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easy

Roasted Zucchini with Whole Garlic, Lemon & Fried Sage Leaves

TIME: 45 MINUTES, SERVES: 4

The impetus for this recipe was having to thin our sage plants in the greenhouse. I’ve never been one to cook much with fresh sage, but when I had a handful of the most tender, baby leaves, I knew I had to figure something out! Now, I am so glad we decided to grow this herb because I immediately fell in love with the delicate, crispy addition of fried sage leaves to just about any dish.

When the season is in full swing, and the zucchini need harvesting every 2 days, this meal is perfect for a quick, no-fuss dinner. Especially if you have a couple pounds of bone-in chicken thighs to roast—nestle them together and bake all at once.

INGREDIENTS

4 medium-sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then quartered (or cut into thirds to make similar sized spears)
2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise (to expose the center of each clove)
2 lemons, quartered
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbls. avocado oil or high-heat oil
Fried Sage Leaves
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
2 tbls. avocado oil or high-heat oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Toss the first 6 ingredients together on a large sheet pan to coat, being mindful as to not dislodge the garlic cloves from the heads. Before placing the sheet pan in the oven, arrange the garlic heads cut-side down on the pan.

  3. Roast for 30 minutes or so, until the garlic cloves have softened and the zucchini & lemons are tender and browned.

  4. While the veggies are roasting, heat the remaining 2 tbls. of high-heat oil in a wide saucepan or frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the sage leaves in, careful not overcrowd them (you may have to do several batches). Fry for a few minutes until browned and crispy. Keep a close eye on them because this can happen quickly! Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a paper towel to cool.

  5. When the veggies are ready for serving, sprinkle the crispy sage over top.

    *If serving alongside roast chicken, scatter the veggies around 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and roast at 325°F for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken registers at 160-165°F.

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Chicken Soup with Lemon & Spinach

TIME: 4 HOURS; SERVES: ~6

This whole-chicken method is super flavorful and relatively quick—perfect if you have an old stew bird lying around. I’ll put the soup on to simmer around lunch, and by dinner, all I need to do is add the greens and lemon!

INGREDIENTS

1, 3 - 4 lb. whole chicken, or chicken parts
1 large yellow onion, unpeeled & quartered
1 entire head of garlic, unpeeled & cut crosswise
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 - 4 large carrots, roughly chopped
Handful parsley, leaves (finely chopped) and stems
1 tbls. peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Water, to cover
1 lemon, quartered
2 - 3 scallions, white and green parts trimmed & sliced
2 cups spinach
1 medium zucchini, sliced with a vegetable peeler into long, wide strips

METHOD

  1. Remove the chicken or chicken parts from the fridge an hour before cooking and sprinkle with kosher salt.

  2. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, place the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, and 1 tbls. of kosher salt. If using a whole chicken, separate the breasts (this makes early removal from the soup much easier).

  3. Add the chicken or chicken parts and enough water to cover, about 3 quarts.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until the breasts are cooked through.

  5. Remove the breasts and let cool. Remove the skin and shred the meat. Set aside.

  6. Continue cooking the soup over low for another 3 hours or so.

  7. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before straining through a colander over another pot or large bowl. Separate the dark meat from the carcass and add to the reserved breast meat.

  8. Bring the stock back to a boil, and add the zucchini, spinach, scallions, and parsley leaves. Cook for a couple minutes until the greens and zucchini are bright green. Turn off the heat and add the reserved chicken meat. Add the lemon wedges, squeezing the juice into the soup. Season to taste.

  9. Ladle into bowls. I like to top with a dollop of crème fraîche, but it is delicious on its own.

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Roasted Broccolini & Potato Soup

TIME: 30 - 45 MINUTES; SERVES: 4 - 6
Adapted from NTY Cooking

This soup is particularly delicious in the late Fall, after the broccolini has been frost-kissed to bring out its natural sweetness. Further roasting increases the caramelized flavor, and creamy potatoes add the right amount of substance without overdoing the dairy. *For a low-carb option, you can substitute cauliflower for potatoes.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup high-heat oil
2 bunches broccolini (~2 pounds), or 2 large heads broccoli
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbls. butter/ghee
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound potatoes, sliced (peeled or unpeeled), or cauliflower florets.
1 quart stock or water, more as needed for desired consistency
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 tbls. lemon juice
Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Parsley, chopped, to serve
Olive oil, to serve

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Toss broccolini with 2 tbls. high-heat oil & 1 tsp. kosher salt. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. If using broccoli heads, cut into florets, & peel/chop the stalks. Roast until a little crispy and browned, but not entirely soft, about 15 minutes.

  3. In a large soup pot, heat butter/ghee & 2 tbls. oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes.

  4. Add potato or cauliflower to the pot with stock or water, and remaining salt if needed. Bring to a simmer, cover pot and cook until potato/cauliflower is just tender, (10 - 15 minutes for potatoes, 5 - 10 minutes for cauliflower). Add broccolini, cover again and cook another 5 - 10 minutes.

  5. Add lemon zest and purée soup with an immersion or standing blender, leaving some small chunks for texture. You may need to add more stock or a bit of milk/cream if too thick. Stir in lemon juice. Finish with grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, & parsley.

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Ghee & Clarified Butter

TIME: 15 - 20 MINUTES; MAKES 1 PINT
Adapted from The ‘Pioneer Woman’

I see jars of ghee at the store ranging from $15-$25, and it baffles me because it’s so dang easy to make!

You may be wondering, what is ghee, anyway?

Ghee is the next step in the process of making “clarified butter”, or butter that has had the milk solids removed through cooking. Clarified butter can often be consumed by those who have slight sensitivities to lactose, or who are following a restrictive diet. I’ll choose ghee when I want a nutty, caramelized flavor, or need to cook something at high heat. It is shelf stable, and has a higher smoke point because there are no milk solids to burn (ghee’s smoke point is 485 degrees, compared to butter’s 350 degrees.) Making your own also means you can choose the quality of butter, rather than paying for an inferior product at a higher price.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (4 sticks) high-quality butter, preferably organic, grass-fed (either unsalted or salted works), cut into chunks

METHOD

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. After the butter melts, it will start to bubble and separate. This is the whey separating and floating to the surface.

  3. Skim the whey off. You can either compost it, feed it to your pet, or (if you aren’t sensitive to dairy) save it and put it in smoothies, soak beans or grains in it, or marinate meat. Whey is very versatile and high in protein.

  4. Continue to cook the butter until it turns clear and the milk solids sink to the bottom. You can either turn the heat off at this point (you’ve made clarified butter), or you can continue to cook for a caramelized, nutty flavor. You want to brown—not burn—the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. This takes about 10 minutes longer depending on your stove and pan, so keep a close eye on it.

  5. That’s it! Let the ghee cool a bit and if you want to make sure the very last bits of milk proteins are removed, strain through cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter. Store covered at room temperature.

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Spring Quiche with Peas & Green Garlic

TIME: 1 HOUR; SERVES: 6 - 8
Crust recipe adapted from ‘Dishing up the Dirt’

I make variations of this quiche every Sunday after market, so I have a grab-n-go lunch or breakfast prepped for the week. This is my all-time favorite “Spring Edition”, since peas and green garlic are so fleeting, yet so delicious together. Pea shoot micro greens in addition to shelling peas are used, which infuses the quiche with a grassy, fresh flavor. There is a bit of prep required, (especially if you like to make your own crème fraîche—recipe in Pantry Staples & Other Goodies). Double the crust and keep sealed in the fridge for the following week.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
2 cups almond meal or flour
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbls. fresh thyme, minced, or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
~1 1/2 tbls. water

Quiche 
1 tbls. ghee, butter, or olive oil
2 - 3 green garlic bulbs & tender stalks, minced (~1/3 cup)
2 cups pea shoot micro greens, roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 cup fresh shelling peas, shelled
1/4 cup parsley and/or mint, chopped
A splash dry white wine or chicken/veggie stock
1/2 cup whole milk, half & half, or heavy cream
4 large eggs
A few generous dollops of crème fraîche, sour cream, or ricotta
Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (opt.)
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Grease a 10-inch tart pan, cast iron skillet or 9-inch pie pan with oil or butter.

  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal/flour, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the water, a little at a time until the dough holds together.

  4. Press the dough into your prepared pan to evenly cover bottom and at least 1 inch up the sides. Bake until the crust is slightly golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.

  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ghee/butter/oil to coat the pan. Cook the green garlic & peas with a dash of salt, stirring often, until fragrant and bright green. If dry, add the white wine or stock. Toss in the pea shoots and herbs of choice, and let wilt while stirring, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a plate to cool.

  6. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk/cream, salt and pepper.

  7. Once the crust has finished baking, spread the veggie mixture over top. Pour in the egg mixture, and add the dollops of crème fraîche or sour cream. Sprinkle with Parmesan if using, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch and cooked through.

  8. Let the quiche cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Serve warm or cold.

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Creamy Winter Squash Soup with Coconut & Ginger

TIME: 30 - 45 MINUTES (not including roasting time); SERVES: 6+

This soup can be made with almost any type of winter squash. I prefer to use Kabocha because of its starchy, chestnut-like texture and flavor, but dense Butternut or Delicata does wonders as well. I would eat this soup all Winter if I could grow & store enough squash to satisfy my cravings.

*Go with a high-powered blender or food processor, rather than an immersion blender, for the silkiest texture.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-large winter squash; roasted, flesh scooped out & reserved (about 2 cups)
2 tbls. unrefined coconut oil or ghee/butter
1 large yellow or white onion (or 1 - 2 leeks), chopped
1 - 2 fennel and/or celery stalks, or 1 fennel bulb (opt.), chopped
1 - 3 carrots (opt.), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled & grated
Water, vegetable broth, or chicken stock (amount depends on desired consistency)
1, 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
~1/4 tsp. each coriander, ground turmeric, & Ceylon cinnamon
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (depending on size; to taste)
1 tsp. fish sauce (opt.)
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Cilantro, chopped
Greek yogurt or crème fraîche

METHOD

  1. Heat coconut oil or ghee/butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot. When hot enough to sizzle water, add the onions, optional fennel, celery & carrots, garlic, ginger, & spices. Cook until browned & fragrant.

  2. Add the coconut milk and roasted winter squash. Add enough water or stock to barely cover. (You can always add more liquid, but it’s hard to cook the soup down once it’s too thin without adding more squash.)

  3. Cover and simmer on low until soft and thoroughly cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir often to avoid sticking.

  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer carefully in batches to the blender or food processor and purée until creamy.

  5. Adjust seasonings: add the lime, optional fish sauce, and salt & pepper to taste.

  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and yogurt or crème fraîche.

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