field trip

One of the things I love most about living in Cape May is all of the natural beauty around us.  Sure, we have the beach and ocean and, of course, the most fantastic sunsets.  That is a given.  But what many visitors don’t always see is the vast farmland that Cape May possesses.  Many of the farms are on preserved acres of land.  There are vineyards, alpacas, flower farms, vegetables and hens.  Lots of hens.

Beach Plum Farm-4473

Beach Plum Farm-4474

Ryan and I joined the Egg CSA at Beach Plum Farm this year.  It is a 20 week Community Supported Agriculture program where we pick up a dozen fresh eggs straight from the farm.  I look forward to visiting the farm every week and subsequently the hens.  These ladies run a tight ship – looking for snacks and checking out the visitors. I suppose the hen does rule the roost after all.  Beach Plum Farm Hens

Hens

After a short visit with the girls, they typically lead me right to the piglets.  It’s fun to see the personalities of the animals.  The hens anxiously peck along keeping everyone in check while the pigs are much more laid back.  They’re so darn cute with their muddy snouts and squeaky snorts.  I can’t help but to think of Babe, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”

Beach Plum Farm

Have you visited Cape May’s farmland lately?

 

kohlrabi stew

I’ve mentioned kohlrabi a few times this past summer.  It is still a phenomenon to us.  How have we never heard of this root vegetable before this summer?  It is one of Ryan’s new favorites.  Buuuut…we can’t just keep roasting kohlrabi.  Boredom will certainly set in.

It is fall now which means a warm hearty stew is in season.  So, friends, kohlrabi stew is born!

kohlrabi stew

This may possibly be the least photogenic dish but don’t hold that against it.  Trust me that kohlrabi stew is tasty and not so bad for you considering how creamy it is.

kohlrabi stew

Here’s how I made this which yields 4-6 servings:

  • Cover the bottom of your pot with sunflower oil, simmer and saute 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chopped scallions
  • Chop one large kohlrabi into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot.  Simmer for a few minutes on medium heat until they are soft
  • Next add 2 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock) and 1 can of cream of broccoli soup
  • Season to your preference: salt, lemon pepper, parsley, thyme
  • Put the lid on the pot and boil for 20-25 minutes
  • Allow the entire mixture to cool for about 20 minutes before transferring to a blender or food processor
  • Puree in batches
  • Once pureed, transfer back to the pot and add in 1 cup of small pasta shells
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, cooking the pasta right in the stew.  This is also where you could add in pre-cooked beef
  • Serve and enjoy!

kohlrabi stew

Side note:  I have been wanting to make butternut squash soup for a long time.  Longer than I have been cooking, actually.  It is always so delicious but I’m quite aware that it is usually made with lots of heavy cream.  I am going to try it by following the above principles (minus the pasta).  The cream of broccoli soup is the only creamy offender here.   I will let you know how it turns out!

What are you cooking this weekend?

veggie frittata

Friends, I made a frittata.  And it was good. I’m so proud.

veggie frittata (10 of 10)

You see, I was faced with this little problem.  We had way too many vegetables in the house and had to come up with a dish that would use some up.  A nice problem to have but still.  And quite frankly, another salad or pasta just wouldn’t do.

So frittata it was!  I love that word by the way. Frittata! Hakuna Matata.

veggie frittata (6 of 10)

I thought a frittata would be complicated but it was truly a very easy one pot dish to make.  And it is a great way to use up your harvest or even leftovers.  The options are pretty much endless. You can add vegetables, meat, fish, cheese.  And you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

veggie frittata

I used one cup each of the following vegetables: red/green peppers, tomatoes/tomatillos & scallions.

I chopped up the veggies the night before so when I woke up I felt like I was on a cooking show with all of my ingredients prepped in handy little bowls.  And then I remembered that I don’t have a hair and make-up artist on staff.  Hmm, I’ll have to work on that.

veggie frittata

First, I chose a round pie pan because it could go on the stove and in the oven.  Anything cast iron would work too.  I found that most of my pans, though, had handles that aren’t ovenproof.

So I sprayed the pan with olive oil and pre-heated the oven to 400.  On medium heat, I sautéed the hardest vegetable first.  In this case, the peppers.  I decided to add some sesame oil for added flavor.

I continued to add each vegetable and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.  But again, the seasoning options are pretty much endless.

Once the vegetables were cooked (about 15 minutes), I added shredded cheddar.

And then the eggs.  I whisked 8 eggs and poured them over the vegetables and cheese.  The sides cooked up in about 10 minutes on the stove top.

veggie frittata

Finally, I placed the concoction in the pre-heated oven.  It took about 15 more minutes for the eggs to cook through.  The top of the frittata browned nicely.

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of pan you use and how many ingredients you add.  You could certainly double this in a casserole for a brunch.

Our version serves four: 3 cups of vegetables, 8 eggs, 10 inch pie pan

veggie frittata

I let it cool for a few minutes, cut into wedges and served it with wholegrain toast for breakfast.  It was met with rave reviews!

veggie frittata

That, my friends, is a frittata!  Means no worries.  Oh wait, that’s Hakuna Matata.

beet stuffed peppers

I’m back with another food post, friends.

I’m talking about beetroots today.  They are said to be a natural anti-inflammatory vegetable which is what we are after in our house.  But what can be done differently with beets?  Well, this is one of my new faves that I like to think I made up because I’ve never heard of a Beet Stuffed Pepper before. About a week ago I posted a prep picture of this entree on instagram and got a lot of inquisitive likes.

Beet Stuffed Pepper

So I’m sharing the deets but hold onto your seats because there’s really only one thing you need to know about making this deliciously, filling vegetarian dish.

Are you ready for it?

The secret to Beet Stuffed Peppers is to follow your favorite traditional stuffed pepper recipe and then subtract the ground beef and add ground beets.

That’s it. Earth shattering, I know.  It kind of rhymes too: Subtract the ground beef and add ground beets.

Here’s exactly what I did to make this simple yet tasty dinner.

  • Take 3 average size beets, wash and peel the epidermis.  Grind the beets in the food processor.  Next, mix seasoned bread crumbs into the ground beets.  I used about a 50/50 ratio of bread crumbs to beets.  The bread crumbs absorb the moisture that the beets cook off.
  • Wash and core 2 green peppers.  A tip I learned from a friend when baking stuffed peppers is to briefly cook the peppers in boiling water to soften them.  This way they are more pliable and do not tear when you stuff them.
  • Next, you guessed it, stuff the peppers with the beet mix.  I sprinkled fresh shredded parmesan cheese to the top along with more bread crumbs.  Also, a dollop of raw honey (my favorite sweetener) on top complements the beet flavor very well.  The honey will cook into the stuffed pepper.
  • Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes and enjoy!

Beet Stuffed Pepper

These stuffed peppers are so filling that I couldn’t even finish mine!  Let me know if you give it a try.  And again, try this with your own stuffed pepper recipe and just substitute the beef for beets.

P.S.  Doesn’t the color remind you of red velvet cake?

CSA carrot fries

A couple of weeks ago, I told you all about the CSA we joined this year. It is our first time participating in Community Supported Agriculture and we just love it!

Every week’s pick up is sort of like Christmas. You don’t know what you’re going to get.  There is a level of anticipation because you know you’ll love it either way. It’s so exciting.  Yes, I am still talking about vegetables…

carrots

We’ve picked up carrots from the farm a few times.  It is so adorable how they come with their green tops still attached much like in Bugs Bunny but nothing like in the grocery store.

I like carrots but I needed a new, fresh idea.  I didn’t want to just steam them again.  I racked my brain for something different.  We love sweet potato fries so why not try carrot fries?

easy carrot fries recipe

So we did!  I’ve found that just about any root vegetable is tasty sliced up and roasted in the oven producing healthy “fries”.  We did this with kohlrabi earlier in the growing season and loved it too.

To prep the carrots, you need to clean and lightly peel them.  Then slice them into 2-3 inch sections.

carrot fries

Brush on some olive oil, salt & a dash of cumin.

carrot fries

Pre-heat your oven at 425 degrees.  Then bake the carrots for about 25 minutes.

easy carrot fries recipe

That’s it!  We drizzled ours with a little bit of raw honey.  They were delicious and got rave reviews from my food connoisseur husband.

easy carrot fries recipe

the CSA way

This summer we joined a CSA for the first time. All I can say is, why didn’t we do this sooner?

csa (10 of 10)

We love everything about the experience!  We’ve been introduced to so many new varieties of vegetables which is right in line with our new healthy diet.

Raise your hand if you know what kohlrabi is.  Two months ago, I had never heard of it and I went to an agricultural college in the area!  Now it is one of our new favorite vegetables.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty much done for the season but that’s ok because we’ve moved onto tasty summer squashes.

csa (1 of 10)

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In the spring, we paid a membership fee to Pennypack Farm and as a result we pick up 6 shares of locally grown produce & herbs weekly during the summer harvest season.  It has quickly become my favorite day of the week!

The shares offered weekly change as the growing season changes.  It’s like Pandora’s box of produce.  Being part of a CSA also challenges us in the kitchen because you have to work each week’s offerings to create delicious meals.  My latest concoction was beet stuffed peppers with a dollop of local honey.  Delish!

csa (3 of 10)

This week we got to pick our own string beans which we took right home and had for dinner.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

csa (4 of 10)

We go very few places without Wilson.  So its awesome that dogs are allowed on the farm too!

csa (5 of 10)

As a bonus we get to harvest flowers from the cutting garden.

csa (7 of 10)

csa (8 of 10)

Summertime and the livin’ is easy….

csa (2 of 10)

If you have the opportunity to join a CSA next year, I highly recommend it.  It will expand your palette and culinary skills as well as support local farms and farmers.  I have to thank Karen, a blog reader, for referring us to our CSA!