Sparky Carrots and Cauliflower

Sparky Carrots and Cauliflower

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets (approx 5 cups)
1 bunch carrots, cut in half and half again (approx 7 carrots)
2 tsp bacon renderings
1¼ tsp sea salt, divided
3 tbsp grass-fed butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp minced garlic (approx 3 cloves)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp parmesan

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Put florets and carrots on separate sheet pans and toss each in 1 tsp of bacon renderings.  Sprinkle each with ½ tsp of sea salt.  Place in hot oven for 15 minutes.  Turn vegetables with a spatula and return to the oven, rotating the sheet pans as well.  Roast for an additional 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine butter, rosemary, ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp pepper.  Melt butter over low heat and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.  Add Nutritional Yeast, stir, and remove from heat.

Combine vegetables. Pour butter mixture over top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, and toss to coat.  Serve warm.

Sparky Carrots and Cauliflower

Balsamic Kale with Caramelized Onions

Balsamic Kale with Caramelized Onions

This dish is perfect for company because everything can be prepped and cooked ahead of time. The kale is simply added in the minutes before service to maintain the bright, green appearance. I noted where you can “pause” in the recipe below.


2 tsp bacon fat
1 medium red onion, peeled & sauté sliced (approx 2 cups)
1 tbsp minced garlic (approx 3 cloves)
½ cayenne pepper, minced (or 2 dashes cayenne pepper)
½ cup roughly chopped soaked pecans
¼ cup dried currants
½ tsp sea salt, plus a pinch
¼ tsp fresh cracked pepper
6 tightly packed cups 1-inch pieces of dinosaur kale, washed & lightly damp (approx 1 large bunch or 2 small)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt bacon fat. Add onions, reduce heat to medium-low and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cayenne. Sauté for one minute, stirring constantly. Add pecans, currants, ½ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir to combine. Sauté on medium-low for 2 minutes.

(At this point, the heat can be turned off until just before supper, or continue to the next step.)

Over medium heat, add kale and remaining pinch of sea salt. Use tongs to turn constantly until kale wilts. When just wilted, turn heat off. Add balsamic vinegar. Turn with tongs to coat. Serve warm and immediately.

Balsamic Kale with Caramelized Onions

Dilly Carrots

by Sandy Schrecengost
Serves 4

This side is a perfect example of a farm-to-table dish – simple and reliant on great tasting produce.  My mom created this dish on a whim based upon what was available in the garden at the moment.  It was a hit at our weekly WWOOFer (farm volunteers) dinner, and afterwards, our volunteers asked for the recipe and made it several times on their own.  It’s an easy, delicious and satisfying side to most every meal.

3 cups peeled and 1/2″ sliced carrots
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
additional sea salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, cover prepared carrots with filtered water.

Add 1/4 tsp sea salt.

Cover and bring to full boil.  Once boiling: uncover, reduce heat to medium, and boil until crisp tender.  About 15 – 20 minutes, do not over cook.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter and garlic.  The garlic will infuse the melting butter.  When butter is fully melted, remove from heat and let rest.

When carrots are just tender, drain well and return to the warm pot.  Pour garlic-butter over carrots, re-season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, add dill and stir well.

Serve hot.

Mom’s Pickled Beets and Eggs

Serves 4 – 6
By: Sandy Schrecengost

Pickled beets and eggs are the perfect addition to any summer picnic.  Two sweetener options are given below: powdered green stevia and honey granules.  Also, Maple crystals may substitute for honey granules in equal measurement.

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled & left whole
2 medium-sized beets, peeled
3/4 tsp powdered green stevia or 3/4 cup honey granules
3/4 cup warm beet juice, reserved from boiling beets
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Chop beet into 2″ pieces.

In a medium saucepan, combine beets with 5 cups filtered water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, until tender, approximately 20 minutes.  Beets are ready when they are fork tender without being mushy.  Strain and reserve the juice.

In a glass quart-sized mason jar, combine eggs and boiled beets.  Place the eggs in the jar first, or they tend to float.

In a pint-sized glass jar with a lid, combine sweetener of choice with 3/4 cup of the warm beet juice.

Shake well until fully combined.  Add vinegar and shake again.

Pour beet juice mixture over-top of boiled beets & eggs.

Lid the mason jar and gently shake to mix well.

Uncover and rinse the lid.  Allow the jar to sit on the counter to cool and marinate for 12 – 24 hours.

Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.

Caramelized Beets with Fresh Chives

Serves 4

When you add the chives to this dish, it is going to feel like a lot, but don’t fear, they add such a bright pop.  I think you’ll like them!

1-1/2 lbs. beets, without greens (approx 2 bunches or 6 medium beets)
2 tbsp pastured bacon drippings
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Peel the beets and slice as thin as possible, approx 1/16″ slices.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp bacon drippings.

Once melted, add sliced beets and turn with a spatula to coat in the fat.  Reduce heat to low, cover and gently cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 25 minutes, remove the lid and increase heat to medium.  Saute for 5 additional minutes without stirring.  After five minutes, remove from heat.

Add sea salt, pepper and chives.

Toss to combine and serve warm.

French Cut Green Beans with Bacon

French Cut Green Beans with Bacon
Yields: 4 cups

In Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, she introduces this technique of using a food processor to create French-cut green beans.  My husband does not like the texture of regular green beans, but he loves them when they are prepared this way.  This style of preparation is also very popular with kids.

Bacon Ingredients:

6 oz pastured bacon, chopped width-wise into ½” strips

Bacon Instructions:
In a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook bacon covered, stirring frequently, until crispy.  Remove bacon with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour drippings into a heatproof ceramic or glass container and set aside.

Green Bean Ingredients:
1½ lb green beans
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1½ tsp sea salt, divided
3 tbsp pastured butter
¼ tsp fresh cracked pepper

Green Bean Instructions:
Snip the vine-end tail from the green bean.  Assemble a food processor with the slicing attachment.  Turn on the machine, and using the shoot, add the beans a small handful at a time.  The processed beans will be reminiscent of the diagonal French-cut green beans that we used to eat from the can!

Pour sliced beans into a large pot with stock and 1 tsp sea salt.  Over high heat, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to medium and maintain a rolling simmer for 10 minutes.  Once cooked, pour into a large colander and strain well.  (See Note.) While beans are straining, return the pot to the stovetop over low heat.  To the pot, add 2 tbsp reserved bacon drippings (the rest may be stored tightly covered in the fridge for other uses), butter, remaining ½ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp pepper.  Once butter has melted, add strained beans and bacon to the pot and use tongs to coat the beans in the seasoned fat.    Serve warm.

Note –
I like to place the strainer over a large bowl in order to catch the discarded chicken stock.  I pour it into a mug and sip on it while I finish making dinner.  Delish!

Summer Lima Beans with Cherry Tomatoes & Sun-Dried Black Olives

Discovering fresh lima beans at the market is like hitting summer’s jackpot! Practice now with frozen (check the asterisks below for instructions for using frozen beans), but be sure to revisit this recipe in a few short months. I promise… summer will take it to the next level!

2 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into half moons (approx 1 1/4 cup) *
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups shelled fresh lima beans (approx 2 lbs. unshelled beans) **
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted sun-dried black olives
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Advance Instructions for Enhanced Digestion:
At least 12 hours before mealtime…

In a small saucepan, combine fresh or frozen lima beans, whey or lemon juice and water to generously cover.  Cover pot and set aside in a warm spot for 12 – 24 hours.  Drain and rinse well before beginning the remaining instructions.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and gently saute for 5 minutes; onions will be slightly softened and barely beginning to brown. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute; garlic will be fragrant. Add lima beans, stock and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to gently boil for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir in remaining 1 tbsp of butter, tomatoes, olives, vinegar, sea salt & pepper. Recover and continue to gently boil for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve warm.

* To cut an onion into half moons: First slice the onion in half from root to stem. Lay the cut flesh of each side of onion flat on the cutting board, cut about 1/2″ off both the root and stem of each half. Peel both sides, and return the onion to its previous position on the cutting board. Each side now looks like half of a moon! Now, cut the onion horizontally in 1/2″ pieces (opposite of cutting from the root to the stem), creating individual half moon shaped onions.

** If fresh Lima beans are not available, frozen Lima beans are a perfectly acceptable substitution. Same directions apply. Large Lima beans and small Lima beans will both work beautifully in this recipe. Large Lima beans are also known as butter beans. Small Lima beans are also known as baby Lima beans.

Kid’s Squash and Cheese

Serves 4-6

This recipe was designed to the palate of little ones, but big kids like this recipe, too! If you are feeding a finicky eater, feel free to leave off the Roma tomatoes without affecting the integrity of the dish.

3 cups cooked spaghetti squash *
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup raw cream
1 tsp + pinch + pinch sea salt, divided
1/2 tsp +pinch +pinch fresh cracked pepper, divided
dash cayenne
dash nutmeg
1 1/2 cup shredded raw white cheddar cheese
1 cup homemade sourdough breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 Roma tomatoes, 1/8″ thinly sliced
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, add spaghetti squash and set aside. Locate & set aside an 8 x 11 glass baking dish. In a small pot over medium heat, warm butter, cream, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cayenne and nutmeg, stirring occasionally. Use caution not to scald the cream. When very lightly simmering, add white cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat.

Pour cheese sauce over spaghetti squash and stir to combine. Pour into the glass pan and spread evenly with a spatula. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pinch of sea salt & pinch of pepper. Toss with fingers to combine and spread evenly across the top of the cheesy squash. In three even & slightly overlapping layers, arrange sliced tomatoes on top of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle remaining pinch of sea salt and pepper over-top of tomatoes, and evenly drizzle olive oil across the top of the casserole to brown the top of the dish. Bake for 50 minutes; tomatoes will be roasted and visible breadcrumbs will be toasted.

Rest for 5 minutes and serve warm.

* To bake squash, preheat oven to 400˚. Locate either a roasting pan with a rack or a cookie sheet with a rack set inside of it. Cut the spaghetti squash from vine stump to butt-end. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Place squash on the rack, cut-side down, and fill pan with water until almost reaching the rack. Prick the skin of the squash with a fork 10 times each. Place squash in the hot oven for 1 hour, skin should be pierce-able with slight effort and the flesh under the skin should receive the fork nicely. Skins may be browned. It is important not to overcook the squash.

Grilled Zucchini and Onion with Warm Italian Vinaigrette

Serves 2 – 4


1 tbsp melted ghee
1 medium sweet onion
2 medium zucchini
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic (approx 2 cloves)
2 tbsp minced sweet onion *
1 tsp Fresno pepper, minced **
1/2 tsp + pinch + 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/4 tsp + pinch + 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper, divided
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp local honey
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus leaves for garnish

Over medium heat, warm a grill-pan. While preheating, lightly brush the pan with melted ghee and then, prepare onion and zucchini.

For the onion – Cut off the top and bottom of the sweet onion. Peel. Using the center chunk of onion, slice width-wise to create 4 – 1/4″ rounds of sweet onion. Brush both sides with ghee and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. For the zucchini – Cut the top and bottom off the zucchini. Slice in half, width-wise, then slice both pieces in half, length-wise. Make one additional slice length-wise, resulting in 8 – approximately 4″ spears of zucchini. Repeat with the second zucchini, resulting in 16 total spears. Place in a medium bowl, and add remaining ghee (approx 1 1/2 tsp), 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss to coat.

Once grill-pan is preheated, add onions to the pan. Make sure to grill the onions first because the zucchini is best served warm. Grill the onions for 5 minutes on each side, using a spatula to turn gently, which allows the rings of onion to stay nestled together. Remove and set aside on a clean plate to wait for the zucchini. Grill all three sides of the zucchini for 3 minutes each, using tongs to gently turn.

While vegetables are grilling, in a small saucepan, combine extra virgin olive oil, garlic, minced sweet onion, Fresno pepper, sea salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Warm over medium-low heat until gently simmering. Simmer for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in apple cider vinegar, Dijon and honey. Vinaigrette will remain broken, without fully emulsifying. Maintain a low heat until vegetables are ready.

Once all vegetables have been grilled, pile neatly onto a serving plate. Whisk chopped basil and oregano into the broken vinaigrette and pour over the grilled vegetables. Garnish with oregano leaves and serve warm.

* Use the leftover top & bottom from creating the onion rounds to create 2 tbsp minced onion.

** If you happen to not share my recent obsession with Fresno peppers, they can either be omitted or substitute 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for a slightly spicier end result.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Yield: 7 cups

It is optional to line the aluminum foil with parchment paper when roasting the garlic, but I do in order to prevent the garlic from directly touching the foil. Some people link aluminum exposure to several health conditions, and I choose to simply avoid the controversy.

Roasted Garlic Ingredients:
2 large garlic bulbs
2 tsp butter, divided
2 pinches sea salt

Roasted Garlic Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut each garlic bulb in half horizontally. Smear 1 tsp butter on the bottom of each half and replace the top. Tightly wrap each reassembled bulb in aluminum foil that has been lined with parchment paper. Place wrapped bulbs onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Remove bulbs from the foil and cool for an additional 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.

Cauliflower Ingredients:
2 extra large or 3 small/medium cauliflower heads
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
dash cayenne
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Cauliflower Instructions:
Remove the stem from the cauliflower and cut into florets (approx 15 cups.) In a large pot, combine cauliflower, chicken stock and 1 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until fork tender. In a large colander, drain well. Return the drained cauliflower to the hot pot over low heat. Add butter, remaining 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper and cayenne. Cover until butter has melted. Remove cover and mash with a potato masher until well combined. Leave cauliflower covered over low heat until roasted garlic is cool. When roasted garlic is ready, remove the lid to the cauliflower and squeeze roasted garlic bulbs over the pot, allowing the individual cloves to squeeze out and land in the pot. Once garlic is emptied of roasted cloves, discard the empty shells. Use the potato masher to combine the roasted garlic into the cauliflower. Right before service, stir in 2 tbsp chives. Serve warm.

xo – Organic Spark