Saturday, 25 October 2014

Baked Acorn Squash with Rice, Cranberries, Pecans and Feta

Mmm ... baked squash!  A fall favourite of mine.  Here it is baked then stuffed with goodies including rice, cranberries and nuts then topped with some feta cheese.

I used two small squashes from my garden, but this amount of ingredients should be enough for one medium sized squash. 

Acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 shallot, minced
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups cooked brown and wild rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup feta

 Bake the squash halves at 350 degrees F (cut side down on a baking sheet) until fork tender.

Saute the shallot in 2 Tbsp of the butter.  Add the cooked rice and toss to coat with the butter.  Remove from heat then add the cranberries and nuts.  Season if needed, but remember the feta will add some saltiness. 

Place the squash halves cut side up on a baking pan (if necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom so it will sit flat).  Split the remaining butter between the two halves then fill with the rice mixture.

Bake at 350 F about 10 minutes.  Top with feta before serving.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Harvest Monday: October 20, 2014

Arugula!  I can't recall when I planted this ... either late August or early September.  Very nice to have a fall planting of some fresh greens.

And it's nice to still have something to contribute to Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday collection!  I look forward to seeing what the more southerly gardeners are showing off this week.

In addition to the arugula, I have more kale - the stalks of the russian kale is getting tough but the leaves are just fine.  The tuscan black kale is still quite tender.

While cleaning up the gardens, I continue to find wayward potatoes (and this single Paris Market Atlas carrot) that I missed the first time around.  And these spring onions are getting nibbled too much so I decided to just pull them (almost nothing left of the greens on most of them).

And finally, some tarragon.  I noticed that most of two tarragon plants had either turned brown or the leaves had come right off.  So I salvaged what I could from the third plant and will dry it or freeze it (not sure the best way to save tarragon) as I have no use for it right now.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Fresh Cranberry and Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze

I still have a few recipes to share from the fresh pumpkins I bought a couple of weeks ago. Once the pumpkins are baked and pureed, the puree can also be frozen for months - but I had several recipes I wanted to make.

Last week was Pumpkin and Maple Granola.  And as mentioned on my Harvest Monday post this week, I also used some pumpkin in a pasta (delicious when combined with sage, kale and sausage).

And now for the next recipe - these delicious muffins!  In addition to the freshly made pumpkin puree, I also used fresh cranberries.  I find most muffin recipes use dried cranberries.  But with Thanksgiving taking place recently, there is an abundance of fresh cranberries in every store!

As for some of the other ingredients, I used a 50/50 split of multi-blend flour and white flour.  All white flour is perfectly fine for this recipe if preferred.  And I used muscovada sugar as I wanted a bit of molasses flavour without actually using molasses.  Regular brown sugar is also fine here.

Makes 10-12 muffins depending on size.

2 cups flour
3/4 cup muscovada sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
Maple Glaze (see below)

Put all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  In a large bowl, add all remaining ingredients except the cranberries.  Stir to combine the wet ingredients.  Pour the dry into the wet and fold gently to combine without over mixing.  Add the cranberries and give another short stir to mix them in.

Spread batter among the cups in a 12-muffin tin.  I made 11 the first time around and only 10 the second batch.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Maple Glaze:  While baking, make the glaze by combining 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, squirt of vanilla and up to 1 Tbsp milk (use only enough milk to create the consistency you want).  Once muffins have cooled slightly, remove from the tin and place on a rack.  Drizzle the glaze over top so it also runs down the sides.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Harvest Monday: October 13, 2014 (Happy Thanksgiving Canada!)

What better use for a fall harvest than for a Thanksgiving Day celebration!  Well, I think most of us have dinner on Sunday as it's most convenient for people who are traveling.  So yesterday, I used some of my recent harvest to make this pasta with sausage, pumpkin, sage and kale (the last two from my garden).

 I also harvested some parsley, thyme, rosemary and a wee little broccoli - the last I have of it.  Although it is too late to expect side shoots, I have left the broccoli in the garden in the hopes that the deer will nibble it rather than the cabbage planted right next to it.
And I managed to fit in a bit of cleanup work over the holiday weekend such as weeding the tomato garden.  I dug up some potatoes from a volunteer plant - I'm surprised I didn't dig up more as I thought I had a few volunteers in that garden.

And that's it.  Pop by Daphne's Dandelions for a view of what other folks are harvesting this weekend!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pumpkin and Maple Granola

I had a terrible year for growing pumpkins ... 6 plants with not a single pumpkin to show for my efforts.  So I picked up a couple at a market just south of Manotick.  Two pie pumpkins, 4-5 pounds each, for only $3.50!  For both!   It's a great time to get out and about to roadside stands or even just a table at the end of someone's driveway. 

I made some pies a couple of weeks ago with one of them.  Not my best effort so I won't bother to post the recipe.  But I have lots of other pumpkin recipes that I've been planning.   Starting with this granola ...

Dry Ingredients:

4 cuts large flake oats
2 cups mixed nuts, chopped*
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp wheat germ

* I used a mix of cashews, almonds, pecans and pistachios

Wet ingredients:
2 egg whites, beaten (fluffy, not stiff)
1 Tbsp neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat the egg whites in a second large bowl then add remaining wet ingredients.  Whisk together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir so that everything is well coated.

Spread into an even layer on a cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees F.  Stir 2-3 times during cooking.

Allow to cool.  Add 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds and 1 cup dried cranberries.   Makes about 2 litres. This will last for months in the freezer (I freeze it in mason jars).

Monday, 6 October 2014

Harvest Monday: October 6, 2014

Super slow this week, but still hanging in with a few items.  Looking forward to seeing what others are harvesting around the globe this week ... check out Daphne's Dandelions for more details!

This parsley and broccoli were my only harvest.  Most of my time is spent preparing the gardens for next year.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Spaghetti Squash and Swiss Chard Casserole

A delicious fall casserole!

4 cups spaghetti squash
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (loose packed) swiss chard, chopped
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
Cheese for top (aged cheddar, mozzarella)

Cut spaghetti squash in half - bake at 350 degrees F (cut side face down with some water in the pan) until tender - about 30 minutes.  Cool enough that it can be easily handled.  Using a fork, pull the strands of "spaghetti" into a bowl.

Saute onion and garlic in some olive oil until softened.  Add chard and cook until wilted.  Mix the spaghetti squash into the chard mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat an egg in a large bowl then add ricotta.  Stir together then mix with squash/chard mixture.

Pour into a casserole dish.  Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes until top has browned and casserole has puffed up.