Summer Squash and Potato Torte

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 375°F

Thinly slice 1 green onion
Slice 2-4 fresh tomatoes

Grate 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Grate 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

Strip leaves off rosemary twigs to measure 1 tablespoon 

 Drain 2 cups Greek yogurt  or one quart of regular yogurt and stir with 2 TB whole wheat flour salt and pepper.

Cut red potatoes into 3 cups of 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Cut summer squash into 2 cups of 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Cut onions into 2 cups of thin slices

Toss in bowl to blend:
cheeses and 1 TB whole wheat flour

Butter and flour 8-inch-diameter cake pan. Layer  1 cup potatoes in concentric circles in bottom of first prepared pan, overlapping slightly.  Layer 1 cup of onions and 1 cup squash in concentric circles atop potatoes. Spread with 1 cup greek yogurt and sprinkle with 1 tsp rosemary. Repeat with another layer of ingredients and top with 1 cup of potatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp rosemary,  cheese mixture and press gently to flatten.

Cover pan with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Take off foil and bake uncovered until torte begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

Cut torte into quarter wedges. Garnish with tomato slices on the side and sprinkle wedges with green onions.


Spicy Chinese Chicken and String Beans

Photo from "c2max " of Naperville, IL for her version  of Emeril's dish 

Serves 4

I adapted my version from one of my favorites meals at Happy Wok, our hole-in-the-wall (and best in my opinion) Chinese restaurant in Blacksburg next to the Lyric Theatre.  Emeril's version lacks the use of preserved radish, the ingredient which sets apart the Happy Wok from its competitors. The "radish" is actually a turnip, which has been salted heavily to preserve it and adds a distinctive crunch and savory flavor.  You can find it in Asian markets.  While the restaurant's cooks dredge and deep fry dark meat for their version, I add roasted chicken or sauteed chicken for a lighter touch.

 Serves four

Cut 2 cups of roasted chicken cut into chunks (or if you joint a whole raw chicken, you can saute the chunks and set aside.
Trim 1 pound of green beans
Smash and finely mince 2 or more cloves of garlic
Finely mince 2 TB fresh ginger and 2 TB preserved salted radish

In a large cast iron skillet, lightly oiled saute garlic, ginger, pickle and 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes.  Saute green green beans until wrinkled, stirring, about 2 minutes.  Add 1 TB toasted sesame oil and cooked chicken and toss to coat.  Serve immediately over steamed brown rice.

Spicy Chinese Eggplant and Chicken

Photo on Yelp from "Cindy L." of her Hunan House meal in Columbus, OH

Here's a promised recipe to use with any leftover chicken you've roasted.   Cut 2 cups of roasted chicken breasts into thin strips.  (Or if you've jointed a whole raw chicken, you can cut the raw breasts into strips and saute and remove to plate.)  For vegans and vegetarians, this recipe is also delicious with tempeh, tofu or cooked garbanzo or white beans.

Soak 2 TB fermented black beans (these are not black beans, they're fermented soy beans available at Asian markets) in boiling water for half an hour and then mash them with the back of a spoon.

Prepare Chinese 5 spice:  Stir together 1 tsp. ground Szechuan pepper,1 tsp. ground star anise,1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds,1/2 tsp. ground cloves,1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon. You will be using 1/2 tsp for this recipe.  You can store the remainder for the future in a small jar with a tight lid.

Trim stems and slice 2 small Japanese eggplants on the bias in 1/2-inch pieces

Chop a small onion

Cut a sweet red or green pepper in thin strips.

Thinly slice 3 green onions, keeping white and green parts separate

Crush and mince 3 large garlic cloves and mince 2 TB fresh garlic root.

Chop 3 TB fresh basil or cilantro. 

Heat cast iron skillet.  Toast sesame seeds until they just pop and remove and cool.  If you want you can toast extra and use later, storing in another small jar with a tight lid.

Coat skillet lightly with extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil (the latter is more traditional in Chinese cooking.)  Add to skillet:  ginger, garlic and white part of green onion, 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste), 1/2 t. black pepper (or to taste) and cook to soften. 

Add fermented black beans and chopped onion and cook until soft.  Add 1 TB balsamic vinegar, 1 TB toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp of a pinch of sugar, 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice and mix well.

eggplants and mix well and cook until soft, but not mushy. Add the cooked chicken and 2 cups of sweet pepper strips and cook until chicken is warmed through and the peppers are just tender crisp. Serve over brown steamed rice garnished with green parts of onion, chopped herbs and toasted sesame seeds.


Roasted Fennel with White Beans

Photo for Epicurious by Australian still life photographer Nigel Cox (website) of Ian Knauer's recipe for Olive Oil Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel with White Beans which appeared in the August 2010 Bon Appétit.


A fennel bulb should be in the Glade Road Growing farmshare August 20, along with tomatoes, iceberg  lettuce, sweet onions and winterbor (curly) kale.  The above photo is from the farm's facebook page and here's a recipe for you to try...


Serves 4

Preheat oven to 425°F. 

Trim fennel bulb and cut in half vertically. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges, leaving some core attached to each wedge. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1/2 cup.

Dice two cups of vine-ripened tomatoes.  If not in season, you can used diced canned tomatoes.

Coarsely chop two cups of onions.

Crush and thinly slice 3 large garlic cloves (about 1 TB)

Chop about 3 TB fresh basil

Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add fennel wedges in single layer; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon  salt. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, turning occasionally about 9 or 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic, basil, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.  Fold in 2 cups of cooked white beans (great northern, navy or white kidney, i.e. cannellini--see a comparison here) and transfer skillet to oven.   If you would rather, this would be good with cooked chicken.  

Bake until fennel is soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Garnish with raw fennel fronds and serve warm or room temperature.  This is also delicious over whole wheat pasta and topped with grated Asiago cheese.

About Ian Knauer and Nigel Cox

I had already made this recipe when I looked for a photograph of something similar, I found the one at the top of the page at Epicurious, one of my favorite food sites on the internet.  If you want to drool, check out Nigel Cox's other food photos at his website.

Ian Knauer (website , twitter) wrote for the estimable Gourmet for ten years until Condé Nast announced in October 2009 that the November issue would be it's last, after a run that started in 1941.

Since then Knauer has been writing for Bon Appétit  and other publications and "re-discovering and revitalizing" his "family’s local food traditions by way of our Pennsylvania farm."  His cookbook The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food came out in 2012 and he tells me his PBS series of the same name is slated for 2014.   Until then, here's a video of Knauer making asparagus slaw from this spring.

BTW, while I'm talking about recipe sites

Here are other some favorites, in addition to Epicurious.com:

*Mollie Katzen, one of the originators of the Moosewood Collective has recipes on her site.  The restaurant which continues to be inspired by her cooking, also has recipes its site.
*Ina Garten, AKA the Barefoot Contessa posts her recipes at her site here (and if you search on her name, there are other collections of her recipes at places such as The Food Network, Oprah and House Beautiful
*Martha Stewart, who now has a site in beta for recipes
*PBS has gathered up many of Julia Child's recipes.  You also search under her name to find many others.
*My favorite Iron Chef back when I was watching it on TV was always Cat Cora
*She's less famous (infamous) than Paula Dean, when it comes to Southern cooking I prefer  Betty Morgan of Chez Bettay

Federal prosecutors indict Mingo County Judge Thornsbury (and Commissioner Dave Baisden) months after investigation rumored

Photo by Chris Dorst for the Charleston Gazette.

It turns out that in my post of three months ago (an eon in news terms), television news reporter Kallie Cart was onto something when she reported sources indicated that Thorbury and Baisden were under federal investigation.  I wonder if she'll get any acknowledgment from those at the Williamson Daily News and elsewhere who criticized  her for rumor mongering.

August 14 indictment for WV Case 2:13-cr-00208 reads like an television or movie script outline. 
This Wednesday, August 21,  Judge Michael Thornsbury is due in Federal Court in Charleston for allegedly conscripting various players in the legal system to frame Robert Woodruff the husband of Thronsbury's secretary Kim on drug and assault charges after she ended her affair with the judge in 2008.  The West Virginia Supreme Court has taken action to investigate and to replace him until the matter is settled.

Meanwhile, Baisden was indicted for allegedly trying to buy tires for his personal vehicle at a government discount, then terminating the county’s contract with Appalachian Tire when it refused to cooperate.

No news of any election law violations as Cart originally reported, but the investigation is ongoing according to U.S. attorney.  For more, read the accounts by Associated Press, the Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail.


Eggplant Rollups with Swiss Chard

Photo by Levi Brown for Bon Appétit

Serves six

Trim and peel 2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total) and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Salt and layer in collander over glass bowl  and let set for at least a half hour.  Rinse and pat dry. This is to remove the bitterness.

Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with extra virgin olive oil. Broil 1 sheet at a time until eggplant slices are tender and beginning to brown, watching closely and removing eggplant slices as needed if cooking too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool eggplant while preparing filling.


Remove center ribs from chard (reserving for another recipe).  Steam over boiling water about 2 minutes.  Cool imediately in ice water to retain color.  Squeeze until very dry and then chop coarsely.  Squeeze dry again between paper towels or clean kitchen towels that you don't mind if they get stained.

Grate 1 1/4 cup of Parmesan, romano or Asiago cheese

Whisk 2 large eggs in a medium bowl.  Stir in chard and

2 cups of ricotta or cottage cheese or mashed exta firm tofu

1 cup  grated cheese

2 TB fresh basil or mint

3/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Chop 1 # of fresh vine-ripened tomatoes  (you can use canned diced tomatoes when they are not available)

Drain and thinly slice 1 8-ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella

Lightly oil 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread half of tomatoes  evenly over bottom of dish. Divide chard-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each. Starting at 1 short end of each, loosely roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, atop tomatoes in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomatoes over. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup grated cheese.

You can do this up to 1 day ahead and cover with foil and chill.

Preheat over to 350°F.

Bake eggplant Parmesan rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes if freshly made or 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.


Easy Creole Chicken Gumbo

Photo from Kitchen Daily

Here's one of the promised recipes for how to use leftover chicken when you roast, bake or stew a Freedom Ranger chicken (The recipe works with grocery store chicken, of course, but won't be nearly as delicious.)  You can also joint the raw chicken and use the dark meat by baking it in a pyrex covered casserole in the oven. gumbo is based on the "Holy Trinity" of Creole  cooking:  bell peppers, onions and celery and thickened with a roux.  Traditionally served over cooked rice, you can also add the rice to the stew. 

I've adapted this recipe from Tony Chachere (1905-1995) known in Arcadiana as the "Ole Master" of fine Cajun cuisine, who after selling insurance and other pursuits founded his eponymous food company following upon the success of his 1972 Cajun Country Cookbook Chachere was the first inductee into the Louisiana Chefs Hall of Fame, just one week before his death.

Easy Creole Chicken Gumbo
Serves 5 as main dish or 10 as soup before the meal. 

Dice 1 medium red or green bell pepper
Dice 2 small onions
Dice 3 stalks celery 
Peel and smash 4 cloves fresh garlic
Cut into eighths w large vine-ripened tomatoes (in winter, you can substitute canned whole tomatoes) 
Slice 1 # fresh okra in half or third depending on size of pod (if not available, you can subsitute frozen okra)
Coat a cast iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil and over medium heat saute peppers, onions, celery and garlic until translucent. Add a TB of extra virgin olive oil and 2 TB whole wheat flour and cook until flour is browned to make the roux.

In a 3 quart stainless steel pot, bring w cups of broth from the chicken to a boil.  Add:
1 whole bay leaf
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
1 TB red pepper flakes
1/2 cup file powder

Fold in sauteed veggies/roux, okra and tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally until okra is cooked.  Add 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice and 2 1/2 cups of diced dark meat chicken and heat through.
Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Although chicken gumbo traditionally contains sausage (about half and half of Smoke Sausage
and Andouille in amounts equal to 4/5 of the chicken in Chachere's version) I don't eat pork.  Feel free to add it, if you desire.

BTW, Chachere's company webpage explains the origins of the traditional Creole gumbo to the French in New Orleans attempting to make bouillabaisse in the New World and explains the other cultural influences:
The Spanish contributed onions, peppers, and tomatoes; the Indians contributed filé, or ground sassafras leaves; the French gave the roux to the stew and spices from the Caribbean. Over time it became less of a bouillabaisse and more of what is called gumbo. Later the Italians blasted it with garlic. The Germans contributed potato salad as a side and even started the practice of eating gumbo with a scoop of potato salad in it; they also introduced the practice of eating gumbo with buttered french bread.


How to Cook a Whole Freedom Ranger Chicken

Photo of Glade Road Growing's Freedom Rangers. 


When Sally Walker of Glade Road Growing asked if I knew how to cook chicken I thought, what nice Jewish girl DOESN'T?

The easiest ways to cook a whole chicken are stewing, baking and roasting.  If you are feeding friends or a family, you may be able to eat the whole chicken...a 4.5 pound bird of this breed yields about 2 cups of white meet and two cups of dark meat (and about 1 cup of schmaltz, i.e. rendered chicken fat--the high fat content of this breed keeps the chicken from drying out while roasting.) 

Otherwise, you can pick the meat off the carcass and refrigerate what you plan to eat in 3 or 4 days and freeze the rest  for later. In subsequent entries, you will find more recipes for the left-over chicken (which can alternately be made from raw chicken if you joint the whole chicken with a sharp knife or poultry shears.)  They are:
Easy Creole Chicken Gumbo
Spicy Chinese Eggplant and Chicken 
Spicy Chinese Chicken and String Beans
Tatsoi and Chicken (substituted for  Tempeh)

As I wrote earlier, I went ahead and stewed the first chicken in a crock pot, since it had been frozen.  I will never use a crock pot again.  Instead I'd suggest you stew in  in the oven in a covered casserole or if you don't want to heat up the oven, even stewing in a pot on the stovetop would have been a better choice.   If you have large enough cookware you can stew it whole; if not, joint it as shown at the above link. 

I roasted the fresh chicken un-stuffed for about 40 minutes in a convection oven (which in addition to being faster, takes less  electricity and doesn't heat up the house so much as a conventional oven.) But since I suspect most of you only have a conventional oven, here's a recipe adapted from another nice Jewish girl, aka, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, who uses bigger birds.

A 4½ - 5 lb  bird from Glade Road Growing will take about an hour and 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.  (Some folks prefer to roast at 375 degrees F for 1½ to 2 hours.  A 4 pound bird about fifteen minutes less.  Add another 20 minutes to the cooking time for a stuffed bird.  All these times are approximate.  What you want to do is roast it until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh, which is the part that takes the longest to cook.

Beth's Company's Coming Oven-Roasted Chicken (photo from Amy Giles (her 2009 blog post)

Thickly slice one large onion
Cut 4 carrots into 2-inch chunks
Cut 4 stalk of celery into 2-inch chunks
Half  one pound of baby red or Yukon gold potatoes (or  cut larger potatoes to appropriate size)
(Garten uses a bulb of fennel cut into wedges instead of the potatoes and celery)
Peel and smash 5 large cloves of garlic.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse a 4- 5 pound Glade Road Growing Freedom Ranger chicken (which comes without giblets) inside and out.  Use poultry shears or a sharp knife to remove excess fat, skin, wing tips and neck and set aside in the refrigerator for when you make a stock of the roasted chicken's bones. Pat the outside dry and liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.  Place  the garlic in the cavity.  Brush the outside of the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. (Garten uses butter, but my mother was raised Orthodox, so I can't make myself do it...)

In a roasting pan, place veggies and toss with salt, pepper and more olive oil.  Spread over the bottom of the pan and place the chicken on top.  Roast until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.  Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.


Beth's Sort-of Julia Child's Ratatouille

This photo accompanied Epicurious Editor Sara Bonisteel's 07/18/12 post "Julia Child's Ratatouille."  I first posted this on 8/5/13  at 9:47 pm  and last updated it on 9/1/14 at 8:20 pm to include instructions for roasting the veggies, rather than sauteing them.

The August 6 farm share for Glade Road Growing should include tomatoes, basil, buttercrisp head lettuce, Rosa de Tropea onions, green peppers and a jalapeño, and summer squash. Leave out the jalapeño and lettuce (you may want to make tacos) add an eggplant and garlic (which should be available at the farmer's market) and you're good to go for Beth's Sort-of Julia Child's Ratatouille.

My version is simplified from Child's recipe.  I first made hers, as written, in Paris after shopping at a market with my mother's childhood friend Vivi. (We were starving by the time we ate, and Bonisteel writes it took her four hours to make Julia's version in 2012.)

If I don't have time to make this all at once, sometimes I will fry up the the eggplant one evening and refrigerate and the zucchini the next. An alternative way to save time is to halve and roast the eggplant in my convection oven then peel and slice to save time.  I even halve and roast the the zucchini at the same time and then slice it (no need to peel.)  If you had a conventional oven on, to say bake cornbread (something I rarely do in the summer) you could roast all the veggies at the same time.


Serves 6-8

Peel one large eggplant (about 1 #) and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8" thick, about 3" long and 1" wide.

Scrub 1 pound of zucchini, slice off the two ends and cut into slices about the same size as the eggplant. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. (This removes the bitterness.

Thinly slice 1/2 pound onions (about 1 1/2 cups)
Slice 2 sliced green peppers (about 1 cup)
Mash 2 cloves mashed garlic
Chop 1 pound firm, ripe, red tomatoes (Julia would peal, seed and juice them and slice them into 3/8" inch strips, but I don't and when home or farm grown tomatoes aren't in season, I used diced canned as a substitute)
Mince 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley (her choice) or basil (mine)

Drain and pat dry eggplant and zucchini and saute in hot extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet one layer at a time for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. Remove to a platter.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers (add additional olive oil if needed) for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay tomatoes over the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, raise heat and boil for several minutes until juice has almost entirely evaporated. Transfer all the veggies to a stainless steel pot cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Correct seasoning if needed and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, stirring several times with a wooden spoon until the juice has evaporated. (Julia would place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart casserole (about 2 1/2" deep) and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. fresh, minced parsley over tomatoes, then arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley, finishing off with the remaining eggplant and zucchini, then tomatoes and parsley. She didn't stir, but basted and worried about scorching the veggies if the temperature was too high.)

You can serve this warm or chill it. I like to add 3 cups of cooked garbanzo beans to make it a main dish. 

BTW, This beautiful 2007 photo is from NYC food blogger Deb Perelman (email) of The Smitten Kitchen, who developed "Ratatouille’s ratatouille" after seeing the film.