Guest Post: Squash and Veggie Sandwich Bread

squashThis month’s guest post comes from Rebecca K., island mom, artist, and home baker. She turned wintertime’s abundant storage squash into a healthy staple for her family. Thank for sharing, Rebecca!

Squash and Veggie Sandwich Bread

EVERY MOTHER NEEDS TO KNOW! Your children will eat and enjoy vegetables, given they can be properly hidden. This bread is loaded with nutrition from veggies to whole grains. If any of your children eschew the goodness of veggies, keep them well-stocked on this bread. The recipe is a modification of Small Potato’s Oatmeal Bread recipe, so follow the steps of that description with a few tweaks.

4 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp.—1/4 cup brown sugar (depending on taste)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup wheat bran
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
2 generous tbsp. vital wheat gluten
2 ½ tsp. instant yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cup pureed butternut squash*

  1.  Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together until the brown sugar is incorporated.
  2. Add in the dry ingredients and mix together.
  3. Ensure your squash puree is lukewarm and mix into the bread. If you have a good mixer with a dough hook, I just let it do the rest of the job and set it on a low setting. Let it go at it for about 5 minutes. This is where you have to watch the dough a bit. You want it to be soft and a bit sticky but not so much as a sweet bread or cinnamon roll dough…it should hold its form and ball up. Depending on the water content of your squash puree, you may need to adjust your flour content by 4 tbsp. to achieve the right consistency.
  4. Oil your bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise 1 hour than punch down dough, roll out into a rectangle and roll to fit in your loaf pan.
  5. Cover and let rest for about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake bread for 40 minutes then cool on wire rack.

*Rebecca’s notes:

  •  I have also done a mix of pureed carrots and squash with great success.
  •  I always keep butternut squash stocked in our house because it is so conducive to use in many breads. I’ve used it in cinnamon rolls, waffles, and pancakes and not seen any reduction in the rate of family gobbling. Just assume it is equivalent to most liquids you might use and substitute.

Roasted Vegetable Party Platter with Thyme Vinaigrette

Please pardon me if I brag a little about my new favorite party trick. It’s just so…beautiful.

roasted veg platter

This dish went together super fast and was a crowd pleaser. With the bits and pieces left from our generous Tani Creek Farm Fall CSA and starring some of Laughing Crow‘s potatoes, I was able to put together an appetizer in under 30 minutes without having to buy a thing. This healthy option can hold its own on the table next to all the breads, cookies, and cheesy concoctions.

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Scrub veggies with a vegetable brush. Slice, if you like. If using squash, halve, remove seeds, and slice.
  3. Group each vegetable by type on a parchment-lined baking sheet.(Wrap beets in foil so that they don’t taint everything else with their vibrant red drips.)
  4. Drizzle on olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Begin to peek in around 20 minutes. You may want to use tongs to flip harder to cook vegetables (like carrots and parsnips.)
  6. Garnish with greens and herbs.
  7. Serve at room temperature with a dressing for dipping.

roasted veg appetizerThyme Vinaigrette 

In a jar, add 1/4 c. sherry vinegar (or other mild choice), 3/4 c. olive oil, 2 tsp. whole grain mustard, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, and 1 tbls. fresh thyme leaves. Shake. (This will keep on the counter at room temperature and gets even better as the thyme steeps.)

For this platter, I used parsnips, small carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes and delicata squash.

Gingersnaps with Barley Flour

molasses barley cookiesBarley flour adds a delicate touch to cookies (and other baked goods.) This flour and recipe came from the Eugene, OR, farmers’ market when we last passed through there. These snappy cookies are sturdy enough to live in your cookie jar without crumbling but wouldn’t be good for mailing or travel.

I made a batch of these for a fall cookie platter that also included chocolate peanut butter oat cookies, iced oatmeal, and pumpkin spice. There are also a few residing in my deep freeze, waiting to see if they make the Christmas cookie list.

1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 c. barley flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

about 1/4 c. white sugar for rolling dough in

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together.
  5. Add dry mixture gradually to wet mixture, with mixer on low.
  6. Pour the white sugar on a plate, cutting board, or counter.
  7. With a cookie scoop (or two spoons), plop a 1 inch ball into your hand. Roll gently. Then, roll in sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (This dough will spread.) When your sheet is full, flatten each ball gently with two fingers.
  8. Bake for 8 2

Dairy-Free Pommes Anna

photo 2

Once, a long time ago when I was just beginning to learn to cook, I got a book from the library that contained something like a mind-blowing 150 recipes just made with potatoes. A few of those dishes that I learned then are still with me today. This dish, pommes anna, is a very classic french preparation and usually only uses two ingredients: butter and potatoes. I worked up an alternative version for a dairy-free friend. It was easy and yummy and served another important purpose. Our csa has been giving us handfuls of different potatoes each week. Varying sizes and types challenged me to think of a way to make them all into a cohesive dish. I scrubbed them up with our new favorite kitchen tool and then un-artfully stuffed them all in the top of the food processor. And there you have it – a quick potato side without any butter.

Makes 1 potato cake, serving about 4-6

about 3 handfuls of mixed potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Prepare your pan. Use a 10 1/2 (or similarly sized) springform pan. Drizzle a little oil in it and smear it on the bottom and sides. Wrap the bottom in a piece of foil. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice your potatoes with the 2 mm. slicing blade of your food 1
  3. Fill a large bowl with water and add potato slices. Swirl and rinse the extra starch off. Dry the potatoes with a dishtowel.
  4. Begin to layer them in your oiled pan. When you have a complete layer, drizzle a little more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (It will cook up fine even if your layers are just approximated – no need for perfect overlapping circles.) Layer until you have about an inch of potatoes in the pan. Press down with your 4
  5. Cover your pan tightly with foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is brown (about 15 minutes more.)
  6. Unhinge your springform pan and slide the cake off the bottom. Slice and serve.

Boiled Milk Cream Cheese Frosting (Without Confectioners’ Sugar!)

DSC_5659Do you ever indulge in heavy research mode for a recipe? I browsed friends’ cookbook collections and even went to the library for this one – all for the sake of a birthday request. My mission? To create a dessert that brought cheesecake and carrot cake together. Because I had a carrot cake recipe that I really loved, I decided to focus on creating a frosting that would evoke cheesecake. I started looking for an option that would be an alternative to the ubiquitous cream cheese frosting made with confectioners’ sugar. Though we all secretly love this (don’t deny it), this type of frosting is often way too sweet and distracts from the nature of the carrot cake.

So, after a lot of looking (and a lot of boring my friends with discussions about frosting), I discovered an “old fashioned” way of creating a cream cheese frosting. Essentially, you make a sweet roux and then mix in the butter and cream cheese. The result is a lightly sweet and creamy frosting that feels like pudding on your tongue. It was not difficult to make, but it definitely took some time and patience. (As R. said, this was a recipe created for a time when you were in the kitchen all day anyway.) Pay close attention to the temperature of ingredients and you will have success.

This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated. I iced my first cake on the day it was made. The frosting went on easily, smoothly, and had a little glisten to it. I then refrigerated the rest of the batch and used it on the third day after it was made. The frosting tasted unchanged, but the texture was a little more grainy. (Still beautiful, but had a different sheen than on the first day.) Refer to the notes below for more specifics on how to hold the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting (without confectioners’ sugar)

Frosting on day 3
Frosting on day 3

For one cake with layers (and a little left over)

16 tbls. unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 c. AP flour
3 tbls. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla

  1. Set out butter and cream cheese on your counter to come to room temperature. (Go ahead and just do this when you wake up in the morning, so you won’t forget.) If you are patient and wait until these ingredients can be squished with your finger, you’ll know your frosting will be smooth. There really is no way to simulate this with heating. Have patience.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in milk.
  3. Pour the milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve (to remove lumps) into a medium saucepan. If there is extra sugar in the bottom of your sieve, try to press it through with a rubber spatula.
  4. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils. This will take about 7-15 minutes and it will look very thick (and a little splattery – so be careful of hot bubbles.)
  5. Transfer the boiled milk mixture to the bowl of your mixer. Let cool completely. This takes about 2-3 hours.
  6. When cool, add vanilla to mixture and beat with the whisk attachment on your mixer until blended or about 30 seconds.
  7. With the mixer running on low, add the butter and cream cheese in small pieces (about 2 tablespoons each.)
  8. Increase the mixer to medium and beat until fluffy, an additional five minutes.carrot cake with boiled milk icing
  • Frosting should be used at room temperature. If you’re making it ahead of time, refrigerate it in a container with a tight fitting lid. Before you want to spread it, let it sit on the counter for about an hour. Beat briefly with the whisk attachment on your mixer to return a little fluffiness.
  • Frosting will last about a week in the refrigerator.
  • Serve with carrot cake (or maybe a dark chocolate cake).
  • This turned out to also be the perfect topping for birthday cinnamon rolls.
  • I eventually found this recipe on the Cook’s Country website and worked through it. They have a lot of great down-home and “vintage” recipes that can be read with a subscription.

Barley Asparagus Risotto

Barley asparagus risottoForgive me if I’m a little late with an asparagus recipe. I know that our markets are almost out of it here, but perhaps you’ll get lucky and still be able to pick some up. We enjoyed our weeks of asparagus riches in many ways, most of them simple preparations. I also experimented skeptically with eating raw asparagus and found we loved it. For your next picnic, you might try this very bright salad with or without the arugula.

This recipe resulted from a toddler’s demand of risotto and a bulk aisle that was out of arborio rice. It took a little longer to cook up than regular risotto, but the textures were really interesting and the result was delicious – both cozy and springlike. Continue reading “Barley Asparagus Risotto”

Pasta with Beans, Brussels Sprouts, and Bacon

beans, bacon, and pastaWhat’s not better with a little bacon? That’s our new family motto. We have been indulging in a weekly ration of bacon from the Hitchcock deli. It’s an inexpensive addiction that makes breakfast, lunch, or dinner a whole lot better. Hitchcock has a great selection of meats in their case and is one place in Winslow where you can pick up local eggs if you’re in need and doing errands in town.

In the interest of making less kitchen waste (and for the sake of our pipes), we save fat left over from cooking bacon in a jar in the fridge. Using a little for cooking is not so radical – one of those lost cooking practices that should not be ignored for it is sheer deliciousness. (And hey, if you’re dairy free, it’s a good way to add a little yum without butter, right?)

Serves 2-3

about 5 oz dried pastaphoto
3 strips bacon
1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans (or any white bean)
1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tbls. bacon fat
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 tbls. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

  1. Clean and cut the sprouts into thirds with a sharp paring knife.  (Cut from top to bottom. Core and stem is in the middle third.)
  2. Drain and rinse beans.
  3. Chop the bacon into 1/4 inch squares. Crisp the bacon over medium in a large cast iron skillet.
  4. At the same time, bring your pasta water to a boil in a large pot. (Observe the cooking time of your selected pasta and cook accordingly.)
  5. Remove the bacon to a towel. Reserve the bacon fat that is in the pan. Add sprouts to this pan. Sprinkle with salt. Stir to be sure they are coated on both sides and then turn burner down to medium low. Cover with lid for 8 minutes.
  6. Transfer sprouts to a warm bowl to hold.
  7. Add 1 additional tablespoon of bacon fat to skillet. Add beans, red pepper flakes, herbs, a generous amount of salt, and pepper. Give the beans a stir. Let them cook and sizzle while you go drain your pasta.
  8. Add pasta and sprouts to the skillet
    with the beans. Stir. Sprinkle bacon on top. Stir once. Add a little squeeze of lemon. Stir and put on plates. Top with Parmesan, if desired.

Notes to those of you who are just learning to cook. This dinner began without a recipe. Just knowing that bacon and thyme go well with white beans, was the beginning of another improvisational pasta dish. Red pepper flakes add a little dimension and a squeeze of lemon brightens it up. For another simple brussels sprout recipe, try this.