|Roasted carrots and parsnips|
First on the agenda was to introduce participants to some new ways to prepare fall produce. Jenny sliced and roasted beets, carrots, parsnips, and a butternut squash while Maggie tore up fresh kale and mustard greens to make a roasted fall vegetable salad. While the veggies were roasting Jenny taught us how to make a rubbed kale salad (you simply pour a little olive oil on your greens, kale and mustard for us, sprinkle a little coarse salt over it all and massage the greens for several minutes to tenderize them, no cooking involved!) which is as easy as can be. The salad came together quickly, roasted veggies topped the greens and then it was finished off with a homemade honeyed cider vinaigrette, and oh my was it ever delicious!
|Maggie and Jenny prepping veggies|
Next up were a couple of pizzas using tomatoes and herbs from the garden. Many of our participants have been dehydrating tomatoes this summer so we wanted to cook something that would include these delicious slices, and pizza was the perfect thing. We also had many participants growing herbs this summer, but they had no idea how to incorporate them into their cooking, so we decided to top our pizzas with some tasty basil pesto, really who can resist fresh pesto? Maggie made our pizza crusts with her go to quick and easy whole wheat dough recipe and we topped them with several variations of the tomatoes, pesto, and cheeses.
Last on the menu for the night was a second preparation of beets called rubies and pasta. Beets get such a bad name and are disliked by so many people, but Maggie and I are both staunch believers in the amazing deliciousness of beets, so we set out to try to change at least a couple of non beet believers and I think we may have been successful thanks to this dish! Rubies and pasta, a classic Italian dish, was completely new to me, so I was interested to see how it would turn out. Jenny roasted several more beets chopped them into small chunks, cooked them with a bit of garlic, olive oil, and red pepper, mixed them with pasta, garnished it all with some fresh basil and left us all with mouths watering, ready to eat.
So we all sat down to enjoy our meal (salad, pizza, pasta, and zucchini cake to top it off, really who can complain about that!) and to talk about fall gardens, food preservation and the many other fun conversations that a good meal can bring about. All in all I think we all learned something new and went home excited to try out some new recipes, I know at least I did!
|Maggie is ready to eat!|
Coarse salt and ground peppers
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 packed cups basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
|Pizza w/ dried tomatoes and pesto|
|A beautiful salad|
Cook pasta according to package directions and then drain, reserving ¼ cup of cooking water. In a skillet or pot large enough to hold pasta and beets, heat the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the red pepper, garlic, and chopped beets. Stir until garlic has softened , but not browned, and beets are heated through. Stir in cooked pasta, and add the reserved cooking water a tablespoon at a time of pasta is too dry. Remove from heat and top with chopped herbs and parmesan cheese.