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Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Different Bean Soup

I have been craving bean soup ever since my friend, Bill LaFevre, posted that he was making split pea soup a couple weeks ago. I even thawed a ham steak thinking I would make bean with ham soup. But at the same time, I thawed the beef shanks I got with my last CSA delivery and figured I would find something to do with those as well.

Because ham keeps better than raw beef, I decided to braise the beef shanks first. I braised them in chianti and port with onions and garlic. It made my house smell heavenly and the result was quite yummy. But even better than that, the wine/port mixture I braised the meat in became this beautiful wine stock. As soon as I tasted it, I abandoned the idea of bean with ham soup and decided to use the beef and stock to make my bean soup. I was not disappointed! This will probably become one of my go-to fall soup recipes!

Braised Beef and Bean Soup

2 beef shanks** (about 3 lbs)
1/2 bottle chianti
1 cup tawny port
1 lg sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Magique herbs***
1 Tbsp Olive oil
3 cups fresh "dried" navy beans*
32 oz beef stock
3 carrots
Water as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Braising beef

Combine chianti, port and herbs in a zipped bag. And beef shanks and turn to coat. Seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear beef shanks on both sides, about 3 minutes.

Slice onion thin and place in crockpot with garlic. Place beef shanks on top. Pour marinade over beef and cook, on HIGH, for 1 hour. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to LOW and braise 6-8 hours.

When meat has pulled away from the bones, remove shanks and vegetables to a plate. Allow to cool enough to handle and pull as much of the fat, plus bones, from the meat. Chop the rest.

Cool the remaining stock until fat sets. Remove the fat.

Assembling the soup

In a large Dutch oven, combine beef, wine stock, beef stock carrots, beef stock and beans.  Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook, covered, for about 2 hours, adding water ad needed, until beans are cooked. Adjust seasonings.

*farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients
***fleur de sel aux herbes de provence

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Jack's Bacon

Every once in a while, I stop by Jack's Market to get bacon and sausage. They have the best thick - cut bacon. I also had leeks and spinach that I needed to use. I figured that would be a great combination for a quiche.

Bacon Spinach Quiche with Leeks

2 slices thick - cut bacon
1 med leek*
3 cups baby spinach, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs**
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 cup Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, chop into small pieces. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp bacon grease. Cut white part of leek in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/4 - inch slices. Heat pan and add leeks. Cook about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Add garlic and cook one more minute. Remove to paper towel to drain excess moisture.

Prepare baking dish with cooking spray. Place vegetables and bacon into bottom of dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. Slowly add milk until well mixed. Pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with swiss cheese.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife, inserted into center, comes out clean. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.

*farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chicken Chili

A couple weeks ago at the farmers market, I bought a couple pounds of fresh navy beans.  Something that I discovered being a member of a CSA, was that fresh "dried" beans are so much better than beans from the grocery store!!!!  You don't even have to soak them.  I even talked mom into buying some.  Since I went to Sam's Club the other day, I had purchased a rotisserie chicken ($4.99 for a very large bird!).  So, this morning, I decided to make white chicken chili.  Of course, it helps if you check to make sure you have all the ingredients!  But when I looked in my cupboard, I didn't have green chiles.  So, I looked in my pantry and found a jar of medium hot Hungarian peppers (also from my CSA).  I've actually had them set aside because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them.  I figured they would be a good substitute.  Well, it only took an hour of simmering for the beans to cook and the peppers were better than green chiles!

White Chicken Chili
  • 1 lb fresh "dried" navy beans*
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion*
  • 4 medium hot Hungarian peppers**
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
 Rinse the beans and sort.  Place in a large Dutch oven and add chicken stock.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook.  While beans are cooking, chop onions and peppers.  Heat olive oil in large skillet; add onions and saute until they become translucent.  Add the peppers, garlic and chickens and heat through.  Add these to the soup.  Add seasonings.  Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are cooked.  Add water as necessary.

*Farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Stuffed Eggplant

I had puchased a couple small eggplant at the farmers market last week and needed to use them. In light of the fact that I had also made ragu last week, I thought this would be a good time to try my hand at stuffed eggplant. After hollow in out the eggplant halves, I combined the ragu and eggplant flesh with panko and cheese and stuffed the mixture into the shells. After baking, I ended up with something quite yummy!  I think next time I would include some sweet peppers. But this was quite tasty.

Stuffed peppers
Preheat oven to 350F. Hollow out eggplants and chop removed flesh. Microwave the eggplant with 1/4 Cup water for 5 minutes on HIGH.  Heat ragu, add cooked eggplant, panko and cheese; mix well. Spoon mixture into the eggplant shells. Cover with provolone slices. Bake 45 -50 minute, or until eggplant is cooked and cheese is melted and golden brown.

*farmers market ingredients

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Home Canned Tomatoes

So, last week, I canned tomatoes for the first time in probably 2 decades.  I tried to can 6 quarts.  Five worked beautifully and one failed spectacularly.  So, this week, I needed to use that quart.  I decided that since I have a really nice looking spaghetti squash, I would make a ragu.  This one with sausage and cannellini beans.  I started it in a skillet and then transferred it to my crockpot to cook while I was out shopping with John.  Love having things like this cooking in the crockpot because it makes the house smell heavenly!

Sausage, White Bean and Tomato Ragu
  • 12 oz sweet Italian sausage**
  • 1 large onion*, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chianti
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 quart tomatoes*, undrained
  • 2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook, breaking up, for about 3 minutes.  Remove sausage from skillet and set aside.  Add olive oil to pan and then saute onions about 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and garlic; cook for about 1 minute.  Add wine to pan to deglaze; make sure to scrape the brown bits from the pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Pour all into a crockpot and cook, covered, on LOW for 4-5 hours.  Then open lid and allow to cook for 2 more hours to thicken.  Serve over pasta, rice or spaghetti squash.

*Farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients

Monday, September 21, 2015

Brussels Gratin

I hate when the farmers market starts reminding me that summer is almost over (in reality).  While at the farmers market this weekend, I found some brussels sprouts, but they are starting to get bigger than I prefer.  I chose a pint that had smaller heads, but there were a few that were quite a bit bigger than I usually settle for.  But today, I decided I had better cook them because they are older and probably won't keep as long.  As I usually do, I got on Pinterest to get some ideas and saw recipes for Brussels sprouts gratin.  After reading a few of them, I decide to try my hand at coming up with a recipe since I had about 1/3 the amount of sprouts that any of the recipes called for.  I figured if I could make a proper sauce, it would be okay because I also had some small baking dishes that I could split them into.  But you can use a bigger baking pan and it will work just as well.  Here's what I did:

Brussels Sprouts Gratin
  • 2/3 pound fresh Brussels sprouts*
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350F.

Wash Brussels sprouts; dry.  Cut bases of sprouts and remove the loose outer leaves.  Cut in half or in quarters (depending on size).  Place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup water.  Cook on HIGH for 7 minutes, or until sprouts are just beginning to cook.  Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, melt butter.  Add flour and whisk, cooking for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add milk, whisking the whole time to prevent lumps.  Cook until thickened, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.

Place sprouts into a prepared baking dish.  Spoon sauce over the sprouts.  Then sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs.  Dot with butter.  Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, until sauce begins to bubble.  Remove cover, change oven to broiler, broil for about 5 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.

*Farmers market ingredients

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Decided I needed to use up some of the okra I got last weekend at the farmers market.  So, as I was digging through recipes (I only wanted to use a bit of them because I still plan to make okra and tomatoes), I ran across an idea for mini crustless frittatas.  Well, I made them this morning and they were actually quite nice!  Might have to think about changing my quiches into mini quiches for grab-and-go ease.

Mini Okra Frittatas
Adapted from:
  • 1 cup sliced okra*
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 6 large eggs**
  • 1/2 cup 1/2% milk
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare 2 mini-muffin pans.  

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add okra and saute for about 5 minutes until browned and crispy.  Add minced garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.  Remove from heat. 

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with milk, panko and seasonings until smooth.  Add the okra, bacon and cheese.  Fill muffin cups to top and bake, about 12 minutes, until the frittatas are puffed and cooked through.

*farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients