Crop Share this week.  The taste is really no different from an acorn squash, but this squash is called carnival and it's all painted up in fun ways, so really it's a party on your plate.  Clearly, I'm easily amused.  So while you can use any of our stuffed squash recipes (Sausage & Apple Acorn Squash or Chorizo & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash), another amazing way to prepare these types of squash is to slice them up into about inch thick slices and bake them with a buttery sweet glaze.  I love to use maple syrup, as it will caramelize a bit on the tops of the slices.  Basically you're turning that squash into pancakes, delicious, healthy, veggie pancakes!

Roasted Maple Carnival Squash 


1 carnival squash, halved, seeded and sliced into 1" thick slices
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I use Earth Balance margarine for dairy-free)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon (for a bit more savory flavor, mix up a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin to evenly sprinkle over the squash)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss squash slices in melted butter and arrange evenly in one single layer on a baking sheet.  Season with cinnamon or other spices, then drizzle maple syrup over the top of the squash.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until squash is soft.  If you really want to get some caramelization on the top, then turn the broiler onto high and broil the squash until it begins to bubble and brown a bit on the tops.  But keep an eye on it as it can quickly go from caramelized to incinerated.

Great as a side dish for roast poultry.

Spaghetti Squash with Carrot Top Pesto via Crop Share Member Deanna Freedlander

When Deanna sent me this recipe I was equal parts excited because I love it when folks use something that most people just discard as kitchen scraps and turn it into a dish, but also because this is further proof that CARROT TOPS ARE GREEN!  You don't have a red or ginger pesto, nope pesto is always green and so is this one because so are carrot tops.  Why the angst you ask?  Just ask little Tara...

Okay, yes, that is a wig, but what lies beneath it pretty much made it look like my head was on fire...especially since this is the era where my Mama thought it was a great idea to perm my already kinky, Celtic hair.  Think Merida from Brave, and you get the idea.  And for those of you have seen the unbridled Celtic afro running around at Nalls, then you know what I mean.  So yes, this oft teased, proud ginger is stating for the record that not only is this pesto dish from Deanna amazing, but it's further proof that the monkier "carrot top" is utter silliness...unless I'm queasy, and then I actually am green.

Spaghetti Squash with Carrot Top Pesto

Prepare the spaghetti squash by cutting, seeding, baking and shredding  **SAVE THE SEEDS

Bake the seeds to use in the Pesto instead of Pine Nuts.

2-3 Tbsp of baked squash seeds
2-3 garlic cloves
   *whir in food processor for about 10 seconds
1 Cup of cleaned and rough chopped carrot tops ( no stems)
   *whir in food processor for about 10 seconds with seeds and garlic
1 tsp Sea Salt
Olive OIl (about 5-6 Tbsp)

Continue pulsing ingredients as you drizzle olive oil into the food proceessor.  Add enough Olive Oil to get a good pesto consistency.

Mix Pesto with warm spaghetti squash.  EAT!

For those in the crop share program, this was a fantastic box of veggies and this was considered delicious by all in my household.  The carrot tops give the pesto a different, but very satisfying taste from basil.

Deanna Freedlander  (A crop-share lover)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Asian Salmon Bowls with Spinach

Oh salmon, how I love thee!  Especially when it comes with a sticky sweet glaze.  These salmon bowls are one of our favorite go-to weeknight meals, so we will hoard salmon when it's on deal.  Everything in this dish is in perfect balance, and all the healthy fats from the salmon and iron in the spinach gives it all an extra boost of awesome.  And for you beer lovers, this may be a fish dish, but it is fantastic with a nice dark beer (gluten-free foodies, e-mail me at for my GF beer recommendation list, or just to generally weep and whine that Guinness can never grace our lips again).  I've talked a lot about booze this week, haven't I?  I swear, I'm really not a lush!  Despite my Irishness, I've become such a lightweight to the point I'm a one and one drink girl.  Ask the Mister, it's not a pretty sight after 2 drinks.  Somewhere my ancestors are rolling over in their graves.

Asian Salmon Bowls


1 cup jasmine rice
2 tsp unsalted butter (or Earth Balance margarine for dairy-free)
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup or local honey
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman's wheat-free soy)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water
4 salmon fillets (4 oz each), skin removed
1 tsp olive oil
1 bundle spinach (say no more to gritty spinach with our handy spinach washing tips)
2 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare rice according to package directions (1 cup uncooked to get 2 cups cooked).

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add in garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.  Add in maple syrup or honey, lime juice, and soy sauce. Cook until mixture is syrupy and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water, and then stir that into the sweet and spicy glaze.  Cook for an additional minute to allow sauce to thicken.

Place salmon fillets on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush each fillet with 1-2 tsp of the glaze, and roast for 12 minutes at 400.

While salmon is roasting, in a skillet, heat your oil over medium high heat.  Add in spinach and saute until wilted.  Toss in a teaspoon of the glaze and a dash of sesame seeds.  Remove from heat.

Divide rice among 4 bowls (or 2 for serving and package up the rest for tomorrow's lunches), then evenly top with the spinach, and add 1 filet of salmon to each serving.  Drizzle with remaining sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

Cropshare Member Guestpost: Louise B's Squash-Cauliflower Soup

I ate cauliflower, but it was delicious because it wasn’t cauliflower

So, I’m taking a crack at this – once upon a time in a land far, far away (Richmond) my husband (CRB) and I had a blog of places we went to eat there were amazing, but that stopped when we moved to Herndon exactly four years ago (now we’re in Alexandria) and our lives haven’t been right-side-up since!  But, through four years of insanity, we have maintained one thing – our undeniable adulation for eating delicious things. My boss loves to say, “I eat to live, but you clearly live to eat.” And that we do!

So when I joined the crop share I was excited, but I was dismayed to find out that cauliflower was in our first crate. I looked at CRB and said “Really? I think I made a mistake.” He laughed and told me it would be fine. Then he went to play with the dog (our 1-year old Yorkie, Pickles), so I figured I had to make a plan for this cruciferous crime against yum. We’ve been experimenting (gently, because I have nut allergies) with paleo-type meals, and I found this recipe below, which hides the fact that cauliflower is even there. It masks it and uses it as a thickener, which I must say, is what it’s AMAZING for! My husband did nearly remove one of his digits chopping the squash (while I languished in bed until about 11 am on a Saturday…aaah, the joys of marrying an early bird), so I recommend checking out Tara’s blog on dissecting the butternut squash to remove the “honey, do you think this is bad enough for a doctor or can we just staple it back together?” discussion from your life. And no, I’m not kidding about the staple comment. He’s done that. Sigh.

Louise B's Squash-Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 butternut squash, cubed
2 acorn squashes, cubed
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon raw honey
1-2 teaspoons salt
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
dash of black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients into a slow-cooker and roast on low for at least 8 hours (we did it for 24 because we kept forgetting to eat it. Or maybe I kept forgetting to remind him to eat it…maybe). Stir every so often to rotate the ingredients. When done, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree everything. Enjoy!

This had me looking at him saying “did we forget to put cauliflower in here? I don’t taste sadness, I taste only happiness!” He rolled his eyes and batted our pup from his lap saying “NO Pickles, this is daddy’s dinner!” So even the dog liked it…still not sure if that’s a compliment, given that he eats leaves and pine needles when we’re not looking. But the hubs loves it, and has loved having it as a leftover in his lunch, so that was good enough for me! I hope you’ll try this and find it to be delicious too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baked Turnip & Potato Pancakes

Whether it's a boxty or a latke, I'm a big supporter of all things potato pancake.  So since I'm not a huge fan of the taste of turnips, I found a great way to disguise them is to throw them in with potato for some savory pancakes.  Turnips are great cubed and roasted, but there's and aftertaste I pick up on that I just can't escape, so masking them this way worked perfect for me.  And unlike most potato cake recipes, these are baked and not fried, so it greatly cuts down on the calories.

Baked Turnip & Potato Pancakes


1/2 lb turnips, peeled and diced into 1/4" cubes
1/2 lb potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 1/2 Tbsp scallions, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten (or 1 egg equivalent of Ener-G Egg Replacer or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese (I use Daiya cheddar shreds for dairy-free)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (any flour of your choosing)
Coarse ground salt & pepper
2 dashes of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a pot of lightly salted boiling water, add in turnips and potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until cubes are fork tender.  Drain off water and then use a hand masher to to mash them up.  You want it more of a rough mash, not a smooth mashed potato consistency, so hand mashing is best.

Stir in scallions, egg, cheese, flour and seasonings, until fully combined.  Take about 1/4 cup portions and pat into patties of even thickness and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Don't crowd your baking sheet, so you'll have to do these in batches like you would with cookies.  Bake each set at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip each pancake and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until each side has crisped and is golden brown.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream for dipping on the side.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic & Butter

Let's just say spaghetti squash and I have an unfortunate history.  You see, my senior year in college I was taking this ghastly Flight class taught by a former NASA physicist (I was a political science kid, and as we can all plainly see from current events, those who focus on politics decidedly do NOT excel in maths and sciences), and on my lab days my roommate knew to have a cocktail ready for me when I walked into the apartment.  Yes, the class was really that bad, especially when you never actually took a physics class in your life.  So on this one occasion she greeted me with a rather interesting "cocktail" of Crystal Lite and vodka, and not just any vodka, but that Vladimir vodka that comes in the giant plastic jugs and is probably just straight kerosene or distilled windshield washer fluid. *shudder*  Then to top it all off, she'd made dinner, and it was spaghetti squash with marinara.  Oooo, I'd never had spaghetti squash before but as a vegetarian at the time I was excited for this new veggie to enter my life.  Well, I'm not rightly sure what she did to the squash, because I saw a baking sheet and yet I also saw a pot of water on the stove that looked like it had recently boiled up something.  But what was hiding under the marinara was a gelatinous glob of goo, so methinks it got boiled like pasta.  Eek!  Two sips of the cocktail and maybe 3 bites of the squash travesty and it was coming back up to greet me.  So needless to say, dinner was over and I avoided spaghetti squash for years.

But fear not, when done right, it is amazing!  One of the most common and tastiest preparations is to slice the squash in half lengthwise, and then pour olive oil or melted butter on each half and season with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon, before baking till golden brown.  But if you're looking for something a little less sweet and a little more savory, or even something that can serve as the base for an entree, then doing a simple garlic and butter preparation is the way to go.  This would be great tossed with some sauteed chicken to turn it into a full meal, or simply use it as an alternative to a pasta side dish.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic & Butter


1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp butter (or Earth Balance margarine for dairy-free)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley or basil, minced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (or Go Veggie! vegan parm for dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pierce the squash a few times to allow for ventilation, and then place whole on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until a paring knife can easily be inserted.  Set aside and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Once squash is cooled, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed portion.  Then using a fork, scrape out the flesh so you have stringy "noodles".  If it's hard to scrape, place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or more until the squash will easily shred with a fork.  Set shredded squash aside and discard skin.

In a skillet, heat butter over medium high heat.  Add in garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Toss in shredded squash, parsley and seasonings, and toss to evenly coat.  After about a minute, add in your parm and toss to fully incorporate.  Cook for an additional minute and then remove from heat to serve.

Spice Roasted Carrot Fries

Maybe because my Grammy always made the best homemade french fries, but I'm obsessed with anything in french fry form.  So last season when we started getting things like carrots and parsnips I thought, "I'm gonna turn these into fries...spiced fries!"  Bascially, I no longer wish to eat carrots any other way after trying out these beauties.  So if you're looking for a less starchy alternative to french fries or even sweet potato fries, then give these guys a try.

Spice Roasted Carrot Fries


1 bundle carrots, peeled, ends trimmed and cut into "fries"
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Dash of cayenne powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss carrots in olive oil and spices to evenly coat, and then spread out over a baking sheet so there is no overlap.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, turning carrots mid-way through the bake time for even browning.

Works great for sweet potatoes and also parsnips (shown above with the carrots).  And whip up a spicy dipping sauce by giving a few squirts of sriracha into some mayo or veganaise, and whisking until blended and to the heat level you want.  If you're a sriracha fiend, then maybe just add a dollop of mayo to the bottle and you'll be set.  Ha!

Adventures in Cauliflower, Part 2: Pumpkin Chicken Curry over Cauliflower Coconut Sticky "Rice"

Well, it was with much, MUCH, trepidation that I attempted another cauliflower recipe.  I waited over a week to recover from the last experience, and finally got up the courage to give it another go.  Plus, not being able to sleep does lend itself to the kind of randomness needed to tackle this project.  Thankfully, 1 AM is also a great time to make curry (any time is great for curry, but I have a soft spot in my heart for late night pub curry that may or may not have followed inordinate amounts of drink)!  And thanks to new Crop Share member Louise for answering my call for cauliflower recipes and sending me a recipe for Pumpkin Cashew Coconut Curry over Coconut Rice from PaleOMG.  It should be noted that Louise is also not a big fan of cauliflower, so again I say, where are all these cauliflower lovers and their incredible recipes?  Hmmmm???!!
The great thing about the recipe is that it was automatically gluten, dairy & egg free, so no needing to substitute there for our household.  But the cashews had to go, especially since I was the one who discovered the Mister's cashew allergy when I tried to kill him with a cookie one night.  He married me any way.  So what better thing to substitute in to a pumpkin curry than pumpkin seeds!  Thus without further ado, here is my twist on PaleOMG's recipe, and then scroll to the bottom to see if I'm finally sold on the vegetable of doom.

Pumpkin Chicken Curry over Cauliflower Coconut Sticky "Rice"


For the curry:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 1/3 cups reduced fat coconut milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (make your own!)
5 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
salt & pepper to taste (the seeds I had were already salted, so I didn't add any additional salt)

For the "rice":
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 head of cauliflower, rough chopped
pinch salt
2/3 cup reduced fat coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
2 tsp local honey

In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat. Once oil is melted, add in cubes of chicken and garlic.  Once the chicken is white on all sides, add in onion and saute until chicken begins to brown.

Deglaze pan with coconut milk and then stir in pumpkin, mixing well to break up any clumps.  Stir in spices and pumpkin seeds, taste to determine if salt & pepper is needed.  Pull from heat and set pan aside.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender (if using a blender, you'll have to do this in stages) "rice" up the cauliflower until all the chunks are gone.

Heat remaining Tbsp coconut oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Add in riced cauliflower and  pinch of salt, stir and cover to allow cauliflower to steam for about 3 minutes.  Then add in milk, coconut and honey, stirring to fully incorporate.  Reduce heat, replace lid and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until milk is absorbed, taking care to stir a few times to make sure it's not burning on the bottom.

Serve cauliflower rice topped with the pumpkin curry.

Soooooooo, what did I think?  Did this finally sell me on cauliflower or do I possibly hate it even more than I did before. Let's just say after one bite, this was me...

Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down.  And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there.  I'll tell you how I feel in love with cauliflower!

That's right, it's official, it's almost 2 AM and I'm eating a dish with cauliflower all up in it and I LOVE it.  Now, this doesn't mean I'll start eating heads of cauliflower with wild abandon.  But it does mean that if I rice the heck out of it, coconut it up and add honey, then I can turn it into something that doesn't trip the "eww, ick, urgh, cauliflower, I'm dying, ahhhhh!" trigger.  So for those of you like me who've yet to find a preparation that doesn't make your skin crawl, then my friends, THIS is the recipe for you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

As Easy As A.B.C.: Autumn Boozy Cider!

I'm a water, black coffee, and black tea kind of gal.  Yes, I will leave that tea bag (or two, or three) to steep for hours until I have tea-spresso.  The idea of sugar near my beverages makes me cringe and then...October happens.  The minute the calendar flips to my favorite month all I want to do is sit around drinking hot apple cider.  Spiced, un-spiced, spiked, un-spiked, I don't care as long as it has simmered on my stove, filled my whole place with its awesome aroma ,and then likely burnt a layer off my tongue because I'm incapable of letting it cool before I dive in.

So I was super excited when we got mulling spices in store from Halladay's Harvest Barn, especially because they included a sample pack in our order!  Yes, one of the many trials and tribulations of my product samples, and forcing myself to try them.  I know, I'm not sure how I manage, but it's for the good of Nalls and for all of you.  So home I went after being rained on all day and gave the mulling spices a test run.  Naturally I had to slosh some rum into the mix, because it's not a good Crop Share week until I figure out a way to weave booze into it!

The ABC: Autumn Boozy Cider


1 quart apple cider
1 Tbsp Halladay's mulling spice (in store now!)
1-2 shots dark rum (this makes two tall mugs of hot cider, so depending on how much rum you like you add either 1/2 shot or a full shot to each mug)

Bring cider and mulling spices to a low boil on the stove, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Pour cider through a strainer to discard the mulling spices, and pour into each mug with your preferred amount of rum.  Then sip away!

It should be noted that if I'd had Kraken Rum on hand, I would have actually called this drink, Something Kraken This Way Comes.  I now really regret not having Kraken Rum on hand.  Bugger!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Peeling, Cutting and Generally Not Struggling with Butternut Squash

If you've never cooked with butternut squash, or if you've attempted to cook with it and have considered throwing it out a 4 story window to get to the flesh, then allow me to take the frustration out of it.

You see, last year when we got butternut squash in the Crop Share, I'd never cooked with it before and silly me, I figured it would be so simple to cut into it.  So out came my fancy, super sharp knife was like I gave the thing a paper cut.  I was practically jumping up and down on the thing, and I could barely make a dent.  So I called to the Mister to have him look up how to cut and peel a butternut squash.  He found a video much like this Martha Stewart video, that made it look soooo effortless and simple.  Oh, so I need to peel it first, okay, no problem.  I might as well have tried to peel it with my shoelaces for all the good my peeler did.  As I yelled "lies, lies, all LIES!!!" at the stupid squash, the Mister went back to consulting Chef Google.  Ah ha!  Apparently you can microwave it to soften the skin!  Perfect, for how long?  3-4 minutes?  Excellent.  About two minutes later...BAM!  And not in that fun Emeril kind of way, in that oh dear Lord, everyone hit the deck, something has exploded and we're all going to die kind of way.  The whole squash didn't explode, but enough of it burst out that I now had to add cleaning squash goo out of the microwave to the growing list of prep work for dinner.  All I wanted was to make gnocchi with butternut squash and sage!!!

Eventually I did peel and cube the squash, after much cursing and several close calls with self-amputation.  And while the pasta was delicious, I did NOT want to have to go through that ordeal ever again.  So to help ensure that you do not have a similar experience this weekend, here are my helpful tips for peeling, cutting and generally not struggling with butternut squash.

Step 1:  Pierce skin of squash, especially down by the seed ball as that's where most of the steam will build up, several times and microwave on high for 3 minutes.  You can even microwave in 1 minute increments if you're worried about recreating my kitchen explosion.

Step 2:  Using a sharp knife, slice off top and bottom of squash to create a flat surface on either end.

Step 3:  Grab your vegetable peeler and gradually peel off skin from top to bottom.  You may have to go over it a few times to get down to just the flesh, as there will be an inner, greenish layer under the main skin that you'll want to peel off to.

Step 4:  Once all the skin is peeled off, slice squash in half from top to bottom.

Step 5:  Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh from seed ball portion.  (For a great recipe on roasting the seeds, see this recipe from The Shiksa In The Kitchen)

Step 6:  At this point you can either prepare to roast each half whole, slice it into pieces for roasting, or cube into 1" pieces for roasting, sauteing or pureeing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

So on Saturday morning we're partnering with Kingstowne Pilates to offer Pumpkins & Pilates (alas, the even is already sold out).  There will be pilates, and there will be pumpkins, and the two may even combine.  And there will also be Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies to replenish everyone when the class is over.  Now that is where I come in, because heaven knows the only thing I will have to do with the pilates portion is emitting un-ladylike amounts of sweat and losing the will to live after about 15 minutes.  Okay, let's be honest with ourselves...after about 5 minutes.  So when Pat Backe, the pilates master, and I were musing about how to incorporate pumpkins into this event, I said I could make some sort of healthy pumpkin smoothie.  The operative word was could.  Did I actually have a go-to recipe?  No.  Had I made a pumpkin pie smoothie before?  No.  Did I wait till almost the last minute to test out some recipes?  YES!  Thankfully, after a few key tweaks to the recipe I tried last night, tonight's re-do was a resounding success and I'm highly considering drinking the whole blender full myself and getting pumpkin wasted.

Now the great timing with this is that, SURPRISE...we're all getting pie pumpkins in the Crop Share tomorrow!  HUZZAH!  So you can either decorate with it for awhile, or tell Libby's to take a vacation and make your own pumpkin puree.  The Pioneer Woman has a wonderful and easy recipe for how to make your own pumpkin puree from pie pumpkins.  Plus, she gives tips for freezing so if you don't need to use all the puree now, you can hang onto it and start building your supply for all your Thanksgiving baking.

So won't you just impress the pants off your friends and family when you roll out these Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies and you've made them with your OWN pumpkin puree!  Plus the local honey will give you a much needed allergy fighting boost if you're currently miserable.  And between the amount of anti-oxidants in the pumpkin and the wonderful number of vital nutrients and minerals in the black strap molasses, this smoothie is essentially a superfood in a glass!  Drink up!

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothies


1 cup pumpkin puree (put that Pie Pumpkin to good use and make your own puree!)
2 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened, vanilla Almond Breeze)
1 Tbsp raw, local honey
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp black strap molasses
1 banana, frozen and sliced  (peeling and slicing the banana first, before freezing, is helpful)
4 ice cubes

Easiest directions ever...put all items into blender.  Push "blend".  Watch blender blend.  Pour into a glass...or directly into your mouth.  Yes, you are drinking pumpkin pie.  Mmm, pie.

Makes about 4, 8 oz servings.  Basically, one liquid pie.  Again I say...mmm, pie.

Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Wraps

The Boston lettuce for the boxes this week is beautiful, and if there's one thing that this variety of lettuce is great for it's lettuce wraps!  Maybe it's the novelty of feeling like you're playing with your food, but I'm a big fan of things wrapped in lettuce.  There's really nothing like Korean BBQ scooped up into a giant leaf of lettuce.  Though perhaps the piece of lettuce makes me feel better about the horrifying quantities of pork belly I can consume.  So I'm not even going to try to recreate that sort of deliciousness, as I will leave that firmly in the hands of the masters.  Instead, here's a healthy, super-quick dish that's chock full of flavor and will make about enough for you to use up the entire head of lettuce.

Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Wraps

1 head Boston lettuce, rinsed and leaves removed for wraps
1 Tbsp olive oik
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp of curry powder (or more if you live in my house and there can never be too much curry)
1/8 tsp cayenne (omit to avoid the heat, or if your curry powder is already on the spicy side)
15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (you can also toss in some quartered cherry tomatoes too)
1 cup cooked quinoa
Plain Greek yogurt or reduced fat sour cream for serving

Cook quinoa to package directions while you prepare the filling.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in onion and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add in garlic & ginger and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas, curry and cayenne (optional) and stir to fully coat.  Pour in can of tomatoes, including any liquid and stir to fully blend.  Bring mixture to a low simmer, remove from heat and stir in quinoa.  Allow to rest for a minute or two.

Serve a scoop of the curried quinoa mixture in each lettuce wrap, and top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or reduced fat sour cream, if desired.

Inspired by the Ridiculously Easy Curried Chickpeas & Quinoa from Fat Free Vegan.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Garlicky Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes & Kale Over Quinoa

After the Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Bake, I knew I had to make something else for dinner to fill me up.  It was either that or spend an inordinate amount of time picking out every speck of cauliflower.  Thankfully, the Mister actually likes cauliflower and loved the dish (who is the person I share my life with?!!?), so the rest went with him to work for his lunch.  Thus out of my fridge I pulled two of my favorite things...kale & McCauley's Roasted Pepper Relish.  I'm unashamedly addicted to this stuff, and that says a lot because coming from Youngstown, OH, we are SERIOUS about our hot peppers in oil.  Good thing we have their full product line in store at Nalls, because I look for every excuse to work this stuff into a meal or snack (see my Spaghetti with Broccoli, Sausage & Hot Peppers for another example).

This is a super quick and healthy meal to throw together, and since we gave you A LOT of kale this week, this is a great way to use up about half of it.  Yes, I used 2 generous cups of kale in this and I still have half my bundle left over.  Guess I better make Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup this week!

Garlicky Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes & Kale over Quinoa


2 Tbsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups kale, removed from stem and shredded
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp McCauley's Roasted Pepper Relish (can be found in store!)
Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup cooked quinoa

Cook quinoa to package directions while preparing the rest.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over high heat.  Add chicken and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Once you can no longer see pink on the outside of the chicken, add in your cherry tomatoes.  I like to add them whole as I like when they burst, but if you'd prefer to avoid that, then you can halve them.  Stir occasionally for about 3 additional minutes and once tomatoes begin to burst, add in your kale and get ready for the super, snap, crackle and pop of kale in hot oil.  So satisfying!  Season with garlic powder and saute util kale is wilted.  Stir in Pepper Relish and season with salt & pepper.  Finish with a final quick drizzle of olive oil and toss to evenly coat.  Serve over quinoa or even toss with pasta.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adventures in Cauliflower: Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Bake

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I loathe cauliflower.  LOATHE IT!!!!  I'm stunned by the number of people who are just utterly bewildered by my hatred of this vegetable that looks like a nuclear bomb explosion, to me that was nature's way of saying, "Do not eat this, it will literally melt your very soul."  Most people I know actually like it, in fact they love it.  Since I'm willing to admit that the rest of the world may not be completely out of it's collective mind (though I'm still skeptical), I decided to make this the week I give cauliflower a second and possibly even a third chance.  I asked Crop Share members to send their cauliflower recipes my way, and wouldn't you know I only heard from two members, and both of them said they too disliked cauliflower!  There ARE more like me, I knew it!  And funny how all these cauliflower lovers didn't flood my e-mail with their recipes, hmmm.  I call shenanigans!  But I had made a pledge, so I chose a few of their recipes to test out and tonight began my first step in this week's Adventures in Cauliflower.

The minute I pulled that cauliflower out of the fridge, I turned into Grumpy Cat.

The sight, the smell, the texture, the whole thing just creeped me out, and I'm pretty sure I chopped that head of cauliflower with a Grumpy Cat expression plastered to my face.  Bleh.

But I pushed on and tonight's Adventures in Cauliflower was to make a Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Bake that was shared with me by Crop Share member Liz Candelario.  I love curry and am pretty sure I could eat anything if it had curry on it, so this HAS to work, no?!  Here's the recipe and then scroll all the way to the bottom for my reaction...

Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Bake


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 head cauliflower, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute garlic and onion until onion begins to just slightly brown on the edges, taking care not to burn your garlic.  Stir in fire roasted tomatoes and curry powder and simmer for an additional minute.

Spread cauliflower and chickpeas evenly in the bottom of a baking dish and toss with just a bit of olive oil to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the dish.  Pour curried tomato mixture over top and toss to full combine.

Bake for 40 minutes at 375, stirring about twice during the baking time.

My reaction...

Like Ron Swanson's feelings about all vegetables, I am still wildly unconvinced of the merits of cauliflower.  I was able to eat a small portion, and everything BUT the cauliflower was absolutely delicious.  Still not a fan of cauliflower, so maybe the next test recipe will do the trick.

Bleh, where's the mouthwash?

Mushroom Stroganoff for World Vegetarian Day!

Happy World Vegetarian Day!  Whether you eat meat or not, I think we can all agree that more fruits and veggies are a good thing...a yummy good thing.  I was a vegetarian for most of my life, but let's be honest, I'm too much of a foodie to restrict myself (I'm looking at you delicious, delicious bacon jam!), especially when so many items are already off the table due to the Mister's and my food allergies.  But for the most part we practice Meatless Mondays in our home, and we would really be up a creek if it weren't for all those crafty vegan cooks, like Doron Petersan of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats,  who come up with new and interesting ways to make desserts we can safely eat.  So on this World Vegetarian Day, I give you a way to use up the mushrooms and most of that lone onion from this week's Crop version of Skinnytaste's Mushroom Stroganoff!

Mushroom Stroganoff


1 Tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance Margarine for dairy-free)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp soy sauce (I use Kikkoman's gluten-free soy, but you can also use 1 Tbsp only of Worcestershire sauce.  My Mama always used soy sauce in her stroganoff, so that's why I went that route)
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pint mushrooms, gently washed, stems trimmed and sliced
1/4 tsp thyme
Ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (I used Tofutti's Sour Supreme for dairy-free)
8 oz uncooked noodles (I use Schar's tagliatelle as it's gluten and egg-free, and you won't even know!)

Begin to bring your pasta water to a boil so that you can cook your noodles while you prepare the sauce.  If you want to mix your noodles into the stroganoff, then undercook them to allow them to finish in the sauce.  I prefer a larger noodle to sauce ratio, so I fully cooked the noodles and then spooned the amount of sauce I wanted on my portion.

In a skillet, melt your butter over medium high heat until it's bubbly.  Add in you onion and saute for about 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent.  Stir in your corn starch and fully coat all the onions, allowing to cook for an addition 30 seconds.  Slowly add your vegetable broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add in soy sauce and tomato paste, making sure to fully mix in the tomato paste.  Bring up to a simmer and add your mushrooms, thyme and ground black pepper.  Simmer for about 4 minutes or until sauce has thickened up.  Stir in your white wine (and here would be where I had an oops, I thought 2 CUPS of wine -- wishful thinking -- so thankfully I only had a 1/2 cup at my disposal and caught myself before I added more, so if you'd like a more "winey" sauce, then add a half cup of white wine and then an addition 2 tsp of soy sauce) and bring sauce to a low simmer.

Once noodles are cooked either drain and mix in to the sauce, or set aside and toss with a splash of olive oil to keep them from sticking.

Before serving, stir sour cream into the sauce and leave on heat for an additional minute to bring it all up to the same temperature.

**You'll be easily able to convert this into a beef stroganoff by starting with 1 lb of beef round or chuck cut into 2 " cubes (my Mama always asked the butcher to run them through the meat tenderizer to make the pieces melt in your mouth even more) and brown that up in butter or olive oil before removing and adding in the onions and mushrooms to brown up.  Then add the beef back in, stir in your corn starch and add your liquid to loosen all the lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Proceed from there and simmer everything for about 30 minutes before stirring in the sour cream.**