Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

We had our first day of actual, chilly weather today. Really, it was just morning chilliness, but still, it made a believer of me that fall is actually coming! Last year, we had a late freeze that took about 80% of our state’s apple crop. It was a sad fall. North Carolina apples were tricky to find and pricey, so we didn’t cook with them much and I definitely didn’t can any apple butter. Dishes like this one made the most of our apples, by using them as part of a larger dish.

Not only is this dish a delicious way to enjoy local cabbage and apples, but it also is very economical and deeply satisfying. Unlike some vegetable dishes, this seems to taste even better warmed up later, so make plenty! We are making it again this week with some local smoked sausage for an early Octoberfest supper. You could also serve this as a main course by itself with some crusty bread and have a terrific rustic winter meal! If you want a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use 3 tbsp. of olive oil and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large apples (granny smith or gala), peeled, cored and sliced thick
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon pieces over medium heat and stir often to keep them from sticking. Cook until browned, but not too crisp (about 6-7 minutes).
  2. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Reduce drippings to about 3 tbsp.
  3. Add onion and carrots to the pot and cook over medium/high heat about 4 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits.</li
  5. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cook about 10 minutes until cabbage softens. Add apples, stock and coriander. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the cabbage is not sticking. Add a bit of water or more stock if needed.
  6. Add bacon back into the pot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!

Week 41 Budget and Menu

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This week’s Produce Box brings us delicious summer and fall goodies–the best of all worlds! We ordered heavy on the vegetables this week, but some of the items like acorn squash and spaghetti squash will be carryovers into next week and others like corn are in such huge quantities that we will eat some and freeze some for later. The items that are killing our budget aren’t the farmer’s market items, but the grocery store items! Have you noticed how prices have really increased?

I’m excited about some new recipes this week, including a corn and crab chowder with our fresh corn and fresh crabmeat and a hearty chicken and mushroom dish from blogger The Midnight Baker. Since our weather is changing from summer to fall, I’m switching breakfast up to include more steel cut oats and less Ezekiel bread. That should help our budget some as well!

What are you making this week?

Budget [$121.31]

The Produce Box (organic string beans, sweet corn, apples, organic lettuce, organic spaghetti squash, yellow squash, organic cherry tomatoes, acorn squash, watermelon): $51.00
Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
Mae Farm (smoked sausage): $6.00
Locals Seafood (NC crab): $11.00
Trader Joes (organic chicken, mushrooms, half and half, asiago cheese, wine, milk, steel cut oats, prosciutto, frozen fruit, yogurt): $48.31

Menu

Wednesday–Dinner with friends
Thursday–Game night! Tossed salad with eggs and prosciutto
Friday–Pasta alla ligure (pasta with pesto, green beans and potato)
Saturday–Local smoked sausage with cabbage, onions and apple, yellow squash muffins
Sunday–Asiago chicken with mushrooms, green beans, yellow squash
Monday–Corn and crab chowder with crispy prosciutto, salad, yellow squash muffins
Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Have a healthy and delicious week!

Bison Chili

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When football season rolls around, I do love making a big pot of chili! Chili stews are quick to put together, tasty, and often economical. I love vegetarian chili, too, although this is decidedly not a vegetarian recipe. This recipe replaces beef with ground bison. Several North Carolina farmers are raising bison now, so we have some terrific local sources. If you’ve never had bison, it is very similar to beef, with a definite meaty flavor. Bison is lower in fat, higher in protein and richer in nutrients than beef, and it is very high in iron. Using ground bison in chili or tacos is a good way to test it out without spending a fortune (and really, your family will probably not notice the difference).

This chili uses up a lot of late summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, onions, kale and pumpkin. Yes, I said pumpkin! It also incorporates Anasazi beans, an heirloom variety of bean that is very meaty and holds up well in a stewed dish like this. I prefer them to kidney beans, which to me don’t taste like anything, but you could substitute any kind of canned canned bean if you like. While this chili is a bit spicy, it is not super hot. Instead, we used cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon to add spice without so much heat. So it is a bit on the cozy side and not so much on the hot side. While we love hot and spicy food, this more soothing chili was still a hit.

This recipe makes quite a bit of food–we liked that because we wanted leftovers for a busy week. If you are feeding more people, you could easily reduce the amount of everything by half or just reduce the amount of meat and increase the amount of beans to stretch things out a bit. This dish also freezes very well. Leave off the cheese and/or sour cream and freeze the chili in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Bison Chili (makes 6-8 servings)

  • 1 lb. ground bison meat
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large, organic sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, washed and chopped
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers, trimmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small bunch of kale, washed,stemmed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups organic, canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups rehydrated anasazi beans (1cup of dry beans soaked in water overnight)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Shredded cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream for garnish (optional).
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño and kale. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  4. Add contents of skillet to a large pot or dutch oven and wipe skillet clean.
  5. Put skillet back on medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground bison and cook, stirring often, until browned. Sprinkle the spices over the meat and stir well. Add the meat to the pot.
  6. Add the beans, pumpkin and tomato to the pot and mix well.
  7. Simmer the chili over medium low heat for an hour or more. Or add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for several hours.

Pumpkin-Kale-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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Okay, okay, I have jumped on the crazy pumpkin bandwagon at last. I was doing just fine resisting all the pumpkin muffin, pumpkin, cookie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothie recipes. Because, you know, I’m still hanging on to summer. It helps a little that fall hasn’t arrived in NC, at least not in any meaningful way. Fall here is like a teenage girl texting–here one second, completely distracted and bumping into people the next.

Summer seems to focus on us like a laser beam, so I’m sticking with it until fall decides to pay attention.

I did decide to acknowledge fall this weekend, however, when I saw this recipe from Amy at What Jew Wanna Eat. It is easy, delicious, and made the most of foods that are available right now, like fresh bell peppers from our garden, organic kale, sweet onions and locally made organic cheddar cheese. The only substitutions I made from her recipe were to use kale instead of spinach and plain almond milk instead of milk–both worked great! I added the chopped kale raw and it cooked just fine. Next time, I may try this with sweet potato instead of pumpkin since we are typically up to our ears in them by November!

This recipe is flavorful, nourishing, and absolutely delicious. Measurements and cooking times are spot on. All the thing you want in a healthy, fall (or late summer) supper. Click HERE to get the full recipe!

Food Safety and the Fall Garden

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Many of us know how to put a plant in the ground and give it some basic TLC to get it growing. But how do we make sure that the gardens we plant yield safe food that will not unintentionally make us sick? And what can we do to make sure children working with us are safe? The North Carolina organization, Advocates for Health in Action have a new web-based resource to address those issues. While it is primarily designed for people starting community gardens, I found plenty of tips for my own home garden!

Here is the link to the booklet.

Are you planting a fall garden? Ours will go in this weekend and we are planting kale, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage and maybe some broccoli. Here in North Carolina, I can plant these greens and have fresh greens all winter long! As long as you don’t pull up the plant roots, you can cut the greens you need and the plant will continue to produce all winter. It was an incredibly successful yield for us!

What are you planting in your fall garden? Happy (and safe) fall gardening!

Maple Pecan Muffins

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I enjoy making muffins each week for family breakfasts and snacks, and this is my first batch of fall-flavored muffins for the year. These muffins are nutty, tender and just a bit sweet. The flavors are more subtle than mixes with maple flavoring–I like that, but you can also add 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring if you want to oomph up the maple. One of the things I like most about making my own muffins is that I know exactly what is in them (and what isn’t). Yes to whole wheat flour, organic sugar, locally harvested nuts and real butter. No to transfats, oils, food coloring and synthetic flavoring chemicals.

As with any baking involving nuts, I definitely recommend toasting the pecans before adding them to the mix–toasting definitely adds a depth to the pecan flavor that you won’t have otherwise. We are trying to watch our sugar intake, so these don’t have a fancy streusel topping or icing, but you could certainly add that if you like! We just topped them with pecan halves and a little sprinkle of organic, brown sugar. Simple, cozy and yummy!

Maple Pecan Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted, organic butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or maple)
  • 2 farm eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 12 pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the pecan halves in a shallow baking pan and toast them for 4-5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Chop the pecans into fairly small chunks. Set aside.
  2. Line a muffin tin with bleach-free liners or oil with a small amount of coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, syrup, extract, eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Mix well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
    Fold in the chopped pecans.

  6. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full and top each muffin with a pecan half and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes.
  8. Cool individual muffins on a cooling rack.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or wrap and freeze for up to three months.

Week 40 Budget and Menu

Fall is on the horizon here and no matter how much kicking and whining I do about not having enough peaches or tomatoes, my time is still running out. Our farmer’s markets in central North Carolina are shifting to fall crops and some of our vendors who specialize in summer season crops have bowed out until next year. Kinda sad, but like all casual friendships, we will look forward to seeing them soon and hearing all about the new spring crops.

While I will certainly miss all my summer favorites, I am looking forward to running without 90 degrees and 110% humidity. Tom and I begin our half-marathon training in earnest this month, so our dishes will be focused on giving us the nutrients and power to add on miles to our runs.

This week’s menu is helped out by two bloggers, Amy at What Jew Wanna Eat and Jovina at Jovina Cooks Italian. Glad to have some inspiration! Both have wonderful blogs, so check them out!

Budget [$123.50]

The Produce Box (peaches, apples, sprite melon, squash/zucchini, bell peppers, cucumber, local butter!, organic cornmeal, lettuce, organic cherry tomatoes, organic okra): $51.00
Locals Seafood (flounder): $14.00
La Farm Bakery (bread): $4.50 Various farm vendors (onions, kale): $3.00 Trader Joes (yogurt, beans, organic canned pumpkin, frozen fruit): $28.00 The Cultured Cow (cheddar, gouda): $14.00
Mitchell Family Pantry (tomato soup, jam, frozen corn): $9.00

Menu

Wednesday–Egg salad sandwiches, fruit salad
Thursday–Cornmeal dusted flounder, okra “fries”, squash
Friday–Pasta con sarde, green salad
SaturdayCheesy Pumpkin Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, green salad
Sunday–Pumpkin chili with zucchini cornbread
Monday–Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
Tuesday–Leftover chili and cornbread

Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal

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During our long, hot summers, I typically have sprouted grain bread/toast with homemade jam and a frozen fruit smoothie for breakfast. While I absolutely love steel cut oatmeal, the thought of making or eating hot oats before heading out into the humidity is just not appealing.

So I was intrigued by the experiments of a fellow blogger, Melissa at My Whole Food Life. She has been blogging all summer about no-cook refrigerator oatmeal recipes. I posted a list of links below! Like the whole chia seed thing, it took me a while to work myself up to eating cold oatmeal (yes, you can heat it in the microwave, but follow along with me here). Wouldn’t cold oatmeal be gross? Could the overnight process really soften the steel-cut oats? What would cold oatmeal taste like?

There was only one way to find out, and since I ran out of food a day short of grocery shopping day, this was the week for brave new discoveries! Armed with a very ripe banana, some steel-cut oats and some almond milk, I decided to put a southern recipe to the test with this Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal. In keeping with Melissa’s recipe proportions, I added chia seeds, vanilla bean and one chopped medjool date for sweetness. The date pieces dissolve a bit and taste like caramel. YUM!

How was it? Chock full of cold banana and creamy oats, this banana oatmeal won’t fool you into thinking it’s banana pudding, but it is clean tasting, filling and a little sweet. More like rice pudding? I am enjoying taking my jar of oatmeal from the staff refrigerator, to the great outdoors for some al fresco lunches. These late summer days are still pretty warm, so the cold oatmeal is appreciated. It is refreshing and not at all gross, like I feared. When winter comes, you can pop your jar of oats into the microwave and have a warm lunch in no time.

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Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal (makes one pint-sized serving)

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (you can use rolled oats for a softer texture)
  • 1 teaspoon organic chia seeds
  • 1 large banana (or two small), peeled and slightly mashed
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 organic medjool date, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or in a pint sized jar. Shake well. Refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

Want some more ideas? Check out these recipes from My Whole Food Life!

Almond Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Coconut Vanilla Overnight Oats

Stocking Up for the Gap Season

Here in NC, we are rapidly approaching the Gap Season, where summer crops are tapped out or on the way out and fall crops haven’t yet started producing much. How could that be??? Didn’t summer just start, like, yesterday? I love summer–even with the mosquitoes. I’m feeling a little sad about the gap, really. I feel like I have so much unfinished food business. I have tomato and eggplant and zucchini recipes to try, more tomato sauce to freeze, and I’ve only had okra a few times this summer. Still not sure how that happened.

Fortunately, the summer season tapers off gradually and I have a couple of weeks to get my act together before the gap. I’ll be stocking up on what I can this week and next. Mostly peaches, green beans, okra, tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini…any other suggestions? While I finish canning and freezing our summer bounty, I am excited about one thing. Football.

Fall means football, which also means stews and chilis and braised short ribs. It also means sweet potatoes and pumpkin and collard greens. If there is one thing I have realized on our journey (and trust me, there is more than one), it is that when you eat local, you genuinely appreciate the sweetness of each growing season and the importance of paying attention to what is available to you at any given time. I will miss fresh, ripe peaches, but not enough to buy their tasteless, black-hearted cousins at the grocery store. I do, however, have 18 half pints of peach butter and 4 quarts of peach halves that I will ration out over the next year, and that will be enough to sustain me until peach season comes again.

 

Kimchi Fried Rice

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Fermented foods are so, so good for us, and of all the wonderful fermented treats (sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, kimchi), I think Korean kimchi is my favorite. Kimchi is a spicy, fermented cabbage dish, and it is ridiculously delicious. Chock full of vitamins A, B and C as well as probiotic lactobacilli (good for your gut), kimchi is flavorful, low in fat and high in fiber. In this dish, kimchi takes center stage in a healthy fried rice dish topped with a lightly cooked, fresh farm egg. You can make your own kimchi, which I may eventually try, but mine came from Kimbap, a new restaurant in Raleigh that features fresh, farm-to-table food grown in North Carolina. Yum!

We made enough for three people because there are just three of us, but you can easily add more rice and kimchi to expand your servings. When cooking your eggs, make sure to keep the yolks runny–the yolk makes a delicious addition to the rice.

Kimchi Fried Rice (makes 3 serving)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet, organic onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 ounce grass fed, flat iron steak, sliced thin.
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 3-4 cups cooked organic jasmine rice
  • 3 fresh, farm eggs
  • 1/4 cup Korean bean paste sauce or chili sauce
  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over high heat.
  2. Add onion and stir fry quickly for 1 minute.
  3. Add the steak and continue stir frying for 1-2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, second tablespoon of olive oil, and garlic. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the kimchi and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked rice and stir fry until rice is a bit crispy, about 4 minutes (this will depend on how much liquid you have in the pot).
  6. Turn the heat off and let pot sit over the heat.
  7. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the eggs by lightly frying them until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny.
  8. Add rice to serving bowls, top each with a cooked egg and serve with bean paste or chili sauce.
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