Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Last week, while I attended the Farm to Table conference in Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to try a few fresh and appealing salads! These recipes are fom Fable Table, a catering business. fabledtable.com

Orange~Zucchini Salad

1 large zucchini
2 sm seedless oranges or Clementine's peeled and segmented
1 sm red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, washed and trimmed
1-2 large oranges for fresh juice & zest

1. Wash and trim zucchini, julienne into 2 inch strips. Place in large bowl.
2. Combined orange segments, onion, and parsley then place in bowl with zucchini.
3. Zest orange, then slice orange and squeeze juice onto ingredients in bowl. Gently toss.
4. Season lightly with salt & pepper, if desired.

4 servings

Corn & Tomato Salad

1 1/2 cups corn, cooked & cooled
6 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp rosemary seasoning
4 medium Roma tomatoes, cut in 1/2" slices
3 cup fresh Spinach, coarsely chopped

1. Cook corn with 1/4 of the vinegar and rosemary in microwave for 5 minutes. Cool.
2. Toss sliced tomatoes & spinach in same bowl as cooled corn.
3. Add remaining vinegar
4. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving

4 servings


Monday, March 29, 2010

Miller's Smorgasbord

I have mentioned a lot the last few days about this restaurant. While I was there I could not resist tasting several items, oh and photographing their food!

So here are a few snap shots of the food that was offered.

Carrots: Probably by far my favorite item on the menu! I love vegetables... however, carrots.. well not my favorite. These carrots were prepared perfectly. Steamed ever so gently and then drizzled with butter and parsley.

Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Glaze: This glaze really was wonderful, but the turkey was like butter in your mouth. It simply melted away! The glaze was a flavorful combination of Apple Cider and Apple Butter!

Dessert: Apple pie w/ raisins and cranberries! Very tasty!

Homemade Bread! What could be better... :)

Swedish Meatballs: Smooth and creamy, and of course YUMMY!

So, if you ever get the chance stop by this fabulous place....
Here is some general information! I know it is costly!

Full Buffet - $22.95 This includes salad bar, bread, soup, carving stations, and all hot foods.

Salad Bar / Soup - $10.95 Literally this is just the appetizer bar (minimal) salad bar (Terrific) and soup. Their seafood bisque looks marvelous.

Carving Station and hot foods - $15.95 If I were to return, this is what I would purchase. The salad bar was beautiful and extremely tasty, however, I can have a yummy salad any time! ( I may change my opinion on that if it were during harvest season.

There are coupons available. We had a coupon for $3.00 off the full buffet. Call ahead and make a reservation. Especially if you have children. The wait can be significant. I believe we waited about 25 minutes.

Children pricing - Full Buffet $10.95 unlimited. $5.95 1 trip to each section of the buffet. ( I would purchase this for my children if they were attending).

So, if you are in the area, Stop in!


Zucchini Fritters w/ Chili Jam

This has become one of my favorite recipes to make. Depending on the day, my children enjoy these fritters as well! I have baked them and fried them in a pan...Of course the baked is better for you, but fried gives them a crispier taste. Because this recipe makes enough for 12 people.. I prepare the entire recipe and then freeze the left overs.

Makes 12 servings

7 cups zucchini coarsely grated
1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs beaten
8 tablespoons flour
Vegetable oil
Olive oil as needed
4 medium onions
8 cloves garlic
2-3 chile pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Squeeze all excess moisture out of the zucchini.
2. Combine zucchini with parmesan cheese, eggs, flour, S&P.
3. Heat oil to cover the base of a skillet. Using about 1/8 cup of fritter mixture, portion out fritters. Do not over crowd the pan.
4. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and set.
5. Drain and keep hot until service

1. Cook onions and garliv in olive oil. Cool.
2. Transfer to the food processor. Add chilies and sugar. Blend till smooth.
3. Put in saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the liquid evaporates.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Farm to Table!

I spent the better part of the day at a Farm to Table conference in Pittsburgh! So much information. I gained so my knowledge! For example: I always new that Crisco is not a whole food.. Meaning it is a substitute for a whole food.. that being Butter and Lard. So, what makes this product? Cotton Seed! So, my question is why is it then called vegetable shortening! Cotton must be a vegetable, right! So, the journey continues... striving to providing whole foods which have been minimally processed! The road that I have chosen to take on the journey is to provide my children with a better understanding of food! If only we new what we know now! Sound familiar. As I continue on this journey these are some questions that I will be seeking answers to...
1. Soy... What affect does this item have on my children, particular my son who drinks soymilk and consumes soy based products as a substitute for dairy products. Is rice milk really the next best thing, or will this too lead to future medical challenging ordeals!!!
2. Is raw milk the way to go... or is buying Organic milk enough?
3. Where does my real food challenge begin and end... What items am I willing to continue to purchase already prepared... If I can make it, within a reasonable amount of time, is that the deciding factor?
4. How can I minimize the amount of time preparing food and still provide a whole food diet for my family? Is it reasonable to say that I will focus each month on preserving food, making (homemade) mixes for quicker preperation time, buying food in larger quantites and freezing what cannot be used within a reasonable time period, and develop a garden plan to better serve my family!

Lots of things to consider on this journey of food. Till another day!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Maple Pecan Puffs

I made these puffs over the weekend! Wonderful! OH, and easy! Now, these are not for folks that have a nut or dairy allergy! (I had to make something equally as nice for Billy today, since he is allergic to these items) It was well worth it!

I like this recipe just because it does have some versatility and a minimal amount of ingredients. The versatility is that you can use spelt flour.
While I was in New York last week I was able to pick up a small amount of maple sugar! I thought of this cookie immediately. I had been wanting to try it for a long time .

8 Tbsp Butter, unsalted, at room temperature + extra for greasing the pan
2 Tbsp Maple Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Shelled Pecans, very fresh
1 Cup Sifted Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Spelt Flour
1/4 Cup Powdered Maple Sugar or Organic-Powdered Cane Sugar

Preheat Oven 300*F

1. Cream butter. Add maple sugar and blend until creamy. Stir in vanilla and set aside
2. Grind pecans, if using a food processor - pulse the nuts a few times only - too much processing will create a nut butter.
3. Combine the flour and pecans. Add to the butter mixture. Portion dough into small balls about 1 1/2" in diameter.
4.Place dough on greased sheet pan about 3/4" apart.
5.Bake on upper rack of oven for about 20 minutes.Bake until cookies have a nice roasted smell and the bottoms are browned just lightly. ( If cookies are browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 275*F)
6. While still hot, roll cookies in powdered sugar. After cooling, store in an airtight container.

Note: To make powdered maple sugar, place maple sugar in food processor or spice grinder. Sugar will not be as fine.


Friday, March 5, 2010

French Dressing!

Here it is! Over the passed couple years at work, we have working on making all of our own salad dressings. Just from the cost, it is much cheaper. But, my drive to make our own dressings, is to reduce the amount of processed foods that we pass on to our children. That is what we are doing, by purchasing these products, we are continuing the habits. Let us break the mold! I was speaking with a friend today about macaroni and cheese. Children should not believe that real macaroni and cheese comes from a box. I benefit from my career choice when it comes to food. I have chosen to provide as little processed food as possible. I will say, some days I feel like there is not an end to the dishes because of my choice! Dish pan hands here I am! I would trade the benefits of less processed foods for anything!

Back to the topic! Growing up at camp, my favorite salad dressing was French! When I returned to camp 4 years ago, I was faced with this new dressing that was purchased already prepared. It was just not the same. The following recipe has become a favorite!

Sugar 1/2 cup
Ketchup 3/4 cup
Veg Oil 1 cup
Garlic 2 cloves
White vinegar 1/2 cup
Hot sauce 1 1/2 tsp
Celery Seed 1 1/2 tsp
Chives 1 tbsp

Combine all ingredients and blend with a hand blender till smooth.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pantry List: Baking

So, here it is.. a list of items that I always keep on hand. If you choose to fill your pantry with these items be sure to only purchase items that you will use.

Whole Wheat Flour
All-purpose Flour
Light Brown Sugar
Granulated Sugar
Powdered Sugar (I only restock during the Holidays, unless I have a special occasion)
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Quick Oats - I use the Quick oats, mainly due to my children will not eat the others. The texture is much different when cooked for a cereal.
Corn Meal
Butter - Real Butter - I buy it on sale and place it in the freezer, Note: Butter is fresh for 1 month in the refrigerator, 3 months in the freezer. I tend to not keep it longer than 6 weeks in the freezer.
Vegetable oil
Shortening - I only use this with select recipes, my son is allergic to dairy, so butter is out.

I have several other ingredients in my pantry, but these are my basics! I tend to purchase things like chocolate chips and other baking additives when needed. This helps to keep products fresh and of great quality.


Facing the Challenge!

It is difficult today, in this world around us, to be different. Who would have thought 100 years ago, people would be saying, just buy a mix, or you can buy that already prepared! The one thing that I hope this blog does for others (and myself) is the opportunity to share recipes/ formulas which are prepared from scratch. I was talking with some friends and found it to be astonishing that they do not have basic baking ingredients in their kitchens. Really! I am working on a basic pantry list to share. What a great delight it is to challenge ourselves to make foods that are healthier and tastier for our families (and friends).

Below is a preperation list. This list is for you to use while you are in the kitchen. If you do not already prepare scratch foods at home, this list will help you in preparing your kitchen.

1. Keep a shopping list on the refrigerator or in the kitchen to compile items which need to be purchased. ~ I keep my list on the refrigerator with a pencil to help keep my pantry stocked.

2. Do you already have ingredients in your kitchen for baking? If so, check your dates / quality. I am not suggesting you go to your pantry and throw everything away, but if it has been a year since you have used your flour............???? All food items have a shelf life. Whether it is for quality or dates, foods expire.
Note: If you still have the white cans from McCormick spices / herbs in your pantry...McCormick stopped production of this container over 10 years' ago.

3. Locate a local food supply store. Challenge yourself to find a local farm market / farm to purchase several pantry items along with eggs, chicken, meats, produce. I have a few that I enjoy shopping at: Frankferd Farms (Saxonburg, PA) East End Food Coop (Pittsburgh), Butler Farm market, local Amish bulk food stores. Larger chain food stores also provide organics foods, and specialty foods.

4. Repurpose and old binder or box to make a recipe holder. I have a book that I keep recipes that I have used for years in my kitchen, in addition I have a file box for those impromptu recipes / formulas that I create. In addition, I have a software program on my computer to keep all of my recipes organized. Make sure to have paper / index cards available to write new recipes / formulas on.