Sweet Potato-Carrot Cake

2020-11-18T19:29:04+00:00November 18, 2020|

This dessert relies mostly on the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes and carrots, with just a small amount of sweetener. Bake or microwave 1 medium sweet potato until soft.  Allow to cool, then cut in half and scoop out the pulp. Combine with 2 eggs, 1 t. vanilla extract and 1/4 C. sugar (or appropriate amount of other sweetener). Finely chop or grind 1/4 C. walnuts and combine in a bowl with:  1/4 [MORE ...]

Carrot, Leek & Broccoli Stir Fry

2020-11-11T19:02:13+00:00November 11, 2020|

One trick to sauteing leeks is to cut them in thin strips, or "julienne".  This helps them cook faster without burning. Since you have to cut down vertically into each leek anyway to wash them, you can just cut each leek in half from top to bottom.  Then cut into 1-2" lengths and place them cut-side down on the cutting board.  Use a very sharp knife to make slices lengthwise. Cut the leaves and [MORE ...]

Butternut Pudding

2020-11-04T18:47:18+00:00November 4, 2020|

This is a tasty and simple vegan and gluten-free dessert.  You can make a large batch using a whole squash, or use half your squash to make a savory dish and use the leftovers to make a small batch of the pudding. Cut 1 Butternut in half lengthwise and bake face down on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until bubbling around the edges and very soft.  Allow to cool, then [MORE ...]

Caldo Verde

2020-10-28T17:40:26+00:00October 28, 2020|

This Portuguese winter-vegetable soup is traditionally made with linguica sausage, but in this vegetarian version I use the garlicky charred broccoli from last week's newsletter as a vegan flavor-enhancer.  Alternately you can use pork or vegan sausage. Cut the leaves off 1 medium or 2 small Leeks, then cut a slit down into the shank vertically.  Rinse all the layers well in running water.  Roughly chop the leeks. Heat 3 T. olive oil in [MORE ...]

Seared Broccoli with Spinach and Garlic

2020-10-21T17:57:00+00:00October 21, 2020|

It's still been too hot up here lately to do much cooking inside.  I've been experimenting with using a cast-iron skillet on my grill to do high-heat cooking of vegetables.  For Broccoli in particular, I've found that intense bottom heat of the grill does a better job searing the broccoli than either my oven or my indoor stove. This is not a recipe for people who like their broccoli "lightly cooked".  You can add [MORE ...]

Green Bean-Potato Gratin

2020-10-14T18:42:06+00:00October 14, 2020|

This is really just potatoes and green beans roasted together and then covered with cheese, but casserole is not a very appealing term for something so delicious. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim 1/2 lb. of Green Beans and spread on a cookie sheet.  Toss with 1/2 T. olive oil and salt to taste, then arrange in a single layer. Wash 2 lbs. of potatoes and then cut into "green bean" sized julienne [MORE ...]

Kale Salad with Sweet Potato Croutons

2020-10-07T16:50:12+00:00October 7, 2020|

The Curly Kale in your boxes this week is ideal for marinated kale salad, as the leaves are both more tender and fluffier than other types of kale.  This salad does not need to be "massaged", but you do want to dress the leaves ten minutes or so before you finish putting the salad together. Make a dressing with 3 T. lemon juice, 2 T. olive oil, 1 t. salt and 1/4-1/2 t. fresh [MORE ...]

Brussel Sprout-Green Bean Saute with Parmesan & Lemon

2020-09-30T18:06:55+00:00September 30, 2020|

Both Brussels Sprouts and Green Beans benefit from being parboiled prior to sauteing.  It helps speed the cooking process while softening them up so they will better absorb the other flavors in the dish.  If you use a slotted spoon to remove them, you can use the same pot of water. Bring a large pot of water with 1 T. salt to a boil. Cut 1 lb. worth of Brussel Sprouts in half from [MORE ...]

Green Bean-Potato Salad with Crispy Leeks

2020-09-23T17:15:54+00:00September 23, 2020|

This no-mayo potato salad is delicious on its own, but the crispy leeks turn it into something really special.  Definitely worth the extra effort.  You can make the salad a day or longer in advance, but don't mix the leeks into it until you serve it as they will become soggy -- although still tasty. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add 2 lbs. scrubbed whole potatoes. Preheat the oven [MORE ...]

Thai-style Red Kuri Squash Soup

2020-09-16T16:05:15+00:00September 16, 2020|

Red Kuri makes great soup, and the easiest way to prepare it is to bake it first.  If you want to make it more difficult, you can peel the squash, dice it and cook it in the coconut milk until soft. Preheat the oven to 375. Cut a Red Kuri squash in half and place the two halves face down on a baking sheet.  Wrap 3 large cloves of unpeeled garlic in foil, drizzle [MORE ...]

Babaganoush (Eggplant-Tahini Dip)

2020-09-10T19:37:58+00:00September 10, 2020|

Babanoush is like hummus, only lighter-textured and slightly smoky.  It makes a tasty dip as well as a topping for sandwiches.  Best of all, it is super-easy to make. Preheat the oven to 350 or the grill to medium low. Bake or grill one pound of eggplant(s) whole.  Grilling is preferable, especially if you want the smoky flavor.  If you're grilling, turn the eggplant 2-3 times so that the skin gets well-browned but doesn't [MORE ...]

Grilled Delicata Squash

2020-09-02T17:29:46+00:00September 2, 2020|

  Delicata grilled this way is a deliciously simple side dish on its own, but you can also add it to a green salad (Deli-croutons) or combine it with sauteed onions and peppers. Cut 2-3 Delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  (See note below about saving and eating the seeds)  Slice the cut pieces into half rounds about 3/4" thick -- if they are too thin they will burn. In [MORE ...]

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Sauce

2020-08-26T17:01:48+00:00August 26, 2020|

This is a sheet-pan sauce with a minimum of preparation.  You can eat it the day you make it, but it will also freeze well and doesn't take up much space. Heat the oven to 350 or fire up your gas grill. Drizzle olive oil generously over a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, then stir with a wooden spoon to combine and cover the entire surface. Slice 2 lbs. of Roma Tomatoes in [MORE ...]

Summer Vegetable Poke

2020-08-12T18:29:53+00:00August 12, 2020|

Hawaiian Poke is usually made with fresh raw fish, but the texture and color of tomatoes and other summer vegetables combine well with the Japanese saucing and flavors.  You can serve this on top of steamed sushi rice, salad greens, or both. For the Ponzu Sauce:  In a bowl, mix together 2 T. rice vinegar, 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. sesame oil, 1 T. mirin (or other sweet white wine), and 1 T. [MORE ...]

Italian Style Sauteed Peppers and Potatoes

2020-08-05T18:19:55+00:00August 5, 2020|

This is an easy vegan recipe, but you can also add sausage or grated cheese. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add 2 lbs. of whole potatoes, scrubbed.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until fork tender.  Drain, rinse and allow to cool. Meanwhile, remove the stem, core and seeds from 2-3 Gypsy peppers. Peel and dice 1 medium onion. Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high.  [MORE ...]

Baked Feta with Summer Veggies

2020-07-29T21:16:59+00:00July 29, 2020|

This is a quick and easy vegetarian summer meal that can be cooked in the oven or on the grill and served alongside steamed couscous.  One sheet pan is enough food for 2 people. Preheat the oven or grill to 400. Cut 2 eight-ounce blocks of feta in halves.  You will have 4 relatively thin "slabs". Drizzle a sheet-pan or baking sheet with 3 T. olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. [MORE ...]

Ricotta-Stuffed Heirlooms

2020-07-22T18:08:39+00:00July 22, 2020|

Yes, this recipe from the New York Times does bake part of the tomatoes but it  also uses the insides raw in a dressing.  This preserves the incredible umami flavor of heirloom tomato juices. Cut the tops off 4 or more ripe tomatoes, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds insides while leaving the shell intact.  Place the insides in a bowl and combine with 1 T. lemon juice, 1 T. capers [MORE ...]

Sauteed Zucchini with Fresh Tomatoes

2020-07-15T16:36:30+00:00July 15, 2020|

Most of the specialty and heirloom tomatoes we grow are best eaten raw.  Their juices have a rich umami flavor that can range from intensely sweet to fairly acidic, but which is generally destroyed by cooking for more than a few minutes.  Also lost are the beautiful, varied colors that heat usually converts into dark brown through caramelization. But that doesn't mean you should only eat specialty tomatoes in salads.  There are any number [MORE ...]

Corn, Tomato and Red Onion Salad

2020-07-08T17:43:43+00:00July 8, 2020|

A simple, quick and filling dish. This recipe sautes raw corn in olive oil with garlic, but you can also use leftover cooked corn and add sauteed garlic. Peel red onion and then very thinly slice it to make 1 C.  Toss in a bowl with 1/4 C. red wine vinegar. Dice ripe tomatoes to make 2 C.  Toss in a different bowl with 1/2 t. sea salt and lots of black pepper. Cut [MORE ...]

Grilled Sweet Corn in the Husk

2020-07-01T18:06:14+00:00July 1, 2020|

For your socially-distant backyard BBQ, try grilling whole ears of corn in their husks instead of boiling it and let your family or guests shuck the ears themselves.  The kernels will steam but you'll get a slight hint of smokiness, and the corn will stay warm for half an hour if left unshucked.   Remove the "flag" leaves of the corn but make sure to leave enough husk to protect the kernels from the flames.  [MORE ...]

Terra Firma Potato Salad

2020-06-24T16:33:32+00:00June 24, 2020|

No mayo in this tangy, slightly spicy version of the summer classic.  The yellow potatoes absorb the flavors better than red ones but stay firm and creamy. I often add parboiled green beans to it. Wash 1 lb. of potatoes.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes.  Cook at a low boil for 10-15 minutes (smaller spuds will cook more quickly). Thinly slice red onion to make 1/3 [MORE ...]

Tomato, Green Bean & Red Onion Salad

2020-06-17T17:41:51+00:00June 17, 2020|

A salad made with good, vine-ripened tomatoes doesn't need traditional dressing.  Salt and high-quality olive oil will turn the tomatoes' natural juices into a divine sauce that you will want to drink from the bottom of the bowl when the salad is gone.  The additional of a little mustard helps thicken the juices and coat the green beans. Core and dice fully ripe tomatoes to make 2 C.  Place in a large bowl and [MORE ...]

Vegetable Saute with Cherry Tomato Salsa Cruda

2020-06-10T17:59:12+00:00June 10, 2020|

Cherry tomatoes can be cooked, but it dramatically changes their character and flavor -- essentially turning them into vegetable candy.  I prefer to add them to cooked dishes just before serving, allowing them to contribute their incredible complexity of flavor unaltered. Cut 1 C. of cherry tomatoes in half.  Toss them in a bowl with 1 t. of minced garlic (optional) and pinch of sea salt.  Roughly chop Cilantro to make 1/2 C. (or [MORE ...]

Chilled Zucchini-Spinach Salad with Sesame & Pickled Ginger

2020-05-27T18:29:21+00:00May 27, 2020|

A refreshing salad for a hot day, you wilt the spinach first and "cook" the thinly sliced zucchini by salting.  You can add noodles to it to make it a more filling entree. Very thinly slice onion to make 1/4 C.  Soak the onions in 2 T. rice vinegar. Very thinly slice 2-3 zucchini lengthwise (you can also use a mandolin, or make zoodles with a spiralizer), then cut the slices into thin julienne [MORE ...]

Beet Burgers

2020-05-20T18:14:07+00:00May 20, 2020|

Beets add nice color, moisture and flavor to a vegan burger.  There are lots of beet burger recipes out there but this one dices and roasts the beets and then adds meaty garbanzos and chewy brown rice.  I have canned garbanzos in this recipe but of course you can soak and cook your own beforehand. Cook brown rice to make 1 C. or use leftovers. Trim and dice beets to make 4 C.  You [MORE ...]

Stir-Fried Chow Fun Noodles with Spinach

2020-05-13T18:27:52+00:00May 13, 2020|

The chewy texture of spinach stands up well to these wide noodles.  Traditionally served with beef, this vegetarian version instead relies on mushrooms and caramelized onions to provide the rich flavor.  It is normally made with fresh (not dried) noodles, but in a pinch you can substitute dried rice noodles -- the widest ones you can find. Cut 1 large or 2 medium onions in half and then slice them in slices -- not [MORE ...]

Baked Ziti with Greens & Mushrooms

2020-05-06T18:07:11+00:00May 6, 2020|

This filling and greens-rich dish is faster to make than lasagne with a similar appeal.  You can use kale or spinach, or a combination of the two. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the stems from 1 bunch of kale and then wash the leaves OR soak 1/2 lb. spinach in cold water and drain, twice.  Spin the greens dry.  Chop the leaves. When [MORE ...]

White-Bean Salad with Spring Onion Vinagrette

2020-04-29T17:51:29+00:00April 29, 2020|

You can make this salad with asparagus, snap peas or English peas or some of each. Soak 1 C. cannellini or other large white bean in water overnight. Drain and cook in salted water until just tender. (Or drain and rinse 2 cans of beans). Trim 1 spring onion, then slice lengthwise.  Thinly slice the entire onion, white and green parts.  Toss in a large bowl with the juice of 1 lemon or 3 [MORE ...]

Spring Vegetable Red Thai Curry

2020-04-22T17:16:20+00:00April 22, 2020|

This is a delicious and filling all-vegetable curry but you can easily add a protein of your choosing, seasoned and cooked separately and then added at the end of cooking. Slice spring onions to make 2 C. of white parts.  Reserve the greens. Open two 12 oz cans of Thai Coconut milk.  Scoop out the solid "Cream" on the top and heat in a wok or Dutch oven. Add 2-4 T. Thai red curry [MORE ...]

Spring Vegetable Stir-Fry

2020-04-08T16:59:59+00:00April 8, 2020|

This is a simple recipe but you need to pay attention to the cooking time of each ingredient.  One easy way to do that is to cook the items separately, and then combine at the end with the sauce.  This dish is delicious by itself with rice, but you can also add a protein source of your choice.  Best to cook that separately as well before combining. Clean and thinly slice 1 or 2 [MORE ...]

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Cilantro Pesto

2020-04-02T02:34:04+00:00April 2, 2020|

The intense flavor of the pesto is mellowed a bit by adding it to the vegetables in the oven for a few minutes. Heat the oven to 375. Slice 6 carrots in half lengthwise, then cut into 2" pieces and arrange in a single layer on a well-oiled cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes. Snap the bottoms off 1 bunch of asparagus.  Cut the spears in 2" pieces.  [MORE ...]

Leek, Asparagus and Chard Risotto

2020-03-25T16:57:48+00:00March 25, 2020|

Risotto is simple to make, and the constant stirring can be a meditative and relaxing task if you aren't in a hurry.  Sauteing the leeks until they are caramelized takes a little while, but provides a flavorful basis for the cooking broth. Combine 4 C. vegetable or other broth with 2 C. of water and bring to a boil, then keep at a simmer. "Snap" 1 bunch of asparagus, cut the tips off and [MORE ...]

Spinach-Walnut Pesto

2020-03-18T17:37:18+00:00March 18, 2020|

I've heard on the news that people have been stocking up on old-fashioned pasta.  So here's a quick and delicious recipe that you can toss with a pot full of whatever noodles you happen to have. Remove the stems from 1 bunch of spinach.  Fill a salad spinner with cold water then add the spinach.  Raise the colander section out of the water to drain it, then repeat with fresh water until the water [MORE ...]

Spaghetti Squash & Spinach “Lasagne”

2020-03-11T18:14:50+00:00March 11, 2020|

This recipe uses Spaghetti Squash instead of lasagne noodles.  Bake the squash in advance if possible. Heat the oven to 350.  Cut 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash in half width-wise and scoop out the seeds and seed membranes. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, or until very tender. Allow the squash to cool, then scoop out the flesh of the squash and use a fork to fluff [MORE ...]

Spinach, Leek and Mushroom Noodle Bowl

2020-03-04T18:33:16+00:00March 4, 2020|

I use my salad spinner to give spinach a bath: place the spinach inside the sieved inside part and then fill the entire thing with cold water.  Lift the inside part of the spinner out, then drain the water.  Repeat until the water is completely free of silt.  Then spin the spinach dry. Prepare 12 oz. udon or other noodles according to directions, but drain and rinse before while they are still a little [MORE ...]

Cauliflower Gnocchi with Spinach

2020-02-26T18:47:51+00:00February 26, 2020|

Make this recipe with regular flour or with the gluten-free substitutes I put in parentheses.  You can prep the dough in advance and then freeze it for later. Trim cauliflower heads, then cut into florets.  You want 4 C. total. Steam or parboil the cauliflower until tender. Rinse to cool, drain it, then use a cheesecloth or colander to squeeze as much moisture as possible out. Puree in a food processor with 1/2 t. [MORE ...]

Marinated Cauliflower with Poached Eggs & Leek Vinagrette

2020-02-19T22:12:31+00:00February 19, 2020|

You can make the dressing and cauliflower ahead of time. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Clean and slice 2 small or 1 medium leek.  Heat 5 T. olive oil in a small skillet and saute the leeks until they begin to brown and crisp, then turn off the heat. Trim 2 small or 1 medium head of Cauliflower and separate the florets.  Cut the larger florets in halves or [MORE ...]

Cauliflower-Fennel Saute with Spinach and Olives

2020-02-12T18:53:23+00:00February 12, 2020|

Cauliflower is very popular right now as a rice substitute, but it also makes a nice substitute for meat or tofu.  I like to chop it up small -- but not as small as rice -- and saute it over high heat until it browns.  Unlike broccoli, it retains its texture when cooked this way. Separate the sheaths of 1 head of Fennel, then clean and trim them.  Thinly slice the sheaths and then [MORE ...]

Miso-Orange Glazed Beets and Carrots

2020-02-05T18:56:03+00:00February 5, 2020|

This recipe balances the sweetness of the citrus and roots with hot chili oil and lots of ginger.  You can substitute regular sesame oil and cut the ginger in half if you prefer it mostly sweet. Preheat the oven to 400. Wash 1 lb. each carrots and beets.  You can cut them however you prefer, but make sure they are in similar size and shape pieces so they roast evenly. Clean and thinly slice [MORE ...]

Italian Shaved Celery and Mushroom Salad

2020-01-29T19:32:24+00:00January 29, 2020|

I'm not a big fan of the way most people traditionally use celery in salads -- diced thickly in big chunks.  This unusual salad slices the celery very thinly, on a bias, and transforms it into something more elegant yet still incredibly flavorful.  The sauteed mushrooms provide a contrast in flavor and texture.  I recommend you use the inner stalks of the celery for this dish and reserve the darker green outer stalks for [MORE ...]

Greek Cabbage Salad

2020-01-22T18:53:36+00:00January 22, 2020|

Cabbage Salads are a staple of winter eating in Greece, and they should be at your house too.  This one has capers, roasted red peppers and of course, feta cheese.  The trick to making this salad great -- as with all cabbage salads -- is slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible so it soaks up all the other flavors. In a small bowl, combine 1 pressed clove of garlic with 2 T. red [MORE ...]

Kabocha Mole Stew

2020-01-15T05:45:31+00:00January 15, 2020|

This is a simple mole made with mild dried chiles.  The squash simmers in it and absorbs the complex flavors.  You can just eat the stew over rice or quinoa, or stuff it into corn tortillas and make enchiladas. Place 3 dried New Mexico and 3 dried Pasilla or Ancho chiles in a pot with 4 C. of water and bring to a boil then push down into the water and cover.  Cook on [MORE ...]

Chard & Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

2020-01-08T18:05:05+00:00January 8, 2020|

We don't grow mushrooms at Terra Firma, but mushroom hunters know this is the best time of year to find them growing wild in Northern California and they are abundant at markets as well.  They pair beautifully with chard.  This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a smaller dish. Preheat the oven to 350. Boil 2 lbs. of potatoes in salted water until quite tender.  Drain, then mash with 4 T. butter [MORE ...]

Solstice Soup

2019-12-18T19:48:17+00:00December 18, 2019|

The first step in this recipe is to make a big pan of roasted veggies.  The challenge is not eating most of them before you make the soup. Heat the oven to 375.  Scrub and then chop 2 lbs. of potatoes, 1 lb. of carrots, and 1 lb. of Beets.  If you want a very smooth texture, peel the potatoes first. Place all the vegetables in a large baking dish and drizzle generously with [MORE ...]

Potato-Leek Gratin

2019-12-11T19:22:14+00:00December 11, 2019|

The Leeks in this recipe melt into a caramelized crust under the potatoes and cheese.  A slice of this with a heart salad is a great lunch, or serve it with poached eggs for brunch.  You can make this using 1 C. sliced leeks and 1 lb. of potatoes in a small skillet, 2 C. and 2 lbs. in a medium skillet, or 3 C. and 3 lbs. in a large skillet. Preheat the [MORE ...]

Vietnamese-Style Spaghetti Squash

2019-12-04T18:49:34+00:00December 4, 2019|

This recipe uses spaghetti squash in place of traditional rice noodles.  It is a mostly vegetarian recipe but you can use whatever protein you prefer, or none at all. Cut a spaghetti squash in half width-wise.  Remove the seeds, then place face down on a baking sheet and roast at 350 until very tender. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 C. lime juice with 1/4 C. fish sauce or soy sauce, 2 minced cloves [MORE ...]

Butternut-Chevre Crostini with Saute Beet Greens

2019-11-20T15:58:41+00:00November 20, 2019|

The tang of the goat cheese helps balance out the sweetness of the squash and the slightly chewy beet greens pair well with the creaminess of the spread.  This recipe only uses half of a medium-sized butternut.  You can roast the whole squash and use the other half for something else, or store it in the fridge in a plastic bag for another use.  Gold Beet greens are ideal for this recipe because they [MORE ...]

Broccoli-Stem Mashed Potatoes

2019-11-13T18:58:59+00:00November 13, 2019|

This recipe is specifically targeted to folks who are still throwing away their broccoli stems and only eating the florets.  You can make this recipe using both parts, or just use the stems.  Adding the broccoli to the potatoes makes them moister without adding tons of water or other liquid.  Lastly, if you need a way to get your kids to eat their broccoli, this might be it. Bring a large pot  of salted [MORE ...]

Roasted Broccoli and Spinach Sesame Noodles

2019-11-06T18:24:08+00:00November 6, 2019|

Roasted Broccoli is something you can prepare ahead of time, then pull out of the fridge and add to salads, pasta, pizza, sandwiches -- hot or cold.  This recipe uses Sambal Olek -- a prepared chili paste that is quite spicy.  You can substitute a milder product like Black Bean and Garlic paste, or just add some lemon juice and lots of black pepper. Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the stalks off 2-3 [MORE ...]

Spinach-Carrot Rice Stew

2019-10-30T18:02:16+00:00October 30, 2019|

This recipe uses diced carrots as a type of rice to make a risotto-like dish, creamy and thick.  It could be called "Carrot-to" Rinse 1/2 lb. of carrots, trim the ends, then cut into 1/4" dice.  Combine with 6 C. water and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 C. long-grain rice and a pinch of salt.  Lower the heat and simmer until the carrots and rice are both quite tender -- 20 to 30 [MORE ...]

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