Category Archives: Recipes

Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Make a New Year Happy!

Happy 2011, friends!  OK, first I would like to apologize for being M.I.A. for a while now.  The end of 2010 proved to be a bit stressful, and unfortunately blogging had to be put on hold for a bit there.  It’s amazing how a mysterious flea infestation and moody pre-teens can really bring you down!  And seriously…since when is pre-teen a thing?!?!  Either you are a teenager or you are not…you can’t mess with the system, tell everyone you are a pre-teen at the age of 11 and start acting all emo because you watched the Twilight movie and now think all boys should be that brooding…seriously!  Ok…hang on…Mike just told me they are called tweens now…what the hell is a tween!?!  Oh I’m so screwed when we have kids!

But it’s a new year!  I’m starting winter term at Portland State tomorrow with some great classes and have tons of goodies planned for this year.  I also recently joined the board of directors for Friends of Portland Community Gardens and will be working with Portland Parks & Rec to help get funding for and coordinate the expansion of community garden plots throughout the city.  I’m working with a great bunch of folks who really believe that growing food goes hand in hand with growing communities.  I can’t wait to work with them all and hopefully learn some gardening skills along the way too.  There are a lot of great things in store for 2011!

On that note, I have to say I started this year off right!  Mike and I had dinner with some friends on New Years Eve, and it gave me an opportunity to experiment with super tasty new recipes that I’ve been meaning to try for a while now, including lamb stuffed cabbage rolls!

I had dinner at Broder in SE Portland about a month ago and had these for the first time.  They were amazing and I decided that I had to try and recreate them.  Unfortunately none of my pictures came out well, but the one shown looks just about right.  Ideally you would eat them in a bowl of beef broth with a spoon.  they are the perfect bite of happy on a cold winter night!

Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Photo Courtesy of Balkan Express Restaurant

Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


12 large leaves of cabbage

1 lb lamb (pasture raised of course)

1/2 cup brown rice, cooked

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

4 cups beef broth


1.)Combine ground lamb, rice and all seasonings in a bowl and set aside

2.) Separate cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage by cutting out the core and placing the whole head of cabbage in boiling water for a couple minutes.  Remove the cabbage from the water and carefully peel off the leaves.  You will get to a point where the leaves are uncooked and you should place the head back in the water to loosen some more leaves.  It is a process but was the best way I found to remove the leaves intact.  If they are tearing, try boiling them a bit more.  And be careful not to burn yourself…use a big spoon to remove the cabbage from the water.

3.) Place 2 tablespoons  of meat mixture in a cabbage leaf and roll firmly, tucking in the sides after the first roll.

4.) Poke each roll a couple times with a fork or sharp knife to create tiny holes and place them in your slow cooker as you roll them.

5.) Cover rolls with the beef broth

6.) Cook on low setting for 8 hours or high for 5 hours

7.) Serve in bowls with some of the broth.


Pumpkin Lasagna

I made this lasagna for Thanksgiving this year and it was a big hit.  It is pretty time-consuming to make (about 2 hours), so I would actually recommend making 2 at once if you can, and freeze the second one for later.  Lasagna freezes really well, and I’ve found that they are almost always better when cooked ahead of time and then reheated.  I promise, you will not regret making two…or three or four 🙂  Just be sure to share…this is a 4 cheese and is not low on calories!


  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 pear, cored & cubed
  • 1 med.  leek, sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3 Tbs pumpkin butter (click on the link for my recipe)
  • 6 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (4 oz) package goat cheese
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut pumpkin and butternut squash in half, remove seeds and place skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet with 1/2 cup water.  Roast in oven for about 45 mins or until you can very easily stick a fork through the skin
  3. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, goat cheese, spinach and eggs.  Set aside for now.
  4. When the pumpkin and squash are done, remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile you can start your sauce: heat veggie stock in a pot over medium high heat.  Add pear, leek, garlic, pepper, and oregano.
  6. Remove skin from the butternut squash, cube the squash and add to the sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until all ingredients can be easily mashed.
  7. Add pumpkin butter to the sauce
  8. Blend the stock & veggies until smooth.  An immersion blender is ideal, but you could use a food processor or regular blender in small batches as well.  Set aside and let cool
  9. Remove skin from the pumpkin and cut into 1/3″ slices, or cut first and remove skin as you go.
  10. Spread 2/3 cup sauce in a 9″x13″ lasagna dish.
  11. Layer 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 remaining sauce, 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 pumpkin slices, 1/2 mozzarella & 1/2 Parmesan.
  12. Repeat layers one more time with remaining ingredients.
  13. Bake in oven at 375 for about 45 mins

Substitutions: The sauce is basically a homemade butternut squash soup with some pumpkin butter added.  If you are short on time, you could buy canned butternut squash soup, cook it down a little on the stove to thicken it and then add some canned pumpkin pie mix in place of the pumpkin butter.

What the heck is a root vegetable, and why did my pee turn pink?!

OK, lets just get this out of the way…not all vegetables grow above ground.  I know, you are shocked!  Really though, it’s true.  Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Parsnips, and many others are roots…yup, and you eat them!  Beware of the dirt…it’s dirty…and your food comes from there…ooooooo…it’s like a Halloween nightmare!!!

Ok, seriously though, this stuff is delicious and you should try them.  I promise it’s not scary!  There are many ways to cook them, but my favorite is to roast them because they get just soft enough on the inside, but not mushy.  I also leave all of the skins on because they hold valuable nutrients, and there is really no point in removing them if you are buying chemical free and you rinse the dirt off.

This is probably a good time to give you my beet disclaimer: Beets are sweet and delicious and totally worth it, but be careful because they are red and they will stain everything, including clothes, cutting boards, your other ingredients, and your skin, so rinse your hands often when you are chopping them, or you will be pink!  Also, don’t freak out the day after you eat them…what goes in pink comes out pink…you are not having a medical emergency and doctors WILL laugh at you if you make an appointment for beet pee!

Here is a basic recipe to get you started, but you can experiment with other seasonings and vegetables and see what you like.  There will be many more recipes to come as we are entering the fall/winter market season!

Roasted Root Vegetables & Brussels Sprouts


  • 1-2 large beets
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 large carrots
  • 12 brussels sprouts cut in half (not a root vegetable, but delicious, no matter what the other kids tell you!)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cube your vegetables to your liking, but keep them all about the same size so that they cook evenly.  I usually just cut the brussels sprouts in half.
  3. Toss the veggies with enough olive oil to lightly coat them and then toss in your herbs and spices.
  4. Spread the veggies out on a single layer on a cookie sheet and cook for about 20 mins at 350 degrees.
  5. Depending on the thickness they may need a little more time, but toss them again and try one so you don’t over cook.  They should be soft on the inside but still hold their form and not be mushy.

Pumpkins…not just for carving anymore

When I was a kid, the only time I thought about pumpkins was around Halloween when we would carve them.  Although that was great fun, I now enjoy all of the yummy pumpkin goodness that cooks up in my kitchen!  Pumpkin pie, stuffed and roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, and today, PUMPKIN BUTTER!!!  Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to tell you how amazing my apartment smells right now!

I first tried pumpkin butter at Lyman Orchards when I was still living in Connecticut and it got me hooked, but absolutely no store-bought (even if from a farm) can compare to homemade.  The smell alone is pure heaven!  You cook it down for about 6 hours in a slow-cooker, so you get to enjoy it all day long.

You could put pumpkin butter on pretty much anything.  Try it on toast, scones, muffins, a sandwich, or as a glaze.  If you eat pork, I bet it would be great on a pork chop (sustainably raised of course) 🙂


  • 2 Pie Pumpkins (typically about 6 inches in diameter, not big carving pumpkins)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. Cut your pumpkins in half and scoop out the guts.  Be sure to save the seeds as you will want to roast them later because they are super delicious
  2. Steam the pumpkins for about 15 mins.  I had to do mine in 2 batches because my steamer wasn’t large enough.  You can let them cool for a minute and then the pumpkin should separate right out of the skin.
  3. Puree the pumpkin.  An immersion blender works great, but you could also use a food processor or a  hand mixer.  It may be too thick for a standard blender
  4. Add the pumpkin puree, sugar and spices to your slow-cooker and stir together.  Cook on low with the lid cracked open for about 6 hours.  You want it to cut down to about half of the original amount.
  5. Stir every now and then…you don’t really have to, but I guarantee that the smell won’t allow you not to taste it, so I’m giving you permission now.  🙂

Due to the low acid level in pumpkin butter it is not recommended that you can it for preserving, but it freezes excellently, so put it in your mason jars and store in the back of your freezer for when you want it.  An open jar will store for a few weeks in the fridge.

Vegetarian Chili – perfect for a cold fall day

One of my favorite things about fall is being able to come home out of the cold rain to an apartment smelling of chili in the slow cooker.  As Ron Popeil would say, “set it and forget it!” haha…no, seriously though…I still really want his food dehydrator.
Anyway, here is my new favorite vegetarian chili that I made this weekend.  It is super hearty, making it satisfying for vegetarians and carnivores alike.  Enjoy!
  • 10 plum tomatoes (roasted), or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup bulk black beans or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup bulk white beans or 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup bulk red kidney beans or 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup bulk baby lima beans or 1 cup frozen baby lima beans
  • 2 ears of corn (corn sliced off the ear), or 1 1/3 cups frozen corn
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 minced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper
  • 1/3 cup wheat berries
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste

If you are using bulk beans, soak them overnight in the fridge.  Also soak the wheat berries overnight in the fridge.

combine all ingredients up to and including the cayenne red pepper in your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.

With about an hour left on the timer, add your wheat berries to the slow cooker and stir.

About 20 minutes before serving, chop the sweet potato and toss in the olive oil with a little salt for seasoning.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until tender, tossing after about 10 minutes.

serve chili with chopped cilantro over the sweet potato and enjoy 🙂

Gazpacho! Because it’s delicious AND fun to say!

Photo by Brie Hilliard

This is the time of year when all of our farmers’ hard work is really showing up at the market!  It’s almost hard to choose what to buy, because there are just so many options.  For me, late summer gazpacho is a must!  For those of you who have never had it because you are a little wary of a cold soup…you are missing out.  Give this recipe a try.  It’s inexpensive when everything is in season and oh so yummy and refreshing!


  • 3 Large Heirloom Tomatoes (I used red and yellow tomatoes in the picture above, which is why it is lighter in color.  If you can’t find Heirlooms, any of your favorite varieties will do.)
  • 1 Large Cucumber (I leave the skins on)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Sweet Onion (Walla Wallas or  Vidalias work great)
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • Fresh Cilantro

1.       Chop Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, and Onion into small chunks and toss together in a large bowl.

2.       Take 2/3 of the vegetable mixture and place in a blender.

3.       Add Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper to the blender and blend for a few seconds.

4.       Pour the blended mixture back in the bowl with the chopped vegetables and stir in about an 1/8 of a cup of fresh chopped Cilantro.

5.       Garnish with Cilantro and serve

Greens for people who don’t like greens

Photo by: Brie Hilliard

Kale Chips are a super light healthy snack that is surprisingly tasty!  If you don’t normally get a lot of leafy greens in your diet, try these out.  They are really quick and easy, plus kale is high in vitamins K, A and C and has been proven to reduce the risks of some types of cancer.


  • 1 large bunch of  kale
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Remove leafy parts of the kale from the stems and throw out (or compost :)) the stems.
  3. Chop the kale into squares or strips about 1-2 ” in size
  4. Whisk the olive oil and apple cider vinegar and pour over  the kale
  5. Hand toss the kale to make sure that the leaves are all lightly coated in the oil and vinegar (a little goes a long way…don’t over coat)
  6. Lay the bunch of kale out on a cookie sheet.  It will start out as a big bunch.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes tossing about every 5 mins or so until the kale is dried and crispy
  9. Enjoy! 🙂

Health benefits of kale