Tag Archive: vegetarian

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 FarmThere are few things that I love more than spending time in the kitchen with my family.  In fact, we have a tradition of declaring the occasional Saturday night as a “Family Feast Night”.  I can’t remember one Family Feast Night that didn’t involve laughter, a great meal, and a memory that will remain fresh in my mind for years to come.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 FarmOn those Saturdays, we gather in the kitchen mid afternoon, fire up a little background music from our turntable, and prepare dinner together.  We tend to select recipes that require a big time commitment and the work of many hands.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that these recipes don’t appear on our menu board very often due to the time constraints of everyday life.  The second is much simpler:  we enjoy our time in the kitchen together so much that we want it to last just a little longer.

The menu item that garners the most requests and creates the most excitement on Family Feast Night is sweet potato gnocchi.  Family dinner is more fun when you can get your hands dirty rolling ropes of gnocchi dough on the kitchen table before cutting each piece yourself.  My children take great pride in turning out baking sheets full of the little orange pillows before I roll them down the tines ofSweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 Farm a fork.  My husband and I take great pride in visualizing them teaching their children to make gnocchi years from now.

We grow our own sweet potatoes here at 1840 Farm.  While we enjoy them in a variety of recipes, this is our clear favorite.  When our homegrown sweet potatoes are fully cured and ready to be enjoyed, this is predictably the first sweet potato recipe we make.  In fact, our annual harvest is judged by how many batches of sweet potato gnocchi it will yield.

In addition to being a family favorite, this recipe also happens to be delicious.  The delicate gnocchi offer a perfect counterpoint to the earthy mushrooms and spinach.  The end result is a light yet satisfying dish that never disappoints in my house.  I’m willing to bet that it won’t disappoint in yours either.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach
makes 6 main course servings

This recipe comes together quite easily, but does require a bit of prep time.  At our house, we make a double recipe and save half of the gnocchi for a second evening’s dinner.   These frozen, unboiled gnocchi can be individually frozen and then stored in a freezer bag for later use.  When the time comes, frozen gnocchi can be dropped directly into a pot of boiling salted water.  They will take a few extra minutes to float to the surface and cook completely, but the taste will not be affected by their stay in the freezer.

2 pounds raw sweet potatoes
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
2 cups All-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Wash the sweet potatoes and puncture all over with a fork.  Place half of the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high in 4 minute intervals until soft.  When fully cooked, the sweet potatoes should have the texture and appearance of a well baked sweet potato.  Remove from the plate and set aside to cool.  Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes.

Once the cooked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, split each potato in half lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin and place into a potato ricer.  Rice the sweet potato into a large bowl.  Repeat until all the sweet potatoes have been riced into the bowl.  If you do not have access to a potato ricer, the cooked sweet potato flesh can be placed in the large bowl and mashed using a hand potato masher.

Add ricotta cheese, brown sugar, and salt to the sweet potatoes and stir until well combined.  Add 1 ¼ cups of the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir until fully incorporated.  Add the remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough forms a soft ball.  The goal is to create a soft dough that comes together without being too dry.

Turn dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface.  Divide the dough into 8 equally sized sections.  Remove one of the sweet potato dough sections and roll on a floured surface to form a rope with a 1 inch diameter.  Using a knife, cut the rope into one inch long pieces.

Traditionally, gnocchi are individually rolled on a gnocchi paddle or over a fork in order to create ridges that trap the sauce on each piece.  I enjoy the process of pushing each piece of gnocchi across the tines of a fork with my thumb.

However, if you find this intimidating or simply don’t have the time, don’t despair.  This step can be skipped and the gnocchi can simply be prepared once they are cut.  While the appearance will differ slightly, the flavor will still be delicious.

Meanwhile, place a large stockpot filled with water over high heat.  Once the water comes to a simmer, add 1 Tablespoon of salt and allow the water to come to a full rolling boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and allow the water to continue boiling as the sauce is prepared.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  AAdd the mushrooms and sauté without stirring until they have released their liquid and most of it has evaporated, approximately 7 minutes.  Add the broth and butter and stir to incorporate.  Remove the pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

Boil the gnocchi in batches small enough to allow them to move freely in the salted boiling water without being crowded.  The gnocchi will begin to float on the surface of the water as they cook.  Continue to cook for approximately one minute before removing with a slotted spoon to a lightly oiled baking sheet to allow the gnocchi to dry slightly.  Continue until all of the gnocchi have been cooked.

Return the saucepan with the mushrooms to a burner set over medium heat.  Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts and the sauce comes up to temperature.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and gently stir to coat.  Serve immediately, garnishing with grated parmesan.


This recipe was featured in our newsletter.  To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/02/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-mushrooms-and-spinach/

Eggs Aplenty

 Earlier this week I published a post on the Community Chickens blog about our impending Easter celebration here at 1840 Farm.  This Easter celebration will be a first.  This year’s festivities will include fresh eggs from our flock of chickens.

To be truthful, we don’t stand on tradition here when it comes to coloring eggs.  In fact, we made a dozen of them in the middle of February.  Why?  Why not?  I’m not sure who decided that eggs should only be boiled and colored for Easter, but I apparently didn’t get the memo.

We haven’t used a store-bought egg coloring kit in years.  It started with an unfortunate trip to the grocery store.  We paid for a kit and then returned home to find that it was mysteriously missing from our grocery bags.  Suddenly there were two children in our farmhouse kitchen ready to color eggs without anything to color them with.

Enter the Internet.  After a few frantic minutes of searching, I discovered that the store kit was unnecessary.  I forged ahead with making our own cups of colored liquid and crossed my fingers that it would work.  It did and we’ve never returned to the store-bought kit again.

Making your own egg dye is simple.  It requires very few components and absolutely no special equipment.  To read my step by step instructions, visit my post, A Very Colorful Celebration.  Don’t forget to read the comments left by the readers of Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine.  They have added a lot of great tips regarding cooking the eggs and coloring them for your Easter celebration.

The Easter weekend here will be filled with eggs.  We’ll have eggs of the boiled and colored variety, chocolate eggs filled with caramel, solid chocolate eggs, and decorative eggs on our dinner table.  And for good measure, we’ll make our annual favorite, a chocolate Easter Bunny driving a tractor.  That’s right, even our chocolate has a farming theme.

Somehow, I think that our chickens will be even happier than usual this weekend.  They’ll be content with the fact that we’re vegetarians and that this annual holiday revolves around eggs on our table instead of a roasted chicken.  Even if we weren’t vegetarians, we’d need to keep the chickens around.  We’ll probably want to color eggs again next month.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/04/eggs-aplenty/

Not a Chicken in Sight

I’ve already admitted to being a person who raises chickens but doesn’t eat them.  It’s true.  We have seven hens living here at 1840 Farm, but chicken never finds its way to our dinner table.   Maybe that’s why our hens are so happy living here.

I don’t have anything against eating meat.  I was meat eater for most of my life.  I always loved vegetables, so replacing the meat on my dinner plate with an extra helping of them was easy for me.  Here at the farm, we raise as much of our own food as we can including the eggs that come from our small flock of hens.  I simply don’t enjoy meat enough to want to raise and process animals myself.  It didn’t make much sense to me for us to buy meat at the grocery store if we weren’t going to be buying our tomatoes there.  I’ve written before that, “I never had the courage of my culinary convictions to raise an animal knowing that it would eventually take up residence in my roasting pan.”   It’s true.

It wasn’t always this way.  In fact, I used to make the roasted chicken from Thomas Keller‘s Bouchon cookbook. The whole family used to be happy to smell it roasting in the oven and even happier to see it gracing our farmhouse table.   If you and your family enjoy roast chicken, I’d recommend trying his simple and delicious version.  I feel fairly confident that you won’t be sorry.

If however, you don’t enjoy roast chicken due to personal preference or because you lean towards the vegetarian end of the spectrum like we do, then here is a very different recipe for you to try.  No, I’m not comparing my recipe to Bouchon’s roast chicken or myself to Thomas Keller.  I know better.  I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t dabble in creating meat substitutes out of wheat products.  That seems much more like a Wylie Dufresne thing to do.

Thomas Keller doesn’t live here at 1840 Farm.  I do and it takes a good dash of creativity to keep us fed and happy while meeting the dietary needs of a marathon runner, Type 1 Diabetic, and a family member with multiple food allergies.  Once we decided as a family to not eat meat, I had to add a little extra creativity to my recipe collection.  Figuring out how to replace meat with substitutes that tasted great was one of the first challenges I faced.

This recipe started out with my own web research on recipes for meat substitutes.  I happened upon Vegan Dad and found an entire collection of interesting recipes to try.  I started out with his version of lunch meat.  After several versions, the following recipe for “Froast” (faux roast) became our favorite.   If you are looking for some great vegan or vegetarian recipes to add to your collection, Vegan Dad has an incredible collection of them.  The writing is fresh and I have yet to find a recipe that didn’t deliver on exactly what was promised.  In fact, when I compiled my list of favorite blogs for my Stylish Blogger Award, Vegan Dad was one of the first to make the list.

We eat froast on open-faced toasted sandwiches and make a delicious vegetarian version of chicken salad with fresh celery from our garden.  Believe me, when we’re eating froast, we’re too busy enjoying it to be reminded of what others might think that we are “missing” out on.  Now if I could just get Thomas Keller to come for a visit and make dinner here at 1840 Farm.  Come on, I said that we didn’t eat chicken and that Keller didn’t live here.  I never said that I wouldn’t love to eat something that he made in my kitchen.  I’m not entirely sure, but a warm chocolate bouchon seems like the perfect place to start.

Froast (Faux Roast)
makes 4 loaves


260 grams cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tablespoon Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
30 grams nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon gravy master
1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons  reduced sodium soy sauce
16 ounces water or vegetable stock
330 grams vital wheat gluten


Prepare steamer while assembling the froast.  I use a wok with a bamboo steamer in my kitchen.  I have also used a pasta pot with an insert and a skillet with a bamboo steamer.  As long as you mind the pot and add water when necessary, any cooking vessel that will hold a steamer or steamer basket and boil water will be sufficient.

Place drained beans in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until completely smooth.  Add spices, gravy master, vinegar, olive oil, and soy sauce and process to blend.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Add water (or stock if using) to bean mixture and stir to combine.  Add vital wheat gluten and stir until mixture begins to come together and form a shaggy mixture.

Place approximately one-quarter of mixture on a double thickness of aluminum foil cut into a 12″ x 12″ sheet.  I use the precut aluminum foil sheets for this as it saves me a lot of time.  Form the mixture into a loaf shape and wrap in the foil.  Twist the edges and tuck them under to form a loaf shape.  The foil wrapped loaf should be firm, but the loaf will expand slightly while it cooks, so if the foil is too tight, it may split while cooking.

Place foil wrapped loaves in the steamer.  Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the water at a gentle boil.  Steam the loaves for 60 minutes.  During the last 30 minutes of steaming, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  At the end of the hour-long steaming period, transfer the loaves to a baking sheet and into the preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Froast can be wrapped and stored in the freezer until ready to use.  If frozen, I defrost by heating a loaf in the microwave for around two minutes.  I remove the defrosted loaf from the microwave and allow it to sit one minute to evenly distribute the heat and defrost the center.  At this point, the froast is ready to serve.



Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/04/not-a-chicken-in-sight/

Heirloom Red Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes and Chick Peas

I’ve been busy in the 1840 Farm kitchen the last few days trying to develop a recipe for the new Food 52 challenge.   A week ago, I received an Email challenging all members of Food 52 to enter recipes using products from the bulk bin at their local grocery store.  The focus of the challenge was whole grains and dried beans.  Since these ingredients find their way onto our dinner plates on a regular basis, I was in.

Let me start by saying that I would never, ever buy anything from the bulk bins.  No, I’m not a germophobe of the Melvin Udall variety from As Good As It Gets.  Well, maybe a little, but not to his extreme.  I do carry hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go and I certainly don’t go looking for germs to bring home with me.  

I can assure you that I do not wear plastic gloves to pick up our dog Pete or take my own disposable silverware with me when I leave the house.  Of course, now that I think of it, Pete does resemble Verdell quite a bit.  But getting back to my point, my germ avoidance does have its bounds.

I steer clear from the bulk bins because I know that allergens are lurking there.  I have no way of knowing if the bin containing beautiful red quinoa today was home to cashews yesterday.  The bulk bins are definitely off-limits in our house.  When you live with food allergies, you skip the bulk bin in the hopes of skipping an ambulance trip to the emergency room.

In spite of my self-imposed limitation, I played along with the theme of this contest.  Although none of my ingredients originated from a bulk bin, they could definitely be found there.  The recipe has been posted and the meal was delicious, if I do say so myself. 

If you have been trying to convince someone in your life to give quinoa a try, this may be the perfect place to start.  It was creamy and slightly sweet due to the roasted tomatoes with flavor to spare.  We served it with an arugula salad and a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread with roasted garlic.  It would also pair beautifully with roasted or grilled meat if you are so inclined.

I’ll leave it up to you to choose where you want to purchase the ingredients and what you to serve it with at your house.  I hope that you enjoy the recipe as much as we did.  There were a lot of happy diners gathered around our farmhouse table last night.  No matter how my recipe fares in this challenge, we’ve got one more delicious, healthy dinner recipe to add to our collection, so I’ve won already.

Heirloom Red Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes and Chick Peas
serves 4 – 6 as a main course

       

  • 1  1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 4  1/2 cups water
  • 12 ounces red quinoa
  • 28 ounces vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • parmesan cheese for serving

  1. Carefully pick over dried beans. Remove any damaged beans or foreign objects. Cover with 4 1/2 cups of water and allow to sit at least four hours or overnight in container large enough to allow beans to expand.
  2. Drain beans and rinse with cold water. Place rinsed beans in large stockpot with enough water to cover by three inches (this should be between 4 and 5 cups of water depending on the size of your pot).
  3. Bring beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook at a gentle simmer, stirring often for 60 to 90 minutes or until tender. Do not add salt to the water as the beans cook. Doing so will result in a bean with a mushy outer shell. Instead, salt the beans as soon as they are cooked to your liking. Adding salt after they are cooked completely will not affect their texture or appearance.
  4. Remove the beans from heat. Drain beans in colander. Set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  6. Rinse tomatoes. Split each tomato in half lengthwise. Toss tomatoes with chopped garlic and olive oil. Spread into a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Pour drained garbanzo beans onto a clean tea towel and dry by gently rubbing moisture from the beans. Move garbanzo beans to the second prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil. Chop fresh rosemary finely and sprinkle over garbanzo beans. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  8. Roast tomatoes and garbanzo beans in the oven until slightly charred and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, cook chopped onion in a large pot over medium heat with olive oil. Cook 5 – 6 minutes or until translucent.
  10. Slowly add vegetable stock and quinoa to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. You will know the quinoa is done when the white germ ring becomes visible on the outer edge of each grain.
  11. When quinoa is completely cooked, remove lid and turn off heat. Add roasted tomatoes and garbanzo beans and stir gently to incorporate without breaking up the tomatoes.
  12. Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/03/heirloom-red-quinoa-with-roasted-tomatoes-and-chick-peas/

A Chili of a Different Sort

This winter has been unusually cold and snowy.  We’ve started to feel like it will never end.  Our beloved vegetable garden is buried deep in a snowy tomb making it hard to picture that we will ever be able to plant anything but icicles there anytime soon.  And by soon, I mean in the next six months.

I am a New Englander.  I expect winter to be long, but I don’t have to like it.  I do, however, have to try to invent ways to help keep us warm, fed, and not quite so frustrated with the longest indoor season.  So, when my husband pointed out a new chili recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit, I was all eyes.  After I read the recipe, I felt a pang of guilt as I considered cheating on our beloved 1840 Farm Chili, but desperate seasons sometimes call for desperate measures.

Then my husband had to raise the stakes a little further and point out a recipe in the January/February issue of Men’s Health for a chili puree from Chef Tim Love.  Off I went to the pantry.  I was in luck.  I actually had all of the ingredients to make my own version of this recipe.  I also love a challenge, so figuring out a way to modify these recipes and use them together seemed like a good way to spend my morning.  Especially if it meant that there would be chili for dinner.

The chili I created differs in every way from our usual version.  First, it starts with a homemade chili puree instead of relying on dry seasonings added to the chili pot to give it a kick.  It includes only one type of bean instead of our usual four.  This chili also includes butternut squash, bulgur wheat, and coffee.  This chili takes hours to prepare as compared to the 60 minutes that our standby 1840 Farm Chili with Sweet Corn Masa requires.  At the end of the day, maybe I need to rename one of these recipes.  Calling them both “chili” seems a little confusing after pointing out just how different they are.

You may be asking yourself, “What kind of chili is this?”  Reader, I will tell you simply that it is chili of the delicious variety.  It has a depth of flavor that amazed me.  The chipotle chilies with coffee and spices yield an incredibly smoky, complex flavor.  This is not your typical spicy one note chili.  This one is a chili opera.

You may think that I am over exaggerating here, but I can assure you that I am not.  Go ahead, try it for yourself and tell me that I’m wrong.  Just don’t expect me to respond right away.  I’ll be too busy eating my chili.


Smoky Chili Puree
adapted from Real Texas-Style Chili by Tim Love
published in the January/February 2011 issue of Men’s Health


Tim Love’s original recipe  calls for dried chilies.  Since I didn’t have them on hand, I substituted chipotle chilies in adobo which I always have in my pantry.  I also added instant espresso powder to the mix to give the coffee flavor a boost.

8 ounces brewed coffee
3 chipotle chilies in adobo
4 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Set aside.

Smoky Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash or Pumpkin
serves 12
adapted from Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
published in the February 2011 issue of Bon Appetit

While the original recipe calls for butternut squash, I find that pumpkin adds a more earthy, slightly sweet flavor.  After Thanksgiving has passed, the pumpkins that decorate the farmhouse throughout the fall are peeled and diced so that we can freeze the pumpkin and use it all winter long in this chili.  Don’t worry, we don’t let the seeds go to waste.  We roast some for snacking and share some of them raw with our heritage breed hens.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 recipe smoky chili puree
56 ounces diced/chopped tomatoes
1 pound dry black beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
10 cups water
2 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
cheddar cheese
sour cream
pickled jalapeno pepper slices

In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add chili paste and stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, beans, oregano, and water and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer with pot lid slightly ajar for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Add butternut squash and bulgur wheat.  Return mixture to a simmer and cook without lid for 30-45 minutes until squash is tender.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno and serve.

1840 Farm Cornbread
This recipe couldn’t be any simpler to make.  You can have it mixed and in the oven in under five minutes.  While not an overly sweet cornbread, the vanilla extract gives the bread a lovely flavor.  It makes a wonderful accompaniment to the Smoky Black Bean Chili.  I use our own freshly ground cornmeal and organic, non-GMO home milled whole wheat flour in this recipe.  You can substitute a good quality yellow cornmeal and King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour if you prefer.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup skim milk
2 1/2 ounces butter or margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine liquid ingredients with egg in bowl and beat with whisk until smooth.  Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir with spatula until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm.


This post was featured in The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


This post was shared on the:

From The Farm Blog Hop

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/02/a-chili-of-a-different-sort/

Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant at 1840 Farm I have always liked eggplant.  Problem is, I have always disliked the way it was prepared.  I never understood the point of covering it in a coating of breadcrumbs an inch thick and then frying it in oil.  What ended up on my plate tasted of oil and stale bread without even a hint of the eggplant lying in repose underneath.

This is not to say that I haven’t tried the most famously breaded and fried eggplant dish of all – Eggplant Parmesan.  It is to say that I have rarely had one that tasted remotely of eggplant or Parmesan .  I have on a few occasions enjoyed a much lighter version of the dish (thanks Dad) and found it to be delicious.     For me though, I just don’t see the point of doing anything that covers up the eggplant.  Instead, I would rather save the dredging, breading, and frying, and move straight on to the eating.

In August, our garden’s eggplant patch grows exponentially.  It seems that each fruit doubles in size every two days.  It makes my daughter’s mouth water and my mind spin trying to think of all the different ways we can make use of their beautiful fruit.  Our current favorite recipe substitutes eggplant for the pasta usually found in lasagna.  It really showcases the beauty of eggplant.  It is a perfect marriage of bright tomato flavors with the eggplant’s incredible earthiness.

I am a big believer in homemade tomato sauce.  I make it for spaghetti, pizza, traditional lasagna, enchiladas, basically everything I make that either contains tomato sauce or is served with it.  In fact, I don’t honestly remember when I had last used sauce from a jar until last week.  I was running errands, and running painfully short on time.  I had promised to make this dish and knew I had two choices.  I could welch on my promise and cook something else for dinner in spite of the disapproving look on my daughter’s face, or I could buy a jar of sauce and use it instead.  So, I reached for Newman’s Own Organic Marinara Sauce and hoped that I wouldn’t be sorry. I wasn’t.  I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.  Neither could my rather discerning family.  So, feel free to use sauce made from scratch or straight from a jar.  Either way, you’re making a delicious, homemade dinner.  Your secret will be safe with me.

Eggplant Lasagna at 1840 Farm

Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

(adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday FOOD)

1 ½ pounds eggplant
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.   Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Brush foil with olive oil.  Set aside.

Trim stem from eggplant.  Slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips.  Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on baking sheets.  Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven until tender, about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.

Mix ricotta, egg, oregano, and 1 ounce Parmesan in medium bowl until smooth.  Set aside.

Spoon 1/2 cup of marinara sauce into bottom of casserole dish.  Arrange a third of the eggplant slices in a single layer on top of the sauce.  Top with one third of the ricotta mixture.  Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce followed by another layer of one third of the eggplant.  Top with another third of the ricotta, 1/2 cup of marinara, and the remaining eggplant.  Spoon the remaining marinara over the top layer of eggplant.  Place dollops of the remaining ricotta mixture on top of the marinara.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Place the filled casserole dish on top of a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and beginning to brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/08/roasted-eggplant-lasagna/

Summer Tomato Bruschetta

 IMGP2164I never understood the appeal of bruschetta.  This might have something to do with the fact that I had apparently never eaten great bruschetta.  I had only experienced the worst that bruschetta had to offer.  Subpar bread with tasteless, out-of-season tomatoes.  I was not impressed.

Fast forward a few years to me staring at a huge bowl of various tomatoes from our garden.  I was drowning in them. I was running out of ways to prepare them without completely sacrificing their freshness by cooking them as if they were their canned, barely related counterparts.  Enter the Internet.  After spending about an hour reading recipes and information about bruschetta, I put down the computer and picked up my tomatoes.  After a survey of the refrigerator and the time I had on hand, this bruschetta was born.

If you love tomato season like I do, then you will love this bruschetta.  It is my favorite kind of recipe-simple to make, yet tastes like you spent hours working on it.  I like to use the heirloom tomatoes we grow here at the farm.  Their mix of colors and flavors give this a completely new dimension. Every time I make this, I am amazed at the depth of flavor.  It never disappoints.  That is, until I realize that someone else has eaten the last piece.

Summer Tomato Bruschetta

1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 cloves garlic, peeled

8 ounces fresh heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped roughly

2 ounces extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 ounce parmesan cheese, shaved

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange bread slices in single layer on baking sheet.  Bake in oven until lightly toasted.  Remove and set aside to cool.

Combine tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Set aside and allow to rest at least 10 minutes.  Shave parmesan cheese with vegetable peeler.  Set both aside.

Preheat broiler while assembling bruschetta.  Rub the top of each bread slice with a peeled garlic clove.  Stir tomato mixture before spooning onto bread slices.  Top each slice with shaved cheese.  Broil until cheese is just melted.  Serve immediately.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/08/summer-tomato-bruschetta/