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.


Mini Kohlrabi Korean Short Rib Tacos

This recipe comes from The main ingredient is beef short ribs, and slow cooking them overnight in the slow cooker fills up your house with a very lovely smell. Since I didn’t change the recipe for the meat, please visit this site to get the exact low down on how to cook the short ribs.

While this recipe is delicious for ways to eat kohlrabi, you can also spread this fabulous meat mixture on any vegetable to enhance its flavor. This time of year my favorite would be half of a Delicata Winter Squash, roasted to perfection at 350 degrees for 75 minutes in the oven.

When we made dish in the photographs it was spring and Kristine brought over one of the first of the season’s kohlrabi from her CSA box from Loon Organics. We sliced it thin on the mandolin and used it as the shell for the tacos. Sprinkle it with chopped cilantro and add a stir fry of carrots, fennel, mushrooms,and peas cooked in coconut oil with a hint of sea salt and we had the most delicious meal. It was even colorful and beautiful to photograph too!



Asian Inspired Meatballs with Almond Sesame Sauce

The idea for the meatballs came form a former CSA share member named Beth. She would often make these Asian Turkey Burgers for her office parties and they would go over as a success every time! I will often make them into meatballs or burgers when we have a lot of cilantro on hand. For this dish we used pork from our pig Wilbur and beef from a cow at Moonstone Farm.

Asian Inspired Meatballs:
1 lb plain ground pork
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. Sweet Chili Sauce (you can substitute Ketchup and red pepper flakes)
4 cloves garlic
1 c fresh cilantro, chopped (or use another green like spinach)
salt and pepper to taste
1 c breadcrumbs (or other cooked whole grain)
1 small onion, diced or 3 green onions, chopped
1 c fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/4 c dried)
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger

Mix everything together, form into meatballs and cook in a fry pan.

Almond Sesame Sauce
This is adapted from the Spicy Peanut Sesame Sauce found in the Joy of Cooking. That book is such a great resource for pretty much any type of food. I’m not a big fan of peanut butter, so I subbed Almond butter and changed some of the ingredients to create this.

In a food processor combine the following and blend thoroughly:
1 c unsalted plain almond butter (organic if possible)
1/4 c rice vinegar or white vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove
1-1/2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c toasted sesame oil
1/2 c water

Serve the sauce over the meatballs and to coat whatever else you’re eating with the meal.

Any extra of the sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week.

You can make up any kind of carb to serve these meatballs and sauce with. Some favorites are: rice noodles, baguette for a sub sandwich, potatoes, in half of a baked Delicata squash.

For this meal we also served shredded carrot (Chloe was nice enough to grate the carrots) to get in another vegetable. I lightly cooked the carrot on the skillet to soften it a bit.

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls wrapped with seasonal vegetables

On a rainy Tuesday Kristine and I gathered to make this delicious recipe. It is adapted from this post by Picture the Recipe. The steak seasoning that I created for the steak makes more than you will need for the recipe. I discovered it is excellent sprinkled onto sweet potatoes or regular potatoes to make the most amazing Jo-Jo potatoes you’ve ever had.

Make the Steak seasoning (you can use any that you like, or combine spices to make your own. I found this recipe on and modified it for a smaller quantity)
3 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic salt (or powder)
1 Tbsp. celery salt
1 Tbsp. paprika (I like smoked hungarian)
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar (I use coconut)
1-1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a small container, cover, and shake to combine. Take a 1-1/2 – 2 pound skirt steak and cut off 3″ strips. Cut away any excess unappealing parts from the meat. Place the strip on a cutting board and then pound with a meat tenderizer until you have a nice long thin piece of steak, a good size to roll a bunch of vegetables around.

2-3 Tbsp. steak seasoning
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I love Annie’s organic)
1 Tbsp. oil (sunflower or sesame)
Rub into the steak and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes, longer is great in the refrigerator.

Prepare the vegetables. You can use any in season vegetables as stuffing. I had available fresh asparagus, pea shoots (the tips of the pea plant from a cover crop in the hoop house), baby bok choi, and Hakurei turnips.
I cut the turnips into fourths, peeled the leaves off of the bok choi, and sliced the asparagus once down each stalk. The original recipe has you cook some of the vegetables, which I decided not to do since all of these vegetables cook when I cook the steak. If you are using carrots you may wish to slice them into thin strips and then pre-cook these by steaming or sautéeing in a pan for a few minutes to make them tender.

Once the vegetables are prepared, take the marinating steak out of the refrigerator and place a mixture of your vegetables into the middle and roll the steak up around them. Use a toothpick to secure the meat. Heat a few Tbsp. of oil (sunflower, sesame, or coconut) in a pan and then cook the steak over medium heat until it is done. I found it took about 2-3 minutes per side.

While the steak is cooking, prepare the balsamic glaze sauce.
In a small sauce pan over medium heat put
2 tsp. oil
add 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots (or onion or chives)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar or maple syrup)
1/4 c beef broth
Stir every few minutes. I cooked this for about 10 minutes. Pour it over the top of your steak rolls and enjoy! This is definitely gourmet cooking. Remember that there are toothpicks in the steak. You can remove these before serving and the steak should hold its shape.

Portobello Mushrooms with Cashew Cheese and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Inspired by This Rawsome Vegan’s post Portobello Mushroom Cashew Cheese Burgers I made these delicious little babies. The cashew cheese does indeed make a large batch, but I used it up as a spread for home made pizza and as a layer on a dairy-free lasagna.

Marinated mushrooms:
4 portobellos (stems removed and saved for a different use later on)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

Combine the olive oil and Bragg’s together in a bowl, and brush onto the portobello mushrooms. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 200 F for 3 hours.

Cashew Cheese:
1-3/4 c cashews, soaked a minimum of one hour, longer is great
1/2 c water
1/3 c nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-4 peeled garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. miso (I used brown rice miso)

Drain the water from the soaking cashews and rinse the cashews once more. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or a vitamix and blend until nice and creamy.

chopped chives
freshly sliced tomatoes (if in season)

Spread the cashew cheese on top of the portobellos and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. We used one of the first cuttings of chives for the year on ours.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Slice one or two sweet potatoes into wedges (you can leave the skins on if using organic sweet potatoes)
Arrange on a cookie sheet. If you have a silpat (a silicone mat) this is a great use, otherwise a piece of parchment paper prevents sticking.
Spread 2-3 Tbsp. of coconut oil on the sweet potatoes, using your hands to rub it in.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme, and/or rosemary on the wedges

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, until nice and brown, turning once half way through the baking time.


Braised Pork Shoulder or Beef Roast

Using the last pork shoulder from Wilbur our pig from 2014 I made this delicious braised Pork Shoulder about two weeks ago. Yesterday for Mother’s Day I made this same recipe using a roast from the Bull from New Story Farm. Both times the meat turned out delicious. This recipe was inspired by Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food. I use a tagine from Clay Coyote to bake the meat in, as it allows the whole roast to roast beautifully.

The night before roasting, make a dry rub by mixing together:
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. dried marjoram
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

Mix the dry rub together and rub all over one 4 pound roast, and let it sit in the fridge over night (or for 24 hours).

Put in a heavy baking dish that just fits the road or tagine:
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 carrots, scrubbed clean and coarsely chopped
1 large head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A few black peppercorns
A few fresh springs marjoram and/or oregano
1-1/2 c broth (or water)

Place the roast on top and cover. Bake in an oven at 325 F for 4-6 hours, until the meat is tender enough to pull apart easily with a fork. The ingredients from the bottom of the baking dish can be blended in a blender, or run through a food mill and then used as a delicious sauce over the meat.

Spinach Pad Thai

What to do with loads of spinach in the hoop house? Make spinach pad thai, of course! This recipe can be varied to incorporate as many vegetables as you’d like. Bonus if they’re in season and fresh from your garden (or local farmer). I have made this several times this spring, most recently I added a handful of radishes and chopped up the greens to wilt with the spinach. Radishes are mild when they’re young, and become even more mild once cooked. I used pea shoots (instead of bean sprouts) from a cover crop we have growing in the hoop house. Use bean sprouts if you don’t have pea shoots, or add another veggie in instead. The sauce is really what makes this dish good. I often double this recipe so that I have delicious leftovers on hand.

1 pound of spinach, rinsed and chopped into large pieces
1/2 pound of pea shoots, or 1 bag of bean sprouts
5 carrots, chopped or shredded
one chopped handful of chives, or dice a small onion
4 eggs
1 package of brown rice noodles
peanut oil (about 3-4 Tbsp)

1/3 c lime juice
1/3 c water
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Pour 2-3 Tbsp. peanut oil into large pan, coating the bottom. Add the chives and eggs and cook eggs until done. Place in a bowl and return the pan to the stove. Add a bit of water and then the vegetables – add those that need longer to cook first such as the carrots or onions (if using). While theses veggies cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare the sauce. Once you add the rice noodles to the water to cook, add the spinach to the other veggies in the pan to wilt along with the sauce. Add the additional peanut oil, if desired. Cover the pan. Drain the rice noodles (they only take 4-5 minutes to cook). Add the rice noodles and eggs to the pan. The pea shoots (or bean sprouts) can also be cooked or served fresh in a bowl along side the main dish.

Bon appétit!

Nettle Sweet Potato Pesto and Spinach Almond Pesto

The stinging nettle popping up is one of the sure signs of spring. I’m just starting to learn how to cook with nettles. The biggest thing to remember is to wear gloves when harvesting and washing them in the sink! Believe it or not, the sting goes away once you cook them. By harvesting just the tips you will let the plant grow again next year, which is either a good or bad thing depending on your view of stinging nettles. 🙂

Nettle Sweet Potato Pesto
about 1/2 pound nettle tips (half of a one gallon plastic bag, slightly packed)
A handfull of chives, coarsely chopped
about 1/2 pound sweet potato, shredded (or 1-1/2 c shredded)
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
4-6 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. olive oil (or sunflower oil)

In a large pan pour 2 Tbsp. sunflower oil and add the shredded sweet potatoes and chives. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. While the sweet potatoes are cooking wash the nettles. A salad spinner works great (be sure to wear gloves when handling!) Add to the sweet potatoes the garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and the cleaned nettles and cover. If the mixture looks dry, pour in 1/4 cup of water, and cover. Let the nettles steam for 5-10 minutes, until they are cooked through, stirring occasionally. Pour everything into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or garlic, depending on your taste buds. Serve with pasta, or spread on a piece of toast.

Spinach Almond Pesto
This is an easy recipe to use for many different types of greens. I will make this with kale or swiss chard, or a combination of the two when they are in season for a quick and easy lunch in the summer.

1/2 pound spinach – the fresher the better. We picked ours from our Hoop House.
1/3 c toasted almonds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil (or sunflower oil)
pinch red pepper flakes

Toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat until they start to turn brown and get fragrant. Pour the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Pour the oil into the skillet and
heat the minced garlic for 2 minutes. Add the greens, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and cover until the greens have cooked through. For spinach this only takes 3 or 4 minutes. Pour the whole contents of the skillet into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Serve over crackers or pasta. I also use this as a base for home made pizza instead of tomato sauce.

Bon appétit!

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Inspired by Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero I made this vegan version of Sloppy Joes. You can serve it over your favorite carb of choice – rice, potatoes, or bread. I made a batch of ‘dirty’ rice using white jasmine and ground coriander to serve this batch with.

1 c uncooked lentils
4 c water
1 Tbsp. fat of choice (I used coconut oil)
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 c chopped pepper (I used frozen chopped peppers from our farm from last summer)
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic (or about 3-5 cloves)
3 Tbsp. chile powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. mustard

If you know a day ahead of time you will be making this, soak the lentils overnight and then rinse well the next day before using. If you didn’t plan that far in advance, no worries, simply put the lentils into a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. When finished cooking drain the lentils and set aside.
While lentils are cooking, sauté the onion and pepper in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook two minutes longer.
Add the cooked lentils, chile powder, oregano, salt, tomato paste, tomato sauce, maple syrup, mustard, and cook for 10 minutes longer to allow the flavors to marry.

Bon appetit!

Spinach Sausage Pizza

Lately I’ve been making a lot of Pizza. I will prepare an extra batch of sourdough and have two pizzas during the week. The second loaf of dough ferments a bit longer in the fridge and tastes even more tangy and delicious by the time I get to using it later in the week. This recipe used about 1-1/2 pounds of fresh overwintered spinach from our hoop house. It always amazes me how much greens wilt down when cooked. Ayurveda says that greens are much easier to digest when cooked, and you should only eat salads when in season.

1 batch Sourdough Pizza Crust
1 pound ground pork seasoned for Italian Sausage 
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (fresh is best, although canned works fine in a pinch)
1-1/2 pounds washed spinach, chopped
1/2 c tomato sauce of choice
1 c chopped red peppers – we are still using frozen chopped peppers from last season.
2-3 grated carrots or cheese of choice for the topping
cornmeal for kneading the dough

Turn the oven on to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone inside. By letting the pizza stone come to 500 degrees and preheat for 20 minutes, the crust becomes super crispy because it starts cooking once the dough is laid on it and you assemble the pizza on top. The key to making the cooked pizza slip off the pizza stone is to use lots of cornmeal so that it slides easily off the stone onto a cutting board.

While the oven and stone are heating, cook the ground pork and add the italian seasonings. If you’re using an onion instead of onion powder, chop this and cook with the ground pork and seasonings. Once the pork is cooked through, add the mushrooms and peppers and sauté until cooked through. Add the spinach, a little at a time so that it will all fit in the pan and cover so that it wilts. While this cooks, prepare your carrots or cheese by grating them. Roll out the pizza dough, incorporating enough cornmeal so that it doesn’t stick to the countertop, and can be rolled out nicely. Add cornmeal as you go to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin and counter top. Once the dough is the correct shape, dust the top with cornmeal and then fold it into 1/4 the size of itself. Take the hot pizza stone from the oven and place the dough on top, quickly unrolling and shaping to fit on the stone, taking care to not burn your fingertips. You will notice the dough starts to cook immediately, the beginning of a nice crisp bottom. Spread the tomato sauce, then the meat and vegetable mixture (you may have extra, which tastes great as a lunch the next day paired with leftover grain of some sort and topped with a bit of tomato sauce or salsa). Finish it with grated carrots or cheese and cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until the dough is completely cooked through.

To serve, slide onto a cutting board and cut. Take what isn’t being eaten and place that on a cookie sheet to cool so that the bottom doesn’t become soft. You could place the cookie sheet on top of the pizza stone, which will keep the pizza warm and crisp until everyone is finished eating.