Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Sage-Maple Butter




Roasted sweet potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When paired with maple syrup and apples, they make a deliciously sweet side that works with anything from pan-seared steak to roasted turkey or pork loin. Use a firm, tart Granny Smith apple or try a crisp, slightly sweeter Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Adapted by Danielle from a recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed September 23, 2014 at US Botanic Garden.

1½  to 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut into ¾-inch thick wedges
2 T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T unsalted butter
2 medium-large tart green or red apple, quartered, cored, cut into wedges halved crosswise
1 T chopped fresh sage, plus 1 T more for garnish
1½ t fresh lemon juice
1 t pure maple syrup
Toasted pecan halves, for garnish (optional)

Position a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the oven to 475̊F.
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes; then flip the potatoes and continue roasting until tender and browned in spots, about 5-10 minutes more.

While the potatoes roast, heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the apples in a single layer and brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add the sage and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and maple syrup. With a spatula, scrape the apples and butter into the bowl used for tossing the potatoes.
When the potatoes are done, add them to the apples and gently combine with the spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve, garnished with toasted pecans and additional fresh chopped sage.

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Hazelnuts




When selecting cauliflower, look for compact heads that feel heavier than they look.  This recipe was adapted by Danielle from a Fine Cooking recipe and demoed at our class at Brookside October 22, 2014.

1 (2lb) medium head of cauliflower, trimmed of the leaves, core removed with a pairing knife, but keeping the head intact
½ C mayonnaise
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t fresh thyme, chopped (1 t dried)
3 T unsalted butter
½ C hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 T capers
1 T fresh lemon juice

Heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the cauliflower head on the sheet and cover tightly with foil. Roast until partially cooked and a knife inserted in the stem end meets with slight resistance, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and let the cauliflower cool 5 minutes while you mix the spread. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard and thyme. Spread the mixture onto the cauliflower, season with sea salt and some fresh ground pepper. Return sheet pan to the oven and finish roasting the cauliflower until evenly browned and tender, another 15-20 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat until the butter turns golden brown. Add the hazelnuts, capers and lemon juice and remove from heat. Transfer cauliflower to a serving platter and spoon sauce over. To serve, cut into pieces, spoon with extra sauce.

Fall Miso Vegetable Soup

miso soup



This recipe was demoed by Danielle at Brookside Gardens October 22, 2014.


4-6 C low-sodium vegetable broth
1 6×1-inch strip kombu (dried kelp)
2 T olive oil
1 medium leek, thinly sliced, white and green parts only, well-rinsed
1 T fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¾ C (1 medium) carrots, sliced thin
¾ C (1 medium) turnip, peeled and diced
2 C (1 medium-small) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 C kale, stripped from the stems, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
¼-½  C red miso
1 T mirin or Japanese plum wine
1 T fresh lemon juice
4oz. extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces (optional)

Prepare the “dashi” broth: heat the vegetable broth in a 3 quart saucepan with the kombu. Bring to a gentle simmer, cook for 20 minutes. Discard the kombu.

In another 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes, cover and cook the vegetables until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the dashi, bring the vegetables to a simmer and cook until soft. Add the kale and simmer another 2 minutes. Transfer ¼ cup of the dashi to a small bowl and whisk in the miso until dissolved. Add it to the soup and add the tofu if using, add the mirin and lemon juice. Simmer another minute adjust to taste with more lemon, mirin or miso. Serves 4-6.

Escarole and Beans

escarole2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 heads escarole, rough-cut into 2- 3-inch pieces
1 can white cannellini beans
2 T shredded Parmesan

In a large pot heat oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; do not let the garlic brown. Add escarole and cook down slightly. Add beans and bean liquid; turn up heat and cook until liquid begins to take on a syrupy look and beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Sweet & Sour Delicata Squash

sweet & sour




Found this recipe on the Yellow House blog, written by food and garden blogger Sarah Searle, who also lives in rural VA. She credits Domenica Marchetti’s “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy” for the original recipe. Haven’t gone back to look at the original, but I adapted a tad after I demoed it  at Brookside Gardens October 22, 2014. I like red pepper flakes, what can I say. Delicatas, incidentally, are a lovely mesh of summer and winter squash — they have the dulcet sweetness of a butternut, but you don’t peel them and the skin, while not absent like a zucchini, is soft and pleasantly chewy. You could also substitute butternut — or use both.

1 pound delicata squash
1/3 C olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 T light brown sugar
3 T white wine, red wine, or sherry vinegar
pinch red pepper flakes
¼ t salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh mint, chopped

Trim the delicata squash on both ends. Halve lengthwise, remove seeds and slice in ¼-inch thick half moon slices. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil with the garlic over medium-low heat, cooking it until it is fragrant but not at all browned. Press down on the garlic cloves with a spatula or wooden spoon to release their flavor. Remove the garlic. Arrange a layer of the squash slices in the heated oil. Cook, turning once or twice, until they are beginning to be golden, with some chestnut spots, on each side, but not mushy. Remove the slices with a slotted spoon or spatula and continue to work in batches until you’ve cooked all the squash slices this way. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and sugar. Return the squash slices to the skillet and add the vinegar-sugar mix. Season with some salt an pepper, and carefully toss the squash in the mixture until it reduces and coats the slices. This won’t take long. Taste for salt and season more if necessary.Don’t agitate them too much, or else they’ll start to fall apart. You can serve the squash right away, but Marchetti suggests transferring it to a platter, covering it, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, and serving at room temperature. It is good either way.

Scatter the chopped mint over the squash before serving.

Apple, Beet and Walnut Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette

apple beetMiso is a fermented soybean paste, originated in China, perfected in Japan, that gives this lemon vinaigrette an incredibly satisfying sweet-salty-nutty flavor known as “umami.” Miso is available at most supermarkets in the international food section or in the freezer or refrigerator with other soy products. This recipe calls for the most versatile of the three popular grades of miso — “white” or “yellow” miso, also called shiso in the Japanese tradition. Other recipes for using miso can be found on this website, search under “miso.” This recipe was demoed at USBG October 9, 2014.

For the vinaigrette

2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T finely chopped shallot
1 t garlic, mashed to a paste
2 T white (shiro) miso
½ C  plus 2 Tbs. neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
½ t Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha (optional)

For the salad

1 lb. trimmed medium beets, cooked and peeled
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. arugula or mixed baby greens (8 packed cups)
2 crisp apples, such as Gala, Crispin, or Granny Smith, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
½ C walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 T chopped fresh dill

Make the dressing

In a small bowl or food processor, whisk the rice vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and garlic; let sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the miso, and then slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Stir in the hot sauce, if using.

Make the salad

Halve and thinly slice beets; arrange on a platter or salad plates and lightly season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine the arugula and apples, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with ½ C of the vinaigrette. Mound the greens and apples on top of the beets, sprinkle with the walnuts and dill, and serve.

Radicchio, Pear and Pecan Salad

saladThis salad pairs well with blue cheese or smoked gouda.

1 small head of radicchio, cored, leaves separated and torn
3 ounces (4 lightly packed cups) frisee (or a mix of other fall baby greens such as baby kale, arugula, spinach)
1 Asian pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 red Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
¾ C pecan pieces
2 t unsalted butter
1 ½ T sherry vinegar, or pear-infused vinegar
¼ t sugar
2 T walnut oil
2 T good olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine the salad greens and pear slices in a large salad bowl. Put the pecan pieces in small skillet and toast over medium heat until light browned. Shake the skillet often to ensure the nuts are toasting evenly. Remove from heat and transfer right away to a small bowl. Add the butter and ¼ teaspoon of salt and mix well until butter is melted and absorbed by the nuts. In another small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Slowly whisk in the oils until well-combined.

Toss the salad with just enough dressing to coat. Add the nuts, toss again and serve. Serves 4.