Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

WELCOME TO OUR ALMANAC! READ ABOUT ALL THINGS ECO FROM ORGANIC VEGGIE
GARDEN TIPS TO GREEN FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

It's grilling season, and we're breaking out the grill for the upcoming weekend.  However, this season I've been excited to try on a few less typical barbecue flavors on.  With the recent addition in my life of naan and pitas, Indian foods and flavors, traditionally baked in extremely hot tandoor ovens are a natural first step. 

A slew of strong spices come together and are mixed with yogurt to produce a strong spice and keep this skinless grilled chicken dish moist and full of flavor.  We serve ours on a bed of grilled fresh green beans, straight from the garden and alongside steamed rice or homemade naan.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

1 whole fryer chicken cut into pieces or 4-6 pieces bone-in chicken with the skin removed
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 dry red chili, crushed

1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken pieces in a shallow bowl or dish and prick the flesh with a fork on both sides. In a separate bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and all of the dry spices into a thick marinade. Pour marinade over chicken and spread to coat both sides. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Brush with olive oil before flipping. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, flipping one more time before pulling off the grill. Juices should run clear.

Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with grilled or steamed vegetables and naan.

Makes 4 - 6 servings. 

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Panko Asparagus Fries

I'm reveling in the warm weather, soaking my toes in it as long as possible and loving every single minute of it. Just two days ago, I was driving to meet a friend and was blown away by how quickly the weather can change. What was cold and gray with no signs of life a few weeks ago has changed to a forest of green: the grass, the leaves, the plants popping up from the ground.

At our farmers market, one of the first things to show up on vendor stands (besides plants for the garden, which I stocked up on last week) is the asparagus, so crisp and fresh you can snap into it raw and eat the tender spears like carrots. Nothing can beat fresh-from-the-market asparagus.

We baked our asparagus in a crunchy breading and served them up in place of traditional fries alongside grilled fare. They were bright and easy and the perfect springtime substitute. 

Panko Asparagus Fries

1 bunch thin fresh asparagus spears

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

Black pepper

1½ cups panko bread crumbs

½ cup shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Rinse and pat dry asparagus spears. Snap asparagus ends off. (Ends can be saved to make a wonderful vegetable broth!)

In a shallow dish, beat together eggs, Dijon, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine panko and Parmesan. One at a time, dip asparagus spears into the egg mixture and then roll in the panko, lining them up on the baking sheet about ½" apart until full.

Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove from oven and serve with aioli for dipping.

My children love artichokes. I realize this seems a bit of an odd thing to proclaim, but it is decidedly true in our house. My four-year-old daughter will bat her eyelashes and flash the puppy dog eyes at us next to the stand. "Please can we buy the ar-jokes today, please?" 

It's gotten to the point where they have turned to begging for them even when they're not in season. (I cannot complain, as artichokes are a naturally fat and cholesterol free food, a good source of vitamin C and high in fiber.) My kids are somewhat distracted by the marinated varieties that grace our pastas and become creamy dips during the holidays, but only once spring rolls in and fresh artichokes are basted on the grill or roasted in the oven are they truly satisfied.

My favorite way to eat artichokes is with a dipping sauce, either aioli or hollandaise. Aioli is gorgeous made from scratch, but you can cheat by adding lemon juice and garlic to mayonnaise, too. Do you have a favorite way that you serve artichokes?

 

Roasted Artichokes with Hollandaise

Artichokes:

4 artichokes (3-4″ in diameter)
1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375° F. Rinse the artichokes and peel off the outer petals of the globe. Cut the stem to a short nub. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the lemon into the water, saving the halves. Cut 1" off the tip of the artichoke. Rub the cut pieces with the lemon halves and then submerge the entire artichoke in the lemon water.

When all the artichokes are prepped, drain and place stem side down in a baking dish. Pour ¼ cup water into the bottom and drizzle artichokes with olive oil. Roast uncovered for 50-55 minutes. Serve with hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise:

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Start a small amount of water simmering for a double boiler. Using electric beaters or a whisk, beat together egg yolks and lemon juice in a double boiler off heat until thick and the volume doubles. Place the double boiler over the simmering water and whisk rapidly. Slowly drizzle in melted butter while whisking until all the butter is added and the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat and add in cayenne and salt. Serve with roasted artichokes.

Editor’s Note: Artichokes are a wonderful spring vegetable that can be grown in nearly every climate of the United States. For another idea of how to cook with artichokes, check out Shaina’s Grilled Lemon, Asparagus and Artichoke Spring Pasta recipe.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Sources Cited: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, VegetableGardener.com

These are three of our favorite smoothie recipes that we can’t get enough of. They’re the perfect exclamation point to the start of the spring season. Enjoy!

Blueberry Smoothies 

Sweet blueberries plus tangy lemon yogurt—what a tasty treat any time of the day! This recipe features our Cascadian Farm organic frozen blueberries!

 

Creamy Peach Smoothies 

It takes just four ingredients to make these luscious yogurt-peach smoothies. Try them with our Cascadian Farm organic frozen peaches!

 

Spa Smoothies 

Wonderfully sweet and creamy describes these smoothies that you will make again and again. (They feature our Cascadian Farm organic frozen strawberries.)

 

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments box below or on our Facebook wall!

Something about the greening of the grass in my backyard spurs the urge to make brunch. Where cold and gray winter mornings have me reaching for a bowl of warm oatmeal, I'm now craving crêpes or a spinach omelet eaten in the morning sun with the day still ahead, just as the summer is yet to come.

It's such cravings that lead to the production of 80 cinnamon rolls as I search for the one I am dreaming of. Of course, now armed with the recipe, it's only right that we should tinker a bit, and what came next was the spreading of blueberry preserves, tucked into an ever-so-lightly lemon-dusted dough and baked into fist-sized puffs of breakfast heaven.

These lemon blueberry rolls take a traditional cinnamon roll dough and introduce it to the brightness of lemon zest and a filling of blueberry preserves. They are a fun and unexpected twist on the classic.

 

Lemon Blueberry Rolls

1 ¼ cups whole milk

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

 

 

 

For the filling:

10 oz Cascadian Farm Blueberry Fruit Spread

 

Before baking:

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

 

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 teaspoons milk

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

 

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Turn the burner off and add  butter, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Stir to combine, then continue stirring until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to sit until it reaches between 110º and 120º F. Add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes, until it turns frothy. 

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and start adding the flour a ½ cup at a time. Once all the flour is incorporated, cover and let it rise in the bowl for one full hour. Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Spread the blueberry preserves over the entire surface and roll into a long tube. Cut 1 1/2" sections from the tube for the rolls. Place 2” apart on a parchment-lined sheet or in a baking dish. Allow to rise for 45-60 minutes. The dough will continue to rise after you put it in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 425º. Beat together egg and water and brush over the tops of the rolls. Bake for 8-12 minutes, remove from oven.

Mix together all glaze ingredients. Drizzle lightly over warm rolls. Serve warm or up to 24 hours later if stored in an airtight container.

 

Makes 20 cinnamon rolls.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

When the air starts warming and the grass starts greening, we all start planning and prepping for summer nights with dinner eaten outside in the middle of our backyard gardens. I have been devising ways to make the process easier, and to refrain from balancing plates on knees and trying to cut food with dull knives. The solution? Put everything on a skewer.

Yakitori is a marinated meat that's grilled at fairly high temperatures on the grill. The skewers make it a perfect outdoor dining food with no utensils needed. We serve ours alongside skewered and grilled pineapple and vegetables.

Note: I opt for free-range chicken breast and all organic ingredients, and encourage you to do the same.

Yakitori

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons molasses or buckwheat honey

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2-3 lbs free-range chicken breasts, cut into strips (or chicken tenders)

Bamboo skewers

 

Mix together soy sauce, molasses/honey, mirin, ginger, garlic and white pepper in a shallow dish or zip-top bag. Add chicken breast pieces and marinate for at least four hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

When you're ready to grill the chicken, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Heat the grill to 400 º F (medium-high setting). Remove the chicken from the marinade and slide the chicken pieces onto the bamboo skewers. Place the skewered chicken on the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the skewer and baste with leftover marinade, grilling for an additional 1-2 minutes. Flip again and continue until chicken is cooked through and no pink remains when you cut into a piece. Total cooking time should be around 7-8 minutes, but will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces. 

Remove chicken skewers from the grill and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

The sun has finally been showing its face in my neighborhood, and slowly but surely, the snow is starting to melt. While the temperatures are nowhere near the shoulder-baring variety, they are warm enough to allow us to spend a few hours outside, even if it is only to pick up the debris from a long winter and get started cleaning out long dormant gardens.

With spring underway and summer around the corner, it's time to start thinking about picnics and summertime entertaining, and what better way to do it than with a few finger food dessert options, like mini cheesecakes with a hint of honey and the burst of summer blueberries

 

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 egg

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup Cascadian Farm Frozen Blueberries

2 teaspoons honey

24 mini phyllo shells

1 cup heavy cream

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in ¼ cup honey, lemon rind and egg and beat. Stir in sour cream. Set aside. Over medium heat, warm blueberries and 2 teaspoons of honey in a saucepan until soft and juicy. Using an immersion blender, blend into a lumpy syrup. Add in ½ cup of the mixture to the cheesecake batter and stir to combine. Reserve remaining blueberry sauce.

Fill phyllo shells with cheesecake batter, just slightly below the top. Bake at 350º F for 15- 0 minutes until centers are set. Remove from oven and cool.

Just before serving, beat together 2 tablespoons blueberry sauce with the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto the mini cheesecakes and garnish with a single blueberry and grated lemon rind.

Makes 24 mini cheesecake bites.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

I have a system of grocery shopping where I've figured out the products and brands I trust, and which stores to shop at in order to purchase them. So when I walk into my store of choice, go to the aisle to purchase the extra-soft, pliable pitas for gyros and hummus-dipping and find them sold out, well, a mini-crisis occurs in my head.

After a few weeks of hunting around in different stores, I was still pita-less and my need to whip together a bowl of hummus was steadily increasing. The desire to make my own pitas, born out of my love for hummus and gyros, was realized on the back steps of my house.

The problem I found in making my own pitas was that I wanted the bendable kind like you wrap your falafel or your gyros in, as opposed to the bubble-pocket pitas that you cut in half and fill. Most recipes lean towards the latter. Still, I persevered and my persistence paid off in soft, warm pita rounds that were perfect for dipping in hummus or filling with grilled vegetables and tzatziki sauce.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

1½ cups warm water, 110 degrees

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups whole-wheat flour

1-3 tablespoons olive oil

Pour warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and sugar and allow to stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Mix flours together. Add flour to the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all the flour is added, turn the mixture out onto an oiled surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover. Let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. 

When the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350º F. Punch down the dough and knead lightly to form a ball. Split into 6-8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball of dough into a ¼"-thick circle. Place dough on baking sheets covered in parchment or silicone baking mats and poke lightly with a fork.

Bake at 350º F on the lowest rack in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely and store until ready to use. Just before serving, lightly oil both sides of each pita round and heat on a grill, flat griddle, or in a frying pan over medium heat for 30-60 seconds per side, just until warm and easily pliable. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 pita rounds.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Maple-Baked Fruit Parfaits

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 cinnamon stick

Pinch of salt

2 apples, pears, quince, peaches or other similar fruit

1/4 cup nuts

1 cup Greek yogurt or gelato/custard

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

In a small casserole pan or baking dish, add the butter. Place the dish into the oven for the butter to melt as the oven preheats. Slice your fruit in half. If using a stone fruit like peaches, remove the pit. Seeded fruits can have the seeds removed now or after baking.

If using a vanilla bean, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the melted butter. If using a cinnamon stick, break in half and add that to the pan. Stir in maple syrup. Place fruit halves cut side down in the pan and return the pan to the oven.

Bake the fruit at 400º until soft, about 25-30 minutes for pears and apples and slightly less time for peaches. Remove from oven and immediately remove the fruit, placing on serving dishes. Tilt the pan up to combine maple syrup with fruit juices that were baked out. Add nuts to the mixture and stir to coat. Scoop yogurt or ice cream into the fruit halves and then add the nut mixture to the top while still warm. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 fruit halves.


Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Chocolate O's S'mores Bars

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups organic marshmallows**

4 ½ cups Cascadian Farm Chocolate O's cereal

1/3 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chunks

Grease an 8"-square pan. In a large saucepan melt the butter together with the marshmallow. When it is completely melted and hot, stir in the Chocolate O's with a greased spatula. Stir in chocolate chunks and pour out into the prepared pan. Press down with greased hands or waxed paper.

Allow to set. Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 25 bars when cut 5x5.

**Organic marshmallow crème (7 ounces) can also be used in this recipe in place of marshmallows. Since they differ a bit from brand to brand, try a small test batch first to ensure butter to crème ratio.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Hi friends! Whether you’re truly Irish or not, it’s always fun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. And since it’s right around the corner, we thought we’d share some recipes with you that would be perfect to whip up on Thursday to add a little green to the table.

Creamy Corn and Broccoli Chowder

Green Beans with Almonds

Asparagus Risotto

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

One of my favorite breakfasts is nothing more than yogurt, berries and almonds. I generally just plop all of it down in a cup and never think twice. However, I still remember the breakfast parfait I ordered one morning at a small whole foods place in Chicago, served in a tall parfait glass.

It's funny how things like the glass it's served in can leave such a lasting effect on the memory. The amazing granola and fresh berries didn't hurt much either.

Something about Cascadian farm's new Chocolate O's cereal made me instantly want to eat it with yogurt. No, it's not granola, but it has this distinct flavor and crunch that can stand up to a mix of berries and yogurt, and besides, it's chocolate for breakfast.

Chocolate Breakfast Parfait

½ cup Cascadian Farm Chocolate O's cereal

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

½ cup Cascadian Farm Frozen Berries

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

In your favorite glass (because presentation is everything) layer ¼ cup Chocolate O's, ¼ cup yogurt and ¼ cup berries. Repeat. Drizzle with honey, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 chocolate breakfast parfait.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

In our house, dinner is a family affair. We gather to cook. We gather to eat. Still, kids are kids, and being kids, their likes and dislikes can change on a minute-by-minute basis. Foods that may interest them in one setting may be found repulsive in the next. It's a constant guessing game.

To keep them motivated to continue exploring their world and developing a healthy relationship with food, we get them involved at every corner and try to incorporate the ability to make their own choices into meals where appropriate as well. While they may not be able to choose everything about a given meal throughout the week, giving them control over certain aspects of what they eat has been very beneficial in staving off food struggles during family dinner.

One such example is to have a family pizza night. Pizza night has long been a favorite of mine. Pizza acts as a catchall for any leftover scraps from the week before, emptying the fridge for a big trip to the farmers' market, co-op and grocery store on the weekend. Leek and potato on a pizza? Why not? Bacon, scallions and Gruyere? Of course.

Put out bowls of all the leftover bits and pieces, fry up a bit of bacon and set out leftover ham and chicken and pizza night goes from ordinary pepperoni to works of art that help get the kids involved in the process of feeding themselves.

No Fail Pizza Crust

Don't have the time to let the pizza dough rise? No bother. This one works great even without the rise time . You'll get a chewier crust with a crisp bottom, more akin to a New York thin crust, which may be what you prefer anyway.

1 cup water at 110 degrees F

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons dried herbs (optional)

3 cups all-purpose flour (I use an unbleached white wheat blend)

In a medium bowl place warm water and sprinkle with yeast. Allow to rest for 5 minutes until the yeast is frothy and then stir it in along with the olive oil, salt and herbs. Star adding in the flour, a ½ cup at a time, mixing in with a fork thoroughly after each addition. When all the flour has been added, turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until smooth.

Place the dough back into the bowl and cover, allowing it to rise in a warm place for about an hour. (See note above. You can skip this part when low on time or if you're looking for a different style crust.)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. When the dough has risen, punch it down and split it into 8 equal balls (you can also roll out 2 larger pizzas). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into ¼"-thick disks.

Sprinkle baking sheets with cornmeal and place the rolled dough on top. Have everyone top their circle with their favorite sauce and toppings. Bake at 475º F for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Makes (8) 6-7" pizzas or (2) 14-16" pizzas.

Hello Friends! As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, we're surely seeing signs that spring is on its way. Before we know it we will be back outside getting our hands dirty again. Can't wait! Until then, we've been doing anything we can to get ourselves in the spring state of mind. What better to get you thinking warm weather than popsicles? Recently we made some homemade popsicles using our grape juice concentrate and they couldn't have been sweeter. We thought we would share the recipe to get you thinking spring. They're extremely easy to make and are a surefire way to get your family out of the winter blues. Enjoy!

Things You'll Need:

• 1 can Cascadian Farm grape juice concentrate

• Plastic wrap

• Toothpicks

• Two ice cube trays

Instuctions:

1. Make the grape juice from concentrate.

2. Fill each tray with grape juice. Leave about 1/8-inch from the top of each cube.

3. Cover the trays tightly with plastic wrap. The top of the wrap should be taut.

4. Insert toothpicks through the plastic wrap into each cube. Make sure the sticks are standing as straight as possible.

5. Freeze the ice cube trays for at least three hours.

6. Remove the plastic wrap and gently pull the frozen grape juice cubes out of the tray.

7. Place on a plate and enjoy!

Recipe from: www.ehow.com

Photo by Daehyun Park

Repeat after me: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's been drilled into your head for years, right? I need no more convincing. I love breakfast. Oatmeal. Granola. Smoothies. Pancakes. Muffins. Eggs. Whether they're baked into a frittata or scrambled, fried or rolled.

Sure, you could roll your eggs into a fluffy omelet, but here in our house we're all about fuss free rolling. They come together quickly and easily, making them perfect for our large family. Excuse the running of the eggs. Our griddle is broken and slants.

Rolled Omelet

olive oil

6 large eggs

1-2 tablespoons half and half or milk

½ teaspoon salt

Your favorite fillings: cheese, vegetables, meat, herbs, salsa

Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add in half and half and salt. Beat well with fork until all whites are completely broken up and mixed in.

Heat griddle or large skilled with rounded sides to medium heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Pour out about 2/3-cup worth of the egg mix onto the griddle. Immediately sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of filling just off center. Using an offset spatula, flip the closest side of the egg over the filling. Continue rolling until you reach the end of the egg. Flip onto plate and serve immediately.

Makes 3 rolled eggs.

Photo and video by Shaina Olmanson

Hello friends! A couple weeks ago we asked you to send us your favorite recipes that incorporate granola. We were overwhelmed at the response we got! So many wonderful recipes were posted, many of them were extremely creative, too. Looks like we can learn a thing or two about cooking from some of you.

There were so many great recipes, but we only have room to highlight a few. Thanks again for sharing your recipes with us. They sound delicious!

CHEWY GRANOLA COOKIES

Yield: 5 dozen

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups granola cereal

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

In large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir in remaining ingredients except granola; mix until smooth. Stir in 3 cups granola. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, roll into a ball & roll in the remaining 1/2 cup granola. Place two inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

BANANA BREAKFAST

Take 1/2 banana and top with:

2 tbsp almond/peanut butter

1 tbsp honey

1/3 cup dark chocolate almond granola

 

OATS and HONEY YOGURT

Peach Yogurt

Oats & Honey Granola

Pecans

Peaches

Blueberries

Combine Oats and Honey Granola with Peach Yogurt. Top it off with some pecans, sliced peaches and blueberries. Yum! If you have a granola recipe you make at home and would like to share it, post it to the comments section below.

 

SWEET JERK CHICKEN

Oats & Honey Granola

Nuts

Flax seed

Cornstarch

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

Cumin

Curry

Combine Oats & Honey Granola with nuts and flax seed and chop it into a crumble. Mix with cornstarch, salt , pepper, cayenne, cumin and curry for a sweet and spicy crunch coating!

If you have any more granola recipes to share with us, feel free to leave them in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Photo by Average Jane

I don't bake very often because we don't eat many sweets at home, so when I do, I try to make it worthwhile. I tend to go all out and over the top, like apple pie cheesecake. Plain cheesecake just won't do, and apple pie alone is only apple pie, after all. It should be no surprise, then, that when making peanut butter cookies, I didn't just make peanut butter cookies.

My kids have been going through peanut butter and jelly deprivation since they attend a peanut- and tree-nut-free school. It seemed only right to deliver their peanut butter and jelly fix in whole wheat cookie form. For these cookies I used a whole wheat pastry flour and sucanat as my sugar of choice. You can substitute whole cane sugar or maple sugar as well.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

1 cup peanut butter

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup whole cane sugar or sucanat

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:

½ cup Cascadian Farm Fruit Spread

Beat together peanut butter, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture, scraping the bowl halfway through. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Roll dough into 1/2"-3/4" balls and place on lined baking sheets and press down lightly. Bake at 350º F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Heat the fruit spread in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the jam is melted, turn the burner off and allow it to cool slightly. Line up half of the peanut butter cookies with the bottom side facing up. Place a drop of jam, about a teaspoon's worth, in the center of each. Top with a second peanut butter cookie.

Makes about 25 sandwich cookies.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

As soon as I woke up this morning I knew it would be a soup day. It was cold and rainy and I was feeling a little off, groggy. After a full morning of chasing my enthusiastic toddler, I was exhausted and achy. As much as I wanted to lay down when he did for his nap, I knew I would be happy come 5 o’clock if I had dinner already made. I always crave hearty soups and stews on “cold days” - either cold outside or when I feel a cold coming on and today was both. So I decided to make one of my stand bys – lentil soup. It’s easy, delicious and calls for ingredients I always have on hand. About an hour later, I sat down to enjoy a bowl and recharge…just as my son woke up. But that’s okay, later we enjoyed a bowl together and it gave me the fuel I needed to get through the rest of the day.

 

Lentil Soup

  • 1 large organic yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 organic carrots, cut in half lengthwise then chopped
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 ½ cups of reduced-sodium free range organic chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 3 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (can be omitted for vegetarians, substitute 1 tbsp of olive oil to cook onions & carrots)

 

  1. In a large pot with a lid, cook bacon until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain grease, reserving 1 tablespoon in pot.
  2. Add onion and carrots to bacon; cook until softened. Stir in garlic. Add tomato paste, and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add thyme, lentils, chicken broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 30-45 minutes until lentils are tender.

Stir in vinegar, season with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve with crusty bread – I love it with multi-grain sourdough.

 

Photo by Kari Burks

Soup for me is a winter essential. I eat it for lunch regularly, and when I'm not eating it for lunch, I'm making up batches to serve for dinner with bread, still warm from the oven, which I liberally dunk into my bowl. If I could, I'd probably start eating it for breakfast as well, but I think I'd miss eggs and toast.

This winter with it snowing every other day and then dropping below zero on the off days – okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much – I find myself craving chili, but not the typical vegetarian chili that's laden with zucchini and dressed up with corn or mushrooms. I want a chili to eat daily, but one that doesn't taste like vegetable stew impersonating chili.

This vegetarian chili variety is the kind that looks exactly like my regular beef or steakhouse chili would, just without the steak. It's thick and held together with two types of beans and spiced up with a jalapeño and a bit of cayenne, more if you like it hot, but it's just runny enough that you could dip a piece of bread in it and it would soak in and stick to it. It's a chili that I can happily sit down to lunch with.

 

Simple Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tomatoes, diced

2 jalapeños, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups vegetable broth

3 cups kidney beans, cooked

1 ½ cups navy beans, cooked

Salt and pepper

 

In a 5- or 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in diced onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onions are transparent, about 7 minutes. Add in garlic, stir and then add in the tomatoes and jalapeños. Add in chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour in crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth and both types of beans. Simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve however you like your chili: topped with cheese, sour cream, diced onions, fresh cilantro, whatever's your personal favorite.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

In my previous post on how to make your own pain au levain from scratch, the recipe makes two loaves. If you're anything like my family, you probably will eat one loaf and the other will eventually go stale as it sits on the counter.

For those times when we just can't eat it fast enough, we resort to making some of our favorite meals with stale bread. It quickly becomes croutons or is sliced into pieces for a French toast bake. Stale bread is also good for strata and egg bakes and, well, bread puddings, which is where I plan to go today.

A good bread pudding, one that's sufficiently soaked with milk and sugar and plump, juicy raisins served steaming from the oven is a perfect winter dessert. Top it with a bit of brandy cream sauce, and you have a dish fit for guests or your next dinner party.

 

Brandy Bread Pudding

1 loaf pain au levain or any crusty bread, cubed (7-8 cups)

½ cup raisins

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup dark brown sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons brandy

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Add bread cubes and raisins to a large bowl. Whisk together milk, cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla, brandy, cinnamon and salt. Pour milk mixture over bread cubes and raisins. Stir to combine and allow to sit for one hour at room temperature. Pour into a greased 9x13" pan.

Remove bake from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the center of the bread pudding is set and bounces back when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Slice into squares and serve topped with brandied whipped cream.

 

Brandied Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon brandy

 

Using hand beaters or a whisk, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in brandy and serve.

 

Photo  by Shaina Olmanson

In September I took on the task of making my own sourdough starter, and ever since I've been obsessed with the act of making bread. Something about the process has been rather meditative. Plus, there's something about the smell and taste of fresh baked bread that just doesn't compare to store-bought. Here are a few things to know as you get started:

  • Be sure to use your eyes. If it has been the allotted rising time, but the dough hasn't risen, let it sit longer.
  • Invest in a kitchen scale. Flours change in moisture levels as they sit on shelves, which can mess with their cup measurement. A scale will provide more accurate measurements.
  • Practice makes perfect. Starters die, dough doesn't always rise, the crust is too hard or not crusty enough. Don't let mishaps get you down. Bread baking is an art, and with time you'll get better at the crafting of it.

Pain au Levain adapted from Makanai

¾ cup (210 g) sourdough starter (80% hydration)

1 ¾ cups (420 ml) water

3 1/3 cups (500 g) whole wheat bread/pastry flour

1 ¼ cups (130 g) rye flour

2 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

 

Mix together the sourdough starter, water and flours in a glass mixing bowl. Let it stand covered at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Using a stand mixer or by hand, add salt and mix until dough starts to become smooth and uniform in texture. Fold the dough four times and let rest. Repeat this folding and resting every 15 minutes for one hour.

Place the dough in a bread bowl or mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise one hour in a warm place. Push the dough down in the center, remove dough and fold four sides into the center. Turn the dough over so the seams are on the bottom. Form into one or two loaves, either oval or round. You could also divide dough between bread pans, if desired, filling 2/3 full. Place on dough baking sheet or on paddle. Cover with a towel and let them rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until dough is doubled.

Preheat the oven to 435º F. Slash the dough lengthwise just off center and dust with a bit of flour. Place dough in oven on baking stone with a pie plate filled with ¾ cup of water just beneath it. Closing immediately. Bake for 45 minutes. Dough should be 200º F when finished cooking. Allow to cool before eating.

Makes 2 loaves.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Here at the Cascadian Farm blog, we always look forward to providing you with more of the stories, tips, and recipes that help you on your path toward organic living. As we count down toward 2011, we joyfully look back at your favorite recipes of 2010. These are the recipes that you all enjoyed the most based on the wonderful comments we received.

5. Almond Butter Honey Nut O's Bars: This update on traditional cereal bars including Cascadian Farm Honey Nut Os cereal, and many ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.


4. Vanilla Blueberry Almond Bread: How can you go wrong with such tasty ingredients? Some of you even made this one into muffins for a sweet breakfast treat! If you can’t find fresh organic blueberries this time of the year, look for our Cascadian Farm frozen organic blueberries in your grocery’s freezer section.


3. Lemon Quinoa Salad with Feta and Wilted Spinach: This quinoa salad is not only a great option for our gluten-free friends, it is also a delicious spring meal or side for everyone!


2. Avocado Wraps: Perfect for kids and adults alike, this quick meal packs avocados and cranberries into a tortilla. Some readers suggested substituting hummus or bean dip for the cream cheese and romaine leaves for the tortilla… both great ideas!

And our number one recipe of 2010:



1. Steamed Apple & Blueberry Ice Cream Topping: No surprises here… who doesn’t love ice cream? Some of you even used this recipe to top waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal, making it perfect for any time of day!

 

What were some of your favorite recipes of 2010? Did you try any of the ones listed above?

The table is busy, with arms in the air passing dishes and receiving others. Everyone is vying for the creamy one with the golden brown top. It's been baking for at least the last 2 hours, but waiting through the smell has made the minutes long and fluid, and the moment has arrived to finally taste it. Hastily, you dig the spoon in deep and claim a corner of the potato pie for yourself, as does everyone else.

Potatoes au gratin are one of those classic dishes with several variations. Mine is light on the cheese and spruced up a bit for Christmas with fragrant herbs. My favorite for this time of year is rosemary, as there's usually rosemary somewhere else on the table, and it pairs well with the other flavors of the season like oranges and cranberries.

 

Herbed Potatoes au Gratin

4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3 tablespoons fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, parsley), finely chopped

Kosher salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Rub the crushed garlic around the inside of the baking dish or dishes. You can choose to use a 2-quart dish or individual dishes for single-serve options. Set aside garlic. In the dish, place potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with rosemary, salt and pepper and then about 1 tablespoon of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Continue layering up the dish: potatoes, herbs and salt, cheese.

When all potatoes are layered evenly, pour cream over until it just comes to hit the very top of the top layer. You want the potatoes to be covered with cream, but they should not be floating. Place in the oven at 350º F and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until top is crispy and brown and cream has become creamy pockets and is no longer pooling. Smaller dishes will need slightly less baking time, approximately 20 minutes less. Halfway through the baking time, open the oven and push potatoes down under the cream again with the back of a spoon to ensure the cream is evenly distributed while baking. Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

It is definitely winter around these parts, and it's even more apparent as I used the last of the season's fresh apples I had stored this past weekend.  I'm still working my way through a stockpile of winter squash, however, as it stores a bit longer.

With the holiday season upon us, my mind is turning to gatherings and parties and lavish holiday meals, and with a pantry stocked full of dried cranberries for shortbread cookies, I suddenly found myself making an impromptu meal from one of those squash.  Whether you're looking to serve this for a holiday party or just have it for a warm dinner one winter night, this quinoa and squash combination will definitely satisfy. 

 

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Delicata Squash

2 delicata squash

Sea salt

Olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

½ cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 scallions, finely chopped

6 ounces chevre, cut into small ½" chunks*

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat oven to 375º F.  Rinse delicate squash and cut into ½"-thick rings.  Spritz or brush both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 375º F for 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat bring quinoa and water to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all water is absorbed and quinoa are slightly translucent with a tender bite about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add chopped scallions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add in cranberries and quinoa.  Remove from heat and add in chevre.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper as desired. 

When squash rings are done, scoop quinoa salad into the center and serve as a side dish or appetizer.  This can also be served as a vegetarian meal in larger portions.

 

*Vegan variation: Omit chevre and add toasted, chopped hazelnuts instead.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Here are five delicious organic appetizer recipes to try at your next gathering. Best of all, they won’t break the bank! After you’ve tried them, come back and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you!

Blackberry-Almond Bruschetta

Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Peach Salsa

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Asian Green Beans with Almonds

Corn and Black Bean Salad

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