Monthly Archives: September 2008

Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche


A couple of weeks ago at the farmers market, I bought some Rainbow Chard from Elizabeth Telling Farms – as I’ve never made chard before, I was looking for a recipe that would introduce me to the ingredient. In this recipe, it kind of reminds me of spinach. Can’t wait to experiment with chard and other recipes as well. This one was a success – all of us tore through the entire thing in like 5 minutes, and would have eaten more if we had it. I’ve had requests to make it again ASAP.

I’m submitting this recipe as part of the Weekend Herb Blogging event, hosted this week by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once.

Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche

Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 bunch swiss chard
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
4 eggs
1 cup skim milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry swiss chard. Cut off the very ends of the stems. Roughly chop (leaving stems intact) the chard. Add onion and Chard to the oil and saute until stems are tender (do not overcook). Add salt & pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, grate 2.5 cups of cheese. Use whatever varieties you want/have. Be creative! I used a Mexican 4 Cheese Blend (1 cup), Fontina (1 cup), and freshly shaved Parmesan (1/2 cup). Whisk eggs. Add milk and cheese. Fold in the onion/chard mixture. Add salt & pepper to taste, if necessary.

Pour into a pie dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and no liquid seeps when you poke it with a knife. Serves 8.

15 Bean Soup


It’s a race against time in my pantry – me vs. Mr. Mousey to see who can get to my legumes and grains first. I found out the hard way that big blue plastic containers are no match for a clever little rodent (who knew that they could get under closed lids? we didn’t, which explains why Paul screamed like a girl when he was looking for something in there and a mouse jumped out at him). So needless to say, I have a ton of stuff to work through – all kind of obscure grains and heirloom beans that I’m having hard time to find recipes for, and then nice simple predictable ingredients like the bag of 15 Beans from Ham-Bone brand. I dug around until I found a basic soup recipe, and it turned out VERY well. It tasted as good on Day 4 as it did on the day I made it, and got raves from my entire family. Especially delicious served with crusty bread.

I’m submitting this entry to My Legume Love Affair – Third Helping, an event started by The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Lucy at Nourish Me.

15 Bean Soup

15 Bean Soup
recipe slightly modified from recipezaar

1 (1 lb.) bag of regular 15 bean soup mix
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, crushed
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2-3 ham hocks
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed with fingers
1 tsp. black pepper
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or equivalent in powder)

Wash the beans; put in large pot and cover with water. Let soak overnight. Drain beans and set aside.

Add oil to pot. Saute the ham hocks, onion and celery until tender. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Add the beans, and cover with water (about 2 inches over top of beans). Add tomatoes with the juice, parsley, rosemary, black pepper, bouillon cubes, and about 1 tsp. of salt to start with. Mix well. Bring to a boil; stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (ours was more like 3) or until all beans are tender.

Keep watching it and stirring it every once in a while. You may need to add more water; you want it to keep a consistency a little thicker than a soup. Taste it after it cooks. You may need to add more salt or pepper. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the flavor package that comes with the beans. Serve with crusty bread.

Admin Note: WordPress is Acting Wonky

Just a heads up that I haven’t been able to post for the past couple of days because a plugin conflict in WordPress has prevented me from logging in. Dreamhost sent me a detailed email on how to fix the problem, but it confused me so darn much (and includes another WordPress upgrade) that I’m just going to let Paul (the IT expert) fix it for me in the morning. So please bear with me if you don’t hear from me. I have plenty I want to post about, just want to make sure that the back end is up and running correctly first.

Event: SFC Locavore Dinner!

I try to attend as many of the Slow Food Columbus events as I possibly can, as the combination of food (or drink) and company always guarantees an enjoyable experience. So when the Slow Food Columbus “Shake the Hand That Feeds You” Locavore Dinner at Flying J Farm was announced, I didn’t think twice before signing Paul and I up.

Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing, because from what I understand, all the seats sold out to Slow Food members before tickets were even available to non-members. A bad thing, because I didn’t realize that Paul had to go into work that night. Our mistake, though – and one that Colleen and Bear went out of their way to accommodate, thankfully.

As I said, this event is one that I’ve been looking forward to since it was pitched at a Slow Food brainstorming meeting a few months ago. Dick Jensen of Flying J Farm was generous enough to host the event at his farm and provide many of the ingredients used for the dinner. Dick is one of my favorite farmers at the Clintonville Farmers Market, I think I may have bought just about every short rib he had last year, and I think that’s why he remembered me this year. In addition to excellent grass-fed beef, he also sells a spelt flour that I absolutely love. Not to mention veggies as well.
His farm, about an hour outside of Columbus on the far end of Johnstown, is absolutely breathtaking – I wish I would have got there early enough for the farm tour. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked of the event – although other attendees, like Bethia and Colleen did. (I’m sure more accounts of the event will pop up on people’s blogs, and will update this entry as needed with links). It was nice to see many familiar faces (like CMHGourmand, Roland, Anne, Colleen & Bear, etc.) and to also meet new people as well (like the Rigsby’s who made great company at the communal table as my neighbors).

The evening, through my eyes, is extremely picture intensive, so click on through to continue.

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Duck Fat Fried Potatoes

Since Paul has switched to working nights, I’ve been making him a lot more breakfasts. I figure since he’s making the sacrifice to work his tail off while I sleep soundly, the least I can do is welcome him home in the morning with a nice hot breakfast.

Duck Fat Fried Potatoes

That being said, I’m not above using convenience products. One of my favorite ones to use is the “Simply Potatoes” (or Aldi equivalent) cubed potatoes with onions – they are already partially parboiled so only take 12-14 minutes to brown completely on the stovetop. What makes them truly decadent, though – is that I fry them in duck fat. The duck fat adds a boost of flavor that takes potatoes from meh to sublime. I’ve been serving this up to him with some center cut bacon (baked in the oven, natch – on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees until crispy) and cheesy scrambled eggs and he’s been in hog heaven.

What’s your favorite breakfast to start (or end) the day?

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 9/20/08

Well, I’m a day late with my report, but yesterday was a hectic day. I was working on little to no sleep yesterday morning, so I napped for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon (during the time I’d normally do the writeup) in anticipation of the Slow Food Columbus “Shake the Hand That Feeds You” Locavore Dinner at Flying J Farm (more about that later!).

This weekend was the first time I had to go to the farmers market without Paul, since he’s now working nights. I decided to drag my mother and her boyfriend along with me, after oversleeping by about 45 minutes. Still, I managed to get to the North Market before 8am. It was quite a chilly morning (in the 50s, I think), so I wore long pants and a hoodie for the first time in months.

The tide is definitely turning in regards to what’s available. The name of the game of the moment is stone fruits and apples and pears and and root vegetables and winter squash. And I’m perfectly OK with that, as autumn is one of my favorite times to cook, because of the plethora of veggies that can be used for soup and stew making (are you guys craving soup and stew as much as I am right now?).

I was glad to hear that most of our farmers sustained minimal damage in last week’s windstorm. I was worried about how the storm would affect them, since their livelihood is based on the whim of Mother Nature. Most came through just fine.

I’m still shocked to find berries at the market – like these raspberries from Rhoads Farm. It must be a really good year for berries, because there’s been a steady stream of beautiful berries for months now.

Raspberries from Rhoads Farms

Love love love the colors of eggplant this year. This basket of eggplant from Wayward Seed Farm shows about 5 different shades of purple. I just can’t get enough eggplant this year, for some reason!

Eggplant from Wayward Seed Farm

I got a bunch of root veggies at Persinger Farms, including a bunch of these carrots. Again, simply amazed at the quality of produce this year.

Carrots from Persinger Farms

This pile of habaneros looks like just the recipe to set one’s rear on fire. So pretty, but so unbelievably hot that I won’t even get close to one.

Habanero Peppers

It was off to Worthington by 8:30ish. I missed Worthington last week, and am glad things are back to normal. I bought a portable “shopping cart” to take with me to the market, and am so glad that I did so – it made purchasing a lot of produce possible, whereas I would have in big trouble if I had tried to carry all this stuff by myself while at the same time trying to take pictures. I can’t even remember everything I bought at the market today, since there is so much. I spent $100 in mere minutes. Of course, some of that cost is meat, so it’s understandable…

After hearing so much about the awesome pears everyone got at Wayward Seed Farm last week, I picked up a pound or so for munching on later. I hear that last week’s pears were darn near perfect.

Pears from Wayward Seed Farm

The apple cider from Ochs was so good the last time around that I sprung for a gallon this week. To me, nothing says fall more than apple cider (speaking of which, isn’t today officially the first day of fall?)

It’s almost time to get another centerpiece – to replace the flowery spring/summer ones with a naturally beautiful one made with decorative squash.

Autumn Centerpiece

And what I thought were buckeyes were chestnuts – not a chestnut fan myself, but I wish I were – these looked lovely.

Chesnuts from Gillogly Orchard

So what all did you end up getting? Did those of you that lost electricity this week spend an arm and a leg on produce like I did (and I don’t even have the excuse of losing electric!)? What’s on the menu for this week?

Fried Green Tomatoes

Leave it to me to go for the obvious. The Novel Food #5 event asks us to prepare a dish that has a connection to a published literary work, and given the time of year, the first thing that popped into my head was “Fried Green Tomatoes”, which is featured in the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg. I read the book long ago – I think I was still a teenager, but even then I had a one track mind (food!) – the impression it left with me is that I really wanted to try fried green tomatoes.

Fast forward about 20 years. I still hadn’t tried them. Finally, I took the plunge – and I’ve got to say, they’re quite delicious, especially drizzled with some jalapeno hot sauce. I even got a nicely seasoned cast iron pan out of the deal (thanks, Mom!) Would make these again in a heartbeat – next time around, I’m thinking of doing a Fried Green Tomato BLT or Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict. 🙂 I know I should have been a purist and used the recipe in the book, but this Tyler Florence recipe is pretty righteous.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Hot pepper sauce, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.
Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels. Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

Mrouziya (Honey Spiced Lamb)


Unlike a lot of folks in Columbus (who are still without electric and have lost entire freezers worth of food), I still have a very full freezer (I would have been so up a creek without a paddle if my electric had gone out). I’ve been trying to plan meals around the stuff in my freezer and pantries. Let me tell you, I’m counting my blessings and seeing the windstorm as a wakeup call – eat out of my stores at all cost, because I have just too much stuff that’s completely perishable in the case of power loss (plus, I’d like to make ice cream – it would help if I actually had enough room in my freezer to do so!)

This lamb shoulder came from the lamb Paul and my mother butchered at the Meet Your Meat workshop we did at 2Silos back in June. Pieces of cut up lamb quarter have been in the freezer since then, and this was the first cut we used. Yummy, even though we butchered the butchering a bit, so to speak. Ras el hanout is one of my favorite spice blends, and it works wonderfully in this dish – it’s both spicy and sweet at the same time. Not spicy in a hot kind of way, either. Just a nice combination that really stood out. I wasn’t crazy about the boxed Armenian rice we served with it, next time around, I’ll make some lentil rice or couscous from scratch to accompany it. I’m submitting this as part of the Deep Freeze Summer Challenge 2 blogging event hosted by Mele Cotte.

Ras El Hanout Lamb

Mrouziya (Honey Spiced Lamb)
recipe courtesy Mimi’s Cyber Kitchen

4 lbs. lamb shoulder, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp. ras el hanout
2 to 3 cups water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. smen (aged butter) – or substitute 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. honey
3/4 c. raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1 c. (5 oz) whole blanched almonds, toasted
Hobz Belboula or other crusty bread for serving

Preheat the oven to 325F. With your hands, thoroughly coat the meat with ras el hanout. Set the meat in a heavy cast-iron pan or an enameled casserole with a heavy lid. Add the water, the oil, smen, and honey. Cover tightly. Bake until the meat falls off the bones, 3 to 4 hours.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to an ovenproof dish and keep warm. Skim the fat from the sauce. Place the casserole over medium-high heat and add the raisins. Cook, stirring, until the sauce attains the consistency of maple syrup, 10 to 12 minutes. Return the meat to the sauce. Stir to coat and heat through.

Transfer meat to a shallow platter and garnish with the toasted almonds. Serve with extra sauce on the side, and warm bread.

I used a store-bought jar of ras el hanout, but if it’s not something that’s readily available in your area, you can also make it from ingredients you probably already have at home. Here’s a recipe for the spice blend, also found at Mimi’s Cyber Kitchen:

Ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)

“There must be as many recipes for ras el hanout as there are spice vendors in Morocco. The name itself, which translates as “top (or head) of the shop,” refers to the best combination of spices the seller can provide. Si Brahim, our spice vendor in Azemmour, incorporates thirty-four spices, dried roots, so-called aphrodisiacs, and other mysterious and unusual items. I prefer to use Naima Lakhmar’s more easily prepared, less elaborate recipe. She toasts all her ras el hanout ingredients before grinding. You can usually find blade mace, dried ginger root, and dried turmeric root in Middle Eastern markets.”

Makes about 1/4 cup

1 teaspoon allspice berries or 1-1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 whole nutmeg or 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
20 threads Spanish saffron
2 teaspoons black peppercorns or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons blade mace* or ground mace
1 three-inch cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 two-inch pieced dried ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons salt
1 two-inch piece dried turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground

If using whole spices, put all the ingredients in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and toast, stirring constantly, until the mixture emits a pleasant aroma, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. (This first step is not necessary if using commercially ground spices.) Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, reduce the ingredients to a fine powder. Sift to remove fibrous elements. Place in a tightly sealed container and store in a cool, dark place, or in the freezer.

*Blade mace, also called mace blades, is the lacy, scarlet aril covering the nutmeg. It turns light brown as it dries. It is better know in its powdered form as ground mace.

Any German Speakers in the House?

My mother passed along some of my Oma’s recipes, and although I can translate them in bits and pieces, I’m having a bit of trouble with some of the words. I’d love to be able to make some of her dishes, so if anyone can help out, I’d be truly appreciative.

I’ve consolidated all of the handwritten recipes into a downloadable PDF file which is right here. Thank you, everyone, ahead of time, for whatever help you can provide.

Abruzzese Lamb and Red Pepper Ragu with Penne

One of the things that I love about Cooking Light is that their pasta recipes are usually pretty awesome – you can’t really tell that they’re lower-fat. This is one that I like to use when I have leftover ground lamb laying around – most of the other ingredients are usually pantry items that I normally keep on hand, so it makes it super-easy to whip up something quick (and healthy) for dinner. Serve with a salad to round out your meal. I’m submitting this entry to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Equal Opportunity Kitchen.

Abruzzese Lamb and Red Pepper Ragu with Ziti

Abruzzese Lamb and Red Pepper Ragu with Penne
recipe courtesy Cooking Light

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
4 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
12 ounces lean ground lamb
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 bay leaves
1 can (14 1/2-ounce) fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked tube-shaped pasta or other short pasta)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cover and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove onion mixture from pan.

Add lamb to pan; cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel. Return onion mixture and lamb to pan. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

Add tomatoes, 3 tablespoons parsley, salt, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Add pasta and cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Serves 8 (serving size 1 1/2 cups)
Nutrition: 368 cal (26% from fat), 10.6g fat, 18.8g pro, 35mg chol, 110mg calc, 520mg sod, 4.1g fiber, 3mg iron, 50.8g carb.