So this was fun. My friend Anna Thoma Bates wrote the piece, so that explains the bit of hyperbole in there. Still, my recipe for Squash Waffles is awesome. Check it out.
Those of you who visit us at the Argyle and/or Blanchardville Farmers Markets know that we love to make up Veggie Muffin recipes for whatever bake-able crop is in season. And if you've been to a Farm-to-Table Dinner out here, you know we like to do the same with rich cake desserts. This week, we took our Farm Kitchen on the road - well, really just down the street - to Folklore Village outside of Dodgeville. We made the final dinner at their recent Sustainability Festival and we put this stunning dessert dish on the table for our finale!
The Beet-Red Velvet Brownie itself is pretty amazing - almost more like a fudge or flourless torte, though it does contain some flour. And here we floated it on a bed of Aronia Coulis and topped it with Raspberry Puree and Lemon Zest Goat Cheese. Yeah, a bit over the top - but why not!? There was a square dance following the meal at Folklore Village so everyone worked it off.
BEET-RED VELVET BROWNIES
1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c buttermilk or yogurt
1/4 c olive oil
2 lg eggs
1 tsp white vinegar
2 c roasted beets, chopped in 1 inch pieces
Toss flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda together in large bowl. In food processor, whiz together remaining ingredients until beets are quite smooth. Add liquids to powders and mix just until combined. Pour in 9 by 13 pan (or a smaller one if you want thick cake) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until more or less done. Cool completely before attempting to remove, unless you want to eat it warm and doughy, which is totally legit. This recipe would work well in a 10-inch springform pan if you want to serve it whole rather than plated. Texture would be a bit similar to a cheesecake if you stopped baking at 20 minutes.
Enjoy topped with fruit puree, whipped cream, ice cream or frosting. I sourced aronia berries from my neighbors at Barham Gardens . I cooked down several quarts of berries, mashed and strained them and added enough sugar to make a syrup.
For the past few weeks our bed and breakfast morning spread has included an heirloom tomato bar - sometimes with feta cheese and basil, sometimes with blue cheese crumbles, sometimes just plain like this with a little olive oil, a good balsamic vinegar, and coarse sea salt. Wouldn't it be great if we could eat like this all year long? Alas, tomato season is fleeting in Wisconsin, even if it is rather rambunctious while it's happening. One of our recent BnB guests passed on a great recipe for preserving the juicy flavors of summer's tasty heirloom tomatoes - Jam!
I love this recipe for so many reasons - first, it's not ridiculously sweet. Second, you use ALL of the tomato, even the skin. (you might want to remove large cores) Third, I love that it's got onions and apples in it as well. I might throw in some of the hot peppers we've got so many of in the hoophouse right now!
Many thanks to Julia for this delightful way to capture some of summer in a jar.
Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam
Makes 1 ½ pints
Just enough sweetness to tow the line between a condiment for roasted and grilled meats and a treat to slather on toasted baguette, this is a great way to preserve summer’s bounty.
3 1/2 lbs tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup finely diced tart green apple
Put all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thickened and jam-like consistency, about 3 hours. Transfer to sterilized glass jars and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks, or use a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes for long-term storage.
One of the things I love about aronia berries is that they have insignificant seeds and skin - I most often use them raw, blitzed in the food processor with a little honey or maple syrup. This simple concoction gets served to my bed and breakfast guests over waffles, goat cheese and brie for the duration of Aronia season. But it might be nice to have some of those berries to eat when the harvest season has past.
My good friend, neighbor and fellow Soil Sister Betty Anderson helped some local farms with their aronia harvests this year, in exchange for berries. This is her suggestion for a unique, easy way to preserve these super fruits for winter eating. She got the recipe from blazerfarmz online, but says you can reduce the sugar even more, if you like. Enjoy!
Another great source for Aronia recipes is the quite excellent cookbook recently published by the Midwest Aronia Association. Look for it on Amazon, or ask our neighbor and the source of our berries, Roberta Barham of Barham Gardens to get you one. You can also buy more berries from her!
ARONIA LIME JAM
- 4 1/2 cups crushed aronia berries
- 1 package of fruit pectin (1 3/4 oz.)
- 5 cups sugar
- 1 (tbs.) of grated lime peel
- 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice
Directions: Wash fruit and cover with water, simmer 15 minutes. Pour measured amount into a 6-8 quart non-reactive kettle such as enamel or stainless steel. Add lime juice and peel, pectin and stir. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil exactly two minutes. Skim and pour into clean, hot jars. Seal. Yields: 4 pints of Aronia Lime Jam.
I was going to post a recipe from the magazine this week - but there were sooo many I made and loved tat I thought it made the most sense to just tell you to go out and BUY this magazine, ASAP. The good folks at America's Test Kitchen, who put out the lovely and highly technical Cook's Illustrated magazine each month, created this seasonal issue that is absolutely full of wonderful ideas for high summer meals that will make the most of your CSA box. GET IT you won't regret it, I promise. If you know me - or you've been to my place for a festival, field-to-table dinner or bed and breakfast stay - you know that I'm addicted to cookbooks. I even use stacks of them for end tables. I LOVE them! But I am rarely tempted by cooking magazines. My daughter Maggie was on a short visit home from college and had bought this for herself to read on the bus trip here. Lucky for me, she left it - whether it was on purpose or not I don't know because I don't want to confess that it is here yet! I've been cooking through it and can't believe how pretty, how useful, how precise, how informative and how TASTY the recipes are. Really - go get it. It'll be on newsstands until October.
I almost can't believe I'm about to post yet ANOTHER zucchini treat recipe. But there you have it - I love zucchini! In sautes, with eggs, spiralized and used instead of pasta, and shredded into all manner of baked things. This recipe, though, is really not my fault. First, my crew keeps sending me zucchini cake recipes on pinterest and facebook because they know I'll make them for lunch. And second, my good friend and farm member Isabella, gave me some lovely mini-Bundt pans last week during a work day and they were just begging me to bake zucchini in them.
So this recipe is a combo of many lovely things - a basic Joy of Baking recipe for Zucchini Bread, a facebook link to a recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Cake, and a giant bag of Craisins that appeared in my pantry when my eldest son was recently moving from one apartment to another. I think it turned out great, the crew agrees, and we'll see what our neighbors think when I sample them at market this Saturday. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
I made these without the dried cranberries for a special visitor I'm having at the farm tomorrow, because I'm going to serve them with some Aronia Berry Sauce drizzled over and some of our very first ripe raspberries arranged in the dent on top. I will tell you that the visit is going to be televised on PBS - more info on that soon! And I will also tell you that you are going to get Aronia berries in your box very soon - from our good friends and neighbors at Barham Gardens. Bon appetit, farm friends!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
1 1/2 c shredded raw zucchini (Lately I've been shredding zucchini ahead of time for baked goods, and leaving it in a colander for a few hours to drain. I squeeze the moisture out before I measure it.)
1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c olive or coconut oil
1/4 c yogurt or buttermilk
3/4 c sugar
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/4 c dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray grease a round cake pan, a loaf pan or one pan of mini-Bundt cakes. This also works well for muffins. Whisk together dry things in a medium bowl. Blend wet things in your mixer. Fold in zucchini, chips and cranberries. Gently add the dry mixture until just mixed. Bake about 10 minutes for mini-cakes, 45 minutes for a loaf pan, 30 minutes for a cake pan. Watch carefully! Cool for about 10 minutes on a rake, then gently remove to cool completely.
Every week for my tiny-town Farmers Market, I make veggie muffins. Friday is my baking day and whatever crop I've got a lot of in the walk-in cooler is a potential ingredient for the Saturday morning muffins. As you can imagine, this is a project that makes me immensely happy, since I'm a girl who can't decide what I like better, cooking or eating. Baking is a special treat, since we don't bake for our daily meals. Luckily, between monthly field-to-table dinners, weekend bed-and-breakfast guests and Saturday markets, we now how quite a few reasons to bake! But I am always experimenting and no two projects are quite the same. This morning I came up somehow with an incredible recipe that I think I absolutely must make again and again. Mainly, my experimenting has to do with using up seasonal ingredients, but I am also always trying to cut out sugar and fat to the smallest necessary amount that still satisfies. I think these Spiced Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins nail that balance perfectly and also come out fluffy, moist and incredibly complex in flavor. Even if they weren't a veggie muffin, I'd still crave them! And the amount of requests I got for the recipe at market this morning heartily echoed my own assessment. These are a quite healthy breakfast option, but I will be making this recipe into a Spice Cake to serve at next Saturday's field-to-table dinner with goat ice cream or cream fraiche dolloped on top. I see no reason why something should have to be loaded with fat and sugar to be considered dessert - see if you agree. Bon Appetit!
SPICED ZUCCHINI OLIVE OIL MUFFINS
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1/4 c. buckwheat or other flavorful flour
1/4 c. roughly ground flaxseeds (I blitz them in the coffee grinder for about 6 seconds)
1/4 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, allspice, mace, nutmeg and cardamom
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 c. finely grated, drained and well-squeezed zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1 TBSP vanilla
sliced almonds and raw sugar for tops
Oven at 350. Muffin tins lined. Toss all dry ingredients, add zucchini and toss. Be sure to squeeze the juice from the zucchini. Mix all liquids with eggs. Add liquids to solids and mix just until combined. Light hand. Fill muffin cups to about a centimeter from the top. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds and a little sparkly raw sugar on top. Bake until fragrant - check at 15 minutes. Tops should be set-up but not really browned.
Did you catch me on TV last week? Well, since I was only on for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, I was easy to miss! I appeared on WKOW's Wake up Wisconsin on July 9 at 6:35am and plated my Sunshine Skillet recipe. You can watch me here, and find the recipe on my previous blog post. I will be on Madison TV again, later this month, July 28, on NBC15 at 6:10am. This time, I'm going to cook and plate up these Yeasted Chocolate Zucchini Waffles, since now we've got zucchini coming in! All of this media buzz has to do with the Soil Sisters Tour which is coming up July 31 thru Aug 2, on my farm and 20 other women-owned farms in the Green County area. Check us out here and be sure to come and play with us that weekend!
Yeasted waffles are a staple of my bed-and-breakfast buffets. They work well because I can do the preparation the night before and simply let the batter warm up in the morning while I make coffee, wash and chop fruit, make eggs and visit with my guests! I make a lot of different versions of this recipe, depending on what veggie is in season that I can grate into the batter - some are more savory and some more sweet. (I only use cocoa with zucchini, though!) All of them turn out crispy on the outside and wonderfully moist inside. These are 100 percent whole grain, and can easily be made gluten-free by using almond flour instead of white whole wheat. They are very low sugar, since I assume folks will enjoy them with a syrup of some sort. With the dark, bittersweet chocolate flavor of these, I like to use a tart fruit syrup. Local (and native!) aronia berries from Barham Gardens in Blanchardville make a terrific counterpoint to these slightly sweet waffles, and they'll be available at HyVee stores and the Dane County Farmers Market starting in late August. You'll also get them in a September CSA box! Alternatively, you can buy frozen aronia berries from Bellbrook Berry Farm in Brooklyn, WI, at Willy Street Coop.
Overnight Rise Yeasted Chocolate Zucchini Waffles
1 cup milk (almond milk can be substituted for the whole amount of dairy, you'll lose a little puff if you omit the cultured milk, below)
1/2 cup yogurt/kefir/buttermilk
3 TBSP butter, melted
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa (or rolled oats, if I am using a vegetable other than zucchini)
1/4 cup ground quinoa (I blitz whole quinoa in my coffee grinder for about 10 seconds)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup finely shredded zucchini, drained and squeezed (or carrot, beet or sweet potato)
1/2 cup mini choc chips (Optional - but good if you want a sweeter waffle. I like Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips, they are small and sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.)
Start at least an hour and up to 24 hours before you want to cook these waffles. Whisk liquids and sugar with eggs. Mix all dried ingredients together in a large bowl, with yeast. Toss zucchini (and chocolate chips, if using) with dry ingredients. Add liquids and mix just until combined, then cover and let rise for an hour in a warm place. Make waffles immediately, or put in fridge until ready to use, for up to a day. Remove from fridge and allow to warm up before baking in pre-heated waffle iron. Waffles will take a few minutes to cook - allow steaming to subside before removing. Serve hot from iron, or leave in 250 degree oven on cookie sheet until ready to serve. I serve these waffles topped with syrup, yogurt and whatever fresh berry I am able to pick from the garden or forest that morning.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2-3 min each waffle
Yields 4 Belgian or 8 regular waffles
Aronia Jam from Roberta Barham of Barham Gardens
(This is a low-sugar jam so if you heat it gently, it will easily turn into a nice syrup.)
10 cups frozen Aronia berries (chopped)
3 cups sugar
1 package low or no sugar Sure Jell
Add package of Sure Jell to ¼ cup sugar. Stir into chopped berries and heat to a rolling boil. Add remaining sugar and return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Ladle into sterilized jars and water bath for 10 minutes.
Roberta, who is a close neighbor and fellow Soil Sister, adapted this jam from a recipe in this newly published book by the Midwest Aronia Association. Get it on Amazon now and you'll be ready for September when you'll receive Barham Gardens aronia berries in your CSA box!
This is the recipe I demonstrated - for two whole minutes! - on Wake Up Wisconsin (Channel 27/ABC) Thursday morning in Madison. For the show, I had to make a real recipe, with amounts and ingredients and numbers and such, but here's the way I really make it. We use this at all times of day and it is a great, and quick way, to savor the bounty of vegetables you get in your box each week. Adapt it to the season (right now I'm using a lot of kale and chard), the meal (the picture above is breakfast, with poached eggs on top), and your time frame (this can be as simple or complicated as you like). Bon Appetit!
FARMER KRISS' SUNSHINE SKILLET SAUTE
This veggie dish is more of a template than a recipe – it’s got lots of moving parts so you can plug and play YOUR way! That’s how it works here on the farm, we cook based on ingredients we have at hand, rather than choose a recipe and then go find or buy ingredients. The Sunshine Skillet is a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish we use daily – it is our go-to meal and the template idea makes it easy for us to cook a terrific nutritious meal, even on a crazy busy day for a big farm crew. We recommend this sort of dish to help our CSA members use up all of their beautiful veggies in a low-stress fashion. Think of it as peasant food, not fancy, but delicious, practical and often very beautiful. Like a composed salad in a skillet!
Supplies to have at hand:
- Well-seasoned cast iron skillet, scaled to your cooking needs. We use big ones here.
- Flexible METAL spatula, plastic spatulas will melt in contact with the hot skillet.
- A lid for the skillet. I like a glass one, so I can see through it and not have to lift a hot cast iron lid multiple times during the meal prep. You will want to inspect your progress.
Ingredients to consider:
- Onions, sweet or spicy are both good, depending on your taste.
- Canned tomato juice. We use last season’s tomatoes canned into juice, but purchased tomato juice, without salt or flavors, works just fine.
- Several carrots, and/or a big red pepper, and/or a yellow summer squash and/or a sweet potato. These add flavor, nutrition, and most importantly, COLOR to your dish. I use what I have in the field or fridge.
- Several bunches of large-leaved cooking greens: kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli raab, arugula, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens. You get the idea – big leaves of whatever you’ve got growing. Even cauliflower and broccoli leaves are tasty if you take the smaller ones from the middle of the plant and not the big old outer leaves.
- Salt, pepper and dried spices. I use fenugreek and thyme in most dishes, in addition to liberal sprinkles of ground pepper and salt. But often curry is what I crave, or a nutmeg/allspice blend. Go with your gut here.
- Fresh leafy herbs. Whatever you have or love: parsley, cilantro, mint, lemon balm, oregano, lovage. Taste and see what works. I add a big handful of chopped leafy herbs to the top of everything I eat, except fruit!
- Cooked grains, about ¼ cup per person you will serve. I really love farro and other chewy grains like bulgur, barley and quinoa, but we do brown rice sometimes, too.
- Crumbly cheese, or grated cheese, about 1 tbsp per person. We make goat chevre from our does every other day, so that’s what we tend to use. When I don't have does in milk, I use Wisconsin’s Landmark Creamery’s amazing Petit Nuage, a fresh, French-style sheep milk cheese that is creamy, tangy and has a sweet finish. The cheese buyer at Whole Foods, Julia, recently told me it was her favorite cheese of the moment, and it just won a gold medal in the U.S. Cheese Championships. Also, I know the Annas who own the creamery, and they rock! But this is also a great way to use up any little piece of whatever you’ve got in the fridge to grate.
- Eggs, beans, meat or tofu, should you want more protein or a different one than cheese.
- Nuts and seeds, whatever you’ve got. I use a lot of flax and hemp seeds. Toasted oatmeal also works great.
Heat your seasoned skillet – there should be a skim of shiny oil in it, but not a puddle, to medium high and toss in a chopped onion or two. Cover and leave be for several minutes. This is hard to do, but you want a little bit of browned or even burned onion to be the base of your broth. Without turning the onions, add a few finely diced carrots, and/or peppers, squash, sweet potato. Turn heat down slightly, cover and cook for several minutes. Lots of moisture should be released from the veggies and they’ll steam in their own juices. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and fenugreek. Pour about ¼ cup of tomato juice over the veggies. It will bubbly, de-glaze the pan, and immediately create a lovely caramelized sauce. Chop greens roughly – perhaps in 2-inch pieces – and throw on top. Fill the pan as high as you can, salt and pepper again, and cover. When greens have softened and turned a bright green, remove the lid and use the spatula to scrape all of the caramelized onion off the bottom of the skillet and incorporate everything together. Salt, pepper, spice to taste. If you are using eggs, simply break them on top, cover and poach to your desire. You can also steam cooked meat, tofu or beans in this way, if you want them warm.
To compose the plate, fill the bowl of the plate with the skillet veggies. Then, mound about ¼ cup of grains on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Place a handful of chopped fresh green herbs in the middle of the grains. Sprinkle the entire dish with crumbled cheese, focusing mainly in the middle, and garnish with nuts, seeds or toasted oats. A few edible flowers is a nice touch, and if you use nasturtiums, you get a lovely peppery bite as well. Pass with some siracha or malt vinegar and enjoy!
A couple of farmer friends and I have started a bi-weekly Farmers Market in our little town. Since there are reliably only a handful of us that will set up on any given week, I realized that I was going to have to offer more than just raw veggies for sale. I mean, some people in a rural community will need to buy veggie, but a lot will grow their own. What people really show up for in my town is BAKED GOODS. So, poor me, I've been baking with my garden extras.
Of course, what is happening right now is a lot of yummy rhubarb, so I got busy on the Pinterest and fished around for some good rhubarb treats. I found a ton, and they are posted at the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page. I ended up taking Sourdough Morning Glory Muffins with rhubarb, carrots and strawberries, Rhubarb Fudge and Rhubarb Scones. But what really really knocked my socks off was a Dark Chocolate Rhubarb Brownie recipe that I modified to make a cake batter that I cooked up in muffin tins. I will be making this incredible cake for the first Field-to-Table Dinner on June 27. We'll have it with Salted Caramel Cajeta Ice Cream. But you can make it at home tonight!
Dark Chocolate Rhubarb Lava Cake
2 c rhubarb, sliced thin ( I used a food processor blade) and macerated for a few hours in 2 tbsp sugar)
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c melted coconut oil
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat and buckwheat)
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 and line an 8by8 pan with parchment (DO THIS - the cake is very gooey). Better yet, use a springform 8-inch pan if you have one. This is a very moist cake, almost flourless. Whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs. Whisk in another bowl the dry ingredients, except chocolate chips. Combine just until moist. Stir in rhubarb and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread til even. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean. Do not overcook. This is a LAVA cake! Remove and let cook for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm if possible - but this is good whenever!