Fresh Pumpkin Lasagna
Uses an 8 X 8 X 3 inch microwave safe pan with lid
6 uncooked lasagna noodles (about 1/3 pound - whole wheat or white - each noodle measuring about 12 X 3 inches)
1 1/2 pounds fresh Virginia pumpkin (peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes - about 4 cups)
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons butter (divided - margarine not recommended)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cracked black or brandied pepper
1 onion (cut in half and sliced - about 1/2 cup)
1 cup dry or extra dry white vermouth (vegetable broth maybe substituted)
3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat or all purpose)
2 cups milk (whole or 2% work best)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 generous handful fresh parsley (about 1 cup - finely chopped leaves only, no stems)
8 oz freshly shredded parmesan cheese (grated cheese that comes in the round green cans not recommended)
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and cool. Set aside.
Put pumpkin and water into a bowl. Cover and microwave until pumpkin is very soft - about 5 minutes.
While pumpkin is cooking, put 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil into a large frying pan and heat till butter melts. Add pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and limp. Do not brown. Add cooked pumpkin (plus any remaining water) and vermouth. Reduce heat and cook on low about 5 minutes (uncovered) while preparing sauce.
To prepare sauce, melt remaining butter in a medium size pot over low heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in milk, nutmeg and salt. Continue cooking and whisking sauce until mixture comes to the boil. Boil one minute then pour into pumpkin mixture. Add parsley. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
Butter pan or coat with cooking spray. Cut cooked noodles in half across the short side so you have 12 - six inch long noodles. Place 4 cut noodles in the bottom of the greased pan, 3 one way and 1 the other way, overlapping, to cover the bottom. Spread half the pumpkin mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with a generous handful of cheese - about1 cup. Add another layer of 4 cut noodles, remaining pumpkin mixture then another handful of cheese. Finish with the last 4 cut noodles and sprinkle remainder of cheese over top.
Microwave, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Remove cover (venting away from you) and let cool 5 minutes or so before cutting so lasagna can set.
Cook's tip: Substitute any winter squash for the pumpkin or use a combination.
Recipes courtesy of Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist. (Used by permission) For more, visit www.CheesecakeFarms.com
Hunt Country Apple Chutney
Makes about 3 cups
4 cups apples (about 4 three in apples - peeled, cored and cut into random 3/8 inch pieces)
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons grated fresh orange rind (no white pith)
2 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (5% acid strength)
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
Combine all ingredients in a large skillet (not cast iron). Cover. Bring to boil on high. Boil 1 minute. Remove cover. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until apples are translucent and mixture is syrupy - 10-15 minutes for soft apples, longer for firm apples.
Cook's tip: Firm apples like Granny Smith will hold their shape after cooking yielding chunky chutney. Soft apples like Macintosh or yellow delicious will yield a more mashed consistency.
Greek Apples and Honey
No cooking or baking required
6-8 Macintosh apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2-3 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
2-3 tablespoon walnuts (coarsely chopped or to taste)
Wash apples. Dry well. Peel, if desired, and core. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Toss with lemon juice. Arrange apple on serving platter. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.
Cook's tip: Walnuts really make this dish but you could use toasted sunflower seeds if you prefer.
A Dozen Ways To Turn A Turkey or Chicken Breast Into Dinner (or even dinner party) - Fast!
Fast, Basic Cooking Of Raw Turkey or Chicken Breasts - All Recipes
These recipes are free form. Cook as many breasts as you need.
Rinse turkey or chicken breasts under tepid running water. Drain. Pat dry with paper towels.
Heat a little butter or olive oil in a frying pan. Add breasts. Cook, covered, on medium heat until the chicken moves in the pan without sticking and is nicely browned on the bottom - about 5 minutes according to the thickness of the chicken. Turn chicken. Cook, covered, on second side until browned and cooked through - about 5 minutes more.
1. Quick Parmesan -After poultry is cooked, pour your favorite pasta sauce over poultry in pan. Top generously with shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover pan and heat till sauce is hot and cheese is melted.
2. Orange, Strawberry Salad - Slice cooled, cooked poultry and arrange on a bed of greens. Top with fresh orange slices (or use canned mandarin oranges that have been drained and rinsed) and some sliced, fresh strawberries when in season. Add some thinly sliced red onion, if desired. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
3. Mushroom Sauce - Serve cooked poultry breast on a bed of lightly steamed spinach. Top with quick mushroom sauce made by whisking 1/2 can milk into a can of cream of mushroom soup. Add a handful of thinly sliced, fresh mushrooms. Cook till hot and mushrooms are soft.
4. Caramelized Apples - Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. Add a little butter to pan (without washing out pan), let it melt and add some peeled, cored and sliced apples (allowing about 1 apple per person). Toss apples to coat. Cook, partially covered, until apples are very soft - about 5 minutes. Serve over cooked breasts.
5. Italian Peppers and Onions - Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. Add a little olive oil to pan and a clove or two of garlic. Heat. Add some sliced onion and cook, partially covered on medium, until soft - about 5 minutes. Add some bell pepper slices (red, green or yellow or combination). Toss with onions. Cover and continue cooking until soft. Serve over cooked chicken breasts.
6. Toasted Pecan - Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. Add a little butter to pan and some pecans. Cook, uncovered on medium, until pecans are fragrant - about 3 minutes. Serve over cooked breasts.
7. Greek - Leave cooked poultry in pan. Add a handful or two of fresh spinach (washed and still damp) and some pitted, sliced black olives. Cover. When it starts to wilt, add some feta cheese and replace cover. Heat until spinach is cooked and cheese is melted.
8. Capers and Madeira - Leave cooked breasts in pan. Add a little Madeira and some capers. Heat briefly.
9. Cranberry Apple - Cook breasts in butter. Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. For 4 cooked breasts, add 1 (12-16 oz.) can whole cranberry sauce to the pan and melt, whisking, on low until melted. Add some peeled, sliced, cored apples to pan (about 3 three inch apples) and 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and sauce is hot. Pour over cooked breasts.
10. Salsa - Leave cooked poultry in pan. Pour your favorite salsa over top. (I particularly like peach salsa). Cover pan and heat through.
11. Black Bean and Cheese - Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. Add some refried beans (and a little water, if necessary) or canned black beans (partially drained) to pan and heat. Put cooked breasts on hot beans. Top with cheese (Velveeta or provolone are nice). Cover and heat till cheese melts. Serve on a bed of rice, corn or crispy romaine lettuce, if desired.
12. Coconut Curry - Remove cooked breasts from pan and keep warm. Into pan whisk some coconut milk (canned) and a little red curry paste. Return breasts to pan and cook, partially covered until sauce is reduced by half. Sprinkle breasts with a little toasted coconut or grated orange peel to garnish.
Chilled, Herb Crusted Roast Loin of Pork
Serves 10-12 for hors d'oeuvres
4-5 pound loin of pork
1/4 cup sweet (mild) paprika
1 tablespoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons ground)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon ground, regular (fine) grind black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup apple butter (any type)
3 - 4 tablespoons bacon fat
Mist a baking pan with cooking spray then line with aluminum foil. Wash pork under tepid running water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Center pork in baking pan.
Stir everything (except bacon fat) together and spread over the entire pork loin (except bottom) as if you were frosting a cake.
Drape a piece of plastic wrap over frosted pork and refrigerate 2-6 hours. When ready to cook, remove pork from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Position oven rack so pork will roast in center. Preheat to 350 degrees. Roast pork, uncovered, in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Baste with melted bacon fat . Continue cooking roast till done. Total cooking time is about 25 minutes per pound.
Remove cooked pork from oven and cool 1/2 hour at room temperature and remove from pan. If any of the herb mixture falls off, use a knife to pat it back into place. Do not use any herb mixture that has burned onto pan.
Refrigerate roast, lightly covered, overnight. (The roast will look awful - like a dark log - but don't worry. When it's sliced, the dark herb crust is a beautiful and delicious contrast to the white meat.)
Next day, slice cold roast very thinly and arrange on serving platter. Serve chilled with white wine mustard (see accompanying recipe) and crusty bread or cocktail pumpernickel.
Cook's tip: The pan size for roasting is not important but a jelly roll pan (10 X1/4 X 15 X 1 inch) works well. Pans with sides higher than 1 inch may cause roasting time to be much longer.
White Wine Mustard Sauce
Serve this delightful mustard sauce with both the herb crusted loin of pork and the chilled turkey breast.
1 1/2 cups brown hot dog mustard
1/3 - 1/2 cup medium sweet, white Virginia wine
Whisk together, adding white wine to desired consistency.
Cooks tip: Make several days ahead to let flavors mellow.
Chilled Turkey Breast with White Wine Mustard Sauce
Serves 10-12 for hors d'oeuvres
1 whole turkey breast (4-6 pounds)
(Nothing else - really!)
Wash turkey under tepid running water. Drain. Put into slow cooker, cutting slightly to fit, if necessary. Cover. Set on high and cook 4-5 hours or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
Remove cooked turkey from cooker. Cool half an hour at room temperature then refrigerate, covered, overnight. Next day, slice into serving size pieces and arrange on serving platter. Serve with white wine mustard sauce and cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread.
White Pizza with Herbed Chevre and Tomato
Serves 10 - 12 as an hors d'oeuvre
1 (12 inch) baked, regular thickness pizza bread crust (like Boboli - not thin crust)
1/3 cup olive oil (divided)
1 (5-6 oz.) piece chevre (mild, fresh goat cheese)
1 (15-16 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese (see cook's tip below)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped and lightly packed to measure)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves (chopped and lightly packed to measure
1/2 cup pickled garlic (drained and coarsely chopped -see cook's tip 2 below)
4 plum tomatoes (sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds)
1 (4 inch long) yellow squash (sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds)
1/2 cup black olives (pitted and randomly sliced)
1 red onion (sliced in 1/8 inch thick rounds and separated into rings)
Coarse grind black or brandied pepper (to taste)
Cook's tip: For the creamiest pizza, choose a brand of ricotta that has no additives only milk, salt, enzymes and sometimes vinegar. You'll have to read dozens of labels but you'll find one eventually. It makes a big difference.
Cook's tip2: Pickled garlic is a wonderful mild tasting pickle that is so good you could eat it by the spoonful! It's available in the pickle section of most grocery stores and at gourmet shops. Do not use raw or bottled, chopped garlic. Both are entirely different from pickled garlic.
Catfish Spread, Brown Bread and White Wine Spiced Onions
1 pound fresh cat fish
Virginia white wine for poaching fish (use your favorite wine -about 1/2 a bottle)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion
2-3 tablespoons milk
Wash fish under tepid running water. Drain. Put wine into a skillet (not cast iron) to a depth of 3/4 inch. Add drained fish. Cover. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until well cooked - 10-15 minutes according to the thickness of the fish. (Fish will be done when it's opaque and flakes.)
Remove fish from the poaching liquid. Discard liquid. Cool fish slightly then refrigerate, covered, until well chilled - at least 2 hours but overnight is better.
Put chilled fish into the food processor. Add onion, cut into chunks. Pulse together until smooth - about 45 seconds.
Remove from processor and lighten mixture by stirring in a little milk (2-3 tablespoons) until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate until serving time then top with drained, white wine spiced onions. Serve with cocktail sized pumpernickel bread.
White Wine Spiced Onions
Make at least 1 day (or up to 3 days) in advance so flavors can mellow.
1 small onion
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup medium sweet, white Virginia wine
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is OK)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon whole pickling spices (not mulling spices)
1 (3-4 inch) piece orange or tangerine rind (no white pith)
1 (3 inch) stick cinnamon
Slice onion into paper thin rounds (1/16 - 1/8 inch thick). Stir remaining ingredients together in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, covered, over high heat.
Remove cover, reduce heat to medium and stir in onions. Cook until onions are softened and translucent - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Pour into a heat safe container. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Drain onions and serve on catfish spread.
Corn Chips and Apple Butter
1 jar (20-28 oz.) apple butter (any type)
1 (12-15 oz.) bag thick, salted corn chips (like original style or scoops - not thin, restaurant style)
Pour apple butter into a bowl and use corn chips for dipping.
Paula Luddy's Christmas Wassail
Makes about 24 (6 oz.) portions
Whole cloves (about 2 tablespoons)
3 liters red Virginia wine (your favorite kind)
1 1/2 liters ginger ale (about 1 1/2 quarts)
3/4 cup sugar
8 small cinnamon sticks
Nutmeg to taste
Stud oranges and lemons with whole cloves. Slice into wedges. Stir remaining ingredients together in a slow cooker. Add studded citrus wedges. Add studded citrus wedges and put on lid. Set cooker on high. Cook one hour then reduce temperature to low and simmer "forever", Paula says, which will keep the wassail warm for serving right from the slow cooker.
By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist
It's that snacking time of year again. For healthy snacking, choose nuts. They are chock full of antioxidants, good fats and plenty of protein plus current research shows that nuts are one of the "look younger" foods. So go ahead, have a few - or have a handful. It's the holidays!
Sticky and gooey. Use leftovers to garnish salads, cooked veggies and steamed fish.
Makes about 1 cup
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 cup walnut halves
Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. Stir (a pan cake turner works well) until it gets bubbly all over - about 1 minute. Add nuts. Toss to coat. Cook 1 minute more or until glaze starts to darken. Do not over cook or nuts will taste burned. Immediately remove nuts from pan and place on a heat proof platter to cool.
Slightly sweet and slightly salty. Yum!
Makes 2 cups
2 cups jumbo Virginia peanuts
2 tablespoons butter
1 (.7oz or 19g) envelope ranch or Italian salad dressing mix (dry)
Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add almonds and distribute them over entire pan so they are in one layer. Cover. Cook (stirring once or twice) 2 minutes. Do not let butter brown. Remove from heat. Remove cover. Sprinkle dry mix over nuts and toss to coat. Remove nuts to a heat proof platter to cool.
Roasted Cumin Spiced Mixed Nuts
Southwest flavor in every crunchy bite!
1 tablespoon plain vegetable oil (not olive)
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco)
2 cups large Virginia peanuts
1 teaspoon regular grind black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Position oven rack so pecans will roast in center. Preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Toss all ingredients together and spread onto prepared pan in a single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes in preheated oven, stirring once. Immediately remove nuts from cookie sheet to heat proof platter to cool.
Hot Swedish Spiced Wine
Make ahead, if desired. Reheat for serving.
Makes about 8 (1/2 cup) servings
Peel of 1 thick skinned orange (without white pith)
1(750 ml) bottle medium sweet red Virginia wine (like Beaujolais, merlot, or table wine)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
3 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and heat to steaming. Remove from heat and steep (covered) 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve hot. Ladle into a chafing dish or slow cooker to keep warm, if desired.
Cook's tip: A vegetable peeler works well to remove peel from the orange. Try to keep the peel in 1 continuous spiral. It looks extra nice floating in the wine. Reserve the orange pulp for another use.
Makes about 16 (1/2 cup) servings
1 1/2 cups dried apples (pieces, halves or rings)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 (750ml) bottle medium sweet, white Virginia wine
4 cups apple cider (1 quart)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
4 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat, covered, until steaming. Do not boil. Cook 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve hot. Ladle into a chafing dish or slow cooker to keep warm, if desired.
Cook's tip: Brown sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste may be used instead of granulated sugar. If you prefer, sugar may be omitted entirely.
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