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12/18/2013

The snow is falling, the fire is crackling and soon most of us will be entertaining! If you are hosting a party this year or bringing along a dish to share for the holidays, give my Winter Verrine recipe a whirl. Verrines are a French delicacy traditionally layered in a glass, much like a parfait and served as hors d’oeuvres or dessert. They are equally delicious sweet or savory, either way they are a breeze to assemble!

Creating a verrine is a cinch! Firstly, select a serving vessel; it should be glass so that all of your layering efforts will shine. Secondly, pair your favorite ingredients together; ideally seasonal flavor combinations. Next, make sure you have a few different textures; for example, a burst of crunch sets off a mousse-like creaminess. Lastly, make sure to consider color; you may want to add a pop of color at the finish or simply create layers that are complimentary colors.

Verrine Dessert
Victoria's Winter Verrine; Photo By Victoria Greenstreet

Verrines can be as simple or as complex as you care to make them. In many cases the fillings will hold for a few days in the refrigerator, making the actual assembly easy to do the day of the party. So why not whip up a verrine for your holiday entertaining?

In addition to the recipe below here is a list of a few of my favorite winter combinations:

Beet + Orange + Goat Cheese

Quail + Lentils + Truffles + Aioli

Apple + Cranberry + Vanilla + Cinnamon + Ice Cream

Chocolate + Banana + Caramel + Crème Fraiche

Victoria’s Winter Verrine Recipe

Serves 6-8

Roasted Squash Apple Puree:

• Glug of safflower oil or other high-heat cooking oil
• 1/2 small butternut squash or winter squash of your choice
• 2 granny smith or your favorite cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Cubed Squash:

• 1/2 small butternut squash or winter squash of your choice, peeled
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• Sea salt, to taste
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar 

Mascarpone Cream:

• 1 cup mascarpone cheese
• 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 orange, zest 

Verrine Assembly:

6 thin slices prosciutto
Cubed squash
Sea salt, to taste
Roasted squash apple puree
Mascarpone cream
1/3 cup toasted &/or spiced nuts
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add a glug of safflower oil to a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out and discard the seeds and place one half of the squash, flesh side down on the oiled baking sheet and bake until fork tender and beginning to caramelize, about 1-1 ½ hours. Once roasted and slightly cooled, scoop the flesh out and mash by hand or puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.

3. Peel the other squash half and cut into bite sized cubes. Toss with melted butter, salt, chile pepper and brown sugar. Roast in the 375 F oven until tender, about 45 minutes-1 hour.

4. In a small baking dish, toss together the apple wedges, melted butter, spices, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Bake the apples at 375 degrees F until tender, about 45 minutes. Once baked mash by hand or puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Fold this mixture into the squash puree to make the Roasted Squash Apple Puree.

5. In a bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy. Fold in the orange zest.

6. Warm a skillet over medium-high and cook the prosciutto until caramelized and golden on each side. Once cooked, blot with paper towels.

To assemble the verrines:

1. Divide the cubed squash between 6-8 serving glasses.
2. Spoon a large dollop of mascarpone cream over the squash.
3. Divide the squash apple puree evenly amongst the serving glasses as the next layer.
4. Add another large dollop of mascarpone cream.
5. Sprinkle with nuts and a pinch of fleur de sel.
6. Garnish with prosciutto and serve immediately.


Victoria GreenstreetVictoria Greenstreet is inspired by seasonal ingredients. Her focus is whole foods and gluten-free cookery. She is a classically trained chef, freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She is currently working on her first cookbook due in the winter of 2014. Visit her blog Honey Dumplings for more recipes and culinary adventures.



12/10/2013

I think what I love the most about French cooking and cooking techniques is the language. I feel like some culinary mastermind when I use words like julienne or explain the magic that is coq au vin. Clafoutis is another one of those beautiful French words, but, unlike escargot this one is what’s for dinner and dessert.

According to Merriam-Webster, a clafoutis is "a dessert consisting of fruit (as cherries) topped with batter and then baked.” Oh, and Merriam-Webster was also very kind to inform me that Djibouti rhymes with clafoutis.

Clafoutis: It's What's for Dinner and Dessert

Yes, you read correctly, clafoutis is what’s for dinner and dessert because, like the crêpe, a clafoutis can be both savory or sweet. I know that it sounds a little unusual, but remember the “batter” and “baked” part of the definition? (Awesome…right?) Well, battered and baked is the perfect vehicle for leftovers—especially Thanksgiving leftovers!

Sweet Clafoutis Recipe
Photo By Kristina "Mickey" Hart

Sweet Clafoutis Recipe

Let us start with a sweet clafoutis; nothing says holidays like cranberry relish, sauce or jelly—whatever you want to call it! I personally love the cranberry jelly from a can and sticking my knife into the little grooves made by the can. Cranberry jelly is pretty darn yummy alone, but baking it and covering it in a sugary batter will kick Aunt Jenny’s pumpkin pies bootie!

Cranberry Relish Clafoutis Recipe

• Zest of 1 lemon
• 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 1 can whole berry cranberry jelly
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

3. In a colander, break up jelly and rinse, only leaving behind berries.

4. Coat an oven-safe pan with melted butter. Sauté cranberries in pan for about 3 minutes on medium-low heat.

5. In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs together and whisk in milk. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture, and beat until well combined.

6. Add 1 tablespoon sugar to cranberries, followed by lemon-sugar mixture. Pour batter on top of cranberries. Let batter settle and sprinkle with extra sugar if you like. Bake for 20 minutes.

Savory Clafoutis Recipe

Now let's move on to a savory clafoutis recipe. Try this recipe with your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Clafoutis Recipe

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• Pinch salt
• 1 cup milk
• 3 eggs
• 1/4 onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1/2 cup cubed turkey
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, milk and eggs. Set aside.

3. In an oven-safe skillet, sauté onions in butter for a minute; add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add turkey and sun-dried tomatoes to skillet.

4. Add smoked paprika, salt and pepper to flour mixture. Pour batter over turkey mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until set and golden brown.


Kristina M Kristina “Mickey” Hart is the owner and operator of a family farmlet in central Virginia. Her many loves include backyard chickening, gardening, honeybees and carbohydrates.



12/5/2013

The marinade used on the chicken is fast and easy to put together. You can start preparation in the morning by getting the chicken into the marinade and keeping it covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook it, cut up some potatoes and use them as a bed underneath the chicken. Spoon the marinade over the chicken and potatoes and bake. This is a one pan wonder and you will have a fully cooked meal in 45 minutes without having to babysit anything at the stove. You could also add some frozen broccoli on top of the potatoes and in amongst the chicken and bake it all together.

I used Vermont Maple Syrup for this recipe. I suggest you use a real maple syrup for this recipe; you won’t regret it, I promise.

Maple Mustard Chicken

"Delishious" Maple-Mustard Chicken Recipe

Ingredients for the marinade recipe: (per pound of chicken)

• 1/4 cup real maple syrup
• Good heaping tablespoon grainy mustard or Dijon Mustard
• 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
• 1/2 shallot, diced
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients. Taste the mixture to see if there needs to be any adjustments made before you add the chicken.

2. If you had you chicken in brine remove the chicken from the brine. You do not need to pat it dry. Pour the Brine out of bowl and place the chicken back in the bowl (Skip this step if you were NOT brining).

3. Pour the mixed marinade over the chicken.

4. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

5. When you are ready to bake the chicken, remove it from marinade and place in oven safe roasting pan.

6. Spoon the marinade over the chicken.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes until internal temperature reads 165 degrees or until juices run clear.


Sam PierreSam Pierre loves everything that involves the kitchen and the process of preparing food.  When she is not in the kitchen, she’s thinking about new recipes and flavors that would complement each other. Between running around after her daughter and maintaining a healthy household, she blogs about her food adventures and experiences in the kitchen on delishious food.



11/25/2013

If you are in search of delicious meals for Thanksgiving, check out the new holiday website from Frontier Natural Products Co-op. It's filled with recipes perfect for the holiday season. Complete with beautiful photos and varying recipes—from appetizers and main dishes to desserts, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options—this website is something you will want to bookmark and come back to time and time again.

Frontier was kind enough to share one of their holiday recipes with us. Try this vegetarian pot pie in your home later this week, and check out their beautiful new site for even more delicious recipes.

Vegetarian Pot Pie

Vegetarian Pot Pie with Cracked Black Pepper Biscuit

Filling:

• 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
• 4 carrots
• 2 small rutabagas
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 shallots
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 teaspoon Frontier sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon Frontier white pepper
• 2 teaspoon Frontier dried rosemary, crumbled
• 1 teaspoon Frontier ground sage
• 2 cups frozen peas
• 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups warm water with 1/4 cup Frontier vegetable broth powder

Biscuits:

• 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon Frontier sea salt
• 2 teaspoons Frontier cracked black pepper
• 1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2/3 cup 2 percent or whole milk
• 2 cups cheddar cheese, optional

Note: Frontier Co-op has provided this recipe as a suggestion for your use based on commonly available ingredients understood to be "vegetarian," which we define as not including any meat, fish, seafood or any products derived from them or any other part of an animal. This recipe may include animal byproducts such as eggs, dairy, honey and substances derived from them. Please review the recipe carefully to determine your personal preference.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash, carrots and rutabaga into ¼-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread onto a baking tray in a single layer. Roast until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. In a large pot or skillet with deep sides, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Mince shallot, add to pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

3. To the shallots, add the white wine, sea salt, white pepper, rosemary and sage along with the roasted vegetables. Stir and cook for 4 minutes.

4. Stir in peas and flour. Cook for 1 minute then add the vegetable broth. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the filling has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Divide the filling into 4 oven-safe soup bowls.

5. To make the biscuit topping, combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a bowl. Add in olive oil and with your fingers, work the olive oil into the flour until the mixture looks crumbly. Pour in milk and add ½ cup shredded cheese. Stir until dough comes together. Divide dough into 4 pieces and pat into a ½-inch thick circle. Place biscuits on top of the filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

6. Bake pot pies at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling. Serve while hot.

Note: To make vegan, leave the cheese out of the biscuits and sub in your favorite non-dairy milk.

Don't forget to check out Frontier's new holiday website for even more recipes. 



11/22/2013

When fresh Wisconsin cranberries begin to appear in early November at the farmer’s market it’s like nature signaling the holidays are here. With their scarlet red hue matching the universal color of the season, they brighten many Thanksgiving tables in the form of relish or a smooth sauce, but this Cranberry Orange Salsa recipe is my favorite. A little bit sweet, spicy, and tart all at the same time makes it a definite palate awakener.

Cranberry Orange Salsa Recipe

I’ve tried many raw cranberries salsas, but I’m just not a fan of their texture. I’ve remedied this by cooking half of the cranberries down during a short stint on the stove with ginger, orange zest, and a bit of sugar to bring out their natural sweetness. Many times you’ll find cranberry recipes loaded with sugar to temper the tartness, but stewing the fruit a bit achieves the same result.

The raw cranberries take a spin in the food processor with orange segments, leeks, and as much or as little jalapeno as you’d like. Fresh mint and cilantro give it a twist and balance the bold flavors. Combined with the juicy cranberries from the stove, the texture is just perfect.

Raw Cranberries

And let’s not forget about their smashing healing properties!  When the berries are water harvested from natural bogs, they have a larger amount of anthocyanin (what gives the berries their amazing red color). This is because they float and are therefore exposed to more direct sunlight, increasing the concentration of this antioxidant. Additionally, cranberries are also high in anti-inflammatory properties.

Ideally I like to give the salsa a few hours in the refrigerator for all the flavors to mingle, but if you’re in a pinch it’s still great right after it’s made. Another reason I love this recipe—its versatility. Go ahead and amp up a few dishes after you’re done noshing on it with crunchy tortilla chips. I enjoy it spread on gluten free bread with triple crème brie for an easy, gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Whisked with olive oil, it also makes a punchy vinaigrette for a hearty green salad. Whatever way you choose, enjoy this fresh and zesty salsa over the upcoming holiday season!

Cranberry Orange Salsa Recipe Close Up

Cranberry Orange Salsa Recipe

For cooked cranberry portion:

• 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• Zest of one orange

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, and cranberries. Stir and cook until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until cranberries start to soften and release their juices (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and set aside.

For raw cranberry portion:

• 2 cups fresh cranberries
• 1 orange, white pith removed, cut into segments and coarsely chopped
• 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped (or a 1/2 jalapeno if you prefer less heat)
• 1/3 cup sliced leeks, white & green parts (could use chopped red onion instead if needed)
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons each of chopped fresh mint and cilantro

Add cranberries, sugar, and orange to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add leeks, jalapeno, and fresh herbs to mixture, then pulse 6 to 7 more times. Add this mixture to cooked cranberries and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours, then serve to let flavors marry, then serve. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.


Amanda PaaAmanda Paa is a passionate tastemaker, self-taught cook and author of the blog HeartBeet Kitchen. She focuses on eating seasonally and embracing a farm-to-table philosophy with respect to developing recipes every home cook can recreate. She enjoys celebrating her own roots, as well as incorporating other world cuisines that make meals different and interesting. Amanda believes the heart of living lies within sharing wholesome, nourishing foods with the ones she loves most.



11/21/2013

I bet you never thought you'd drink anything quite this green before, but you may think differently after you try this delicious and healthy drink recipe.

Green smoothies are becoming increasingly more popular as more and more people have discovered how easy they are to make and the health benefits they so easily provide. As an added bonus, if you are trying to get little ones to eat more fruits and vegetables, I can say from personal experience having spent nearly a whole hour at times negotiating with a 3 year old regarding a plate of said veggies that have never been touched, that I feel your pain. Enter the hero of this story, The Green Smoothie Recipe! My kids love them! They love the interesting color and because they truly do taste amazing, it isn't hard to get them to drink them. For Halloween I was going to put little faces on the cups and tell the kids they were Green Monster Smoothies!

Green Smoothie Recipe
Photo By Fotolia/vanillaechoes

The recipe I tend to use is quick and easy and you can mix up the ingredients to your liking. I have found that if I keep most of the frozen ingredients on hand in the freezer it is much easier to whip one of these up whenever I want one. They are really great for kids and families who are on the go and need a quick breakfast or energizing snack.

Green Smoothie Recipe

• 1 cup mango (fresh or frozen)
• 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
• 2 cups of water
• 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
• 1 ripe banana
• 1 apple cut into pieces

Blend all ingredients together a little bit at a time until smooth. The resulting smoothie should be medium to bright green. Pour into your favorite cup or to-go cup and you are all set.

Green smoothies are much more than just delicious. They are loaded to the tippy top with things that are really good for you. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Since you are getting a good amount of greens and various fruits in the smoothie you are more likely to reach the daily recommendation of 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables your body needs on a daily basis. These smoothies have been found to increase energy, promote health, and deliver more radiant skin.

Don't be afraid to mix it up a bit and try your own variations. I've replaced the water with soy milk, added a tbsp of protein powder, a few tablespoon's of flax seed, or a 1/4 cup of organic oats. I've also added a tbsp here and there of sunflower seed butter or peanut butter for added protein. For a slightly sweeter smoothie a dash of honey can be used too. The possibilities are truly endless. Have fun and enjoy!


Christy KenyonFreelance writer, sales assistant, and mother of two, Christy Kenyon hails from Ann Arbor, MI. Christy is an avid gardener and nutrition enthusiast and loves learning and studying about anything that involves improving the health of people, animals, and the planet.



11/8/2013

At our local farmers market I picked up two unsuspected dinner guests: an acorn squash and some baby kale. I know, I know...doesn't my author biography say that I very much dislike kale? Well, a lady at the market told me that baby kale has a more pleasant taste and isn’t as “tough and chewy” as the more mature greens can be. "Okay—that's a good start," I thought. "I will give it a shot." It was $3 for a gallon-size bag stuffed full of this leafy green. That seemed like a small price to pay—we will wipe the slate clean about kale…for now.

As far as the other interesting item I picked up at the farmers market—the acorn squash—I have recently developed a taste for butternut squash. I had always considered this taste more decorative than delicious, but as of recent I have changed my tune. Same goes for the acorn…it seems like a really great Thanksgiving cornucopia filler, but it has never struck me as “dinner-worthy.” Until now!

Farmers Market Produce
I acquired an acorn squash and a bundle of baby kale at my local farmers market.

Because I am trying to cook with both of these for the first time, I am starting with something nice and easy. Nothing too difficult, mind you…let’s not put the cart before the horse here.

Baking Acorn Squash
Dip your halved acorn squash cut-side down in a baking dish; fill with a little water.

Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

• 1 acorn squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed
• 2 tablespoons of butter (1 tablespoon for each half)
• 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (1 tablespoon for each half)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the cut-sides down of the halved and seeded acorn squash in a baking dish and add about an inch of water to the dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the squash is tender and the skin can be easily poked with a fork.

3. Remove squash from the oven and flip them over onto their backs. Add a dollop of butter to the tops, and sprinkle over with brown sugar. Put them back in the oven and broil just long enough to let the butter and brown sugar caramelize a little bit. 

Roasted Acorn Squash
All done! This is how my acorn squash looked after I removed it from the oven.

Voila! Finished with that. Moving on. Now, let’s go for the gusto here with the baby kale.

Baby Kale Saute
This chopped bundle of baby kale is wilted and almost ready to serve.

Baby Kale Sauté Recipe

• 1 to 2 large bunches of baby kale
• 2 garlic cloves, diced
• 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
• 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 1 to 2 tablespoons of pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
• 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Cut the spines off of the baby kale, although you can leave them on if you like. I am sure they are packed with nutrition…personal preference…mine had to go. Next, slice the leaves into “ribbons.” Set aside. 

2. Sauté garlic and onion in butter over medium heat. When finished and ready for company, toss in the baby kale. Cook until kale wilts, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as a healthy squeeze of lemon juice; toss.

3. Remove from heat and toss in pecorino Romano cheese and pine nuts.

I randomly found a small scoop of pine nuts in the pantry. I gave them a quick toast and tossed them in with the kale as well. I mean who could go wrong with toasted pine nuts and a little grated cheese? Surprisingly delicious!

Acorn Squash With Kale
This Meatless Monday meal is cooked and ready to eat!
Photos By Jennifer Rose

So now I am a kale-loving-convert. Give my recipe a try! Or try your own new recipe and tell me about what twist you put on it in the comments below!


Jennifer RoseJennifer is a lover of all things yummy! After traveling the states for five years, this Mississippi native planted her southern roots in funky, easy-to-love Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she resides with her husband, Phil, and two dogs. She is an avid cook, baker, gardener and creator of all things wonderful. She loves being in the kitchen, gardening, hiking, biking, traveling, yard work, anything DIY, good beer and great food! Except kale. She doesn’t like kale...until today!





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