Pork with Mustard Sauce and Dill & Shallot Potatoes

It was hot today. Not melt your brain 108 degree hot like my Southern friends but hot for Vermont. I did a quick sear and oven bake of our pork to minimize the amount of time the oven had to be on. The end result went over well. My husband had thirds and the 8 year old gave me a hug and told me he loved me so I guess I did something right! Pork sirloin cutlets are frequently discounted in our supermarket and I personally like them better than chops so we use them a bit. Not a ton of pictures in this one because the toddler was wondering around with an ice pack on her boo-boo, the baby was spitting her binky out, and the 8 year old was questioning every single thing I was doing. In other words, a totally normal day.

Pork with Mustard Sauce
(serves 6)

3 lbs of pork sirloin cutlets
salt & pepper
1 TBS butter
2 TBS dijon-type mustard
2 TBS ricotta cheese (could also use sour cream)
1 TBS maple syrup

This could not be easier. Preheat the oven to 450 and cover a cookie sheet with foil. In a pan on the stove melt the butter. Sear the pork sirloin pieces on both sides so that you can just see a small line of pink in the middle. About 2-3 minutes on each side should do it. Lay the meat on the cookie sheet.

Put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. It will depend on how big your pieces are. Using a meat thermometer the pork should reach a temperature of 160. The USDA recently dropped their guideline to 145 but I feel better cooking it to 160.

While the pork is cooking mix together the mustard, ricotta, and maple to make your sauce. You can use sour cream if you'd like. I always have ricotta on hand and love the creamy texture it gives the sauce.

Dill & Shallot Potatoes
(serves 6) 

6 medium red-skinned potatoes
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS butter, split
1/4-1/3 cup milk
2 TBS fresh dill
1/2 large shallot, sliced

Rough chop the potatoes into chunks (leave the skins on) and toss them into a pan of boiling water. Boil for roughly 8 minutes or until fork tender. In a saucepan, melt 1 TBS of the butter and brown the sliced shallots in it. Drain potatoes and put them into a mixing bowl. Add 2 TBS of butter, the browned shallots, salt, and dill and mix. Add milk slowly stopping when the mixture comes together.

Serve with a green salad if you'd like and enjoy!


Garlic Scape Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Garlic scapes. Google them and you'll find 800 million garlic scape pesto recipes. These curly green snake-like veggies are abundant at my CSA at this time of year. I have to admit, I'm tired of scape pesto so I shook things up a little bit. It was freakin' delicious to shake things up. After roasting the scapes I blended them into a gnocchi base. The result? A mellow garlick-y green delicious fluffy ricotta pillow. These will happen again!

Garlic Scape Gnocchi with Mushrooms
Serves 4

Big Bunch of garlic scapes- enough to cover a cookie tray (I used about 1/2 lb)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 lemons
8 oz mushrooms
2 TBS butter

1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay scapes on it. Roast for 8 minutes and shut oven off. Leave the scapes in for a few more minutes. (If you roast for longer than 8 minutes the tips tend to burn- shutting off the oven avoids any burning.)

2. Shove the scapes into a food processor. Don't worry if you really jam them in they'll fit :) 

Process the scapes with the blade attachment until they are finely chopped. 

Add the egg, ricotta, salt, flour, and the juice of one lemon into the processor. Make sure you measure out the ricotta.

The result should be a thick paste-like dough. 

3. Flour a counter and take out a sharp knife. Set up a floured cookie sheet to put finished gnocchi on. Take the gnocchi one large spoonful at a time and roll in flour. Roll out into a snake-like shape and chop into little gnocchis. This part is really challenging to take pictures of so if you want to see step by step photos feel free to see a past post I did on Ricotta Gnocchi

Ready to go into the boiling water. 

4. Boil a large pot of water on the stove. You can also choose to freeze the gnocchi at this point to cook at a later date. This is a great way to have quick meals ready. To freeze- freeze in a single layer then transfer to a tupperware container once frozen. 
While you are waiting for the water to boil, melt the butter in a saucepan. Chop the mushrooms up and saute in butter. When the mushrooms are brown, add the juice from the 1/2 lemon. Lemon really helps to counteract the intensity of the scapes. 


Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water. Boil for 3-5 minutes. They will float to the top when they are ready. Use a slotted spoon to remove them. Don't drain into a strainer. The gnocchi will stick together and get gummy. 
Top with mushrooms and enjoy!


Mexican Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole evokes warm homey memories in many folks. I love to eat it but also adore experimenting with it. This time I decided to replace the cream soup and try to add some Mexican flavors. The results were met with overwhelming support from my husband and son. I love putting a crunchy topping in the ramekins and serving them individually.
You'll notice that in the recipe I use a half can of multiple ingredients. If you want to you can easily double the recipe, or you can double everything but the noodles and cheese and set aside half of the bean mixture to use for dip (it was delicious)!

Mexican Tuna Casserole
Serves 6

2 cups dry egg noodles
1/2 15 oz can black beans
1/2 15 oz can black olives
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans tuna
handful of tortilla chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Boil water in a large saucepan on the stove. Add 2 cups of dry egg noodles and set for 8 minutes.

2. In the food processor blend a drained can of black beans, salsa, and olives.

3. Once noodles are done cooking drain them. Mix in two cans of drained tuna. Add black bean mixture to noodles and stir. Add 1/2 of the cheese. 

Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Crumble a few tortilla chips on the top of each one and then top with shredded cheese. (Note: If you want to be able to flip the casseroles out onto plates to serve you can put the tortilla chips and cheese on the bottom. )

Bake for 10 minutes at 350. 



Banana Coconut Muffins

Banana Coconut Muffins with Cornmeal & Oatmeal

I have always been a muffin lover. One of my first comments upon arriving in Vermont was that there was a serious lack of good muffins. A lot of coffeeshops didn't carry them, which I am happy to say has changed over the last couple of years. Muffins are magical because my daughter loves them and will sometimes sit in her highchair happily demolishing one for half an hour. That is 30 magical minutes that I have to get stuff done quickly without anyone "helping". I write many blog posts in that 30 minutes. 

These muffins are a great use for bananas that are nearing the end of their life- although you can still make them with ripe bananas. They are egg free and can easily be made vegan by substituting in non-dairy for the milk. The cornmeal gives the muffins a great texture and make them a little denser- which in our house means less crumbs. 

Banana Coconut Muffins
(Makes 1 dozen)

2 bananas- medium
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

 1. Preheat oven to 375. Put bananas in mixer and mix until they are all squashed up. Add in brown sugar and beat until blended. Add in coconut, cornmeal, and oatmeal and mix until all ingredients are moistened. Add spices, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until incorporated. The batter will be really thick. Add the milk in and mix. I use a 1/4 cup measure to add in all my ingredients so that I can then use that measuring cup to dose the batter into the pan. The batter will make 12 muffins and is easily doubled if you have more bananas.
Bake at 375 for 14 minutes.

My daughter loves to sit on the counter to "help" me cook. This is why I try not to use eggs in recipes- she has a love of licking the beaters. 

Cooling muffins


Refrigerator Radish Dill Pickles

Radish Dill Pickles

Early in the CSA season there are an abundance of radishes and greens to use. We eat salads nonstop and even experiment a little. My husband was NOT a fan of the mustard green juice I made :)

The ginger juice did not exactly get a "Woo-hoo" response either. 

Radish dill pickles are a new item to my lineup this year but this is now the third batch I've made. They are super simple to make as they are just refrigerator pickles. This means that I don't process them in any way- no hot water bath, no pressure canning- just good old-fashioned vinegar. I'm going to run through the steps but there will be no exact measurements. If you follow the proportions you'll be able to do this with any quantity of radishes. I had a mixing bowl full and it made 3 pint jars and one small canning jar of pickles.

You will need:
Canning jars, bands & caps
Fresh Dill
Kosher Salt
Vinegar- I use white

Soak your radishes in water for 5 minutes to remove any loose debris. Agitate the water with your hand to get dirt off of them. Dump the water and carry the bowl over to your cutting board.

Chop the roots and tops off of the radishes and halve or quarter them depending on their size. I keep a little bowl nearby to put the ends in so I can run them to the compost easily.

If you see any black spots on the outside just slice them off. If the spot is on the inside too discard the radish.

Bring the radishes back over to the sink in the bowl and give them one more rinse. Then pack them into your jars. You want to leave about 3/4" at the top for the dill. Wash your dill and take stalks of it off. Curl them into the top of the jar over the radishes. 

Pour vinegar through the dill until the jars are halfway full. 

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt on the top of each jar. Fill the jars the rest of the way with water.

I top off the dill at this point. I want a lot of dill flavor so I cram as much as I can fit in there. Once your done cap and band the jars. 

Turn them upside down for about an hour on the countertop so that the dill infuses into the vinegar. After an hour put them into the fridge.

Within an hour of making them the pickles will start turning pink. I try to leave them in the fridge for at least a week before we open them to eat. They keep 3-6 months in the fridge. As a fair warning, radishes make stinky pickles. They taste delicious but they are smelly. 


Life's Lemons & Fun with the Juicer

I've been a little absent. In the most summarized version of events here is what happened:

1. Pregnant, dilated, and staying at parents with limited internet access.
2. Receive phone call from overseas. Father in law who was in Ireland on vacation has been hospitalized. While running routine bloodwork they discover he has leukemia. He will not be able to leave country until he's had a round of chemo.
3. Mad dash to renew husband's passport and buy items to ship there.
4. Have baby.
5. Get baby and toddler passport. (Just in case this takes a bad turn and I have to fly to Ireland with them.)
6. Drive husband to Montreal airport (ticket was half the price of one out of Burlington- at least everyone's passport came in handy). Kiss him goodbye.
7. Take care of the newborn and toddler for two weeks while husband is in Ireland.
8. Husband back. Return to normal life only to be struck down with stomach bug.

That about brings us to now. Since we picked up our farm share yesterday I decided to do some juicing with the toddler. Meet our juicer:

This juicer is a workhorse. My mom had it when we were little and handed it down to me. My now 8 year old developed a fear of it's loud "whirring" noise when he was 4 so we gave the juicer a face to make it "friendlier". He found this amusing. My daughter apparently does too. After initial hesitation......

she warmed up to him......

I hate waste so we juiced some apples that were getting a little squishy, some pears, and a little bit of ginger. It was a hit. 

We also juiced some mustard greens which we got from the farm in abundance. These ones are super spicy and we gave them to daddy as a joke. He made an awesome face. In the next few days we'll be juicing up some extra spinach to freeze in cubes and save for sauces. 

What's your favorite juice?


CSA Cooking

photo courtesy of Hatch Brook Gardens

This week kicks off the CSA season for us. What, you might ask, is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership between the consumer and the farmer. In this venture you pre-pay for a share of vegetables. This money allows the farmer to plan for their season and purchase needed items. You are taking a risk together with the farmer. If the growing season is overly abundant you share in that abundance. If a rainy season wipes out the tomato crop then you get no tomatoes. Usually the farm sponsors a weekly pickup.

We are members of a CSA called Hatch Brook Gardens located in Hyde Park VT. Last year was their first growing season. We were psyched to support a couple of young farmers and our faith was well placed. I loved their free-choice concept. This meant that we could choose what we wanted from the spread each week and take what we would use during the week. In addition, they offer work days and pot lucks so that we can really participate in the experience.

Once our CSA launches my grocery bill plummets. We eat a vegetable heavy diet during the summer and I love the challenge of cooking everything that our farmers grow. Watch for some fun recipes and canning suggestions.

If you live in the Lamoille Valley area of Vermont feel free to check out Hatch Brook Gardens website and reach out to them. They currently have about 10 shares left for the season. You won't be disappointed!