A free recipe book from Seven Oaks (homegardenjoy.com) to help you cook what you grow! Seasonal recipes, vegetable recipes, delicious recipes to cook fruits and vegetables from your home garden. By Jeanne Grunert.
One of the best moments on our little hobby farm was our first apple harvest in 2013. From a few
small trees (stems, really) planted in 2007 grew trees that produced several pounds of apples. We
enjoyed these recipes using the tart, ripe apples. If you don't have access to your own apples from
the garden, choose Granny Smith or Macintosh apples for their tartness.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and have at the ready a square oven-proof casserole dish. Make
the filling for the cobbler by peeling and slicing 6 cups of apples, and adding them to a pot on the
stove in which you have cooking 1/4 cup of water, 2/3 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Cook until tender. When they're almost done, make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon
of cornstarch. Add to the filling mixture, stirring it in, until the entire mix thickens. Pour the filling into
an 8 x 8 x 2" baking dish.
Make the topping by combining 1 cup of white flour (all purpose is fine), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon
baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg well beaten, and 3 tablespoons milk.
Mix the dry ingredients with a fork. Add egg and milk and stir until crumbly. Using a pastry cutter or
your fingers, add 3-4 tablespoons cold butter or margarine. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs, then
spread the crust mixture evenly over the filling.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Similar to the recipe above, but the crust is sweeter and crumbly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and slice 5 cups of apples. Spread them in a buttered 1 1 /2
quarter baking dish. Spinrkle the apples with 1/3 cup of water.
In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4
teaspoon of salt. Add 1/4 pound (1 stick) of butter a little at a time, using a pastry blender to cut the
piece in so that the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over the top of the apples and
bak uncovered for 30 minutes or until the crust browns.
Applesauce is fairly easy to make. Peel and slice 3 pounds of apples (about 10 medum sized tart
apples) and discard peels and cores. Place apples in a large, heavy pot, and add 1 cup of water and 2/3
cup sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer the apples, covered,
for 10 minutes or until tender. Turn off the heat.
Mash with a hand-potato masher. If you would prefer to use a blender, wait until the mixtures cools
thoroughly before adding it to your blender; if the apples are too hot they can break or crack your
blender container. Add, blend on puree setting. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.
Basic Cooking Instructions
There are many ways you can cook beets. While many cooking magazines call for roasted beets, I
prefer traditional boiled beets. These can be used as they are, served warm or cold; as the base for
Harvard beets; or in my Summer Beet Salad recipe, below.
Wear an apron over your clothes. Boiled beets must be peeled, and peeling is messy. The reddish-
purple juice can stain clothing. Have a towel or rag handy to clean the countertops and floor in case
you drop some beet peels.
How to Cook Beets
Pull beets from the ground and shake off as much excess
soil as you can. Trim the root and stem away, but do not
slice into the beet itself. If you do, some of the flavor and
color will leach into the cooking water and they won't taste
as good as if you boiled them intact. Use a scrub brush and
scrub the beet under cool running water to wash away the
Place beets in a large cooking pot filled with water. Make
sure that the water covers the beets. I like to fill my pot so
that the water is just about half an inch to one inch from
the rim of the pot. Turn the heat on medium-high until the
water begins to boil. Once it is boiling, lower to simmer and
boil the beets, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes.
Test the beets to see if they are cooked by inserting a fork
into one; it should meet some resistance, but be fairly easy
to pierce the beet. If the beets are finished cooking, turn off
the stove and remove them from the heat. Drain them in a
large colander, then rinse with cool water. Let them sit for
10 minutes until you can handle them without getting
Figure 1: Filling the cooking pot with water.
Figure 2: Peeling beets with a knife.
Now it is time to peel them. Boiling beets makes the skin easier to peel off. Use a fork and spear a
beet. Place it on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut off the top and the root section. This forms a
flat portion of the beet's surface. Turn the beet onto the flat side. Use your fork to steady the beet.
Now with your knife, scrape down the sides. The skin peels off in strips or flakes. Continue until all
skin is peeled off, then set the beet aside and continue peeling the others.
When done, you can compost the beet peels, tops and roots. The cooked beets can then be served as
they are, used as the basic beets for Harvard beets, or sliced into the Summer Beet Salad recipe,
Harvard beets offer a sweet-tart, slightly creamy sauce. They are delicous served with pot roast or
roast pork and mashed potatoes.
To make Harvard beets:
Cook four to six beets as described above. Peel, slice and set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine:
• 1/3 cup water
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Bring to a boil on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Let the mixture boil for approximately 2
Mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water to form a slurry. Add to the mixture; stir until
Add the beets. Stir, then shut the heat off. Let sit without heat for 20-30 minutes. The beets absorb
the mixture's flavors during this time.
Just before serving, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot. Warm on medium-low to low heat until
the butter melts, stirring occassionally. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Summer Beet Salad
The Summer Beet Salad is a great alternative to potato salad on a hot day. Serve with typical picnic
Slice 4 to 6 large boiled and peeled beets into coins of even thickness, 1/4 inch or less.
Peel and slice one small to medium sized raw onion into thin strips.
Combine beets and onions into a bowl. Toss with Italian dressing or vinegar and oil. Chill and serve.
Don't overlook greens from the garden. Swiss chard, broccoli rabe
or even spinach can be used in this recipe. These vegetables are
packed with fiber, vitamins A, K and C, and minerals such as folate and iron. They also contain
beneficial antioxidants such as lutein and are great for you as well as being low calorie. Go easy on the
olive oil and cheese if watching your weight and enjoy more delicious greens from the garden!
Garlic Greens, Pasta and Beans
This recipe can be made with fresh broccoli rabe or Swiss chard.
You will need:
• About 2 cups of either broccoli rabe or Swiss chard, rinsed and dried (use a salad spinner to
dry it or pat dry with paper towels)
• One can of cannelli beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup of tortellini or your favorite pasta
• Olive oil
• Two cloves of garlic, minced
Cook about 1/2 cup of pasta and five minutes before they are set to finish, throw the broccoli rabe
into the pot and stir it.
Open a can of Great Northern beans, rinse about half a cup and a minute before the timer goes off
for your pasta and green, and toss the rinsed and drained beans into the pot too. Give it a good stir.
Drain and rinse, then put it on a plate.
Mince a clove or two of garlic.
In a saucepan (or dry out your pot and reuse it) drizzle some olive oil and cook the garlic for 20
seconds. Add the garlic to the plated greens. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan and hot
pepper flakes, and enjoy.
Satisfying, nutritious, and full of good stuff.....real food....takes only about 15 minutes to make and
will satisfy you for hours.
Sweet and Sour Baked Cabbage
I should call this recipe "cabbage for people who hate cabbage"
because even the most dedicated vegetable-hater in your
household will likely enjoy this delicious side dish! Another
great vegetable dish to servie with pork or roast chicken in the
To make it, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice a head of cabbage in half and store one half in the fridge. Remove and discard the core and outer
leaves. Slice the remaining cabbage into quarter-inch strips and place it in an oven-proof casserole
dish with a lid.
Peel and trim the ends off of a large onion. Slice the onion into thin strips. Mix into the cabbage in the
Peel and trim four cloves of garlic. Slice into thin slivers and add to the cabbage and onion mixture.
Drizzle the vegetables with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix it well. Add salt and pepper to taste - not
too much, just a pinch.
Cover the mixture and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir again, place it back in
the oven, and bake a final 15 minutes.
When it is done, dress it with a mixture of 1/3 cup cider vinegar mixed with two tablespoons honey.
Stir the honey and cider vinegar first, then drizzle onto the hot, cooked cabbage, onion and garlic
mixture. Stir well and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves 4/Serving size: 2 peppers each
• 8 large green bell peppers. Try to select peppers with a flat bottom so they sit upright in the pan.
• 1 cup of white rice, cooked
• 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
• 1 can of corn kernels, drained
• 1/2 lb ground beef
• 1 large or 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 8 slices of cheddar cheese
• Wash and slice the tops of the peppers off. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous interior. Discard
top, seeds and interior. Rinse again. Boil a pot of water and immerse the peppers into the water.
Boil for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender yet retain their shape. The color fades from bright
green to a darker green when they are ready.
• Cook the rice as per package directions and pour into a large mixing bowl.
• In a large saucepan, cook the ground beef, breaking it up into small pieces. Remove meat with a
slotted spoon and add it to the rice in the mixing bowl.
• Add the diced onion to the meat drippings; fry until tender. Remove with slotted spoon and add
to the rice and meat mixture. Discard fat.
• Drain and rinse corn kernels. Add to rice, meat and onion mixture.
• Add tomatoes, sauce and spices to the rice/meat/onion/corn mixture. Stir until blended.
• When peppers are ready, use tongs to drain and remove them onto a flat, heat-proof surface.
Let them cool a bit, then spoon the mixture into each until it reaches the top.
• Place peppers in an oven-proof dish with a lid. Place lid over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25
• Remove from oven. Place cheese over top of each pepper, replace lid, and let stand for 5
minutes until cheese melts.
• Serve immediately.
Basic Mashed Potates
Mashed potatoes are one of life's great comfort foods. I never knew what great mashed potatoes
tasted like until my husband made them for me after we were married. My mother's mashed potatoes
were so lumpy, my dad asked her not to make them anymore. So we didn't have them at mealtime
when I was growing up.
I've since learned that the secret to creamy mashed potatoes isn't a great cooking mystery, but actually
in the way they are mashed. A hand masher is essential for making good homemade mashed potatoes.
Do not use an electric mixer; that was my mom's problem. It makes mashed potatoes with the
consistency of wallpaper paste! Hand mashing them is the only way to go. You can purchase a hand
masher at any grocery or big box home store.
To make basic mashed potatoes:
• Peel and quarter Yukon gold potatoes (the best kind for mashed potatoes). Use one potato per
person, figuring that one potato is a potato the size of a baseball or thereabouts.
• Place into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
Boil for 30 - 60 minutes.
• Drain and rinse potatoes. Return them to the pot.
• Add 1/4 cup of milk and 2-4 tablespoons of butter. Hand mash until creamy.
Rosemary potatoes are another one of my husband's recipes. They are great for those who enjoy the
taste of fresh rosemary and herbs.
Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and slice potatoes into cubes the size of dice. Place in an oven-proof
casserole dish with a lid. Drizzle with olive oil and add one tablespoon of rosemary (dried) or a pinch of
fresh rosemary. Toss. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning mix to taste. Bake for 30 to 60 minutes,
stirring midway through baking time. Potatoes are done when they are golden brown and tender.
Easy Homemade Potato Salad
A few hints for great homemade potato salad:
• Peel and slice the potatoes before cooking. This cuts the cooking
time drastically, and avoids burning your hands handling those
hot boiled potatoes.
• If using homegrown potatoes, reduce the cooking time by 5
minutes. Cook for 20 minutes for store bought or Russet
potatoes; 10-15 for Yukon Gold. They're tenderer and the fresh
ones cook up more quickly.
• You can use Dijon mustard if you prefer.
• I use light mayo, either an olive oil based mayonnaise such as
Hellman's or a canola-oil based mayo.
Ready? Let's get cooking!
• Large pot
• Cutting board
• Sharp knife
• Bowl with lid
• Small bowl
• Measuring spoons
• About 6 large Yukon Gold potatoes
• 1 medium or large onion
• 2 stalks of celery
• 1 cup of mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon French mustard OR 1 teaspoon (note smaller amount) of Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Fill the large pot halfway with cold water. Place on the stove.
2. Peel the potatoes.
3. Slice potatoes in half.
4. Cut the halves into quarter inch sized pieces.
5. Place pieces into COLD water.
Figure 3: Easy Homemade Potato Salad
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Once it begins to boil, time for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, check a slice. The potato should
be firm yet tender. (If using store bought potatoes, cook for 20 minutes, check after 15)
8. When cooked, drain.
9. Rinse under cold water.
10. Place in bowl.
11. Clean and trim ends off the celery. Cut into small pieces and place into bowl with potato slices.
12. Remove skins and ends of onions. Dice into fine pieces. Add to potatoes and celery.
13. Make the dressing: Mix the mayo, cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
14. Add to the potatoes, celery and onions. Mix gently.
15. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings. Enjoy!
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If your family loves mashed potatoes, why not try the healthier version - mashed sweet potatoes?
Packed with more fiber, vitamin A and beta-carotene than white potatoes, these are great for the
To make them...
• Wash and peel 3 to 4 large sweet potatoes.
• Cut into coins or dice-sized pieces and add to a pot of cold water.
• Bring water to a boil and boil the sweet potatoes for 3o to 60 minutes.
When they are tender, drain the water and return potatoes to the pot.
• Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Hand-mash until creamy and serve.
Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes
Maple baked sweet potatoes offer a sweetness that's unsurpassed, plus the vitamins, antioxidants
and fiber of sweet potatoes. They're easy to make - another bake it and you're done dish!
To make them...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
• Wash and peel 3-4 large sweet potatoes.
Slice and layer the slices in an oven-proof casserole dish with a lid.
• Add 2-4 pats of butter or margarine to the top.
• Drizzle with 1/4 cup maple or pancake syrup.
• Cover and bake for 30 to 60 minutes or until tender.
Mashed Turnips and Potatoes
Turnips are a "love them or hate them" kind of vegetables. But if you add potatoes to them, it takes
the bitterness out of the turnips while losing none of their vitamins and minerals. Make this recipe in
the fall when turnips are plentiful in the garden or inexpensive in the store.
To make this recipe, you will need one large turnip (softball size) and four large white potatoes, plus
1/4 cup of milk and 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter or margine.
Wash and trim the turnip. Peel with a vegetable peeled. Cut into quarter-sized chunks and add to a
pot filled with cool water. Wash, peel and quarter the potatoes. Add them to the pot. Bring the
mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat to simmer and boil for approximately 45 to 60
minutes. Drain the turnips and potatoes and return them to the pot.
Add the milk and butter to the pot. Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes and turnips. You may
need to mash the turnip pieces more as they can be tough. Once the mixture is mashed to a smooth
consistency, serve. A good way to enjoy this is with butter or margarine on top and a sprinkle of
cracked black pepper.
About the Author
Jeanne Grunert is an award-winning writer and content marketer living and
working on a 17 acre farm in Virginia. Prior to moving to Virginia in 2007, Jeanne
led marketing department for a variety of publishing and education companies in
the New York City area. Today, she grows a life instead of just making a living. She
is the author of Pricing Your Services - 21 Tips for More Profit, available on
Amazon.com, and blogs about her exploits at Seven Oaks, her farm, at
• Jeanne's author website is www.jeannegrunert.com
• Jeanne's company website is www.sevenoaksconsulting.com
• For more gardening and homemaking inspiration, visit the Seven Oaks blog: