Parmesan Pumpkin Wedges

A highlight for the month of October are all of the cool things we do with pumpkins! Between carving, baking, roasting seeds and friends bringing them over during fall celebrations, you may end up with one or two more pumpkins then you planned. Check out this cool recipe for pumpkin wedges to add to your book for the season — make good on the extras!

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 1 large fresh lemon, zested
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove top vine, scrape away seeds and pulp with rounded edge of spoon. Cut pumpkin lengthwise into wedges approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  3. In shallow mixing bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, garlic, salt and white pepper. Stir until well blended, about 1 minute.
  4. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with olive oil. Place wedges on sheet and brush with remaining oil. Then roll wedges in mixing bowl, adding thick coating of bread crumbs. Return to baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Cook about 30 minutes or until tender. If pumpkin wedges begin to blacken, cover with additional foil.
  5. Combine mascarpone, yogurt and dill in mixing bowl. Stir until blended, about 30 seconds. Plate wedges, drizzle with sauce and dust with remaining bread crumbs.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: serves 2-4

BBQ Baked Beans with Local Sausage & Collards

With temperatures around Richmond slowly dropping, warm, hearty meals are sounding better and better. It’s time to look to seasonal, local ingredients to make some of the best dishes of the season. And there’s nothing that fills the soul (and stomach) like a big, slow cooked pot of baked beans. With this recipe, we’re going to fill it with delicious, locally-grown, USDA certified organic collards from Amy’s Garden as well as locally-made Sausage Craft sausage for a home-cooked meal that’s literally close to home.

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Aaron's Chicken Grilling Tips!

Its the 4th of July — time to strike up the grill! Here are your steps to making the best grilled chicken for tonight.  Stop by our ET meat department and pick up your organic, grass feed chicken from Aaron.

Season your chicken:  You can go with a number of ideas to season your chicken.  We suggest something simply and quick so that you can get to the fun!  Here is one idea that many of us at Ellwood love when grilling: salt, pepper, paprika, italian dressing, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, and rosemary with a little lemon zest.

Grease your grill: Chances are you won’t have a sticking problem if your chicken has skin, or if it’s marinated or rubbed with some oil. But play it safe. Before you light the grill, spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray or brush it with oil.

Keep it hot: Sear the chicken on a hot grill — this helps seal in the juices and makes it easier to turn over the chicken.

Watch seasonings carefully: Marinades and basting sauces, many of which have a high sugar content, will burn if the grill temperature is too hot or if exposed to heat for too long. A hot grill is normally not a problem with quick-cooking cuts (such as skinless, boneless breasts); longer-cooking cuts (such as bone-in chicken parts) should be cooked over a lower heat. And don’t start basting until the chicken is almost fully cooked.

Close the top: If your grill has a cover, always cook your chicken with the cover down. It will make your grill more oven-like, and your food will cook more evenly. Also, because the cover cuts off some of the oxygen, you’ll have fewer flare-ups.

Be patient: Resist the urge to continuously move the chicken around while it cooks. The chicken will cook more evenly (and more quickly!) if you follow the recipe cooking instructions or turn it over only once midway through the grilling.

Use the right utensil: Use long-handled tongs or a wide metal spatula to move the chicken. Poking it with a fork will cause precious juices to escape.

Test for doneness: Don’t risk serving under-cooked chicken. When in doubt, make a small cut into the thickest part so you can be positive that it’s no longer pink inside. You can also use a meat thermometer to check if your meat has reached a safe internal temperature: 180 degrees F. for breasts.

The Dish Of The Week Is: Farro!

If you’re like me you knew nothing about farro before reading this post.  It’s an old grain that is said to be one of the first domesticated plants and dates back to pre-Roman times. Farro is a really cool distant cousin of modern wheat and is very similar in texture and taste to spelt.  Farro has twice the fiber of wheat and the cyanogenic glucosides found in farro have been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels.  However, if you are a person that needs to be gluten free farro may not work for you.  The gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested  but farro does contain gluten. We are featuring farro on our hot bar in the store this week.  If you are curious about it, stop by and try some of our dishes!

Here are also some cool ways to prepare Farro:

With Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper

Farro’s not hard to cook—most recipes call for soaking it overnight, in which case the cooking time is really no more than a few minutes. Being more of an in-the-moment cook, I just boil it straight from the bag (okay, I rinse it quickly before it goes into the boiling water) with a bit of salt for about 30 to 40 minutes ’til it’s tender. You can go to any degree of doneness you like; I prefer it a bit more on the firm side, so it’s got a bit of nice al dente chew left in the middle. When it’s done, just drain it and dress it up with really good olive oil, some sea salt, and whatever else you want, and serve it as you would pasta, rice, or beans. If you’re going green you can add a bunch of chopped kale or sliced thin collards to the cooking water so that they’re done when the farro is finished. If you have a chunk of bacon or a parmesan rind sitting around you can put those in the cooking water too. When the farro’s ready, just drain, dress, and go straight to soup bowl and spoon away.

Farro Salad with Mozzarella and Roasted Peppers

One salad technique I came across in my reading was to serve room temperature farro topped with bits of fresh mozzarella and chopped tomato. Given that we’re in the middle of winter, I’ve been using roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes to great effect. Finish it with a lot of good green olive oil (the Pasolivo from California has been high on my list) along with a bit of sea salt, a touch of Maras (Turkish) red pepper, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. This dish is actually good as well with the farro hot and the mozzarella at room temperature—the cheese will get slightly soft when you toss the two but won’t be fully melted down.

Roman Farro Soup

I’m very big on farro-based soups—they’re easy to do, I can put pretty much anything I’ve got at home into ’em, and they keep we warm and well-fed. Basically the old Roman recipes seem to be what most of the world might know now as “minestrone,” but they’re made with farro instead of beans or pasta. Sauté some chopped carrots, celery, tomato, garlic, and onion, along with a good bit pancetta, then simmer the lot of them in chicken (or other) broth (or water) with farro and plenty of olive oil. Chopped greens are always a good addition as well. Add pork or parmesan rind if you have one laying around to buck up the flavor even further. Finish with ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Serve it with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and more olive oil at the table.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Is there anything better than a big pot of steamy, hearty soup on a cold night? Even the smell of soup cooking or warming up on the stovetop helps to chase away the chill. Soups that are full of vegetables, beans, pasta, meat and savory broths are meals in themselves. Add a nice, crusty loaf of warm bread, and you’ve got comfort food at its simplest.

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Thanksgiving idea: Red Curry Squash Soup

For Thanksgiving you always need one thing that people are not expecting on your menu that becomes the talk of the meal.  Out of all the recipes we have come across, the red curry squash soup looked especially appetizing, and seemed like the perfect way to use the butternut squash that had been sitting on the counter for about a month.  This soup definitely lives up to expectations – it is totally delicious, creamy, and flavorful. The curry and coconut milk blend really well with the flavor of the squash, without overpowering it. Plus the soup gets even better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, so you can make it ahead of time! Continue reading

All-Natural Halloween Popcorn Balls

This Halloween, indulge in an all-natural popcorn ball recipe that’s made without refined sugar or corn syrup! These homemade popcorn balls are sheer genius—you can feed them guilt-free to the kids that come trick or treating… or just treat yourself to a little Halloween nostalgia. Check out this old-fashioned way to make wonderfully buttery, caramel popcorn balls at home. Continue reading

Butternut Squash Muffins

These squash muffins are moist and yummy, and savory rather than sweet.  They’d be fine for breakfast or tea, but I found they also worked well in place of bread with a hearty-soup-and-salad meal.  And they help use up the surplus of cooked winter squash that’s filling up my freezer!

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Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted vegetables, puréed and then cooked with broth, kale, and white beans make up this hearty soup. Kale is a very important vegetable.  It is filled with tons of vitamins. However, many find Kale too bitter.  In this soup, the kale matched with the savory roasted vegetables and buttery beans, is fabulous.
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