My friends Eric and Christine Taylor have been tending their garden and business,
Outer Aisle, in Murphys for over 25 years. They specialize in both rare and heirloom varieties of vegetables. Every other week, they send out a box of amazing, seasonal veggies to their CSA participants for them to get creative and eat healthy. They have a passion for their plants that is infectious. I visited their garden yesterday to pick up some dried corn stalks for my Fall decorations and I was fascinated by the seemingly endless rows of hearty, leafy greens. There were several varieties of kale, collard greens, chard and radicchio, all a rich green color, tinged with purple, red and yellow. Especially intrigued by the wide, flat collard green leaf, I imagined a hearty filling wrapped up inside, topped with a fresh tomato sauce, baked to bubbly perfection. The perfect warm and comforting dish for our entry into Fall. Oh, and if you'd like to join the CSA program with Outer Aisle, here's the link! https://outeraislefoods.com/foodhub/
Stuffed Collard Greens with Spicy Tomato Sauce
*3 large, fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, chopped roughly in a food processor
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit more to drizzle over the rolls
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar, optional
splash of white wine
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked spelt
12 collard green leaves, plus a few more to chop and add to the filling
1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
4 T finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for the top
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
Stir spelt into pot of salted, boiling water. Reduce to a steady simmer; cook, uncovered, until tender, about 50 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add wine and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, add collard greens in batches to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and let cool. Trim off stems and thick ribs. Reserve 12 large leaves, chop any remaining leaves. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coarsely mash beans in a bowl. Add cooked spelt, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, cheese, sage, and any chopped collards. Stir to combine. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Working with one collard leaf at a time, arrange 1/4 cup filling in center. Fold stem end over filling. Fold in sides. Roll collard over to form a bundle, overlapping ends to seal. Transfer, seam-side down, to an oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread sauce evenly over stuffed collards. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and collards are tender, about 30 minutes. Grate a bit more Parmesan over the top and serve immediately.
* How to peel and seed a tomato
Make a cross hatch at the base of each tomato with a sharp knife. Remove the core at the stem end. Drop into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain. The peel will slip off easily. Cut in half at the 'equator' and gently squeeze out the seeds. Chop as needed.
I'm always amazed by the bounty of late summer. The heat of the day is tinged with a promising crispness, and fruits and vegetables in every luxurious color just won't stop coming. The star of the season, to me, is the fig. Buxom, sweet and floral, and here for just a short while, I eat as many as I can—as many ways as I can. Fall has definitely arrived this past week and while the temperatures are thankfully cooler that doesn't mean we won't be eating salads anymore. With the Mission figs ripe and hanging on the tree in the yard, and a gift of Gala apples from a friend's orchard, I decided to use these seasonal flavors together. This combination of sweet, juicy figs with their gorgeous color, and crisp, crunchy apples is amazing paired with the creamy, tart-sweet, goat cheese dressing. The toasted walnuts add just the right nutty bite. Add some poached chicken if you like for more of a main dish salad. Welcome Fall!
Fig & Apple Salad + Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing
4 oz goat cheese
¼ cup créme fraiche
2 T lemon juice
3 T water
1 T local honey
pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper
2 small apples, Gala, Fuji or Pink Lady
6 fresh figs, halved
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
6 handfuls of baby mixed greens
Place the goat cheese, crème fraîche, lemon juice, honey, water, salt and pepper in bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside. Arrange the baby greens, apples and figs on a salad plate or serving platter. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and serve with the goat cheese dressing. Serves 4–6.
Summer is coming to an end but try telling that to the garden. The tomatoes just keep coming, along with eggplants, squash and peppers. This inventive pizza crust is a great way to utilize a few of those yummy veggies. Not only is it easy, quick and healthy, it simply tastes GREAT, you won't even miss the traditional crust. Thank you to Marianne, my new landlady and neighbor who brought me over a taste of her version last week and inspired me to share the recipe with you. Originally included in the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Forgotten but not lost.
Zucchini Crusted Pizza
2 cups grated zucchini (about two 7-8" zucchini)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour, plus a bit more for flouring the pan
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence (or other dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and basil)
2 T olive oil plus a bit more for oiling the pan
pinch of sea salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil and lightly flour a half sheet pan, pie pan or pizza pan. Combine all of the above in a bowl, mix well. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Halfway through the baking process, brush with olive oil (optional). Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cheeses are melted and the pizza is heated through. Serves 6.
one garden tomato, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly and caramelized in olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced and added to the onions at the last minute
6 - 8 shiitake or porcini mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in a bit of olive oil
1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced and sautéed in a bit of olive oil
extra mozzarella, sliced or grated
parmesan for the top
fresh basil leaves, for the top
*Feel free to start with a traditional tomato sauce, homemade or good store bought, then pile whatever you like on top. Sautéd, thinly sliced bell peppers are nice too!
It's finally time to post my fresh corn, green chile flan bake. Corn is now at its peak and the Anaheim chile bush in the garden was falling over this morning with so many peppers.
I decided to bake the flan in one big dish this time, leaving the peppers whole with the stem end intact. I think this gives it a more rustic look and is less fussy than individual ramekins. This flan makes a great accompaniment to anything from the grill or as an easy breakfast main dish with some sausages and tortillas on the side. Enjoy!
Fresh Corn, Green Chile & Goat Cheese Flan
2 cups cream
2 ears fresh corn, kernels stripped off and half of the kernels puréed
5 large, fresh Anaheim green chiles, blackened, skin removed & seeded, stem end on
1 5 oz chub of goat cheese
1 cup jack cheese, grated
pinch Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
spray oil for the casserole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a six cup casserole dish with non-stick spray. Lay the peppers in the bottom of the dish. Beat eggs with salt pepper and oregano then mix in the cream. Add the whole kernel and puréed corn and grated jack cheese, stir. Pour over the peppers and then crumble the goat cheese over the top. Bake for 45 minutes until puffy and slightly browned. Serve warm. Serves 6 - 8 as a side.
Ahh, the ubiquitous summer squash. It seems like everyone plants this easy to grow, versatile and colorful veggie (actually, botanically it's a fruit) in their summer gardens. Whatever type you choose, zucchini, patty pan, yellow crook neck or the cute two-toned Zephyr, they are all delicious. This flavorful fritter recipe came from the Alchemy Market & Wine Bar archives (think way back!). We served them at lunchtime as a special with a salad of local baby greens, everyone always loved them! I served them casually to my bocce teammates last night (they are frequently my guinea pigs) and they were gone in minutes. They would make a great side to a grilled kebob of lamb or chicken or even as an hors d'oeuvre made in a smaller size. So, when you get tired of the usual sautéing, grilling, spiralizing into noodles, or making bread, try these fritters for a taste of something different and exotic.
Curried Summer Squash Fritters
20 oz of summer squash, or just all zucchini, grated, (about 4 medium squash)
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 c mayonaise
1/2 c raw or toasted cashews
1/2 c golden raisens
1/2 c natural coconut
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 T curry powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 c bread crumbs, separated, more as needed
vegetable oil for frying
Mix everything but the breadcrumbs (and the oil) together in a large bowl. Add one cup of the crumbs to the mix. Using a 1/3 cup scoop to measure, roll into balls and then roll in breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large flat skillet. Add fritters one at a time, flattening them with a spatula after a minute or so. Cook about 5 minutes per side until browned. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with sour cream or plain yogurt and a bit of mango chutney. Garnish with a cilantro leaf. Makes about 12 large fritters.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"