Below are the recipes that April prepared during her workshop on September 14th. All were delicious and were prepared with items that can be found in the garden.
Carrot Ginger Soup
I think this soup works best when it is puréed until perfectly smooth. This is best achieved using an upright blender. If you use an immersion blender, just keep working at it until the soup is as smooth as you can make it.
We use chicken stock in this recipe, but you can easily use vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Yield: Serves 4-5
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds carrots (6-7 large carrots), peeled and sliced thin
2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 cups water
3 large strips of zest from an orange
Chopped chives, parsley, dill or fennel for garnish
1 Sauté onions and carrots: Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions or carrots brown. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the carrots and onions as they cook.
2 Add stock and water, ginger, and strips of orange zest. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots soften, about 20 minutes.
3 Remove the strips of orange zest! It’s easy to forget this step, and if you forget and purée the soup with the strips of zest still in it, the soup may be too bitter for your taste.
4 Purée soup: Purée the soup with a stick blender, or working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Only fill the blender bowl a third full with the hot liquid and keep one hand pressing down on the cap of the blender to keep it from popping off.
Add more salt to taste. (You will need more salt if you are using homemade unsalted stock or unsalted butter.)
Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or fennel fronds.
Prep Time 15 Mins
Cook Time 30 Mins
Broil Time 2 Mins
Yield Makes 6 to 8 servings
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Garnish: chopped seeded plum tomatoes
How to Make It
Step 1 Melt butter with oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; add zucchini and onion, and sauté 12 to 14 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Step 2 Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients at least 1 minute or until well blended. Pour over vegetable mixture.
Step 3 Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until set; increase oven temperature to broil, and broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and basil. Garnish, if desired.
Step 4 Lightened Zucchini-Onion Frittata: Reduce butter to 1 tablespoon, and omit oil. Sauté zucchini and onion as directed; remove from heat. Reduce grated Parmesan cheese to 1/4 cup, stirring 2 tablespoons into vegetable mixture. Substitute 1 (15-ounce) carton garden vegetable egg substitute for 8 eggs and 1/4 cup lowfat milk for 1/4 cup milk, and whisk together with salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture. Bake as directed; do not broil. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and basil. Garnish, if desired
If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can caramelize the onions while prepping the other ingredients. If you do that, double the amount of onion.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 55 minutes Yield: Serves 6
1 9-inch pie shell (see pie crust recipe for homemade version)
1/2 cup chopped yellow or red onion (about 1/3 onion, diced)
3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups (700 ml) chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 large leaves)*
2 cups (8 oz, 225 g) grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozzarella)
1/2 cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)
Freshly ground black pepper
*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.
1 Pre-bake the crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
If you are using a store-bought pie shell, follow the directions on the package for pre-baking, or pre-bake it in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes (a little longer for a frozen pie shell), until lightly browned.
If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then press a sheet of aluminum foil into the crust to keep the sides of the pie crust from falling down as it cooks. Fill the pie with pie weights such as dry beans or rice to help hold the foil in place.
Pre-bake the homemade crust for 15 minutes, then remove the foil, use the tines of a fork to poke a few small holes in the bottom of the crust (for venting), and bake for 10 more minutes.
2 Salt and drain the tomatoes: Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain while you are pre- baking the crust. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.
3 Layer pre-baked pie shell with onions, tomatoes, basil: Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of your pre-baked pie crust shell. Spread the drained chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.
4 Make cheese mixture, spread over tomatoes: In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snowball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.
5 Bake: Place in oven and bake at 350°F (175°C) until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.
April began her career in cooking at a young age, serving creations to her family from her Holly Hobbie oven. Over the years, she has been a farmer’s market vendor and ran her own private catering and event planning business in Southern Maryland for over ten years while attending college and raising a family. April began teaching cooking classes at various venues in 2006, with her most recent venture teaching at the Ojai Culinary School for the past 3 years.
Chef April offers private cooking classes, perfect for small events and parties. For additional information, visit her website at:
Link to printable recipes: