Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Souffle


Serve this as a sweet side dish with your Thanksgiving meal or as a dessert paired with vanilla coconut ice “cream” for an autumn treat.

This recipe is inspired by a Thanksgiving family favorite first made by my sis-in-law Abby (who probably found the original recipe in Gourmet magazine, but not sure).

Nonetheless, I’ve “freshened up” this dish by omitting butter, using gluten free flour along with non-dairy coconut milk and cut out refined sugar.

Maple syrup makes the souffle sweat – use a specialty maple syrup for an extra boost such as bourbon or vanilla bean, being mindful to adjust vanilla and almond extracts if needed. Top it all off with coconut palm sugar and pecans for a nutty crust.

2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons oat or gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam potatoes on the top of a double boiler until tender. Transfer to a large bowl and whip with a hand mixer. Add olive oil, eggs, maple syrup, flour, vanilla and almond extract. Add milk. Beat until smooth.  If too watery, add a bit more flour. Place sweet potato mixture in an oiled souffle dish or several smaller ramekins. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of souffle. Bake large souffle for 1 hour or until set in the middle. Lessen baking time for smaller ramekins.

Smashed Turnips with Garlicky Spinach Greens


This dish goes from ho-hum to delish with the added color and taste of garlicky spinach greens.

Rutabaga, more commonly referred to as a yellow turnip, is an autumn favorite root veggie with pairs well with olive oil instead of butter. Flavors are zapped up by cooking turnips in vegetable stock and adding freshly grated nutmeg. Milk or cream is cut out or add almond milk if you want some non-dairy creaminess.

1 yellow turnip (rutabaga)
32 ounces vegetable broth
1/4 cup plus 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup packed spinach
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Peel rutabaga, cut into cubes and place in a medium stockpot.  Add enough vegetable stock to cover the turnips and boil until tender. Drain liquid and smash turnips in the pot using a coarse masher for texture. Add nutmeg and olive oil and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pan, saute garlic in 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil until softened.  Add spinach and saute until just wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir spinach into turnip mixture.

Fall Harvest Farmer’s Market Cooking Class at Homeworks on Oct 29th


Entertain with the freshest ingredients this fall in these sweet and savory dishes!

Announcing a new cooking class with all the trimmings for autumn entertaining with Barb Scala.

October 29th at 6:30pm
711 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook CT

Great dishes for Thanksgiving sans the turkey based on garden, farm fresh and artisan ingredients while keeping dairy and refined sugars to a minimum. Delish!

Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Seed Crunch
Quinoa Sweet Potato Sliders
Roasted Butternut Squash over Wilted Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Feta
Grilled Farm Fennel Sausage with Grainy Mustard
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Mushrooms and Kale
Brussels Sprouts with Leeks, Pomegranate Seeds and Crumbled Country Bacon
Gluten-Free Apple Tart

$80.00 per person, Registration Required
(To register call Homeworks 860-388-3331)

Roasted Butternut Squash over Wilted Arugula


Sweet and savory with maple laced pecans and oven roasted butternut squash. Add crumbled feta or goat cheese for an extra layer of flavor.

Vibrant colors of orange and green make this dish a hit at any autumn harvest table. The added sweetness of a good quality balsamic vinegar (fig is nice) blends all the flavors together and tempers the peppery bite of the arugula.

Serve it as a salad or a side ….with what else? Turkey, of course.

2 – 3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 – 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, minced
1 bunch arugula
1/2 cup pecans
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinegar (aged with syrupy consistency)
Optional: crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Split butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy fiber. Peel each half with a vegetable peeler and cut into cubes of similar size.

Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Toss  to evenly coat, adding more oil if needed. Sprinkle with garlic powder (I like Simply Organic’s finely granulated garlic powder). Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender.  Some pieces should be caramelized from roasting in the pan.

Meanwhile, toss maple syrup and pecans in a heavy skillet on medium heat until syrup bubbles but does not burn. Remove and cool.

In large bowl, toss arugula with a very light coating of the Dijon Lemon Vinaigrette. Add red onion (scallions can be substituted as shown in the picture) and pecan. Place hot-out-of-the-oven squash on top of arugula and toss. Greens will unevenly wilt for nice texture. Add optional cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve.

Maple Almond Pumpkin Custard


Made with almond milk, this custard is like a crustless pumpkin pie!

Creamy custard was a staple in my house because dad loved creme carmel, the Italian version his mom made. My mom would bake her weekly custard in a bain marie bath and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top. It was oh so good warm out of the oven on a chilly night.

I make my own non-dairy pumpkin version using the sweetness of maple syrup and the creaminess of almond milk for a seasonal treat. Almond milk brands vary, so find unsweetened milk without a long list of additives. Top with a dollop of coconut cream, maple coated pecans or my Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Seeds.

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
grapeseed oil spray

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 4 – 5 ten ounce glass custard cups or ramekins with grapeseed oil spray, blotting any excess with a paper towel.  Boil water and fill an ovenproof glass baking dish 1/2 inch up for a bain marie bath. Place baking dish in the oven. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended. Fill custard cups or ramekins 3/4’s full and place in the bain marie. Bake for 40 minutes or until custard is set in center but not puffy. Set on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.


Party in the Kitchen with Barb’s “Fresh & Healthy” Cooking Classes


Let’s cook together, learn about fresh, healthy and sustainable foods and have fun!

I’ve teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a party in the kitchen this October with Fresh, Healthy & Sustainable Cooking Classes. Did I mention delicious? Sign up today-spaces are limited!

Green & Leafy Delish Dishes
October 7: 11:00am to 1:30pm
October 8th: 6:00 to 8:30pm
You want healthy and delicious …then let’s to make “delish dishes” with six of the healthiest greens: Kale, Arugula, Bok Choy, Collard Greens, Watercress and Swiss Chard

Barb Scala featured in Elan Magazine Fall 2014 "Party in the Kitchen"

Barb Scala featured in Elan Magazine Fall 2014 “Party in the Kitchen”

Fall Harvest Farmer Market Entertaining
October 21: 11:00am to 1:30pm
October 23: 6:00 to 8:30pm
From appetizer to dessert, we’ll cook up a sustainable feast with the bounty of the fall harvest featuring butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, apples, pears and more. Great recipes for your Thanksgiving feast!

$75 per person includes eating what we prepare, a recipe booklet AND a follow-up free call to get you started cooking and eating more fresh, healthy and delicious. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To Register & More Info






Chocolate Zucchini “Cupcakes”


Zucchini in cupcakes never tasted so YUM!

To keep up with the cupcake rage, I adapted my chocolate zucchini bread recipe with artisan spelt and sweet rice flours topped with non-dairy coconut whip.

Although I try to avoid baking with refined sugars, I found that flavor is sacrificed if using less sugar or substituting with honey or maple syrup. Instead try unrefined coconut sugar which adds a deeper molasses taste and see what you think.

The nuetral taste of grapeseed oil lets the nut oil shine through. Of course, if you don’t like nuts or need a nut-free recipe, omit walnuts and walnut oil and increase grapeseed oil by 1/4 cup.

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
3/4 cup pure coco powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking power
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by brushing surface with extra grapeseed oil and filling tins with large paper baking cups.

Sift flours and set aside. In a stand up mixer add eggs and sugar and beat with whip attachment until thick and light yellow.  Add oils and vanilla. Change to paddle attachment and add zucchini. Then add flours, coco powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in batches until consistency is like cake batter.  Remove bowl from mixer and add walnuts and chocolate morsels with spatula. Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake 15 – 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool.

“Frost” cupcakes with sweetened whipped coconut cream and finish with sifted coco powder on top.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Flower Fritters


Zucchini fritters or pancakes are great anytime!

The delicate zucchini flower can be used so many ways in the kitchen when these yellow beaties are brimming from the garden.

I go back to my Italian roots and make these fritters or pancakes  for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serve with extra grated cheese on top and marinara sauce on the side, if preferred.

With so many brands of gluten-free pancake mixes, use the one you like. Or use an all purpose gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and follow their suggested pancake recipe found on their website.

Optional recipe for large flowers: Omit the shredded zucchini and dip the whole flower in the batter, and make like a pancake.  Remember to first remove the thistle and any no-see-ums inside.

Of course, kids love eating “flower pancakes” with grated cheese on top so you may have to make a second batch!

2 cups gluten free pancake mix, prepared
3/4 cup zucchini, shredded
2 zucchini flowers, thistles removed and flower chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated (optional)

Combine pancake batter, zucchini, zucchini flowers, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add shredded cheese if desired or save to sprinkle on top instead.

Coat the bottom of a cast iron or heavy skillet with olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Test a drop of batter on the skillet to determine desired heat to make perfect fritters which brown at the edges. Ladle batter onto skillet and brown on both sides.


Roasted Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil Crostini

Use garden plum tomatoes or your local farmer’s stand small heirlooms in this simple, delicious crowd pleasing appetizer.

This appy can’t be easier! Tomatoes become sweeter when slow roasted and fresh herbs add savory garden flavor. Try plum tomato varieties found at your local farmer’s market like sweet Juliet’s.

1 quart plum tomatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
garden herbs (oregano, thyme and parsley), chopped fine
extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
1 baguette
1-2 garlic cloves
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place tomatoes in single rows. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Slow roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tomatoes are roasted through but not mushy or dried out. Remove from oven and let cool.

Increase oven heat to 350 degrees. Slice baguette 1/4 inch thick, brush each side with olive oil and rub cut garlic cloves on each slice. Place on a cookie sheet and brown tops approximately 5 to 10 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove from oven an let cool.

Assemble crostini by spreading goat cheese on slices and layer with basil leaf topped with a roasted tomato. For variety, leave off basil leave or goat cheese on some crostini. Serve.




Creamy Zucchini Risotto


Cheese is the accent and not the main event to this garden fresh risotto.

Aborio is short grain Italian style rice, naturally gluten free. Serve as a summer main meal with grilled zucchini on the side.

It’s also the perfect accompaniment for seared scallops or grilled shrimp off the BBQ. If desired, top with lemon zest for an extra fresh punch of flavor.

1 cup aborio rice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups zucchini grated
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth, warmed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup shredded parmesan or romano cheese

In a large saute pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion begins to soften. Add rice and saute for 2 minutes longer until rice is thoroughly coated. Add 1 cup zucchini and 1 cup broth and keep stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring adding 2 more cups broth, 1 cup at a time.

Add last cup of shredded zucchini, basil and wine (optional) or 1/2 cup water until liquid is absorbed. Rice should be soft and creamy. Add 1/2 cup water if more liquid is needed and saute until fully absorbed. Remove from heat, add cheese and sprinkle with more chopped fresh basil and lemon zest if desired. Serve.