garlic scape mashed potatoes

lovely garlic scape potatoes

This if my first year working with garlic scapes. I have been intimidated by them when I’ve seen them at farmers markets in year’s past, but as I received some in my local box this year I felt challenged to learn how to use these perfectly edible (and as it turns out perfectly delicious!) early summer vegetable. Teamed with some green onion, butter and sour cream, you’ve got the makings of some very tasty mashed potatoes!

Garlic Scape Mashed Potatoes
makes 2-3, easily doubled

10 new red potatoes
3 garlic scrapes
2 large green onions (whites and greens both)
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. Scrub, but do not peel, your potatoes. Cover with salted water in a large pot and boil until tender but not mushy.

lovely garlic scape potatoes
lovely garlic scape potatoes

2. While potatoes are boiling, dice fine your garlic scrapes and green onion (in fact, after I made this recipe I wish I had put them in the food processor, but a fine dice works nice, too).

lovely garlic scape potatoes

3. In a medium sauce pan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat and saute the scrapes and onions until nice and tender, about 10 minutes.

lovely garlic scape potatoes

4. When your scrapes are tender, remove the pan from heat, and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan to allow it to melt.

5. When the potatoes are tender, drain and put them in a large mixing bowl. Pour the scrapes/melted butter combination over the potatoes.

6. Add sour cream, and, using your electric mixer, whip the potatoes well. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste, and mix again.

lovely garlic scape potatoes

I served these with baked chicken and Strawberry Salad on the side- a delicious early summer meal! I hope you have an opportunity to cook with garlic scrapes soon, including this great potato recipe. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

strawberry salad

lovely strawberry salad

Sometimes I feel a little silly listing salad ingredients for a recipe, but I also think its good to remind people who might not think of it that you can put all kinds of delicious, seasonal ingredients, year-round, in a bowl with some lettuce and other salad staples and have a great meal or side dish. Salads do not have to remain in the boring old domain of iceburg lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, the kind of thing you often get served at restaurants. And with the growing season in full swing and so many great, fresh veggies in our local box, maybe this recipe will help you think “inside the box”, as it were, and make a delicious summer salad!

Strawberry Summer Salad
(I do not typically list amounts for salad ingredients, as it depends on your preference and how many you are preparing your salad for)
Red leaf lettuce
Green leaf lettuce
Raw fresh snap peas
Cucumber
Carrot (admittedly not in season in early summer- optional!)
Tomatoes
Green onions (just the green parts)
Strawberries
Strawberry Cream Vinaigrette

1. Rinse all of your veggies well, and the strawberries, too (be gentle!).

lovely strawberry salad
lovely strawberry salad

2. Tear lettuce, shell peas, shred carrots, dice your onion greens, and slice your tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.

lovely strawberry salad
lovely strawberry salad

3. Add the strawberry cream vinaigrette and toss gently just before serving.

lovely strawberry salad

I served this as a side dish, but it would make a fantastic meal served with some cooked chicken or chilled black or kidney beans and some bread and butter. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

strawberry vinaigrette

lovely strawberry vinaigrette

Inspired by this recipe from my friend Kristin at The Seasonal Family, but wanting a slightly different flavor, I came up with the following recipe, and highly recommend it for any summer salad.

Strawberry Cream Vinaigrette
12 Ontario strawberries (medium sized)
2 Tblspoons plain, organic yogurt
2 Tblspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblspoon balsalmic vinegar
1 Tblspoon maple syrup
pinch kosher salt

Rinse and hull strawberries, and place the berries and the rest of your ingredients in a food processor or blender, and mix well. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

cream of asparagus soup

lovely soup

Seasonal locavore types general have a deep and abiding love for asparagus, as its one of the first green, fresh foods we get access to once the growing season starts. Its a very versatile vegetable, freezes nicely because its hardiness, and makes an absolutely fabulous soup because of its rich taste and beautiful green color. This is an easy, delicious cream of asparagus I made recently.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

lovely soup

2 lbs (or roughly 4 cups chopped) asparagus
3 tblspoons butter
1 medium or large onion
5-6 cups chicken broth
1/2- ¾ cup half and half cream
tblspoon lemon juice
2 tsp sugar (optional)

lovely soup

1. Rinse your asparagus well and remove the woody ends of the spears (the woody parts are harder to the touch and tend to look white or gray). Cut the asparagus into roughly one inch pieces. Set aside.

lovely soup

2. NOTE: if you want to garnish your soup with a few asparagus tips, save a few out from the soup and cook them separately in a small pan of water.

3. Dice your onion and in a large soup pot saute the onion, until glassy, over medium heat in 2 tblspoons of your butter, stirring occasionally to keep the onion from sticking.

lovely soup

4. Add your asparagus and stir to thoroughly coat with the butter/onion mixture. Continue to saute on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.

5. Add your broth, about five cups or just what is needed to cover the asparagus by one inch, and bring to boil.

6. As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer, with your pot lid half on, until asparagus is nice and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add more broth as needed to keep the asparagus covered.

7. When asparagus is fully cooked, you’ll want to blend your soup till smooth. I have a hand-held immersion blender, which I highly recommend investing in if you make a lot of soups, but if you dont have one you can use your standard blender. Simply add the soup in batches to your blender, being VERY careful not to burn yourself with the hot liquid.

8. Once the soup is completely blended and back in the pot, add your half and half cream and bring the soup back just to a boil and return again to low head.

9. To finish, add your lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of butter, and your sugar if you like to add just a touch of sweetness, as I do, to round out the flavors.

lovely soup

This is soup is hearty enough to act as a meal if served with a veggie tray and nice loaf of crusty bread, or acts as a great appetizer. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

bok choy

lovely bok choy

I am no expert in Eastern cuisine, and I am sure there are some lovely, elaborate bok choy recipes out there, but this is one I came up with that was super easy and tasted great. This is definitely going to be a new favorite of mine to help make home-made Chinese food meals seem more like the restaurant experience.

Easy Bok Choy
serves 3-4 as a side dish

1 head of Bok Choy
2 green onions
2-3 tablspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons diced garlic
2 teaspoons dried ginger
1 tsp corn starch
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp water

1. Remove the bottom core of the head of bok choy and give the stems a very good rinse, removing all the diry and sand that collects in the ribs and the greens.

lovely bok choy

2. Seperate the greens from the stems. Dice the stems into half-moons approximately ½ inch thick (see photo). There will be some greens still attached at the top portions of the stems- that is fine.

lovely bok choy

3. Dice your green onion, white and green parts, and garlic.

4. In a large saucepan, heat your sesame oil and saute your onion and garlic on medium heat for just a minute or two. Add the stem pieces of the bok choy, and sprinkle with your dried ginger. Saute, on medium heat, stirring frequently, about five minutes.

lovely bok choy

5. While the bok choy stems are sauteing, chop the greens but not too fine- they cook down quite a bit in the pan. After the stems have sauteed for five minutes, add the greens and stir in completely. I like to add about a tablespoon of water at this point just to help the greens wilt and not stick to the bottom of the pan.

6. While this greens and stems are cooking, in a small bowl combine your corn starch, soy sauce, and water, and stir until smooth.

7. Saute for about five more minutes until the stem portions are pretty tender, add your soy sauce mixture and stir well.

8. Saute on low heat for just a few minutes more, allowing the soy sauce to flavor the bok choy and the “sauce” it created to thicken just a bit.

lovely bok choy

As with many of these kinds of dishes, you could easily make this a one-pot meal by adding some protein like tofu or cooked chicken. Or serve this as a side dish the next time you are trying your hand at home-made Asian food. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

early summer saute

lovely saute

What’s great about the growing season kicking into gear is that you get to just open up your fridge and pick from a great green bounty, chop stuff up, and saute it in a pan with a bit of fat, a bit of acid, and a bit of seasoning, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. If you want to make it a meal, just add a bit of protein into the mix. The following is one such dish I whipped up this week from goodies in my local box, and you could easily make this a one-pot meal by adding cooked chicken or cannalleni beans.

Early Summer Saute
serves two as a side dish

lovely saute

1 tblspn butter or olive oil
1 tsp diced garlic
3 green onions
4 asparagus spears
4 mushrooms
1 zucchini
1 tsp dried basil (or fresh basil would be even better!)
juice of ¼ of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optional)

lovely saute

1. Dice your green onion, white and green parts included. In a large saucepan, saute your garlic and green onion your butter on medium low heat until the white part of the onion starts to get a little glassy.

lovely saute

2. While your onions are sauteing, slice your other veggies into nice bite-size pieces (see above photo).

lovely saute

3. Add your the asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini to the pan. Sprinkle your basil evenly over your veggies and stir. Saute on medium heat for five minutes.

4. Add lemon juice and continue cooking until the veggies are tender-crisp, no more than 10 minutes all together.

lovely saute

Salt and pepper to taste to finish this easy early summer side dish, and if you have some real Parmesan cheese to shave on top, even better! Bon Appetit!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

sweet potato soup

lovely sweet potato soup

I was looking through some sweet potato soup recipes and as none of them were particularly to my liking, I made a bit of a Frankenstein concoction by taking from here and adding it to some of there and I was quite happy with what I came up with! The peanut butter might seem like an odd addition to some of you, but it gives a wonderfully nutty, sweet base to the soup and makes it very unique indeed! This soup could be adapted for vegans very easily by using olive oil instead of butter and coconut milk instead of the cream. In fact, had I had some coconut butter on hand, I probably would have used that anyway, but the cream worked out lovely!

Best Ever Sweet Potato Soup
2 ½ cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 tblspoons curry
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 whole fresh tomatoes
½ cup natural peanut butter
1 litre vegetable broth (or more to liking)
1 tblspoon brown sugar
3/4cup cream
salt to taste

1. Dice your onions in a food processor or very fine by hand.

lovely sweet potato soup

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot and add the onions. Saute on medium until glassy, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle spices evenly over onions and allow them to saute and become aromatic for just a few minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add tomatoes, peanut butter, brown sugar and vegetable broth, using a whisk to blend the peanut butter until smooth.

5. Add the cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, and once again use a whisk to blend the ingredients as well as possible.

lovely sweet potato soup

6. Cook on medium low for ½ hour, stirring occasionally.

7. Blend the soup to completely smooth by either using a submersion blender or carefully putting the liquid into a blender in batches and being very careful not to burn yourself.

8. At the finish, add the cream and stir well. At this point I like to taste the soup and check its consistency- if it needs salt I add it, and if it is too thick I add a little more broth and heat on medium low for another ten minutes.

lovely sweet potato soup

This soup with its high protein content would make a fabulous meal with some naan or a slice of your favorite crusty french bread. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

oregano rice with lime

lovely oregano rice with lime

This is one of those dishes that you look to see what you have in your fridge and you put it in a dish and cook it! But those can be some of the best ones you make, and there is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are preventing waste AND making a delicious meal.

Oregano Rice with Lime
1 1/2 Cup cooked rice
3 tblsps butter
½ small onion
½ large stalk celery
1 small carrot
¼ green bell pepper
1 ½ teaspoon oregano
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

lovely oregano rice with lime

1. Dice onions, celery, carrot, and bell pepper very fine (I like to use the food processor). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tbls of the butter and add the diced vegetables. Add the oregano and some ground black pepper to the veggies and saute until the onions become translucent.

lovely oregano rice with lime

2. Add the 3rd tablespoon of butter and when melted, add the rice. Stir rice and vegetables well.

lovely oregano rice with lime

3. Add lime juice and stir again.

4. Cook for five minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Add salt and more pepper to taste.

lovely oregano rice with lime

Serve this as a side dish for any Mexican or Greek dish. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

sweet potato crumble casserole

lovely sweet potatoes

This is the sort of dish that you might think would be perfect for a thanksgiving or a Christmas dinner. And you would be right! But sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable (much more nutritionally and fiber-rich than their yellow-flesh cousin) and good any time of the year. My in-laws had turkey dinner for our Easter celebration recently and this was a perfect dish to contribute to the feast.

Sweet Potato Crumble Casserole
3-4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tblsp olive oil or melted butter
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp cream
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tblspn honey

Crumble topping:
½ cup quick oats
½ cup crumbled walnuts
¼ cup melted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar

lovely sweet potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 350. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into thick, 2 inches slices. I a large mixing bowl, cover potatoes with olive oil and mix to cover. Place in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Add two tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish, cover with lid or aluminum foil, and bake until tender, roughly 1 hour.

lovely sweet potatoes

2. Leave the oven on. Remove cooked potato slices to a large mixing bowl and add butter, cream, spices, and honey. Use an electric mixer to whip until smooth. Place whipped potato mixture in a small-medium casserole dish.

lovely sweet potatoes
lovely sweet potatoes

3. Assemble crumble top my mixing all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Pack the crumble topping onto the potato mixture in the casserole dish.

lovely sweet potatoes

4. Put casserole dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake until the crumble is brown and crisp, roughly 30 minutes.

lovely sweet potatoes

This is a great dish to serve with any meal, and for the more health-conscious, could even be a great, low-sugar dessert. It would also be easy to double and even tripple for a large family meal or church potluck! Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

tropical fruit salad with honey lime glaze

 

lovely tropical fruit salad

I love apples. I can eat a lot of them. I have been happy to have them in my local box every week, even through the coldest bits of winter. BUT- sometimes its nice to have a larger fruit selection before the local growing season starts, and you can do just that with a combo box or bag.

This is a great way to enjoy fruit in a nutritious fruit salad. I like to make it into a parfait with fruit and granola and enjoy it as breakfast or dessert.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Glaze
2 cups of diced bananas, kiwi, and oranges
½ Cup plain yogurt
2 Tablespoon honey
juice of ½ a lime

Granola
1. Whisk together honey and lime juice in a small dish. If you use raw honey like I do, you may need to heat the honey in a saucepan on low until just pourable.

2. Dice fruit and mix with the glaze in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for half an hour but not much longer, as your fruit will get soggy and mealy, and the honey can harden.

3. In a tall glass, assemble your parfait. Put 1/3 of your fruit salad mix, 1/3 of your yogurt, and a sprinkling of granola. Repeat twice.

lovely tropical fruit salad

If you are trying to avoid refined sugar like I am, you can find honey- sweetened granola for the parfait. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller