Summer Herb and Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Fresh Fried Squash Blossoms with Summer Herbs

Fresh Fried Squash Blossoms with Summer Herbs

This seasonal recipe combines the delicate flavor of squash blossoms with all the delicious organic herbs growing in your garden during the summer months. The spice of the herbs and the heat of the crushed red pepper are balanced by the creamy, rich ricotta cheese while the citrus notes play on your tongue. I highly recommend this recipe for anyone looking for a delicious vegetarian treat that screams “summer is here!”

Summer Herbs and Squash Blossoms Fresh From the Garden

Summer Herbs and Squash Blossoms Fresh From the Garden

Ingredients:

6 fresh organic squash blossoms
1/4 cup fresh organic parsley
1/4 cup fresh organic basil
1/8 cup fresh organic mint
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Wash the squash blossoms inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Make sure to remove the pistil from inside the center of the blossom by pinching it off at the base. Rough chop the parsley, basil, and mint and place in a blender. Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 egg white to the blender. Blend until mixture is smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon herb and cheese mixture into pastry bag, then pipe generous amount into the center of each squash blossom. Heat oil in cast iron skillet on medium-high to 350° F. Scramble remaining egg in a shallow dish. Pour breadcrumbs into another shallow dish. One by one, coat stuffed blossoms in egg, then coat in breadcrumbs and place on wax paper until all are prepared. Carefully place the squash blossoms in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Tangy Strawberry, Cucumber & Avocado Salsa

Sweet, tangy, spicy, and creamy- the ingredients for Strawberry Salsa.

Sweet, tangy, spicy, creamy- the ingredients for Strawberry, Cucumber & Avocado Salsa.

This light and tangy salsa is the perfect treat just as the temperatures start to climb towards summer and fresh organic produce becomes readily available. The combination of the sweet strawberries and organic honey are balanced by the acid of the lime and the heat of the jalapeno. It is as if Mother Nature welcomes you to Spring with every delectable bite. This salsa does not keep well so make sure to make only what you can use immediately; actually no matter how much you make there probably won’t be any left anyway.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh picked strawberries from Twin Oaks Fun Farm, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup organic cucumber, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice from one lime
2 tablespoons organic Orange Blossom Honey from Hidden Springs Farm, LLC
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (seeded for a milder flavor, or leave seeds in for extra heat)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
salt to taste

Chop strawberries into 1 cm cubes (approximately) and place in bowl. Zest the lime and place to the side. Juice the lime into a separate bowl and mix with the organic honey. Pour over the diced strawberries, toss and let mixture stand to macerate. Next, chop the cucumber, avocado and the jalapeno into 1 cm cubes and place into serving bowl. Add the strawberries and about half of the lime juice/honey mixture; too much and the salsa will get runny. Toss with cracked black pepper and salt to taste. Chill for 2-4 hours. Enjoy.

Enjoy this salsa with chips or with grilled chicken or seafood!

Enjoy this salsa with chips or with grilled chicken or seafood!

The key to this dish is to make sure all of the ingredients are chopped to the same size; too small and you will lose the various textures, too large and the flavors will not combine as well.

Adapted from a recipe at Better Homes and Gardens.

Bake Your Ale Off: Beer Bread

Beer Bread with Chevre and Radish

Beer Bread with Chevre and Radish

I’ll admit it, I’m afraid of bread. And no, I’m not a no-carb fanatic who only eats tacos made with lettuce leaves and pizza made with cauliflower (yes, that’s a thing). I love to eat bread; it’s the making of the bread that scares me. Baking in general tends to not be my thing. It just seems so…severe. Measurements and timing must be exact or everything is ruined!!! Ugh, no thanks. Chill out, baking, let’s relax and have some fun!

Enter beer bread. Yes, you read that right. BEER. BREAD. Two of the greatest things on the planet, together, creating an even greater thing. This bread is so easy to make; even I have the patience for it. There’s no yeast involved, no kneading or waiting for the precious baby dough to rise. You just mix together a few ingredients, throw ’em in the oven, wait 40 minutes or so, and then you have glorious, glorious beer bread.

Sift, pour, mix, done.

Sift, pour, mix, done.

The type of beer you use will affect a few things with this bread. One, the flavor. I typically make this with a light, easy-drinker without too many overpowering flavors, like Miller High Life or Yuengling Lager. The bread comes out with a subtle beer flavor, but it mostly just tastes like bread. Awesome bread. If you want a more distinctively flavored beer bread, you can use a more distinctively flavored beer, like a Guinness or maybe a spiced beer around the holidays. Do you homebrew? Well now you can drink and eat your yeasty creations. Just keep in mind that the heavier the beer, the longer the baking time will be. For this loaf, I used Bell’s Oberon, a wheat ale, and it lent such a nice, bright, almost citrusy flavor to the bread. So great for Spring with some chevre and sliced radishes from the farmers’ market.

Beer Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • One 12 oz can or bottle of beer (any beer)
  • 3 tablespoons organic butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift well with fork, or sift through a fine mesh sieve. Pour in beer, stir until a stiff batter is formed, but don’t over mix (best to just use your hands). Scrape dough into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Melt butter and brush/pour across top of dough. This is optional, but it really adds to the savory crunch of the crust.
  4. Bake for about 40 or so minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Bake time will vary with beer type.

Feel free to experiment with different types of beer. This bread is also very receptive to add-ins, like herbs, garlic, and cheese. Throw in about a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, and your house will soon smell like…the best thing ever. The final product is great for toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade croutons…the list goes on. So crack open a few cold ones and get baking.

Gai Pad Krapow: Real Bangkok Style Thai Basil Chicken

Gai Pad Krapow

Gai Pad Krapow
Photo credit: avlxyz / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

This delectable recipe comes to us from Greg Richter at PurGro, the makers of the 1K4 Digital Ballast and the GroBot Evolution. Aside from spending his time designing cutting-edge environmental controllers and electronics, Greg is also an accomplished pilot, farmer, beekeeper, and chef. His business requires frequent travel around the globe, and the last time he was in Thailand he convinced a street vendor to teach him to make Gai Pad Krapow or Thai Basil Chicken. The following recipe is the “Bangkok Suk’vit Soi (11th Street) quick and dirty method”…not the haute approach that some elegant restaurants might use.

Gai Pad Krapow

4 cups fresh organic Thai basil; Italian basil or Genovese basil may also be used, but if using Holy basil (Thai hot basil) use only 2 cups
4 cloves garlic
6 green chili peppers
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 lbs free range chicken (deboned) *thighs work the best
3 organically grown shallots
Oil for frying

Mix the fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl and place to the side. Place the basil, garlic, chilies, shallots, and chicken into a food processor and using the pulse setting chop the ingredients until they are a fine chunky mush…if it looks like soup then you over-chopped.

Heat oil in a wok until the oil is almost smoking. Stir fry the chicken mixture, adding just enough sauce to keep it moist while cooking. When chicken is almost done cooking add the remainder of the sauce and simmer for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens a bit. Serve over rice or rice noodles.

Bangkok

Bangkok at Sunset
The Home of this Authentic Dish

Stealthy Mac & Cheese: Comfort Food with a Secret

Delectable Mac & Cheese

Delectable Mac & Cheese

There are some foods, some dishes that are just WORTH IT. Worth the effort, worth the calories, worth the guilt the next day. Most of us here at Atlantis Hydroponics try to be pretty mindful of the food we put into our bodies. Lots of big green salads, whole grains, and organic fruits are consumed in our offices every day. Sometimes, though, you just get that comfort food itch, and it won’t go away until it’s been scratched.

Sometimes, you just gotta splurge.

The king of comfort foods has to be macaroni and cheese. It’s warm, it’s gooey, it’s cheesy, it’s everything you could ever want to fill the belly and soothe the soul, which is what comfort food is all about. Many people tend to shy away from making macaroni and cheese from scratch at home because the recipes seem too complicated or time consuming, which is why much of America grows up thinking the cheesy treat only comes from a blue box. Well, all of that is about to change. This Stealthy Mac & Cheese is a truly simple recipe that packs a gooey punch and won’t make you regret a single delicious bite.

This recipe is adapted from one by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli of Food Network fame. The original recipe is a great basic framework that can be adapted to your needs and preferences. For example, I almost always change up the cheeses based on what I have in my kitchen or what I’m in the mood for. I have listed suggestions for the types of cheese to use, but feel free to get creative and use what you like.

Cheese, cheese, cheese

Cheese, cheese, glorious cheese.

I also tried to lighten the recipe up a bit, since the original calls for a quart of heavy cream(!). You can get a perfectly creamy, decadent sauce without using all of that. Use any combination of cream, half & half, and milk, as long as you keep the amount the same. This recipe isn’t fat free, by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some ways to make it feel a little lighter and a little healthier while remaining completely indulgent.

Which brings us to its stealthiness. This mac and cheese has vegetables in it! Well, vegetable. The addition of macaroni-sized florets of cauliflower brings a surprising lightness and satisfying texture to the dish. Cauliflower is a pretty incredible superfood, too. It is low in fat and carbohydrates, but high in dietary fiber and vitamin C; it even contains compounds that may protect against cancer! All of that and it’s absolutely delicious, especially when coated with a delectable cheese sauce. Of course you can make this dish without the cauliflower, but I think sneaking some into macaroni and cheese is a brilliantly devious way to get picky eaters to eat some vegetables.


Stealthy Mac & Cheese
Serves 6-8

10 cups water
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni (whole-wheat or regular)
1 cup organic cauliflower, chopped into very small florets
1 quart organic local half & half (or 1 pint half & half and 1 pint milk, or part milk and part heavy cream, it’s up to you)
2-3 cloves homegrown or local organic garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 to 3 1/2 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese (or Gruyere, or Monterey Jack, or Swiss, or whatever you like)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (or Asiago, or Romano…)
1/2 cup grated Havarti cheese (or Gouda, or Jack, or bleu, you get it)
Freshly ground black pepper
White pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add a good bit of salt. When you taste the water, it should be quite salty, like sea water. Add the macaroni, stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. After the macaroni cooks for about 5 minutes, add the chopped cauliflower and continue cooking until both are almost al dente, about 3 to 5 more minutes. (You can also choose to steam the cauliflower over the boiling water to preserve some of the cancer-fighting compounds).

Before you drain the macaroni and cauliflower, ladle out approximately 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour the pasta/cauliflower into a strainer over the sink and drain well.

Return the pot to the stove and add the half & half/milk/cream mixture, garlic cloves, and reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer, then add Dijon mustard and stir well. Little by little, add all but ½ cup of the cheeses, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted and integrated with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer again until smooth. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and white and cayenne peppers to taste. Stir well to blend and taste for seasoning. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.

Gently, add the macaroni and cauliflower to the cheese sauce and stir to blend until all is well coated. Let the mixture rest on the stove with the heat on low 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Transfer the mixture to a 13” x 9” baking dish and top with bread crumbs and the remaining cheese. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sneaky Mac & Cheese completes a delicious, nutritious meal.

Stealthy Mac & Cheese completes a delicious, nutritious meal.

Drying & Smoking Your Harvest: How to Improve Longevity & Flavor

Strings of Drying Hot Peppers

Strings of Air Drying Hot Peppers

So you have been reading the Atlantis Hydroponics blog and with your increased knowledge and skills as a grower, your garden has produced more than you could possibly use. You find yourself with the enviable problem of having a bumper crop! Don’t let your excess go to waste; consider these simple options to increase the longevity and enhance the flavors of your bountiful harvest.

Harvesting

Getting the best flavor out of your crop starts with when you harvest. Once most herbs, fruits, or vegetables have been harvested, their ability to produce sugar declines or stops (although some fruits will continue to ripen off of the vine). Then the plant will cannibalize its starch reserves, converting them to sugar and thereby increasing the brix or sugar content of the plant material. A scientific study determined that one should harvest hay (or any plant) when the sugar and starch content or total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) is at its peak in the plant’s diurnal cycle. This simply means one should always harvest at the end of the day. In the case of indoor growers, this means you should harvest right before your lights go off. This is because the TNC content is at its lowest point at sunrise/lights-on because the plant used carbohydrates for respiration during the previous night. By harvesting in the evening or right before the lights go out the plant will be at its maximum sugar content.

Drying

Drying your herbs, fruits or vegetables is a great way of keeping your harvest for a longer period of time; it is actually the oldest known method of preserving food. Dried foods are able to be stored for long periods of time because their low moisture content reduces the risk of spoilage.

There are several options for drying your crop: kiln or oven drying, food dehydrators, sun drying, but my favorite is called the slow dry. By slow drying you get the highest conversion of starch to sugar and thereby the best tasting product. The keys to slow drying are to make sure your drying space has the right humidity and temperature, slight air movement and to make sure to maintain a high surface area to air ratio of what you are drying. That is to say you don’t want to just pile a bunch of peppers in a bowl and wait for them to dry; that is a surefire way to get a bunch of moldy peppers.

The humidity for slow drying should be maintained at 40-60%. The temperature for fruit and vegetable drying should be between 100-140°F; this is usually done in an oven or food dehydrator due to their high water content (but the lower and slower you dry, the better flavor your crop will have.) The water content of fruits and vegetables can make some types unsuitable for slow drying. For herbs and low water content vegetables like hot peppers, you can tie them in bunches, hang them from string, or place them on a drying rack or mesh drying screen in a thin layer (remember your high surface area to air ratio) and then maintain the temperature at about 60°F. Keep herbs out of direct sunlight as this can damage their delicate aroma. Drying can take anywhere from several days to 2 weeks depending on what you are drying. Again, remember that the slower you dry, the more flavor it will have, but if you do not maintain your temperature, humidity, and air movement, you will end up with a bunch of mold.

Smoking

One of my favorite methods of preserving food is smoking. Smoking food is believed to date back to the time of cavemen. By exposing food to smoke for a period of time you effectively remove the moisture from the food while simultaneously imparting the smoky flavor of the smoking wood. Popular woods used in smoking include: hickory, oak, mesquite, and apple wood. Smoking is a great method for drying thin walled peppers for later use in cooking. You not only preserve the peppers but you create unique flavor combinations perfect for use in chili, salsas, and hot sauces. Below are instructions for smoking peppers. I hope you enjoy the smoky deliciousness.

Apple Wood Smoked Habanero Peppers

Apple Wood Smoked Habanero Peppers

Supplies:

  • A wood smoker (I used a propane fired wood smoker)
  • 1.5 lbs of your favorite hot peppers (I used orange Habaneros)
  • Wood chips of your preference (I used apple wood)
  • Water
Propane Fired Wood Smoker

Propane Fired Wood Smoker

Instructions:

Rinse off peppers in warm water & place them on a paper towel to dry fully.

Peppers Washed and Dried

Peppers Washed and Dried

Soak wood chips in water for minimum of 1 hour.

Pre-heat the smoker to 200-225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smoker Temperature Gauge

Smoker Temperature Gauge

Once smoker is at temperature, place the peppers in a single layer directly on the rack(s).

Peppers on Rack Ready to be Smoked

Peppers on Rack Ready to be Smoked

Place wet wood chips in smoke pan or box.

Add water or a combination of water and juice to water pan. This will add moisture to the smoke and slow down the drying process.

Leave peppers smoking for 2-2.5 hours or until they are dehydrated; you want them to be crisp but you do not want them to crumble into powder.

Remove peppers from smoker and allow them to cool.

Place in a canning jar, vacuum seal bags,  or Ziploc® bag until ready to use…Enjoy!

Jars of Smoked Peppers

Jars of Smoked Peppers Ready for a Tasty Meal!

Hickory Smoked Ghost Pepper & Pineapple Hot Sauce: Sweet & Fiery HOT!

Chili on fire

Fiery Smoked Ghost Pepper Pineapple HOT Sauce!!!                                                                              Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Are you one of those people? One of those fire-eaters who isn’t happy until your head is sweating and your eyes are watering? You willingly chomp down on a whole habanero and routinely order the “hellfire” wings at the local pub? Good for you. You’ll love this recipe.

But luckily, so will the rest of us sane folks, thanks to the sweet, merciful addition of pineapple. The luscious, tart-sweet of the pineapple, raisins, and lime balances so well with the smoky fierceness of the ghost pepper and various spices, resulting in a bold punch of flavor that won’t blow out your taste buds. The great thing about this Hickory Smoked Ghost Pepper & Pineapple Hot Sauce is that you can use as much or as little as you like, depending on your tolerance for heat. Mmmm…sweet, sweet heat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 hickory wood smoked Ghost Peppers; Bhut Jolokia or Naga Jolokia (you can also use Butch T’s, Trinidad Moruga Scorpions, or Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper) The Trinidad Moruga Scorpian and the Carolina Reaper are both claiming to be the current world’s hottest pepper…grow out some seeds and decide for yourself.
  • 8 ounces organically grown pineapple, cubed
  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion (official state vegetable of Georgia), about 6 ounces cubed
  • 1/2 of an organically grown carrot, about 3 ounces rough chopped
  • 1/2 ounce organic golden raisins, about a 1/4 cup
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, about 1 ounce
  • 1/2 lime, zest and meat, white pith discarded
  • 1/4 ounce ginger, rough chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 ounce cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon free trade cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients with the exception of the vinegar in a food processor and pulse till pureed. Add mixture to a saucepan, then add vinegar and cook 15 minutes. After mixture cools, blend again until a smooth consistency is reached.
  2. Fill sterilized bottles or jars with hot sauce.
  3. Place jars/bottles into a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  4. Let age for at least 1 week.

Recommended uses: grilled chicken or pork, fish, tacos, black beans and rice, wherever else you need some sweet heat. Enjoy at your own risk!

Kale with Smoked Pork Chops: Full Pockets and a Full Belly in 2013

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley

Here in the South, we’re big on tradition. Especially when it comes to the holidays…and food. On New Year’s Day, in order to get the year started off on a positive note, we eat black-eyed peas and greens. The peas symbolize good luck, and the greens symbolize wealth. So if you want plenty of both, you’d better pile your plate high! Many people supplement these veggies with some sort of pork and plenty of freshly baked cornbread to round out the first meal of the new year.

In the spirit of the New Year, I have a delicious recipe to share with you: Kale with Smoked Pork Chops. Traditionally, we Southerners eat collard greens for our New Year’s dinner, but kale makes an excellent substitute and is an amazing, powerful, delicious super food!

Kale with Smoked Pork Chops

Olive oil
1 large organic sweet (Vidalia) onion, quartered
2 big cloves of organic garlic, cut in fine strips
2 meaty smoked pork chops from local market
Salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes
1 huge bunch of organic kale – washed, stripped of spine and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces
1 BIG organic sweet potato, diced
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

  1. Pour approximately 1/8 cup of good extra virgin olive oil into big (8 qt) stainless steel stock pot. Saute onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add in the whole smoked pork chops and steam for about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour in at least 4 cups of water and bring all to a boil.
  3. Add a little salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  4. Add kale and sweet potato and boil until tender.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Optional: Pour out some of the liquid (maybe 1/4-1/2 cup and replace with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.

The pork chops should fall apart –discard bone and fat. The kale will shrink and the sweet potato and onion will become tender.

Time: not much, maybe 20-30 minutes (the pork chops are smoked, thus they are already cooked, and add flavor and protein). Just don’t boil the kale too long; it is better when al dente.

Now fix yourself some black-eyed peas and prepare yourself for the best year yet. Happy 2013!

Grow it. Cook it. Eat it. Share it!

It’s time to eat! National Stuff-Yourself-Full-of-Hopefully-Delicious-Food Day is right around the corner. As in, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Here at Atlantis, we’re a bit curious about what is going to be on your table this Thursday. There will probably be turkey, we know that, and maybe some stuffing (or dressing, as it is sometimes known in the South). You might have some cranberry sauce, some gravy, some pumpkin pie. But what else are you having? What kind of delicious vegetable side dishes will you be feasting upon? Do you go for simple, like steamed green beans? Or do you get down-home comfy with some casseroles? Do you ever use any hydroponically grown fruits or vegetables in your Thanksgiving dishes?

Inquiring minds want to know. If fact, we are so eager to hear about what you are making this year that we are challenging you to a recipe contest! Tell us about the greatest recipe you enjoyed this Thanksgiving holiday, preferably one can be made using hydroponically grown produce, and you could win a fantastic prize! The winning recipe will also be featured on this blog. (You don’t actually have to have grown the ingredients, y’all.)

Email your recipes to robin@atlantishydroponics.com by Wednesday November 28, 2012 for consideration. Try to include a photo if you can!

Now, I would never dream of sending you off with a task like that without giving you a little bit of inspiration.

To tickle your Internet-taste buds, I would like to share what I will be making for my family’s Thanksgiving feast this year. I come from a long line of Southern casserole-lovers, and this recipe comes straight from the top, as far as my family is concerned: my late great-grandmother Kate. This tummy-warming side dish is super easy to make, and it tastes INCREDIBLE. It’s as simple as this:

Kate’s Squash Casserole

Typically, yellow squash is a summer crop, as evidenced by its alias ‘summer squash,’ but with hydroponics, it is possible to grow and enjoy yellow squash all year round!

1.5 lbs yellow squash, sliced
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 large egg
½-1 cup sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10-12 Saltine crackers, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper/hot sauce of choice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place squash and onion in a pot and fill with enough water to cover all vegetables. Boil covered over high heat until squash and onions are tender. Drain well. Return to pot and mash well with a potato masher. How well you mash is based on preference, as some people prefer their squash casserole a bit chunkier than others. (I like mine pretty smooth.) Add salt, pepper, cheese, and half of the crushed saltines and mix until well combined. Check for seasonings and make adjustments as necessary, adding cayenne or hot sauce to taste to spice things up if you wish. Add the egg and stir until mixture is moist and well-combined. Make sure the burner is off before you add the egg! Transfer mixture to a greased casserole dish, top with remaining cracker crumbs, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until crackers have started to turn golden. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy! This recipe can easily be multiplied to feed the hungry masses.

I’ll post a photo of the real thing after the holiday. Now get cooking!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, friends!

Butternut Squash Soup: A Tasty Fall Treat!

Food Network Butternut Squash Soup

Photo Courtesy of Food Network

Here is a delicious butternut squash soup recipe perfect for those chilly autumn nights. This recipe was submitted by Nikki, thanks so much!

1 medium organically grown butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 medium organically grown onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, optional
3 tablespoons Sparkman’s Cream Valley organic butter
3 cups Whole Foods Organic 365 Chicken Broth
1-2 cups water, as needed
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with sour cream, yogurt, or try Decimal.Place Farm’s goat cheese with sliced or crumbled bacon

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the halves cut side down in roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Bake squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until very tender. Set aside to cool. When the squash is completely cool, scoop the flesh from the skin.

While the squash is baking, cook the onion and the ginger in the butter in a saucepan, over moderately low heat, for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened, Add the broth and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, covered. Add the squash pulp to the sauce pan. Electric mix and puree until as smooth or chunky as you like. Add enough water to achieve the desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to the sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until it is hot.

Depending on the desired taste, (zesty or sweet) you can also add a little paprika or nutmeg when serving.

Have a delicious recipe you want to share? Submit them to info@atlantishydroponics.com for consideration.