Sneak Peek: American Girl’s “Garden To Table Cookbook” Recipes

Publisher: Weldon Owen. Book is available wherever fine books are sold.

The new American Girl cookbook, Garden to Table: Fresh Recipes to Cook & Share, encourages girls to eat fresh food and become little chefs with ingredients they can grow in their very own garden. The book hits shelves (and the net) on October 16, but we have a sneak peek at three delicious recipes!

Pasta Primavera with Buttery Bread Crumbs

You can use any combination of colorful vegetables for this recipe. Butter bread crumbs add crunch to the creaminess. If you like, skip the sauce and toss the pasta and veggies with extra-virgin olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 small green zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow zucchini, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into thin slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup dried bread crumbs
12 ounces farfalle pasta
1 1/2 cups store-bought Alfredo sauce
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pile the green and yellow on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables in a single layer. Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, about eight minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. On the same cookie sheet, toss the carrots with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer. Roast, stirring halfway through, until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to the bowl with the zucchini. Set aside.

Fill a large pot three-fourths full with water. Set the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the bread crumbs and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about two minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm at the center); check the package directions for the cooking time. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Stir in the Alfredo sauce and the cherry tomatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and serve.

Tea Sandwiches

These dainty open-faced sandwiches are easy to make but oh so pretty! We freshened up whipped cream cheese with herbs from the garden (use any combination you like) then topped each bread slice with a mix of cucumbers, radishes, herbs, and edible flowers.

Makes 4 servings

1 (4-ounce) container whipped cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced chives
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill or basil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 small, thin slices good-quality whole-wheat or white sandwich bread, cut on the diagonal to form 12 triangles, crusts removed, or 12 slices baguette, cuts on the diagonal
1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced crosswise
garnishes (see below)

In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, chives, dill, and lemon zest. Dollop heaping teaspoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture onto each slice of bread, then spread in a thick layer to the edges of the bread. Top each with a few slices of either cucumber or radish. Arrange on a platter.

Garnish each piece of bread with snipped pieces of herbs or a pinch of arugula or microgreens, and an edible flower or two. Serve right away.

Garnishes

Microgreens are simply baby versions of arugula or other edible immature salad greens that are picked when they first sprout in the garden; look for them at farmers’ markets.

1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as 1-inch pieces of chive, small mint or basil leaves, or little springs of dill
1/4 cup baby arugula or microgreens
1.4 cup edible flowers such as pansies, nasturtiums, rose petals, mini roses, marigolds, violets, Sweet Williams, and/or geraniums

Mixed Berry Whipped Cream Cake

Pound cake is very versatile and pairs well with so many ingredients. Any combination of berries will work for this cake, such as blackberries and raspberries. When rhubarb is in season, top the cake with ice cream and Rhubarb-Raspberry Sauce (see variation).

Makes 8 servings

CAKE

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream

FILLING

1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, extending it up and over the sides ,and butter the parchment paper.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy and pale, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the cream and mix on low speed just until combined. Turn off the mixer. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix just until a smooth batter forms.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top of the cake is golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about one hour.

Remove the pan from the oven and set atop a wire rack. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then, using the parchment, carefully lift the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment, and place the cake on the rack. Let cool.

To make the filling, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, three to four minutes.

Cut the cake horizontally into three equal layers with a serrated knife. Place the bottom cake layer on a serving plate and, using a small offset spatula or mini rubber spatula, spread with half of the whipped cream. Top with another layer of berries. Top with the final cake layer.

Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to five hours. Just before serving, put some powdered sugar unto a fine-mesh sieve, hold the sieve over the cake, and tap the side of the sieve to dust the cake with sugar. Cut into thick slices and serve right away.

Variation: Rhubarb-Raspberry Sauce

Combine two large stalks rhubarb (about one pound), 1 cup raspberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Put a slice of pound cake onto a dish, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and drizzle with the rhubarb-raspberry sauce.

Special sundae

Top a slice of pound cake with a big scoop of ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and sprinkles for the ultimate treat.

To see more recipes from this cookbook, you can get it here!

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