Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blueberry Cobbler

Southern girls know how to whip up a cobbler without looking at a cookbook. One of my favorite things to do during the summer months is to eat fresh berries, peaches, and fruit baked in a cobbler after dinner. Um, and for breakfast on top of my oatmeal, too . . .

Here is a basic recipe for blueberry cobbler. The tiny touch of cinnamon really makes it special.

Blueberry Cobbler

3 pints blueberries, washed
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup shortening
1/2-2/3 cup half and half or milk
2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling

Vanilla Ice Cream of Whipped Cream

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x9" (or similar sized) baking dish and set aside.

Combine the berries with the flour, sugar, and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture is flaky. Create a well in the middle, and add the milk. Mix together with a fork just until a soft dough forms.

Pour the berry mixture into the prepared baking dish. Then drop the dough by spoonfuls over the top. Sprinkle the crust with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the berries are bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Corn, on the Cob, on the Grill

This is how my husband likes to make our corn when we're having a cookout. It comes out so sweet and delicious - perfectly steamed with that buttery, salty goodness all over it! ( I'm drooling as I write.) And if you grill it long enough, it gets just a bit of that smoky, charred flavor on the edges. Once you cook corn this way, you can never go back.

Corn on the Cob on the Grill

2 ears of corn
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
Salt to taste

First, heat up your grill to medium or medium-high heat. Next, shuck your ears of corn and be sure to remove all the silk. Next, take one tablespoon of butter per ear and rub the butter all over the corn kernels. Sprinkle on all sides with salt to taste. Then wrap your ears up with tin foil, sealing tightly at the ends (to prevent drippage).

Place your corn directly on the grill and cook, covered, for about 15-20 minutes. The kernels will be tender to the touch when it's ready.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

We have really been enjoying our CSA farm baskets these past few weeks. Through the early part of the season, we get tons and tons of fresh greens from the farm. We eat salads through the spring until we nearly turn into bunnies, so it's a great time for me to make all sorts of fun salad dressings for us to jazz up our daily dose of roughage. Here's a great one, my own variation of Green Goddess Dressing, based on the famous dressing first made in San Francisco, California at the Palace Hotel.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 small anchovy filets
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender or small food processor, combine all ingredients until thoroughly blended. Chill until you are ready to serve with your favorite greens and veggies.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips

This wonderfully moist zucchini bread was a staple in our house growing up. My mom got the recipe from a friend who she used to volunteer with about 30 years ago. I decided to add a bit of pizazz to to this tried-and-true recipe by adding some chocolate chips. Delicious!!!

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips

from my mom's friend Val

3 eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups finely grated zucchini
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Grease 2 loaf pans and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in the zucchini, 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the nuts, if desired. Pour mixture evenly into the prepared pans. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chips on top.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes. Watch carefully and test for done-ness with a toothpick. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on racks. Also freezes well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fresh Blackberry Vinaigrette

Fresh Blackberry Vinaigrette

4 ounces of fresh blackberries, washed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
about 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or small food processor, puree the blackberries with the lemon juice. Pour the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer to remove the seeds. Pour the resulting blackberry juice back into the processor.

Add the vinegar, the garlic, and the red onion. Pulse to blend. Next, stream in the extra virgin olive oil with the processor on medium speed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh salad greens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Here is an amazingly flavorful chicken recipe from my friend Ashley. We loved the freshness of the basil with the sweet sundried tomato and the tang of the creamy goat cheese. This is the perfect upscale weeknight dinner!

Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken
adapted from a recipe by Ashley of HauteCakes

4 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/4-inch thin
1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto (you can buy this at the grocery store or make your own)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
7-8 large fresh basil leaves
about 2 ounces of goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor, blend the pesto, basil leaves, garlic, and goat cheese, just until combined. Spread the mixture over each chicken breast, and roll it up, securing with toothpicks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake, uncovered, for about 45-60 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the toothpicks and serve hot with your favorite veggies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Whole Wheat Oat Bran Bread

Look for more of my bread recipes over the next several weeks as I gear up to sell some at our local farmers' market next month! There's just nothing like a fresh, home-baked loaf of bread, ya know?

This is a moist and chewy bread with lots of body. The whole grains give it a lot of flavor and texture, but they are light enough to not weigh the bread down too much. The fine texture of the grains makes it a perfect sandwich bread - or perhaps a piece of toast with butter and jam?

Whole Wheat Oat Bran Bread

Inspired by the Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cups oat bran
2 eggs
2-3 cups bread flour

Combine the whole wheat flour, yeas, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, milk, water, molasses, and honey until warm - the butter should partially melt. Pour into the whole wheat mixture and stir well. Stir in the oats and the eggs. Beat the mixture for 10 minutes, gradually adding bread flour until the bread dough begins to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until it feels smooth and elastic. Add flour as necessary to prevent stickiness.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning to coat. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 1/2 hours, until it is doubled in bulk.

Gently punch down the dough with your fist, divide the dough into thirds, and shape into the desired forms on greased baking sheets or shape and place into greased loaf pans. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise a second time until doubled in bulk - it should take about 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kale Chips (?)

I started bookmarking recipes using kale about a year ago now. We get tons of it in our weekly CSA baskets, so I wanted to be prepared for this season. Lucky me, kale has grown very popular over the past year or so and is touted as one of the healthiest foods you can eat these days! So it was easier to find some great recipes out there using kale than it had been in the past.

Well, it's a good thing I had done my recipe research because what was in our very first basket of the season but a huge bunch of kale! With my new arsenal of recipes (other than just stewing it with other greens), I went to work.

I have to be honest, when I saw this recipe for the first time, I had my doubts. Kale Chips (?) - seemed a little odd to me. But I decided to give it a try.

Well, the recipe did not disappoint in the least! These were delicious! What do they taste like? They were reminiscent of some really pungent salt and vinegar chips. Nice and crispy with that satisfying crunch, and it really delivers that punch of salt and the tang of sour flavor. The mildly bitter flavor of the greens really brings it all together. The hubs and I both loved these - definitely a great way to satisfy that craving for chips without breaking your diet.

Kale Chips
from Becca of Woman with a Whisk

10-12 kale leaves, washed and dried
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop your kale leaves into 1-inch pieces, discarding the stems. Combine vinegar, oil, and seasonings in a medium bowl, Add the kale pieces, tossing until completely coated. Arrange the kale on a large baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the kale is crispy and slightly golden.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

A healthy dinner for a spring weeknight with fresh herbs from the garden. The marinade makes this chicken extra tender. The blend of fresh herbs makes it irresistible!

Paul Newman's dressing has been a favorite marinade in my family for a long time - it is great on chicken, pork, and especially london broil. The blend of herbs adds an earthy fragrance, and compliments the tender, juicy chicken perfectly.

Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts
2 fresh split chicken breasts (w/ bone and skin)
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed
3 stems of thyme, leaves removed
1 handful flat italian parsley
4-5 sage leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (recommended: Newman's Own)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Clean the chicken breasts and place them in a large ziplock bag.

In a blender or small food processor, measure all the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high speed for about one minute, until herbs are chopped fine and liquid is emulsified. Pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken, schmooshing it around until the chicken is completely coated. (And yes, schmooshing is the technical term.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken and the marinade in a greased baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, until a meat thermometer inserted into the meat registers 180 degrees. Serve immediately with your favorite veggies and sides.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grilled Fish Tacos

Here's a tasty little number I came up with: grilled fish tacos. Hubby and I love mexican food, and eating lighter is on our agenda these days with a beach vacation coming up. So here is my lightened-up version of fish tacos. Instead of fried fish, it's grilled. Instead of creamy sauce, use some guacamole. And those fiber-packed tortillas really aren't that bad! Spicy, tangy, creamy, delicious.

Grilled Fish Tacos

4-6 soft taco tortillas (the high-fiber ones are actually good)
1/2 lb. tilapia filets
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (if your seasoning blends contain no salt)
Fat free sour cream
Shredded cheese (recommended: cheddar jack)

Heat your outdoor grill, george foreman, or stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray or olive oil.

Meanwhile, cut your tilapia filets into 2" by 1" chunks. In a small bowl, combine the cajun seasoning, fajita seasoning, pepper, and salt. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixiture over the fish chunks.

When the grill is heated, use tongs to place the fish on the heat, seasoned-side-down. Apply the other half of the seasoning to the tops of the fish. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. You will know that the fish is ready to turn over when the fish releasesz easily from the grill, and you see nice golden brown grill marks on it.

Serve the fish with the tortillas and your favorite toppings. Makes about 2 servings.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our Community Supported Agriculture "CSA" Farm

This is an exciting week in the Vintage Victuals kitchen - it's the first week that we got a basket of produce from our Community Supported Agriculture ("CSA") farm.

Maybe you've heard about the CSA movement, maybe you haven't. Either way, here's the skinny. A CSA farm operates a lot like a corporation. In the fall, you pay upfront to buy a "share." The farm uses the money to buy seeds and equipment for the following growing season, and then shareholders reap the dividends throughout the summer as the farm harvests each phase of produce. At our farm, a share gets you one huge basket of produce that you can pick up once a week. Starting around Mother's Day every year, we start picking up weekly baskets from our farm, packed with fresh veggies, greens, herbs, and fruits.

CSAs are considered part of the "green" movement for many reasons. First, many CSA farms are use organic farming methods. What's more, buying locally-grown produce helps the environment because it reduces the amount of pollution that results from shipping food over long distances. Finally, CSAs provide fresher, less-processed food resulting in better nutrition for our bodies.

Beyond the green, there are lots more reasons to belong to a CSA farm. We love being able to support the farmers in our community. We also enjoy the crazy varieties of vegetables that we get from the farm - lots of obscure veggies and heirloom varieties. They are loads of fun to cook with, and the produce from the farm tastes so much fresher and more flavorful than anything you can find in a grocery store.

Our farm co-op is family operated. Hubby's mom and dad have belonged for years, but this is only our second or third year taking part in the goodness.

So read on to find out more about our baskets and our farm! And get excited because the next several months are going to be full of recipes with great produce!

~ First Basket of the Season ~

Every week, we bring an empty basket to the farm,
and we trade it for a full one, like this.

They always attach a tiny chalk board
listing the contents of the basket for the week.

We also get a dozen farm fresh eggs with the basket.

~ The Barn ~

~ Out in the Gardens ~

Pole Beans






Bunches and bunches of beautiful greens!

~ In the Shade of the Fruit Trees
Not just veggies - we get some fruit through the summer, too!




~ The Chicken Coop ~
The basket also comes with farm fresh eggs.
We save our egg cartons throughout the rest of the year
and bring them to the farm to be re-used.

And what's a farm without a faithful hound to guard the chicken coop? Here is Copper, the beagle, who has a little house next to the coop. And, yes, he is named after the dog in the movie The Fox and the Hound.

~ Back Toward the Flower Beds ~
No basket is complete without a small bouquet of fresh-picked flowers.
They have beds and beds packed with gorgeous blooms.

Bachelor Button

Pink Iris

Johnny Jump-Ups

For more info on CSA farms or to find a farm co-op in your area, this website is a great resource.

Made by Lena