Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's in the Bag!

Wednesday night's Specialty Produce Farmer's Market Bag Class at Great News had a bag that was full of wonderful, good for you produce, including, lower left to right:  Yum Yum peppers, black kale, shallot, heirloom tomatoes, spaghetti squash, spinach, wild arugula, Bartlett pears, fennel.
Our class had a wonderful tomato and goat cheese tart, spaghetti squash with black kale and cod with peppers and fennel.
Spaghetti squash is one of those vegetables that you might not pick up at the store, because you aren't sure how to use it, but it's a terrific sub for pasta, is filled with fiber, vitamins A, C and B as well as being a great source of beta carotene. One way to make spaghetti squash is as a mac and cheese and I promised the students I would publish this.  With the temperatures hovering in the 100's here, I haven't felt like doing much of anything, but for those that were in the class, or got the bag this week here are a few recipes to make with the contents of the bag. (not a lot of photos since I haven't had the energy to cook!)  Buon Appetito!

Slow Cooker Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup
Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound smoked Linguica, chorizo, or andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 pound black kale, chopped into 1-inch pieces
5 medium red potatoes, scrubbed, peeled if desired, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional for garnish)

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil, and sauté the sausage, onion, and carrots, until the onion is translucent, and transfer the mixture to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker. 
  2. Add the kale, potatoes, chicken broth, and bay leaf stirring to combine the ingredients. 
  3. Cook the soup for 5 to 6 hours on low until the potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf, sprinkle the soup with the cilantro and serve.  

Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese

Serves 6
For the Squash

One spaghetti squash 
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
  1. Split the squash in half, remove the seeds place on a sheet tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  
  2. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, until tender.  
  3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Scoop out the flesh of the squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Cover with aluminum foil, and make the sauce. 
For the Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
 1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1  cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk---NO 1/2 & 1/2 it will separate at high temps)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese(s) (this is up to you--traditional medium orange cheddar, sharp white cheddar, a mix of Asiago and Parmigiano, Gruyere and Parmigiano ---- pepper jack ---- smoked Gouda)
few drops Tabasco

  1. Preheat the 350 degrees and coat the inside of a 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  
  2. In a small saucier or saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat, add the garlic and swirl in the pan, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  
  3. Add the flour, and whisk for 2 minutes.  
  4. Slowly add the broth, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, and is thickened.  
  5. Add the cream, remove from the heat, and add the cheese, whisking until the cheeses melt.  season with salt, and add a few drops of Tabasco.  
  6. Stir the sauce into the spaghetti squash, transfer to the prepared baking dish (at this point the dish can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours---there may be a bit of water from the squash in the bottom of the pan, drain that out before baking)  and top with the crumb topping (see following recipes) 

For the Crumb Topping

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. In a small bowl, toss together the ingredients, until they are moistened by the oil. 
  2. Sprinkle over the mac and cheese, and bake for 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling, and the topping is crispy and golden.
  3. Any additional topping can be frozen in a zipper top plastic bag, and used over casseroles, or vegetables.  
 This recipe lends itself well to additions, such as bacon (we all know that everything tastes better with bacon) leftover veggies (hello, kale!), caramelized onions, leftover rotisserie chicken and your choices of cheeses.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

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