Blueberries and Cucumbers with Pistachios and Yogurt

Recipe

May 17, 2018

By Vivian Howard

Blueberries and cucumbers respect each other. Both come off in early summer here, so their surprising harmonious marriage lends credibility to the locavore mantra, “What grows together, goes together.”

Up close, this is a refreshing salad with lots of texture, but zoom out and you’ll see something that resembles a substantial Southern tzatziki. Serve it cold.

Ingredients

Blueberries and Cucumbers with Pistachios and Yogurt

  • Plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
  • Buttermilk, 1/4 cup
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Orange juice, 2 tablespoons
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoons, divided
  • Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons, divided
  • Honey, 1 scant tablespoon
  • Hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cucumbers, 2 medium or 1 English cucumber
  • Blueberries, 1 cup
  • Dill, 1 tablespoon, picked
  • Chives, 1 tablespoon, minced
  • Mint, 2 teaspoons, torn
  • Rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons
  • Pistachios, 1/4 cup toasted, roughly chopped

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, citrus, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, honey and hot sauce. Store covered in the fridge, till you’re ready to serve.

If you are using traditional slicing cucumbers, peel or mostly peel them. If you are using an English cucumber, feel free to leave the skin on. Either way, split it and use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Then slice the cukes into 1/3-inch half-moons. You should end up with roughly 2 cups of cucumber slices.

In a medium bowl, just before serving, toss together the cucumber, blueberries, the dill, chives, mint, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Puddle half the yogurt sauce on the bottom of your plate. Mound the salad on top of that. Drizzle with remaining sauce and finish with pistachios.

 

Want access to this simple recipe for later?

Download the recipe below and enjoy it for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!

Theo’s Chicken by Vivian Howard

Recipe

February 28, 2018

By Vivian Howard

(Recipe serves 4)

As you might imagine, I’m a nut when it comes to what my kids eat. But despite my tyrannical efforts, forces in the universe sent Theo and Flo chicken tenders, ketchup and barbecue sauce. This recipe is my finger in the face of the universe.

 

Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs, 4 skin-on
  • Vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Red onion, 1/2 onion minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Strawberries, 2 cups diced
  • Fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon picked
  • Fresh sage, 1 teaspoon chopped
  • Honey, 1/2 cup
  • Granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Red wine vinegar,  1/4 cup
  • Juice of one orange

 

Directions

Cooking the Chicken Thighs

  1. Preheat your oven to 450º F.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and a little black pepper.
  3. In a medium skillet with a heavy bottom, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until just smoking.
  4. Add the thighs, skin side down, lower your heat to medium and allow them to brown nicely. Fat should render out and fond (the little tasty bits that stick to the bottom of the pan when browning something) should start to accumulate. This is good and the reason you would never use a non-stick skillet here.
  5. Once the skin side is golden, flip the thighs over and let them cook about 30 seconds on the flesh side.
  6. Transfer them to a baking dish and slide the little guys into the oven.

 

Preparing the Strawberry Sauce

  1. Quickly turn your attention to the skillet. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of the accumulated fat and drop in the red onion.
  2. Hit the red onion with a pinch of salt and stir, using the onions and your spoon to scrape up all of the tasty fond.
  3. Let the onions sweat for about 1 minute and drop in the strawberries, the black pepper and another pinch of salt. The salt will allow the strawberries to begin breaking down and the black pepper, added to a semi-dry pan will toast and develop a more complex flavor in the finished sauce.
  4. After about 2 minutes, add the thyme, sage, honey, sugar, water, red wine vinegar and orange juice.
  5. Bring this all up to a boil and let it cook down to a thin syrupy consistency, about 4 minutes.

 

Serve

Pull the thighs out of the oven and spoon the strawberry sauce over top. Return them to the oven for two minutes for a total cooking time of about 30 minutes. Serve the chicken with lots of the ketchupy looking sauce alongside steamed broccoli to the happy healthy nugget eaters, young and old, in your life.

 

Download the recipe now to enjoy this family favorite at your leisure! 

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Recipe

February 14, 2018

By IMPAC

Jean Ann McDonald of Sweet Life Farms is the whole package. She and her husband Andy are partners at Sweet Life Farms, an IMPAC certified farm. She also serves as the payroll manager, food safety manager, all while raising three children. So, we knew we were pretty lucky when she agreed to spend the day with us and show the IMPAC staff how to make her heavenly Strawberry Pretzel Salad.

This recipe is a southern favorite, and not really a salad at all but more of a layered dessert. It’s super simple, and will please just about everyone at your table. If you are a fan of salty-sweet, you’ll love the magic that happens when you bite into the layers of savory pretzel crust, cream cheese filling, and the fresh strawberry topping. You’ll take it to your next event – we promise.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) package strawberry glaze
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries sliced

 

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Serving Suggestion

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. For the crust, mix the crushed pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9×13 pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow it to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping and spread over the cooled crust.
  4. Mix together the sliced strawberries and the Strawberry glaze and spread over the cream cheese filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Vivian Howard’s Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe

January 10, 2018

By Vivian Howard

(Recipe makes a 9 x 13-inch casserole.)

I was one of those moms who made all of their kids’ baby food. Normally I’d be annoyed by someone who bragged about that, but I worked a lot and felt like making their food was the one way my work could be meaningful for them.

I used the baby-food aisle at the grocery store as my guide, mimicking the textures and combinations that coincided with their increasing age. Oddly enough, this combination of sweet potato, turkey, and spinach is something I started out blending up when they were eight or nine months old, and I just developed the same healthful ingredients over time into something we all like to eat.

This recipe can also be found on page 318 in my book Deep Run Roots.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Parmesan Topping

  • Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks, 4 or 5 medium
  • Brown sugar, ¼ cup
  • Butter, 4 tablespoons
  • Salt, ½ teaspoon
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, ⅔ cup

 

Turkey Filling

  • Extra virgin olive oil, divided, 3 tablespoons
  • Yellow onions, diced, 2 medium
  • Salt, divided, 2 teaspoons
  • Button mushrooms, quartered, 3 cups
  • Ground turkey, 2 pounds
  • Garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon
  • Chipotle powder, ground, 1 teaspoon
  • Paprika, smoked, 2 teaspoons
  • Tumeric, 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin, ground, 2 teaspoons
  • Tomato sauce, 8 ounces
  • Water, 8 ounces
  • Frozen spinach, 10 ounces

 

Directions

Making the Topping:

Vivian Howard Chopping Sweet Potatoes

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into rough 2-inch chunks.
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover them with water.
  3. Bring them up to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are very tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan.
  5. Place the pan over low heat and add the brown sugar, butter, and salt.
  6. Using a fork or device of your choice, mash the potatoes so that they are nearly smooth and the butter and sugar fully incorporated. Set aside.

 

Make the Filling:

  1. In a 12-inch sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sweat for about five minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Push the onions to the edge of the pan and force them into a tight mound.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil and the mushrooms. Allow them to sit and caramelize in the hot pan for about one minute. Resist the urge to shake the mushrooms around, as you are trying to develop flavor by letting them brown.
  5. After 2 minutes, stir together the onions and the mushrooms, making sure you scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Transfer the onion and mushroom mixture to the plate, and add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
  7. Add the turkey and begin breaking it up with a spatula.
  8. Season the turkey with the remaining salt, garlic, chipotle powder, paprika, turmeric, and cumin. Allow the turkey to brown and the spices to toast. This will take about 4 minutes.
  9. Stir in the onion mixture, tomato sauce, water, and spinach. Let this all cook down until it’s very thick and saucy. Remove from the heat.

 

Assemble and Bake:Vivian Howard Making Shepherd's Pie

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F.
  2. Spread the turkey mixture on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, or 8-ounce ramekins.
  3. Spoon the sweet potato over the top so that it’s in an even layer. Sprinkle the sweet potato with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  4. Bake for 1 hour uncovered. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. (My kids like this on its own, but I generally eat it with a green salad on the side for balance.)

 

Download the recipe now to enjoy this family favorite at your leisure! 

Download the Recipe - Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Vivian Howard’s Field to Fork Conversations

News Recipe

December 18, 2017

By Vivian Howard

Having grown up on a farm myself, I have a deep connection to agriculture and the process of growing food, so much of my work and my message is centered around connecting consumers to their farmers.

I had the privilege of having some “field to fork” conversations with some IMPAC certified farmers like the McDonald family (Sweet Life Farms), the Astin family (Astin Farms), the Sizemore family (Sizemore Farms), and the Mathis family (Mathis Farms), to talk about their experiences working on and operating as family farms.

Hear what these families have to say by watching the video below—plus, get an inside look at how to make one of my favorite fall recipes: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad with Toasted Cumin Citronette.

Want to see the full recipe to this delicious fall dish? Download the recipe below and enjoy for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!

Vivian Howard’s Citrus Sweet Potato Butter Recipe

Recipe

November 14, 2017

By Vivian Howard

When we opened the restaurant, I said I would never serve a buffet. Now I know if you don’t want to do something, just say that’s the thing you’ll never do. We have a party room upstairs, and despite valiant efforts to pass hors d’oeuvres, the party we host most often and execute best is the buffet.

Nine times out of ten, Citrus Sweet Potato Butter finds its way into one of our chafing dishes. It’s a crowd-pleaser and a concise way to articulate fall on a plate. Serve it with Butter-Baked Turkey with Pecan Cranberry Relish and Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette (page 144 in my cookbook Deep Run Roots) or the Big Bone-In Pork Chops with Pickled Peanut Salad (page 394).

Ingredients

vh impac sweet potato butter_credit baxter miller-1.jpg

Citrus Sweet Potato Butter Recipe

  • Roasted sweet potatoes, peeled, 1 ½ pounds (about 3 medium)
  • Zest of orange, removed with microplane, ½ orange
  • Zest of lime, removed with microplane, ½ lime
  • Zest of lemon, removed with microplane, ½ lemon
  • Orange juice, ½ cup
  • Light brown sugar, ¼ cup
  • Butter, melted, ⅓ cup
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Hot sauce, 2 dashes

Directions

vh impac sweet potato butter_credit baxter miller-4.jpg

Prep & Serve

  1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth like baby food.
  2. To heat and serve, put a little water in the bottom of a saucepan and add the potatoes.
  3. Heat over low heat, stirring often to make sure they don’t burn.

Want access to this simple recipe for later?

Download the recipe below and enjoy it for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!

Vivian Howard’s Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad with Toasted Cumin Citronette Recipe (Serves 2)

Recipe

October 23, 2017

By Vivian Howard

This bright salad makes a satisfying lunch or healthy companion for fish, chicken or steak. Dice everything smaller and you’ve got a fall-themed salsa for chips and tacos.

Note: I’m a big believer in buying whole spices and grinding them as you need them. They add so much more flavor than the pre-ground dust from the grocery store. To toast and grind cumin, purchase whole cumin seeds and toast them over low heat in a dry sauté pan. Once you begin to smell them, they’re done. Let the seeds cool slightly, and using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder crush the seeds, leaving a little texture if possible.

Ingredients

Untitled design.png

Salad Base

  • Sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice, 1 medium (about 1 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper mill, 10 grinds (or ¼ teaspoon)
  • Cooked black beans, drained and rinsed, 1 cup
  • Avocado, diced, half of fruit (or ½ cup)
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, 2 whole (or ¼ cup)
  • Cilantro stems and leaves, finely chopped, ¼ cup
  • Mint, roughly chopped, 2 tablespoons
  • Pecans (or pepitas), chopped, ¼ cup
  • Goat cheese, crumbled, ¼ cup

Cumin Honey Citronette

  • Lime juice (2 limes needed), about ¼ cup
  • Honey, 1 tablespoon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Hot sauce, 3 dashes
  • Cumin seed, toasted and crushed, ¼ teaspoon
  • Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon

Directions

VH-170328135136.jpg

Prep

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, sugar and black pepper.
  3. Spread the sweet potatoes out onto a baking sheet so that it is evenly distributed and the sweet potatoes are not touching.

VH-170328120808.jpgVH-170328134311.jpg

Bake

  1. Slide the baking sheet onto the middle rack of the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes roast, make the dressing. In the same bowl as you seasoned the sweet potatoes, whisk together the lime juice, honey, salt, hot sauce and toasted cumin in a bowl.
  3. Stream into the two tablespoons of finishing olive oil as you whisk so that the dressing will emulsify. Keep an eye on the potatoes towards the end of the cooking process so that they do not burn. You are looking for a golden, slightly brown color on the exterior of the potato and a creamier soft texture on the interior.
  4. Allow the process to cool slightly and add them to the mixing bowl with the dressing.
  5. Stir in the black beans, avocado, scallions, herbs, pecans or pepitas, and remaining salt—taking care that you coat all the ingredients in the dressing.

VH-170328121827.jpg

Serve

  1. Top with goat cheese and serve. This salad serves two people and can sit (and actually benefit from) mingling together for about 30 minutes before serving. Much longer, though, the avocado will begin to brown.
  2. Enjoy!

Want access to this delicious recipe for later?

Download the recipe below and enjoy for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!

Vivian Howard’s Chocolate Orange Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Recipe

September 25, 2017

By Vivian Howard

Many people don’t know this, but beets and cake have history together. For someone who loves vegetables and learning about how they’ve been used in recipes over time, I was thrilled to find some fascinating information about beets and cake in some of my favorite cookbooks. I learned that during World War II, many recipes substituted beet juice for red food coloring in their red velvet cakes. So I set out to make my own red velvet beet cake that would appease my veggie-loving connection-driven mind.

Though my first attempt was valiant, I had failed. The memory I had of the blood-red, chocolatey masterpiece was not present in my new beet-infused concoction. But what it did have was an innovative twist on a classic dessert that I hadn’t expected. A taste that combines all the best complementary ingredients, like cream cheese, chocolate, walnuts and more, into one sweet, savory, creamy, crunchy, and all-around delicious cake.

Trust me when I say, if you make this cake once, you’ll want to make it again and again.

Ingredients

Beet Cake Ingredients

Orange Syrup

  • Orange juice, ⅓ cup
  • Water, ¼ cup
  • Granulated sugar, ¼ cup
  • Cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons

Chocolate Walnut Icing

  • Cream cheese, 16 ounces
  • Butter, 12 tablespoons (or 1 ½ sticks)
  • Sour cream, ⅓ cup
  • Cocoa, ¼ cup
  • Vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons
  • Powdered sugar, 3 cups
  • Walnuts, 2 cups (chopped roughly with a knife)
Chocolate Beet Cake

  • Medium-sized beets, 3 whole
  • Semisweet chocolate, 4 ounces
  • Vegetable oil, 1 cup (divided)
  • Orange zest, 1 tablespoon
  • Vanilla, 1 tablespoon
  • All-purpose flour, 1 cup
  • Cake flour, 1 cup
  • Baking powder, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs, 3 whole
  • Sugar, 1 ½ cups

Directions

Vivian Howard Mixing Beet Cake Batter

Prep

The syrup:

  1. Whisk together the orange juice, water, sugar, and cocoa in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring it up to a boil and reduce by half. Set aside.

The icing:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, cocoa and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Paddle until things are velvety and soft.
  3. Add the sugar, a cup at a time, lowering the speed each time you make an addition to avoid a white mess.
  4. Scrape down the sides, and add the nuts.
  5. Paddle again for about 15 seconds.

Bake

IMPAC Beet Cake_Credit Baxter Miller-6.jpg

The cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375℉, and spray three round 8-inch nonstick cake pans thoroughly with pan spray.
  2. Cover the beets by 1 inch with water in a 4-quart saucepan.
  3. Cover and bring them up to a boil over high heat.
  4. Cook at a rolling boil for 30 minutes.
  5. Test the beets for doneness by sticking a knife in the center of the largest one. It should slide in with little resistance.
  6. Once the beets are completely cooked through and cooled, peel and cut them into rough cubes. You should have 2 cups of cubed beets. If you have more, use them for something else. If you have a little less, roll with it.
  7. In a small double boiler, melt the chocolate with ½ cup of the oil.
  8. Combine the beets with the remaining oil, orange zest, and vanilla in a high-powered blender. Process until the mixture is completely smooth and add the melted chocolate. Pulse to combine.
  9. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  10. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  11. Slowly add the chocolate-beet mixture and continue whisking to fully incorporate.
  12. Add the dry ingredients in three batches and just incorporate. You’re going to end up with a batter that is slightly thicker than most you’re used to seeing. Don’t worry.
  13. Turn ⅓ of the batter into each of the greased cake pans. Slide them onto the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Test the center of the layers with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you’re good. If not, bake a few additional minutes.
  15. Turn the layers out onto a rack and cool about 30 minutes.
  16. Once they are cool, brush the syrup over the bottom of each layer. Try to use all the syrup.

Ice & Serve

IMPAC Beet Cake_Credit Baxter Miller-15.jpg

The cake:

  1. For a naked-side look (which is my favorite since I’m not great at decorating cakes), divide your icing into three parts and spread it to the edges of each layer.
  2. Stack one on top of the next and repeat.
  3. Enjoy!

 

Want access to this delicious recipe for later? 

Download the recipe below and enjoy for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!

Vivian Howard’s “Breakfast in the Car” Recipe

Recipe

August 27, 2017

By Vivian Howard

I always preach that every meal should be savored, but sometimes busy schedules dictate that meals have to be savored on-the-go.

My friend David Brody shared with me how he used to make PB&J sandwiches for his kids by flattening slices of bread with a rolling pin, spreading the PB&J on thin, and rolling it up like a pinwheel. I’ve run with that idea and replaced the peanut butter with homemade vanilla pecan butter, added banana, and ditched the sticky jelly that always manages to create a mess. Neither of my children have complained about it yet, so there must be something to say about my spin-off on this classic kid’s snack.

Nut butters are easy to make and well worth washing an extra dish. The key step is toasting the nuts properly and letting them cool completely before using the food processor on them. Too toasted and that burned flavor really comes through; too warm and the pecan butter becomes separated nut sludge. Here’s a quick how-to on my favorite on-the-go snack—what I like to call “Breakfast in the Car” Roll-Ups:

Ingredients

“Breakfast in the Car” Roll-Ups

  • Whole-wheat sandwich bread, 2 slices
  • Ripe banana, ½ banana sliced into ¼-inch rounds or strips
  • Vanilla pecan butter, ¼ cup

Vanilla Pecan Butter (makes ½ cup)

  • Pecans, 2 cups
  • Vanilla beans, split and scraped, ½ bean
  • Honey, 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, ¼ teaspoon

This recipe makes two roll-ups, and can be downloaded at the bottom of this page or found in my book Deep Run Roots on page 141.

Directions

Prep

  1. First, prepare the pecan butter to use on the roll-ups.
  2. Start by toasting pecans over medium heat for about two minutes. A darkened color is to be expected, but be sure to throw out ones that are noticeably darker in places.
  3. Let pecans cool, and then transfer them into a food processor bowl, along with the little dark seeds from the center of the vanilla bean.
  4. Process pecans and seeds for one minute, then stop to scrape down the sides.
  5. Process for another minute, scrape down the sides again, and then add honey and salt.
  6. Process a third time until pecan butter is smooth and loose. It will pour off a spoon.

*Note: depending on the power of your food processor or the sharpness of its blade, making the pecan butter may take longer than 3 minutes—just keep an eye out for separation of nut and fat. If this starts to happen, let the pecan butter cool down before blending further. Store the pecan butter, sealed, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Stir well before using.

Making the Roll-Ups

  1. Use a rolling pin, flatten each slice of bread to an eighth of an inch thick.
  2. Spread roughly 2 tablespoons of pecan butter over each flat piece.
  3. Then, lay the banana slices over the top.
  4. Roll the bread up in a pinwheel and take it wherever you need to eat.

 

Want access to this simple recipe for later?

Download the recipe below and enjoy for yourself when you’re ready to make it at home!