apple cinnamon coleslaw


Picnic in the fall? Why not, eh? We’re expecting 14 degree weather tomorrow which is a nice break from the frost-bitten days we had earlier in the week. I’m going to take the dogs for a 3-hour trek in the woods tomorrow and plan to pack a lunch for the trip. What could be more perfect than a crisp coleslaw filled with local, seasonal produce to take along?

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

This crunchy coleslaw recipe uses cabbage, apples, carrots, radishes and beets and is tossed in an apple-cinnamon vinaigrette. It’s sweet, it’s spicy and it’s perfectly delicious!

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

For the salad, you’ll need more-or-less equal parts of cabbage, courtland apples, carrots, and beets. Throw in a bit of radish for a little extra zing. Grate each ingredient in your food processor.

Crunchy Fall Coleslaw

1-1/2 cup grated cabbage
1 cup grated carrots (3 medium sized carrots)
1 cup grated apples (2 courtland apples)
1 cup grated beets (2 small beets)
1/2 cup grated radish (1 medium sized winter radish)

(A heads up: you will want to rinse off the beets before you toss them with the other ingredients as the colour bleeds immensely. Also, know that once you add the dressing, the beet juice will spread like wildfire. I expect that by the time I sit down to eat my coleslaw tomorrow, the whole salad will be a bright red! You can always leave the beets out of the recipe if this is a concern for you.)

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

Tanya Lea is a vegan-at-home cook who loves working with fresh, seasonal produce.
Her blog is tickleyourpantry.com

summer shepherd’s pie

lovely shepherd's pie

When you think of a comfort food dish like Shepherd’s Pie, usually you think of it as cold weather fare. But when you have a nice heapin’ helpin of garlic scape mashed potatoes as leftovers and you also have a pound of local, organic ground beef thawed and ready to goin your fridge, the two just cry out in unison, “Shepherd’s Pie, please!” And with all the great early summer veggies out there to throw into the mix, if the day isnt too hot to turn on the oven, how can you resist?

Summer Shepherd’s Pie
serves 4-6
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 lb organic ground beef
2-3 garlic scapes
2 whole green onions
3 mushrooms
2 small carrots, diced into pea-size chunks
1/3 cup peas
tsp butter
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onio powder
½ tsp paprika
2 Tblspn flour
2 Tblspn tomato paste
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp balsalmic vinegar (optional)
1 cup organic beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. While the oven is warming, brown your pound of meat over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.

lovely shepherd's pie

3. While meat is browning, put mushrooms, onions, and garlic scapes in your food processor or dice very fine (note: you can also slice your mushrooms thick and enjoy their taste and texture in the meal, but my husband doesnt like mushrooms so I ‘sneak’ them in this way).

lovely shepherd's pie

4. When meat is browned but not overly done, remove from pan and set aside. Return pan to medium heat, melt your tsp of butter and saute your mushroom, onion, and scape mixture until soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.

lovely shepherd's pie

5. Add your peas and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for three minutes.

6. Return browned meat to the pan, and add all of the dry seasonings. Stir very well, and cook for three minutes.

7. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, and stir well. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the contents of the pan and stir very well.

lovely shepherd's pie

8. Add your up of broth, bring contents just to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on low heat. Simmer 15 minutes, allowing the meat to tenderize and the sauce to reduce.

9. While the sauce is reducing, warm your left over mashed potatoes in a large saucepan with just a dash of milk to make them spreadable but not liquidy.

lovely shepherd's pie

10. After 15 minutes, place the meat mixture into a medium casserole dish. Scoop or, if you are really fancy, pipe warmed mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with paprika and melted butter if you wish and bake for 30 minutes.

lovely shepherd's pie

11. Note: I have yet to make the “perfect” shepherd’s pie where the sauce did not bubble up over the mashed potatoes at some point. I find if I put in any less liquid than the amount listed above, the mixture gets dried out and isn’t tender and tasty. But we don’t mind, because it still tastes great!

lovely shepherd's pie

This meal takes a little effort, but it is well-worth it, friends. Serve this with some crusty bread and a side salad, or a dish of fresh, local strawberries from your loft box and you have a fabulous summer meal. Bon Apetite!

-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

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

jambalaya pasta

lovely jambalaya pasta

This is a great, very versatile recipe that brings in the flavors of Cajun cuisine but instead of serving it with the traditional rice, it is made as a pasta dish. The dish is versatile because as long as you keep the proportions more of less the same, you can change the vegetables and protein- you could use corn or okra instead of carrots and sweet bell peppers if you wanted to. In the same vein, instead of the hot Italian sausage and shrimp I use here, you could use chicken breast, a good quality veggie sausage, or even an equal amount of cooked beans, or any mixture of the above. Just about anything that you cook for an hour or two in this sauce is going to be tasty!

Note about shrimp: many people, including my husband, are particular about seafood. As such, I always prepare my shrimp separately for this dish and add it to the mix at the end.

Jambalaya Pasta
2 cups uncooked penne or other small pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
3 organic hot Italian (or any other) sausage
2 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 bell pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 large can tomatoes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (not needed if you use hot Italian sausage)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
½ cup organic cream

For the Shrimp:
10-15 medium shrimp
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1. In a large saucepan, cook the penne in salted water until very al-dente. The pasta should still have bite to it as you are going to cook it in the jambalaya before serving.

lovely jambalaya pasta
lovely jambalaya pasta

2. Dice the onion, carrot, and parsnip together in a food processor or very fine by hand and set aside. Dice the bell pepper but leave it in larger chunks and set it aside.

3. Slice the sausage in 1 inch medallions. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the the sausage medallions in a single layer and brown on both sides. Remove sausage and set aside.

lovely jambalaya pasta
lovely jambalaya pasta

4. In the remaining oil, sauce the onion/carrot/parsnip mixture with the bell pepper and the garlic on medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent.

5. Add the broth, and while the mixture comes to a boil, scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up all the browned bits from the sausage (this will give great flavor to the sauce).

lovely jambalaya pasta

6. Add the tomatoes, all the seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar. Bring to a boil on medium heat for just a minute, adding the sausage back in at the boiling point. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour, or even longer if you have time.

lovely jambalaya pasta

7. While the jambalaya is simmering, prepare your shrimp. Shell and devein your shrimp, and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and saute the shrimp on medium-high heat for just a few minutes, until the flesh is pink and opaque throughout. Set aside until serving time

8. In the last five minutes of simmering your jambalaya, add the pasta and cream to the sauce and stir well. If needed, top up the mixture with a little broth or water, so that the liquid just covers all the contents of the jambalaya.

lovely jambalaya pasta

When serving, plate your jambalaya and add your shrimp and garnish with sour cream. The only thing that makes this dish better is a nice loaf of crusty bread to eat with it. Enjoy!

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

mexican beans and greens

lovely green beans

While our household is trying to eat more and more local and seasonal produce, it’s good every now and then to shake it up and let yourself enjoy a more varied selection of fruits and veg- especially when spring is so long in coming as it has been this year. Instead of our usual local box, this past week we treated ourselves to a combo box, which features such mouth-watering delights as oranges, kiwi, bananas (expect a recipe with these goodies soon!) and some lovely baby spinach. While I love baby spinach raw in a salad, I also love the flavor it gives when sauteed into a dish, and my wheels began turning on how I could best put these box of green gold to use.

lovely green beans

I love Mexican food. I lived in Arizona as a kid and my palette has never been lacking in fidelity to southwestern cuisine. We often eat dishes with lots of chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Even our little girl enjoys our Mexican food, just with lots of sour cream and cheese to mellow out the flavors.

Mexican Beans and Greens
Makes 2-3 servings
1 Large carrot
1 medium onion
2 cups firmly-packed baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked beans (any will do, I used a 6 bean medly in this version)

Spices:
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cayenne (or to taste)

lovely green beans

1. Peel and shred your carrot and set aside.

lovely green beans

2. Assemble our spices in a small dish.

3. Peel and dice your onion very fine (I like to use my food processor). In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat and saute onions and minced garlic for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

lovely green beans

4. Add spices to onions, making sure you spread them evenly over the pan so they are able to toast and become aromatic evenly.

5. Add your shredded carrot, mixing in well. Next add your spinach, and add just a tablespoon or two of water to the pan to help steam the spinach quickly and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Saute the carrots and spinach until the spinach is sufficiently wilted.

lovely green beans

6. Add your cup of cooked beans, stirring in well. Saute until heated through.

lovely green beans

Serve with your favorite rice or other grain, with sour cream and fresh avocado to garnish. This is a great dish for little ones, I combine a scoop of the beans and greens, a scoop of rice, and a nice big dollop of sour cream in the food processor and pulse until desired consistency for baby. Enjoy!

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

roots curry

lovely roots

Who doesn’t love a good curry? Well, as it turns out, my husband. Poor fellow. Apparently his dad grew up in a house where the only spice used was curry powder, and as such grew an understandable dislike of the flavor, and thus my husband was never exposed to anything Indian. So sad- I could eat curry three days a week. Maybe four. And thankfully, our baby girl has inherited her mamma’s taste for international cuisine and digs this flavorful dish (see the end of the post for tips for serving this to babies).

lovely roots

I call this meal Roots Curry because it’s made primarily of root vegetables, and also as a little tongue in cheek reference to the very Canadian ingredients for a late winter/early spring seasonal dish. If you aren’t accustomed to making your own curry but enjoy Indian food, do yourself a favor and go out and invest in the necessary spices to do so (Bulk Barn is a great place for exotic spices). Don’t be intimidated- curries are a bit like chilis in that once you have the right spices, the rest is rather forgivable.

Roots Curry
makes 4-6 servings
(T= Tablespoon, t = teaspoon)
Spices :

    3T Curry powder
    2 t sugar
    1t salt
    1t corriander (dried spice, not cilantro leaves)
    1t garam masala
    1t dried ginger
    ½ t cinnamon
    3 bay leaves
    4 whole cloves
    1/3 C butter, divided in two (must use butter or ghee to get the right flavor)
    2 medium onions
    1 small parsnip
    2 small potatoes
    1 medium orange carrot
    1 cup cooked chickpeas
    1 large can tomatoes (or 3 cups of your own canned tomatoes)
    1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
lovely roots

1. Assemble all of your needed spices in a small dish so that they are ready to go when needed.

2. Cube your parsnips, potatoes, and carrots into ½ inch cubes and set aside.

lovely roots

3. Dice your onions very fine (I like to use my food processor).

4. In a large saucepot or dutch oven, melt 1/6 C of butter over medium heat and stir in onions. Cook onions for a few minutes until just starting to become translucent.

5. Add your spices to your onions. What you want to do is stir them into the onions well, and then make sure the onion/spice mixture is evenly spread across the bottom of your pot. This will allow the spices to become nice and aromatic. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring so your spices and onions do not burn.

lovely roots

6. Add your other 1/6 cup of butter, and once it starts to melt add in your root vegetables. Stir the veggies in and make sure they are covered completely by the onion/spice mixture. Saute, stirring frequently to prevent burning, for 3-4 minutes.

lovely roots

7. Add coconut milk and canned tomatoes, and stir well. The liquid should be just covering allt he veggies- if it is not add just enough water to cover. Bring the mixture to a boil only for a moment, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about an hour, until veg is nice and tender and the flavor comes together nicely (and what I like to do is cook the dish for about 45 minutes and then put it in my crockpot on low for another hour or so before dinner to let the spices get even happier).

lovely roots
lovely roots

Before serving, remove bay leaves and give everyone a head’s up to look out for the whole cloves- they won’t hurt you but they’ll be bitter if eaten whole. Serve with basmati rice or preferred grain, and naan bread if you have any on hand. This dish freezes very well; I like to make a nice big batch and freeze in individual servings for lunches.

Tip for babies: For those babies over 9 months and toddlers, this can be a great dish. For our daughter (who is 11 months now) I combine the following in our food processor:
¼ cup cooked rice (or other grain)
½ cup Roots Curry
¼ cup plain, full-fat yogurt

lovely roots

I blend just enough to bring all the ingredients together and make the food into pea-sized lumps, but feel free to blend further for wee ones who still prefer puree. The yogurt helps take a bite out of the spices and gives baby the fat they need in each meal.

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

locals’ only black bean soup

 

lovely salad

I was so excited when I got my first local box and found some beautiful black beans among its contents. The past few years as life has been too busy I got into the bad habit of buying canned, pre-cooked beans, but I am making a real effort to cook them from scratch again, both because they taste better and because we are trying to source more of our food locally. Plus, a pantry shelf lined with glass jars of dry beans in all colors is a beautiful sight in my opinion.

lovely salad

Aside from the spices, the recipe below is made with entirely local food, most of it from our local box. I made the soup with bacon and chicken stock, but it is very easily transitioned into a vegetarian meal for those who prefer to eliminate or limit their meat consumption.

Local’s Only Black Bean Soup

lovely salad

(the following amounts are for four servings of soup, which is just right for our small family. The recipe is easily doubled)
1 cup dry black beans, soaked in 3 cups cold water overnight
3 slices bacon (or 3 tblspoons of olive or grapeseed oil)
2 large cloves garlic
1 small onion
1/2 orange carrot
1/2 yellow carrot
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ceyenne pepper (this makes the soup what I would call “medium” heat)
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Sour cream and cilantro to garnish

lovely salad
lovely salad

1. If using bacon, cook slices until crispy in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Remove bacon and set aside.

2. While bacon is cooking, put garlic, onions, and carrots in food processor and dice until fine.

lovely salad

3. Add garlic and veggies to bacon grease (or heated olive oil if you are not using bacon) and cook for five minutes.

4. Stir in all spices and simmer for 1 minute.

lovely salad

5. Add beans and 4 cups of the broth. Cook on slow boil until beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more broth as needed to keep the mixture at soup consistency. Stir occasionally.

6. When the beans are tender, blend half of the soup. I use a hand blender that goes right into the soup pot, but you can just as easily put half the soup in the blender or food processor, as long as you are careful you do not burn yourself.

lovely salad

7. Garnish with bacon crumbles, sour cream, and cilantro

lovely salad

Serve this soup over rice or with tortilla chips or, if you feel like baking, these delicious corn bread muffins. Enjoy!

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

spring equinox salad with black radish vinaigrette

 

lovely salad

Spring has sprung! And while sometimes in Ontario the first few days of spring can still feel like the middle of winter, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate the new season with a beautiful green salad, thanks to the local, organic lettuce and other fresh produce that comes in your local organic food box.

black radish

I was first introduced to the beautiful black radish last week, and I confess I did not know what it was when I first saw it. Once I found out it was a radish, I was excited! I love the earthy, crisp flavor the bite of a radish gives to a fresh salad, and my thoughts turned immediately to creating a new vinaigrette. I started making my own salad dressings a few years ago and haven’t looked back- the bottled stuff pales in comparison once you have enjoyed the real deal.
You’ll want to make the vinaigrette first, as you will use it as a marinade for your chicken and you can allow it to refrigerate and get happy while your salad makes.

black radish vinaigrette

Nicole’s Black Radish Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 black radish
1/8 apple
3 tblspn maple syrup
2 1/2 tblspn dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
Peel your radish and cut half of it in chunks and place it in your food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. (if you do not have a food processor a blender could work, and if you’re really old-school and have neither appliance, you can simply dice the apple and radish very fine and whisk the ingredients together).

Spring Equinox Salad

lovely carrots
lovely lettuce

Note about ingredients: I do not usually list ingredient amounts for salads, as its really to your liking and how many people you are trying to feed with the salad.
Organic chicken breast, cubed
local, greenhouse boston lettuce
yellow carrots
orange carrots
apple
walnuts
blue cheese
croutons
1. Heat a frying pat to medium high heat while you toss your cubed chicken breast in just enough of the Black Radish vinaigrette to coat.
*Note about vinaigrette: I find that marinades made with apple cider vinegar can be delicious, but unlike other marinades you do not want to refrigerate the chicken in this vinaigrette before cooking. Apple cider marinades should be applied just before cooking or it can make your meat mushy, and who wants that?

2. When pan is nice and hot, cook the chicken until its nice and browned, remove and set aside.

lovely chicken

3. Tear your lettuce and slice the remaining fruit and veg into a medium sized bowl, along with your walnuts, croutons, and blue cheese.
4. Add your chicken breast and just enough of the Black Radish vinaigrette to coat, and toss.

lovely bowl of goodies

5. Plate your salad and enjoy with some fresh local bread.

time to eat

Happy Spring Everyone!

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

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

african sweet potato & peanut stew


Even if you not a vegetarian this is a great recipe using loft sweet potatoes.

It even tastes even better the next day (f you have any left-overs)!

1/2 cup water
3 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 small carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 cup dried garbanzo beans or chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender.
4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp curry powder

Heat the soy sauce and water in a large saucepan.

Add the onions and sweet potatoes, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.

Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook another three to five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, water, beans with any liquid, herbs, peanut butter and curry powder.

Stir to mix, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.

Sprinkle more fresh herbs on top, and serve hot over brown rice.

– Carol likes experimenting with new recipes for her family in Cambridge.