March 2017

Recipe Icon

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

John Franke

Gluten Free Lemon Bars


For the crust:


1/2 Cup of butter or margarine, melted

1/2 Cup of Gluten Free Flour, such as Cup4Cup

1/2 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar


For the filling:


1 Cup of Sugar

2 Meyer Lemons, juiced

2 Eggs

3/4 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Lemon Zest 

Pinch of Salt, optional

Powdered Sugar or Sugar Substitute, such as Splenda, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8×8 inch pan.


In a microwavable 2 quart bowl, melt butter or margarine for 30 seconds.

Add flours and powdered sugar to combine.  Press into prepared pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture begins to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.


With the same bowl, no need to clean it, add the juice of lemons and lemon zest. With a whisk or spatula, add sugar to combine.  Add eggs, stirring to combine.  Add baking powder and salt.  Pour filling over the warm crust and return to the oven for 25 minutes.  Filling will rise slightly and begin to brown when done.


Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.  Dust bars with powdered sugar or sugar substitute.  Slice bars into diamonds.  Store bars refrigerated for up to three days.


For traditional Lemon Bars, substitute Gluten Free flour and almond flour with all purpose flour.


January 2017

Recipe Icon

Sprout Salad

Alan Eddy

Sprouts are a crop that you can grow organically in your kitchen all winter long.  Sprout kits are available in the Van Wilgen’s store (North Branford location).  Select your favorite seeds or beans for sprouting according to the kit instructions.

The first step in making the salad is to make your favorite vinagrette dressing, or as follows:  mix one part balsamic or wine vinegar, one part water, and two parts olive oil.  Add garlic powder and black pepper (fresh from a grinder or cracked pepper out of a shaker).  Shake well and shake again immediately before using.

The next step is to take a head of organic Romaine lettuce, cut off one inch from the stem end, and submerge in cold water in a large bowl for ten minutes.  Drain the lettuce and tear it into one or two inch pieces.  Spin in a salad spinner and store in a one gallon clear zipper-lock plastic bag in the fridge.

Take a fresh batch of sprouts from your sprouter, rinse them in cold water, and marinate them in the vinaigrette for twenty minutes.  Put the Romaine lettuce in a bowl and put the marinated sprouts on top.  Then add whatever you want to complete the salad.  If you put in chunks of cucumber, cubes of tofu, or slices of radish, marinate those in the vinaigrette as well.

Be creative.


December 2016

Recipe Icon

Lemon Rosemary Button Shortbread

Gina Amoroso 




2 cups flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 lemons, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
32 small fresh rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Put flour, butter, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the zest of 1 lemon and rosemary. Mix on low speed, then increase to medium and mix until dough is no longer crumbly and just comes together.

2. Form dough into a disk and chill 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough until 1/2 in. thick. Cut dough into circles with a 1 1/2-in. cookie cutter. Reroll scraps as needed. Arrange on baking sheets 1 in. apart and chill 15 minutes.

3. Bake until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, and the remaining zest until smooth. Spoon 1/2 tsp. glaze over each cooled cookie, spreading with the back of the spoon; then press 1 rosemary sprig into center of each cookie.


November 2016

Recipe Icon

 Turkey & Green Apple Salad

Gina Amoroso 





  • ¼ c. fresh mint
  • 1 small shallot
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tbsp. gin
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • ¾ c. canola oil
  • 1 lb. leftover turkey
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples
  • 2 green onions
  • 6 tbsp. chopped pistachios
  • 5 oz. mixed green salad greens

  1. To make dressing: In a food processor, pulse together mint, shallot, lemon juice, gin, and honey until shallot is minced. With food processor still running, slowly drizzle in oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss turkey, apples, green onions, 4 tablespoons pistachios, and 1/2 cup dressing to combine.
  3. Divide greens evenly among plates. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top each salad with about 1 cup turkey-apple mixture. Garnish with remaining pistachios.



October 2016

Recipe Icon

Connecticut Yankee Apple Chutney

Alan Eddy




This recipe is designed to be prepared fresh for a meal or made ahead and kept in the freezer.  It will keep in the refrigerator about 3 days.

Serve it with roast turkey or chicken, turkey ham, pot roast, lamb, wild game, or vegetarian dishes such as tofu with curry, quinoa salad, or root vegetable stew.

Use homegrown apples of the following Van Wilgen’s varieties:  Granny Smith or McIntosh.

(Our online partner Bower & Branch has 18 varieties of apple trees:  to place an order, speak to any Tree & Shrub or Perennials staff person.)

Alternatively, purchase local apples such as Paula Red, Opalescent, Jonagold, Baldwin, Melrose, Cortland, Pink Lady, or Ida Red.

Combine the first 8 ingredients (A1 – A8) in a large pot and cook on the stove until the onions are transparent.  Then add the 5 remaining ingredients (B1 – B5).  Stir, cook a little longer until apples are soft but not mushy, and serve at room temperature (or hot or cold as you wish).

A1.  Cider vinegar, ½ cup
A2.  Cranberry juice, ¾ cup
A3.  Dark brown sugar, ¼ cup
A4.  White onions, 2 small, peeled and chopped
A5.  Green pepper, 1, chopped
A6.  Soy sauce, 2 tbsp
A7.  Allspice, ground, 2 tsp
A8.  Ginger, ground, 2 tsp
B1.  Raisins, ½ cup
B2.  Dried currants, 1 cup
B3.  Zest of one lemon (grated lemon peel)
B4.  Dried cranberries, ½ cup
B5.  Apples, 5, cut into 1-inch chunks but not peeled




Recipe Icon

Crock Pot Butternut Squash Chilli

Elaine Blackstone




1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed

1 lb ground beef

1 c. chopped onion

3 c. chopped tomato

2 TBS tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp ground oregano

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves

1 can beef broth

1 can kidney beans

Add all ingredients to crock pot, cook on low setting all day. Stir  to combine ingredients , serve hot with warm bread.





Recipe Icon

Sweet Hubbard Squash Pie

Elaine Blackstone





hubbard sq2 1/2 pounds hubbard squash –

cut into chunks and seeds removed

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons salted butter, softened

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange squash on lined baking sheet.

Roast in preheated oven until the skin is browned and flesh is tender, about 45 minutes; allow to cool before handling. Remove flesh from squash using a spoon.

Reduce temperature setting on oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place 2 cups of squash in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the brown sugar, eggs, cream, apple pie spice, salt, and butter; process until smooth.

Pour the squash mixture into the pie crust. Bake until the filling rises, about 1 hour


Recipe Icon

Butternut Squash Soup

Gina Amoroso





  • 3 medium shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped, seeds discarded.
  • 1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 can light Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinches of curry, cayenne, salt and pepper


Place chopped butternut squash on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with tin foil. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Place shallots, salt and pepper in a medium stock pot and cook on medium heat until they are translucent. Add butternut squash, apple, and garlic. Stir until combined.

Add coconut milk, and water. Let simmer and add curry and cayenne. In about 15 minutes use an immersion blender to smooth out stock.




Recipe Icon

Pumpkin Cake

Trevor Hicks




2 cups of honey

1 cup of oil

2 cups of pumpkin ( canned is ok)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups of whole wheat flour

2 tbsp cinnamon

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp almond extract

1tsp salt

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup raisins ( or chocolate chips )

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a well greased bunt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1hr 25min.




Recipe Icon


Apple Pie in a Paper Bag 

Jason Scire





6-7 cups of peeled, sliced apples
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup softened butter
Unbaked 9 inch pie shell
Brown paper bag
Paper Clips


Preheat oven: 425 degrees
Peel and slice apples
Combine apples, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour
Add nutmeg and toss well
Turn into pie shell and sprinkle with lemon juice
Combine remaining 1/2 cup flour with remaining 1/2 cup sugar, rub in butter.


sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples


Place pie in large, heavy paper bag.
Fold end over twice and fasten with paper clips
Place on cookie sheet
Bake for 1 hour
Split bag open, and remove to cool


* Paper bag ensures a perfect bake, ENJOY!

September 2016

Recipe IconCharred Peppers with Creamy Sriracha Sauce 

Gina Amoroso





Peppers ( your choice ) I used Shishito Peppers

1 1/2 tbs olive oil

1/2  teaspoon of sesame oil

a few lemon wedges

generous amount of coarse sea salt

Ingredients for Sauce: 

3 tbs of greek yogurt

1 tbs of rice vinegar

1-2 tbs  of Sriracha


In a bowl mix peppers with olive oil and sesame oil and coat well

Arrange the peppers on a pan or seasoned cast iron skillet, place on the top shelf of the oven at 35o degreees

Once they are charred on top , remove pan or skillet and flip peppers over and place back in the oven for another minute or two until charred on 2nd side.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh lemon

For Sauce: 

Combine yogurt, Sriracha and rice vinegar in bowl. Mix well, add a dash of salt and pepper.



Recipe IconBaby Key Lime Pies 

Darlene Pastet 





What’s better than key lime pie? LITTLE BABY key lime pies!




  • 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 graham crackers)
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • one 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice, squeezed fresh from your fresh picked citrus.


Preheat the oven to 350°F…. Line muffin pans with liners and set aside.

Make the crust.

  1. If you’re starting out with full-sheet graham crackers, you can use a food processor or blender to grind them up. Or crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and granulated sugar together with a rubber spatula in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press a heaping Tablespoon of mixture down into each liner, making sure the crust is tight and compact.
  2. Pre-bake the crusts for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

     Make the filling: 

.. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer , beat the cream cheese on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in the egg yolks, scraping down the sides as needed. On high speed, beat in the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice until combined. Pour the filling evenly into each crust. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until the centers of the pies only slightly wiggle. Allow the pies to cool at room temperature in the pan set on a wire rack. Once completely cool, place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

.. I like to add fresh whipped cream to the top of each one just before serving.

As a side note these freeze well for approx..2 to 3 months.

.. yield 16 mini tarts

.. prep time approx. 30 min

.. total time 3 hours includes chilling time.


August 2016

Recipe IconFresh Strawberry Cobbler

Elaine Blackstone 





  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • ½-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium bowl, add strawberries and ¾ cup sugar.

Stir to coat strawberries in sugar and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter.

Stir until combined. A few lumps are ok.

Grease a 9-inch casserole dish.

Pour batter evenly into dish.

Spoon strawberries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.

Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

Serve warm or cold.

Even though the strawberries were already sweet I was glad I added in the full amount of sugar. Strawberries can have a slightly bitter taste so it was perfect.


Any kind of berry can be used.

Be careful not to over stir batter too much. A few lumps is best.

Feel free to cut down on the sugar.


Recipe Icon Pesto 

Jill Chambers





½ cup of fresh basil-firmly packed

¼ cup snipped fresh parsley

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons pine nuts (could also use chopped walnuts or pecans)

1 clove of garlic, halved

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor, until smooth.

Can spread on cooked fish, chicken, baguettes, tossed with pasta, etc.

Can be stored in tightly sealed container 1-2 weeks or frozen up to 6 months.


Recipe Icon


Jill Chambers 





½ hr. -45 min.

1 zucchini

2 med onions

1 eggplant

1 squash

2-3 peppers

2-4 tomatoes

2 cloves of Garlic-chopped or minced

Cube all veggies & place in a large skillet with 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil.

Season with salt & pepper, a shake or two of red pepper flakes & oregano

2-3 Tablespoons of Marjoram

2-3 Tablespoons of Basil, (or fresh if you have it)

1 Bay leaf

Cook med-low heat till veggies get soft then add ¼-½ cup of red wine and simmer for the remainder of time or until desired consistency. You can add more wine if needed


Recipe Icon

Linguini with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Elaine Blackstone







Makes 6 servings

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 pounds very ripe tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 pound linguine

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat 1 tbsp oil in heavy small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and stir 3 minutes: do not brown. Transfer to large non-aluminum bowl. Mix tomatoes and liquid, remaining 3 tbsp oil, basil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand 6 hours.

Just before serving, cook linguine in large amount of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain well: transfer to large bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Add sauce and toss again. Add Parmesan Cheese.



Recipe IconRoasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Kate Van Wilgen 





Tom sauce

4 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes
3-4 Medium Cloves of Garlic
5-6 Fresh Basil leaves
3 Tablespoons of Olive oil
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
Sheet pans
Tinfoil/parchment paper
Blender or food processor
Wash tomatoes, rinse basil and peel 3-4 garlic cloves (per baking sheet).

Line a baking sheet or pyrex dish with foil/parchment paper.  Lay tomatoes in a single layer over baking sheet.  Place whole, peeled garlic cloves in the plan with the tomatoes.  Lay 5-6 basil leaves over the tomatoes and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake in pre heated oven at 325 until tomatoes are wrinkly- about 50 minutes. Carefully scoop up tomatoes, garlic and basil into a food processor or blender.  Pulse tomato mixture until desired consistency.  Enjoy with your favorite fresh pasta or if your like me a hunk of fresh bread for dipping is just delicious!