Country Spoon

Garden to Table in Cayuga County

Broccoli Soup

As your garden dies down, broccoli still strives on through the frost.  Enjoy the last of your harvest with this simple and healthy soup and gear up for the cold season… its going to be a long one!

Broccoli Soup:

5-6 small heads of broccoli – cut into florets

2 medium yellow onions – roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 T. butter

1  14.5 oz. can of chicken broth



pecorino romano cheese


In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant and just starting to caramelize.  Add broccoli florets, chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring back to simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally until the broccoli is tender, about 8 minutes.  Transfer broccoli and broth to a large food processor.  Pulse until smooth and well combined.  Serve immediately topped with freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, or pour back into dutch oven and slowly simmer until ready to serve.  This is also great with some garlic toasts or french bread.



Cheesy Chard Dip

There is nothing like hot bubbly cheese on crackers…This dip makes for the perfect dish to pass for any party or celebration, especially a surprise party. My older brother is turning 30 and as a dairy farmer, I could not skimp on the cheese, but he is still eating greens!  Happy 30th Luke!

Cheesy Chard Dip:

1 bunch of tender green swiss chard

4 large garlic cloves – minced

2 T. butter + more for baking dish

1 c. light sour cream

1/2 c. mayo

1/2 lemon – freshly juiced

1  1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese – shredded

1/2 c. pecorino romano cheese – finely shredded

1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 c. panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. In a skillet over low heat, melt 1 T. butter.  Once melted, add minced garlic and saute 3-4 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden.  Set aside to cool.  In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, cheeses, toasted garlic from skillet, black pepper and red pepper. Chop swiss chard into fine pieces, you will have roughly 3-4 cups. This will make it much easier to scoop!

Mix chopped swiss chard into cheese mixture and pour into a buttered baking dish. Return skillet to medium heat and melt 1 T. butter. Once melted, add panko bread crumbs.  Stir, while scrapping garlic bits from bottom of skillet for about 1 minute.  Top chard and cheese mixture with panko and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, uncovered.  Enjoy warm out of the oven with pitas, toasted bread or crackers. 

Cheddar Butternut Squash Bake

Fall is just around the corner and comfort food is craved as temperatures start to drop. With an abundance of winter squashes in season, lighten up a heavy cheesy dish with a naturally creamy squash. Sweet butternut squash, earthy mushrooms and salty cheddar cheese are the perfect warm tastes for this hearty, but light pasta dish.  Bring on the fall foliage!

Cheddar Butternut Squash Bake:

1 large butternut squash

1 T. olive oil

1/2  t. fresh rosemary – chopped

1  1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper

12 oz. rigatoni pasta

1 sweet vidalia onion – roughly chopped

3 c. baby portabella mushrooms – sliced

1 T. butter

2 T. all – purpose flour

3/4 c. reserved pasta cooking water

1 c. skim milk

1  1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

fresh basil – chiffonade


Preheat oven to 425.  Cut squash in half and hull out seeds.  Chop squash into large chunks and toss with olive oil, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary.  Roast squash flesh side down on a cookie sheet, turning once for about 35 minutes or until squash is tender. Set aside to cool and reduce oven heat to 375.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water (a generous pinch of salt will do), cook pasta according to directions – drain and reserve roughly 3/4 c. cooking water. Once the squash is cool, scoop squash pulp out of the shell and mash in a medium bowl.

In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until slightly golden and fragrant- about 7 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute for about 3 more minutes.  Deglaze pan with 1/4 c. reserved cooking water. Sprinkle mushrooms and onion with 2 T. flour. Stir together and let cook for an additional 2 minutes, until flour smells slightly toasted. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in 1 c. milk, remaining 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper and let cook until bubbly and mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Stir in mashed squash and fold in cooked pasta. Stir in remaining 1/2 c. pasta water followed by 1 c. cheddar cheese.  Top mixture with remaining 1/2 c. cheddar cheese and fresh basil.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.


Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Now that the temperature has cooled down a bit… turn on the heat in your oven! Tomatoes, garlic and onions truly come to the perfect melody of flavors roasting at high heat.  Sprinkle with some fresh basil and serve with warm crusty bread and devour the last taste of summer! This recipe is a great way to use up some of your crop and it will freeze well too. 

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:

10 – 15 plum tomatoes (I prefer San Marzanos)

2 small yellow onions – thinly sliced

4 -5 large garlic cloves – smashed

1/2 t. sea salt

1/4 t. freshly cracked black pepper

good olive oil

fresh basil


Preheat oven to 500.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Slice onions and smash garlic – set aside.  Half or quarter tomatoes, depending on size, and lay on lined cookie sheet. Add onions and garlic to tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil – Just a light coating will do Sprinkle tomatoes, onions and garlic with salt and pepper.  Roast in preheated oven for about 1 hour, turning once or twice.  The edges will begin to brown.  Remove tomato mixture from oven.  Let cool slightly and top with freshly torn basil to taste.  Serve with warm crusty bread, hot fresh pasta or enjoy with some grilled chicken. 

Fresh Basil Pesto

You can always count on a pesto to brighten up a dish, a sandwich or even just a plain tomato.  With tomatoes and basil reaching their season’s peak… whip up some pesto to keep the summer flavor going.  This recipe is perfect for freezing and will keep that memorable flavor into the winter months when you really need to be brightened.  Fresh lemon, heart healthy almonds and garlic make this basil pesto just that much fresher.  

Fresh Basil Pesto:

yields about 1 c.

1/2 c. dry roasted unsalted almonds

2-3 garlic cloves

1/2 lemon juiced

2 c. basil leaves (packed)

1/4 c. good olive oil

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper


In a food processor, pulse almonds and garlic cloves until finely chopped. Add lemon juice and half the basil leaves.  Continue to pulse until finely chopped, adding the remaining basil leaves as the mixture blends down.  The lemon juice not only adds fresh flavor, but will also keep the processed basil greener. Drizzle in olive oil and continue to pulse until the mixture is well combined.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper – roughly about 1/2 t. of salt and 1/4 t. black pepper.

You can of course add some parmigiano reggiano, about 1/2 c. finely shredded, but this tastes so fresh without the cheese – you won’t miss it I promise!

Apricot Clafouti

Apricots are not only a delicious summer stone fruit, but are also such a beautiful color – a color so pretty I picked it as our wedding color. YES, we are engaged! He asked me at Long Point by the lake, where we had our first date over five years ago. So, for every joyous occasion, a dessert is almost always in order…These apricots make this custard even more special, being grown at Long Point Orchard. Now on to the planning … think apricot!

Apricot Clafouti:

1 lb. fresh apricots – sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 c. whole milk

2 large eggs

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

2 t. vanilla



Preheat oven to 350. Butter a medium shallow baking dish and arrange apricot slices on the bottom. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and sugar. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature before using – you can always soak them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

Add flour to egg mixture and continue to whisk until well combined. Pour batter over arranged apricots. Drizzle vanilla over batter and dust with nutmeg and cinnamon to lightly cover. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until custard is golden and puffed. Cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

When the apricots are in season next year…we will be wed! Cheers and enjoy!



Simply Sauteed Green Beans

When summer starts to roll and it really rolls and so does the produce in the garden! For a quick side to any meal, try these super easy crisp green beans sauteed with lots of garlic.  This is the best fresh way to enjoy the green bean bounty without overheating the kitchen!

Simply Sauteed Green Beans:

1 medium colander of green beans – stem end removed

4 cloves of garlic – minced

1 T. butter

2 T. olive oil

1/4 c. water

1 T. fresh chives – chopped


freshly cracked black pepper


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil until slightly bubbling. Add the minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes, stirring several times. Add the green beans and fold to coat with garlic, olive oil and butter mixture.  Cover skillet and let cook for about 2 minutes. Remove lid and stir in 1/4 c. of water and freshly chopped chives. This will de glaze the skillet and help the beans steam a little. Cover and let cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring if desired. Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.  Pour green beans onto a platter and serve immediately or at room temperate.  I like to grow colored “green” pole beans… it makes for a fun visual variation.  Although, when cooked, the purple pole beans turn green!