Butternut Squash Linguini with Fried Sage

My garden this year has been a *huge* learning experience. A few to many set backs and lots of frustrations. So with that being said, I’ve noticed my blog has temporarily turned more into a cooking blog, which I don’t necessarily mind, I enjoy cooking! But my main reason for this blog is to document my gardening experiences, good or bad. So this week I will write a post doing just that and briefly talk about my plans for our fall garden. P.S we have about 14 weeks (give or take) until our first frost, if you are planting a garden this fall, start planning!

SO…a vegan PASTA dish. No butter. No cream. No cheese..unless you want it in there, in that case I won’t tell anyone ;).

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Pizza Crust

You know how hard it is to find a 4 leaf clover? I feel that way towards pizza dough. It’s near impossible. For the last 5 years I’ve tried, probably close to 20 recipes. They were all fine. I mean in the end they were technically ‘pizza crusts’. But this pizza crust…fantastico!

There are two KEY steps to making a beautiful looking pizza crust:

1) Using a pizza stone. Seriously, don’t forget the pizza stone. Pizza stone. Pizzzzzaaaa sttttoooonnneee.
2) Preheating your oven (and pizza stone) on the highest setting for at least an hour*. This will give you that nice crusty bottom but still a nice chewy bread.

*Clothing optional, because your house will feel like a sauna.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 105°F)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour and salt and pulse 3 or 4 times.

Whisk 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the yeast mixture. With the motor running, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Pulse the machine 10 to 15 times to knead the dough. The dough should clean the insides of the bowl but will be slightly sticky.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Dust your hands with flour and remove the dough from the food processor. Form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half and roll out as directed in the pizza recipe. Makes two 10-inch thin-crust pizzas.

Enjoy!

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Garlic Scape Pesto

I wrote a song for you all. I think Harry Connick Jr. did a version of it. It’s lovely. 

Here it is:

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

With the kids picking spinach
And everyone telling you “happy harvest!”
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
It’s the hap -happiest season of all
With those seasonal berries and gay happy cherries
When tomatoes come to call
It’s the hap – happiest season of all

There’ll be carrots for picking
Big melons for licking
And weeding out in the row
There’ll be scary big sluggies
And tales of the glories of
gardens long, long ago

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
There’ll be much irrigating
And anticipating
When veggies are near
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Was that a little much? No? I didn’t think so.

Garlic is one of my very favorite things to grow and harvest. It’s so tall, handsome, easy, knows how to impress, smells amazing… 😉 …Plus you get scapes. Have you ever had them? They will blow your socks off… 😉
My favorite way to eat them is making them into pesto. Wowee. I thought I loved pesto before, but now! It’s a whole new love affair. Shh, don’t tell my husband 😉

Have I taken the innuendo’s to far? The winking, it’s a little much isn’t it. Okay I’ll stop.

scapes, garlic, cilantro

scapes, garlic, cilantro

Garlic Scape Pesto

Serves: About 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I even just used pre-sliced almonds from Costco, tasted just as good!)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the garlic scapes, basil, lemon juice, salt and half of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process until the basil and garlic scapes are finely chopped.
  3. Add the toasted almonds and process until smooth.
  4. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the remaining oil until everything is well blended.
  5. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times.
  6. Season with additional salt, if needed.
  7. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Garlic scape pesto

Garlic scape pesto

Strawberry Raspberry Jam

I’m pretty sure Sundays are the best day for making jam. Everyone is home, the sun in shining; maybe you have some homemade bread baking in the oven.. and you are pretty sure that today couldn’t get any better.

Until…

You find the most amazing strawberry raspberry jam recipe in the entire world. I mean it. Your world will officially be changed for the better. The sun will shine a little brighter now, the birds sing a little louder, and the best songs will always play on the radio… and it’s commercial free radio.

First off, you need to find the best fruit. I’ve started going to our local Utah Food CoOp in Murray Utah. They have wholesale organic produce that you can buy in bulk for a good price, plus the people are just so nice there. We bought 12-6 ounces containers of raspberries and 8 lb of strawberries. That gave us plenty for jam and a lot left over for snacking. I got this recipe from the blog Simply So Good, but switched out the corn syrup for my own home made simple syrup, recipe below.

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Strawberry Raspberry Freezer Jam
 
1 1/2 cups crushed strawberries (2 pints)
1 3/4 cups crushed raspberries (2 pints)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (or simple syrup)
1 package Pectin (this recipe is from a package of MCP pectin)
  1. Wash and rinse containers with tight fitting lids.
  2. Prepare fruit by rinsing and crushing berries.  Measure exactly and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Gradually stir 1 box of MCP pectin into fruit.  Mix thoroughly.  Set aside 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to dissolve pectin thoroughly.
  5. Measure exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl.  Do not reduce the amount of sugar.  If you do, your jam will not set.  Set aside.
  6. Pour 1 cut light corn syrup into fruit mixture.  Mix well.  This prevents sugar crystallization during freezer storage.
  7. Stir in sugar gradually.  Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
  8. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.
  9. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to one year.  Thaw in refrigerator.
Makes 7 cups of jam
Simple Syrup
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
Put ingredients in a small pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let it stand till it’s cooled down.
Makes about 1 cup of simple syrup
Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Something magical just happened this morning.

It was beautiful.

It was delicious.

It was lemony.

It was poppy seed-y.

It was soft.

and moist.

Covered in butter.

and a little bit of maple syrup.

O, lemon poppy seed pancakes, how I love you.

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Little hands make light work…or a lot of work 😉

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Lemon zest makes me a better person, I’m sure of it.

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Did you know that every gram of seeds has about 33 micrograms of morphine and 14 micrograms of codeine. Cover that with flour, sugar, butter and syrup and you have Christmas morning.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

(makes a lot! About 20 small/medium sized pancakes)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

butter, shortening, or vegetable oil for frying

maple syrup for serving

In a small bowl combine granulated sugar and lemon zest.  Rub together with your fingers until sugar is fragrant.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the lemon sugar.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl (or you can use a large liquid measuring cup), whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Add the poppy seeds and stir to combine.  If a few lumps remain, that’s no problem.  Let the batter rest for 10 minutes while the griddle heats.

Place a griddle, or a nonstick saute pan over medium heat.  Add a bit of butter, shortening, or vegetable oil to the pan.  A teaspoon of fat will do for a n0nstick saute pan, a bit more fat may be necessary for a griddle.  Dollop batter onto hot pan.  For small pancakes, I use about 2 tablespoons for each pancake.  For larger pancakes, I use about 1/4 cup of batter.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom and and bubbling on top.  Flip once and cook until golden brown on each side.

Place cooked pancakes on an oven-proof plate and place in a warm (about 150 degrees F) oven until all pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.  Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

ENJOY!

Beets

 

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So I just planted my beets the other day, and in celebration I bought some from our local grocery store. I cooked them for about an hour in the oven and then chopped them up with some pears and nuts and put them in some mixed greens. It was a day to remember.

This is my first year growing beets and I decided to grow the Early Wonder variety. It’s a old heirloom variety dating back to pre-1811. Must be good if they’ve been haulin’ them around this long 😉

Here are some  facts about our little mediterranean native:

  • They are packed full of: potassium, folic acid, manganese, fiber, vitamin a, c, calcium, and iron
  • They are biennial- meaning they flower and set seed their second season
  • VERY cold hardy.
  • Sow directly into the ground, but soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours before placing in the soil. Helps with germination. (Which I didn’t do…shoot)
  • Each seed is actually a cluster of 2-6 seeds
  • Plants that reach maturity during hot weather will have less color and flavor. Dress your plants with compost and plant in the shade of another plant to secure your chances of a good harvest

Growing beets:

  • First off, pick a nice sunny location that has well drained soil
  • Amend your soil with organic material working it in to a depth of 8-10 inches
  • Sow seeds 2-4 inches apart, water well and add a thin layer of dressing. This helps to moderate soil moisture and temperature. *Keep beets watered well and you will have happy gardeners and happy beets*
  • Beets require lots of phosphorus to grow healthy large roots. If you run a soil test and you find in lacks in phosphorus give your plants a side dressing of bonemeal or rock phosphate. (Favored pH range for beets is 6.0-7.0)
  • Stop sowing seeds once the temperatures reach about 75 degrees, but start again 8 or so weeks before the first fall frost, for a late season harvest

Harvesting beets:

  • Beets taste best when they are 1.5-2.5 inches in diameter. After that they start to lose flavor and the texture becomes unappetizing
  • Beet greens can be harvested as soon as plants are an inch or two high. Older greens are best when steamed or sauteed.
  • When beets are ready to harvest, pull or dig them out then remove the tops by twisting them or cutting them off, being careful to leave a few inches of stem on the root to keep them from bleeding and losing their moisture. They can be stored this way, in the fridge for up to a week
  • For long term storage, layer the beets in damp sawdust or sand and keep in a moist cold root storage until ready to use

 

  • Beet seeds

 

 

Smoothies

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Sunshine smoothie

2 oranges
6-8 strawberries
1/4 of a lime
1 cup of pineapple juice
1/4 cup of water
2 ice cubes

 

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who gets obsessed with something delicious, making it over and over until you’re completely sick of it. Well, this is one of them. I’ve been making it almost every morning. And for some reason, that little bit of lime really puts a pep in my step.

Enjoy!

Granola

Warm.

Soft.

Crunchy.

Chewy.

Healthy.

Versatile.

Hints of coconut.

Bites of nuts and fruit (optional)

Want to put raisins in? Go Ahead!. Want to put dried apples in? GO AHEAD! Want to put nothing but oats in? Yup, that’s right, GO AHEAD!

Granola is just so wonderful. There’s no wrong way to make it. It’s pretty much full proof! And I like recipes like that. No brainers, because sometimes, with babies running around I really don’t have any. (…Actually even without babies running around, I still sometimes don’t have any.)

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Pour all those beautiful oats into a big bowl

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Then add all your coconut, nuts, seeds, oat bran and wheat germ.

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Get your honey, molasses, salt, brown sugar, oils, cinnamon and vanilla and stir together, bringing it to a soft boil. Is it bad to drink that stuff? It smells so good.

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Pour onto the dry stuff and stir together. Wow, that just looks great.

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Beautiful

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Spread it on a baking sheet, and sneak a bite of two..if you’re a weirdo like me and enjoy raw oats. Then bake it for 20 min, stirring halfway through.

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Pull it out of the oven, (eating a bite or two while severely burning your tongue) and let it cool to room temperature. Then enjoy!

My favorite granola recipe

8 cups of rolled oats
1 1/2 c wheat germ
1 1/2 c oat bran
1 cup of almonds
1 c pecans
1 – 1 1/2 cups of coconut
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
3/4 cup of honey
1 cup coconut oil
1 tbl cinnamon
1 tbl vanilla
1 cup of dried fruit

1) Line baking sheet with foil

2) Combine oats, wheat germ, oat brean, seeds, and nuts into a bowl

3) Stir together salt, brown sugar, molasses, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. Bring to a bowl.

4) Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat. (I like to drizzle more honey over the entire thing, stir, and do it once more)

5) Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake for 20 min, stirring half way through

6) Cool, then stir in dried fruit

Horseradish

There’s a surprising number of people who are scared of Horseradish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s weird stuff and smells funky. But when you put it on a warm roast beef sandwich, *mouth salivating*, it’s just about the best thing the world has to offer.

Just give it a try, if you haven’t already.

Seriously. Right now.

….

It’s also SO EASY TO GROW! It grows everywhere and in almost any climate, (up until Zone 3.) People often grow it separately from their main garden plot because it’s pretty much impossible to get rid of. Every tiny piece that breaks off in the soil when harvested WILL turn into a new plant. Talk about fertile 😉 So consider planting your horseradish in containers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t plant my horseradish in a container and I totally broke up a ton of pieces in the soil…good thing we’re living in a rental!

Growing Horseradish:

In the spring find a very sunny spot in your garden for your horseradish. They can flourish in almost any type of soil but waterlogged soil. So if you are using a drip system in your garden for your water loving greens consider planting them in a separate part of the garden OR in a container.  There, I’ve said it twice. I’m going to listen to my own advice next year.

Once you’ve found your spot, add all your compost and manure and work it in about a foot deep.  Place your root (with the buds facing up towards the surface) at a 45 degree angle or straight down. Cover with 2-3 inches of soil and give it a good water. After that you only need to water during really long dry spells.

Harvesting Horseradish:

Horseradish needs about 12-18 months to reach full maturity, but if you live in Zones 4-6 and you planted it in the spring you can harvest a decent root for your fall dishes. Make sure you harvest the roots when they aren’t actively growing! That means in the fall  after the first hard frost or early spring.  Examine all your horseradish and use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the plants that are at least 1 inch in diameter. Once you remove the roots cut off the tops and side shoots and replant in the same spot, adding in compost along the way.

Eating Horseradish:

Scrub all your roots and peel with a potato peeler. Cut into small chunks and toss into a food processor or blender and grind up to the consistency you like. Add 2-3 TBL of vinegar to every cup of horseradish. To have a milder horseradish, add the vinegar in immediately, and for a stronger horseradish wait 3-4 min and then add in the vinegar.  Then, ENJOY!

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Apple Sauce

Since the end of the growing season, things have been pretty quiet around here. It has been nice just watching the leaves fall and the snow moving off the mountains into our area, but over all I’ve been pretty bummed since summer left. What am I supposed to do until spring?! COOKING. Duh.

So last month we went to my husbands family farm out in Colorado for the weekend to make cider and I was able to bring back a couple bushels of apples. And when I say apples I really mean giant golden juicy nuggets of goodness. So this week I made two kinds of apple sauce. Plain applesauce and cinnamon apple sauce. You can’t go wrong with either one, both are super sweet and delicious. I got the recipe from The Pioneer Women, and it might be my favorite recipe for applesauce I’ve ever made. I made sure to use apple cider and doubled the recipe! (I also just used a stick blender, one of my favorite kitchen tools.)

APPLE SAUCE

Ingredients
6 pounds Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices
1 cup Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
Juice Of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, More Or Less To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
Carefully puree in a food processor or blender (don’t fill too full; split into two portions if needed) until smooth.
Store in the fridge.

Enjoy!

He's a big fan of home made applesauce