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Ali’s Eggplant Parmesan

Posted by: on Aug 13, 2019 | No Comments

Direct from our Operations and Harvest Manager, Ali Jacobs, who makes this recipe every year in big batches!

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, I usually make about 5 at once in half sheet catering pans and freeze them for the winter, freeze before baking, to cook from frozen let defrost overnight in fridge, then cook normally. This is not a school night recipe, it’s complicated and involves a lot of time and utensils, that’s why I like to make multiples so I’m only doing the effort once. It can also be a great family project to do with kids, even if they’re not big eggplant fans they’ll enjoy the breading process and layering the final casserole.

 

Ingredients:
1 cup olive oil
1-2 Eggplants
2-3 cups Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Fresh Oregano – 4-5 Tbsp
Fresh Basil – 4-5 Tbsp

2 Qt Tomato sauce or Heirloom Tomato Puree

2 lb fresh Mozzarella Cheese (can use shredded if you want, but better ingredients = better flavor)
1 Qt ricotta cheese
1-2 cups parmesan cheese

 

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Slice eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

3. Prepare a work area with a large plate or bowl of flour, a bowl of the egg and milk mixed together, and a plate or bowl of the breadcrumbs, herbs and salt mixed together. (You can also add some parmesan to the breadcrumb mixture for extra cheesiness).

4. In order, dip a slice of eggplant into the flour, making sure to cover all sides, then into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumbs.

5. Place breaded eggplant slices onto a baking sheet that has been generously greased with olive oil.

6. Using a basting brush or oil sprayer to lightly oil the tops of the breaded eggplant slices. If you don’t have either of these you can drizzle oil quickly over the surface of the eggplant, however, be careful not to put too much on or they will become soggy.

7. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until the breading has developed a crispy crust and the eggplant is cooked through.

8. Remove from oven and set aside.

9. Slice the mozzarella as thinly as possible, ideally about 1/4 inch thick slices.

10. In a deep 9×13 or larger casserole dish begin to layer your ingredients. Cover the bottom of the pan in a coating of sauce, this doesn’t need to be thick, just ensure it’s fully covered, then place a single layer of eggplant slices, don’t worry about holes between them, follow with a layer of cheese, I like to be a little conservative with the mozzarella so that it will get into every layer of the casserole, and fill in the gaps between with ricotta, you don’t need to have a perfectly even distribution of cheese, it’s going to melt and move, just get a slice or dollop every couple inches across the whole surface. Follow with a sprinkle of parmesan.

11. Continue layering, sauce, eggplant, cheese. I use a bit more sauce in the middle layers than I did on the bottom. You should end up with about 3 layers of eggplant.

12, On the top layer put an extra layer of sauce and then put the remainder of the parmesan (or to taste).

13. Bake in the oven at 375F, covered, for half an hour, then uncover and bake for another 15-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese on top is golden brown.

Leftover components can be used to make another, smaller casserole, or eggplant ricotta rolls, or anything else you can think of.

From Ali Jacobs, 2019.

Blueberry Lemonade

Posted by: on Jul 19, 2019 | No Comments

The most gorgeous color, and super simple. This was inspired by our neighbor Leo and his awesome blueberry lemonade stand!

Ingredients:
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup sweetener, sugar, or maple syrup
1 cup blueberries (plus a few in reserve for topping)
mint to garnish if you like

Makes 1/2 gallon.

Put all the ingredients except mint in a blender and add a little cold water. Blend until smooth. Put in a half gallon container and fill up to the top with cold water. Shake or stir to mix. Serve in cups with ice, little sprigs of mint and a few whole blueberries to top.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Posted by: on Oct 25, 2018 | No Comments

This recipe makes nice tender baked sweet potato fries with good browning. We grow three types of sweet potatoes most years, Japanese Murasaki with purple skins and white interior, Bonita with white skin and white flesh, and Orleans Orange, the classic deep orange inside and out. You can find them at the farm stores or markets to get a sampler of them to bake up and taste side by side. Oven fries are especially good for making a tasting, as the ingredients are so simple and you can taste each flavor.

Ingredients:
Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Coconut oil (optional)

Salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice up however many sweet potatoes you want to eat into big chunky fries, all of similar thickness, for even cooking. Toss in a bowl, with enough olive oil to coat, and a little salt.

If you have coconut oil, I like to put a tablespoon or two on a baking sheet and set it in the oven for a minute to melt. Then spread the oil around the pan for a good coating. You could oil the pan with another high heat oil. I think the oil on the bottom gets them to brown better.

Spread the sweet potatoes across the pan so none are piled on top of each other, and each has good contact with the pan. Cover the pan with tin foil. Put in the oven and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, about a 1/2 hr.

Then remove the foil, and put the pan back in the oven to brown. Don’t stir, as this will mess up the browning. Scope the fries out periodically as they bake until you get the level of browning you want.

Serve with ketchup or dipped in a spicy mayo spiked with RFF hot sauce ;).

Eminently Adjustable Spicy Garlic Basil Lo Mein

Posted by: on Jul 31, 2018 | No Comments

A recipe from long-time CSA member Cheryl Munn! It features gluten-free ingredients. This recipe plays very well with seasonal adjusting and making with the produce that’s ready right now.  To honor that, I added “Eminently Adjustable” to her title, highlighting the excellent potential for local eating contained within.

You can easily get creative, subbing other onion family crops for shallots, other greens or broccoli for the bok choy or cabbage, something else flavorful for the peppers, and such. This here is a dish that is great fresh, but also as a lunch for the next day (or days if you like to make a bunch).

Sauce:
3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/3 cup low sodium gluten free tamari
2 Tbsp chili paste, or 1 Tbsp tomato paste and 1-2 Tbsp sriracha [use all tomato paste if you don’t want it spicy]
3 Tbsp coconut sugar or 80 milligrams pure stevia
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/3 cup fresh chopped
1 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp arrowroot

Lo Mein:
1 lb gluten free brown rice spaghetti, 14 oz brown rice fettuccine or Lo Mein noodles, cooked
12 ozs baby bok choy or cabbage, cut into 1/4″ strips
1 sweet red pepper diced or sliced thin
1 yellow pepper diced or sliced thin
1 lb carrots julienned (rainbow carrots would be good in this)
2 stalks celery diced
1/3 cup finely minced shallots
5 large garlic cloves minced

Directions:

Add ingredients for sauce, except arrowroot, to a bowl and whisk together. Add arrowroot, whisk and set aside. [a sub option for arrowroot powder is corn starch]

Cook pasta or lo mein noodles according to package directions, rinse and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, prep vegetables as directed above. Put prepared vegetables except bok choy or cabbage in a large wok.  Cook vegetables on medium high 3 minutes, stir to keep from burning. Place cover on wok and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove lid, add bok choy or cabbage to wok and stir into other vegetables. Cook another 3 minutes. Add sauce to vegetables, stir, let simmer 2 minutes to thicken. Shut off heat, add noodles, stir until well mixed. Serve!

Recipe and photos from Cheryl Munn, 2018

Oven Roasted Parsnip Fries

Posted by: on Mar 22, 2018 | No Comments

One of the most delicious spring things is here! Roots hidden underground all winter gathering sweetness from the frosty cold. We just harvested these and baked the first batch – spring-dug parsnips! Fall and winter parsnips have lots of great flavor for this dish also, though the spring-dug ‘nips are the next level of sweetness. I love to roast them in the oven this way…

Ingredients:
Parsnips – as many as you’d like
Coconut oil (or other higher heat oil)
Salt

Preheat the oven to 400, while you wash and chop the parsnips into fries. Put a couple tablespoons worth of coconut oil on the baking pan and set in the oven to melt a minute. Take pan out and stir the parsnips around in the oil to get some coating, then cover with tin foil to roast for about a half hour until parsnips are very soft to tines of a fork.

Then uncover and roast more until you get that awesome caramelizing of the natural sweetness. Sprinkle with kosher salt or other coarser grind salt, serve hot. 

Also excellent dipped in a spicy mayo spiked with RFF hot sauce ;).

Colcannon with Shallots

Posted by: on Mar 15, 2018 | No Comments

For St. Patrick’s Day, a classic recipe from Ireland, perfect for our  seasonal ingredients. Colcannon is a recipe with so many variations, because it is beloved and made in many homes. Make your own variation!

2 lbs gold or white potatoes
6 tbs unsalted butter
5 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups of shredded savoy cabbage (packed in)
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Chop the potatoes in large chunks and boil in salted water until very soft to the tines of a fork, then drain water away (reserve for a soup stock if you like).

Melt 4 Tbs of the butter in a pan that will fit all the ingredients. Add the chopped shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until shallots start to brown. Then add 1 cup of the shredded cabbage. Cook the cabbage down til it is wilted.

Add the milk and cream and start to simmer. Put in the cooked potato chunks and remaining cabbage. Mash it all, and season with salt and pepper, topping with the remaining butter at serving time.

Variations: Add chopped spinach with the cream at the end to make it green! Saute kale with the shallots to add green at that stage. You can replace the milk and cream with 1 cup or so potato cooking water, adding a little olive oil. Add in cloves of roasted garlic. Peel the potatoes if you don’t want peels in there. Top with crumbles of cooked bacon or tempeh.

Roasted Winter Veggie Tacos

Posted by: on Mar 1, 2018 | No Comments

One of our Deep Winter Share members shared this recipe, describing it as “my new favorite meal.” It’s inspired by the taco share we do in the winter time, a great way to enjoy the winter roots. You can swap any other roots you have in for the ones listed below, to good effect. Thank you Emily Pollock for sending it over!

TACO FILLING
Chop into smallish pieces, toss in olive oil, and roast at 425 for about 40 min, stirring occasionally:

1 large sweet potato
1 potato
2 carrots
1 rutabaga or gilfeather turnip
1 large onion
(sometimes I throw in watermelon radish or beet too)

Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime, salt, and pepper.  Serve with corn tortillas, cheese, and re-fried black beans below (I make a new mexico hatch chili sauce with this as well, because I like my tacos really spicy, but I don’t think it is necessary).

RE-FRIED BLACK BEANS
1lb black beans, soaked overnight
1T vegetable oil
1t cumin (preferably freshly toasted and ground)
about 1t salt (to taste)

Cover the beans with water, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 3-4 hours, making sure there is still enough water.  Drain away excess water if applicable. Add vegetable oil, salt, and cumin, and puree with an immersion blender. Add the beans to your tacos!

From CSA member Emily Pollock, 2018.

Potato Leek Soup

Posted by: on Nov 28, 2017 | No Comments

This is a well-loved recipe around the farm that folks make to warm up for lunch, and enjoy with friends.

5 large white potatoes or equivalent (peeled and chopped)
5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
1 Tbs butter
3 large leeks (sliced using whites only)
1 Tbs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery salt
pepper and salt to taste
1 cup light cream
mushrooms (can be optional, but so good)

Peel and cut potatoes, slice leeks. Melt butter over medium heat in pot. Add leeks and let sit for several minutes. Add potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, celery salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes). Once potatoes are soft, remove from heat, remove the bay leaf, and use an immersion blender or food processor to liquify.

In a separate pan slice mushrooms into tiny chunks and sauté. Return the soup to heat, add cream and mushrooms and simmer on low until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper if needed, to taste. Enjoy!

The Art of Apple Pie, and a Pie Crust Recipe to Use Anywhere

Posted by: on Nov 9, 2017 | No Comments

In our community growing up, my mum Ella Ingraham made the best pie crust, and the best apple pie. This proclamation is based on my love for my mother and my own taste – but I’m not alone! Every year when I was little, our church held an Apple Festival. My mum would be on the team making tons of pies to sell for fundraising. All the bakers in the church pitched in time and pies. I got to try a lot of apple pie there. And when it came to the sale, my mum’s pies always sold out. The word was on the street.

I’d say I’ve informed my pie palate even more since that time, and I still circle back to what I learned then. Ella’s pie is the best!

There are two factors in the perfection. They are an excellent crust, and letting the apples speak for themselves.

I have been wanting to learn this art of pie-making. Over the last few years, we make a yearly date to produce a set of pies together for Thanksgiving. It is so clear, working closely with her in the kitchen, that she has a feel for ingredients and outcome that is much more patterned and detailed than the written recipe she follows. I could never follow that recipe and get the same result.

Last year, I finally took a bunch of photos of the process, to record the detail of what I’m learning, and what I tend to forget from one November to another. I hope this can be useful to you in creating delicious pies with a wonderful flaky crust!

How to Get Local Apples from the Farm:
We have local apples for sale at our Granby Farm Store, which has open hours through Thanksgiving, and you can also order at discount prices bushels of local apples for pies, sauces, drying and more through our Bulk Order page. We have all sorts of organic produce from winter squash and onions, to sweet potatoes and spinach for bulk order now, and at our stand and markets.

About the Recipes:
These below are my mother’s favorite recipes to use, from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer. We have adapted and added details and notes from how we make them at home.

Flour Paste Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough for one double-crust (top and bottom) 9 inch pie. You can double or triple as needed. This is a great crust recipe for many types of pies, including Sweet Potato Pie.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour (sifted) – we often use about half whole wheat pastry flour
1tsp salt (re-sifted with flour)
1/4 cup cold water for the paste
A little more water when gathering dough together, or unflavored vodka which moistens now and then evaporates when cooking
2/3 cup unsalted butter (or shortening) – use cold butter
Some additional flour for rolling out the crust
Cream or milk for brushing on the crust just before baking

  1. First, sift flour. Add salt, then sift a second time.
  2.  Take 1/3 of your salt and flour mixture and combine with water to form a paste, and set aside.
  3.  Next, cut the butter into the remaining flour. You can do this in various ways, from using your fingers to crumble the butter and flour together, to chopping at it with two butter knives, to a multi-bladed pastry blender, to a food processor on pulse. The important thing is that the texture at the end still contain small lumps of butter, as pictured below. It has been described as “coarse granola.”
  4. Combine both paste and butter-flour mixture, then promptly and gently form into a ball. Add a little more water here if needed, just enough to form it together, see pictures.
  5. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1/2 hour (or overnight.) You can freeze the dough if making ahead. To defrost, set in fridge for a day, or in room temperature for 2 hours. You can also form the bottom crust and freeze it in a pie plate for making pies later.

While chilling is a good time to make the apple filling…

Apple Pie Filling

5-6 cups apples, sliced thinly * see variety notes below
1/8 tsp salt
1  to 1 1/2 Tbs flour or cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground if available)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbs butter – for after you’ve put the filling in the pie shell

  • Important Note, the original recipe recommends 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar, but we make it without, and like it better 🙂 I think this is one of the changes from other pie recipes that really lets you taste the apples.

Apple Variety Notes
My mum likes a mix of types, including a crisp tart green type, Cortland, and a few others that have good sweetness and complexity. The mix of apple varieties gives a depth of flavor that is one of the keys to making the best pie. She says, “I always use some Cortlands because they taste quite good and they have a beautiful color. They turn pink!” We leave the skins on, as they soften up nicely while cooking and add flavor and color.

How to make the filling:

  1. Remove bruises, core the apples, and slice very thinly, leaving skins on.
  2. Stir to mix the apples with all the filling ingredients, except the butter.

Putting the Pie Together

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. When ready to make the pies, split chilled dough into 2 equal parts. Roll out one at a time on a floured surface until they make rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Work the dough as little as possible. I’ve watched my mum delicately patch holes formed when rolling, pressing the little piece of dough just enough to connect it to the rest. It is a tender thing to keep a crust flaky.
  3. Line a 9 inch pie pan with one round of the rolled out pie dough from above, and trim off excess dough that hangs over the edge of the pan.
  4. Layer the apple filling into the pie, getting them densely packed, and piled high.
  5. Dot the top of the apple pile with the 1 1/2 Tbs butter from the filling recipe
  6. Lay over the top the other round of pie dough. Take the two layers of dough at edges by the pie rim and fold from the top under, so the top dough is hugging around and under the bottom dough, and it all fits nicely on the pie plate. Then crimp the edges down with a fork or finger tips to seal and make a pattern all around the rim. This is kind of hard to explain, so see pictures below.
  7. Poke holes in the upper crust in some kind of design, to allow steam to escape, and to make the pie pretty.
  8. Brush the surface of the pie crust with a brush dipped in cream or milk to give a nice shine to the crust.
  9. Put into the oven to bake at 450 for 10 minutes
  10. Turn down the oven to 350, and bake another 35-45 minutes until pie is done.

How to tell when the pie is done:

You want the filling to boil, so you should hear bubbling or see places where juices have bubbled up. You can poke with a small knife to see if the apples are tender. Consider making a couple larger holes in your crust design to allow knife poking :). Also the crust should be nicely golden brown.

You can use tin foil over the crust to reduce more browning, if it is getting too brown but the inside isn’t bubbling yet. Foil over the whole top, or just in a circle around the outer crust rim will cut back on browning, allowing more baking time.

Serving the Pie

You can serve them hot, or room temperature. If allowed to cool, the pie’s juices will set up better to stay in place when cut. I am quite fond of having excesses of whipped cream around at Thanksgiving to dollop on apple and pumpkin and other pies at serving time. A bit of ice cream is quite nice too.

Now, How to Make Apple Pie, in Photos!

Scroll down for some more detailed tips on parts of the process.

Here’s what the flour paste looks like:

 

Cut the butter into the flour until it looks like the mixture below – with some reasonable little chunks of butter in there. These butter nubs are key for achieving flakiness in the crust.

Mixing the flour paste with the butter-flour mixture needs to be a gentle and quick process to reduce the formation of gluten (which makes crusts more chewy than flaky). You can add a little more water if needed, a teeny bit at a time, to get the whole thing to gather into a ball:

When the dough is together it should not be wet, it should just be together enough, as shown below. Setting the dough to cool allows the flour to absorb moisture and chilling it before another handling will reduce the formation of gluten. Cover it to protect the moisture:

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Again, handle it as little as possible. It does tend to stick, so you could use a parchment paper underneath your flour to help lift it. My mum uses the rolling pin to help carry the dough to the pie plate:

Trim the edges of the dough and patch holes with the trimmings. Leave some overhang to help make a nice thick edge crust when paired with the upper crust:

 

 

Mix apples and spices for the filling in a big bowl so you can get all the apples well coated:

Fill up the bottom pie crust, trying to get the apples as densely packed as possible. If you have enough upper crust dough, you can make the pile nice and high, as the apples will settle and condense while cooking, and you’ll get more apple in there:

Put the butter up on the top of the apple pile:

Now you can lay the top layer of crust dough, and you want the top layer to be big enough to fold over and under the bottom crust lip. You put both crusts together, and then fold the double layer under to create a sealed container of dough:

Here is how you get that fold:

Below you can see how the top crust fold happens, and once you have the fold, you can crimp the edges down with your fingers to bind it. This type of fold helps keep the pie juices in the pie!

Make some good holes in the crust to let steam escape, and you might as well make a design! You can do these with a fork, or cut designs with a knife. You can also lay on extra dough cut into shapes for more styling.

Ready to set the pies in the oven!

Here’s a pie, all golden and done, where we used a fork around the edges to crimp and make a pattern.

Here’s another kind of top you can make, by cutting shapes in dough and laying them in a pattern on top of the apples:

Everyone’s excited when it is time to cut into the pies! Here below we made a streusel topping.

Thank you all for reading! Thanks to my dear mum for sharing her art! I hope everyone has a wonderful season, filled with pie!

Cheers,

Sarah, Ella and the Red Fire Farm crew.

Sugar Pumpkin Cheescake

Posted by: on Oct 2, 2017 | No Comments

Smaller sugar pie pumpkins have been bred for flavor in cooking! They are wonderful in pies, and also this special cheesecake recipe.

A rather stunning cheesecake for fall and winter holidays. Thank you to Wilhelmina Ryan for sharing with us!

1 cup sugar pie pumpkin puree, baked ahead
20-25 small ginger snap cookies, crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (total 32 oz), softened
1 cup sugar or other dry sweetener, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Halve a sugar pie pumpkin and bake cut-sides-down at 350 for about 45 minutes until a fork goes through the flesh easily. Scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh out and puree in a blender or food processor. Excess pumpkin puree can be saved for adding to soup or other dishes. Turn oven to 325 after cooking the pumpkin.

Mix chopped pecans, ginger snap crumbs, and melted butter; press firmly onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to form the crust.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract with a mixer until mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.

Regular Batter:
Remove 1-1/2 cups of the batter; place aside in small bowl. This will be your light colored batter.

Pumpkin Batter:
Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the pumpkin puree and spices into remaining batter. Pumpkin puree must not be so hot as to cook eggs at this stage.

Spoon half of the pumpkin batter onto crust in the pan; top with separated spoonfuls of half of the reserved regular batter. Repeat layers until you’ve used up the batters. Swirl through batters with a butter knife to marble the colors.

Bake 55 minutes at 325 or until center is almost set. Check doneness by gently shaking the pan – when it is done only a small bit in the center will jiggle and the rest will be set solid.

Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.