You know how Christmas smells like pine trees? Well in my house, autumn has a smell too. Apple crisp. Baking this recipe on a brisk, sunny day, burnt-orange leaves falling past the windows, the aroma of cinnamon and apples wafting from the oven, there is a fleeting moment when I feel just like Martha Stewart. Of course I have to take care to keep my eyes tightly closed so I can’t see the curtains that need hemming and the floors that need scrubbing, but the moment is lovely while it lasts. Try this easy recipe and you too can have a home that smells like Martha Stewart’s. When the feeling passes – it always does – you can indulge in a bowl of scrumptious apple crisp to ease your disappointment!
The recipe that follows is my clean, vegan version of a buttery old favorite. Your mouth won’t know the difference but your body will thank you. Brad had been eating the old version for years before I switched things up and he never even noticed a change. There’s still plenty of sugar and fat in this dessert, but it’s entirely plant-based and whole grain.
Autumn Apple Crisp (vegan)
- 4 heaping C sliced, peeled apples *use Gala, Macoun, or another variety that is firm and tart
- 1 tsp brown sugar plus 1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 C spelt flour *use whole wheat flour if you can’t find spelt flour
- 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/8 C chia seeds
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/3 C coconut oil
- 1/3 C non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
TIP: You will need 6-8 apples to produce 4 heaping cups of thin apple slices. Use an old-fashioned, hand-crank apple peeler/corer/slicer to make quick work of it.
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- combine the apple slices with 1 tsp brown sugar and the lemon juice in the bottom of a 9×12 glass baking dish
- in a large bowl, mix together the rest of the brown sugar with all the dry ingredients
- add the coconut oil and margarine to the dry ingredients and mix it all together with your hands until it is completely combined and forms large crumbs
- spread the crumbly mixture all over the top of the apples in one thick layer
- bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees
Can be served warm or cold. My favorite way to enjoy it is warm with a scoop of non-diary vanilla ice cream.
Autumn has arrived. The leaves are falling, the nights are cooler and I have returned to the kitchen. I love a cozy Sunday afternoon in a warm sweater and thick socks, the football game on in the background, an aromatic pot of chili bubbling away on the stove.
Not just any chili though. This chili recipe has been a long time in the making. It wasn’t until last year that I finished it’s fine-tuning. I knew my work was done when Brad, the in-house chili connoisseur, started to request it with an almost annoying frequency. (I’m telling you, the man LOVES chili).
A few unconventional ingredients pack both flavor and nutrition. Pumpkin puree provides a luxurious mouth-feel and ups the beta carotene and fiber by a mile. Unsweetened cocoa supplies a blast of antioxidant power while adding a surprising depth of flavor. A heaping scoop of chia ensures a healthy dose of calcium and the many herbs and spices double up on antioxidant power and taste. In addition to all that, this dish is full of fresh veggies and hearty legumes. It makes a wonderfully nourishing meal on a blustery fall day.
This recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. As always, CSA ingredients are in bold type.
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 lb. lean, organic, grass finished beef *for vegan/vegetarian version, omit or replace with a meat substitute
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 scant T KC BBQ sauce
- 1 28-oz can organic crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-0z can organic tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz can organic pumpkin puree ( or 2 C homemade pumpkin puree)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 heaping tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp corriander
- 1/4 tsp chipotle chili (add more if you like it spicy. You could also use cayenne pepper)
- 1 T agave nectar
- 2 16-oz cans organic red kidney beans, drained (or 4 C cooked, dried beans)
- 1 16-0z can organic black beans, drained (or 2 C cooked, dried beans)
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 T chia seeds
- in a large dutch oven or stock pot, saute the onions with the olive oil
- when the onions have softened, add the garlic and ground beef and cook until browned
- add the bell peppers and season with 1 tsp salt and black pepper
- add bqq sauce and stir until peppers have softened
- add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and pumpkin
- add herbs and spices, agave nectar and remaining tsp salt
- stir in beans, cocoa and chia and simmer until flavors are melded (20-30 minutes)
After working all day, it’s nice to have a home cooked meal, but who wants to deal with all the dishes? Even for those of us who love to cook, the thought of having to clean up the mess can send us running to the phone to order takeout. This is a healthy and hearty one-pot meal that will totally satisfy without creating a disaster in your kitchen. Bonus for using a dutch oven: it’s pretty enough to put right on the table for serving and it keeps your leftovers safely stored in the fridge. NO pot to clean after dinner!
CSA ingredients are in bold type. This dish uses a lot of them!
One-Pot Veggie & Penne Supper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Alisa Craig onion, sliced (any onion will work)
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 C small (about 1 inch) Red Gold potatoes, cut in half, skin on (Red Bliss will work)
- 1 Orient Express eggplant, cubed, skin on (any kind of eggplant will work)
- 1 C whole wheat penne pasta
- generous handfuls of fresh basil, oregano and parsley, chopped (reserve some for serving)
- 1 C marinara or tomato sauce
- 4 C fresh kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 yellow summer squash, cut into coins
- 1/2 lb. green, yellow or purple wax beans, trimmed and cut in half
- kosher salt
- heat about 1 T olive oil in a dutch oven and add the onion and green pepper
- once the onion and pepper begin to soften, add the potatoes and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are starting to brown a bit
- add the eggplant and salt generously
- stir while you continue to cook and brown the potatoes for about 5 minutes
- add the dry penne, fresh herbs and tomato sauce, stir and then add enough water to just cover the pasta
- add the squash, beans, and kale and season again with salt
- simmer over medium heat with cover on (it should be bubbling) for about 12 minutes, or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally (add more water if it becomes too dry or cook a little longer with the lid off if it seems too wet)
- stir in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped herbs before serving
Confession: I hate beets. To me they taste slightly sweet, somewhat slimy and very earthy. And by “earthy” I mean dirt-like. I do appreciate the nutritional value of the beetroot and I admire its beauty. It’s the taste and texture I can’t get past. For these reasons, I’ve been on a mission to come up with ways to consume, but not taste, beets.
We can all have a good laugh at my attempt at Candy Cane Beet Sundaes. That was a mess. But as promised, I have come up with a winner. Chocolate Beet Muffins probably sound a little strange but I swear they taste great.
Using the recipe analyzer at caloriecount.com, I found out that each one of these muffins provides a whopping 17% of your daily fiber recommendation and 9% of your daily iron (based on a 2000 calorie diet). Yay beets!
Chocolate Beet Muffins
- 4 medium-small beets
- 1/2 C dried, pitted dates
- 1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 C raw sugar
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 1/2 C non-dairy milk – unsweetened (I used coconut milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 C chopped walnuts
- 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s brand happens to be vegan)
- in a 350 degree oven, roast the beets (wrap whole, washed beets in tinfoil) until tender, about 1 hour
- once beets are cooled, peel and add to food processor
- add dates to food processor and process until mixture is completely smooth – you will have to scrape down the sides several times
- in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and use a whisk to get rid of any clumps
- add the wet ingredients, including the beet and date puree and stir until combined
- fold the walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter
- line a 12-muffin pan with wrappers and spray each one with a little PAM
- divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin wrappers
- bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean
My version of a great potato salad is tangy and bright with a kick of freshness and just the right amount of salt. No gloppy mayo here. This simple dish is good, clean, eatin’!
Farm Fresh Potato Salad
- 1 1/2 lbs Red Gold potatoes, halved (could also use Red Bliss)
- 1 Alisa Craig onion, minced (if you can’t get mild, fresh onions, use shallots)
- 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/8 C fresh chives, chopped
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T whole grain mustard or spicy brown mustard
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- fill a large pot with 1-2 inches of water and fit with a steamer. Bring water to a boil. Place the halved potatoes along with your discared onion scraps in the steamer. Cover and steam until tender, about 12-14 minutes
- in a large bowl, whisk the onions and herbs together with the oil, two types of mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper
- add the cooked potatoes to the bowl while still hot and toss to combine
- serve warm or at room temp
If you prefer your potato salad more gooey, you can double the recipe for the dressing. You can also cut the potatoes smaller and/or partially mash a few chunks.
Growing up, I loved when my mom made cabbage “noodles”. She would fry a little bacon in a very hot skillet and cook thinly sliced ribbons of cabbage in the bacon fat. The only seasoning required was a bit of salt and pepper. Served as a side dish with crispy crumbled bacon on top, the noodles were a buttery, decadent comfort food.
The recipe that follows is my lightened up version of mom’s recipe. Fresh sliced onions from the CSA add dimension in the bacon’s stead.
makes 2-4 servings
- 1 mini cabbage, cored and sliced
- 1/2 Alisa Craig onion, sliced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- heat the olive oil in a large skillet (cast iron works great)
- saute the onions over medium heat until soft
- turn the heat to high, add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper
- cook over high heat, flipping the cabbage, until browned
Throwing together a rustic sandwich for lunch makes me feel so European. Simplicity equals elegance here and good bread is a must! This delicious fresh sammy will be on the plate in 10 minutes, start to finish.
Grilled Summer Squash Sandwich
- 1 T coconut oil (you could use olive oil but I love the nutty flavor that coconut lends)
- 1 summer squash, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise
- a pinch of salt
- crusty French or Italian bread
- olive tapenade
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- in a nonstick pan, heat the coconut oil until pan is very hot
- add the sliced summer squash and season with a little salt
- brown the squash on each side – it should be tender once browned
- spread the tapenade on one piece of the bread, stack the summer squash and whole basil leaves on top and cover with the other slice of bread
I love the strong aroma and bright flavor of fresh dill, so I was super excited to have a few items in the farm share this week that I knew would make delicious dill pickles. No need to drag out your canning equipment for this recipe; these refrigerator pickles are quick and easy.
Dill-Pickled Scapes, Fennel and Radishes
makes 2 large jars
- 3 C water
- 2 C apple cider vinegar
- 6 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 6-8 whole sprigs of fresh dill
- 4-6 medium radishes, sliced
- 6 garlic scapes, cut into sections
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced (I tried using the stalks but they were much too fibrous to eat)
- in a saucepan, bring the water, apple cider vinegar and salt to a boil
- stuff 2 glass jars with the peppercorns, dill, radishes, scapes and fennel*
- pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables, filling the jars all the way to the top
- cover and allow to cool
- store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving
* use a wooden skewer to help pack the dill around the veggies
It’s been hot, hot, hot out lately! Without AC in the house, the whole family has resorted to our own tactics to stay cool.
Moe’s preferred method?
Hop in the nearest ceramic vessel and visualize yourself in an Olympic sized swimming pool.
Jasmine’s plan of action?
Lay on the floor looking as irritated as possible and wait for someone to deliver an ice pack.
And what is the more sophisticated plan in which Brad and I partake?
Works every time.
Strawberry Pomegranate Margaritas
makes 1 pitcher
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled (makes about 2 C of puree)
2 C Tequila
1/2 C pomegranate liquor
juice of 1 lime
4-5 C ice
In a high speed blender, puree the strawberries first. You should have about 2 C of puree. Add the tequila, the pomegranate liquor and the lime juice. Fill the blender to the top with ice. Blend until smooth.
I’m really proud of this recipe. I’ve served these delicious lime bars to vegans, non-vegans, and people who don’t even know what “vegan” means. Everybody loves them. I’ve secretly smiled to myself as people who would never dream of eating tofu scarf down second and third bars. Healthy they are, but sinful they taste.
My first few batches were a bit anemic looking, so I started brainstorming ways to brighten up their color. Synthetic food coloring wouldn’t do…the chemicals in those dyes have been linked to too many scary health problems. It would have to be something natural.
When I saw the bright green dinosaur kale in our farm share this week I knew I had to try it. And that’s the secret ingredient in my vegan lime bars. Kale juice. It adds no detectable flavor to the scrumptious confections but it both brightens up the color and amps up the health factor. I imagine spinach juice would work well too.
Of course, moderation is key (couldn’t cut out the sugar or the calories), but sans butter, egg yolks and white flour, you can feel a little better about indulging in these vibrant tasting bars. The antioxidant boosting shot of kale juice is an added bonus!
These bars are dense and rich, so you can cut them pretty small – 2 inch squares should do it.
Secret Vegan Lime Bars
makes 16 small bars
1/2 C coconut oil (in solid or liquid state)
1/4 C raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 spelt flour
1/2 C nigari tofu (from Trader Joe’s in the antiseptic package) or silken tofu
3/4 C raw sugar
2 T lime zest
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh kale juice
1/2 tsp agar powder (not flakes)
- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with PAM. Line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment with PAM. Set aside.
- in a large bowl, stir together the crust ingredients. Mixture will be dry and crumbly but should hold together when squeezed.
- using your fingers, press the crust into the lined baking dish. Bake crust for 20 minutes.
- to extract the kale juice, you can use a juicer or you can pulverize the kale leaves in a food processor and then squeeze out the juice through a fine mesh sieve. (see photo above) Make sure to save the pulp – you can add it to pesto or use it in baking for extra nutrients and fiber.
- remove the excess liquid from the tofu by pressing it with your fingers into a paper towel lined sieve.
- in a food processor, blend all the filling ingredients together until smooth.
- pour the filling into the baked crust. Put it back in the oven for about 25 minutes. Bars are done when bubbly and just beginning to brown around the edges.
- allow the bars to cool FULLY before trying to cut them. They will not set until they have fully cooled. You can place them in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the process.
- Once bars are completely cool, the filling should be firm and gel-like. Grasping the parchment paper, lift the whole slab out of the pan and set on a cutting board. Remove the parchment (it may be stuck at the corners). Using a large knife, cut into squares.