Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

My inspiration for this recipe was the black bean soup recipe that is in the recipe book that came with the Instant Pot and our favorite black bean dip (already on the website).   This goes great with chips and melted cheese and/or topped with a dab of sour cream/plain yogurt.    Go Pats!

Pint jar of dried black beans (about 2 cups)

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Dash of hot sauce (if you like a bit of a kick)

2 cups tomato puree

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste (I always check the labels so that I can avoid the  brands that routinely add high fructose corn syrup-Cento does not) 

4 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt to taste with Hungry Bear Farm Garlic Salt

Rinse and drain the beans and then place them in the Instant Pot as per the directions. Add enough water to cover the beans  and then pressure cook them for  20 minutes; naturally venting them before opening.  

While the beans are cooking, in a skillet, sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.  Add the salt, pepper and other dried spices to the onion/garlic mixture and then sauté for another moment

When the beans are done, carefully open the pot, set aside the lid and stir in  the onion mixture and all of the remaining ingredients.  Re-cover the pot and set the the Instant Pot Soup/Broth setting to 7 minutes and cook, following the Instant Pot directions-letting the pressure come down naturally. 

Blend the soup with a stick blender or mash and top with the sour cream or plain yogurt just prior to serving.  

Spring Spinach Casserole

Two of my favorite parts of spring -chickens and ducks have begun laying again and there is tender delicious spinach coming out of the high tunnel! This simple casserole takes advantage of both.  It takes only 20-30 minutes prep time and then bakes while I get myself together for the next school day.  If it is a warm spring and we have mushrooms-I sauté them along with the onions and toss them in too. This goes well with baked beans.  

  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, rinsed, steamed for a moment, chopped and well drained
  • 1Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 med. sized onions, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 chicken or 2 duck eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or other)
  • ½  teaspoon Hungry Bear Farm garlic salt 
  • dash of ground  pepper

Caramelize the onion and garlic in a skillet by sautéing slowly in the olive oil (about 20-30 minutes.  While this is cooking, in a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the cream.  Add the seasoning to the egg mixture. Toss the spinach into the egg mixture and then place it in bake in a well greased 8×8 casserole dish or similar size (Pyrex works best).   Top with the sautéed onions/garlic mix and the cheese.  Bake for about 30 minute at 350 degrees.  It is done when the eggs are fully cooked.

Fermenting in Small Batches

Masontops Pickle Pipes and Pickle Pebbles turn your wide-mouth canning jars into fermenters. Using jars of water for weight and napkins for covers is messy and not always effective. These Pickle Pipes and Pickle Pebbles perfect the process (try saying that three times fast).

Amanda Fiefer’s book Ferment Your Vegetables is filled with a nice variety of “small batch” fermenting recipes that fit into canning jars. 

Tom’s Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

-One bunch of beets, topped and rinsed clean  

-1/4 lb of pecans, chopped

-2 Tablespoons of raw sugar 


-One small block of blue cheese, crumbled

-Any lite oil-based dressing (we made our own with rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice a dash of Hungry Bear garlic salt and a dash of pepper)

Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and place in an oven proof dish

Roast the beets for about 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven until they are soft (you can poke a fork through the foil towards the end to make sure that they are done).  

Set the beets aside until they are just cool enough for you to handle, (you can use this time to chop the nuts, rinse and chop the lettuce or make the dressing).

With a paring knife, take the top, the root and the skin off the beets and then slice the beets into 1/4” slices.  

Set aside the beets and begin warming the butter in a skillet, being careful to not let it burn.  Toss the chopped pecans into the skillet and stir to coat them with the butter.  While keeping the nuts moving around in the pan, sprinkle the sugar over them.  Continue tossing the nuts and sugar for another moment so that the sugar begins to melt and coat the nuts.  Remove the nuts from the heat.  

Top the lettuce with the sliced beets, the nuts and the cheese. 

Serve with the dressing. 

Freezing and Canning

This is the time of the year when I spend my afternoons putting food “up” for the winter. When Gene first started farming I had no clue how to preserve foods. Fortunately, a friend steered me towards the National Center For Food Safety website

It’s a no-nonsense site that is packed full of tips for freezing, canning, fermenting, pickling, drying etc. You won’t find pretty pictures or touching stories on the site but you will find tested, safe, easy to follow techniques for preserving the summer bounty. Enjoy!

Cream of Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Adapted from:

1/2 lb. Hungry Bear Farm log cultivated shiitake mushrooms, chopped

1/2 stick butter

1 small spring onion chopped 

1-2 garlic scapes

2 tablespoons rice flour 

1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Vegetable Base, dissolved in 2 of cups boiling water

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon Hungry Bear Farm Garlic Salt

dash of ground pepper

fresh parsley

Sauté the onion in the butter for about two minutes (until the onions become translucent). Toss in the mushrooms, the scapes and the garlic salt. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Pour in the veggie broth made with the Better Than Bullion and bring to a simmer. As the mushroom and broth mixture simmer, slowly whisk in the rice flour. Remove from the heat stir in the cream. Top with chopped parsley and a dash of ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Fresh Ginger Syrup

A fall treat! We use this syrup base in homemade ice cream, over vanilla ice cream, to make ginger tea and ginger fizzy water (with our Soda Stream). It will keep for a week in the fridge but I freeze it in ice cube trays so that we can enjoy it for longer. My favorite recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s website.

Asparagus with Hungry Bearnaise Sauce

My brother Ted taught me how to make this bearnaise sauce years ago and it is still a favorite of mine!


One or two bunches of fresh asparagus-steamed until cooked to desired tenderness

A few Tablespoons of vinegar

A Tablespoon of dried tarragon leaves

One stick of butter

Three large eggs


Cover the bottom of a small sauce pan with the dried tarragon leaves, cover the leaves with vinegar and warm until the vinegar is almost all evaporated.

While the vinegar/tarragon mixture is reducing, place one stick of butter in another small sauce pan and melt until the butter separates. Remove the white froth and set aside the clarified butter.

Put a few inches of water into a sauce pan and set it to simmer

Separate 3 eggs, and place the yolks into a stainless steel bowl that fits in/over the pan of simmering water.

Whisk the eggs with 1/2 Tablespoon of water and then, holding the bowl over the simmering water, continuously whisk the eggs until you start to see “tracks”. Slowly add the clarified butter by spoonfuls, whisking vigorously. As soon as all of the the butter is all added to the eggs, remove the mixture from the heat and toss in the tarragon reduction.

Place the cooked asparagus on the toast and then top with the sauce. Season with Tabasco or similar if desired. Enjoy!

Roasted Radishes

On of our wonderful new CSA members shared this recipe with us:

Made this last night and it was super easy and delicious.  We used Sleepy Brook Farm’s bacon which has very little salt and our garlic is all gone so I substituted about 1/4 tsp of Hungry Bear garlic salt for the garlic.   There is also a vegan option at noted at the end of the recipe.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I always try to save some of Gene’s dried black turtle beans for spring so that I can make this when we have fresh cilantro.  There are many recipes on line for the salad and the dressing.  We first found them in our Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook and have been making variations of it ever since.  This salad can be served over a bed of fresh lettuce or can be served, along with some rice and shredded cheese as filler for a wrap. 

To cook the beans in the Instant Pot,  rinse them, cover them with water and cook them as per the directions came with the cooker (I usually cook them for about 24 minutes.  About 7 oz of dried beans  (a jelly-jars worth) makes the right amount of beans when cooked up.  You can always substitute canned beans if you don’t have any dried left.  While the beans are cooking, drain a can of corn and chop up a few pickled cherry peppers and a small onion.   When the beans have cooled a bit, toss the beans, peppers, onion and corn together with about a 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa.

To make the dressing, throw a generous handful of fresh cilantro into the food processor and then add the juice of about 3 limes. Mix this for a moment and then add a dash of Hungry Bear garlic salt, some salad oil or plain yogurt and mix some more.  All of the dressing ingredients can be adjusted to arrive at the desired taste/texture.