Farm Meals at Crossroads Community Farm

July 11, 2014

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This Spring Summer and Fall brings new projects including Tuesday lunches for the farmers at Crossroads Community Farm!  Each Monday I receive a text about which potential veggies and fruit I have to work with, I respond with my list of choices, bring the extra ingredients I need on Tuesday and prepare a meal at the farm.  The bounty is wonderful and the kitchen breezy with bright windows and a great oven and stove along with marble countertops high enough to work on without hunching over all day.  It’s a real treat to be in a kitchen with a breeze and a view!

My first week, I had to feel out the space, so I kept the menu simple:

Sardinian Potato Foccacia with spinach, onions, and either red or white sauce, Spring Potato Salad with green onions and kale, a light asparagus soup, and a big Spring lettuce salad with thinly sliced radishes and chives

The second week:

Veggie Wontons with mushrooms, asparagus, scallions, carrot, and cream cheese with a ginger tamari dipping sauce, a sesame kale and spinach salad with Spring turnips and thinly sliced carrot & radish, zucchini fritters with dipping sauce, and curried potatoes with chick peas and greens.  Strawberry Basil icebox cake!

The third week we had a terrible tornado touch down in my neighborhood and the driveway was blocked!

The fourth week:

Black Bean, Kale, & Avocado Burritos, Agua de Fresco with Strawberries, Mint, & Lime to drink, Spicy Potatoes with Spring Onions and Chiles, a large salad with steamed broccoli, chard, and onions, and Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Cake!

The fifth week:

Salad with Cucumbers, Kale, Parsley, Olives, & Capers in a creamy lemon tahini dressing topped with Balsamic Strawberries, Garlic Scape Hummus with Wheat Pita, Mediterranean Stuffed Baked Zucchini, Carrot Marmalade with Greek Yogurt, and Lemon Mint Cucumber Water!

My favorites to put on a regular menu right now are the veggie wontons and the Mediterranean salad.  I love the embellished ice water offerings and the desserts as well..

 

Sous Vide Lamb & Allspice Dram

January 10, 2014

Last week, I tried a little lamb rack marinated, cooked sous vide for an hour, and seared.

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This is the final product pictured with roasted local root veggies, sweet corn from summer, and local dried black beans as succotash.  For this sous vide, I marinated the lamb with whole mustard, rosemary, and garlic in an air-sealed bag for a few hours, then dropped the bag in a crock pot on low setting, about 125 degrees water bath & fitted with a steamer insert so the meat didn’t touch the hotter bottom of the pot.  It slow cooked for one hour, then I finished by searing the rack on either side in a cast iron skillet.

Things I would do differently next time:  Because the water is 125 degrees, the product does not exceed 125 degrees while cooking, so some of the fatty bits close to the eye made for tough and stringy eats, I think I will try French-trimming the rack a bit closer to the eye to eliminate some of that.  I used a hot cast iron skillet to sear and get that tasty outer crust, which was good, but I didn’t like the whole mustard with the searing and will probably eliminate mustard altogether and maybe include it in a sauce instead.  The cast iron did not work as well with the curve of the meat, so I will try using my kitchen torch next time to get a more even sear.

Cooking sous vide reduces the water and fat loss when you cook meat, so the final product is very moist and tasty.  It also captures all of the liquid the meat does release, which you can use for sauces or gravy.  I didn’t take advantage of that this time, again largely because of the whole mustard, another reason to leave that out next time and maybe make a red wine reduction with the lamb juices containing just the tasty garlic and herbs.  The temperature controlled water did a lot to control the texture.  It’s a tastier lamb dish then I have had many times in the past.  I’m excited to try in again.

Also in the works, a homemade Allspice Dram. 003 The last few days, we have seen weather in the double digits below zero.  Great time for hot coffee, tea, and cocoa!  Also, a nice time to play with hot toddies.  I cracked some whole Penzey’s allspice in the coffee grinder and am infusing some spiced rum with it.  Today is day #3.  Soon I plan to add cinnamon stick and cardamom.  I will  report back on the progress.  My hope is to have a dram ready when the next big cold snap comes and try my hand at hot buttered rum.  Update with photo: Here is the swirl of spices and rum.  I have added one crushed white cardamom pod, a couple cloves, a cinnamon stick, and two points of a star anise.  Five days until next steps..

Stay  warm and watch your steps out there..

“White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities.”

January 1, 2014

It is an arbitrary choice, using a New Year as the beginning, the blank page of canvas.  It’s really just a continuation of the last chilly day.  But, here we all are, setting goals and starting again.   I am using this new blank canvas as an exuse to re-purpose this blog.  It has been a place where I go in and edit specials menus and seldom ever do more than that.  In the new year, I plan to use this space to talk about what I’m learning and create a captain’s log of this year’s cooking.

I simmered some frozen aronia berries from late last summer in simple syrup until they plumped, pureed them, and strained out the skins and seeds to make a lovely purple syrup for french toast.  It was tasty, but could have used more acidity to offset the sweetness.  I didn’t even think of the half lemon I have in the cooler, which would have benefited the end result.  Will add it to the leftovers and see.  This afternoon we are cracking one of the last jars of heirloom tomato salsa from the garden for some chips, and tonight I am cooking a small rack of lamb sous vide then quick searing it and eating it with black bean & sweet potato succotash.  It’s my first time cooking lamb sous vide.  I marinated it with whole mustard, holly honey, french thyme, rosemary, and garlic overnight.  Dropping the airtight bag in a crock pot of water on the low setting for one hour, taking it out to let it rest a bit, then searing it.

No photos of today’s activities yet, but here are a few from the end of 2013 holiday meals:

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“Toothpick-able Appetizers”

November 27, 2013

A few festive suggestions for when you want to keep your fingers clean and don’t want to juggle flatware.  Priced per 12 people served:

Savory with Meat:

Meatball Grissini ~ edible thin breadstick as toothpick $25
Bacon Wrapped Spiced Pineapple $25
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Prosciutto $30
Maple Mustard Glazed Apple-Chicken Sausage Bites with Pretzel Toothpick $30
Savory Veg/Cheese:
Mini Tarts (not on a toothpick, but not messy) zucchini mushroom or gruyere leek $18
Spinach Chard Cheese Bites $18
Herb Roasted Blue Potato Bites with either sour cream or Bloody Mary dip $18
Herb & Cheese Gougere (pastry puffs) with local cheese $18
Roasted Pepper & Mini Fresh Mozzarella Bites $24

Sweets:
Chocolate dipped fruit variety on picks $30
Tray of assorted mini gourmet sweets (cookies/bars/baklava) in paper cups $20
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Current Season’s Menu

May 31, 2013

Appetizer or Lunch

Sandwich choice of croissant sections, rustic french bread, whole wheat wraps, or gluten free wraps:

Turkey with Walnut Apricot Sauce

Hummus with zucchini relish, seasonal greens, & dried tomatoes

BETA Bacon, Egg, Tomato, Avocado with Garlic Dijon Mayo

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Pates, Savory Pastry, & Spreads

Cannelini Bean & Rosemary with Roasted Pepper Caper Topping

Roasted Olive Artichoke Spread with Gluten Free Crackers

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Tunisian Carrot Dip with Olives & Toasted Walnut

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Wisconsin Cheeseball with Gluten Free Crackers (4 local cheeses & cream cheese blended and rolled with toasted nuts & herbs)

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Rosemary Mushroom & Spinach Pizzettes

 Zucchini Mushroom or Leek Gruyere Tarts (from frozen & dried harvest)

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Roasted Beet Canape on Kale with Chevre & Pecan or Hickory Nuts

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Roasted Heirloom Potatoes served with Creamy Onion Dip or Bloody Mary Ketchup

roasted new potatoes

roasted new potatoes

ENTREE ADDITIONS:

Feta Cheese & Seasonal Greens Millet Cakes with Aioli (greens are currently arugula, ramps, & spinach but will vary with the season)

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Mushroom Marsala Turkey Tenderloin Cutlets

Roasted Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

Stewed Organic Chicken with Dried Figs

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Roasted Root Stew with Choice of Mushroom, Chicken, Pork, or Beef Stew Served in a Half Acorn or Festival Squash (as available)

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Burritos: Choices of Bourbon Pulled Pork with Peach Pico de Gallo, Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato with Black Beans, Brown Rice, & Fresh Avocado, or Beer Braised Pulled Chicken with thinly sliced Cabbage, Brown Rice, Avocado, & Roasted Tomato.  All are served with hot sauce or salsa sides

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SALAD & SIDE DISH ADDITIONS

Broccoli Lentil Salad in light mustard dressing with Toasted Almonds

Ginger Sesame Dressed Cabbage & Winter Greens Salad

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

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Green Bay Booyah with Organic Chicken & Veggies

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Sweet Corn & Peach Bisque (made with frozen preserved harvest from this season)

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Roasted Pepper Tomato Soup

Quinoa Roasted Sweet Corn Salad (in Winter, with roasted Winter Squash in place of Tomato)

Roasted Marinated Roots (seasonal varieties)

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BREAD CHOICE ADDITIONS

Cherry Cheese Bread (or Coffeecake)

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Grain-free Almond

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Toasted Walnut Spinach

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Whole Wheat Sesame Breadsticks

Local Honey Wheat Rolls (partly Lonesome Stonemill Wheat)

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Fresh English Muffins

BRUNCH FARE ADDITIONS

Greens & Millet Egg Bake ~ a gluten-free egg casserole made with whole cooked millet, local spinach, arugula, & goat milk, and topped with sharp goat cheddar, savory tasty!

Carrot Ricotta Quiche

Almond Poppyseed Coffeecake Bundt

Blueberry Bacon Coffeecake

Gluten-free Blueberry Crumb Cake

Vegan Tiramisu Coffeecake

DESSERT ADDITIONS

Raspberry Framboise Brownies

Key Lime Bars

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie

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Gluten-free, Grain-free 7-layer Bars

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Meyer Lemon Vegan Bundt Cake

Grain Free Carrot Layer Cake or Almond Layer Cake

Gluten-free Fruit Tarts with Seasonal Fruit (Mandarins in Winter)

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Mini Cheesecake Bites

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Dark Chocolate Bottom Vanilla Bean Cream Pie

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Chocolate Dipped Seasonal Fruit

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Many new menu items can be made to suit special diets, just ask.  Many appetizers work well as entrees and visa versa, so be sure to mix and match as you like!

Thanks for looking!

Grain-free Bread Recipe – Ready to go!

November 5, 2012

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Exciting test kitchen day!  I still offer the Gluten-free Cranberry Nut Artisan Bread, but now I have a great, entirely grain-free bread that’s perfect for sandwiches and suitable for diabetic dietary needs.  This one turned out moist and delicious!  It’s 8g. Protein per bun and only 10 carbs vs. the 41 carbs of a normal wheat sub.  Next time you need some buns for wheat-free or diabetic friends and family to eat at your function, I can offer these delicious buns.  Good luck keeping the wheat-eaters away from them!

Pie Palooza!

October 26, 2012

Pie Palooza!

November 4th at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Nutshell will be donating six of the new Black Bottom Vanilla Bean Cream pies.

What is Pie Palooza?

A delicious Sunday brunch which includes:

Your choice of two slices of scrumptious sweet or savory pies baked by area chefs using local products; plus a farm-fresh salad; and beverages.

Chefs and bakers all over town dream up special sweet and savory pie recipes for this annual celebration of all things pie. The hardest part is deciding which slices to try!

All proceeds from Pie Palooza support REAP Food Group programs, which promote the inclusion of healthy, local, sustainably grown foods in schools, restaurants, food stores and home kitchens.

Tickets at above address.  Seatings from 9:30am – 1:30pm

Graduation Party Special!

April 23, 2012

In May and June of 2012, Nutshell is offering a Graduation Party Special which includes a buffet of one meaty and one veggie choice of sandwich, fresh fruit, veggie platter, spinach cheese bites, Ranch or Egyptian Lemon Tahini dip, and four types of dessert bars.  You receive all this for $12 per person with a 12 person minimum.  $10 to deliver and set-up or pick up at our kitchen on Madison’s East side for free.  Check with nutshellcatering@gmail.com for date availability.  Congratulations Graduates!

 

Winter Hibernation Specials

January 13, 2012

10 person minimum per item ordered

Herb infused pork ribs from Willow Creek Farm served with Winter Squash Fritters, Sauerkraut, and Wheat-free Cranberry Bread $20

Potato Pierogis made with onions and potatoes from Primrose Farm and Hook’s cheddar served with caramelized onions, organic spinach apple salad with red currant vinaigrette, and Winter squash rolls $16

Warm Quinoa and Black Beans with corn and bell peppers from the summer harvest, sundried tomatoes, and scallions, served with salsa and avocado topping,  chai stewed pears and artisan wheat bread. $14

Three Cake Choices for $30 each, serves 14+
Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
Peanut Butter Bundt with Chocolate Ganache
Wheat-free Almond Orange Cake with Orange Glaze

Cookie Platter with your choice of frosted cut-outs, vegan walnut jam-prints, wheat-free pistachio cookies, espresso chocolate cookies, or chocolate chip shortbread $15/dozen

How to: Chocolate Creme Brulee

January 7, 2011

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, reduced by half

Coconut milk reducing on the stove

Begin by simmering the coconut milk in a medium sized, heavy sauce pan on the stove.

Reduced, thick coconut milk w/vanilla bean

Use medium heat and reduce stirring occasionally until you can see by the markings on the side of the pan that you have half the amount of liquid you had when you began.  Add the scrapings of one vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped. Also add 3 C. Heavy Cream or 3 C. Half and Half bring back to a simmer.

Whisking in hot cream


Next, separate the yolks from the whites of six large eggs.  Set the whites aside in the fridge for other uses (egg white omelets, low fat baking, etc.).  Place the yolks in a large bowl and whisk while slowly ladling in the hot coconut cream mixture.  Keep whisking as you do, to prevent curdling the eggs.

weighed chocolate and sugar

Weigh 6 oz. of dark chocolate and 4 oz. of granulated sugar to have at the ready.

Whisk the weighed chocolate and sugar into the hot egg cream.  Continue to slowly stir until melted, do not whisk too vigorously, to prevent air bubbles from forming.

melting

Ready to go!

Place into 10-12 ramekins, 5-6 oz. size ramekins work well.

Placed in pan for cooking

Place water halfway up the sides of the dishes with the dishes placed in a large pan with sides.  Cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until set in the middle.  If the custard center is only slightly jiggly, it will continue to cook and set up after removed from the oven.  If the center is completely firm, it may become a bit cracked as it cools.  The pan should not be allowed to become dry as these cook, so when checking for doneness, carefully add water to the side of the pan.

cooling custards

Remove cooked custards from the pan to slowly cool to room temperature.  At this point, you may either refrigerate each for later use, or finish with the brulee torch to serve while slightly warm.

Slice bananas and arrange as you wish, then sprinkle the bananas and custard with coarse or raw sugar.  Use your creme brulee torch to create a crisp warm caramel crust overtop the custard.

Enjoy!

Enjoy your final product!  This batch should make 10-14 depending upon the size of the ramekin.  If you are not eating shortly after you bake, you can wrap each and refrigerate doing the final step before serving.

www.nutshellcatering.com


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