Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's in the Bag

Friday was my Specialty Produce Farmer's Market Bag class at Great News, and what a bag it was; packed with fall bounty it was such fun to put this all together for a great class.  From left, sugar pie pumpkin, Valencia orange, fennel, spaghetti squash, pomegranate, romaine, Easter egg radishes, and golden beets.

Romaine salad with roasted golden beets, Valencia orange, pomegranates, crumbled goat cheese, with orange balsamic vinaigrette.

Pumpkin cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting.

Pear Upside Down Cake

So, if you weren't able to come to class, but have a bag, here are a few recipes for your bag this week.

Grilled Caesar Romaine Salad
Serves 4

Two heads romaine, tough outer leaves removed, washed thoroughly and dried
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup crushed garlic crouton, either home made or store bought

Preheat the broiler for 10 minutes, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut each head of romaine in half through the center, and arrange the lettuce on the prepared baking sheet.
In a food processor or blender, blend together the oil, garlic, Worcestershire, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and pepper, until it is thickened.  Using a silicone brush, brush some of the dressing over the lettuce leaves, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese.  Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese begins to melt.  Remove from the broiler, arrange each romaine onto a salad plate, drizzle with a bit more dressing, some cheese, and finish with the crushed croutons.  Serve warm.
(Do-Ahead:  You can prepare the dressing ahead for 3 to 4 days, wash and spin the lettuce dry and keep in zip lock bags with paper toweling for up to 2 days)

Farfalle with Pumpkin and Italian Sausage
Serves 6
To prove that pumpkin isn't just for pie, try this amazing pasta dish and wow your family!
 For the Pumpkin:
One 3 pound sugar pie pumpkin cut into quarters
To prepare the pumpkin for roasting, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and arrange the pumpkin on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake another 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is still firm, but soft in the center.  Cool the pumpkin until you can handle it and remove the seeds, (it's easier to remove them once it's cooked) and separate the flesh from the skin.  Chop the flesh coarsely, and set aside.  (the cooking times will vary depending on how large your pumpkin is) The pumpkin will keep frozen in air tight containers for up to 3 months.
For the Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casing
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked pumpkin (see above)
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound farfalle pasta, cooked 3 minutes short of al dente, saving a bit of the pasta water if needed
 1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

 In a large skillet, heat the oil, and saute the sausage breaking it up, cooking it until it is no longer pink.  Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat, and add the onion, sage, and reserved pumpkin, sauteing until the onion is softened.  Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the nutmeg. When the pasta is cooked, add it to the skillet, keeping the heat at medium, and toss in the sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce appears to be dry.  You will want to cook the pasta in the sauce, so that it absorbs the flavors in the pan.  Add 1/2 of the cheese and toss again.  Serve the pasta in bowls sprinkled with the remaining cheese.  

Sugar Pie Pumpkin can be used in place of butternut squash in most recipes. 

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