Nov 23 2010

A CSA Share dinner challenge…

We’ve been getting a produce share from our local orchard this fall and it’s wonderful to not have to decide what to buy each week.  It’s great to make soups and stocks and keep up with eating fresh veg and fruits too.  Yesterday we picked up our share and in it we were pleased and surprised to find:

1 head of purple cabbage
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of lettuce
1 jar of pickled beets
4 Russet baking potatoes
8 apples
fresh parsley
fresh sage
1 acorn squash
two heads of garlic
three onions
four carrots
1 parsnip
1 turnip

So, the question was, what meal could we make and use as many of these ingredients in it?  We turned to my husband’s IPhone Epicurious app for this challenge. We found this recipe and luckily we had already made duck confit weeks ago and it was all set!  We were excited to try this recipe and were quite pleased with the outcome.

Potato Pancakes with Confit Duck and Red-Cabbage Beet Slaw
1 1/4 lb red cabbage (1/2 head), cored and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (16-oz) jar pickled beets (Reserve the liquid to use later)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 (6-oz) confit duck leg*
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 russet (baking) potatoes (about 1 lb total)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

Garnish: chopped fresh chives

Make slaw: Pulse cabbage, in batches if necessary, in a food processor until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl and add 3/4 teaspoon salt and liquid from pickled beets. Finely chop beets (with a knife) and stir into cabbage mixture along with vinegar. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Make pancakes while slaw stands: Remove skin and fat from duck leg and finely chop them (reserve meat), then cook in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and skin is golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer duck skin with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet. Meanwhile, remove duck meat from bone, discarding bone, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Add onion to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Combine onion, duck meat, and reserved skin in a large bowl.
Peel potatoes and shred using large holes of a box grater. Squeeze potatoes by handfuls to eliminate excess moisture, then add to duck mixture along with egg, pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until combined.

Spread 1/2 cup bread crumbs on a sheet of wax paper (I used silpats). Using a scant 1/4 cup potato mixture for each pancake, make 12 mounds on crumbs. Coat mounds with remaining 1/2 cup crumbs and flatten into 3-inch patties.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Using a slotted spatula, gently shake off excess crumbs from each potato pancake, then fry in 2 batches, turning over once, until golden, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately, with slaw.

Cooks’ note:
Slaw can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. *Available at
November 2005

Nov 14 2010

Cincinnatti Chili

We no longer buy beef since we have a steady supply of venison coming in from my parents. They aren’t hunters and neither are we, but they have friends who hunt but don’t like to eat what they catch.  So, it works out nicely for us all.

I realize some people have an issue eating Bambi, or meat for that matter. So, if that’s the case use your favorite ground meat or veggies in place of the ground venison.  The foundation for this particular chili is the Cincinnati style. That means there is chocolate and spices more typical of a mole sauce. It’s one of my favorites to make because the depth of flavor is so good and you can tailor the level of heat to your own liking.


Olive oil (for sauteeing)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 lbs ground venison meat

3-4 Tablespoons (more if you like it hot) ground chipotle pepper powder (or regular chili powder)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 fresh (or 1 dry) bay leaves

1 ounce dark (darkest possible, I used 80%) chocolate bar (or unsweetened cocoa powder works nicely)

12-14 ounces Rogue Chocolate Stout (or other chocolate stout beer)

1- 15 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

1 small jar of your favorite salsa

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

1 can of beans (kidney, pinto, black or a combination)

Suggested Garnishes:

Fresh chopped cilantro

Creme Fraiche

Grated Cheddar Cheese

Avocado Slices

Chopped Raw Onion


1.   Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent or about 6 mintues.

2.  Add ground meat, in batches, if necessary and cook, breaking up with a spoon until all the meat is browned.

3.  Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper, chocolate, beer, tomatoes, salsa and cider vinegar.  Stir to mix well and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the bay leaves and serve as discussed below.

The flavors will continue to build, so this chili improves each day.

Serving Suggestions:

1. Garnish with fresh cilantro, a dollop of creme fraiche, grated cheddar cheese and chopped raw onion over cheesy cornbread.

2. Garnish with fresh cilantro, grated cheddar cheese, chopped raw onion over spaghetti.

3. Garnish with fresh cilantro, grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, creme fraiche over fried polenta.

There are many ways to eat this chili and it’s also good by itself but I would encourage you to try it one of the ways mentioned above.

Nov 13 2010

Super Easy & Tasty Granola

This is a very easy recipe, I adapted it from one my Mother-in-Law gave me.  You can get creative and add other ingredients such as flax seed, wheat germ, peanut butter chips or chocolate chips, etc.


2 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cups (or more) chopped nuts (I use a mix of peanuts, almonds, pecans, filberts and walnuts)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dried fruit ( I like to use a mix of golden raisins, cranberries, blueberries….dates, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit. I mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl first, then add the wet and mix until well combined.  Line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with a silpat (or lightly grease the pan) and pour the granola mixture into the pan, spreading it out.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir the mixture two or three times while it’s baking.  Remove from oven.  Now add dried fruit (and/or chocolate chips if you are using them), mix and spread out onto a baking sheet to cool.  Store in a container in a dry place or in the refrigerator.

Nov 13 2010

Fall in my Garden

Fall is definitely at it’s peak in my garden. There is an abundance of gold, orange and crimson throughout my small property. I am obsessed with plants and try to squeeze in as many as possible.  Each year I’m ripping out more lawn so that I can plant more and more shrubs, perennials and small trees.  Some of the plants I choose are planted in memory of family, friends or pets who have left this world.  Here’s a few snapshots of fall in my garden this year.