Celtic Farms


2 Comments

Grilled Lebanese Summer Squash with Goat Cheese

Lebanese Squash is a lovely summer squash I like far more than Zucchini. It’s firm, with a sweet, nutty flavor. It also goes by, Mid-East or Cousa squashes. Lebanese types are bulbous-shaped light green to cream colored, with white speckles.

This is a great squash for sauteing, grilling, stuffing and baking, used in any recipe for eggplant or added to soups an stews. It holds up better then the other summer quashes. and is often used in Middle Easter cooking.Lebanese Squash

The plant grows in vines on the grown, and fruit matures at 50 days.

Open-pollinated. Also called Mid-East or Cousa squashes, Lebanese types are bulbous-shaped light green with white speckles. Robust crawly bushes are amazing croppers; yielded 15 fruits per plant in our trial plot. Pick fruits when they are young and tender or allow them to fatten for stuffing. If you grow it, be gentle harvesting and handling. It bruises and scratches easily.

IMG_0808_2Slice the squash cross wise, about 2 inches thick and grill until tender. Crumble goat cheese over the hot squash and serve. Salt and pepper, if you like.


2 Comments

Gazpacho

 IMG_6237

Gazpacho is a tomato based, cold soup. It hails from Southern Spain, and Portugal. Rumor has it, the Moors brought it over to Spain and Portugal. That the Arabs used stale bread, garlic, and olive oil. Or, that the Romans introduced the soup, with the addition of vinegar.   There are many variations of it now. I first learned about Gazpacho when I worked at Chico Cheese and Charcuterie, in Chico, CA, 1983(ish). (I was attending Chico State, where I received my BA in Psychology.) Bill Wallace was the chef, and he and Tom Taylor were the owners. They were wonderful people, and I learned so much. We made our own tomato juice for the soup back then, but. these days I use V-8 juice.

Use 5-6 medium Tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 bell pepper, 1 onion, 8 or more garlic cloves, 2-3 jalapeño, sprigs oregano, and a little mint. Peel the cucumber, seed everything. Dice all the veggies to about the same size, 1/4 in. Chop the herbs, mince the jalapeño and garlic.

Put everything in a big mixing bowl, add about 2 cups of tomato or V-8 juice to cover. Add about 1 cup of vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste (about 1 cup), salt and pepper. These are estimates. You want enough liquid making it a soup, and not salsa. Though that’s very good, too. Chill before serving.

IMG_6253No need to garnish, but if you like add some cubed avocado, salad shrimp, a couple grilled prawns, chives, a dollop of sour cream, or whatever you think would be good. Cold, fresh, delicious! So good for you.IMG_6264

 

 

 

References: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/when-moors-ruled-europe/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajoblanco

 


1 Comment

Pork & Orange French Onion Soup

SoupThis is a variation of the classic French Onion Soup which, of course, is traditionally made with a deep, dark beef stock, and topped with Gruyere cheese.  In this delightful variation, I use pork stock and a touch of orange juice, plus Jarlsberg cheese, which has the same nutty, sweet flavor but is a bit more mild.Beautiful

You’ll need:

  • a soup pot
  • oven worthy soup bowls
  • 1 quart Pork broth (home made – fresh or previously frozen)
  • 3 sweet yellow onions
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • bread slices for the crouton (It should be a hearty bread.)
  • Jarlsberg cheese (This is a mild cows milk cheese from Norway. It has a sweet nutty flavor. You can find it at most grocery stores.)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (or equivalent)
  • Salt & pepper
  • a sprig of Rosemary and/or a little Herbs de Provence (optional)

Heat the pork broth to boiling, turn down to a simmer to keep warm.
Peel the onions. Cut into quarters, then slice to the thickness you like. I make the slices about 1/4 in. or smaller. Saute in a pan with the olive oil and butter (personally I use Heart Balance – no they don’t give me anything for the mention. I wish!) until the onions are caramelized. Make them good and dark, but not too burnt.   

Scrape the onions into the hot broth. Add the orange juice, salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the onions are tender and the flavors all married together.

Toast the bread – dark. Let cool. You can cut the bread to fit the soup bowl you’ll be using, or you can cut it into little squares (like 1 in. x 1 in). Lightly butter the bread (make sure its cold and dry), sprinkle the Herbs de Provence over the bread and set aside. You can use any herb you favor, or none at all.  Grate enough cheese to fill the top of each soup bowl.

When you‘re ready, spoon the soup into your bowls, place the croutons on top, and cover with the cheese. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Watch this carefully! You want to make sure the cheese is bubbly and browning.  Add the Rosemary sprig to each bowl. People can stir the sprig around to flavor the soup with a hint of Rosemary (or you can skip it, too.) Serve with a nice, warm, crusty bread.


Leave a comment

Pork Broth

Except in Asian and Mexican cuisine, pork stock or broth is just not as commonly used as the others, but its just as good. I make it a broth from the start, vs a stock, because I use pork broth to flavor stir fry, noodles, and other dishes. Making and freezing your own pork broth might be the only way you’ll have it. Knorr makes a pork bullion cube, but they aren’t easy to find. (I don’t receive anything from Knorr.)

You’ll need:

  • A stock pot or slow cooker.
  • Bones and scraps from a pork shoulder, butt, or pork ribs.
  • 2 carrots
, 2 celery stalks
  • 1 to 2 onions
  • bay leaf (its ok if you don’t have this)
  • pepper corns or ground pepper
  • salt

Broth made with the bones and scraps from a pork shoulder or butt is dark, and rich. I use this broth to make a variation of Pork/Orange French Onion Soup, but its also great for pork stew, chili, using to cook rice, or as a cup of broth all by itself. After your done with a roast, place the scraps and bones in a roasting pan.

The same technique for making any meet or bone stock is used for pork. Brown the meet and bones well, about 25 to 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Or, you can broil the bones, a few minutes on all sides should do it. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn, and you don’t have a fire from grease splatter.Roasted pork shoulder

IMG_5372

Transfer the roasted bones and scrapes to a stock pot or slow cooker. De glaze the roasting pan and pour into the pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery stalks. Add enough water to cover the bones and veggies, at least one quart. I use half water and half chicken stock. Throw in the pepper corns, bay leaf, and salt. Cook from one to 3 hours, make sure it boils at least five minutes, and keep it at a hard simmer the rest of the cook time. If using a slow cooker, cook the broth all day, or over night. Skim off foam as it develops.
Strain into a gravy fat separator, and place in the refrigerator to let the fat rise to the top. Check on it in 15 to 30 minutes. When the fat rises, you can pour the broth into ice-cube trays to freeze, or into what ever container you’d like. If you don’t have the gravy fat separator, keep the broth in the refrigerator until the fat has hardened enough to spoon off. If you don’t freeze it, place it in a tightly seal container in the refrigerator. Broth keeps about a week, always boil broth and stock for a minimum of 5 minutes before using.

Beautiful  And now I turn this into a great “Pork broth and Orange French Onion Soup”.


Leave a comment

Turkey Stock

It starts with a turkey carcass, and a big stock pot or slow cooker. A couple carrots and celery stocks, and one or two onions (definitely onion), good water or chicken stock, is added to the mix, to make a base for soups, sauces, strews, steaming or sauteing vegetables, and more. This is a stock. It is not meant to be seasoned, that happens in the recipe it’s used in. This will not taste good as is.

Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil, it helps with clean up. Break a turkey carcass into pieces, including the breast bone. This way the bones can brown on all over, and they’ll fit in the pot.

Place the pan under the broiler and brown the bones well on all sides. When they’re nice and dark, turn off the heat and let them sit in the oven a few minutes. This way the splatter is contained in the oven, not all over the kitchen, and you won’t get splattered with hot grease. (You can freeze the bones at this point, and keep for 3 to 6 months.) Place the bones in the stock pot or slow cooker, add an onion or two, a carrot and celery, but that’s about it. Cover with liquid, just to the top of the contents. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for hours to all day. The stock won’t be too yummy when done, but it will be dark and rich, and make future sauces, soups, chili, and stews wonderful. Make sure it is simmers the entire time, and occasionally skim the foam off the top.Turkey Stock -Rich, Darm, and the base to sauces, soups, and such.

Strain the liquid through a fine mesh, and discard the solids. Cool quickly by setting the container in ice water. Or, stick it outside in the snow for 15 minutes, if you have any, and be careful not to attract critters (great suggestion, Vicky). Stock is a great medium for It has been said there are healing qualities in stocks and broth. bacteria. Cooling it fast is an attempt to keep the stock germ free. When it’s cooled down, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator over night. If you use the freezer to cool the stock be use to take it out before its frozen, and be aware it will warm the freezer a smidgen. However you cool it, just be sure to broil the stock 5 minutes when you use to again.

And as always, you can freeze broth and stock in ice cube trays, then store in air tight container (like a zip lock bag).


Leave a comment

Roasted Peppers, Garlic & Anchovies

This is a filling appetizer, antipasti, or side dish. Serve with crunchy  bread.

Roast sweet peppers (e.g., bell, red peppers) over the BBQ. You can also roast them under the broiler, though its a lot easier on the grill. Blacken all sides of the peppers over high heat. You don’t want to cook them, just roast the skins. Place blackened peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate and cool.

When cool enough to handle, hold a pepper over another bowl, slit the bottom and let the juice run out. Then with a small knife, or just your fingers, peal and seed the pepper. Repeat with all the peppers, be sure to capture all the juice. Slice peppers into 1/4 in x 1 in strips (or there about) and place into bowl with juice. Peal a lot of garlic and slice into thick pieces. Rinse a can of anchovies to wash off as much salt as you can. I also pull a lot of the bigger bones. You can eat anchovy bones of course, but its nice when the filets are cleaned up a little. Cut the anchovies in half on in thirds. Add to the pepper and garlic, add extra virgin olive oil just to cover, mix to all together. Add fresh ground pepper. Cover tightly and refrigerate for a couple hours to over night. Be sure its air tight or it might small up your refrigerator.

Before serving, let stand at room temperature for a few minutes, until the oil is liquid again. Serve with french bread or other hearty bread cut into pieces.

Basic Beef Broth

4 Comments

Good broth or stock is essential in making excellent soups, sauces, rice and pasta. Stock is the strained liquid from simmered meat, fish, veggies, and bones and typically does not have any herbs or spices. Broth is basically seasoned stock. For most people the terms are interchangeable. Stock, however, is used as a base in cooking, and generally not for drinking. It is bitter at this stage.  But add some seasoning, celery, carrot, onion, and garlic (if you like),  and simmer for an hour, and you  have “Liquid Gold”. It becomes a dark, very rich, and filling broth. Broth is low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals. You can add whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator. Any and all of the following can be used; carrots, celery, broccoli stems, the tops of green, onions, garlic, spinach, the ends of asparagus, sweet peppers. turnips, leeks, potatoes, and what ever else you have in the fridge. Onions are an important addition, be sure to use at least one.  You can influence the flavor by using more of one thing, or another.

In this batch I used Beef Ribs – they tend to be the cheapest where I live, and I like the flavor.  You can use just about any beef bones or ribs. The important thing is getting them good and brown before adding to your pot. I broiled these, turning them so all sides get browned.
   
Add the vegetables and ribs to a stainless steel stock pot or slow cooker. Although it sounds unusual, adding chicken broth to your beef stock adds a depth of flavor. You could use beef broth, of course, but I use chicken broth because I don’t like canned beef broth. You can use water and a chicken or beef bouillon cube or two, instead of canned broth. Adding stock or broth instead of water makes this very rich. Add liquid to the pot, about 3/4 full. The items in the pot will cook down pretty quick and everything will be covered. In this batch I used a few dried mushrooms*, a handful of fresh spinach, a red bell pepper, 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 stocks of celery, and fresh parsley and chives from the garden. Dried herbs work well, too.

The stock will cook faster on the stove top, but I like to keep the stock going for a day so the low cooker is best. I throw everything in the slow cooker, cover, turn in on high and go do other stuff. When its boiled for a couple hours I reduce the heat to medium and simmer for the day.   

When the stock is done, strain it through a tight mesh strainer into a large bowl so you get a clear liquid. (The meat and vegetables are done and should be discarded.)  Refrigerate the stock in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from absorbing odors. When the fat congeals on the surface, remove it . If you do not plan to use the stock right away, freeze it in ice cube trays. Cover the trays with plastic wrap  and, when frozen, pop them all into a sealed plastic bag. Refrigerated stock will keep for about a week but, because it is not acidic, it is a medium for yucky germs and should be re-boiled for five minutes every three days.

Making it “broth”: Bring the stock to a boil for a couple minutes (5 if its been 3 days).  Season the stock with salt, fresh ground pepper, a sprinkle of fresh chives and/or parsley, and a squeeze of lime. Serve with a side salad and hot, crusty French Bread and you have a filling meal. Enjoy!

* Dried mushrooms: Set fresh mushrooms in the open air, on a rack or paper towel, on the counter or in a dry cupboard. Make sure they are clean, dry, and not wet or they become slimy. Once thoroughly dry store in an air tight container.

This gallery contains 5 photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.