California Rolls, Butternut Squash ‘cheeze’, and Pear Cardamom Crisp


During Christmas break Kristine, Chloe, Shawna, Juniper, and Satchel came over and we made a variety of delicious food for lunch. I was itching to make this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheeze recipe from and Kristine was itching to make California rolls, and Shawna had a bunch of deliciously ripe pears so we made a triple batch of this Pear Cardamom Crisp Recipe for dessert.

For dairy-free folks the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is just delicious. It doesn’t really taste like cheese, but is a really nice way of eating cashews and butternut squash purée. This recipe makes a large batch, and I found with the leftovers I would sauté up a pound of ground beef with my Italian Spice Blend and add a can of tomatoes and then toss that with pasta and dollop a huge scoop of the Butternut Squash Cheese on top for the most delicious meal.

For the California Rolls, we used frozen red peppers from York Farm that we thawed and sliced thinly, York Farm Parsnips, and Prairie Drifter Farm Carrots. Topped the rolls with sesame seeds. Perfectly ripe avocados would have been a delicious addition as well. You can use whatever veggies you prefer. For a rough outline of how to make the rolls, click here.

Here is the sushi rice recipe:
4 cups freshly prepared cooked white rice (still warm)
2/3 cup rice vinegar
2 TB sugar (I probably used a little less)
1 tsp salt
1 piece kombu (1-inch square)
Combine all of the ingredients for the seasoned vinegar and simmer until sugar and salt is dissolved. Then, toss the rice lightly with a wooden spoon or paddle in a wooden bowl over and over to cool the rice down until it is no longer steaming. Then, add 1 TB of the vinegar mixture, stir, and repeat.

On top of the Pear Cardamom Crisp I dolloped some vegan cashew honey dipping sauce that Shawna had on hand. She used it for a fruit dipping sauce. It tasted great as a part of the crisp. We also included a few apricots that I had frozen from this past season with the ripe pears.


Tahini Balls of Delight

Oh food blog how I have missed you. The farm has had it’s busy season come and go and now I find myself with more time to tend to you.

I love these little delicious gems full of tahini (sesame seed butter). I have a hard time stopping myself from eating them. I adapted this recipe from The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talya Lutzker. I highly recommend this book as it gives sooo many delicious recipes for those that are interested in Ayurvedic cooking.

1 c shredded coconut
in a small bowl on the counter

Add to a food processor:
1 – 16 oz. jar tahini
10 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c raisins
1/2 sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. cacao nibs
3 Tbsp. minced crystalized ginger (I have made this many times and sometimes omit this as I don’t have it on hand but it really adds to the flavor).
1 Tbsp. minced and peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Take the sticky paste from the food processor and form into small balls. Dip the small balls in the shredded coconut and then place on a serving platter. These babies keep for several weeks in the fridge.


Little Bit of Chocolate Bars

This recipe came from my mom. Whenever she would make it, the pan of bars would disappear within 24 hours. It is still a big hit, and very easy to put together. I’ve changed it a bit and use maple syrup now. It is very easy to put together and only takes 20 minutes to bake in the oven.

1/2 c (1 stick) of butter or margarine
1/2 c maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c white flour
1 c regular wheat germ
1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips or 1 bar dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) together in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer, or lots of elbow grease. Press into an 8″ x 8″ pan using your fingers or the flat side of a rubber spatula. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and spread the chocolate on top. Let it melt for 10 minutes and then spread with a rubber spatula.

Bon appétit!

Oat Currant Cookies

Inspired by Alice Water’s the Art of Simple Food I made these Oatmeal Currant Cookies. Let me tell you about the wonders of a silpat, a non-stick baking mat. This little device makes cleaning cookie sheets awesome. I will bake almost everything on it. It is similar to parchment paper but you are able to wash and reuse it. Also nice for anything that may burn to a cookie sheet, it allows you to clean up the mess so much quicker than scrubbing the burned spots off of the cookie sheet.

1/2 c dried currants – rehydrated by pouring some boiling water over them and letting them sit for 5 + minutes
1-3/4 c (6 oz.) oat flour. If you have oats, but not oat flour, simply blend 1-3/4 c oats in a blender.
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or margarine)
10 Tbsp. coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rehydrate the currants. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Put all the dry ingredients together on top of the creamed mixture and stir lightly before incorporating into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the egg and vanilla extract and the drained currants. Place mounded tablespoons on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Katrina’s Apple Tart – First attempt

Katrina is Ani’s first babysitter (besides family members) and she has requested that I make her an apple tart for her birthday. I am flattered she asked, and hope to make a delicious tart for her. This was my first attempt. This recipe will be even better come fall when we have local apples on hand.

Seed Crust:
1-1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c brown rice flour (or flour of choice)
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/3 c cold-pressed vegetable oil (I like sesame or sunflower oil)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 c water
Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend thoroughly. Press into a tart or pie pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. Prepare filling while crust bakes.

4 apples cored and sliced thin – a variety of apples will add more flavor. I used organic Granny Smith and Gala in this tart. If you use organic apples, you can leave the skin on. If you use conventional I recommend peeling the apples to get as many pesticides off as possible. Then wash the apples once peeled.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 c sugar – I used coconut sugar

Mix the apple slices with the spices and sugar. Arrange the apple slices beautifully on top of the cooked crust. Place back in the oven at 350 and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the apples are soft.

Pull the tart out of the oven and dab with 1/4 cup coconut cream (the top part of a can of coconut milk) so that the cream melts into the tart. Serve with more coconut cream on the side.

Next time: I am going to try making more of a filling or glaze for the tart the next time I make it to make the apples stick to the crust. Stay tuned for an updated recipe.

Raw Cashew Coconut Citrus Tart

The one thing I really miss about eating dairy free is a cheese! I recently fell in love with the Hail Merry Tarts that you can get at Natural Food Markets in the cities, and after having one last week I was inspired to make my own. I got some inspiration from this blog post Paleo Hail Merry Lemon Tart Knock Off and made up a 9″ x 9″ pan of this beautiful delicious almost cream cheese like dessert.
1 c raw almonds
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c raw cashews, soaked a minimum of one hour, four hours to overnight is better.
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/3 c full fat canned coconut milk
1/3 c lemon juice
1/3 c honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 oranges (or lemons if you have them)
1/4 tsp. salt
Crust: process almonds in a food processor until very fine. Add in the remaining crust ingredients and pulse until well combined. You should be able to press the mixture into a crust. You can add more lemon juice or honey if necessary. Pat the crust into a greased container (9″ x 9″ pan, or individual tart pans).
Filling: process all ingredients together until very smooth, which may take multiple minutes in the food processor. Taste and if you’d like add more sweetener or lemon juice. Spread into the crust and put in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour to set. Enjoy!

Baked Apples

One of my favorite desserts in the fall is baked apples. We are fortunate to have an abundance of apples here at our farm, so I will often make two 9″ x 13″ pans of baked apples, and save them in the fridge as a nice topping for oatmeal in the morning. I have this beautiful tagine from Clay Coyote, so I wanted to try making baked apples in it as it allows the steam to escape out the top and cooks everything nicely inside.

The apples turned out great. The recipe is very flexible, so put it together using a bit of your own intuition to decide what flavors will taste the best for you. Ayurveda recommends baking fruit to make it easier to digest.

maple syrup
apple syrup (made by taking one gallon of organic apple juice and simmering it on the stove for 12-16 hours until it is reduced to 1 pint or 2 cups. If you don’t have this, simply use more maple syrup).
ground cinnamon
ground cardamom
ground nutmeg
raisins (they plump nicely if on the bottom of the dish soaking up the syrup. You can also soak them for 5 minutes in boiling water before straining them and placing in the baking dish)

Cut the apples slices from the core of the apple. If you buy organic apples, give them a rinse but leave the skins on. Spread the raisins on the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the apple slices on top of the raisins. Drizzle with maple syrup and/or apple syrup. Using your fingers, sprinkle spices of your choice on the apples – I enjoy cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Bake in the oven for 60-90 minutes. If using a tagine, leave the cover on the whole time. If using another baking dish, cover with foil to keep the moisture in.

This makes a nice dessert or snack.

Bon appétit!

Pecan Custard Pie

Preheat oven to 350F. Then make the crust:

1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/2 c brown rice flour (or flour of choice)
1-1/2 c rolled oats
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/3 c sesame oil (or sunflower, coconut, or lard)
1/4 c water

Mix ingredients together until everything is well incorporated. Pat into a pie pan and press down with moist fingers on the sides and bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned.

While crust is baking, make the custard. Place in the bowl of a food processor:
1/2 c dates (loosely place enough dates to fill a 1/2 measuring cup) – or use 1/3 c maple syrup
5 egg yolks
1/4 c arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
1/4 tsp. salt
2-1/2 c whole milk of choice (I used light coconut milk and some flax milk)
Blend until the date pieces are very small, or if using maple syrup blend for 15-30 seconds.

Pour into a sauce pan and stir on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until it becomes thick like pudding. Add:
1/2 c chopped pecans
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Stir to combine. Take from the oven the crust, and pour the mixture into the crust. You can place whole pecans on top to make a beautiful design. Let cool, and serve. Bon appétit!

Squash Pie with Oatmeal Seed Crust

This is my favorite ‘pumpkin’ pie recipe. It uses any kind of winter squash, in the pie pictured I used a Butternut. It is easy to make gluten-free by substituting GF oats for the regular oats. It does use maple syrup, which is one of my favorite sweeteners. We will buy maple syrup in bulk directly from farmers who have a sugar bush and collect maple syrup in the spring. Josh and Sally Reinitz of East Henderson Farm sell syrup in the spring. Contact them soon if you’d like to get some put aside for you! When we run out of stored syrup, I will buy some from The Lamb Shoppe. This time when making the recipe I tried soaking the seeds overnight with a dash of apple cider vinegar to make the seeds easier to digest, and it made for a very nice crust. The next day you wash the seeds in a fine mesh colander under running water and then add to the recipe. If you don’t have time to soak them, you can still make the crust without soaking the seeds for a crunchier texture.

The other big tip is to bake the squash ahead of time. I popped a couple of butternut squash (washed on the outside, but whole) into the oven, turned the oven on to 350, let it come to the proper temp, and then set a timer for 1 hour. When the timer went off I turned the oven off and let them sit in there to completely cool. In this case, it was over night as I finished baking them at 10pm and left them in the oven to absorb the residual heat. I then proceeded to make the puree in the morning. It is WAY easier to peel them this way instead of chopping a raw butternut. Slice off discs of butternut squash and take the peel of with a knife, or push the pulp out with your fingertips into a bowl. Scoop out the seeds as well. You can mash it all up with a fork, a potato masher, blend it with an electric beater, or purée it with an immersion blender.

1-1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c brown rice flour (or flour of choice)
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/3 c cold-pressed vegetable oil (I like sesame or sunflower oil I want to try this with lard next to see how that tastes)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 c water
Pinch sea salt

3 pounds butternut squash (1 large or 2 small squashes) – or frozen purée, thawed (about 3 cups)
3 eggs
1/2 c maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1. If baking the squash follow the method described above.
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. To make the crust: Combine the oats, brown rice flour, and seed mix in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, water and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry, stirring well to mix.
3. With wet hands, press the crust evenly into the prepared pie plate, starting from the center outward, and going up the sides. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or just until the crust is set. Do not let it brown.
4. To make the filling: Place the squash and the eggs, maple syrup, salt, and spices in the container of a food processor and process until smooth. Or, use an immersion blender or an electric hand beater to make the mixture nice and smooth.
5. Pour the filling into the prebaked piecrust. Now is your chance to make a design on the top. Here I used soaked and dried pecans (crispy nuts) to make a heart shape. and bake at 350 F for 70-80 minutes. You can tell it is done when you move the pie plate with hot pads and the center looks firm.

Almond Butter Dates

I’ve really been enjoying dates lately. We’ve been avoiding refined sugar for the last year or so, and dates are a super way to satisfy my sweet tooth. This is a nice dessert recipe, or you could make it for an afternoon snack to raise your blood sugar levels to get you through until supper. If possible, use organic ingredients. If you don’t have access to organic ingredients and live in a small town like myself, don’t fret; Swami Rama says to always be practical. In Ayurveda part of digesting the food has to do with the way you prepare it, so cultivating a sense of contentedness for what you have access to (or can afford) will go a long way with helping you assimilate whatever you eat. Kristine Leuze took these beautiful photographs.

Almond Butter (plain, unsweetened)
Cardamom (seeds, or ground)
Nutmeg (whole seed that you grind, or ground)

1. Cut the dates in half. Remove the pit if there is one.
2. Spread almond butter into the crevice of each date (about 1-2 tsp. per half) and arrange on a plate.
3. Sprinkle ground cardamom on top. You can grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder that is used only for spices.
4. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
5. Enjoy. I recommend eating these with a warm cup of your favorite milk.