Savory Vegetable Goat Cheese Tart
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Holiday entertaining and appetizers go hand in hand... or should I say hand in mouth?! We have been busy testing and preparing appetizer recipes for several upcoming cooking classes in our Belleville Country Store. I have an appetizer recipe list a mile long but I just love an excuse to try new things too. In November, we featured this recipe in a wine class and it was a big hit. I promised the classroom guests, I would post the recipe on our blog so they could make it at home for their holiday gatherings. So here you go guys! Sorry it took me awhile to get to it.

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 This recipe is delicious because it uses our famously flaky Humble Pie crusts. We sell thousands of fruit Humble Pies in our bakery and a few years back, we had so many requests from guests who wanted to make their own mini fruit pies that we started offering these cute little pie dough rounds in our freezer case. They make a perfect crust for sweet and savory tarts alike. My kids love to make open-face pizzas or pizza pockets with them when they have friends stay overnight.

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 This adult version of a savory tart pulls in our farm- grown butternut squash, potatoes, mushrooms and a creamy goat cheese to top it all off. Is your mouth watering for a glass of Pinot Noir? Mine sure is!

 This tart tastes best when served a little warm or at room temperature. If you want to do some work ahead of your gathering, the pie dough rounds can be pinched and the veggies can be roasted and stored in the refrigerator a day in advance. These steps help speed along assembly on party day.

 I hope you will give these savory tarts a try for your next holiday gathering. If you are looking for more delicious appetizer recipes, catch our upcoming Appetizer Lunch and Learn. Visit our website for details at www.eckerts.com.

 Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

 Savory Vegetable Goat Cheese Tart

 Roasted Vegetable Filling
1 small Eckert’s butternut squash, washed
2 small unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, slice ¼-inch thick rounds
4 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 to 2 tsp. dried thyme, divided
Kosher salt, divided

 Crust

4 Eckert’s Humble pie pastry crust, defrosted (these 6.5" pastry rounds are located in our freezer case)

 Topping

2 ounces goat brie cheese, sliced into 8 pieces

 Preheat oven 400-degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

 Filling Preparation

Cut the butternut squash just above the bowl (round bottom) portion. Set the squash bowl aside for another use. Peel the squash neck. Slice into ¼-inch rounds.

 In a medium sized bowl, toss the squash rounds with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, about ¾ teaspoon and thyme. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.

In the same bowl, toss potatoes slices with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, about ¾ teaspoon and thyme.  Place potatoes in a single layer on the second baking sheet, leaving room for the sliced mushrooms.

Next toss the sliced mushrooms in the same bowl with the remaining olive oil and thyme. Place in a single layer on the second baking sheet.

Sprinkle very lightly with kosher salt.

Roast vegetables about 8 minutes (squash and potatoes will still be firm). Remove squash and potatoes from the oven to cool.

Leave the mushrooms on the baking sheet. Continue to roast another 10 to 15 minutes or until the most of the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.  Remove and allow to cool.

Tart Preparation

While the vegetables are cooling, take each of the pastry rounds and form a ½-inch fluted edge.* Place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.

Tart Assembly

In the bottom of each pastry, divide the roasted potatoes, mushrooms and squash. Bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place cut pieces of the goat brie cheese on top.

Return to the oven and bake about 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is soft.

With a sharp Chef's knife, cut tarts in quarters and serve. Makes 4 entrees or 8 appetizers.

* The fluted pastry can be covered and placed in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before filling with the roasted vegetables and goat cheese. Placing the pastry in the refrigerator without the filling for 15 to 20 minutes will make the tart flakier. 

Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad
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Happy Holidays! I am always on the lookout for unique recipes to take along to holiday gatherings this time of year. I find it helpful to have a few recipes on file that I can make the night before a luncheon or family gathering and that is why I love this recipe for Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad. A tasty mustard concoction and onion jam give this dish its wow factor! The savory dressing is the perfect balance for slightly bitter Brussels sprouts. I recommend using Eckert's homegrown Braeburn apples because they have a terrific texture and nice red color to contrast with the green sprouts. Get it? Red and green!!

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And speaking of apples... we still have a terrific selection of delicious homegrown apples for sale in our Belleville Country Store. We have been storing our apples in an ethylene controlled environment which means the apples remain as crisp as the day we picked them. Ethylene naturally occurs in most fruits and vegetables and it can trigger ripening and spoilage. Naturally controlling the ethlyene levels around apples means fresher, crisper apples for a longer period of time. So come on by our produce department today and ask our staff for a sample of our delicious Braeburn apples.

I hope you will give this recipe a try soon for your next holiday gathering. I promise it will be a hit!

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

 Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

 For the Sweet Hot Mustard

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¼ cup Eckert’s Honey Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp. hot sauce

 To make the mustard, use a 12-ounce canning jar with a screw top lid, add mustards, vinegar, brown sugar, and hot sauce. Shake until well mixed. Reserve 2 tablespoons mustard mixture for the salad; refrigerate the rest for up to 4 weeks. Use remainder of dressing for salad greens or as marinade for meats.

For the Salad

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2 Tbs. Stonewall Kitchen Maple Apple Onion Jam
2 Tbs. sweet hot mustard (recipe above)
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. (19) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 to 2 unpeeled Eckert's Braeburn or Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced

To make the salad dressing, in a 4-quart bowl, whisk the onion jam, vinegar, 2 tablespoons sweet hot mustard mixture, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

 In a 12-inch frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are just tender and lightly browned, about 11 minutes. Transfer to bowl with vinaigrette, add the walnuts and apples. Toss gently covering ingredients with the dressing. Taste salad; adjust salt and pepper seasoning, if needed.

Arrange salad on a large platter and serve.

 Makes 8 servings. 

Eckert's Pie Pumpkin Creme Brulee
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"Pie Baking Frenzy" is officially underway here at Eckert's! Our bakery is pumping out pies like nobody's business. This is our biggest pie baking week of the whole year and we prepare months in advance to get ready for it. Our round-the-clock baking teams are in constant motion as they prep, tray and package over 16,000 pies.

I love that our bakery is part of so many Thanksgiving dinners in the St Louis area. It is fun to think about how many households have an Eckert's pie box in their kitchen!! How about you? Will you have an Eckert's pie this holiday season?

I must admit, all this talk about pie does have me feeling sorry for desserts of the crustless kind! So, when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Creme Brulee, I just had to give it a try. This creamy custard with a nod to pumpkin is delightfully delicious, so much so, that we will be featuring it in our upcoming Holiday Wine and Foods Classes in December. 

I used to be very nervous when making creme brulee but after much experimentation and many google searches on techniques, I have come away with these helpful tips:

1. Use shallow ramekin dishes, 4-6 oz sizes work best.

2. Make sure egg yolks are well separated from the whites (no whites are used in this recipe). 

3. Watch the cream like a hawk! Increase heat gradually and stir constantly.

4. Be very careful NOT to get any water in the custard when placing ramekins in the water bath.

My kids both LOVE creme brulee!  I was a really excited to make this seasonal spin on the classic recipe and as I expected, they both loved it!! I hope you will give this recipe for Pumpkin Creme Brulee a try this holiday season.

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp. grated nutmeg or 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 Tbs. granulated sugar or vanilla bean sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin
About 3 to 4 cups hot water for baking
¼ cup brown sugar (for caramelizing)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Place baking rack in center of oven. In a 13 x 9-inch metal pan, place 6 (4-ounce) oven proof ramekins. Set aside.  

In a 2-quart sauce pan, bring the cream and vanilla to a boil, while stirring, then immediately take off heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, nutmeg, and sugar, then add the pumpkin and mix until smooth about 1 minute. When the cream has cooled a bit (stir occasionally), add it slowly to the egg mixture, stirring or whisking constantly, taking care the eggs don’t lump up and cook. Divide the custard among 6 ramekins.

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Carefully place pan and ramekins in the preheated oven. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (This is called a water bath.) 

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Bake until the sides of the custards are set but the centers move slightly when shaken; about 45 minutes. Using tongs carefully remove ramekins from the water bath and transfer ramekins to cooling rack.  

Refrigerate at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, preheat broiler. Sprinkle sugar evenly over custards and broil them about 8 inches from the heat source until the sugar begins to caramelize, but not so much as to burn; about 30 seconds. If you have a kitchen butane torch, you can caramelize each top individually without an oven.

Makes 6 servings.

Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone

Fall harvest is winding down which means I have more time in my home kitchen, yay! It also means it is time to reference my beloved collection of slow cook recipes. I have been in “quick and easy” cooking mode for the past two months and my whole family is looking forward my transition to more involved recipes and the smell of dinner wafting through the house.

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Due to a chill in the air, I found myself craving a hearty fall soup this week and this recipe for Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone fits the bill. As I eluded, this recipe is a little more involved than most of mine. It requires a good piece of an afternoon to slow cook the beans and infuse the soup flavors. In fact, I usually start this one around 2pm in the afternoon and enjoy reading a book in between steps until dinner.

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This recipe calls for ham hocks which are available from Eckert’s butcher. The ham hock bones and meat add much smoky goodness to this soup. However, If you don’t have a local butcher, you can substitute about a pound of chopped bacon.

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Tip: If you are unsure how to remove the meat from the ham hocks, do a google search in YouTube and you will find some helpful videos.

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This recipe makes a rather large batch so you can freeze it or pack it in lunch size containers for the week like me. If you find yourself with a free afternoon and a craving for comfort food, give this recipe a try!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone
2 smoked ham hocks (about 1½ lbs.) (including the bones)
1 lb. (2½ cups) dried navy or cannellini beans
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 small celery stalks with leaves (from celery heart), chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 Tbs.)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Eckert’s butternut squash (about 2½ lbs.), peeled, diced into ½ inch pieces (about 3½ cups)
1 lb. green beans, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
½ lb. (2 cups) uncooked small pasta (such as Farfalline or tiny shells)                                 
1 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 (5-ounce) container flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed

 

Removed meat from ham hocks and cut into large pieces; set meat aside. Place navy beans and ham bones in a large (5-quart) stock pot; add cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. (Not all of the ham bones will be covered.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat; add hock meat, onions, leeks, celery, and garlic. Sauté stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add meat and vegetable mixture to the navy beans, the soaking liquid and bones. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low, cover and gently simmer until navy beans are firm about 1½ hours. Add the butternut squash and green beans and continue to simmer about 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans and vegetables are firm but tender.

During the last 10 minutes cooking the soup, take a 4-quart pot, cook pasta in boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and add ¼ cup parsley and toss to coat. Set aside.

Meanwhile, discard ham bones. Add fresh spinach and remaining ¾ cup parsley to soup. Stir.

Divide soup among bowls. Add about ½ cup cooked pasta per bowl, drizzle each bowl with small amount of olive oil.

Note - Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Place hot soup in a shallow container in refrigerator; stir occasionally until cold. When cold cover; warm before serving.

Makes: 18 cups or 9 servings (2 cups/person)

 

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Kuri Squash
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Halloween week is all about the pumpkin but I can’t resist cooking with another favorite squash of mine… the Red Kuri Squash. This lesser known variety is also called a Hokkaido, or a Uchiki Kuri in its place of origin, Japan. Its brilliant orange color and tear drop shape make it easy to identify in a pile of home-grown squash at Eckert’s.

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Red Kuri Squash happens to be a favorite of the classroom staff as well because it maintains good texture and shape when roasted. It also yields an incredibly creamy soup we often make for cooking classes in the fall and winter. Years ago, our culinary instructors cooked with Red Kuri Squash during their international residencies in Japan and Germany, making this squash truly a global ingredient!

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Admittedly, I am a salad girl. I love to make and eat salads so when I saw this unusual line up of ingredients including the Red Kuri Squash, I immediately ran to the kitchen to give it a try. I started by cutting the squash in half and removing the seeds before dicing it in 3/4” pieces. Red Kuri can be difficult to peel, so I bypassed peeling and roasted this squash in the skin. Once cooked, Kuri Squash skin is very tender and edible.

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 Roasted pistachios, simple seasonings, cooked quinoa and fresh spinach round out the textures and flavors in this delicious fall salad. When you find yourself looking for a yummy salad guaranteed to start a discussion about a lesser known squash, I hope you will give this recipe a try!

 Eat well this fall,

Angie

Quinoa with Roasted Red Kuri Squash

1 Red Kuri Squash (about 2-3 lbs.) seeded, unpeeled  and cut into
3/4” chunks (about 5 to 6 cups)
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
¾ to 1 cup shelled pistachios (can be salted or not salted; if salted reduce salt in recipe)
1 cup uncooked quinoa (about 3 ½ cups cooked)
4 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water
½ cup dried cranberries
1 to 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 (5-ounce) container fresh baby spinach (about 4 to 5 cups)
½  cup grated Parmesan cheese (large hole grater; not finely grated)

 Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400-degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

 Place the squash in a medium or a 3-quart bowl and add 3 Tbs. of the oil, the thyme,  ½ tsp. of salt and season with pepper to taste. Mix until the squash is well coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread squash out into a single layer. Roast until a paring knife slides into the squash with no resistance, about 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through the cooking time. Put the pistachios on a small baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set both aside.

 Meanwhile, to remove bitter taste of quinoa, rinse quinoa under cold running water in a fine-mesh strainer.  In a 3-quart saucepan, bring the broth or water to a boil and stir in quinoa. Simmer, uncovered, until a small white spiral becomes visible in each grain, about 9 to 12 minutes. If there appears to be liquid in the pan, drain the quinoa and transfer it to a  large (4-quart) bowl. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the pistachios, cranberries, vinegar, ½ tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Toss the spinach in with the warm quinoa and the warm squash. Spinach will wilt slightly. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Makes 8 to 10 servings. 

Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding
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Every morning as I walk into our country store from the parking lot, the tantalizing smell of apple cider donuts grabs my attention as it wafts through the crisp fall air. My walk becomes a trot as I anticipate the taste of a fresh batch of sugary deliciousness inside the bakery. I must admit, I have come to take my morning donut taste testing very seriously these days!

Two of our culinary educators who are also experienced bakers, Sabine and Desri, created this fun recipe for Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding by cobbling together several of their favorite bread pudding recipes. The result is a dense, flavorful bread pudding that puts all other versions to shame! We ran the finished dish past our expert tasting panel (i.e. Eckert's store and office staff) and they fell in love with it too.

If you need a very unique dessert, guaranteed to turn heads, give this recipe a try this fall. I just know you'll love it as much as we do! 

Eat well this fall,

Angie

P.S. I will be tucking several packages of cider donuts away in the freezer so I can make this recipe during the holiday season!

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Eckert’s Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding
16 Eckert’s Apple Cider Donuts
½ cup softened unsalted butter (1 stick) plus about 1 Tbs. for baking dish
½ cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1 to 2 medium unpeeled apples, coarsely chopped (about 1 ½ to 2 cups), optional
½ cup raisins, cranberries or pecans, optional
1 ½ cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
3-4 Tbs. Eckert’s Apple Cider or milk

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using your fingers break donuts into bite sized pieces. Layer donut pieces in prepared baking dish. Set aside.

Bread Pudding Mixing

In a 2-quart bowl, combine butter and sugar with electric mixer at a low speed. Add eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until blended about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and heavy cream; blend. Fold in apples if using. Scatter donut pieces with raisins, cranberries or pecans if using.

Pour cream mixture evenly over the donuts. Push any donuts not covered, into the cream mixture and allow the donuts to soak about 5 to 10 minutes.

Bread Pudding Ready to Bake

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes; remove foil and look to see if the custard still needs more baking time.  (The bread pudding isfinished baking when the cream mixture is set, but still slightly soft to the touch.) If more time is needed, replace foil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Next, remove foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to brown the top.

Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes before serving. If not serving within 1 hour, cover and refrigerate. This recipe can be made up to 2 days before serving.

Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator 2 hours ahead of time. Cut bread pudding into individual pieces and microwave until warm, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium.

Just before serving, in a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and cider or milk until well combined to create a glaze. Drizzle glaze on bread pudding.

Makes about 10 servings.

DessertChuck Wagnerdessert
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
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Happy Fall Everyone! Finally this week’s cooler temperatures has it actually feeling like fall in the Midwest which means it is time to pull out the autumn squash recipe file. This recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna reminds me of a Pinterest craft project. It involves multiple steps and layers but don’t let that scare you, they are simple! And this recipe is really fun to make with kids.

My kids are fascinated by Spaghetti Squash so this recipe caught their attention from the start. They had fun picking out perfectly sized spaghetti squash from Eckert’s wide variety. Back at the house, they helped me wash the squash with my handy dandy produce brush before I prepared it for baking. The kids were also super helpful in shredding the baked squash, mixing the ingredients and assembling the layers in the reserved squash shells. The most fun however, comes when you get to eat the finished product in your very own stuffed squash shell!

We prepared this recipe with Eckert’s home-grown spaghetti squash, Eckert’s home-grown garlic and home-made sausage from our meat department. It doesn’t get any fresher than that on the farm!

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You will be amazed by the tasty flavor and texture of this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. I hope you will give this gluten-free, low-carb recipe a try sometime soon. When you do, I know you will have so much fun putting your creative spin on the assembly process!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

2 small spaghetti squash (about 1 ½ pounds each)
2 tsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (5-ounce) package of fresh baby spinach
½ cup ricotta
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 ½ ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1 cup, divided
1 pound uncooked ground beef or Eckert’s Italian Sausage
2 cups marinara sauce
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a rimmed parchment lined baking pan. Bake about 50 minutes or until soft but still holding shape. Allow to stand and cool about 10 minutes. Carefully, scrape inside of each squash with a metal table fork to remove spaghetti like strands into a large colander. Place empty squash shells back on the same rimmed parchment lined baking pan. Set aside.

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Press spaghetti squash strands to extract excess moisture. Set aside.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium high meat. Add oil to pan coating the bottom. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add fresh spinach and cook about 1 minute or until just wilted. 

In a medium bowl, stir together spinach mixture, squash strands, ricotta, salt and half of the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Return skillet to medium high heat. Add ground beef or sausage and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add marinara sauce; stir to coat meat.

Increase oven temperature to 400-degrees.

Spoon meat sauce evenly into each squash half.  Cover the meat sauce evenly with the divided spinach/squash/cheese mixture. Sprinkle each squash half with the remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

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Leave baking pan with stuffed squash in oven. Preheat broiler to high. Broil baked squash about 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven; allow to stand about 8 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 entrée servings.
*remove sausage from casing before browning

Chuck Wagner
Autumn Apple Muffins
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It's a another lovely week in the apple orchards here at Eckert's. We recently received much needed rain to nourish the trees and get them perked up for several more weeks of apple picking. 

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My family is hitting the road tomorrow to travel to our new Versailles, Kentucky location called Eckert's Boyd Orchards. Our whole family is excited to be on the farm for the peak of the fall season.  Last night, I decided to pack a snack box for our five hour trek and that meant it was time to bake a batch of Autumn Apple Muffins! 

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 This muffin recipe is great for snacking or for breakfast. I like to dip my apple muffins in vanilla yogurt or smear them with butter or cream cheese. Since baking recipes tend to be a bit on the fussy side, be sure to follow the order of ingredients below and you will be assured and applicious success!

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 I used Gala apples in this batch since I had a few stray Gala tucked in the back in my frig. Other apples to consider include: Jonathon, Zestar, Pixie Crunch, Golden Delicious, HoneyCrisp, Fuji and Candy Crisp. 

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Fall is here, the apples are ripe and your kitchen is calling you to bake these delicious muffins! I sure hope you have plans to enjoy the beautiful outdoors this weekend by picking apples or pumpkins on one of our 4 Eckert Farms. See you soon!! 

 Eat well this fall, Angie

 Autumn Apple Muffins 

1 large egg*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 cup unpeeled apple, ¼-inch diced (do not over measure) 
½ cup raisins or chopped nuts, optional

 Preheat oven to 400-degrees.Grease a regular muffin tin with butter or vegetable spray. Set aside.  

 In a 4-quart-sized bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed,  beat egg, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy about 1 to 2 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add in salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, milk and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, using a metal fork or wire whisk, combine flour and baking powder. Combine the flour mixture into the sugar mixture using a mixing spoon. Stir until just blended. 

 Gently fold in apples and raisins or nuts.

 Spoon dough into prepared muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.
Makes about 12 to 14 muffins.

* For best results allow egg to come to room temperature by sitting it out on the counter for 15 minutes.

Note: Use 6-ounce greased oven proof baking cups or bowls to bake any extra muffin batter. 

 

Open Face Ham & Apple Melt
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The branches are loaded and the apples are absolutely beautiful in the orchards this fall! As I walk down row upon row of apple trees, I feel like I can hear them offer a sigh of relief thanks to the cooler temperatures that rolled in this week. All of team Eckert, including our trees, are thrilled to have a perfect fall forecast for the coming weekend! 

This week, we have been busy slicing and dicing apples in our cooking classroom and one recipe in particular has received a work-out. We have utilized this recipe, Open Face Ham and Apple Melt, for multiple kids classes, Wine in the Orchard and a recent Advisory Board Meeting. Believe it or not, it is a recipe that suits all ages and appeals to a wide variety of taste buds (Yes, we got kids to eat slaw!). 

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Many thanks to our kids class recipe development team, Connie and Sabine, for discovering this yummy combination of apples, ham, cheese and slaw with a specially made sauce. I know we will be making it many more times this fall!!

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I would like to invite you and your family to come out to one of our four apple orchards to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and to taste this delicious crop of apples for yourself. Hope to see you soon on the farm!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Open Face Ham & Apple Melt
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Eckert’s Dijon mustard
4 slices Eckert’s sourdough bread
4 slices Boar’s Head tavern ham
1-2  apples, sliced
4 slices Boar’s Head baby Swiss cheese
¼ cup Eckert’s apple cider slaw, well drained*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 convection).  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard until combined, set aside.  Toast bread in oven for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees.

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Spread each bread slice with 1-2 teaspoons sauce.  Place slice of ham on top, followed with apple slices (do not overlap apple slices).  Lay a slice of cheese on top of apples.  Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 6 minutes. Before serving, place 1 tablespoon apple cider slaw down the center of each open-faced sandwich.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.    

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* If you are making your own, substitute a slaw recipe with vinegar based dressing.

Apple Crisp for One
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It is officially the heart of apple season here at Eckert's. We are now picking what I call the classic varieties of apples: Jonathan, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples. Families have been picking these beloved varieties for more 53 years on our farms!

This week I pulled out a cooking-classroom favorite from the Eckert Family Fall Cookbook called Apple Crisp for One. This recipe is especially popular in our kids cooking classes because each kiddo can make his or her very own dessert. Additionally, it easy for anyone to remember to combine 1 tablespoon each flour, brown sugar, quick oats and butter with a dash of cinnamon. And, it happs to be the perfect choice for when you need a single serving to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

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On KSDK's Show Me St. Louis this week, I made Apple Crisp for One with Jonathan apples but other good options include Jonathan, Fuji and Granny Smith. This recipe was a hit with Show Me St. Louis hosts Heidi and Dana and I know you will love it too!!

I hope you will come out to one of our 4 farms this week and celebrate the heart of apple picking season with us!

Eat well this Fall,

Angie

1 1/4 cups peeled apple slices  (2 small/medium apples)

1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. quick cooking rolled oats
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter, cold
1 scoop Eckert’s Vanilla Custard, optional

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Place apple slices tightly into the mug. Gently push slices down while filling the mug. Add a couple more slices if necessary to fill to the top of the mug. Set aside.

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In a small dish, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter with a metal dinner fork until mixture is crumbly. Using hands sprinkle topping over the apples. The apples and crumb topping will be mounded over the top.

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Place filled mug in a metal cake pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and the apples are tender.

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Note: During baking the apple crisp will shrink below the mug rim; perfect for a scoop of

Eckert’s Custard.

Makes 1 serving. 

Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breast
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Cooler temperatures earlier this week kicked my appetite for fall comfort food into full gear. I have started day dreaming about pot roasts and slow cooking. Since there isn’t enough time for slow cooking in the middle of our busy apple season, I pulled out this family favorite, Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breasts. This is one of those recipes that has our home smelling just like fall days when grandma lived here. There is just something about the smell of cooked apples, bacon and onions swirling around the kitchen that takes me back to childhood days of Sunday dinners.

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This recipe calls for tart apples so I used Golden Delicious. I also used apple sauce I had made from Golden Delicious apples but we sell jarred Eckert’s Applesauce if you need a short cut.  Be sure to cut the apples and onions as directed below to allow them to cook to the desired doneness. Everything else is pretty straight forward except the taste. You just won’t believe how good this dish is, until you try it! For me, it is the perfect chicken dish to celebrate flavors of the fall harvest.

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Come on out and take a walk in one of our four apple orchards this year! The apples are plentiful and delicious!!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breasts
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup Eckert’s Apple Cider
About 1 Tbs. olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbs. stone-ground mustard
½ cup Eckert’s Applesauce
5 slices uncooked bacon, halved crosswise
2 unpeeled tart apples (about ½ pound); cut each apple into 10 even wedges
1 sweet onion, peeled, cut into 12 even wedges
¼ to ½ tsp. of each: dried thyme, sage, rosemary (crushed)
¼ tsp. celery seed
Sprinkle or pinch of ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, at room temperature soak cranberries in apple cider about 2 hours or until soft.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Coat bottom of an 11x8 baking dish with olive oil. Place chicken breasts in a single layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk mustard and applesauce together. Mix in thyme, sage and rosemary, celery seed and cinnamon. Spoon over chicken breasts. Lay half-slices of bacon on top of chicken breasts.

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Arrange apples and onions around the chicken, but not on top. Drain cranberries reserving apple cider. Sprinkle cranberries over top of the dish.  Add any remaining apple cider to the dish.

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Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until bacon is crisp about 10 to 15 minutes. (An instant read food thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken breasts should read 160-degrees.)

Allow to rest about 5 minutes (chicken temperature will increase to 165-degrees).

To serve: Remove bacon and set aside. Slice each breast into diagonal ½-inch thick pieces. Place on dinner plate. Place slices of bacon over top of each cut chicken breast. Evenly divide the apples, onions and cranberries on dinner plates. Drizzle juices over chicken breast.

Makes 4 servings.

Blooming Apple Recipe
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Happy September in the Midwest! The date time temperatures have been moderate, evenings are cool and crisp and I cannot get enough of the smell of ripe apples in the orchard.  This week, my family has been “testing” out the new fire pits that we will have in place for the Fire Pit Concert Series at our Belleville Farm in October.

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As we gather around the fire’s glow, we chat about our days at work and school and we discuss apples, of course. My daughter and I have been wanting to make blooming apples since the first time we saw them on Pinterest! I have been scouring the internet for recipes and this week we were finally able to experiment in the kitchen. This is a super fun recipe for teen cooks to make and for anyone to eat. You just have to jump on the apple band wagon and give this recipe for Blooming Caramel Apples a try.

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I hope you will come out to one of our 4 farms this fall and pick some of the most beautiful apples I have ever seen. Last year we experienced a devastating disease called Bitter Rot in our orchards. We are pleased to say that with extra care from our skilled horticulturists, we have eradicated this disease. We are thrilled to be able to share a gorgeous crop of apples with you this year!!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Blooming Caramel Apples

4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 apples
8 caramel candy squares
Caramel sauce for drizzling
Eckert’s Frozen Custard (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bush a pie pan or a rimmed baking dish with butter. In a small bowl, stir together butter and cinnamon.

Slice off the stem end of the apple with a knife, then scoop out the core with a melon baller or a teaspoon (see photos). Use a paring knife to cut 3 concentric circles in the apple. Place apple cut side down and slice crosswise.

Place cut apples in dish. Fill each apple with 2 caramel squares, then brush melted butter on top. Bake the apples until tender (may vary by apple), 20-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with baking juices and caramel drizzle and a smalls scoop of frozen custard.

This blog was inspired by many blooming apple recipes but especially the one on delish.com

Apple Crostini with Bacon

Apple season kicks off this weekend on all 4 of our Eckert Farms. Our offices and barns have been a bee hive of activity as Team Eckert gets ready for the weeks of fall fun ahead!

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In our cooking classroom, our culinary team started experimenting with apples for an upcoming event at the Belleville farm called Wine in the Orchard. We are still working on the line up of wines but we do have some yummy apple recipes ready to go. This recipe for Apple Crostini with Bacon will be making an appearance during this special evening of wine tastings and orchard tours.

Crostini recipes almost always include some kind of crusty bread, this recipe is a breadless version and it is just down right delicious if you ask me! This recipe is the perfect time to use your apple machine if you have one. If not, small hand cut slices will do just fine. A quick time in the oven melts the apple, cheese and bacon together. Then, a drizzle of Eckert’s Pure Honey sweetens the deal. And that’s it… super easy and super delish!

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Hurry…. go check your calendar and see if you can join us for this fall favorite:

Wine in the Orchard at the Belleville Orchard
September 14, 2017 from 6-8pm
CLICK HERE to registration

Eat well this fall, Angie

Apple Crostini with Bacon
1 Apple, your choice of variety
4 slices of sharp white cheddar, cut into thin triangles
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Eckert’s Pure Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place apple slices on parchment and top with 2 triangles of cheese and cooked bacon. Bake until cheese has partially melted, 3-4 minutes. Drizzle with honey and serve hot or at room temperature. 

Creamy Cucumber Salad with Bacon & Apple

My kids started school this week and they are quick to tell anyone who will listen that “their summer" is OVER! I, on the other hand, cannot help but think summer is actually at its peak when it comes to home grown veggies. We have been eating fresh-picked tomatoes, corn and cucumbers every meal and each night I swear it is the best tasting produce of the season! Homegrown just keeps getting better and better . . .

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I have been experimenting with some new salads and this one called Creamy Cucumber Salad with Bacon and Apple is a keeper for sure! I love the snappiness of a fresh picked cucumber, grated apple also makes an appearance and bacon assures this recipe will be a homerun hands down!

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I employed a few basic techniques to help the veggies draw up the dressing and reduce the wateriness of fresh cucumbers. I started out by resting the sliced cucumbers for 20 minutes, then I blotted the excess moisture with paper towels. It is also important to slice the onions very thin. Thinner slices mean more surface area to draw up the full flavor of the vinegar. I chose to grate the apple, allowing more of it to come in contact with the dressing. (I used an early season apple from our Kentucky Eckert’s farm but just about any apple will work.)

The resulting salad has nice crunch from the cucumbers, a hint of sweetness from the apple, smokiness from the bacon and a little zing from the vinegar soaked onions. All around yum!

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If you are looking for a delicious way to enjoy the fresh flavors of summer, give this recipe a try! 

Eat well this summer,

Angie

Creamy Cucumber Salad with Bacon & Apple
Salad ingredients:
3 Eckert’s cucumbers
½ cup very thinly sliced red onion
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 thick-cut slices of Eckert’s bacon
1 apple (unpeeled), grated on large holes of box grater

Dressing ingredients:
½ cup dairy sour cream
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
½ tsp. granulated sugar
Salt and pepper

Peel cucumbers, half lengthwise, remove seeds and slice about ¼-inch thick (should yield 4 cups). Place cucumber slices in a single layer on paper towel-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then blot cucumbers dry with paper towels.

In a 2-cup bowl, mix onions and vinegar; allow to sit at room temperature 20 minutes.

Place bacon in a cold 12 to 14-inch skillet. Cook over medium heat until crisp about 5 to 7 minutes. Place bacon on paper towel-lined plate to cool; then crumble.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Set aside for 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add grated apple and toss well.

 Add cucumbers, onion-vinegar mixture and crumbled bacon to the dressing. Toss to combine. Allow to set about 10 minutes. Taste for flavor, adjusting with salt and pepper if needed.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Salad can be made 24 hours in advance.

Eckert’s Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Tomatoes, Kale, Bacon and Avocado
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This recipe captures the essence of fresh summer produce like no other! If you love summertime BLT’s, you will adore this creative twist of classic BLT flavors.

This recipe was inspired by a zucchini noodle recipe in our Eckert Family Summer Cookbook but we decided to change it up a bit for this month’s cooking class. As we perfected this recipe in our test kitchen, we kept tossing more things into it like fresh herbs, homegrown garlic, bacon…. Oh my goodness! By the end of recipe, I couldn’t even wait to plate a serving, I just dug my fork into the bowl for scoop full of zucchini noodles exploding with summer freshness!

Farm grown vegetables are still in abundant supply on all of our farms which means there is no time like the present to give this recipe a try. You can even try out or spiralizer and taste this recipe for yourself by signing up for our August 2017 Lunch and Learn classes at the Belleville farm!! Click here for our cooking class schedule.

Eat well this summer, Angie

Eckert’s Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Tomatoes, Kale, Bacon and Avocado
2 cups Eckert’s cherry tomatoes
1 to 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 medium Eckert’s Home Grown garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (removed from stem) (1 to 2 tsp. dried)
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-sliced bacon strips, uncooked
2 medium Eckert’s zucchini, spiralized into noodles (6 to 7-inches long) (about 3 cups lightly measured – do not pack)
3 to 4 cups very finely chopped Eckert’s kale leaves, stems removed
1 ripe peeled avocado, cubed
1 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano®
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes and garlic with enough olive oil to coat. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Toss to combine. Spread tomatoes and unpeeled garlic on baking pan in a single layer.
Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tomatoes collapse and their skins are slightly charred. Remove from oven. Squeeze each garlic clove to remove the soft garlic; discard peel. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a 12-inch skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy. Place bacon on paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Leave about 1 to 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in the skillet. Discard remaining fat.
Using the same skillet, return to stove top over medium heat.  Add zucchini noodles and kale. Sauté, tossing frequently about 1 to 2 minutes or until the zucchini is al dente.
Immediately, place zucchini/kale mixture to a 4-quart salad bowl.   Add tomato/garlic mixture, crumbled bacon, cubed avocado and Parmigiano-Reggiano® cheese. Toss gently.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 5 servings. 

Chicken & Peach Dinner Salad with Sweet Curry Dressing

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie! Chicken & Peach Dinner Salad with Sweet Curry Dressing currently appears in The Eckert Family Summer Cookbook. It was also part of an older cookbook edition called Everything’s Peachy at Eckert’s. Some of you may even have this peach colored cookbook on your shelves at home. The Peachy Cookbook inspired our newer series of family cookbooks of produce-packed recipes dotted with family and farm tips.

This salad was originally called the Peach Supper Salad because it is big enough to be an entrée.  We jazzed up the name but the ingredients remain the same. The sweet curry dressing is one of my favorite parts of this dish! It complements the fresh salad ingredients perfectly but it is also great dressing for big bowl of freshly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.

If you are looking for a unique way to enjoy fresh produce for dinner, give this recipe for Chicken & Peach Dinner Salad with Sweet Curry Dressing a try!

Eat well this summer,

Angie

Chicken & Peach Dinner Salad with Sweet Curry Dressing

Sweet Curry Dressing
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs. + ¼ tsp milk
¼ tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp. Eckert’s Pure Honey

In a small bowl, blend sour cream and milk. Whisk in curry, then add remaining ingredients and combine well. Makes about 2/3 cup dressing. Use immediately or refrigerate and use within three days.

Chicken & Peach Dinner Salad for Two
Prepare the following before starting the salad ingredients. Set aside.
    Sweet Curry Dressing, divide
    2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped (see Eckert’s Family Spring Cookbook)
    slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled (see Eckert’s Family Spring Cookbook)
    (Can prepare up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate).

2 large Eckert’s peaches, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup cooked chicken breast or deli meat, ½-inch diced (5 oz.)
2 green onions tops and bottoms, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
3 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup Eckert’s Kale, very thinly sliced into ribbons
½ cup Sungold cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ cup Red Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
OR: 2 medium unpeeled tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 ripe avocado, peeled, ½-inch diced

 Place peaches in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside. In a 3-cup bowl, mix chicken and onion with enough Sweet Curry Dressing to moisten, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Set aside.

Divide all ingredients equally in two 6-cup sized individual salad bowls or dinner plates.
Line bowls with lettuce and kale. Arrange sliced peaches in center of lettuce. Top with a mound of chicken mixture. Arrange egg, bacon, tomato and avocado, around edges. Serve with extra Sweet Curry Dressing.

 Makes 2 entrée salads or 4 side salads. 

 

Fresh Picked Six-Veggie Quesadillas

Veggies and cheese are always a win-win combination for me! With all the fresh fruits and veggies on the farm, I hardly remember to include meat in my meals on these hot summer days. I honestly can’t decide what my favorite fresh-from-the-field summer treat is …. a cob of corn eaten raw in the field, a bite of a peach when it is still hot from the sun or a handful of cherry tomatoes popped into my mouth as a pick a pint from our high-tunnel greenhouse.

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In celebration of the bountiful vegetable garden at Eckert’s, I decided to make this recipe for Fresh Picked Six-Veggie Quesadillas for lunch today. The combination of fresh veggies and a unique cheese place this quesadilla at the top my summer lunch list.

After chopping the veggies, this recipe comes together quickly because freshly harvested vegetables only take a few minutes to sauté to perfect doneness. Note: overcooking can turn freshly picked veggies mushy in a hurry. Instead they need just a few minutes of heat to soften them up a bit while maintaining the flavor and crunch that makes this dish so enjoyable.

 I call for the veggies to be cut into specific sizes so that they cook in the same amount of time. I decided to use a unique cheese in this receipt called Brun-uusto. Brun-uusto, also known as “Bread Cheese,” is made by Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin.  The expert Wisconsin cheesemakers at Brunkow have translated Brun-uusto into an authentic version of Juustalepia (Juusto), a specialty cheese with Finnish and Swedish roots.

At Eckert’s, we often serve this cheese warmed in a skillet during sampling sessions and in wine classes. In the skillet, the edges of the cheese melt and form a delicious crust much like the edges of crusty bread. If you are in a pinch and cannot find Brun-uusto, no worries, substitute another favorite such as Colby Jack or goat cheese.

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If you are looking for a way to enjoy all the fresh picked flavors of summer, I invite you to give this recipe a try. You are sure to love it as much as me!!

Eat well this summer,

Angie

Fresh Picked Six-Veggie Quesadillas

1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup sweet onions, finely chopped
2 unpeeled zucchinis, 6 – 7 inches long, thinly sliced into ¼-inch thick semi-rounds (about 2 ½ cups)
1 bell pepper, ¼-inch diced (about 2/3 cups)
About 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels,* 2 medium ears
½ cup Sun Gold or Red Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup ready-made or homemade basil pesto
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 (6-ounce) package baked “bread” cheese**, grated (about 2 cups)
Optional garnish: 2 Tbs. sour cream topped with ½ teaspoon of prepared basil pesto per quesadilla

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, zucchini and bell pepper; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add corn and tomatoes and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes or until all veggies are crisp tender. Stir occasionally while sautéing.  Add cooked beans if using. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto thinly over each the four tortillas. Evenly divide the vegetables between the quesadillas and spread the veggies on half of the tortilla. Sprinkle veggies with about ½ cup grated cheese. Carefully fold over the tortilla (the side without the vegetables) to make a half circle. 

Place filled quesadillas on baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is slightly melted, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Cut into each quesadillas into 3 pieces. Serve with sour cream and pesto. Serve while warm.

Makes 4 entrees or 12 appetizers.
* Nature Blessed frozen sweet white corn, defrosted can be substituted.
**Eckert’s carries Brunkow’sBaked “bread” Cheese in 3 flavors: Original, Jalapeno and Garlic.
Grated Monterey JackCheddar cheese, or Colby Jack can be substituted if this cheese is not available.

 

Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches

Things are just peachy in my kitchen right now, how about yours? I must confess I have not been keeping pace with my usual level of baking with peaches this summer. I have been so obsessed with eating peaches fresh off the tree that I didn’t even realize I hadn’t baked Chris’ beloved Peach Custard Pie yet this season! Now I am on a personal mission to play catch up to my family with peach desserts a plenty.

 My son is a big fan of cheesecake so I was excited to see what he thinks of Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches this week. This recipe is fun to make because it uses a muffin tin in a unique way. The muffin pan allows the peach halves to sit upright and level while the parchment paper directs the juices to the cup below (saving your oven from a sweet drippy mess).

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 We have made this recipe many times for our private cooking classes and bridal showers here in our Cooking Classroom in Belleville. It is always a hit in peach season because it is a yummy gluten-free dessert and it is surprisingly simple to prepare. The key to a delicious stuffed peach is an Eckert’s tree-ripened peach of course. This is the time of year when many customers tell me they have never had a peach as good as an Eckert’s peach. I just love to hear that!

 Customers also ask me what the secret is to making Eckert’s peaches so sweet. There really is no secret I say! We just pick them riper than most farms and the longer the a peach hangs on the tree, the sweeter it tastes. So simple and so delicious.

 I hope you will give this recipe a try this peach season. The peaches are sweeter than ever…

 Eat well this summer,

Angie

Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches

6 unpeeled medium peaches, halved and pitted
2 Tbs. butter melted
3 Tbs. cinnamon sugar*
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Blackberries and mint leaves, optional

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a piece of parchment paper over 12- cup regular-sized muffin pan. Cut an “x” into the paper just above each muffin cup. Dip peach halves, cut side up, in melted butter to coat. Place peach halves, cut side up, in prepared pan. Sprinkle top of peaches with cinnamon-sugar. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon cream cheese mixture into peach centers. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Serve warm or at room temperature. Add optional garnish of blackberries and mint. Makes 6 whole peach servings or 12 half peach servings.

*Note: Use a purchased cinnamon-sugar mixture or combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Pork Tenderloin with Farm Veggies
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Hey Midwest, happy home grown season! Eckert’s homegrown season is hitting a sweet spot this week. We have had lots of peach, blackberry and veggie pickers in the fields here over the holiday week. I am thrilled to be eating my first ears of homegrown corn and biting into large red tomatoes. And yes, the first corn of the season is incredible in case you were wondering!!

I love this time of year because I eat something from the farm for every meal! I started with peaches on my yogurt this morning, I had a tomato salad for lunch and dinner tonight will be this recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Farm Veggies. This recipe is designed to show off a sheet pan full of roasted Eckert’s fresh picked veggies.

This recipe starts by marinating Eckert’s perfectly-trimmed pork tenderloin in our Vidalia Onion Dressing. Since our butchers in our Belleville Country Store trim all the silver-skin off of the tenderloin, you don’t have to do any extra work to prep the meat. I like to marinade the meat and veggies separately to ensure that all ingredients get good contact with the dressing but you could toss them all together if you want to. Use whatever summer veggies you have on hand, this recipe calls for everything we have from the farm this week.

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 If you roast the veggies for five minutes before adding the pork as directed, the veggies turn out nice and tender without overcooking the pork. My family enjoys this recipe with a side of Amish noodles, Ella’s homemade noodles or steamed rice.

 I hope you will visit one of our farms soon since the homegrown summer season is officially here! And don’t forget to put this recipe in your summer dinner rotation soon.

 Eat well this summer,

Angie

Pork Tenderloin with Farm Veggies

2 pork tenderloins, silver skin removed (1.5 pounds of meat)
2 cups Eckert’s Creamy Vidalia Onion Dressing, Divided
Zucchini, cut into 1-inch coins
Yellow Squash, cut into 1-inch coins
Spring onions, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
Unpeeled turnips, diced
Yellow & Green Bell Peppers, cut into 1/2 strips
Patty Squash, diced
Red and Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
Green Tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. 

Place tenderloins in a glass bowl. Add ¾ cup Vidalia Onion dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.  In a another glass bowl, toss remaining Creamy Vidalia Onion Dressing with 8-10 cups of prepared vegetables 2 to 6 hours before baking. About 20 minutes before baking, remove pork tenderloin from marinade, pat dry with dry paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Allow to remain at room temperature until ready for oven. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread cut vegetables in an even layer. Roast about 5 minutes, stirring once. Place pork on top of vegetables. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 145-degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn pork once during roasting. Stir vegetables once or twice. Remove pork from baking sheet. Place on a platter, cover with foil and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve any juices. Plate vegetables and cover with foil. Slice pork into 1 ½ inch pieces. Serve with vegetables and pass the juices. Serves 4-6.
 

Red, White and Blue Tomato Salad

Happy Almost 4th of July! I love this week because my son’s birthday is July 1st and it is fun to celebrate America’s birthday along with Mr. Theo’s!! We will be celebrating this weekend at Eckert’s Summer Concert series with family and friends. I am not sure what is on the menu each night but I will surely be making this celebratory salad sometime this week!

 This recipe for Red, White and Blue Tomato Salad can be easily doubled to feed a crowd. It can be portioned into serving sizes or served on a large platter for pot-lock style meals. Although we are anxiously waiting for the large slicing tomatoes to ripen here on the farm, I have been taking full advantage of our early crop of cherry tomatoes. We are growing a new variety in our high-tunnel this year called Sun Peach. I adore them and often have a bowl of them on my desk to snack on!

 This salad showcases our farm grown produce in patriotic form! Eckert’s corn is still a few weeks away from being ready to pick so I used our frozen white corn, the next best thing. Our frozen corn has won many a blind tastings against home grown corn so I use it anytime corn is not in season. Garlic and kale are also available from the farm so I tossed them into the salad as well.

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 I topped my fresh farm pickins’ off with Amablu St. Pete Select, a delicious blue cheese found in our Artisanal cheese case inside our Belleville Country Store. St. Pete’s Select, which is cave-aged for more than 100 days, is deliciously creamy with pronounced sharpness.  We also have Buttermilk Blue and Point Reyes Blue in our Artisanal case. If you are not sure which to choose for your next recipe, ask a deli assistant to give you sample of all three! You will be amazed by the nuances between blue cheeses.

 I hope you will give this festive recipe a try for your next summer gathering. Happy Birthday America and Theo Eckert!

 Eat well this summer,

Angie

Red, White and Blue Tomato Salad Salad Dressing
1 large clove Eckert’s fresh garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. kosher coarse salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Eckert’s pure honey

 Place garlic on cutting board; add about 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt on top. Using a wide-bladed knife; mashed the salt and garlic together to form a paste. In an 8-ounce canning jar with a lid, place garlic paste, olive oil, vinegar and honey. Shake to combine. Set aside.

Salad Ingredients
1 ½ cups frozen white sweet corn*
About 6 cups boiling water
½ tsp. kosher salt  
4 cups red and green Eckert’s fresh kale
1 pound Eckert’s high-tunnel red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 scallions, thinly sliced (green tops and bottoms)
½ cup blue cheese (approx. 6 oz.)

 

Add corn to salted boiling water. Simmer about 2 minutes; remove from heat and drain corn immediately. Set aside to cool slightly.

 Remove stems from kale and chop very finely. In a 4-quart bowl, place kale and add about 2 tablespoons of the prepared dressing. Toss kale to evenly coat.

 Top kale with corn, tomatoes and scallions and toss with the remaining salad dressing. Crumble about 1 cup blue cheese over salad.

 Makes 4 side salads. Adding deli chopped roast beef to create entrée salad.

 *equivalent to 2 ears of corn